This weeks Sony PlayStation roundup is focusing on recent announcements from the PlayStation Blog in regards to the best games of 2018, voted on by the public, as well as the most downloaded game from last year and some news about PS VR. Let’s get started!
The PlayStation Blog recently released a list of the most downloaded games of 2018 from the PlayStation store. Taking the top spot was Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 which isn’t too much of a surprise when you consider the strong grip that online multiplayer shooters still hold on gamers of all ages. The game also incorporated a new battle royale mode, a trial of which began on Thursday 17th January, which may have helped with sales due to the huge popularity of that game mode at the moment. The Call of Duty franchise is one that has stood the test of time and faced off against numerous competitors so even without the battle royale mode, it most likely would have sold incredibly well. Other additions to the top list include single player titles such as God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2 (despite the later release of Red Dead Online, Red Dead is still mostly single player). It’s great to see single player titles taking up a good portion of the list, especially since they make up the top five downloads. The PlayStation Blog also included the top ten PS VR games, Free-to-play games, PS Vita games, PS Classic games and the top PS4 themes from 2018. I’ll add the link to PlayStation Blog here so you can check out all the lists in their entirety.
Best of 2018
PlayStation Blog also released the winners from their best games of 2018 poll. The public voted in 15 different categories to choose their best of the best from Sony PlayStation in 2018. God of War was one of the titles which came out on top, winning several awards such as Best Narrative, Best PlayStation exclusive, Best Performance for Christopher Judge as Kratos and the Best Soundtrack (a decision I highly approve of after also naming it as the best game soundtrack of 2018). The outcome of the poll is interesting as it shows the consensus of the general public rather a chosen panel of judges. The blog has also included the titles that came in second, third and fourth place as well as some honourable mentions so check it out here if you want to see how the gamers voted.
VR Demo Disc
The PSVR has many games available on the PlayStation store and it’s possible to have a free try of several titles before you buy them. A free demo for the PlayStation VR was released on January 16th in the European PlayStation store with nine demos included. The games are all pretty great choices, such as Astro Bot Rescue Mission, SUPERHOT VR, Job Simulator and, if you really want to induce perpetual nightmares, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard Teaser Demo: The Kitchen. Demos often seem like a thing of the past, such as the old demos we would get enclosed in the PlayStation magazine, but they are still a crucial way of offering gamers a taste of what to expect if they decide to purchase a particular game. Have a look at the PSVR demos available here.
Trailer of the Week
Days Gone: The Farewell Wilderness Trailer
PlayStation exclusive Days Gone has recently received a gameplay trailer showcasing the world and environments of the game. The Farewell Wilderness trailer shows player character Deacon St John traversing the world on his motorcycle and highlights the danger that can be encountered. Not only is the terrain dangerous, such as muddy trails and caves, he can also be pursued by enemies as we see him being chased by wolves, Freakers and marauders. One of the interesting points of the trailer is that we are told that when the pandemic first broke out, corpses were taken by train out to the wildness for mass burials. This explains the sheer number of Freakers that can be encountered and have been shown in various gameplay videos and trailers. The trailer makes it clear that exploration will be a dangerous endeavor in Days Gone, but the beauty of the large open world looks too inviting to resist.
Days Gone is due for release on April 26th, 2019 on the PlayStation 4.
Indie Game of the Week
Friday the 13th The Game
As one of the most popular horror franchises of all time, creating a Friday the 13th game was sure to have an impact of some kind and upon its release in 2017, it certainly created a stir of sorts. Friday the 13th: The Game is an indie survival horror game released in May 2017 by publisher Gun Media and developed by Black Tower Studios. Set in the fictional Camp Crystal Lake from the films, the game is a multiplayer title with up to eight players per game. Seven players control counselors and must try to survive whilst one lucky player takes on the role of the big bad Jason Voorhees as he hunts them down in an attempt to murder them. Friday the 13th had me hugely frustrated at times but underneath the issues, it is a surprisingly fun game that had me hooked for several weeks.
As a survival game, Friday the 13th is, for the most part, very entertaining if not somewhat limited. As a counselor, (who you will spend most of your time playing as due to Jason usually being the preference of players) gameplay revolves around attempting to escape from Jason before he has dispatched of everyone. Escape options are where the limitations begin. The player can either find gas, a battery and a key for a car getaway; find a propeller and gas to take to the water on a boat or find a fuse for the phone to call the police to come to your aid. Admittedly, these options do sometimes get stale and samey. However, if you are lucky enough to have a player who is committing to the Jason role and attempting to thwart your escape attempts at every turn, searching through cabins for gas and running to a car to desperately attach the battery can be exciting and nerve-wracking. The map is also a limitation in itself as although it is relatively large in size, it is the only map available. This means that once you’ve played a fair share of games, the cabins, houses, campsites and wooded areas all become far too familiar. The weapon choices and inventory items are also lackluster due to the limited choice. Despite this, I still found myself having fun and playing on the edge of my seat as I was being stalked by the hockey-masked murderer.
When you get the chance to play as Jason, the gameplay switches up and the urge to become a predatory menace becomes irresistible. Like Jason, you can stalk your fellow players with special abilities that allow him to sense them, teleport towards them and activate a rage mode where he can instantly break down walls and doors. Players will be highlighted in a red silhouette if Jason’s sense is activated and houses in which they are hiding will also light up in red. The only issue with this is the immersion break that can occur if the player controlling Jason is not actually playing the game. I once found myself in the midst of a game where Jason was spinning in circles and watching as some of the counselors spammed their dance emotes. Not exactly a nail-biting horror gaming experience. But if the Jason does go out of their way to stalk and kill everyone in the most gruesome way possible, it can be incredibly tense. Another game I played started with me searching through cabins when I suddenly realized I was the only counselor left alive. As I stumbled through the woods attempting to escape, I kept happening upon the bodies of previous victims whilst occasionally catching glimpses of Jason in the distance. When he did finally get me, I was not only suitably freaked out but also impressed at this Jason’s commitment to being as scary as possible. The way in which Jason’s presence becomes known is also a positive aspect of the game. Television static appears on your screen as he gets close and specific music cues will screech. As long as you have a Jason who is willing to play along, the game can definitely be a frighteningly fun experience.
Though plagued by a series of problems such as technical glitches, limited options, long wait times for game servers and legal issues which have stopped any new content being released, Friday the 13th is saved by its genuinely scary atmosphere. It is a game that could bore some after a few games but I found myself going back for more just so I could revel in the horror setting and play as one of the most iconic horror villains of all times. Friday the 13th is a well-done indie title as well as being a respectable take on a classic film franchise.