Wed Jul 29 23:00:48 UTC 2020
Marvel’s Avengers provided a deep dive on beta-related content. And, apparently, there will be plenty of it. During the beta sessions that go live next month, players will have access to the prologue Golden Gate Bridge sequence, some single-player story content, and several co-op missions.
After wrapping up the bridge demo, players will be able to explore a couple of single-player story missions, each starring Kamala Khan and the Hulk. The first mission will take the duo to the Pacific Northwest, where they track the Olympia Archive and JARVIS’ last known location. Another story mission will see Kamala and Hulk venture to the Russian tundra. There, the two will find “SHIELD secrets” hidden beneath a frozen war zone. These two missions showcase the game’s variety, with enclosed A.I.M. facilities and more open areas to explore.
Once players wrap up the beta’s story content, Drop Zones, War Zones, and HARM Rooms will be next on the menu. Such experiences will allow beta participants to play as four different characters–Iron Man, Kamala Kahn, Black Widow, and Hulk. HARM Rooms are “virtual training simulators,” replete with wave-based combat encounters that can be played solo, with companion AI, or in up to four-player co-op.
War Zones are missions that become playable with companion AI, co-op friends, or a mix of the two. The Marvel’s Avengers beta will feature five in total. Drop Zones are smaller versions of War Zone missions and typically include just one objective. As much content as the beta has, Crystal Dynamics promises it’s only part of the full game experience, with even more to come post-launch.
Marvel’s Avengers launches on September 4th. Hawkeye will serve as the title’s first post-launch playable character, though a release date for him remains under wraps.
The post Marvel’s Avengers Beta Will Feature Story Content and Various Co-op Missions, Progression Detailed appeared first on PlayStation LifeStyle.
The Story of the First Life is Strange Continues This Fall in Partners in Time Comic; Trailer RevealedWhile the acclaimed adventure series Life is Strange has continued to truck along with new stories, we all know how hard it is to forget your first time. The story from the original Life Is Strange, along with its characters, are beloved parts of this past gaming generation and one that has continued to resonate into new mediums. The Max and Chloe story from Life is Strange continued in 2018 as a comic book, spinning off of one of the game’s endings (writer’s note: *ahem*, from the non-canon ending) and will keep trucking along this October in its new series called Partners in Time. Published by Titan Comics, the story’s first details have been revealed via a motion graphic trailer found below.
While it is so very strange to see the story of the first game continued, the comics are official canon in some regards according to the press materials. The first Life is Strange continues to be one of my favorite games of the past decade and a moving example of storytelling in the medium, so seeing life continued to be breathed into these characters is both fantastic, yet bittersweet. There is something to be said for a game’s story being final, and there’s justifiable concern that the comic needlessly complicates a story that arguably came fully to its completion. However, the stans have spoken and need more Chloe and Max, so I suppose the rest of us are just along for the ride through time. Hey, it worked out for The Last of Us Part II.
Check out Life is Strange: Partners in Time when it releases at local comic shops and digitally in October.
The post The Story of the First Life is Strange Continues This Fall in Partners in Time Comic; Trailer Revealed appeared first on PlayStation LifeStyle.
Resident Evil Village soon enough, there’s still much conjecture and rumor floating around the internet. As always, our goal is to report the things that seem most plausible, but always with the disclaimer that these are nothing more than rumors until something official or otherwise comes along. Details of a recent Resident Evil Ambassador playtesting session were reported to the site Biohazard Declassified (via Rely On Horror), and they allege to reveal new information about the upcoming horror release for PlayStation 5, and maybe PSVR? Let’s look.
Speaking of enemies, the boss from the playtest appears to be one of the witches referred to in the reveal trailer, named Olga. Her gimmick appears similar to a certain bug-lady from Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, channeling her inner creepy crawly and deploying bugs as weapons, as well as some transforming. Players use a torch to expose the fleshy bits and, in traditional Resident Evil style, shoot away.
But where is the player during all of this? Unlike other rumored playtests that have shown off an outdoor village area, this one describes the castle itself. “Most rooms were bright but few bedrooms were dark. The segment was somewhere within the castle on a higher level and you needed to find a key to open a big door downstairs,” says the report.
Here’s the full info dump of alleged information from BioHazard Declassified:
ENEMIESThere’s even more information than all of this, including a Resident Evil 7-esque inventory system and word that enemies weren’t dropping currency. At this point, the Ambassador playtests are well known and this all feels like it could be plausible information. Regardless, with release set for 2021 and the next update promised for August, we’ll know more about Resident Evil Village soon enough. Whether or not that will include any of these details, we’ll just have to wait and see.
The enemies within these areas are very pale, almost rotten skin, with tattoos on their foreheads and hands. Some with armor, but not like knight armor, that can also be shot off. They only speak of “normal” enemy types in this test, not of the “werewolf” like creatures we’d spoke on, and that was shown in the trailer.
They do speak in a distorted foreign language. Some carried daggers, swords, axes, and even spears. There are some without armed weapons. They jump and grab and bite similar to Resident Evil 3, and you can button-mash to take less damage. Some enemies will throw you to the ground instead of biting. The one with the sword has a special attack that can instantly behead Ethan. And according to the source, you’ll recognize the move once you play the game.
PLAYTEST SEGMENT ENIVORONMENT
This part is rather interesting because it seems the segment they mention being tested seems to differ from the information from the other tests that seemed more like Ethan was in the village itself leading up to the castle, whereas this information takes place directly within.
Most rooms were bright but few bedrooms were dark. The segment was somewhere within the castle on a higher level and you needed to find a key to open a big door downstairs.
So here’s where that information gets really interesting as the claim goes into details of a boss fight you get in the playtests. Now, this does line pretty close to watch we know of the first “witch” we spoke of from the other tests that can dissolve into insects and chases Ethan and has a distinctive laugh. They also give a name to the “Witch” and refer to her as Olga.
Once opening the door the lady in black named Olga appeared and released a swarm of insects. The player won’t have to fight the insects unless she spots Ethan. She would laugh constantly whenever she spots him.
In this boss fight, players grabbed a torch to use fire to scare her insects off to get Olga exposed to shoot her. After a bit of shooting, she’ll transform into this insect/spider-like creature with long spider legs and releasing more insects coming out from her insect-like bottom. Her human remains are still there, but naked and covered with black goo. After the defeat, she melted and some parts of skeletons covered in the goo remained and she dropped an item. She also released all of her insects, to which the player will find and kill them to stop them from attacking you in certain rooms. After that, the demo ended.
The playtest featured a handgun(probably the same one shown in the developer preview), a shotgun (possibly obtained from the old man in the trailer), and an unbreakable knife. It also appears the player can obtain temporary melee weapons like an axe that can be broken off with a few hits.
According to our source, the inventory screen wasn’t the same as the Special Message video, but similar (Resident Evil 4 concept with Resident Evil 7 UI design). The game paused when viewing the inventory like Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes. During the testing, there also wasn’t currency added and the enemies didn’t drop items. Instead, crates and vases were breakable to find items.
MYSTERIOUS OLD WOMAN
The old woman in robes that can be seen from the Resident Evil 8: Village reveal trailer was also mentioned by our source as being almost a merchant-like character in the game. As far as our source knows, she is not an enemy, but as our source described, “has many goods to sell and rumors to share”. They also spoke briefly on seeing some concept art but didn’t speak much on it.
MISC. RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE PLAYTEST INFORMATION
It seems during the playtest many things were still getting shifted around which matches rumors from those like AestheticGamer aka Dusk Golem who say the game is still a work in progress with placeholders being used as the enemies had their dialogues added while Olga didn’t have her audio added during the boss fight but the screaming and laughing, and players were told that those weren’t her actual VA lines and are just placeholders.
After the test, participants filled out a survey and had a sensing session on their thoughts on Resident Evil Village followed by refreshments. The length of the playtest seemed to clock in around 30 minutes and testers were allowed at least two runs and it was played on Playstation 4 Pros.
Interestingly they also spoke about producer Peter Fabiano being in attendance at a specific test as he was reported as speaking about adding a new difficulty to triple the number of enemies in some areas saying, “let’s call this difficulty “Unfair” “. Though our source says he wasn’t sure how serious Peter was actually being and this part we’re unsure of how true it is.
Another small claim was that the music starting at 1:30 is the music that plays during the encounter with the large enemy seen jumping off the roof in the Resident Evil 8: Village reveal trailer.
They also said to expect a new trailer in August with the new information from Capcom. According to them, the story will become more clear, another returning character will be revealed, and there will be “another twist”.
Finally, they said a VR version of Resident Evil 8: Village will happen, but they won’t make that announcement until Sony is ready.
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tease by Bill Rosemann in June last year, fans have wondered whether Hawkeye would feature as a playable character in Marvel’s Avengers. Well, they need not wonder any longer. The archer will serve as Marvel’s Avenger’s first post-launch playable hero, adding to the base game’s six playable heroes. Better yet, the character will also launch with his own “in-depth story mission chain.”
Developer Crystal Dynamics shared the news in its July War Table stream, which went live earlier this afternoon. The stream also showcased Hawkeye’s look in a brand-new trailer. See the full broadcast below; talk of Hawkeye begins at the 40:45 mark.
Crystal Dynamics began work on its version of Hawkeye by combing through some of the characters best comics. Ultimately, the team settled on borrowing a few ideas from Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon. The 2013 tale by writer Matt Fraction and illustrator David Aja sees the self-made hero recruited by SHIELD to obtain incriminating evidence. It’ll be intriguing to see what Crystal Dynamics pulls from this street-level crime story.
Hawkeye’s story will showcase a narrative that is different from players experience in the main storyline. Furthermore, players will have the option to either go it alone or play Hawkeye’s content in co-op.
Several beta dates are planned throughout next month. PS4 players who preorder Marvel’s Avengers can take part in a beta that goes live on August 7th. The beta for PC and Xbox One preorders roll out the following week on August 14th. Open beta access for all PS4 users will be available that same day. Finally, an open beta across all platforms is slated for later in the month on August 21st.
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Free Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Update Will Add Outfits, ‘Remnants,’ and a Stupid-Hard Challenge ModeA free update long after the release of a major game is never a bad thing, but in the case of a free Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice update coming in October it seems curiously timed to the release of a certain next-generation gaming console. Hmm. Conjecture aside, the free Sekiro update will include a couple of new modes, some fancy new duds for our Wolf friend to run around in, and a new community-based online feature that could potentially help some new players out along the way. The update is expected to hit on October 29 for “PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro; Xbox One X (and other Xbox One devices); and PC via Steam – or download it on Google Stadia,” according to the release.
What’s new? Two modes will be added to Sekiro in the update, both accessible in-game through the Sculptor’s Idol. Reflections of Strength allows players to initiate a rematch with any boss they’ve already cleared, which should be good practice for the second mode. Gauntlets of Strength will let the most challenge-starved players attempt single-life boss fight gauntlets, meaning that you can let your masochism flow and limit your tries to a singular digit. Should you fall at any point, you’ll have to start that particular Gauntlet over from the beginning. If that sounds like your idea of a good time then, um, best of luck.
Finally, Sekiro’s new Remnants feature may sound familiar to anyone that’s played a FromSoftware game lately. “Remnants are recordings of what a player does in-game for up to 30 seconds at a time and are available for use after the game’s tutorial. After a player records their Remnant – whether it is an epic takedown of an enemy or a flawless demonstration of a tricky movement technique – it can be uploaded along with a written message so that other community members can play it back.” Players helping players is a wonderful thing, especially in a game as demanding as Sekiro.
All of this and more can be yours when the free update goes live in October. Who knows, maybe by then we’ll get a PlayStation 5 cross-gen announcement as well? Here’s hoping.
The post Free Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Update Will Add Outfits, ‘Remnants,’ and a Stupid-Hard Challenge Mode appeared first on PlayStation LifeStyle.
Nioh 2: The Tengu’s Disciple will release tomorrow, July 30th. Ahead of time, fans can get a good look at the DLC’s first mission, alongside the new Splitstaff weapon. Patch 1.11 goes live today, too, bringing with it a new mode, avatar creation parts, and Yokai Shift improvements.
Famitsu was able to share 10 minutes of gameplay footage from The Tengu’s Disciple. While it is in Japanese, the moment to moment gameplay is still relatively easy to follow. Check it out in the video below:
In a preview, IGN notes that The Tengu’s Disciple takes place in Japan’s Heian Period, a time during the Genpei War between 1180 and 1185. The Heian Period saw the country ravaged by a civil war. In the DLC’s first mission, players will navigate Yashima–a coastal region that served as the battleground for one of the Genpei War’s most significant battles. Though Team Ninja designed the content’s difficulty for players who wrapped the core game at level 120, going in at a lower or higher level will be an option.
Aside from new story missions, The Tengu’s Disciple introduces the Splitstaff. Typically a closer-quarters weapon, the Splitstaff can transform into a mid-range weapon with “flexible chains” on the end. Players will simply hold down the action button to transform the weapon.
Moreover, Twitter user BlackKite has relayed word from a recent Nioh 2 stream that a new patch goes live today. The free update adds the following:
- A new hack’n’slash mode that allows players to clear scroll missions for equipment. Players can also obtain scrolls from other users through multiplayer
- More parts for avatar creation
- Yokai Shift enhancements
- Option to continue after failing co-op stages
- Option to change the motion for entering host springs and more
Nioh 2 is out now on the PlayStation 4.
[Source: Famitsu, IGN, BlackKite on Twitter]
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Suikoden Creators’ Eiyuden Chronicle Broke Kickstarter With Overhwhelming Fan Interest in the ProjectWhen the Suikoden creators announced the Kickstarter for spiritual successor Eiyuden Chronicle, it garnered a lot of interest from Suikoden fans who wonder what the series could be like today. What they didn’t expect was the overwhelming interest to not only break through multiple stretch goals in a single day, but to actually break Kickstarter itself, crashing the site multiple times on Monday after it first launched.
The Eiyuden Chronicle Kickstarter campaign reached its initial ~$500,000 goal within just three hours of launch on July 27th. That was despite three distinct crashes during that time in which the Kickstarter site wasn’t accessible. Still, it didn’t slow the cascade of support for the project. Through even more crashes, the project broke through multiple stretch goals, including passing the $1 million mark required for console versions of the game. After just two days, backing for Eiyuden Chronicle currently sits at more than $2.2 million with 30 days to go to the end of the campaign.
The first 24 hours of our campaign have been pretty crazy. Many of you probably noticed that during the opening hours of the campaign, Kickstarter crashed multiple times. This was unfortunate, but it was rather heartening that it was the spirit and love of our fans that were the ultimate culprit of the crash. As Murayama-san tweeted after the outage, it was an ultimate combo attack that the Kickstarter servers could not withstand!With a month to go until the end of the project, there’s a lot of room Eiyuden Chronicle to raise even more money and meet multiple additional stretch goals for elements like new minigames, characters, and other features the devs are pledging to add. The team says that development is scalable and they can easily meet the requirements of the high demand. Currently the project is targeted for late 2022 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and “Nintendo’s next console.”
Additionally, the Kickstarter staff were kind enough to add an extra day to our campaign to make up for the time lost. Let’s make that time count!
The Eiyuden Chronicle campaign page has a ton of information about the game, including story, characters, gameplay, music, and more. There are gifs, screenshots, short videos, and descriptions to keep you sufficiently anticipating the release of the game in two years. For now, all we can do is sit back, continue to support the project, and wait for more information and updates from the development team.
The post Suikoden Creators’ Eiyuden Chronicle Broke Kickstarter With Overhwhelming Fan Interest in the Project appeared first on PlayStation LifeStyle.
PlayStations next dev kit update arrives in a few weeks which will feature ‘retail mode’ so devs can see what the final set up will be. The current system is debug only with PS4 retail mode. Expect that PlayStation will show it off before it goes live to avoid leaks.— Tidux (@Tidux) July 29, 2020
Sony has released other information about the PS5 to get ahead of potential leaks, including the seemingly random announcement of the DualSense controller earlier this year, not to mention first detailing the PS5 in a Wired interview/feature as far back as April 2019. If developers are indeed getting access to the retail PS5 UI and features soon, then it stands to reason Sony would want to control that conversation by showing it off before developers get full access themselves.
Still, PS5 leaks do keep happening. Most recently photos from what appears to be the production line seem to show a removable and swappable outer PS5 shell, which could change the game for special editions of the console. If Sony does plan on holding a PS5 State of Play on August 6th, expect it to be announced within the week leading up to that Thursday. Sony has also promised that it will announce PS5 preorders ahead of them going live, so prospective buyers shouldn’t anticipate a random drop during one of these shows.
What do you think? Is Tidux onto something here, or is this educated guesswork?
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FunLabs and publisher 505 Games will bring the sandbox experience to consoles on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Console players can expect to take advantage of the same gameplay features that PC fans have enjoyed for the last few years.
505 Games will publish UNTURNED, the acclaimed open-world zombie survival sandbox game for PS4 and Xbox One this fall.UNTURNED is developed for console by 505 Games and FunLabs and offers all gameplay features enjoyed by players on PC.
Stay tuned for more info! pic.twitter.com/1PL9yuBEn8
— 505 Games (@505_Games) July 29, 2020
The Canadian team Smartly Dressed Games created Unturned, helmed by Game Designer Nelson Sexton. A statement from 505 Games notes the studio “remains actively involved” with the title’s development on consoles.
With modern society in ruins, Unturned players are dropped into the shoes of one of the remaining survivors. Across a total of eight maps, players must work alongside friends and other allies to outlast the daily pressures of life in a zombie apocalypse. Scavenging for food, supplies, clothing, and other materials is essential to survival. Managing health, hunger, thirst, and radiation levels is apparently of equal importance.
Multiplayer options seem relatively plentiful, too. There are split-screen options available for local co-op. While online, players can join friends, forge new alliances, or make enemies in the open-world. All of this and more is bolstered by an array of customization possibilities and upgrade skills, the latter of which center on three different categories: Offense, Defense, and Support.
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Playful Studios revealed plans to launch New Super Lucky’s Tale on the PS4 and Xbox One this summer. Now fans finally have a firmer release date to mark on their calendars. New Super Lucky’s Tale will hit the two aforementioned platforms next month on August 21st.
Playful Studios announced the news this morning via the following Twitter post:
New Super Lucky’s Tale is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on Friday, August 21! pic.twitter.com/JRXrGGoO9X— New Super Lucky’s Tale (@PlayfulLucky) July 29, 2020
New Super Lucky’s Tale serves as an expanded version of Super Lucky’s Tale, a 3D platformer that launched on PC and Xbox One in the fall of 2017. Nintendo Switch players were able to get their hands on New Super Lucky’s Tale in 2019. But before the “Super” and “New Super” iterations, there was only Lucky’s Tale, the franchise’s original outing. A precursor to Super Lucky’s Tale, Lucky’s Tale released in 2016 for the Oculus Rift. Interestingly, neither of the follow-ups since then have received virtual reality support.
Playful’s New Super Lucky’s Tale is a love letter to the classic 3D platformers of old. As such, players can expect to discover myriad collectibles and meet intriguing characters, all while donning the most fashionable costumes. Players navigate the title’s many colorful worlds with burrowing, climbing, and jumping mechanics. Every obstacle and challenge will be present in service of one key goal–recovering the Book of Ages. This magical artifact, which is capable of opening worlds, must be rescued from the clutches of the villainous Jinx and his minions.
[Source: Playful Studios on Twitter via Gematsu]
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Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath throughout the rest of this year. The first, Summer Heat Skin Pack, will arrive on August 6th, introducing three summer-themed skins for three different characters. Baraka will don a “Off the Bone Baraka” skin, Katana is set to wear a seasonal “Endless Summer Katana” costume, while Erron Black receives patriotic colors and a top hat for his new “Fireworks Erron Black” threads. In addition, there’s a “Thanks a Million” Johnny Cage skin that’s available to download now for Aftermath owners.
See the Baraka, Erron Black, and Katana costumes on display in the following image:
After the Summer Heat Skin Pack, NetherRealm plans to roll out the Klassic Femme Fatale Skin Pack on August 25th. An All Hallows’ Eve Skin Pack will follow later in the year on October 8th. Details about which costumes and characters feature in these two releases are not publicly known as of yet. Expect more information to surface at a later time.
Players who own Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath will receive access to all three skin packs. At present, there exists no word on whether those who don’t own Aftermath will have the option to purchase the packs separately.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath launched earlier this year as an expansion for $39.99. The release added new story content and three new fighters–Fujin, RoboCop, and Sheeva. Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Kollection launched not too long ago as well, giving new players access to every piece of content for the price of $59.99, including all six Kombat Pack DLC characters–Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, Sindel, Terminator T-800, The Joker, and Spawn.
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Shuehei Yoshida went on to back the project, titled From Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution. Not much has been seen of the film since then, but it has now reemerged with a new trailer and a firm release date. Gaming industry and film fans can learn more about the PlayStation revolution when the Caulfields’ project hits Blu-ray and digital platforms on September 7th.
Check out the new trailer for From Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution in the video linked below:
This documentary from the Caulfields aims to explore it all, from the iconic T-Rex demo to the powerhouse that the PlayStation brand has become today. As such, a slew of significant industry figureheads were interviewed for the project. The likes of Mark Cerny, David Jaffe, Hideo Kojima, Shinji Mikami, Ted Price, Jim Ryan, and Kazunori Yamauchi all took part in interviews, for example.
From Bedrooms to Billions: The PlayStation Revolution couldn’t be set to release at a better time, either. September of this year marks the 25th anniversary of the first PlayStation’s launch in the United States and the United Kingdom. You can check out the full movie poster below:
- Creating Wipeout – RT – 10mins 31 sec (featuring game creator Nick Burcombe and Psygnosis founder Ian Hetherington)
- Creating Gran Turismo – RT – 19mins 12 secs (featuring creator Kazunori Yamauchi)
- Net Yaroze – RT – 6mins 46 secs (featuring Phil Harrison and Paul Holman)
- Audio on PS2 – 3mins 12 secs (featuring Jason Page)
- Director’s commentary with Anthony Caulfield, Nicola Caulfield, Heather Gibson & Gavin Rummery (Tomb Raider), Steve Merrett (PlayStation journo) and Shahid Ahmad (former Sony PlayStation dev commissioner)
- Photo Gallery
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received news that the original soundtracks from the classic games would return mostly intact, Vicarious Visions had another secret up its sleeve for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2. 37 new songs will be rounding out the soundtrack, adding to the 21 returning songs for a staggering 58-song soundtrack full of classic beats and new artists alike. Many a great song or artist has been discovered through the power of licensed video game soundtracks, so tearing up remade classic levels to all-new tracks should add a few new favorites to your playlist.
The added songs will bring a variety of genres, from old-school ‘90s rap and ska punk to international indie hits and up-and-coming artists. The news was revealed during a virtual concert/documentary called “Remastered” that premiered early today on the Noisey YouTube channel. You can check out the full 15-minute video below.
The new confirmed songs showcased in the virtual concert are:
- “Deathwire” by Rough Francis
- “South” by CHAII
- “Bass” by Merkules
- “Bloody Valentine” by Machine Gun Kelly
- A Tribe Called Quest
- A. Swayze & the Ghosts
- Alex Lahey
- All Talk
- American Nightmare
- Baker Boy
- Billy Talent
- Black Prez ft. Kid Something
- Charlie Brown Jr.
- Cherry Kola
- Chick Norris
- Craig Craig ft. Icy Black
- Crush Effect ft. KARRA
- Destroy Boys
- DZ Deathrays
- Less Than Jake
- Machine Gun Kelly
- Pkew Pkew Pkew
- Reel Big Fish
- Rough Francis
- Screaming Females
- Spilt Milk
- Strung Out
- Super Best Frens Club
- The Ataris
- Tyrone Briggs
- Viagra Boys
The post 37 New Songs Being Added to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 Soundtrack appeared first on PlayStation LifeStyle.
Maid of Sker is based on the very real Sker house and the Welsh folklore that surrounds it. One ghost that haunts the mansion is that of Elisabeth Williams, a young woman imprisoned in her room so that she couldn’t elope with her lover, Thomas Evans. She died of a broken heart. The second ghost is the captain of a ship wrecked on the nearby rocks. Both provide some inspiration, even if the game’s actual story bears few similarities.
Maid of Sker Review – History Doomed to Repeat ItselfThe game’s Hotel Sker closed its doors after the death of the legendary Maid of Sker, Elisabeth’s mother Prudence. Many years later in 1897, Elisabeth’s father is trying to reopen the hotel and restore it to its former glory. Elisabeth will become the new Maid of Sker, singing to the guests. During the opening ceremony, though, something goes horribly wrong. Fearing for her life, Elisabeth goes into hiding and summons her lover, Thomas, to the hotel.
The situation doesn’t look good upon his arrival. The gate into the grounds is rusted shut, so Thomas has to take a roundabout route through overgrown gardens to even reach the hotel. As he gets through the front door, it closes and locks behind him. Bunting dangles from the lobby ceiling. Suitcases are carelessly discarded in the corners. There’s little lighting and paint peels from the walls. The eerie silence is broken only by the phone ringing in the booth. Hotel Sker is in an obvious state of disrepair, and you wonder how Elisabeth’s father even thought it could open in the first place. It does make for a very interesting environment to explore, though.
The hotel’s staff and guests have turned into Quiet Ones, and they’re prowling the corridors. Their cultish sack face coverings mean they can’t see, so they should be easy to avoid, right? Wrong. To compensate for their loss of sight, their hearing is impeccable. They can hear the slightest of movements or heavy breathing. If they find Thomas, they’ll beat him to a pulp. This makes the Quiet Ones incredibly dangerous and the source of most of the game’s scariest moments.
Maid of Sker Review – Ssh, Be Quiet!Sound plays an incredibly important part in the game and it’s best played with headphones. Without them it’s difficult to tell the direction of footsteps, often your only warning of an approaching enemy. Many a scare came from walking straight into an enemy I hadn’t heard. Going against every grain of instinct you have, the best thing to do when too close to an enemy is to stay still. Thomas can hold his breath too, but the longer he holds it, the louder the gasp for air will be when he breathes again. Every single movement needs to be calculated.
Not only is sound important in avoiding enemies, music is vital in deciding the fate of Thomas and Elisabeth. It can antagonize enemies, or if Thomas is successful, it can lift the curse that’s befallen the hotel. The decision is ultimately down to the player, and can lead to one of two endings. Throughout the 8 hour story, players also get treated to haunting strains of reimagined Welsh hymns, adding even more to the unsettling atmosphere.
To reach Elisabeth, Thomas has to navigate a maze of rooms and corridors. Rubbish blocks some corridors and doorways so alternate routes need to be found. There are also the obligatory locked doors. Every now and again, you’ll need to solve simple puzzles that rely on clues or objects hidden within the nearby environment. Once solved, the mechanisms they unlock usually make a loud noise. You’d think the Quiet Ones would run towards the source of the noise, but at this point they instead have homing beacons. They will swarm Thomas regardless of how far away from the mechanism he is, or how quiet he is being. It’s one of the few issues the game has as all the usual rules are broken as Thomas sprints towards safety.
There are few truly safe spaces around the hotel. These rooms are hidden behind patterned green doors, are brightly lit and have gramophones on which you can save your game. All saving is manual and relies on you finding the safe rooms. Leave it too long and a death could cost you dearly. The first time a gramophone is used to save the game, it plays a recording that adds more context to the story, alongside other collectibles strewn about the hotel. Healing tonics and charges for the Phonetic Modulator also need to be found. Players who spend the most time exploring the hotel are those that are most rewarded.
Maid of Sker Review – A Worthwhile Visit?Hotel Sker may have seen better days, but it’s well worth a visit for fans of the horror genre. The hotel is interesting to explore and rewards players who take the time to unravel its secrets. You feel constantly in danger not knowing where the next threat is going to be but knowing you can’t defend yourself. No, there’s nothing really new here, but that doesn’t matter if you just want to sneak around a Victorian hotel where the welcome is less than inviting.
Maid of Sker review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on PS4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.
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Ubisoft made news in 2018 with the announcement that it had signed on Mike Laidlaw, the creative director of the Dragon Age franchise for Bioware, as well as having credits in Jade Empire, Mass Effect, and more. And just as quickly as Laidlaw had been hired, he was gone one year later. The reason, as we found out in a report today from Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier is because of a planned fantasy RPG project for Ubisoft, headed by Laidlaw, to be based around the mythology of King Arthur tentatively titled Avalon. Laidlaw’s project was determined to be not good enough. What happened to cause a known name in the industry pick up and leave? It involves high fantasy and Ubisoft—or at least former CCO Serge Hascoët—thinking itself to be above the works of renowned fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien.
And let me tell you: Ubisoft is no Tolkien.
The call to meddle with Avalon and its creator was on the shoulders of the now-resigned former chief creative officer Serge Hascoët–gone amid the wave of sexual harassment and toxic culture accusations that have plagued Ubisoft the past two months. What was Hascoët’s problem with the project? If Ubisoft was to make a fantasy game then it needed to be “better than Tolkien,” according to those with inside knowledge of the project that spoke with Bloomberg. This wasn’t an out of place power move for Serge within the walls of Ubisoft, known to strangle creativity and micromanage projects (Hascoët reportedly stifled any attempts to have female-led Assassin’s Creed games). Even after Laidlaw’s team attempted to change the setting multiple times in order to appease Hascoët, his seeming hatred of fantasy tropes gave the project the axe.Oh hey, I worked on the project twice for short periods of time. I loved the narrative of the game and we had a super strong writing team early on. The entire team was great and driven by passion which was then crushed by Serge. https://t.co/EdZA8S8elv— Jordan Mychal Lemos (@crypticjordan) July 28, 2020
“The game’s developers were shocked to see the project impeded simply because the chief creative officer didn’t like its setting,” according to the report. There’s some real ego at work to say, flat out, that the only way to approach a specific setting in an entertainment medium is by being better than perhaps the most popular trendsetting example within said genre. In the case of Tolkien and high fantasy, his works on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy stand head and shoulders above the rest, with its influence seen across multiple genres and mediums. But, the other thing that irks me in regards to this whole situation is the idea that high fantasy is so overplayed and derivative of itself that the only thing that can possibly sell is something that is groundbreaking and, as Hascoët puts it, “better than Tolkien.”
Which is just a ridiculous statement. It’s like if a rock album was canceled by a well known band because it wasn’t better than The Beatles. And that comparison is apt because much like high fantasy, rock and roll exists in this bubble where even the most mundane, brainless creations manage to sell and make money and find a niche audience. Likewise, high fantasy as a setting in all mediums–fiction writing, television, film, video games–sells because there are a baseline love and fascination with the genre and setting. It’s why there was technically a “Game of the Year” edition of something as atrocious as the PS3-era “classic” Two Worlds. It’s a setting that allows the use of tropes to tell literal and metaphorical tales that not only can speak to the modern age, but also speak about the nature of humanity, perseverance, and the classic sense of adventure that drives so much fiction. There’s a reason why the likes of Skyrim, World of Warcraft, and more high fantasy games have dominated the landscape for decades. There’s plenty of room at the round table.
And guess what: Ubisoft isn’t above doing “just fine.” In fact, they perhaps need more of that in their stock, especially at a time when public opinion against them is at an all-time low and the company needs easy wins more than ever. Ubisoft continues to tread water and mill the same sources of franchises over and again, with its most recent Ubisoft Forward event showing nothing new or exciting–just another series of returns to the proverbial well. In fact, even before recent upheaval thanks to allegations against the company’s management, they had reorganized the editorial department in an attempt to make less formulaic open-world games all derivative on on another. In a world of game development that is beginning to feel more and more “either sell the most or don’t sell anything at all,” it is publishers like Ubisoft that need to stop caring about breaking sales records that keep investors floating in money and maybe find happiness in the middle ground, allowing passionate creators to carry out their ideas and see where it goes. It seems to be working for EA at least.The day of Re-Reckoning is coming!Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is scheduled for release September 8th, 2020 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, featuring stunning visuals, refined gameplay and all new content!
Website: https://t.co/bIiWHJXYol#KingdomsOfAmalur #ReReckoning pic.twitter.com/cvS3S3nziG
— Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (@ReckoningGame) July 7, 2020
There’s a Tolkien quote I love from his essay On Fairy Stories (what high fantasy was referred to by Tolkien): “The realm of fantasy is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.” It highlights what makes high fantasy work so well. Its settings are boundless and ever relatable. The worlds of dragons, magic, and the unknown speak the perils and unknown of our own world, and the worlds we find within ourselves. And that doesn’t need to be better than the best. Sometimes that relatability is just good enough, and that’s fine.
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