Tagged: video

I finally got to play NieR: Automata

I’ve played through the NieR: Automata demo 3 or 4 times now (once on Hard with no weapons, even) and I’m still not sure I love it. I don’t usually enjoy Platinum Games’ releases but I love the ultra-weird anime universe of NieR and especially its soundtrack. The music is very much in place for Automata but that was a given since the first teaser where original composer Keiichi Okabe was confirmed for the sequel.

The combat gameplay seems dense and involved — expanding on NieR’s penchant for turning into a shmup — but it’s hard to tell with only 3 weapon choices in the demo. All of the weapons have upgrade levels that will expand in the full game but even on the Hard difficulty it was pretty easy to button mash through fights. Simply holding the Square button initiates an automatic (and elaborate) 4-hit combo animation but it doesn’t feel especially rewarding without working for it. Dodging attacks is super simple as every enemy telegraphs their intent with flashing red eyes and the window for the counter is super wide. Hopefully the final game is a little more nuanced as the team has shown in a few different livestreams.

One intriguing element that I only found by digging into the menus is the Plug-in Chip system. It’s basically a system of passive skills but all of the UI interface options are in the list. I can imagine trying to squeeze in a powerful buff and disabling, say, health bars or the mini-map to make it fit. Your OS Chip is also in the list and I can confirm the game definitely ends if you remove that critical system. You also pick up a ton of crafting materials in the demo that you can’t do anything with and unlock shortcuts to previous areas implying that we’ll be running through these maps multiple times.

I came out of the demo more looking forward to the features I couldn’t actually put my hands on than the gameplay that was there. I’m still undecided but I recorded a brief playthrough without commentary for anyone else interested in the game. Of course, you can try it yourself for free by grabbing the demo from the PlayStation Store. Let me know what you think if you do check it out.

E3 2015: The PlayStation 4 finally has a media player

Amidst the game reveals at Sony’s press conference they also announced that the long-overdue PlayStation 4 media player was finally available. As someone who regularly has videos downloaded to a flash drive and enjoys mixing game audio with Spotify music, I was clearly in the target demographic. I expected to do a video of the media player but it’s pretty cut and dry so I’ll just type up a bit here. I will point out that the player supports USB devices as well as network sharing but I don’t have any network stuff going on at home so my experience is solely related to USB.

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Music (supports: MP3, AAC)
For starters, all music has to be in a folder on the USB drive titled ‘music’ and the app only displays files in a single list of filenames and folder titles. There’s also no concept of sorting, filtering or creating playlists; you can only mark songs as Favorites. Not ideal for anyone hoping to navigate a large music collection during gameplay.

At least album art is supported so you’ll see those in the app and in the pop-up display where you can quickly change tracks and adjust the volume, just like when using Spotify. There are no visualizers, however, which is sad because the PlayStation 3 had a handful of real pretty screensavers.

It’s a barebones presentation (thankfully the standard playback controls and shuffle/repeat options are included) that seems designed only to get your music started and then live in the background as you play, chat or use other apps. A little more pizazz wouldn’t be bad but after such a long wait for the app I’ll take anything.

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Video (supports: MKV, AVI, MP4, MPEG-2 TS)
This is what I was really excited about as the PlayStation 3 always did a great job of handling video playback. Like the music side, the options are slim here and the files have to be stored in a ‘videos’ folder on the USB drive. Also like the music player you get a simple listing of filenames and folders and you can hit Start on a title (video or audio) to view the file size, format, codec and other details.

Playback controls include all the usual stuff with shoulder buttons controlling next/previous and fast forward/reverse. Press Triangle to view a simple timeline or hit Start during playback to bring up the control display. Sadly it’s missing the breadth of options (subtitle, audio track, picture adjustment) from the PlayStation 3 but you, uhh, can rotate the video by 90 degrees which might be handy if you’ve got a lot of clips shot from a phone. One handy feature I wasn’t expecting is playback resume. Start a video, hop out and then load it up again and it’ll resume right where you left off.

Pictures (supports: JPG, BMP, PNG)
There’s a picture viewer. It is very simple. You can view pictures with it. It has a slideshow and very few options. Does anyone view downloaded images on a console? Anyways, there’s a picture viewer but for whatever reason you still can’t view your in-game screenshots here.

So just download it already
It’s totally great for a free app even if it is the most basic of offerings. It won’t replace feature rich PC software like VLC or PotPlayer but for getting music and video up quickly on your TV it works just fine. It’s also free and a pretty small download so there’s not much to I can really complain about in the end.

P.S. Here’s Sony’s blog post about the player and their help page with more details on supported formats

My Vita has returned from Japan

I made the Vita think it was in Japan recently so I could play a couple demos and check out some free stuff. I made a couple of videos to document what I found including an extensive look at AKB1/149 Box, the crazy AR photo hunt game that Katy graciously tried to keep in frame as I ran around the kitchen.

Oh hey! I’m doing a new playthrough series

I’ve spent a couple of days getting my production pipeline in order and trying to finally ditch my SingStar microphones (it didn’t happen) and am ready to start posting my new playthrough series. What’s the game? It’s R-Type Command on PSP! I’ve been thinking about replaying it a lot lately and figured if I was going to do it, why not hook it up to the TV and share the embarrassment with the Internet for posterity? Here’s Episode 00 in which I remember what the hell this game even is. I’ll try to do a new one once a week as the missions aren’t terribly long but there sure are a lot of them.