This Week in Games
Gimme (PlayStation) Five
by Heidi Kemps,
Hello! Once again, TWIG has been oh-so-slightly delayed from its usual time so we can be up to date on the BIG FREAKIN’ NEWS that's happening – in this case, the first PS5 details, including a reveal of the system's casing. Enough talk – let's dig right in!
So, uh, this is sure a… thing… that… looks… I mean….… yeah. Huh.
It's like they tried to balance “stylish,” “cute,” and “playful” but wound up with a compromise that looks like something out of a Mind's Eye VHS tape you grabbed at Goodwill. It does have blue glowy lights, though, and I'm a sucker for those. (Rainbow-cycling lights are better though!)
Also, this is just me, but I hate white colors for consoles, and electronics in general. Yes, I know that the Dreamcast was a white console, but almost every other limited-edition variant of the system wound up looking a lot better by virtue of being any color besides white. Please release a color variant soon, Sony.
Going beyond the aesthetics of the casing, we now know a few other things about the PS5 hardware. There will be 2 models of the PlayStation 5 – a disc-and-SSD version and one that's digital-downloads-only and has a thinner (and, in my opinion, much nicer) form factor. It's been heavily rumored that there will be a high- and low-end model of the new Xbox, so this disc-free model looks to be Sony's preemptive response. And hey, getting more people on the ~digital ecosystem~ means more potential profit!
Interestingly, nothing was said about pricing, a concrete release date, or backwards compatibility. There are a fair few rumors circulating that the PS5's going to have a pretty severe sticker shock, and if those are valid, I'm sure Sony's trying to avoid another “$599 US Dollars” moment. It's likely that the digital-only version will be a bit cheaper, but by how much?
Well, anyway. Enough whining about the look of the system, we have games to talk about! Sony showed off a lot of stuff today – mostly first-party games – and I've got words about all of them!
RAPIDFIRE IMPRESSIONS OF ALL THE GAMES SHOWN DURING THE PS5 PRESENTATION
- Grand Theft Auto V is coming to PS5! You probably won't see GTA6 until like 2022 because GTA Online makes mad bank and Rockstar will make more cash supporting that than dumping $100 million+ into a proper GTA follow-up. You get GTA Online for free with your PS5, by the way.
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales – Opening with a guaranteed crowd-pleaser is a smart move. A sequel to a universally beloved superhero adaptation, now with a fan favorite character. This looks to be a launch window title (Holiday 2020), so I have a feeling this will be a lot of folks’ first PS5 game.
- Gran Turismo 7 -- It's CAR PORN time, baby!!! I've never been much of a Gran Turismo person – I prefer arcade-style racers in the Daytona USA vein – but if hyperrealistic raytraced rims get your motor running, you do you. It's also worth noting just how long it's been since the last Gran Turismo The last few GT titles were really weak compared to Forza, so they'd better hit this out of the park.
- Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart -- It's not Knack 3, thank God, but the series people actually like. Insomniac Studios must be absurdly busy doing both this and Miles Morales at the same time. My first thought seeing alternate-dimension-universe female Ratchet was “okay, so they're going for the crowd that's still horny for Krystal from Starfox this time,” and I'm sure I'm not alone there.
- Project Athia – Is this secretly the Final Fantasy XVI everybody was anticipating would be showcased? Square's Luminous Productions team does consist of a lot of former Final Fantasy XV staff, so maybe that speculation's not totally off-base. We don't really have much to go on here save for some evocative text and visuals, so file Project Athia under “what the heck is this even” for a while.
- Stray – OH MY GOD. IT'S A CUTE CAT IN ROBOTLAND WITH A BACKPACK. HERE'S MY MONEY YOU HAVE IT LET ME PLAY AS THAT EXTREMELY GOOD CAT
- Returnal– “I'm intrigued by this, if only because Housemarque has made a lot of very good arcade action games. The concept here seems to be “third-person shooter with roguelike elements,” which is a concept with a lot of potential. Hate that title, though.
- Sackboy – Is Little Big Planet interesting if you can't actually make levels? That seems to be the idea behind this particular spinoff. I'm assuming there's no creation tools since they're not shown, but I could be very wrong here!
- Destruction All-Stars – “Are they reviving Destruction Derby?” I asked my boyfriend as we watched this. Then they showed other means of movement and combat, and I had no idea what to think. How is this going to be balanced? Is this Sony's big eSports push? Why oh why are they bringing back the “All-Stars” titling after PlayStation All-Stars crashed and burned? I guess we'll find out!
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits – It's certainly cute, but again, I don't have much of an idea how this plays, and I'm honestly a little worn-down on the “cartoony fantasy” aesthetic. Not trying to pre-judge this one too harshly, it just didn't leave much of an impact.
- Goodbye Volcano High – Looks like a Life is Strange-style teenage drama with monster characters. Not my thing, but I know there's an audience that eats this stuff up. Also: I really hate the knee-jerk EWWW FURRIES reaction the internet has when they see media with non-human character.
Oddworld: Soulstorm – Lorne Lanning: “In this game, failure is devastatingly hilarious!”
*deadly serious trailer describing potential doom for an entire race*
Yeesh, that's some tonal whiplash there. Oddworld, I feel, is a series people respect, but don't actually play. Lorne Lanning's devotion to his art is admirable, but I personally don't know a single soul that's actually finished an Oddworld
- Ghostwire Tokyo -- Ikumi Nakamura's gone elsewhere, so it's up to Shinji Mikami to sell Ghostwire to us. Gameplay has been kept rather ambiguous up to this point, and honestly, I'm a bit disappointed that it's more about action and less about atmospheric urban horror. Still, Mikami doesn't usually let us down, so it's still on my personal “potentially interesting” list.
- Jett – Space exploration and colonizing! I think this might just be what people wanted out of No Man's Sky when it first launched. People will need to see more actual gameplay before getting hyped about this, though, because big space exploration games have… had trouble living up to expectations, to put it nicely.
- Godfall: We first saw this back at the game awards, but now we have more gameplay! This is looking like a Borderlands-style “looter shooter,” only with traditional melee weapons rather than firearms. Just please, please keep Randy Pitchford as far away from this as possible. I know he's publishing it, but still.
- Solar Ash -- “Hey Heidi, you still haven't played Hyper Light Drifter” Thanks for the reminder, Sony!
- Hitman III – I understand why people love Hitman, and it's nice to see IO Interactive handling this series independently. I know I'm not going to be playing it, because I find Hitman incredibly stressful, but if you love it then I'm glad you're getting a nice wrap-up to the saga.
- Astro's Playroom – looks cute enough, but I feel like Ratchet and Clank and Sackboy have the mascot action/platformer genre pretty well covered.
- Little Devil Inside – this is interesting! It looks like a stylized Monster Hunter-like game with hints of social commentary, as the trailer cuts between comfortable, well-off city folks and an adventurer risking his life to kill beasts. I'll be keeping an eye on this.
- NBA 2K21 – sportssportssportssports
- Bugsnax – holy hell this looks extremely weird. Oh, it's the Octodad guys making a new game? Yeah, that checks out. It seems heavily inspired by Cubivore, just… with more tasty food critters. Also, more games need a stick-on googly-eyes aesthetic.
- Demon's Souls – It's back, baby! Sony's not letting this one be published by someone else this time! No idea how it's going to be enhanced beyond visuals, but… Demon's Souls!!!!
- Deathloop – There are, uh, a lot of games about dying over and over in this presentation, huh? Deathloop certainly looks solid, though – The visual style is fantastic, and Arkane's got a good track record with the Dishonored series, so this one's definitely worth keeping an eye on.
- Resident Evil: Village – This one was strongly rumored, and yeah, it looks weird and creepy in the same way RE7 was. Also: something's up with Chris Redfield! Is he… an asshole now?
- Pragmata – CAPCOM looked at Death Stranding's trailers and said, “We can do this, too!” I'm intrigued by what I saw here, but mostly because there was another cute cat in the reveal trailer. PS5: the best console for rendering cats!
- Horizon: Forbidden West -- A Horizon sequel was on everyone's PS5 Reveal Bingo card. I don't really have much to say here except that, yeah, this looks like more and prettier Horizon! It's going to be interesting seeing this go up against the Breath of the Wild follow-up Nintendo's got cooking.
AND NOW, NON-SONY RELATED NEWS
It feels weird to talk about anything else in the wake of the PS2, but there are a few interesting newsbits circulating! First off is the rumor that Persona 4 Golden will be getting a PC port later this month. I know, it's not the Persona 5 PC port that everyone wants, but it's good that all of the Golden content will be available somewhere that's not the PlayStation Vita. Not that the Vita's a bad system, mind you, it's just… kinda… moribund.
Yes, Alex Kidd in Miracle World is coming back! The game Master System owners insisted was better than Super Mario Bros because they wanted to feel better about their console choices has returned after over thirty years!
I'll be 100% honest: I'm a gigantic Sega fangirl, but the truth is that Alex Kidd was mediocre at best, and miserable at worst. (Play the arcade version of Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars if you want to see a platformer that's actively hateful.) Miracle World is one of the better Alex Kidd games for sure (Alex Kidd in Shinobi World is probably the best), but it pales next to a lot of the era's most well-known platformers. Of course, that means there's plenty of room for improvement, so… who knows? Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX might just have that extra spark needed to make Alex Kidd truly noteworthy for the first time in, well, ever.
Phew, I'm tired. That's a lot of PS5 news in a very short amount of time! What were your PS5 presentation highlights and lowlights? Did any of the announcements catch you off-guard? Would you buy an all-digital system? Sound off in the forums below! I'll catch you all again next week with more fresh takes on the hottest summer gaming news. Thanks for reading!
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