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Sony PlayStation Weekly Roundup

Sony Interactive Entertainment will not be at E3 2019.

The most reported Sony PlayStation news this week is that Sony will not be attending E3 in 2019. The news comes as a surprise as Sony is usually a reliable source for some decent announcements and highlights. 2018 was a bit of an odd assortment though, which included a gameplay trailer for The Last of Us: Part 2, more bizarre gameplay for Death Stranding and details on Ghost of Tsushima complete with a theatrical flute accompaniment.  However, E3 is not the only way for developers and publishers to shine a spotlight on their work. Sony themselves released a statement saying that they were “exploring new and familiar ways to engage the community in 2019.” Hopefully, more details will be released on Sony’s plan for the future early next year.

More Black Friday deals across the US and the UK.

Black Friday is almost upon us and with it, even more deals are popping up for PlayStation consoles and games across both the United Kingdom and the United States.  In the UK, the PS VR starter pack is starting at £179.99 across stores such as GAME, Amazon and Argos and GAME also have an offer on a 500GB PS4 with Red Dead Redemption 2, Doom and Overwatch for £270. Some of the best game offers include Marvel’s SpiderMan for £28.99 at Argos, God of War for £19.99 at Smyths and Detroit: Become Human for £13.99, also at Argos. Across the pond in the US, the deals are also extensive. Best Buy has a deal on a bundle for a 1TB PlayStation with Marvel’s SpiderMan for $199.99 and Target have got a PS VR bundle with Astrobot: Rescue Mission and Moss also for $199.99. Target and Best Buy have got some great game deals, offering Overwatch: Game of the Year edition for $19.99 at Target and Shadow of the Colossus for $19.99 and God of War for $39.99 at Best Buy.  A fair amount of the sales have gone live already, so check them out if you’re looking for some great game, console and accessory deals. Black Friday kicks off this Friday, November 23rd.

Fallout 76’s massive PS4 patch.

Since the release of Fallout 76, the online multiplayer game and the latest installment in the Fallout franchise, the game has had several bugs and technical problems. Bethesda was quick to release a patch to resolve these issues, however, the patch on the PlayStation 4 is a rather large one so prepare yourself for the download. Bethesda’s PS4 patch is a whopping 47GB. Considering that the game download itself is around 53GB, the patch will take up a huge amount of storage along with the original download. So if you’re in the market for the game, make sure you have enough room on your console or have a hard drive at hand.

 

Trailer of the Week- Kingdom Hearts III: Together Trailer

Another Kingdom Hearts trailer was released this week and this one is particularly noteworthy as it was released alongside the announcement from Square Enix that the game has officially wrapped up development. The sequel we’ve been waiting almost a decade for has finally gone gold and is ready for us. The “Together” trailer itself gives us the most extensive look yet at several worlds, rather than just focusing on one. We see glimpses of the worlds of Hercules, Tangled, Frozen, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story and Big Hero Six. There’s also a look at some other Disney characters who seem to be appearing as summons, including Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Ralph from Wreck it Ralph. Only a bit of combat is shown off here, but this particular trailer seems to be mainly showcasing the worlds we will be travelling to and the characters we will encounter. What is certain is that the game looks to be heaps of fun for fans of the Kingdom Hearts series and will probably attract some Disney and Pixar fans to play too. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait much longer for this one.

Kingdom Hearts III is due for release January 29th, 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Indie Game of the Week- Journey

The indie game Journey is the perfect example of how a simple concept can be transformed into a unique and memorable gaming experience. Journey was released in 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and was distributed by Sony and developed by thatgamingcompany. It was later released on the PlayStation 4 in 2015. It’s a relatively short game, lasting around 90 minutes and 120 minutes depending on how the player goes about completing the game. The premise of the game is in the name itself, it’s a journey. And though short and sweet, it has a meaningful impact that stays with you long after the game is over.

The player starts the game in a desert setting, playing as a hooded figure whose goal is to reach the large mountain that looms in the background. The player interacts with pieces of cloth scattered throughout the world. The cloth then illuminates bright red and glows, allowing the player brief bursts of gliding and flying as it attaches itself to you like a scarf. As you collect glowing symbols, the scarf becomes longer, allowing for more time in the air. The physics of the game are beautiful in themselves, creating the seamless feeling of gliding elegantly through the air. It feels effortless and works incredibly well with the environments in the game.  Even when not flying, the player can slide down hills in the desert in a smooth and flawless motion. As the story progresses, the gliding elements of the game adapt to the differing environments but still maintain their fluid feeling. A level set in snowy tundra makes the gliding feature get more and more stilted, as if reacting to the harsher weather conditions. It’s an innovative feature which is both fun to play and fun to look at due to the incredible art design.

The distinctive art style of the game is another feature which makes Journey stand out. Colours and patterns play an essential role. There are three main set pieces in the game, the rolling desert dunes, the underwater caverns, and the snow-covered mountain base. Each area has a different colour palette and offers something a bit different to the style. The desert has the sandy dunes and orange and yellow colours which blend well with the red of the player’s outfit and scarf. The underwater areas are murkier with grey and blue tones whilst the blizzard area is mostly whites and greys as the snow envelopes your character. What I loved about it though is how seamlessly each level transitioned into the next. I wasn’t even aware that I had come to an underwater level until I had been there for a few moments. The transitions are carried out with a refined subtlety that emphasizes the brilliance of the artistic design. The character design is also simple yet effective. You route for your character to complete their journey despite mostly being a cloth based entity. The cloth creatures you encounter who help you are loveable and I was saddened when some of them were disintegrated. Even the beastly creatures who fly above are intimidating despite being little more than flying metal. It’s a true artistic achievement to make the player feel so invested with such simple designs.

One of the most affecting features in Journey is the musical score. Composed by Austin Wintory, the soundtrack is an essential element of the game as it corresponds to the actions and movements of the player as well as with interactive objects. This makes the music feel like part of the journey in a defining way rather than just a background element. There are no voices in Journey either, so the story is told entirely through the music and sound. One core musical theme runs throughout, which Wintory establishes as the theme of the players’ journey. It’s an interesting concept to use when a lot of game soundtracks tend to veer toward individual character themes and I think it works brilliantly. There is a scene later on in the game where the music slowly begins to fade before becoming non-existent. It creates a sudden sense of loneliness and despair when the theme that has been a constant presence throughout disappears. Wintory’s masterful score adds to the wonder of Journey.

The multiplayer aspect of the game is implemented in an original way with another player able to enter your journey. I was initially unsure of how the multiplayer would work so when I saw another character who looked identical to me, I thought it was an NPC. It wasn’t until I noticed they were doing exactly the same thing I was, though admittedly much more proficiently, that I realised it was another player. It adds to the experience when another player joins, I couldn’t help the feeling of camaraderie and companionship as I huddled in the snow with another player, hiding from a flying metal monster. You can only communicate with your companion through sounds emitted from your character and you don’t even see their name until you have completed the game. Despite the lack of communication and anonymity, I still felt a bond with my fellow traveller. This creative take on multiplayer is definitely a prominent feature and one which makes Journey unique.

Journey is a tale of a traveller with one goal, to complete their journey. The mysteriously mystical settings, creatures, and protagonist make the game compelling despite its minimalism. Journey is the perfect example of how something simple can be in-depth, emotional and enjoyable if done well.

 

 

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