Do We Really Need The PS5?

The year is 2019. Sony has usurped its competition to dominate the console market with a whopping 96.8 million in lifetime sales. By the end of January 2019, the Xbox One had hit 42 million in sales; with the Nintendo Switch tearing up the ground behind it waiting to swallow its rival whole with its 30 million and quickly rising.

http://www.vgchartz.com/article/436094/switch-vs-ps4-vs-xbox-one-global-lifetime-salesjanuary-2019/

By the end of January 2019, the Xbox One had hit 42 million in sales; with the Nintendo Switch tearing up the ground behind it waiting to swallow its rival whole with over 30 million and counting (and a 4-year head start).

PlayStation’s current consoles may even beat the long-standing dominance of the famed PS2, so it begs the question, is one more addition to the catalogue something we need?

Naturally a new piece of hardware will entice lots of thirsty, early adopters that would buy a wet piece of cardboard with a shoddily drawn Sony log on it. But as for the majority, they will need convincing.

GIMME GIF

I’ve argued before that the leap from PS3 to PS4 wasn’t AS spectacular as previous generation gaps. Technology continues to advance, but a wall will be hit at some point and you can only run with this success for so long before you smash into the wall and rearrange your own face.

Mark Cerny, the Lead System Architect for Sony, revealed all the juicy new details for Sony’s newest toy. The godlike power of their imminent behemoth was revealed.

-A third-generation AMD, Ryzen line chip with 8 cores of new 7nm Zen 2 micro-architecture.

AND

-Top of the line ray tracing for realistic reflections, light rays and advanced lighting models.

I understand that technology as well as geordies understand the idea of wearing layers. It’s essentially jargon for, “our new console is more powerful than the last one”.

Now…I don’t know about you, but my PS4 Pro + 50″ 4K, HDR-enabled TV combination is absolutely stunning. Crisper than a pack of Walkers. So am I really too bothered about an 8K upgrade when that will mean upgrading to an 8K TV?

Furthermore, the human eye has a hard time recognising any discernible difference between 4K and 8K. It’s just science.

Another notable detail revealed about the PS5 is its processing power and in-turn, faster processes for games. For example, Mr Cerny used Spider-Man as a test subject, its PS4 fast travel time took roughly 15 seconds to traverse the map and put you back in control of Spidey. Whereas the new PS5 tested the same thing and it took a whopping 0.8 seconds!

Spider-Man Fast Travel

Yep. Blink and you’ll miss him.

I legitimately had “shock face” upon hearing this statistic. But once I settled down and began to look past the smoke and mirrors in front of me; I realised a couple of things.

Firstly, the reduced time is a positive no doubt, but this is based off last generation software. When new games are being developed that begin to harness and extract all the bits of power they can from the new console, then I start to wonder what the actual fast travel times will then be.

Secondly, and very crucially, a near 15 second reduction in loading times is great; hell, it may expand to even 20-30 seconds for some games, but is an extra £300-400 worth it for a few extra seconds of waiting? I’ll leave that one with your wallet.

Another thought that contravenes the idea of gaming innovation is cloud gaming. Google have just thrown their name into the hat with the recently announced “Google Stadia”. But Sony have already played their cloud gaming service card with “PS Now” and whilst it can be developed and improved on for the PS5, it’s something else that is not exactly a deal clincher.

It’s a testament to hardware developers that they can keep bettering themselves and creating all-powerful processors to gift us these massive, meaty experiences to feast on. Grand Theft Auto, Uncharted, God of War, Assassin’s Creed, some of the most universally revered franchises that even penguins in the Antarctic have played at some point; although you think their webbed feet would favour Spider-Man.

Big, open games brimming with detail. Technical marvels that have flourished on the current gen. But the rise of open world games has arisen as a result of better game engines. As a result developers, bereft of ideas, are looking more towards open-world games as easy cash. However, most of them tend to be big, bold and emptier than my tear ducts after playing the opening to The Last of Us for the millionth time.

PS5

I always love these futuristic, concept designs that people come up with. Wouldn’t mind this to be honest.

I fear mistakes will be repeated on the PS5 with lots of samey, open-world games saturating the market and creativity dwindling more so.

The Nintendo Switch has been a resounding success due to the way in which its changed how you can play games. Handheld. On your TV. That’s why its selling so well.

I’m sure the same will apply to Sony’s competition too. If history is anything to go by, Microsoft will look to reboot franchises and do their best to create some stellar IP’s to compete with Sony’s; with neither really looking to make any substantial footprint on the innovation front.

Will I buy the PS5? Absolutely. I am indeed one of those sorry saps that will gladly queue up for one of the first slices of that moisty, wet cardboard.

But will your Average Joe (in his gymnasium) really want to fork out another few hundred pounds to play the newest FIFA or Call of Duty?

Perhaps Sony will have to avoid a dodgeball and throw a curveball our way.

Maybe like backwards compatibility across ALL previous Sony consoles…?

There’s your next article spoiler …*clicks fingers in Thanos*

– Andy.H. –

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Sony Fanboy Here: You Should Buy a Nintendo Switch

With the exception of a Mega Drive in my early years and several Gameboys (to toast the Elite Four with a high-level Charizard), Andrew has predominantly stuck to the Sony systems.

Once the sacred PS1 entered our domain, a very young Andrew’s eyes had been introduced to this incredible new polygoncentric world of entertainment that seemed too good to be true. The words “Rule number 95 kid, concentrate” became ingrained onto my brain as I mercilessly battered the Hercules demo that came with our first demo disc.

Fast-forward to my mid-20’s and barring a 3DS, I’ve had all the Sony consoles and nothing else.

That is until 2019.

It wasn’t until about a year ago that I really understood who or what the Nintendo Switch was and what it was capable of. It seemed kind of neat in all honesty. I’d always admired Nintendo’s franchises, yet simultaneously criticised them for being the same thing over and over again.

So, after putting it off for a while, I gave up being patient and got sick of those endless nights salivating over juicy deals. The raw want had consumed me. So I sought out that very piece of hardware and claimed one for myself.

My word, Nintendo have crafted something special. But I think they had to after learning a valuable lesson from the sorry state of affairs that was the Wii U.

Wii U

You did bad.

I was working in Game around the time of the Wii U’s life cycle and I barely remember anyone buying them. The controller design seemed bland, there was a significant lack of software support for the console and it ultimately flopped harder than Willy the whale.

It wasn’t too long before the poor thing was taken off of life support for good and Nintendo was already hard at work trying to rectify their mistakes. The old playbook was quickly dumped into a shredder and its newest creation showed that you CAN teach an old Mario new hat tricks.

Before I proceed any further with this rhetoric, I’ve still got Sony very much coursing through my blood and it will forever remain as my number one. However, I do know some close-minded people exist in this world. I want them to know, it’s actually safe to expand your horizon as you don’t owe loyalty to anyone.

Some people will stubbornly stick to one name, for what?

At heart, I’m a gamer. I love games. Until November 2018, with my 3DS I had never so much as sniffed the cartridge of a Zelda game. Whereas now I’ve experienced the wonders of A Link Between Worlds, Breath of the Wild and the legendary Metacritic deity that is Ocarina of Time.

Nintendo Switch

The pleasure I’ve had with BOTW is indescribable. Factor in Let’s Go Pokemon, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8, Tetris 99, Mario Party, Bayonetta, Smash Bros. Ultimate etc.

The Switch’s offerings already far exceed the Wii U’s its even re-releasing some of the U titles that would’ve otherwise gone untouched. The crisp graphics, docked or not, are fantastic and its seamless transition from docked to handheld is just magnificent.

So many time I’ve been downstairs, something is on the TV and I’ve been playing handheld. I’ve then vacated the room, gone upstairs with it and docked it to enjoy it to its most powerful version on my TV. Quick. Easy. Simple. Takes but mere seconds.

Nintendo Switch Preview Event

I’ve not even touched on the sophisticated nature of the technology yet either. The Joy-Cons are a quite literal joy. See, that’s why I’m such an advocate for the Switch, its got so many ways of being played and enJOYed.

If you have multiple people round for a chaotic Grand Prix in Mario Kart, you can unclip the two Joy-Cons from the side of the Switch, and then they can then be each used individually as controllers. It’s not fiddly and with the ability to get some sexy Gamecube controllers for the console too, you should never be short of hardware possibilities.

*Disclaimer: blue shells are unavoidable however. #antiblueshellparty

With upcoming games such as Luigi’s Mansion 3, rumoured Metroid games, the newest iteration in the long-running Pokemon franchise and another Zelda game in production, there’s just so much projected longevity in the offing. All of which can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home or commuting OR whilst you spend a hard-earned break during work.

Whilst I have bemoaned Nintendo’s lack of new IP’s throughout the years, I’ve realised it’s because they don’t need them. Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Zelda and Kirby amongst others. They all have franchises WITHIN franchises. Why? Because they do them well. Consistently. Barring the first two or three Zelda games, I think virtually every other game has gone on to garner universal acclaim. Mario Galaxy 1 + 2 are two of the best received games ever; ditto Super Mario Odyssey.

On top of all this, third-party support is very much a thing for the Switch. DOOM, Dark Souls, Mortal Kombat and Crash Bandicoot are big examples of third-party titles on the Switch with many, many more slated for it.

Switch MK 11

The impact of having this gory, fighting game behemoth is huge. It shows that Nintendo aren’t bereft of Adult-themed games. Although I think Bowser would’ve been amazing in this.

My Switch is my second console. All my main and third-party games will be bought for my PS4 Pro. End of story. But is it fair I deprive myself of all these other fun games? Absolutely not.

Now excuse me, I’ve just placed 4th in a game of Tetris 99 and I would very much like to get a win…or should I find that final pesky moon on Mario…hmm…

– Andy.H. –

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Ubisoft E3 Press Conference Review: Your Average Joe

I have no wants or expectations from this show. It’s nice. So quite simply, surprise me Ubisoft. Can’t be any worse than Square Enix, right? RIGHT?

Just Dance 2019

Well that was mad. A well-rehearsed dance routine, that began outside the confines of the walls, and eventually moseyed its way into the building. It culminated in having everyone converge on and around the stage to usher in the newest entry into the Just Dance franchise. Put some Metallica in this year and you might have one more fan.

Beyond Good and Evil 2

A pulsating trailer I have to say. Another game at this year’s E3 that is years in the making. Gabriella Schrager described the game as ‘Space Opera’. It introduced us to some familiar characters, particularly the series protagonist, Jade; as an evil leader it seems.

After showing off some early alpha footage of combat and exploration, we were suddenly graced with the presence of a visibly excited Joesph Gordon-Levitt, introducing his pet project, ‘HitRecord’ to a wider audience. He explained how people all around the world can submit content to possibly appear in the game. Ranging from music samples to posters, these are all thoughtful ways of investing the gamers and making them part of the creation process.

Rainbow Six: Siege

35 million players worldwide. I bet those are figures Ubisoft could have only dreamed of. Siege has been a critical and commercial success due to its intricate and tactical gameplay; a game that leans heavily on teamwork and co-operation in order to succeed.

This was just a way of bring these figures to attention, praising the influence that eSports has had on it and also promoting an upcoming documentary in connection with the game.

Trials Rising

In-studio stunts to promote a new Trials game is apt. A series that prides itself on physics, frustration and amusing death sequences. The trailer showed multiple people riding at once, traversing all-manner of hideous obstacles that will require exactly 3.6 million attempts to fail at, never do, but still lie to yourself that you can do it.

I really like the approach that Ubisoft are going for here, just like Bethesda last night, they showed some captured footage of the hard-work and behind the scenes enterprising that goes into the making of some of their games.

Having played Trials: Fusion, I look forward to some more testing fun with Trials: Rising, although maybe fun isn’t the right word…

The Division 2

A great divide. It’s the only way I can describe the desolation in The Division 2, such is the survivalist nature of the world.

On one side of the wall, a child lives carefree and knows nothing else other than living. On the other side, a man is desperately crawling for his life, about to take the sip of water that could possibly save his life; only to be walked over by two healthier looking people, one with a shotgun primed to eviscerate his head with a finger wrapped around the warm trigger.

Seconds later, a helpless woman is dragged against her will, before being presumably executed with a single bullet.

I didn’t see too much of this morbid imagery before The Division last year, there’s more emphasis on a proper story here; a positive of course.

It uses a class system, each offering their own specialist tools and armaments. Squads have been increased from 4 to 8 and raids are now a thing.

Three DLC packs will be released in the first year of its release, how much you ask? Zero of your currency. They’re free. This E3 is proving to be a stepping stone in the right direction as far as extra paid content goes. Long may it continue.

Donkey Kong Adventure, Mario, Rabbids

Musical performance number #2 of the evening.

Let’s not ruin a good thing now Ubisoft ok? A band, a composer and some orchestral musicians walk into a bar and they produce a live set to a live screening of the game.

Fin.

Skull & Bones

It had a Watch Dogs feel when it was unveiled last year. A cool concept, in this case one that is rarely explored, and it looked awesome. A year later, there seems to be no graphical infidelity, it’s remained faithful and improved if anything. It looks phenomenal.

If you’ve ever seen the show Black Sails, then you’ll be right at home with Skull and Bones. It pays attention to detail showing you wind speed, direction and various other factors that will affect your swashbuckling and plundering from aboard your ship.

It requires you to be as cunning and resourceful as pirate, one example showed your boat approaching an enemy fort, such a high level that its power is almost unquantifiable. In layman’s terms, pose as a different country and sail right through undetected. Bingo.

You can customise your ship, your crew and choose the weaponry you see fit to invite hostile pirates to a one-way, blind date at Davey Jones’ Lobster Locker.

It looks like a pirate’s life to me. Definitely one to keep an eye on; most pirates only can use the one good eye. Savages.

Transference

Frodo, I mean err Elijah Wood is here to promote Transference. A game that I know he and his entourage, have been working on for a while now.

A psychological horror game that manipulates reality. It looks like a chilling game and another one to add the ever-growing VR horror collection. Seriously, don’t they know that horror in VR is TERRIFING. Maybe they do know. Hmm…

Starlink: Battle For Atlas

Even though I watched this, I’m still not 100% sure I grasped the concept of this. My primitive understanding of this venture is; “we think Skylanders works, we want some of the pie too”.

The video featured lots of spaceships, sci-fi action and lots of placing of different pieces of space ship onto a PS4 controller and an Xbox One controller.

It looks like its Ubisoft having a foray into the toy/game market. I mean, why not? There’s money to be made.

For Honor

For one week, you can play For Honor for free on PC….

and…

For Honor: Marching Fire

A massive update to the base ‘For Honor’ game. New classes, new maps etc. It sounds like a lot of extra content is on its way. I never really saw the longevity in this game, glad to say that I was wrong.

The Crew 2

There’s a beta out now for The Crew 2. Hopefully the connectivity problems and other things that plagued the first game are going to be rectified here with this beta.

There was a generic racing trailer with lots of advertising here too. I THINK they might have a partnership with Red Bull, someone may have to clarify that.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

The big one. Assassin’s Creed never really hooked me. I think I naively dismissed the rest of the games after having the misfortune of playing the utterly intolerable debut.

But last year, Eurogamer gave me a hands-on opportunity to sample it once more; Origins converted me. So I was very keen to see what the next one would be.

Greece is a perfect setting and taking the helm-et of a Spartan makes perfect sense.

Alexios or Kassandra is your starter question for 10. (Only Brits might get that joke). You can pick between two of these warriors to guide through the story; can I just say, it’s so nice to see female protagonists appear so regularly now that it’s essentially just a normality to see one be an option. Round of applause to that aspect of modern society, the rest not so much.

There’s a beautiful reference in the trailer, to 300, too with a soldier being booted about six miles off of a cliff.

There’s now dialogue options offering different strands of conversation. It didn’t reveal how much your choices could adversely affect your character, but a bit of freedom is always nice.

On the other hand, a perusal of the internet will undoubtedly confirm my suspicions that this game is going to be criticised for being a carbon copy of Origins. Whereas Origins was a new game built from the ground up over a long timespan, Odyssey feels very much like Origins 1.5.

It uses the same HUD and fonts as Origins, which is lazy. The menu is the even the same, but looks perfected and sleek in its design. Senu, or a flying bird in memory of Senu, was shown and the ship battles are back.

You can’t help but feel that it’s an obvious reskin of Origins with some perfunctory, cosmetic changes here and there.

BUT, why change what isn’t broken? Origins was heralded as the most innovate entry since Assassin’s Creed II and, for one more game at least, I think Ubisoft can excused; providing Odyssey delivers an experience as good as it looks.

Summary

My gut feeling was that this was going to be an unspectacular conference with little to moan about and enough content to keep people simmering.

Just Dance and Trials were surprises and nothing else. Some people half-expected to see the rumoured Splinter Cell game, maybe Watch Dogs 3? But nothing special happened.

Ubisoft went with the safe, conservative approach by unearthing more information about games we already know are in the public domain. The Division 2 received some more exposure, Beyond Good and Evil 2 and crucially, Skull and Bones got a big helping of screen time.

Assassin’s Creed was generally going to get the longest time under the spotlight and I would be confident in saying it had a good offering. Gameplay, story, new features are all things needed to be seen with its October release date approaching.

Safe and sound. That’s where this press conference stayed. Just a nice, average show that probably could’ve done more, but could’ve done less too.