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  2. Email us at blogcast@sony.com! Subscribe via iTunes, Spotify, Google or RSS, or download here Welcome back! How was your holiday? This week, we talk the top downloads of 2018, games we played over the break, the excellent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and more. Enjoy! Stuff We Talked About Our holiday break gaming Rhythm games Astro Bot Rescue Mission The most-downloaded games of 2018 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse The Cast Sid Shuman – Director of Social Media, SIEA Justin Massongill – Social Media Manager, SIEA Kristen Titus – Social Media Specialist, SIEA Thanks to Cory Schmitz for our beautiful logo and Dormilón for our rad theme song and show music. [Editor’s note: PSN game release dates are subject to change without notice. Game details are gathered from press releases from their individual publishers and/or ESRB rating descriptions.] View the full article
  3. Strap in, pilots! The newest entry in the legendary Ace Combat series is ready for takeoff. Grab your helmet and hop into the cockpit of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, arriving next week. Ace Combat 7 continues the storied flight simulation series with the hardcore aerial combat fans have grown to love. The power of PS VR puts players behind the flight stick in a separate mode created from the ground up for virtual reality. Keep your head on a swivel for incoming bogeys as you soar through the clouds and protect the skies of Strangereal. Read on for the full list of new PlayStation games dropping next week. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown PS4 — Digital, Retail (Out 1/18) Become an ace pilot and soar through photorealistic skies with full 360 degree movement down enemy aircraft and experience the thrill of engaging in realistic sorties! Aerial combat has never looked or felt better! Asdivine Hearts II PS4, PS Vita — Digital (Cross-Buy) Picking up two years after the events of their first adventure, Zack and friends find themselves off on another quest, but this time to save the parallel world of Archelio, which is on the verge of being frozen in ice. The Grand Tour Game PS4 — Digital, Retail Ever wish you could get behind the wheel with Clarkson, Hammond, and May from The Grand Tour? One moment you’re watching the hosts attempt some questionable automotive antics… the next you’re at the wheel yourself — same car, same location, same chance to make a massive mess of it. Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! PS4 — Digital Space… the final french fried-tier! Set out on an intergalactic voyage of discovery, adventure and potato-based puns in Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?!, combining hard-boiled battles, mashed management and scalloped simulation into a dish that’s out of this world! Kingdom of Blades PS VR — Digital (Out 1/17) Play as a front-line warrior in the Three Kingdoms Period of China. With nothing to depend on but your swords and your courage, you must slash your way through hordes of enemies and face off against the most famous generals on your path to fame and glory. Onimusha: Warlords PS4 — Digital, Retail Capcom’s riveting samurai adventure returns! This version includes the original game’s intense swordplay and dramatic revenge story, plus improved controls, widescreen display, a new soundtrack, and more. Experience this enhanced version of the best-selling action-adventure classic! Panda Hero PS4 — Digital (Out 1/14) Release the panda in you! Take on the role of the mighty panda and tread your path unerringly. Skilfully dodge your attackers and sweep aside any creatures standing in your way – attack! Planet RIX-13 PS4, PS Vita — Digital (Out 1/16) Planet RIX-13 is a classic 2D adventure with pixel art graphics. You are the pilot of a spacecraft that is exploring worlds potentially suitable for life. After losing control of your ship and making an emergency landing, it quickly becomes clear that you are not the first person on this planet… Resident Evil 2 “1-Shot” Demo PS4 — Digital A deadly virus engulfs the residents of Raccoon City in September of 1998, plunging the city into chaos as flesh-eating zombies roam the streets for survivors. An unparalleled adrenaline rush, gripping storyline, and unimaginable horrors await you. Witness the return of Resident Evil 2. Smoke and Sacrifice PS4 — Digital Smoke and Sacrifice sees Sachi, a mother forced to give up her son, adventure into a grotesque underworld on a quest that will lead her to a darker truth. As she ventures into a hidden land, will Sachi ever discover the truth of what happened to her son? Vane PS4 — Digital In a ruined desert, a strange golden dust transforms a free-spirited bird into a determined young child, setting off a chain of events that will reshape the world itself. From the team at Friend & Foe Games, Vane is a stunning, emotional and unnerving experience. The Walking Dead: The Final Season – Episode 3 PS4 — Digital After years on the road facing threats both living and dead, a secluded school might finally be Clementine and AJ’s chance for a home. But protecting it will mean sacrifice. In this gripping, emotional final season, your choices define your relationships, shape your world, and determine how Clementine’s story ends. YIIK: A Postmodern RPG PS4 — Digital (Out 1/17) In this surreal Japanese-style RPG set in the ’90s, prepare to experience a conspiracy like no other. After witnessing a woman vanish from an elevator, college graduate Alex embarks on an adventure to rescue her, which spirals into an epic quest with stakes higher than he could have ever imagined. The information above is subject to change without notice. Bumblebee Playlist Mortal Engines Playlist Big K.R.I.T. – TDT A Star Is Born First Man Halloween (’18) Season 3 Premiere Sunday, 1/13 at 9PM on HBO Series Premiere Monday, 1/14 at 9PM PT on FOX Series Premiere Wednesday, 1/16 at 10PM PT on SYFY PlayStation Vue has your favorite sports, news and must-watch shows. The information above is subject to change without notice. View the full article
  4. Playstation

    Share of the Week: Personal Best 2018

    Last week, we asked you to sift through your gallery and share your personal best photo mode moment from 2018’s year in gaming using #PS4share and #PSBlog. From stunning portraits to lifelike nature shots, here are this week’s highlights: Kratos and Atreus fight back in this epic God of War share from @McSquiggleeo. Bayek leaps into the Egyptian dunes in this Assassin’s Creed Origins share from @efraguirre. Some of your best shots were hyper-detailed, like this dramatic shot of the Scarlet Spider Suit from Marvel’s Spider-Man, shared by @louisylou. Arthur Morgan makes some winter friends in this Red Dead Redemption 2 share from @Chy_Visual_Arts. @DpDwarf nails dramatic lighting in this stunning portrait of Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn. Water and wildlife take the spotlight in this amazing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey shot from @ilikedetectives. Search #PS4Share and #PSBlog on Twitter or Instagram to see more entries to this week’s theme. Want to be featured in next week’s Share of the Week? Theme: Joy Share by: 9am Pacific on Wednesday, January 16 Next week, we’re highlighting the moments in gaming that make us smile. Share a joy-filled photo from the game of your choice using #PS4share and #PSBlog for a chance to be featured. View the full article
  5. And here we are. The PlayStation Store download charts below reflect a year packed with innovative new experiences, bold reimaginings of classic ideas, and masterclass-caliber execution in the realm of interactive storytelling. But the big winner for 2018? That would be Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, whose multiple Zombies experiences, best-in-class multiplayer, and blockbuster take on battle royale forged a new path forward for the genre-defining shooter. Here’s the full rundown for 2018: PS4 Games 1 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 2 Red Dead Redemption 2 3 Marvel’s Spider-Man 4 God of War 5 Grand Theft Auto V 6 NBA 2K19 7 FIFA 19 8 Monster Hunter: World 9 Far Cry 5 10 Madden NFL 19 PS VR Games 1 Job Simulator 2 Beat Saber 3 Superhot VR 4 PlayStation VR Worlds 5 Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality 6 Arizona Sunshine 7 Moss 8 Until Dawn: Rush of Blood 9 Driveclub VR 10 Surgeon Simulator: Experience Reality Free-to-Play Games 1 Fortnite Battle Royale 2 H1Z1: Battle Royale 3 Brawlhalla 4 Warface 5 Paladins 6 Warframe 7 Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 Lite 8 Fallout Shelter 9 DC Universe Online Free-to-Play 10 America’s Army: Proving Grounds PS Vita Games 1 God of War: Collection PS Vita 2 Persona 4 Golden 3 Jak and Daxter Collection 4 Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition 5 Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory 6 Stardew Valley 7 Adventures of Mana 8 Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 9 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – HD Edition PS Vita 10 Undertale PS4 Themes 1 Monster Hunter: World – Theme 2 Legacy Dashboard Theme 3 Friday the 13th: The Game Theme 4 The Last of Us Outbreak Day Theme 5 The Last of Us Part II Ellie Theme 6 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – New Dynamic Theme 7 Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Original Theme 8 BioShock: The Collection Theme 9 Undertale Dynamic Theme (Ruins) 10 Tropical Skeleton Dance HiQ Dynamic Theme PS Classics 1 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 2 Bully 3 Destroy All Humans! 2 4 Destroy All Humans! 5 Metal Slug Anthology 6 The Warriors 7 Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy 8 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 9 Psychonauts 10 Twisted Metal: Black View the full article
  6. Not afraid of heights? Good, as it’s almost time to take to the skies in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown! On January 18, you will be able to strap yourself in the cockpit of the most advanced war planes, navigate through treacherous clouds and engage in fierce dog fights with friends by your side. Or enemies. Ace Combat 7’s multiplayer allows up to eight players to join the aerial battle in either Team Deathmatches or Battle Royale game mode. Of course, before you take flight and rule the skies of Strangereal, you will want to make an impression on your foes: just as in the campaign mode, you will be able to customize your aircraft with a wide range of options, including items exclusive to the multiplayer mode. These items will increase the efficiency of your aircraft and weapon to give you the edge in combat. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown promises intense dog-fighting in beautifully rendered cloud-filled skies and highly detailed cityscapes. The photorealistic scenery enhances the sense of unparalleled speed and sets the stage for the most engaging face-offs in the franchise’s storied 20-year history. To upgrade your aircraft’s capabilities and show off to your rivals while performing daring aerial stunts, you will be able to choose from more than 100 types of enhanced parts, 120 emblems and 190 nicknames. Once you’ve loaded your plane with the coolest arsenal and given yourself a fearsome look and alias, make sure to build a strategy to prove your worth as a pilot. The basic rule of survival in Ace Combat 7? Shoot down, or be shot down. Easy enough to remember. Take down the enemies that come into visual range, but also make sure to find out who you need to target first to come out on top. Your victories will be celebrated — players with the highest rankings will be decorated with a star mark. This will also make them prime targets in battle, as you will be rewarded with high scores for taking them down! So, are you ready to pick your fighter, gather your comrades and pilot the skies of Strangereal? We hope you are, because the wait is almost over — you will be clear to engage on January 18. For further immersion in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown’s realism, solo players will be able to complete exclusive missions developed specifically for PlayStation VR. View the full article
  7. And we’re back! Here are your charts for PlayStation Store’s most-downloaded games of December. Congratulations to PUBG and Beat Saber for topping the PS4 and PS VR charts! We’re not quite done yet, though… stay tuned for a rundown of the most popular titles of the year soon. PS4 Games 1 PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 2 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 3 Grand Theft Auto V 4 Red Dead Redemption 2 5 Battlefield V 6 FIFA 19 7 Mortal Kombat XL 8 Marvel’s Spider-Man 9 NBA 2K19 10 Madden NFL 19 PS VR Games 1 Beat Saber 2 Job Simulator 3 PlayStation VR Worlds 4 Until Dawn: Rush of Blood 5 Farpoint 6 Arizona Sunshine 7 Borderlands 2 VR 8 Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality 9 Superhot VR 10 Creed: Rise to Glory Free-to-Play Games 1 Fortnite Battle Royale 2 Warface 3 H1Z1: Battle Royale 4 Warframe 5 Brawlhalla 6 Paladins 7 DC Universe Online Free-to-Play 8 3on3 FreeStyle 9 Smite 10 Crossout PS Vita Games 1 God of War: Collection PS Vita 2 Jak and Daxter Collection 3 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – HD Edition PS Vita 4 Trillion: God of Destruction 5 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty – HD Edition PS Vita 6 Mary Skelter: Nightmares 7 Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition 8 P3D & P5D Bundle + Megaverse Costume Pack – Day One Edition 9 Bastion 10 Stardew Valley PS4 Themes 1 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – New Dynamic Theme 2 The Last of Us Part II Ellie Theme 3 Lightning Night Sky Dynamic Theme 4 @ Home on Earth Dynamic Theme by Truant Pixel 5 Absolute Space 4K Dynamic Theme 6 Legacy Dashboard Theme 7 Hipster Laser Cat HiQ Dynamic Theme 8 LoFi Valley Dynamic Theme Collection Bundle by Truant Pixel 9 Monster Hunter: World – Theme 10 RetroWave City Dynamic Theme PS Classics 1 Destroy All Humans! 2 2 Destroy All Humans! 3 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 4 Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy 5 Psychonauts 6 METAL SLUG ANTHOLOGY 7 Bully 8 The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga 9 The Warriors 10 Tomb Raider 2 View the full article
  8. Thirty minutes. That’s how much time you’ll have with the Resident Evil 2 “1-Shot” Demo when it becomes available for PS4 on January 11! As the name suggests, you can play as much as you like for thirty minutes of in-game time, but once the clock runs out, so does the demo. You’re going to want to maximize your time playing through this unique experience, so we have a handful of tips for players to keep in mind when they sink their teeth into the demo: Scavenge and Survive The Raccoon City Police Department (a.k.a. R.P.D.) is littered with useful items, so take a moment in each room to look around and gather up First Aid Sprays, Green Herbs, and ammunition, and make careful use of the storage box. You’re on the clock, but you might miss something useful or important if you try to rush through! Your map is a great way to tell if a room still has something left to be discovered in it, so be sure to check it often. Red rooms still have something left to find in them, and any item you’ve discovered but not picked up will be highlighted, too. Stay Healthy — And Alive Death isn’t the end in the demo, as you can continue as many times as you like. You can’t turn back the clock, though, so be sure to keep Leon in top shape! The iconic Green Herb from the Arklay Mountains allows you to recover some health, but it really shines when mixed with a Red Herb to boost its restorative properties. A single Green Herb will still do in a pinch if you’re barely clinging to life. If you happen to come across a First Aid Spray, be sure to keep one on you just in case — it’ll bring you to full health, no mixing required. Fight or Flight Zombies are resilient, and just because you put them down doesn’t mean they’ll stay down. While a carefully aimed shot to the head is a good way to stun the shuffling undead and make a quick escape, you may want to try shooting other parts of their bodies for different results. Your end goal is to survive, and sometimes the best course of action is to run away before the situation gets worse! Keep an eye out for wooden boards, too — you can avoid conflict entirely if you blockade certain windows before zombies come crashing in. Seeing Red The R.P.D. is a big place, and it can be a little daunting to figure out where you’re going at first. There’s lots to explore in the full game, but to make the most out of the demo, stick to the first floor at the beginning and look for red lights, such as laptop screens, shutter controls, and exit signs to get around. If you’re really lost, press the Options button to check your objectives and take a closer look at your map. Once you meet a certain police Lieutenant, you’ll have what you need to further explore the building. Inspect Everything Resident Evil 2 has plenty of puzzles to solve and crucial items scattered all over, so be sure to take a moment to take a closer look at the stuff you’ve gathered. The demo clock will stop any time you’re in a menu, so you’re safe to investigate, rotate, and learn more about each object in your possession without worrying about the demo timer ticking down. You just might learn something about what you’re holding on to! Keep these tips in mind to survive the exhilarating Resident Evil 2 “1-Shot” Demo coming to PS4 on January 11! Regardless of whether or not you complete the demo, you’ll be treated to an exclusive, cinematic trailer that sheds new light on what to expect in the full game. If you can’t wait to get your hands on this amazing remake of the survival horror classic, you can pre-order the game now at PS Store for a special pre-order theme. The Digital Deluxe Edition includes an extra DLC pack with additional costumes for Leon and Claire a “Samurai Edge” handgun model, and “Original Ver.” Soundtrack swap, while both Deluxe and standard digital pre-orders at PS Store will receive two additional “Samurai Edge” handgun models and an additional theme when the game launches on January 25. We’ll see you at the R.P.D.! View the full article
  9. Hi, we’re Owen Goss and Matt Rix, the two-person team that has been making FutureGrind since… *checks watch*… 2014. Back in 2015, we told you that FutureGrind would be coming to PS4. Now we are excited to announce that FutureGrind will be available from PlayStation Store on January 22! In 2015, we showed you some early footage of the game running. We had the core gameplay nailed down, but we knew we still had a lot to do to make the game look and feel the way we wanted it to. We’ve been working extremely hard these past few years to bring you the best game possible. FutureGrind features dozens of tracks spread across different environments. From the sunny beaches of Miramar to the snow-covered peaks of Ralhorn, and everywhere in between, you’ll have plenty to do. Earn different bikes as you progress through the game, each with their own unique style of play. One thing remains constant throughout the game: FutureGrind is a challenging stunt-sport that’s all about tricks, skill, and speed. PS4 leaderboards and trophies will keep you competing with your friends to see who can find the highest scoring runs on each track. When you start playing, survival will be enough of a challenge. But master the basics and you’ll find yourself racing tracks built for the pros. If you think you have what it takes to make it to the top, you’ll need to work at it. FutureGrind has a high skill ceiling and a deep combo system for you to explore, so you can play the game the way you want to. As you play through FutureGrind you’ll encounter different sponsor reps who will guide you in your quest for glory. But be careful. Not everything is as it seems. Someone’s watching your every move. But who? And what do they really want with you? Original Music FutureGrind features nearly 60 minutes of original music by bignic. Starting today you can pre-order the original soundtrack on Bandcamp and listen to a selection of songs from the album for the first time right now. FUTUREGRIND OST by bignic Color Controls One last important thing: when we first showed the game on PS Blog, you asked about support for color-blind players, as the game features a color-matching mechanic at its core. FutureGrind has a color-blind mode that lets you override the game’s default colors and pick the colors that work for you. We realized a one-size-fits-all approach wouldn’t work. We’re putting the color controls in your hands so that as many people as possible can enjoy the game. We have been working hard on this game for over four years, and we couldn’t be more excited to be bringing FutureGrind to PS4. On January 22, grab your bike and hit the rails with us. We’ll see you on the leaderboards. Owen & Matt View the full article
  10. Happy New Year, PlayStation fans! We’ve got a hot lineup of nine new games coming to PlayStation Now this month, including Prey, Project Cars 2, and Metro 2033 Redux. The new titles join the library of over 275 streamable and downloadable PS4 games and over 700 streamable games in all. Leading the pack of new games this month is Bethesda’s atmospheric and intense FPS Prey. You awaken aboard space station Talos I, only to find that you’ve been at the center of a science experiment gone terribly wrong. Use your wits, a unique arsenal of deadly weapons, and an array of mind-bending abilities to survive against horrific aliens and discover the dark secrets lurking within Talos I. Also new to PS Now this month is Metro 2033 Redux. Explore a desolate wasteland and forgotten catacombs in a post-apocalyptic Moscow in a quest that could change the fate of mankind. If racing games are more your speed check out Project Cars 2, a stunning racing sim with over 180 elite race and road cars, a wide variety of tracks and courses to master, dynamic surface and weather physics, racing career progression, and modes including Indy Car, Oval Racing, and rallycross. Other new PS4 games this month include intense Japanese action game God Eater 2: Rage Burst, and the 2D action RPG + tower defense hybrid Lock’s Quest. Here are the nine games joining PS Now this month: Chess Ultra (PS4) God Eater 2: Rage Burst (PS4) Lock’s Quest (PS4) Metro 2033 Redux (PS4) Onechanbara Z2: Chaos (PS4) Prey (PS4) Project Cars 2 (PS4) Skydrift (PS3) Thunder Wolves (PS3) Here are the most played PS Now games during the month of December: Mafia III For Honor Red Dead Redemption NBA 2K16 WWE 2K16 Steep Sniper Elite IV Mortal Kombat The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution If you haven’t tried PlayStation Now yet, now’s the perfect time to give it a spin with the seven-day free trial for PS4 and PC. (Terms apply. New Subscribers only. Credit card required. See here for details.) Stay tuned for more updates on PS Now. Happy gaming! View the full article
  11. Hey everyone! My name is Roman, an indie developer from Australia, and after years of hard but rewarding work, I am extremely excited to announce our studio’s very first title Hyper Jam will be launching on PS4 on February 12! For those of you who don’t know, Hyper Jam is a fast-paced arena brawler with a killer synthwave soundtrack and a dynamic perk drafting system that makes each match different from the last. We are only a small team, but for the past few years we’ve been putting everything we’ve got into transforming Hyper Jam from a humble prototype into a fully fledged game (with online multiplayer!). Hyper Jam is a wild mix that draws inspiration from many places, particularly fighting games and roguelites. We’ve spent a lot of time designing the game in such a way that it’s intuitive and fun for new or casual players, while still having lots of mechanical depth for players to discover in the long term. We’re very proud of how it’s turned out! One of my favorite mechanics is deflecting projectiles back at your opponent using the parry ability. Although parrying is a great defensive option, timing is essential — if you mistime you’ll be vulnerable! This makes for an interesting mind game. Sometimes, it can be better to bait your opponent into trying a parry, then punish the recovery instead of going for an immediate attack. Perk drafting is another central mechanic in Hyper Jam. After every round, each player chooses a new perk that will stay with them for the rest of the match, stacking and combining with their existing perks to create stronger effects. Certain perks synergize better than others, and it’s a lot of fun to try out different strategies. And since it’s a draft, whoever’s coming in last gets first pick of the perks available for that round, leaving the leading player to make do with whatever’s left. The different combinations of perks that players end up with results in many different (and often hilarious) scenarios, guaranteeing a unique experience every time you play. We truly look forward to seeing the different perk combinations and play styles you are able to come up with once the game is out! Our team still loves playing the game despite having worked on it for years, and we hope Hyper Jam can be a staple in your library for years to come as well. See you February 12. Thanks for reading! View the full article
  12. Celeste is a game about believing in yourself and the journey to discover what you are capable of. While that may seem like quite the lofty statement for a 2D platforming game with a retro pixel-style aesthetic, being able to take away such an insightful and empowering feeling from a game is precisely what makes Celeste one of the best games of 2018. Let’s start with the game itself. At its core, Celeste is a precision platformer where your eventual goal is to climb a mountain. Early on, you’re taught two moves: how to dash (press square and a direction), and how to wall climb (hold L2). The controls are snappy and fluid — at any given moment you feel in total control of your character. Jumping and dashing quickly become second nature, which is critical for game like this, because Celeste is hard. Moments after starting the game, players are thrust into life-endangering situations. Bottomless pits, spike-lined floors, seemingly impassable chasms, and other deadly obstacles combine to create an almost overwhelming sense of anxiety at first glance. “How the heck am I supposed to do this?”, players may wonder. This is where Celeste’s brilliant design begins to shine through. Once you start attempting these daunting obstacles, you start to formulate ideas on how it could be possible. “Well, if I just drop here instead of using my dash…” “What if i use this moving platform for extra momentum in my jump?” Celeste rarely punishes you for dying — within seconds of failure, you respawn close to the challenge you were attempting, fresh for another go at it. Having that smooth, almost-instant intermission between attempts encourages you to take chances. You will die a lot in Celeste, but each death comes with a sense of renewed purpose rather than defeat. Eventually, you’ll conquer what you may have initially regarded as impossible and carry that feeling of accomplishment into the next challenge. The game does a great job of layering on additional mobility elements and challenges at a perfect pace, building on what you’ve already learned while also making sure your next goal is clearly in front of you. This results in a continuous sense of being tested to the best of your abilities, so that any glimpses of self-doubt tend to be outweighed by the visibility of success being so close. As you progress through the game, a meaningful narrative starts to develop with the game’s main character, Madeline, who has set out on a journey to climb Mt. Celeste to get away from her life in the city. But the further she climbs, the more setbacks get thrown her way, sowing self-doubt and causing Madeline to question whether she should be attempting the climb in the first place. Memorable characters such as Mr. Oshiro, a ghostly hotel owner who can’t let go of his past, or Theo, a happy-go-lucky selfie chaser, cross paths with Madeline, providing not just conversation, but foils for her own journey of self-actualization. Our heroine interacts with them reluctantly at first, viewing them as obstacles and time-wasters on her own journey. But by lending her assistance, she ends up learning more about herself. Just like Madeline, I didn’t think about the bigger picture of my journey while I was in the middle of it. My first playthrough was hyper-focused on just conquering the video game challenges in the moment. It was only after I had completed the main game that I was able to take a step back and really reflect on how far I had come. I moved on to the game’s challenging post-story “B-Side” levels with a sense of “Ok, this seems doable if I hop here and drop here” rather than “This seems impossible!” The skills I needed to conquer those challenges were already within my abilities, I just needed to discover them. One of the elements I noticed early on, is that the game tracks how many deaths you have on each level. My first inclination as a competitive gamer was defeatist: “Ugh, I have so many deaths. I’m bad at this.” But after playing through the game I developed a new perspective: each one of those deaths was a learning experience. I began to see high death counts as a badge of honor for my perseverance, rather than blemishes on perfection. It’s a mindset I’ve tried to apply to other parts of my life as well. Therein lies Celeste’s greatest achievement — its potential to change a person’s way of thinking not only in playing a game, but outside of it as well. View the full article
  13. Playstation

    Share of the Year 2018

    Photo Mode has allowed us all to soak in the rich detail of the game worlds we’re sometimes too busy saving to appreciate. It’s also turned us from players to photographers, pouring over the perfect composition and fine-tuning our filters for the most eye-catching shot. In 2018, we asked you to show off your best snaps in our Share of the Week series by sharing on Twitter and Instagram using #PS4share and #PSBlog. Here are just some of our personal favorites. Or, as we like to call them, our new desktop wallpapers. Shadow of the Colossus We started out our Share of the Week series alongside the release of the hauntingly beautiful Shadow of the Colossus. @JerseyAnthony caught our eye with this triumphant final blow to a Colossus. Horizon Zero Dawn We then took a look back at some highlights from 2017 releases like Horizon Zero Dawn. Photo Mode allowed players to get up close and personal like in this portrait of Aloy from @horizonzerodawnworld. Or this gripping attack shot from @LUCKYless11. Assassin’s Creed Origins @Son_of_Sekhmet went up against the Epyptian gods in this Assassin’s Creed Origins share. @videogame_photographer shared this insanely details close-up of your eagle companion. Gran Turismo Sport While most fans focused on the cars, @Philt43_Yewone took a more artistic approach. God of War Kratos unleashes his fury in this heated share from @raffu42. @gatirosho shared this solemn and detailed look at our favorite boy, Atreus. The Stranger got the spotlight in this wickedly crafted share from @DobbyPS4. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Over the summer we highlighted some adventurous shares from the Uncharted series, including this fiery Uncharted 4 shot, also from @DobbyPS4. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy This colorful shot from @glenlee_92 had us ready to jump back into Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. The Last of Us Ellie gets caught in some haunting shadows in this moody share from @carpenoctem_art. She gets the black and white portrait treatment in this detailed share from @Chy_Visual_Arts. Marvel’s Spider-Man September found us swinging into Marvel’s Spider-Man, like in this picturesque shot by @KBStation. We loved all the selfie shots players sent us, like this swinging selfie from @JohnTambanillo. The Vintage Suit made Spider-Man feel like he was swinging off the page of a comic, like in this share from Eazels. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey We leapt into Ancient Greece with a magnificent shot of the Parthenon from @AreeLyBadPun. Red Dead Redemption 2 We finished out the year with some rugged portraits from Red Dead Redemption 2, like this share from @raffu42. What was your Share of the Year? Kick off 2019 by sending us your best shot from the 2018’s year in gaming using #PS4share and #PSBlog for a chance to be featured. View the full article
  14. Firesprite’s PS VR horror roguelike The Persistence is not only my favorite VR game to date, it’s now one of my favorite games of the entire PS4 generation. This forward-thinking VR shooter mashes up elements from BioShock, Deus Ex, and Bloodborne in ways that left me gasping. The appeal of a roguelike lies in its heightened stakes, the rush of knowing that each decision you make matters so much more. The Persistence elegantly weaves those tropes into its premise, and the game is far stronger for it. Each time you die, you “print” a new body to carry on with your progress. Harvesting stem cells and DNA allows you to upgrade your future bodies with invisibility, enhanced melee attacks, and other survival perks that will come in handy aboard the crippled spaceship The Persistence. The game offers a smorgasbord of control schemes, each tuned to a specific type of VR player. VR veteran? Proceed directly to full, uncompromised dual-analog stick FPS controls. Prone to VR motion discomfort? Choose the option that reduces camera movement. Not sure which to choose? Try the middle-of-the-road option. They all work great. The Persistence packs a million little UI and UX touches that take advantage of PS VR’s featureset. To pick up an item, you simply stare at it. A brief animation plays, and now it’s in your inventory. It’s a small detail, but it always feels satisfying, and it solves the annoyance of having to hammer the X button to collect loot. Shooting is a pleasure too, because you simply move your head to align the targeting reticule. Ditto with swapping weapons: just hold R1 and glance at the gun you want to equip. This allows you to carry a lot of weapons and quickly decide what’s the best fit for any encounter. You constantly feel empowered, but challenged. The procedurally-designed levels are vastly more convincing than any I’ve encountered in other games. Each run feels like a completely different experience, with weapon fabrication stations, enemies, items, hazards, and rooms sprinkled about in a way that feels handcrafted, rather than generated by some soulless AI. There are even optional, random “event” rooms… but the less said there, the better. It’s even a great stealth game, with a short-range teleporter and brutal melee mechanics that bring enjoyable twists to well-worn genre standards. Add in a massive arsenal of exotic weapons and bizarre experimental gadgets (check out that Ivy Serum) and you’ve got one of the best horror sandbox games ever released. And it’s on PlayStation VR. What are you waiting for? View the full article
  15. Greetings, Boundless players of PlayStation! What a great couple of months it’s been since the game hit PS4 — we’ve seen some truly mind-blowing builds, epic group hunts, and so much more. I just wanted to check in and let you all know that we’ve still got a lot more lined up for you as we move into the bold future of Boundless. We’ve been working hard on Boundless since launch, with regular updates hitting the game every couple of weeks, and now we’re excited to reveal our biggest release so far, Empires, which makes it easier and more fun than ever to play Boundless with your friends. We’ve also seen two great seasonal events to coincide with Halloween and the winter season, bringing brand-new character customizations and gameplay events to the game. We’ve also recently released some incredibly cool LED blocks, which players are able to use to really let their creativity fly. We’re really excited about the addition of LED blocks. This might sound like a small addition, but these are a real game-changer for builders, as each block can be tinted and programmed to blink at a different rate. These allow for a touch of flair on many builds, and even let players experiment with simple animations when combining several different blink patterns. This is a great chance for the Boundless players to showcase their creativity, and it’s something which we think will really shake up the look of some of the most impressive builds in the game. Multi-colored disco dance floors are just the tip of the iceberg. On top of all this, we’re pleased to announce the imminent release of the most major feature since launch in the form of our guilds system, alongside an universe-wide messaging system which will make communication more seamless than ever. We know that many of our players love to enjoy Boundless together, and as with any Sandbox MMO, the social aspects of the game are hugely important to getting the most out of the fun on offer. Guilds are our way of making it even easier and more rewarding to play with friends, and we’re really looking forward to seeing which groups can rise to power first. It’s a vast, complicated system, but the broad strokes of it are that groups of players can now be formally brought together in a guild. This guild will then control its own resources, with different levels of authority attainable within the group. Prestige will be built up for the whole group through the actions of its members, and beacons or settlements can be assigned to a guild too. The system will allow for huge cooperative builds, massive organized group hunts, and even complex social and political events to be put together within the structured framework of a centralized group of players. Starting as a lowly Operative, a player might eventually rise to the coveted role of Director. We can’t wait to see which groups rise to power first — it’s going to be brilliant to be a part of. We’re really just at the beginning of the road for Boundless. Other features we’ve got in the pipeline include the menacing Hunter creature, which is our first addition to the ecosystem. Of course, we’re not stopping there — our roadmap includes the Boundless version of farming, so look out for news on that soon! We want players to be able to play however they feel, and that goes for how they’re represented in-game too. With that in mind, we’re also working on bringing a new selection of character faces to the game, to go alongside the body paints we recently added. This, along with the new character customizations we’re working on, will allow for some truly unique looks for your in-game avatar. It’s a super exciting time to be a part of the Boundless universe, and we absolutely cannot wait to share the next adventures with you all. See you all in the game folks! View the full article
  16. You know, I’ve never really been much of a hunter. It’s not for lack of trying — I’ve dipped a toe into Capcom’s monstrous waters a couple times in the past, but its myriad systems, weapon types, and nigh limitless ways to take down fearsome creatures made for too feisty a beast to tame. Monster Hunter: World stripped away just enough of the Byzantine quirks accumulated by the series over its 14-year history to seduce me into giving the storied series one more shot. And wow — am I ever glad I did. Let’s get this out of the way early: Monster Hunter is weird. That will probably never change, and I suspect that weirdness is part of what keeps fans coming back each time Capcom releases a new entry. I mean, it’s a co-op action-RPG where players wield swords larger than their own bodies to hunt fire-breathing T-rexes and giant, fluffy balloon bats. Other quirks, like the adorable Palicoes (basically talking cats) that accompany you on quests and cook pre-hunt meals, continue to stack more of this charming weirdness on top of World’s satisfying, crunchy core gameplay and an expertly tuned progression loop to keep players hungry for just one more hunt. Let’s zero in on that progression loop for a sec. It’s a multi-layered affair, starting with players collecting parts from defeated monsters and bringing them back to camp to build new weapons and armor. Simple enough, right? Well, bear in mind that to get certain drops, you need to break certain parts off these critters during an encounter. Hammer wielders, for instance, are especially well suited for cracking off a Barroth’s horn, while a sharp sword will more easily sever that Anjanath tail you’ve been looking for. Unlocking High Rank hunts opens up an all-new, more powerful suite armor to chase, with its own set of required monster parts. And if you play long enough to get to end-game status, you’ll start mixing and matching perks and abilities from different pieces of armor to build loadouts that are well-suited to specific types of battles. You’ll want a high Elderseal stat when squaring up against Elder Dragons, for example, or maybe you want to spec into the “Earplugs” perk if you’re planning to take down the… annoyingly vocal Bazelgeuse. This is all just scratching the surface of what makes Monster Hunter: World tick, but Capcom has done an admirable job putting need-to-know info up front and letting players gradually discover the game’s intricacies as they fall further and further down the rabbit hole. Ongoing seasonal events, franchise crossovers (Geralt is coming!), and the recent announcement of gargantuan new expansion Iceborne tell us that while Monster Hunter: World has already made a name for itself in the PS4 library, it has no intention of resting on its laurels. I may not have been a hunter before, but I’m happy to have, at long last, joined the MonHun ranks. View the full article
  17. Video game prequels are tricky. These games are tasked with simultaneously advancing the gameplay experience while rewinding the narrative. Sometimes we get gameplay mechanics that don’t gel within the world established by the original, or new stories that are about as impactful as dynamite without a fuse. Rockstar Games’ latest opus, Red Dead Redemption 2, not only avoids all these prequel pitfalls, it also pulls off the moonshot of enhancing John Marston’s original genre-defining adventure from the previous game. Like Marston before him, anti-hero Arthur Morgan comes across as a typical cowboy at first, then opens up to reveal surprising depth. The stoic protagonist has a wry wit, refreshing self-awareness, and general nuance that makes him feel believable and relatable. He’s the kind of guy that won’t flinch when busting a fellow outlaw out of jail, but still takes the time to teach a young boy to fish. Arthur’s fellow gang members — like the charismatic leader Dutch and revenge-driven Sadie — offer a colorful, morally fluid contrast to our hero’s development. While John Marston has an important supporting role in Arthur’s tale, this game connects to the original Red Dead with impressive elegance. We won’t spoil specifics for you here, but every moment with John in Red Dead Redemption 2 adds valuable context and weight to the events of the previous game. Don’t be surprised if you feel like firing up PlayStation Now to relive John’s remarkable tale. Red Dead Redemption 2’s trail splits off from the original with its unprecedented attention to detail. The talented Rockstar devs have crafted animations for everything from simply picking up a can of beans to skinning a deer with unnerving realism. Even shop catalogues are elaborate, in-universe ads rather than basic menus. The experience is less traditionally “video gamey” than the original and more of a cowboy life simulation. Adjusting to Rockstar’s new focus on meticulous detail takes some time, but eventually the deliberate nature of the game pulls you deeper into the gang’s hard living. For example, money is scant early on, so you’re encouraged to hunt for game to earn money. You’ll need to track your prey, shoot it, follow its bloody trail through the woods, finish it off, and then either skin it on site or stow the whole corpse on your horse to sell it later. Be careful though, because your meat will spoil if you don’t get it to a butcher in time. This grounded gameplay forces players to be deliberate, and strongly reinforces the vibe of frontier living . Speaking of the frontier, Rockstar’s Wild West is a postcard-worthy spectacle. Beautiful locales like snowy mountain peaks, green-splotched prairies, and swamps canopied with cypress trees offer so many stunning landscapes that Bob Ross himself would blush. These locations are brought to life with realistic weather effects and convincing animal life. Fleeing a pack of snarling wolves snapping at your spurs while a thunderstorm rolls across the planes is just one memorable example of how this world seems so uniquely alive. Rockstar’s interpretation of the Wild West offers more fun beyond the solitary cowboy tale. Posse up with friends in Red Dead Online to take on narrative-driven missions, sometimes featuring characters from the main game. Additional activities like stealing horses or hijacking wagons become more intense when fending off rival players looking to steal your haul. Rockstar has already started refining the economy and overall experience of Red Dead Online, and if GTA Online is any indication, gunslingers everywhere have a lot to look forward to. The gaming world stops to pay attention when Rockstar releases a new game, and it’s for good reason. The uncanny realism of Red Dead Redemption 2’s world, along with its top-in-class narrative, make it one of 2018’s must-plays. View the full article
  18. Alright! December is out, January is in, and we’ve got one more poll in which we humbly request your participation. I know we just asked you to vote in our annual Game of the Year awards, but do your old pal Justin a favor and help us crown a winner for December. The polls will close Sunday night, and next week we’ll tally up the votes and update this post with the winner. But hey, you know the drill by now! How does it work? At the end of every month, PlayStation.Blog will open a poll where you can vote for the best new game released that month. Soon thereafter, we’ll close the polls, tally your votes, and announce the winner at PlayStation.Blog. PlayStation Store will also showcase some top Players’ Choice winners throughout the year. What is the voting criteria? That’s up to you! If you were only able to recommend one new release to a friend that month, which would it be? In keeping with our long tradition in the Game of the Year Awards, remastered or re-released games won’t qualify. Ambitious, larger-scale rebuilds and remakes like Shadow of the Colossus and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy will. How are nominees decided? The PlayStation.Blog and PlayStation Store editorial teams will gather a list of that month’s most noteworthy releases and use it to seed the poll. Write-in votes will be accepted. Players’ Choice: What Was December 2018’s Best New Game? View the full article
  19. I remember when Quantic Dream first introduced us to Kara back in 2012. Originally just a tech demo, the short about an erroneously sentient android begging not to be disassembled was haunting and beautiful. The tech itself was gorgeous and lifelike beyond anything I had seen before, but hearing Kara cry out, “I’m scared!” was what stayed with me years later. Seeing that idea brought to fruition as Detroit: Become Human is nothing short of stunning. Kara is joined by fellow leads Markus and Connor to weave a moving tale about empathy, choice, and what it actually means to be human. Over the course of the story, the player’s perspective shifts between these three protagonists, each living a different life and trying to figure out its place in the world. The story’s pacing is well thought out, and I never tired of any of these characters as they grappled with the concept of sentience in ways that could spell out life or death at any moment. And there are oh so many ways it can spell out death. Plenty of narrative adventure games argue that the choices made in the game matter, but I’ve never seen that play out in so many ways as Detroit. About a week after the game was released, I huddled together with a handful of coworkers who had all finished their first playthrough, and I was shocked to learn of the wildly different conclusions we had all reached. Some of us got a character killed, some made choices that benefitted androids and others sided with humans. Most importantly, not one of us felt dissatisfied with the ending we had reached. This would be a praise-worthy accomplishment for any game with branching narrative, and it is doubly so here considering the baffling number of ways the story can diverge in Detroit. In an interesting touch, you’re regularly faced with the enormity of ways the story can change throughout the game, as each chapter presents you with a decision flowchart that lays out the path you struck, and the tendrils and branches of opportunities you’ve missed. Making a game that lends itself to so much replayability also means that Quantic Dream needed a cast of characters worth going back for again and again. While my empathy for Kara had been building up since 2012, I immediately connected with Markus’ unflaggingly hopeful vision in the face of intense adversity (that android graveyard scene…whew, boy). What surprised me the most was how much I rallied behind android detective Connor. Of the three leads, he’s the one most determined to stick to his coding and be, well, robotic. Instead, watching his objective and analytical view slowly melt away as he built a relationship with his human partner Hank made the largest impression on me. He was the one android that I refused to play differently across my playthroughs because I just couldn’t stand the thought of him staying devoid of life. Narrative aside, the way that Quantic Dream brought these characters to life is a technical marvel. This game is so dang pretty, from its gleaming environments to its almost impossibly lifelike motion capture. I don’t think I’ve ever paused a game so many times just to say “Look at their pores!” at much as I have with Detroit. Even if you only play through Detroit once, it’s worth it to see state-of-the-art motion capture at its finest. Detroit: Become Human treads some familiar narrative ground within the sci-fi genre, but its follow through on giving the player ample, meaningful choice and its impressive technical display makes it one of the brightest gaming highlights of 2018. View the full article
  20. You need to play Astro Bot Rescue Mission immediately. It’s not just that the titular hero Astro is adorable (he is). It’s not even just because the levels are a marathon of creative platforming experiences (they are). It’s because in a year filled with excellent takes on the virtual reality medium, Japan Studio have expertly threaded the needle to create an insanely fun platformer that will stand as a landmark for what all VR games should aspire to be. After Astro’s buddies get abducted and spread out across different worlds, it’s up to you to help him find and rescue his crew members. It’s a fun premise on its own, but being transported into the unique and fully realized levels is a feeling like no other. It’s such a seamless platforming experience that had me twisting, turning, and poking my head around corners determined to save every last bot. I was shocked at how well I fit into the whole world as the player. On top of controlling Astro, the player adds a helping hand through the DualShock 4, which manifests within the game and serves as a specialized tool that made me feel actively part of the world in a way that no other VR title has before. This third-person perspective also creates a twist on traditional platforming, pushing you to move your head and body to help solve puzzles and guide Astro on his mission. It’s a perfect fit for PS VR, and you’ll find yourself forgetting the world around you while following alongside Astro. The worlds and levels are inventive, animated with crisp color and capped off with larger-than-life boss fights that had me feeling just as small as Astro. I found myself gawking at the quirky level designs and replaying worlds so I could take in every detail. Manipulating the environments to clear a path for Astro feels completely natural, the controls intuitive and easy to grasp just minutes into playing. I can honestly say I’ve never felt more comfortable in the PS VR headset, and not a moment went by that I didn’t have a smile on my face. It’s always exciting to watch the creativity that springs from a new medium. As a platformer alone, Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a delightful and gratifying game that would be a joy to play even in 2D, but the way Japan Studio has wielded their understanding of PS VR catapults it into a new stratosphere of fun to make it an essential PS VR game, and one of the best gaming experiences of the year. What was your favorite game of 2018? Click here to vote in the PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year 2018 Awards! View the full article
  21. While we’re spending the holidays happily sinking time into our favorite PS4 games of the past year (or revisiting some classics), we already have an eye on what’s to come for our console. And we’re not the only ones. Even while they’re busy working on their own projects, our favorite developers are also looking forward to seeing what their colleagues across other studios have been working on. We reached out to ask them what they personally cannot wait to play and why. 1. The Last of Us Part II As chosen by… “Ellie is back, and I can’t wait to find out what happened to her since The Last of Us. How did she evolve, being a teenager in such circumstances? How did the harsh world impact her? Has the world around her changed? So many questions!” Angie Smets, Executive Producer, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Guerrilla “Naughty Dog are excellent storytellers. I absolutely loved The Last of Us and can’t wait to lose myself in the sequel!” Adam Badowski, Director, Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED “Hands down The Last of Us Part II. Anything from Naughty Dog should be the top of anyone’s list at this point, but The Last of Us was such an incredible journey and I can’t wait to see what comes next.” Alex Barnes, Designer, The Persistence, Firesprite 2. Resident Evil 2 As chosen by… “Resident Evil 2 Remake will be one I won’t want to miss. I spent so many hours on the original one on PS1 but I could never unlock the Tofu Survivor. My gamer life’s biggest drama.” Nic Doucet, Creative Director, Astro Bot Rescue Mission Japan Studio 3. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice As chosen by… “I love all of From Software’s games and am chomping at the bit for this. I loved playing Tenchu: Stealth Assassins when it came out on the original PlayStation so I’m super hyped about this one!” Emily Newton Dunn, Systems Designer, Dreams, Media Molecule “I can’t wait to play it!” Kazunori Kadoi, Director, Resident Evil 2, Capcom “As a fan of From Software and Bloodborne, in particular, I’m looking forward to Sekiro: Shadow’s Die Twice.” Tam Armstrong, Co-founder, Moss, Polyarc “Without a doubt, I’m most excited about Sekiro on PS4 next year. I’m using its release as a deadline because I know work is going to take a hit when I start playing!” Derek Yu, Creator, Spelunky 2 4. Dreams As chosen by… “Dreams has made it to some people’s ‘Most Anticipated Games’ lists for multiple years; at least true for me since The Last Guardian came out. This is going to be worth the wait.” Shuhei Yoshida, President, Worldwide Studios 5. Ghost of Tsushima As chosen by… “The gameplay shown by the devs from Sucker Punch was stunning! The environments look beautiful, the lighting sets the mood perfectly and the combat looks just as fierce as samurai sword fighting should be — absolutely brutal. The studio also managed to capture the atmosphere I expect from a game in this setting. I can’t wait to play it!” Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, Game Director, Thronebreaker: Witcher Tales, CD Projetk Red “I’m very interested in seeing how a historical game set in Japan developed by Sucker Punch Productions will unfold.” Hiroyuki Sakamoto, Game Director, Yakuza Kiwami 2, Sega “I was a big fan of Tenchu back on the PS1, both the gameplay and the universe. So I’m super excited for a good Feudal Japanese universe to explore in Ghost of Tsushima. Probably the hypest hype I’ve had in recent hypes.” Steve Filby, Producer, Dead Cells, Motion Twin “The combat looks incredible while the visuals and the world we get to explore are breathtaking. An open world action game of this caliber set in feudal Japan is a dream come true.” Yoshinori Takahashi, Director, Soul Calibur VI, Bandai Namco 6. Catherine Full Body As chosen by… “With a new character joining the cast, I’m interested in seeing how the story and feel of the gameplay will change and be reconstructed from the last game.” Ryousuke Horii, Planner, Yakuza Kiwami 2, Sega 7. Death Stranding As chosen by… “Hideo Kojima has always been a huge inspiration for me and I can’t help but to tune both eyes and ears in the direction of any project with his name on it. I respect him and his team’s unconventional approach to their games and always striving to do something unique. Death Stranding is no different, and it has prompted many conversations with my friends and family and the game is not even out yet! Hideo and his team are working on a very intriguing new universe and I am looking forward to learning more about it.” Damoun Shabestari, Creative Producer, Firewall Zero Hour, First Contact Entertainment 8. Anthem As chosen by… “I can’t wait to try the game and, most importantly, see what kind of long-term gameplay loop they’ve crafted!” Yuya Tokuda, Director, Monster Hunter World, Capcom 9. Kingdom Hearts III As chosen by… “Without a doubt, Kingdom Hearts III. I’ve always been a huge fan of the worlds of Disney and Square Enix coming together, and this one—which now features Pixar movie characters and settings—has me super excited.” Bryan Intihar, Creative Director, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac Games 10. Cyberpunk 2077 As chosen by… “Assuming that I ever finish Red Dead Redemption 2, this is the world I want to get lost in next. At E3 this year I watched an interview with one of the designers (I think it was Miles Tost) from CD Projekt RED and just seeing how excited he was about all the systems and detailed world design that are in the game was infectious. The longer gameplay reveal just completely blew me away and I can’t wait to make my own way in that world.” Dominic Robilliard, Creative Director, Concrete Genie, Pixelopus View the full article
  22. In every Assassin’s Creed game, there is a moment where the assassin clambers up to some high-reaching vista — a tower, a balcony, maybe even a ship’s mast — and briefly focuses their eagle eye on the land below them before bounding forward into a leap of faith. The thrill is usually in the leap, a reflection of the quick, fluid, sneaky gameplay that was once the foundation of the series. With Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the thrill is now in the climb, and the expansive beauty that waits at the top as a reward. I’m a longtime fan of Ubisoft’s history-hopping stealth series, even with its various tweaks and mechanical changes through the years. Some entries took bold, broader strokes like Black Flag or last year’s Origins, but Odyssey tosses red paint all over the canvas to create something familiar but lusciously fresh. The world of Ancient Greece is a sight to behold, and it’s gleaming with new opportunity at every corner. Rather than simply chasing vengeance or upholding tradition, Odyssey is a journey of action and choice. There’s not yet a brotherhood or creed to follow. Instead, you are bound to your own ambitions, whatever that may mean. You’re a mercenary with big dreams, exiled from Sparta with a whole world ahead of you waiting to be explored. For me that meant playing as a witty and empathetic Kassandra, fighting against man or myth to reunite her family. For others that could mean taking a more bloodthirsty approach, seeking revenge and nothing more. Others might fight for brutish glory on the field of battle and arena. Even still, others might ignore the clash of armies and instead head out on the open sea as a pirate. Each quest is a choice, and those choices reflect throughout the entire game and open doors unlike ever before. The series has always allowed for exploration aside from the story, but in Odyssey even the main quest branches out in ways had me giddily criss-crossing my way across the map, discovering new adventures and secrets. The series similarly reinvents itself by ditching what was once thought of as the essence of being an Assassin: the Hidden Blade. I’ll admit even I was a bit wary of this change heading into Odyssey… until I kicked my first enemy off a hill with a Spartan Kick. The shift to special moves weaved alongside the history of your new main weapon, the Spear of Leonidas, is a natural one for the series, and it gave me a shot of adrenaline with each enemy encounter. Combat becomes a flurry of flexibility and stealth is absolutely still a mainstay, but the broader skill set makes for more engaging and strategic combat, from the smallest animal encounter to full scale conquest battles. What makes Odyssey such a standout is its rich and captivatingly human characters. Kassandra is genuinely funny, and a total delight to play as no matter what tone you choose to pursue. I’ve sailed right past objectives and docks on my sea galley The Adrestia just to listen to my naval captain Barnabas and the ancient historian Herodotus squabble about fact or fiction. I romanced a randy old woman who originally had me fetching aphrodisiacs for her poor, exhausted husband (who similarly begged me to, uh… give his wife a hand). Even when the main quest branches off into smaller tasks, they lead to characters each on a bewitching journey of their own. In a world with so much to do, it’s these moments that keep me coming back for hours with no end in sight. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey elevates the entire series to new heights, making it a joy for loyal fans and a brilliant entry point for folks that just didn’t even know where to begin with previous entries. It’s easily one of the best games this year, and a knockout in the decade-long franchise. What was your favorite game of 2018? Click here to vote in the PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year 2018 Awards! View the full article
  23. It’s the dilemma we face every single year. Too many great games, so little time. So, need a refresher course in what came out this year? Or just looking for personal recommendations from those that know gaming inside-out? Us too. That’s why we asked a selection of PlayStation developers for their personal recommendations of the lesser-known PS4 games released in 2018 1. Gorogoa As chosen by… “I’ve never played a game like this before. Very original and elegant puzzle game, set in a mysterious world that is beautifully crafted. The game’s story touches on themes of magic and ambiguity. It unfolds while you use shapes, color, and physics to discover how each scene is connected to another.” Angie Smets, Executive Producer, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Guerrilla 2. Dead Cells As chosen by… “It has a very addictive gameplay between Dark Souls and Castlevania with a well-executed visual style. Infuriating at times but it has that ‘one more go’ thing going.” Nic Doucet, Creative Director, Astro Bot Rescue Mission Japan Studio “It’s a fantastic rogue-like dungeon crawler with great combat, lots to explore and a really stylish way of sign posting the fun to come. Great progression system too! Love it!” Emily Newton Dunn, Systems Designer, Dreams, Media Molecule “It’s very interesting to see a game which captures the same unique feeling I have when playing the Dark Souls series — failing the challenge presented before you, knowing exactly what you did wrong and also how to do it better next time. These types of games make you truly work to come out victorious and bring great satisfaction when you do.” Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, Game Director, Thronebreaker: Witcher Tales, CD Projetk Red “I love Dead Cells! I cannot stop playing Dead Cells because of the ultra tight controls and deep combat with gorgeous visuals. The game keeps you on your toes with a world that changes and the number of biomes with unique enemies. It’s addicting in the best way possible, I’m still hunting for the last remaining Runes! Oh and Slashers are intense!” Damoun Shabestari, Creative Producer, Firewall Zero Hour, First Contact Entertainment “If you didn’t get to play Dead Cells yet, go check it out for their brilliant mechanic progression (and everything else).” Tam Armstrong, Co-founder, Moss, Polyarc “One of the best indie titles of this year is, without doubt, Dead Cells. This game is a gorgeous 2D action game with fluid animations and a killer gameplay that combines the best elements from metroidvania games and roguelikes.” Yoshinori Takahashi, Director, Soul Calibur VI, Bandai Namco 3. Pixel Ripped 1989 As chosen by… “You are in a classroom, holding a handheld game system trying to play it while the teacher is looking the other way, all in VR. This is a PS VR gem of 2018, from a developer in Brazil.” Shuhei Yoshida, President, Worldwide Studios “I think Pixel Ripped 1989 is well worth a play on PSVR. It triggered some great retro nostalgia in me!” Stuart Tilley, Game Director, The Persistence, Firesprite 4. Tetris Effect As chosen by… “I don’t know if this fits the definition of an indie game, but in terms of games that are not your typical AAA game experience, I really loved Tetris Effect.” Kazunori Kadoi, Director, Resident Evil 2, Capcom “It takes a widely known game, Tetris, and introduces a whole new experience by utilizing the latest technologies with precision and polish. Anybody can play it and can experience the fascinating elements firsthand, and it is something I recommend to everyone.” Ryousuke Horii, Planner, Yakuza Kiwami 2, Sega “I’m usually don’t play puzzles games, but I can’t recommend Tetris Effect enough. This game is just as relaxing as it is mesmerizing, and over the holidays I can’t wait to try it out in PS VR!” Bryan Intihar, Creative Director, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac Games 5. Owlboy As chosen by… “Definitely check out Owlboy if you haven’t already – it’s a lovingly crafted 2D pixel-art action adventure, with great action and gameplay mechanics.” Hideaki Itsuno, Director, Devil May Cry 5, Capcom 6. Abzu As chosen by… “This game released in Japan earlier this year and really makes you think about the methods that games use to present moving experiences. I am very impressed with how the game is set up, so that regardless of being a casual or seasoned gamer, without detailed explanation, the game will draw you into its gorgeous world instantly.” Hiroyuki Sakamoto, Game Director, Yakuza Kiwami 2, Sega 7. Apollo 11 VR As chosen by… “I don’t know if you can call this indie but in terms of something people might have missed, I thought Apollo 11 VR showed how we can push the potential of VR even further. It was both immersive and educational, so I hope that it gets more attention and we can get something like it again with a bigger budget.” Yuya Tokuda, Director, Monster Hunter World, Capcom 8. Minit As chosen by… “Definitely check out Minit if you haven’t already – it’s just a fun, scrappy, inventive little game.” Derek Yu, Creator, Spelunky 2 9. Guacamelee 2 As chosen by… “I had an absolute blast with the first one and its expansions, so I was excited for the sequel and I think that the peeps at Drinkbox did a really really great job, well worth a playthrough.” Steve Filby, Producer, Dead Cells, Motion Twin 10. Yoku’s Island Express As chosen by… “This beautiful game exudes pure joy from the moment it boots it up. It is addictive, imaginative and has tons of depth as the ‘open world pinball adventure’ mechanics open up. It was clearly a work of passion and the love in every corner of its inventive world just shines out. I have recommended this game to so many people this year, and each and every person that tried it loved it just as much as I did.” Dominic Robilliard, Creative Director, Concrete Genie, Pixelopus View the full article
  24. A rebuild of a 34-year-old puzzle game on a console powerhouse doesn’t scream game of the year, does it? And yet here we are. And rightly so. Tetris Effect is an utterly compelling game for PS4, whether experienced in PS VR or not. The puzzler’s purity is unquestionably why it’s as playable in 2018 as it was back in 1984. But there’s a coldness to that perfection — it’s as clinical as a chess game or mathematical equation. Tetris Effect reinvigorates all aspects of the classic with new rhythm-action mechanics that breathe life into the formula without robbing the original concept of its elegance. The concept is simple, the effect intoxicating as Alexey Pajitnov’s timeless work is reinterpreted by celebrated game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi. The latter takes a lifetime of experimentation with interactive, multi-sensory experiences and lets himself and his team run wild to extraordinary effect. This is a collaborative dynamic you didn’t see coming. Far from a Frankenstein’s monster: this is as electrifying as a Beethoven/Beyoncé mashup. Tetris has never felt so alive. Mizuguchi has pedigree in this genre and there’s much of his celebrated PSP puzzler Lumines here. The main spine of Tetris Effect is Journey mode: multiple levels — grouped into playlist-style stages — each with a carefully curated pairing of unique visualizer and original song. The track listing is eclectic, the visuals beautifully abstract. Every level is reactive to how you play. Tetromino turns add to the song’s beat and ignite an accompanying visual spark, line-clears evolve the level’s look while also increasing the backing track’s tempo and complexity. You’re always chasing high scores, but simultaneously you’re artist, DJ and music video producer. Cleared lines turn into electronic fish shoals that swim away. A tetromino tap ignites neon light trails onto a quiet city street or cause a sea of drums to beat in unison. Line clear-cued sunrises reveal a sky of twinkling hot air balloons or cause weary desert wanderers to transition into astronauts joyriding on the moon. Everything is connected and all constructed to further immerse you in a puzzle-solving trance, rewarding you for every success or pushing you to correct any mistake with visual and audio motifs. You chase multipliers both for the long-term satisfaction of a leaderboard entry and the immediate fix of another sensory explosion. Every change causes eyes to widen, heart to race. Every beat pulsed out of your DualShock 4 is echoed by a nodding head, a tapping foot. It’s mesmerizing, euphoric. Yet even when you beat Journey mode, there’s reason to return. The longevity of Tetris Effect and the reason it’s now daily routine for me to fire the game up is Effect mode, an all-encompassing label for multiple gameplay variations and community events. The variations each offer a unique spin on traditional Tetris gameplay (clear 40 lines as fast as you can in Sprint, eradicate ‘dark’ blocks in Purify, or survive random effects in Mystery, for example). But crucially each highlights your current best score and top grade. It’s a simple but enticing detail: most evenings I’ll scroll through to see which mode I’ll try to do better in (spoiler: it’s the insanely fast Master mode. It’s always Master mode). It’s perfect for three minutes or three hours. The routine is similar at weekends, but with one key addition: Weekend Rituals. Certain modes will be activated as ‘events’ for 48 hours only, with any points earned across them added to a cumulative total as you — and every other player on the planet — try and hit a high score milestone before the clock runs out. While other online games idolize single victors, it’s lovely to see Tetris Effect celebrate community achievement, with the game’s social feed name-checking each contribution. It feels rewarding to be part of a larger whole, feeding a competitive urge to be the contributor with the biggest points share and giving me a reason to try out different modes. Overall, it’s a brilliantly conceived package. Pure. Beautiful. Alive. It’s equally joyous, addictive, stressful, chilled, manic. It’s hard to discuss Tetris Effect without slipping into seemingly contradictory superlatives. Yet these juxtapositions happily coexist here, perfectly locking into place like well-placed-tetrominos. What was your favorite game of 2018? Click here to vote in the PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year 2018 Awards! View the full article
  25. Teaching your son to hunt in God of War. Partnering with a robo-pal in Astro Bot Rescue Mission. Sharing stories around a campfire in Red Dead Redemption 2…the list of amazing gaming moments goes on and on this year. We reached out to a selection of PlayStation developers to share their personal favorite gaming moments from 2018. We’d love to hear yours as well in the comments. Be warned though: spoilers ahead! 1. Experiencing ancient Greece in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey “Walking around Acropolis as if I was living in 431 BC felt incredibly cool. I’ve always loved Greek mythology, and this moment made me realise how many times I tried to picture that ancient world. [Ubisoft] brought it alive (so vividly) with a wonderful interpretation of the ancient Greek stories. Angie Smets, Executive Producer, Horizon Zero Dawn, Guerrilla 2. Returning home in God of War “Kratos returning home to dig out whatever was hiding under that rug in his house (spoilers!!). That entire scene was charged with so much intensity. Loved it!” Nic Doucet, Creative Director, Astro Bot Rescue Mission Japan Studio 3. Finding the perfect horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 “Capturing the white Arabian horse in the wilds in Red Dead Redemption 2. Then coming in and telling everyone about it at work.” Emily Newton Dunn, Systems Designer, Dreams, Media Molecule 4. Beating the last Valkyrie in God of War “Going through the big emotional journey with Kratos and Atreus to the end and getting two new realms to explore and seven more (total nine) Valkyries to beat. What a treat 2018 has given me and millions other gamers!” Shuhei Yoshida, President, Worldwide Studios 5. Every choice matters in Detroit: Become Human “This game really elevated storytelling in video games to the next level. The enormous amount of information players are presented with really makes it feel like every single choice matters.” Kazunori Kadoi, Director, Resident Evil 2, Capcom 6. The bond between father and son in God of War “My choice is not one particular moment, but rather a continuous set of moments forming something bigger throughout the entire game. What I particularly liked about this installment of God of War is how the relationship between Kratos and Atreus evolved as I progressed deeper into the adventure. When playing, I could feel a bond forming between both characters. Kratos, the stern father, opening himself to his son and Arteus, the initially shy ‘boy’ rebelling against his father — both learning from each other. It’s a wonderful journey. ” Adam Badowski, Director, Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED 7. Sublime metropolis management in Cities: Skylines “I loved how easy it was to control Cities: Skylines using PlayStation 4’s Dualshock 4 controller!” Hideaki Itsuno, Director, Devil May Cry 5, Capcom 8. The rich storytelling of Detroit: Become Human “I was a bit perplexed when I had to wash dishes in-game since I had just finished all my real-life chores to be able to play the game, but the amazing storytelling and rich world pulled me right in. At that point I knew that I was in for many sleepless nights.” Yoshinori Takahashi, Director, Soul Calibur VI, Bandai Namco 9. Shootout in Strawberry in Red Dead Redemption 2 “Red Dead Redemption 2’s chapter 2 mission called ‘Blessed Are The Meek’. The gameplay was relatively laid back up until that point, but the intense gun battle you encounter after rescuing Micah got my adrenaline pumping.” Hiroyuki Sakamoto, Game Director, Yakuza Kiwami 2, Sega 10. Meeting the World Serpent and battling Baldur in God of War “God of War was full of powerful moments but these particular two really stood out to me — meeting Jörmungandr and the first fight with Baldur. When it comes to the former, seeing the World Serpent for the very first time, I was amazed by both his colossal scale and gentleness. The encounter was stunning — and watching the giant awaken from the Lake of Nine felt almost mesmerizing. You could truly admire the size difference between Kratos and Jörmungandr and their meeting obviously left its mark in my memory, given I immediately thought of it when coming up with my favorite gaming moments of 2018. On the other spectrum, we have the sheer brutality of the encounter following Baldur’s visit to Kratos’ house. Their initial exchange, Baldur’s demeanor and the events that followed, all contribute to this being a very memorable moment.” Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, Game Director, Thronebreaker: Witcher Tales, CD Projetk Red “‘Jaw dropping’ is such an overused phrase, but that’s exactly how I looked when experiencing the Stranger fight in God of War. It was truly the perfect mix of gameplay, spectacle, and narrative.” Bryan Intihar, Creative Director, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac Games 11. Adventuring with your robo-pal in Astro Bot Rescue Mission “My favorite moment this year in gaming was in Astro Bot Rescue Mission. The feeling of joy you get when you save members of Astro Bot’s crew and they jump into the DualShock 4 controller is just incredible. Astro Bot has taken my nostalgia of previous platform games to a whole new level with the technology of the PS VR. You can’t help but smile when Astro Bot looks back at you and waves.” Damoun Shabestari, Creative Producer, Firewall Zero Hour, First Contact Entertainment 12. The world-building of Red Dead Redemption 2 “The world and environment was really impressive, especially the horses and other wildlife.” Yuya Tokuda, Director, Monster Hunter World, Capcom 13. Controlling Kratos in battle during God of War “God of War! Just the whole thing… I mean damn. The moment for me I appreciated the most was probably when I was watching my girlfriend play and she asked me to get past a few enemies she was finding difficult. This was the first time I picked the game up, and it just felt right. The controls were so on point. Loved it. That and when I realised that the voice of Kratos was Teal’c from Stargate… Nerdgasm!” Steve Filby, Producer, Dead Cells, Motion Twin 14. PS VR’s lineup in 2018 “The stellar line up of game for PSVR has been my highlight of 2018. Wipeout, Moss, Beat Saber, Firewall, Astro Bot, Tetris Effect (and of course, The Persistence) are just a few of the belters that I’ve loved playing and being involved with.” Stuart Tilley, Game Director, The Persistence, Firesprite 15. Leading the march in Detroit: Become Human “The protest march scene in Detroit Become Human. It was a fresh experience, feeling as though I was a hero when leading the march, with android followers joining one by one. At one point, I was also raising my voice while playing the game.” Ryousuke Horii, Planner, Yakuza Kiwami 2, SEGA 16. Returning to an epic battle in Shadow of the Colossus “Playing the third boss fight again in the remastered Shadow of the Colossus brought back so many good memories!” Tam Armstrong, Co-founder, Moss, Polyarc 17. Going downtown in Tetris Effect “The first thing that comes to mind is playing Downtown Jazz for the first time in Tetris Effect and literally going, ‘Wow, this is cool’.” Derek Yu, Creator, Spelunky 2 18. That single camera take in God of War “An unbroken game camera is a feature that sits right at an apex between creative vision and technology. Great moments often come from that type of pressure. Having the camera sit over the shoulder for a God of War game was already a bold choice, but combine that with it never looking away and you have a new high water mark for immersive cinematic gameplay. It must have been a relentless and exhausting endeavor for everyone involved – but it was so, so worth it.” Dominic Robilliard, Creative Director, Concrete Genie, Pixelopus View the full article
  26. God of War defies hyperbole. Almost every effusive thing you may have heard about Santa Monica Studio’s hit is borne out through gameplay. It’s a study in contrasts. It’s brutal, but sensitive; fast, but methodical; huge and sprawling, but intimate and focused; loud, but quiet. It is first and foremost a fabulous action game. Experts will love the infinite ways they can approach any given battle. Novices will appreciate that they can smash on R1 and R2 and wail their way through the game effectively, if a bit inelegantly. Kratos’s boomerang-like Leviathan Axe is a masterclass in satisfying weapon design, adding weighty impact to every fight. His fledgling son, Atreus, boldly fires both colorful quips and helpful elemental arrows into the fray as well. It’s a big game, too, with lots to see and do. God of War is famously set against the wondrous backdrop of Norse mythology — another pantheon for Kratos to make waves in. Speaking of water, exploring the Norse realms as father and son is hugely rewarding. Every moment spent battling Draugr, helping Wayward Spirits, and soaking in the vivid world is a delight. Somehow, though, the giant ogres, dragons, cat-lizards, and jaw-dropping vistas all play second fiddle to the rocky relationship between father and son. If you really want to know the true secret behind God of War’s artistry, the reason it won so many critical accolades and such ardent love from fans… well, look to its uncanny insight into dysfunctional families. Kratos isn’t a good role model, or even a particularly good guy. But he’s trying to change his ways, to “be better.” His inexperience as a father — rendered in a brilliantly subtle, award-winning performance by Christopher Judge — is both awkward and moving. Underneath that gruff exterior, you see, Kratos is scared: of the responsibility of parenthood, and by the reckless anger he sees in his son, an anger that serves as a mirror to his own deicidal past. Atreus, meanwhile, would rather be almost anywhere else than traveling with dear old dad. He bristles at Kratos’s attempts to control him, and resists his cautious approach to danger. He’s smart and spirited, but he’s young and impatient. Against all odds, the connection between this unlikely pair deepens and matures over the course of their epic quest. They grow and learn from each other. And, layer by layer, they gradually shed the psychological armor they’ve both built up. Until, by the time the game ends, they’ve become a true family. God of War’s story is remarkably deep and personal. Material of this caliber is rarely explored in the interactive medium, and the execution here is virtually flawless. God of War is one of the best games of the year, and the generation. What was your favorite game of 2018? Click here to vote in the PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year 2018 Awards! View the full article
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