Tag Archives: PS3

PlayStation Now: New Pricing Plan For Sony’s Streaming Service

Earlier this week, Sony PlayStation announced a major change coming to their PlayStation Now service.  Starting January 13, PlayStation Now users can start streaming 100+ games via a subscription plan. For $19.99 a month or $44.99 for 3-months, PSNow users on their PS4’s will be able to stream hundreds of PS3 games as many times as they would like.  This subscription plan will be available first to PlayStation 4 users with the eventual rollout to other platforms.

The first 100+ games you’ll be able to play on PlayStation Now

For those not in the know, PlayStation Now is the Netflix-like PS3 game streaming service that is available on PS4, PS3, PS Vita, select Sony branded TVs and, just recently announced, select upcoming Samsung televisions.  When the beta launched last year, gamers could choose to rent and stream selected PS3 games for a set amount of time for a small rental fee.  The problem was that the pricing made little sense.  Games ranged from $4.99 for a 4 hr. period, all the way up to $39.99 for 90-days.  At that type of pricing, you were better off just buying the game used!  And while, during the beta period, pricing did become more realistic, most people held out until word of a subscription plan came through.

Still, at $19.99/month, many folks feel that the price is still too high. And yet, looking at the game rental landscape, there really isn’t anything like PlayStation Now. GameFly and RedBox are both physical-disc rental services.  Neither offer the opportunity to stream games from the comforts of home.  Also, you are limited by the amount of physical discs you rent so you either have to wait until GameFly sends you your next game or you travel out to a RedBox kiosk.  The closest service that is comparable to PSNow is OnLive ($14.99/month) but even they don’t offer a large selection of games to choose from.

I’ve been on PlayStation Now since it was in its private closed beta form.  On top of the price, I know many of you are worried about how the games play.  Let’s face it, if you’re streaming, issues like latency are really important especially on certain game types like fighting games that require split-second timing.  In the time that I’ve used the service, however, I have not experience any significant lag in gameplay, and I have my PS4 set up to my network wirelessly. The only issue I’ve had was that the games weren’t as sharp as I remember on the PS3.  This isn’t that surprising considering we’re talking about streaming a full, complex game over the internet.  A drop in resolution is a small price to pay for instant streaming of games.

Should you pay the $19.99/month?  If all you have is a PlayStation 4 and you really want to play some of the games you missed in the previous generation, then go ahead.  You’ll find many gems to play.  And since it’s unlimited, you can try as many games as you’d like.  If you still own a PS3, then you’d probably be better off just buying the physical disc or downloading the full copy instead.  Make the jump once Sony starts offering PSOne and PS2 games.  Another option is to just do the individual game rentals which will still be available.

If you want to try out the service for yourself, there will be a free 7-day trial membership available when the service launches on January 13.


Images: Sony Computer Entertainment

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PlayStation Experience 2014: Ten Trailers We Had A Nerdgasm Over

December 6, 2014 will go forever be remembered by Sony PlayStation fans for several reasons. Sony celebrated 20 years of gaming excellence on their behalf by putting on the inaugural PlayStation Experience event. The first official day started off with an extensive press/fan conference that featured exciting bits of gamer trailers and so much more. Never mind the disappointing moments (that Final Fantasy VII PS4 reveal felt like the biggest troll announcement ever…), because we’re going to showcase the top 10 gameplay trailers that made their debut.

10. LittleBigPlanet 3

This nod to the long spanning past and present of the PlayStation brand was incredible. The PlayStation Experience audience no doubt got nostalgia chills as they watched Sackboy reenact the best moments from PlayStation’s biggest games. We spotted some of our favorites here, like Twisted Metal, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus and more.  We’re hoping those levels spotted in this trailer are up for download soon…

9. Drawn to Death

David Jaffe’s name is attached to two of Sony’s biggest original IP’s – Twisted Metal and God of War. So when he finally hit the stage during the final moments of the PlayStation Experience live stream, we got excited. His newest project was revealed to be Drawn to Death, a third-person multiplayer shooter that sports the visuals seen in school book doodle drawings. We have a new favorite character because of this gameplay trailer reveal – Dodgeball Dan.

8. Until Dawn

You’ve probably guessed by now that some of us here enjoy a good slash ’em up horror film or two. The PS4 exclusive Until Dawn replicates the slasher film experience perfectly as evidenced by this new dose of gameplay. You’ll have to make tough decisions as you avoid death at every turn. You’ll need to keep your teenage survivors safe since they’re capable of dying for good. We can’t wait to act out our Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book fantasies with this game in 2015.

7. Yakuza 5

Sega made a bold proclamation during the PlayStation Experience live stream event – Yakuza 5 will be arriving on the PS3 in 2015! Our hype levels went through the roof once that announcement was made! There’s no need for us to be jealous of Japanese gamers any longer. The localization for this open-world hit has been a long time coming. We’re finally getting the 5th main entry in the best video game adaptation of Chinese Mafia living…ever.

6. The Order: 1886

FINALLY! Some extended gameplay for this fresh PS4 IP was on the top of our list of the trailers we wanted to see during the Playstation Experience. The Order: 1886 just got put back on our list of most anticipated games for 2015. The cover-based gameplay, cinematic graphical presentation, interesting plot premise and terrifying beasts got us even more excited to enter this game’s dark world.

5. Batman: Arkham Knight

We knew we were going to have to pick our jaws up off the floor once this trailer came to a close. Batman: Arkham Knight will take away so many countless hours from our lives upon release. This new gameplay trailer showed off the Batmobile’s puzzle integration, Batman’s new combat skills and an explosive gunfight between the Batmobile and a helicopter. Just like those bums The Dark Knight laid out, that helicopter didn’t even have a chance…

4. Bloodborne

Wow…just wow. From Software adopted the punishing yet addictive nature of its Dark Souls series, placed it all within a gothic horror backdrop and made the combat just that much quicker and bloodier. The result? Bloodborne. The new trailer on display for the upcoming action RPG featured some intense battles that featured well-equipped co-op partners. The mentioning of a playable, never-ending dungeon got us pretty hyped for this one.

3. No Man’s Sky

So Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky is big. Like, really friggin’ ginormous. Want proof? Take a gander at all the different planets you’ll come upon as you explore this game’s massive universe. The sci-fi nut inside of us felt so much shock and awe at the sight of all the different looking landscapes we could explore. This game is innovative and we can’t wait to test out its fresh take on planetary exploration in 2015.

2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

We knew we were going to see some sort of trailer alluding to the continued development of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. We just weren’t expecting to watch a 15-minute long live demo of it. As far as video game press conferences go, this intro was one of the best. Watching Nathan Drake run, jump shoot, sneak and grapple looked amazing in motion. That new grappling hook mechanic was cool as all hell. Ignore the Drake death glitch and enjoy the gameplay!

1. Street Fighter V

Yeah, we totally saw the leaked trailer for this huge reveal. But the official PlayStation Experience reveal was nothing short of mesmerizing. The next-gen overhauls of Street Fighter’s Ryu and Chun-Li were incredible to watch during this extended fight scene. We came away from this demonstration thoroughly impressed. The flashy air combos, environmental interaction and powerful new moves has us ready for the next generation of Street Fighter.


 Images: Sony Computer Entertainment America

Xbox 720 ‘Durango’ Confuses & Angers Lazy

 

Let me start off by saying, I’m not the most active gamer. Oh sure, I used to be. I used to be that guy who read 2-3 gaming magazines every month, back when multiple gaming magazines still existed, and charted out game releases on my calendar, eagerly awaiting the new releases of Conker’s Bad Fur Day or Metal Gear Solid 2. In the recent years, I’ve kept getting gaming consoles, but I find myself using them for gaming less and less. I can count on on two hands how many PS3 games I have, and despite having a rather sizable 360 library, I really only play 2 games with any regularity, and they’re both sports games and multiplayer.

Kick faces everyday.

With the way Microsoft and Sony have positioned their systems, gaming consoles aren’t just for games anymore, not by a long shot. So despite my lack of interest in 90% of the actual games being made today, I’m still hotly anticipating the release of any new hardware and the plentiful amounts of wondrous technology it brings to my living room. I even bought the Kinect, not only because I like jumping up and down or inane dancing games, but because I thought the image capturing technology and voice recognition were just plain cool. To this day, I still love being able to command my XBox to pause my movie, merely with my voice. That’s right, I don’t even want to have to move to grab the controller.

Unfortunately, there’s a cruel dichotomy for big fat men who want to move even less but still play games, as the current trend in gaming is standing up and interacting with your game – direct player control through motion sensing and all of that active, almost exercise, balderdash. This theme seems to be continuing, with the little glimpses that have been released by Microsoft, with a project of theirs tentatively codenamed Durango that looks to immerse players ever further into their gaming environment by literally projecting them into the game.

via [GameTyrant]

“The patent describes how the room layout will be scanned and how the images will adjust to take account of wall color or objects like a cylindrical lamp. It also mentions a depth camera (which I’m assuming is the Kinect device) that will adjust the perspective of the images depending on where the user is looking.

The patent reads that in the context of a gaming scenario, the user “may turn around and observe an enemy sneaking up from behind”.  

If that sounds strange and vague to you, here are some pictures to illustrate, taken from the incredibly-boring-to-read patent.

It’s all fun and games until the projections come to life and try to murder you.

It maps your room in 3D, and then projects weird mountains and trees in the background, presumably while you’re playing Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s a neat idea in theory, and if it is even half as successful as it is in these drawings (it won’t be), it’d be really fun for hyperactive kids to jump around and pretend they’ve got a snake in their boot or whatever. The rest of us will just get tired of it, like all the other gimmicky motion control/get up and dance games, and just wanna sit back down and beat the crap out of people in UFC. If anything, I want to move less while gaming. Let me hook up nodes to my skull and control that shit with my thoughts, so I don’t even need to move my hands.

I’m right there with you kids.

Grizzly Game Review: Sleeping Dogs

Summer is a quiet time for video gamers. With triple-A titles such as Call of Duty and Dishonored not being released until fall, there really isn’t a reason to get excited about summer if you’re a gamer. Of course we have Darksiders 2 which came out earlier this week, but that’s pretty much it.

Or is it?

Sleeping Dogs was also released on Tuesday for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. The game, once went by the name of True Crime: Hong Kong, was under United Front Games’ development before it was dropped by Activision. The publisher of the infamous Call of Duty  franchise decided that doing something different and switching things up are not part of their repertoire, and thus gave up on the title after pooling in a couple of years’ worth of resources and time. Six months after the game’s cancellation, Square Enix purchased the publishing rights to the game. And a year later, the game was released.

So, does the game make you put your dogs to sleep? Wait, that’s a horrible attempt on a pun, like “I’m gonna perform seppuku to express my shame” level of horrible. It doesn’t even make sense. What’s wrong with me?

How about this:
So, will you be playing Sleeping Dogs for a long time? Or will you be watching sleeping dogs online instead?

That’s much better.

Story

The game puts you in the shoes of Wei Shen, a detective working for San Francisco Police Department. He was seconded (or “lent”) to the Hong Kong police to help investigate a triad known as Sun On Yee. Wei was born and raised in Hong Kong for most of his childhood, and has some connections to triad members in the city. These factors make him a seemingly perfect candidate for undercover work in the gang. So, Wei is assigned a handler and his journey on the fine line between black and white begins.

Yea, we have all heard that story before.

Plot-wise, the game is fairly predictable. The characters range from the good-guy-who-turns-out-to-be-the-big-bad to the asshole-who-turns-out-to-be-cool-cat. You know, the usual stuff. Of course, there are also the dialogues practically made out of cheese:

Handler: I’m shutting the operation down because you can’t handle the stress
Wei: You can’t do it now! They see me as one of them. We’re so close!
Handler: That’s what I’m worried about – you’re one of them.

Obviously, we also have the melodramatic sequences in which the protagonist is not sure of his identity. You know, sound bites of characters from both sides of the law playing in the protagonist’s mind as he drives in the rain to confront a major antagonist and sad music about being lost or something like that playing in the background. It’s pretty much a basic requisite for any form of entertainment that involves police working undercover.

Despite of the story’s predictability and cringe-worthiness, I find it, strangely, enjoyable (though not by any means good). How the journey unfolds feels right, and most of the characters are fairly likable. Characters complement each other very well even though they’re molded straight from the cookie cutters of movies or TV shows dealing with Asian gangs. In this case, they picked the right cookie cutters and baked good cookies. They’re nothing mind-blowing, but they are very solid. The story flows well and is satisfying. Like a well-made sponge cake, it is nothing to be excited about, but you’ll eat it. It’s relatively bland compared to other cakes, but at the very least, it will meet your expectations since there aren’t too many things that could go wrong in a sponge cake. In non-food-analogy terms, the game tells an average story. Since the story is pretty easy to execute, and the writers delivered a solid performance, there aren’t too many flaws to be found in the end product. Your low expectations are easily met.

I still don’t understand the title though. Just thinking about it is wrinkling my brain.

(Note: Per TV Tropes. the title is based on the proverb “Let sleeping dogs lie”. It should be interpreted as “leave something alone as it may cause trouble”.  I still don’t get it though. Does that mean the protagonist should have left his past alone? Whatever. I’m done with this.)

7 grizzly paws out of 10.

Gameplay

Throughout the game, you will be completing around 30+ story missions. There aren’t too many varieties among missions. Most of them feature the player getting from point A to point B in a car, kick some asses, chase someone down on foot, and maybe pick up a gun and shoot some people. They’re fun, but not revolutionary. Early story missions introduced side quests. More on that later.

As far gameplay mechanics go, they are pretty well-done. The cars feel grippy, and are fun to drive. The devs did a great job in creating the sense of speed. Driving down the highway has never been more satisfying. Cars have different handlings. You can tell the difference between driving a van and a coupe. I did not like the motorcycles though. Their handling is not agile enough for me to pick them over cars. You can hop from one car to another as you drive, performing a mid-air high jack of sorts. Personally, I didn’t care for this feature. The cars you purchase from merchants are much faster than civilian cars anyways.

The shooting mechanics are so-so. They’re just there because open world games set in modern times need guns. You have a reticle and you shoot people. There are pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles, shotguns and grenade launchers.  That’s pretty much it. They don’t feel all that different. You can get into slow motion if you hit X (on the PS3 controller) as you vault over cover. That’s generally how I eliminate the baddies. Bullet time is somewhat over-powering if you ask me. A skilled player can take out quite a number of hostiles in one use.

The fighting mechanics, however, are other-worldly. Picture Batman: Arkham Asylum’s system on steroids.  Unlike Arkham Asylum, you can grapple your enemies in this game, and you need to hit a different button to counter enemy attacks. You can’t chain up insane combos in this game like you can in Batman, but I would take the melee combat system in this title over the other. Why? The combat in Sleeping Dogs is very fluid and much more brutal. You have the usual melee weapons as well. Most importantly, you can use the environment to your advantage. Grappling your enemy and hauling his ass into the spinning blades of a fan cannot be more satisfying. Or drop a car engine on him if you feel like it. Hell, you can throw him off a building if given a chance. It has the hands down most awesome hand-to-hand combat in open world games.

The parkour style on-foot chases are decent. Basically, you hold down the X button to run, and when the screen prompts you to vault or climb, hit the X button. It’s not Assassin’s creed though, since you can only climb low walls. It’s not like you can get to the top of a 10-storey building by just climbing up the side of said-building.  The pursuits are fun due to the diversity in environments. Running through the crowded night market of Hong Kong chasing after a gangster is pretty mesmerizing.

When it comes to side quests, the game offers a decent amount of those. Obviously, there are the usual street races, which are fun because they’re short and the driving mechanics are great. There are also the random encounters, which are diverse in objectives, though most of them follow a similar structure – the usual get to a certain point, do some stuff, and get paid. You may also pursue a romance if you so desire. Romantic interests appear as contacts on your phone after certain missions. You can invite them out for a date. Afterwards, you’ll receive some sort of reward. Most of them reveal the locations of hidden items on the map. These relationships are incredibly shallow since you won’t be able to contact them anymore after that one date (and in some cases, not see them ever again throughout the story). I have no idea why the devs were bothered enough to include this feature.

Speaking of hidden items, there are different types of those. There are health shrines, which boost 10% of your health for every five you find. You can also look for lock boxes, which grant you a generous sum of cash, or clothing items, or even a firearm. You are also asked to keep an eye out for security cameras. These cameras are located all across town and you’re asked to hack them on location. Hacking them will lead to potential drug busts. There are also statues which you can keep an eye out for during missions. These statues, when brought back to the wushu academy, can give you new fighting abilities. The rewards are immediate and adequate enough for you to actively seek out for them.

The critics are in love with the leveling up. To me, it just seems like a no-brainer. You have the cop XP and the thug XP. The former requires you to drive carefully throughout missions and not harm innocent civilians. The latter asks for you to be brutal towards your foes. (Perform an environment attack for example.) They do not contradict each other. There is the face meter as well, which keeps track of your progress on side missions. The more side missions you complete, the more you progress on your face meter. For each level of face you gain, you will unlock perks such as reduced prices of clothes and cars.

Customization options are limited to clothes. Wearing different sets grant you different perks as well. Some increase your XP and some reduce the price of cars. You can also purchase cars from merchants. They are generally faster than the generic civilian transport. Either case, there is nothing too special about them.

Powerups are available in food stalls. Different types of food grant you different temporary abilities. Consuming a can of energy drink will enhance your melee damage whereas eating a bowl of curry fishballs will increase your rate of health regeneration. They are readily available at all times, even during missions.

In conclusion, the gameplay is fine. It will last you somewhere over 20 hours. There is nothing innovative, but there are also little wrongdoings. The game is just fun to play. The complaint will be the devs were playing it a little too safe.

7.5 grizzly paws out of 10.

Presentation

Presentation is where this title shines. Having spent the first 16 years of my life in Hong Kong (which is a shit hole if you ask me), I am glad to report that Sleeping Dogs is a fairly accurate portrayal of Hong Kong. The game covered only one of three major areas of Hong Kong and only four of eighteen districts. Despite of these shortcomings, you can clearly tell the devs did their research. There is a balanced mix of eastern and western architectures across the city. Each district has a distinct feel to it and is a good representation of its real life counterpart. The narrow roads on the slopes of Central and the neon lights in North Point brought me a sense of nostalgia. Certainly, street vendors selling food do not happen anymore and the back alleys are much cleaner in reality, but there is no complaint from me. As a matter of fact, their inclusion gives the city an early-90’s feel, when nasty alleys and food carts were everywhere.

Complementing the city’s sights are the sounds. There are many interesting dialogues going on between pedestrians and they are surprisingly good reflections of the current Hong Kong culture. Some of the swear words / phrases are surprisingly explicit (which is a plus in my book). Well, I’m sure most of you don’t understand Cantonese, so this may not be a point of interest to you. Either case, I must applaud the devs for putting in all that hard work in making the city feel authentic.

I must also compliment the voice acting in Sleeping Dogs. The devs somehow managed to involve big time Hollywood actors in the project. Names such as James Hong, Will Yun Lee, Lucy Liu, Tom Wilkinson, Kelly Hu, and even our beloved Emma Stone appear on the credits.  They did a fantastic job in giving lives to the characters they were playing. Sadly, the devs have underused many of these talents. Most of them appeared in no more than a couple of missions only to be ditched and forgotten. For any Emma Stone fans out there, she appeared in only two missions and her character was never mentioned again. Anyways, I must also give credit to the rest of the cast – the ones voicing the nobodies on the streets. They were responsible for making the in-game city alive.

When it comes to soundtrack, the game covered a good number of genres. From Canto pop to Chinese oldies to American hip hop, they have it all. Don’t ask me if I like the Chinese tracks in the game. I listen to English music exclusively. Modern day Canto pop consists of incredibly one-dimensional love songs only. Anyways, the soundtrack doesn’t blow fishes out of water. It’s solid, but it’s also nothing special.

9 grizzly paws out of 10.

With that said…

The game is good. It is nicely executed but lacks in innovation. Without a doubt, it’s much better than its predecessor, True Crime: New York.

7.5 grizzly high fives out of 10

I don’t do round-ups.

Should you buy it?

Not now. As good as the game is, it is not on the level where Square Enix can command 60 bucks. Grand Theft Auto IV was perfection in presentation and Saints Row The Third was creativity at its finest. Certainly, the presentation of Sleeping Dogs is almost on a phenomenal level, but it is not enough to overcome the shortcomings in gameplay.

It’s a good, clean punch but not a knock out.

Rent the game or wait till a price drop (to somewhere under 40 bucks).

PS3’s The 10 Best Video Games of 2011

2011 has been one of the biggest and most memorable years for the video game industry that I can remember. An amazing library of games has come out in the past 11 months, and we were treated a massive fourth quarter that likely took a huge toll on your wallet. As 2012 draws ever-closer and with thanksgiving just passing by, I think it’s time we reflect on the best titles of the year. So here it is, the top 10 games of 2011:

10. Mass Effect 2

I’ll be completely honest; I’m cheating here. Those of you paying attention should know that Mass Effect 2 actually came out in 2010. I’m copping out by using the PS3 port that came out in January as a brand new release because even as a game I’d already played on the more responsive PC, ME2 is one of the most impressive space-sagas I’ve experienced in any medium.

The galaxy you explore as Commander Shepard is as deep and fully realized as those in Star Wars, Star Trek or any other galactic fantasy out there but what really makes Mass Effect 2 an amazing video game is a great story, real choices with actual narrative impact and satisfying, tight combat mechanics.

It’s a good enough package that a year later it would otherwise tie for 2nd place on my list of 2011’s best games, but I can’t quite overlook that it already came out in 2010, so I’ve compromised and put it at #10.

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