PlayStation 5 Patent
A recent patent filed by Sony Interactive Entertainment suggests that the PlayStation 5 will have a feature that we have been anticipating: backwards compatibility. The last backwards compatible PlayStation that we had was the PlayStation 2, so it is possible that this could be something that Sony are looking to bring back to the new generation of consoles. Sony has already established the PlayStation Now cloud streaming service where players can stream PlayStation 2 and 3 games on their console or PC. It also allows for downloads of PlayStation 2 and 4 titles on to the PS4, so there are options when it comes to playing older games. There are also HD remakes and remasters available, but they can often be pricey. Despite these various options which could be transferred over to the PlayStation 5, backwards compatibility is a feature that would still be a welcome addition to the next generation of consoles. Of course, patents like this aren’t always set in stone. Hopefully we will be hearing some more concrete news on the PlayStation 5 in the coming months.
BioWare are currently holding an open demo for their upcoming game Anthem. The demo is available from February 1st to the 3rd for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Anthem is an online, multiplayer role playing game focusing on a group called Freelancers who leave their community to undertake a mission of exploration in fully customizable exo-suits known as Javelins. A VIP demo was released not long ago and it had a lukewarm reception from several news outlets due to technical issues and general worry about the strong focus on co-op play when BioWare is usually all about the story and characters. If you want to have a go yourself, you have the weekend to have taste of Anthem before the official release on February 22nd.
Is The Last of Us Part II Coming Soon?
The Last of Us Part II, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2013 classic The Last of Us, has been at the center of much speculation since the game was announced in 2016. Two trailers have been released since, with one also acting as a gameplay demonstration. However, no release date has been given and fans are itching to know when they will be able to continue Joel and Ellie’s story. The musical composer of the game, Gustavo Santaolalla, recently spoke of the game whilst playing at a concert. He made the comment that The Last of Us Part II would be coming very soon, which has gotten fans riled up about a potential release. However, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Coming soon could mean anything, and it’s also possible that Santaolalla was throwing fans off of the scent. Whether the game is coming soon or not, there is no doubt that Naughty Dog will make it worth the wait.
Kingdom Hearts III Launch Day! Trailer
The day that many fans have been waiting more than ten years for finally arrived this week with the release of Kingdom Hearts III. It seems criminal not to mention this trailer, considering the long wait Kingdom Hearts fans have had for this. The sequel to the 2006 Kingdom Hearts II, the third chapter looks set to explore even more Disney worlds, including more modern titles such as Frozen and Tangled and Pixar movies like Toy Story, all while concluding Sora’s story which began way back in 2002 for the PlayStation 2. The trailer opens with Sora narrating and mixes adorably stylized cartoon graphics of the multiple Disney worlds before smoothly transitioning in to cut scenes and gameplay. This is all set to the endearingly catchy Hikaru Utada and Skrillex theme for the game, “Face My Fears”.
Kingdom Hearts III is out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Indie Game of the Week- This War of Mine
War is a topic covered frequently across a various array of video games. Games such as the Fallout and Call of Duty series’ use war as a major theme throughout. Conflict makes for a great gaming concept, but it is rarely done in such a painfully realistic fashion due to the horrifying reality of war. This War of Mine is a game which does not shy away from these realities, forcing the player to embrace them in a desperate bid to survive. It avoids bombastic set pieces in favor of focusing on the experience of the everyday person, a choice which makes This War of Mine a unique and thought-provoking game.
This War of Mine was published and developed by 11-bit studios, a Polish indie game developer. The game has a real world setting, taking inspiration from the Bosnian War, lasting from 1992 to 1995, and the Siege of Sarajevo, which took place from 1992 to 1996. The player controls a small group of survivors who must get by until a ceasefire is called, which can be at any time due to randomization. This can involve children, which my edition does as the PlayStation 4 version includes the The Little Ones DLC. In the day, characters are kept indoors by snipers. During this time, players will have to craft items in order to stay warm, keep fed and generally keep them alive, comfortable and content.
This is a lot more difficult than it may seem. Parts are needed to build everyday essentials such as beds, chairs, a stove etc. Fuel is also needed to keep a fireplace warm and to cook and provide characters with a proper meal. For better equipment to keep the inhabitants going for longer or to craft more intricate things like weapons, more materials are needed. To get these materials, the player will need to scavenge during the night. A character is selected and a destination must be chosen. Once that is done, the character will then go on the hunt for whatever it is they may need. This can range from food and medication to wood for fuel and mechanical parts to build a sturdier stove. Characters only have a certain amount of space in their backup so they player has to pick and choose what they take carefully. For instance, taking only crafting materials could mean that characters will go hungry for a few days. You then have to decide where you are going to find supplies.
Will you raid a dangerous supermarket where mercenaries patrol with firearms or the house of an old couple who cannot defend themselves? These are the kind of choices that make This War of Mine a far more realistic and relatable war game. It makes the player wonder as to what choice they would make in a real life situation.
Characters are also affected by the player’s choices. If they are injured during their time away, they will come back in need of aid. If they make a particularly difficult choice, such as robbing the aforementioned old couple, they will come back depressed and unwilling to do anything. If life gets to be too much for them, they can even take their own life. It is critical for the player to keep their needs in check, but at the same time difficult choices must be made. As in a real life war scenario, people must do what they have to in order to survive. There is a certain relief if you are able to get at least a few of the characters through the war until the ceasefire is called. There is also a feeling of failure and regret if your characters die or take their own life due to your choices.
This War of Mine is a sombre and harrowing game, but this doesn’t make it a bad one. Far from it. It is a game which forces you to step into the shoes of an ordinary civilian in a war scenario. Rather than the excitement and fun of running and gunning through the war torn worlds of other video games, This War of Mine makes you think on yourself and how you might act in that situation, as well as others who have may had to make these decisions in reality. It turns the war genre within video games on its head and grounds it in reality by giving it a real setting. This innovation is incredibly impressive and makes This War of Mine one of the best indie games of our time.