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Sony Consoles Articles

Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Xbox 360 Review
Relic takes a break from RTS to bring us Space Marine, and shows us what it means to be one of the God-Emperor's Finest.

Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S (CE) Review
In the realm of racing games there are few challengers to the top seat of racing wheels; the Fanatec 911 Turbo S is the latest, packing 900 degree turning a 6+1 shifter and a full pedal set.

Mirror's Edge Review
An exclusive in-depth look at DICE's much anticipated first-person parkour action game.

Sony Consoles News

Game of Thrones - Episode 4: Sons of Winter available May 26, with great risk comes great reward

0 comments Rory Young - 2:04pm (PST) Like Share

This is when everything goes all to hell, isn't it?

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After a lengthy wait, which I suppose is the status quo for Telltale these days, Game of Thrones -- Episode 4: Sons of Winter now has a release date. Pick up the fourth of six episodes starting on May 26, or over the next few days depending on your platform. Conflict is coming to a head for House Forrestor's inheritors and it seems like Episode 4 will see many of our protagonists committing themselves to large events decisions which will either end in their ruin or glory. Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen don't mess around, especially when the Wall and dragons are concerned.

In Episode 4, Rodrik will struggle to free Ironrath, Gared ventures beyond the wall, Mira is near drowning in the game of thrones, while Asher takes orders from Daenerys herself. No one is safe, but inaction is deadlier than the risks they face otherwise. And hey, Telltale doesn't tease or imply any sort of nudity or sexual controversy at all, which puts them a grade or fifty above their television show licensee

It seemed like there for a while Telltale was trying to speed up its process to get Game of Thrones out faster to players. After a two month span between the first and second episode, the third was closer to a month and a half. Yet here we are again seeing Telltale pushing Episode 4 back to two months post-Episode 3 -- from March 24 to May 26. It sucks, really, because while Telltale's quality writing and narrative structure continues to deliver, it's so difficult to maintain hype for any of their individual series when they can't put out chapters monthly. Hell, monthly is even slow than I'd want if I could get my way. But two months? Maybe Telltale will reach a point of comfort eventually where they can finish a game before starting to release episodes, so they might hammer out a schedule of their own choosing.

As with all Game of Thrones episodes, due largely to their digital nature and how quickly Telltale pushes them live after finishing them, not all platforms will get Episode 4 on the same day. It will arrive on PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3 on May 26. Xbox One and Xbox 360 will pick it up on May 27, with iOS and Android cleaning up on May 28.



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Need for Speed returns Fall 2015, teaser cinematic and screenshots definitely feels like Underground

4 comments Lydia Sung - 1:50pm (PST) Like Share

The hype is slowly mounting...

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EA and Ghost Games have officially revealed the new 2015 Need for Speed today, complete with a teaser cinematic and screenshots. We don't have too many details right now regarding gameplay, but the atmosphere certainly seems indicative of an Underground renaissance.

Ghost Games is the European studio that previously worked on the well-received Need for Speed Rivals, and EA now has them working on this year's installment. The assets so far are little more than some close-up shots of modified vehicles, but the entire tone has fans hopeful for a return to the series' golden age. The name does appear to be final, and this appropriation of the franchise's name as a game title might suggest a reboot of sorts for the greater Need for Speed series. A sign of greater things to come, we hope.

Publisher EA isn't ready to do a full reveal today but emphasized an expansive customization system, "authentic urban car culture, a nocturnal open world," and a full narrative. Those keywords seem to be enough for long-time fans to draw hope from. As for the Speedhunters tease from earlier this week, that appears to be some kind of community forum encompassing EA's racing genre.

No doubt EA has more planned in the weeks leading up to E3. For now, expect Need for Speed to arrive Fall 2015 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.



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M. Bison joins the Street Fighter V roster, Psycho Power has turned an aging Bison's hair white

1 comments Rory Young - 10:08pm (PST) Like Share

Maybe he just dyed his hair to look more like Oni's?

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Capcom is doing its best to make Street Fighter V's 2016 launch on PC and PlayStation 4 feel impossibly far off, slowly dripping details about the game slowly like a leaky faucet. Today's drop is a trailer announcing that M. Bison has joined the fighting game's roster, an addition no one is certainly surprised by but still refreshing to hear. 2016 is a ways away, everyone. If Capcom is going to announce one roster addition a month, we're going to have to get through this together, trailer by trailer. Now's no time to let the year ahead suck out our energy.

Let's hear some more hype for M. Bison. While Capcom didn't provide any context, feature details or even a press release for the video there area few specifics we can pick at. For one, our old black-haired bad guy seems to have prematurely aged. His hair is now a stark white. Could this imply a bit of time passing since Street Fighter IV? It didn't seem so with the other roster announcements up to this point, but it's still possible. It's more likely that M. Bison has been toying with powers unnatural. Could a new closeness to Psycho Power have discolored his hair? Maybe he just decided to rock the salt and pepper aged look on dating sites? Salt and pepper without the pepper -- only salt. Fitting, right?

The theory that M. Bison is building up his Psycho Power holds more ground than just the white hair, however. It's clear through his move-set and animations that much has changed with Bison since we last saw him. Several of his attack now leave the enemy covered in a layer of purple. Whether this is just a visual accent, something to make the new game pop off the screen in a new way, or conveying some passive effect that we as watchers aren't clear on yet is not said. We also see a handful of other Psycho Power moves, some new and some old, used in seemingly more powerful ways than ever before.

The most significant is Bison's Psycho Crusher, which in the trailer is now his Ultra move. That's if Ultras are still the proper nomenclature for Street Fighter V. Has he lost the move beyond its ultra version? Gaining a reflect while losing his Psycho Crusher is an interesting trade. I have a feeling there's more Psycho Crusher to be seen.

Street Fighter V is being made by Capcom in partnership with Sony for the PlayStation 4 and PC. It's planned for release in 2016, but hopefully we'll see more of the game in the months ahead.

 
 

The Witcher 3 artist dismisses downgrade, 'unfair' comparing early trailers to gameplay demos

15 comments Rory Young - 2:47am (PST) Like (1) Share

An issue quite clearly more complicated than one headline can describe

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Recently there's been somewhat of a stir regarding potential The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt visual downgrades. Several Youtube videos and screenshot comparisons, sourcing early looks at CD Projekt RED's highly anticipated RPG and recent recordings from early impressions, purport changes in lighting, textures, and tessellation in both specific and general ways. The downgrade accusations have had difficulty finding footing, as CD Projekt RED has only just recently released footage of the game running on "Ultra" settings and reviews until now have all been from the PlayStation 4 version of the game.

That's not to say that CD Projekt RED has been unreceptive to their community's feedback. In specific cases they responded, noting that certain rocky wall textures may have been changed for better or worse and will look into what happened, or noting how shaders changed in development had affected the game in different ways -- but much more for the better. All comments on the matter thus far have insisted that fans will find The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to be nothing but one of the best looking games yet made.

Recently, CD Projekt RED's visual effects artist Jose Teixeira took to the issue head-on in an interview with Youtuber docm77. Teixeira obviously is rather passionate about the issue, but it's significant that his perspective is of an artist and a developer first and foremost:

"We didn't downgrade it. We didn't downgrade, because it's impossible -- it's impossible to downgrade a game that didn't exist before, or wasn't playable before. There was a guy on the internet who commented that, or something like that, that you cannot downgrade something that -- there was no grade to downgrade. Comparing a final product with a product that wasn't playable, that wasn't a game yet. There are two things that people have to separate, downgrade and optimization. Optimization is necessary to make the game run. Downgrade is when you deliberately make the game worse for some, for whatever reason. I mean, that's totally not what happened.

"There also something that people probably have to understand, is that it's very unfair to compare trailers and gameplay demos. A trailer is a beautiful shot. A trailer is this prepared -- you take one location, you put the perfect lights and the perfect camera angle and the perfect set-up. It looks set-up so it is beautiful and it is captured at super high definition and you post-process it and -- it's a trailer. It's a trailer and we pick beautiful shots."

Teixeira provides the perspective of someone intimately tied to The Witcher 3's development from day one. The idea that trailers made prior to the game even being playable must seem audacious to somehow who has seen how the game, piece by piece, grew from nothing to what it is today. The idea that those trailers might create inaccurate expectations from community members doesn't seem to cross his mind. Instead, he attributes the idea of a "downgrade" to community members believing developers are intentionally making the game worse. Whereas the reality is more akin to community members believing they were tricked into thinking the game looked better than the developers knew it would.

The difference, the distance between game players and the developer, being a view of marketing. Or at least that's the way it seems. Game players see marketing and advertisements and believe the trailers they put together, the post-processed screenshots and manufactured pre-alpha trailers, and believe them to be a product of the development team as a whole. Teixeira, on the other hand, sees this marketing and advertising as a subset of the company detached from the realities of the game itself. To him, comparing that game players see from initial trailers and media to the actual game, which is first shown in gameplay trailers and demos, is entirely "unfair."

The discussion moves on from that point, dealing further with what Teixeira views as the legitimate changes that the development team made to the game. Things that he believes might legitimately be worth discussing in regards to what's changed since the game was first shown and now:

"Gameplay demos, that's when you see the real game, when you see what the real game looks like. And we had three or four videos, gameplay videos. We had one in 2013, which was a demo in Skellig (sic?), which was a really long time ago and shortly after that demo we completely -- if you look at that demo, the graphics look totally different. They look totally different because at the time we were using a very old shader system. It wasn't this physically based shader with all the reflections and the shining metals and everything. It was very -- it was a little bit flatter. Some things were very sharp, or too sharp even. We had some problems with the vegetation that they had a sharpening filter that didn't work. After a while it was uncomfortable for the eyes. It's very hard to describe. When walking through the forest very sharp vegetation was terrible. So we changed the whole shader system, we put in the PBR (sic?) system. Then one year later we did this 35-minute demo in Novigrad.. (muffled) demo and so on walking through the forest. And it just keeps getting nicer and nicer. It's one of the most beautiful games ever made, probably."

Given the opportunity, I'm certain that Teixeira would go through early gameplay trailers and demo recordings second by second discussing how the game has changed in specific detail. These areas fall into the "optimization" category, according to him. As for the "downgrade" category, he quite clearly dismisses it as irrelevant. Would a member of the team who put those initial non-gameplay trailers agree? It's difficult to say.

Thus, the issue of The Witcher 3's "downgrade" doesn't come to a fruitful conclusion. The issue of whether it's fair to compare trailers created before a game even existed to the final game would likely be controversial both within a studio and within the greater gaming community. And even if all agreed that it was fair, who would then be at fault? The team behind early trailers for doing their best to make gamers excited for a game just beginning development? The developers for failing to make a game mirroring a trailer based off of early designs? Put that way it all seems rather ludicrous, but this growing issue of managing expectations is only being more and more relevant with modern games. 

The scope of that question, "Hype vs. Managed Expectations," is well beyond this article and definitely more than Mr. Teixeira likely wanted to answer. Judging from his interview, all he wanted to do was share how excited he was about his game. "One of the most beautiful games ever made, probably," were his exact words. I have a feeling that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will speak for itself on the matter.

 
 

Rainbow Six Siege hits PC and consoles October 13, three special editions confirmed so far

4 comments Lydia Sung - 7:22pm (PST) Like Share

Another Uplay exclusive, obviously

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Rainbow Six Siege is now expected to come out October 13 for PC as well as Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Ubisoft is giving players three different special editions to choose from, though the region exclusivity is a bit of a bummer.

In addition to the standard edition of Siege, Ubisoft is also offering a "Gold Edition" as well, which basically bundles in the season pass (because "limited edition" went out of style). This will cost you an extra $30 over the standard $60 price for a total of $90 USD. In the UK, you're paying £65.

If just owning the game and season pass won't cut it, feel free to choose from The Art of Siege and The Tactical Elite editions. Now these two special editions aren't listed for North American retailers because neither are currently available to the Americas. Per usual, Ubisoft seems to favor Europe when it comes to the special editions, plus Asia and the Middle East.

If you do happen to be in any of those three regions, here's what you can get for an additional cost.

  • The Art of Siege Edition (£59.99), available for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, includes the full game, a collector’s box, a Gold Skins Pack for all in-game weapons and an exclusive 120 page Tactical Guide. This high quality guide includes every single key element of the game – detailing each Counter Terrorist Unit, Operators, weapons, and maps with the highest level of detail and statistics. All this content has been created with the development team and core gamers’ advice, giving you the most effective results in the field.
  • The Tactical Elite Edition (£74.99), a very limited edition available exclusively on the Uplay Shop that will include both Art of Siege Edition and Season Pass.

Note that the Art of Siege Edition is cheaper than Gold because it drops the season pass in favor of other content and bonuses. The Tactical Elite Edition, on the other hand, basically brings together both cheaper bundles. Since it's the all-in-one deal, this version is exclusive to Uplay.

 
 

April NPD Number Crunch: Mortal Kombat X marks the spot

2 comments Leo Chan - 4:51pm (PST) Like Share

Xbox One also steals hardware sales lead from PS4

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Turns out April's showers were the bloody kind, as the NPD Group confirms that Mortal Kombat X was the top selling game at U.S. retail last month. Critics hailed the tenth official installment as a fine return to form for the long-running fighting series known for its over-the-top and darkly humorous depictions of violence, but Mortal Kombat X also got to lead a month of improved spending from consumers.

Physical game and hardware sales for the month of April were slighty up three percent year-over-year at $595.7 million USD, and much of that was attributed to game sales this time around. Software sales leapt 13 percent to $256.7 million from the same period last year. Unfortunately, total console hardware sales at U.S. retail would fall 4 percent to $183.9 million in April, continuing the trend from last month though the year-over-year drop was not as severe.

PS4-exclusive Bloodborne fell off the NPD software top ten completely after a second place finish in March, but the spirit lives on with Dark Souls II making a comeback through the multiplatform release of Scholar of the First Sin. The rest of the software chart would be occupied by old faithfuls like Grand Theft Auto V, and even Super Smash Bros. gets another opportunity to shine.

Microsoft confirms that the Xbox One manages to end the PS4's streak as best-selling console once again, with hardware sales jumping 63 percent year-over-year last month. Sony maintains its eighth-gen console commands the better lifetime-to-date sales by far, and PlayStation platforms as a whole still led software sales during April 2015.

April 2015 Top Ten Software Sales
  Game Publisher Platform Release
1. Mortal Kombat X Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PS4 / Xbox One 04/2015
2. Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar PS4 / Xbox One / PC / Xbox 360 / PS3 11/2014
3. Battlefield: Hardline Electronic Arts Xbox One / PS4 / Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC 03/2015
4. MLB 15: The Show Sony Computer Entertainment PS4 / PS3 / Vita 03/2015
5. Minecraft 4J Studios Xbox 360 / PS3 / Xbox One / PS4 / PC 11/2014
6. NBA 2K15 2K Games Xbox One / PS4 / Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC 10/2014
7. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Activision Xbox One / PS4 / Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC 11/2014
8. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Bandai Namco Games PS4 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 / PS3 04/2015
9. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS / Wii U Nintendo 3DS / Wii U 10/2014
10. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection 2K Games PS4 / Xbox One 03/2015
 
 

Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves official trailer touches on everything from Shadow Thief to PVP

3 comments Lydia Sung - 12:32pm (PST) Like Share

Who needs a new raid anyway?

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Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves is less than a week away, so to make sure Guardians stay sufficiently hyped, Bungie has a new trailer. Apparently it's the official trailer, too.

Opening with a segment from the first teaser cinematic, in which we hear a very angry Queen of the Reef explain her people's situation, the video then goes on to highlight every major addition with House of Wolves. While the expansion won't be adding a new raid, it does contribute plenty of content, including the all-new "Prison of Elders" cooperative mode.

Of course the Reef appears in this summary trailer as well, giving a brief preview of the new upcoming social hub. PVPers will have new maps added to their playlists, on top of the Dark Below multiplayer maps, which will be made available for free once House of Wolves drops. For the truly dedicated PVP fans, the "Trials of Osiris" will be a true test of skill and teamwork, pitting teams of three against one another in an Elimination mode.

A new Strike, "The Shadow Thief," will be part of the new content. Guardians are tasked with tracking down a vicious Fallen mercenary, one likely connected to the traitors in the Reef.

Expansion II: House of Wolves arrives May 19 for all consoles. Hold onto your butts.

 
 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt launch cinematic is a brutal showdown between Geralt and seductress

7 comments Lydia Sung - 10:55am (PST) Like Share

NSFW on account of undead nudity

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A Witcher's job is never easy. In a new launch cinematic for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Geralt faces down a dangerous creature that goes from seductress to naked-feral-undead monster in about two seconds. And interestingly enough, this might be the first time we see a cinematic trailer effectively and accurately reflect what a game is like.

Intense camera angles aside, "A Night to Remember" can actually be a real mission from any of the Witcher games. Geralt takes a job from some frightened villagers, hunts down his quarry, and must make a quick decision on whether he should attack. If anything, the trailer is probably more straightforward than this hypothetical quest.

The resulting monster looks somewhat like a drowner but acts more like a siren. She's also incredibly dangerous, evidenced by her remark that Witchers past wouldn't have taken on a job to hunt something of her nature. Geralt must use all his combat prowess to come out victorious.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt comes out on May 19 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Note that the trailer below does feature some undead nudity.

 
 

PS Vita/PS3 tactical RPG Lost Dimension arrives bearing gifts July 28

3 comments Rory Young - 10:24pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Only a few gifts though, the rest will cost extra

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Atlus' localization of Lancarse's tactical RPG, Lost Dimension, now has a release date. The PlayStation 3 and PS Vita title will be another breath of fresh air for fans of Japanese RPGs, especially the wave of newer sci-fi, anime-styled RPGs that seem to be in otaku-culture's eye these days. Lost Dimension even features visual novel elements, so don't all rush out to pre-order at once, now. The game is still a few months away from launch, as it'll arrive on July 28 and not a day before. To help with the wait Atlus put together a trailer along with a special DLC announcement.

For two weeks after launch, meaning not tied to a pre-order or any other sort of purchase beyond the game itself, Atlus will make a large amount of DLC for Lost Dimension completely free. There will still apparently be other microtransactions still available -- consumables that boost  experience, gold or event stats, and status boosters which help raise stats allowing for more usage of skills in combat. Whoa, who even cares about the free DLC. What's with this paid DLC? This is like they opened the book of "Gross DLC" and took all the options. It sounds more like a mobile game at this point, but it definitely costs $39.99 up front. Oof.

Back to the free DLC, I guess. The "$20 of free DLC" will include the following:

  • 9 Character Costumes
  • 12 PSN Icons
  • 3 DLC Quests
  • Map Set w/ Story

Remember, remember that the DLC is only available for two weeks after launch. After that point, I expect the price on all of the above to jump back up to absurd levels.

Just like Atlus will be giving each of us a gift with their free DLC in the midst of ugly, terrible microtransactions, so have the characters of Lost Dimension been given gifts. As shown in today's new trailer, each character has a power of sorts. Magnetism, telepathy, they're all unique and should be fun no matter what the player's party composition. Be careful though, because there's a traitor in your team's midst and it'll be up to you to figure out who. Don't worry about spoilers though, because the traitor is randomly generated with each playthrough.

Lost Dimension will be available starting July 28 for PS Vita and PlayStation 3. Free DLC for two weeks after launch. New trailer. Disappointing DLC. Video games, everybody.

 
 

Insomniac's PS4 Ratchet & Clank 're-imagination' pushed to spring 2016, film hits theaters next April 29

6 comments Rory Young - 7:28pm (PST) Like Share

Great voice acting casting news for the film, too

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Insomniac Games has delayed the release of their forthcoming "re-imagination" of the original Ratchet & Clank game, pushing it out of 2015 an into spring of 2016. The delay comes alongside a similar push for the CG Ratchet & Clank film currently in production at Rainmaker Entertainment, which will arrive in theaters care of Focus Features on April 29, 2016. To help make the game's delay a little more palatable Insomniac confirmed that not only would Ratchet & Clank feature entirely updated visuals specific to PS4 hardware, but also additional levels and content.

Ryan Schneider, Chief Brand Officer of Insomniac, provided this prepared marketing spiel on what sort of updates Ratchet & Clank fans can expect from the update:

"While you might have to wait a bit longer than expected, rest assured we’re using the time wisely to further polish the game to a spit-shine level, with dazzling shader response, awe-inspiring effects, velvety smooth animations, and spectacular new gameplay segments. Really, we can’t wait to show it to you."

Keep in mind that the game, along with being an origin story for Ratchet & Clank, will now also have to complement the film. I'd say that we can expect much of the new content to work towards that goal, either introducing content the movie will then further elaborate on or refocusing on themes that are better captures in a non-interactive environment. Hopefully Insomniac doesn't deviate too far from the ideas that made made the original Ratchet & Clank so dear to so many in favor of building up the movie. But if Insomniac can pull off something that makes both the movie and game better, then more power too them.

Speaking about the movie, there were also some additional details shared on that which might appeal to the gaming side of the equation. Part of the voice acting cast for the movie has been shared, including such stars as Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Rosario Dawson and wait for it -- Sylvester Stallone. Pretty astonishing cast, no? But the best news, and a hugely admirable choice from the film's creative team, is that all four of Ratchet & Clank's stars from the game will be voiced by their original game actors. Ratchet, Clank, Nefarious and Captain Quark will retain their dulcet tones.

Ryan closed out by ensuring fans that more would be shared about the Ratchet & Clank PS4 re-imagining later this year. There were no promises that the game would pop up at E3, but I'm personally keeping my fingers crossed. Expect the Ratchet & Clank game to be released in spring 2016, with film arriving in theaters on April 29, 2016.

 
 
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