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First Contact | Driveclub - New Game, Old Tricks

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
DriveClub, Evolution Studios, First Contact, PS4 games, Racing Games, Sony Computer Entertainment, Videos

First Contact | Driveclub - New Game, Old Tricks

I'm not very good at Driveclub. I'm in the process of playing F1 2014 for review, and I always like to dip in and out of Burnout Paradise or Need For Speed: Most Wanted for a regular Criterion fix. One sits firmly at the simulation end of the spectrum, the other two are much more geared towards exaggerated thrills and over-the-top racing.

Such extremes in either direction are far too much for Driveclub.

I won't pretend that I've been looking forward to this game with eager anticipation. Indeed, it's difficult when there's not much to actually get excited for. The USP upon which Driveclub has been built is currently in a sorry, shambolic state. Apparently, Evolution learned nothing from the half decade or so in which we've had systems like Autolog. At the time of writing, Driveclub is still engaged in a "one in, one out" system regarding access to its servers. As you'll see in the video, connectivity was limited. And by limited I mean laughably non-existent.

First Contact | Driveclub - New Game, Old Tricks

First Contact is a series all about first impressions. The ones I had of Driveclub were a mixed bag, to be sure. It wasn't all bad (though my driving, as you'll see, certainly was). It looks fantastic. So good, in fact, that when you start up the game you might well crash terribly in your first race on account of enjoying the view. I speak from experience. The handling is geared more towards the arcade end of the spectrum than sims, but that's okay, and the little objective challenges for each race are a nice way of encouraging replayability.

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VIDEO | What's New in Infamous: First Light?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, DLC, Expansion, Infamous: First Light, PS4 games, Sandbox games, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sucker Punch, Videos

VIDEO | What's New in Infamous: First Light?

Infamous: First Light is out in the US today, and our review went live earlier. Here's what we said about the game:

Infamous First Light packs a whole bunch of content in at a decent price, and fleshes out Second Son's most interesting character in fine fashion, with a sibling story that tugs at the heartstrings thanks to another great performance from Bailey. It's an extension, perhaps, more than an expansion -- more of the same sort of thing, but with a slightly different flavour -- but given how much fun Second Son was, that's no bad thing.

But if you're still uncertain whether or not to buy the standalone prequel to Second Son, here's a little look in more depth at some of the changes you can expect to find playing as Fetch rather than Delsin, along with a video of the game's opening 10 minutes.

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Infamous: First Light Review | Go Fetch

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Action Games, DLC, Expansion, Infamous: First Light, PS4 games, Sandbox games, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sucker Punch

Infamous: First Light Review | Go Fetch

I had a blast with Infamous: Second Son. For me, it was probably the best game in the series thus far, a polished experience that did the basics incredibly well, delivered some cracking performances from its leading stars, and dazzled the senses with a gorgeous Seattle sandbox and plenty of interesting abilities. It didn't seek to really break new ground or reinvent the wheel, but Second Son was supremely satisfying because Sucker Punch managed to nail things where they counted -- combat, traversal, scale, story. Would it have been nice to have Seattle live and breathe a little more rather than simply being an obviously gamified sandbox? Perhaps. But frankly I was having too much fun to really care.

Given the hot topic of female protagonists in the gaming industry, it's not surprising really that Sucker Punch were asked in the run up to Second Son's release about the possibility of a female playable protagonist. That questioning only became stronger when we were introduced to Abigail "Fetch" Walker -- a Neon-powered Conduit with some serious baggage in her past and a heavy chip on her shoulder. That Sucker Punch followed through and have given us a fat slab of Fetch's backstory to play through here in First Light is admirable.

More importantly, it's pretty damn good.

Laura Bailey is back to voice Fetch, and once again, the strength of Sucker Punch's performance capture really comes through. Anyone familiar with her story in Second Son will already know the end state of this prequel, set two years before the events of the original game. Fetch is making a living on the streets with her brother in First Light, making ends meet by doing unsavoury jobs for unsavoury people. By the time we meet her in Second Son, she's lost a huge deal, not least a sense of control, and First Light tells the story of how she goes from being a woman trying to hide her powers to being a Conduit fixer and assassin, to eventually becoming a powerful renegade filled with rage and anger.

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Bloodborne Preview | Prepare To KILL

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bloodborne, From Software, Games previews, Gamescom 2014, PS4 games, Sony Computer Entertainment

Bloodborne Preview | Prepare To KILL

"Prepare to die." Dark Souls issued the challenge and gamers responded. Then promptly died, over and over again, becoming more skilled and experienced with each crushing setback.

In Bloodborne, however, that mentality won't get you anywhere. If you mean to unravel the secrets behind Yharnam's mournful bloodsoaked streets, you need to be prepared to KILL.

Don't panic: Bloodborne is still unmistakably From Software fare. It's a third-person action-RPG, tough as nails, as dark and soulful as you'd expect. You'll stalk through intricate and evocative environments, feeling truly isolated and alone one moment before all hell breaks loose the next. Punishing and deeply pretty even in its early Gamescom build, sharing many of the same buttons as its spiritual predecessors, Bloodborne will feel second nature to fans of Miyazaki's work.

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Five reasons you probably need The Last of Us: Remastered in your life

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Naughty Dog, PS4 games, Sony Computer Entertainment, The Last Of Us

Five reasons you probably need The Last of Us: Remastered in your life

The Last of Us: Remastered emerged last Friday, bringing one of the finest games of last year to the PS4, and inviting a whole bunch of people who'd never played the award-winning game before to enjoy it in super-sparkly fashion, with the game having been given a fairly impressive graphical overhaul.

You can see the difference to a certain extent in the comparison video we sent live last week (embedded below), but really videos don't do  this game justice. It was one of the best-looking games on the PS3 (if not the best-looking game on the PS3), and it really looks the business of PS4.

If you've never played The Last of Us before, here are five reasons why picking up the Remastered version is something you really ought to do.

1. The award-winning original remains intact

Five reasons you probably need The Last of Us: Remastered in your life

Naughty Dog don't make bad games, at least they haven't even come close yet. I gave The Last of Us 8/10 and an Editor's Choice badge last year, praising it for its script, its cinematography, and the standout performances from Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson. Here's what I said in my review:

The Last of Us tells a cracking story, but it does so in such a heavy-handed way that it's difficult to feel totally engaged come the conclusion. Well paced, superbly written, and boasting some of the best visual and audio work of this generation, Naughty Dog have once again produced a fine game. This is linear blockbuster  gaming at its best, and it dazzles the senses. even if the form disappoints the mind a little given the genre.

The criticisms I brought up in my review are still valid, but that doesn't make The Last of Us: Remastered any less of an attractive proposition. It's a must-play game if only for the story itself, and you owe it to yourselves to see What Naughty Dog Did After Uncharted.

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Current Gen vs Last-Gen: The Last of Us - PS3 vs PS4 Comparison Video

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Naughty Dog, Platform comparison, Sony Computer Entertainment, The Last Of Us, Videos

The Last of Us: Remastered is a bit of a no-brainer for people who find themselves with a PS4 having not ever played one of the best games of last year. But is it worth a punt if you've already Platinum'd (yeah, that's a verb now) the original? Well, we'll have a full breakdown for you early next week, but in the meantime, here's a helpful little video that puts the two versions side by side, to help you make an informed decision as the game launches today.

You can check out the first 15 minutes of The Last of Us: Remastered after the jump.

Just another driving game? Driveclub's dynamic weather systems actually look rather impressive

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
DriveClub, Evolution Studios, PS4 games, Racing Games, Sony Computer Entertainment

Just another driving game? Driveclub's dynamic weather systems actually look rather impressive

We've frequently poked a bit of fun at Driveclub here on Dealspwn. First it was for the complete lack of details to differentiate it from Any Other Driving Game Ever. Then it was for the incessant, hilarious delays of what was supposed to be a flagship launch title for the PS4. Then we split our sides chuckling suspiciously over Evolution's completely contradictory comments regarding microtransactions. And let us not forget the farcical PlayStation Plus version that looks like a glorified demo.

We even went hands-on with it, in a preview build that showcased absolutely nothing worthy of particular note.

Then we got bored and wandered off. We've tried our absolute best to muster some form of excitement about Driveclub, but have completely failed to do so.

Until now.

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Entwined Review | Dragon Rainbow Fart

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
E3 2014, Entwined, Indie Games, Pixelopus, PS Vita games, PS3 games, PS4 games, Sony Computer Entertainment

Entwined Review | Dragon Rainbow Fart

Entwined is apparently an artistic representation of the love between a bird and a fish -- dancing about one another like a twin-stick take on a 3D Sonic bonus level. It emerged in surprising fashion at Sony's E3 press conference, a pleasant interlude between brooding, big-budget titles, that injected some colour into proceedings.

A blue, origami bird comes to rest on a body of water as twinkly music plays, and an orange papercraft fish bobs its head out the water to meet its feathery chum. They touch noses, it's all very cute. The bird guides the fish skywards, and they shoot forward down a series of psychedelic cylindrical paths that will span nine lifetimes (levels) and see player guiding the two creatures through colour-coded rings of sorts that twist and turn, creating a playful dance between the two creatures. They occupy separate halves of the screen, occasionally meeting in the middle as the coloured gates demand -- orange and blue individually, green when they meet.

The patterns of the gates/rings/checkpoints, whatever you want to call them, twist and turn, becoming more complex as the game progresses. In between these sections, you collect coloured orbs to fill progression meters for each creature. Then, if you successfully manage to guide them through the channels of rings, you keep the orbs. If you skip a ring, the bar drains. To begin with, these channels arrive one at a time in simple patterns, but it's not long before they begin to shift in length and distance, sometimes alternating at speed, before starting to move and undulate, forcing you to keep careful control over both creatures at the same time across different sticks.

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Entwined PS4 Gameplay - Have a look at the game's first level

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Entwined, Indie Games, Pixelopus, PS4 games, Sony Computer Entertainment, Videos

Entwined PS4 Gameplay - Have a look at the game's first level

Entwined proved to be a very pleasant surprise at this year's Sony E3 presser. Described as an interactive musing on love, Entwined sees players controlling two flying origami creatures -- an orange fish and a blue bird -- simultaneously, with an analog stick apiece, guiding the creatures through series of colour-matched gates that move in increasingly complex patterns.

"It's a game about two souls that are in love, but can't be together," said creative director Dominic Robillard onstage during Sony's E3 press conference, and that's sorts of reflected in the playful design of the coloureful portals, which have players guiding the creatures around in spirals and loops, one feeding off of the other like some sort of aerial dance.

It's all incredibly pleasant and soothing, and reminds us an awful lot of Flower, which is no bad thing. It's quite short, though, and we'd suggest you check out our review coming later today before slapping down £6.49. In the meantime, however, above is a little gameplay video look at the first of the game's nine levels.

Beyond: Two Souls falls to £11.50 over at The Game Collection

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Adventure Games, PS3 games, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment

Beyond: Two Souls falls to £11.50 over at The Game Collection
Beyond: Two Souls | The Game Collection | £14.95
PS3 price comparison | Beyond: Two Souls Review

Here we have yet another reduction for Quantic Dream's latest cinematic effort, with the price falling to the lowest we've seen in a while. Overall there's a saving of around £2.50 to be had with this listing.

Opinion on Beyond was scattered like a buckshot for good reason - the lack of apparent choice and interaction rubbed many people the wrong way, coming across as limited compared to Heavy Rain. While the storyline isn't the best in the industry has produced, it's certainly an enjoyable one, and the performances by Ellen Page and Willam Defoe are outstanding. That said, at this price it could be the right time to make up your own mind. Thanks to Jas10 @ HUKD!

PS4: Every announced 2014 title so far, but where are the big hitters?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
PS4, PS4 games, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Worldwide Studios

PS4: Every announced 2014 title so far, but where are the big hitters?

This week, Sony released a list detailing every PlayStation 4 game announced for 2014 so far, along with expected release windows. Still no idea when the hell Driveclub is coming, mind; and there's no sign of The Last Guardian either, unsurprisingly.

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The Last Of Us: Left Behind Review | Friends Until The End

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
DLC, Game reviews, Naughty Dog, Sony Computer Entertainment, The Last Of Us, The Last Of Us: Left Behind

The Last Of Us: Left Behind Review | Friends Until The EndPlatform: PS3

Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

As someone who enjoyed The Last Of Us (perhaps significantly more than our on-site review) I was both excited and rather nervous about Left Behind. After all, getting your money’s worth out of DLC has always been a hot topic here on Dealspwn, and buying season passes ahead of time has added further fuel to that fire (and is something we really, really suggest you do not do – wait for the content to be revealed and reviewed first to avoid disappointment.) Thankfully, Left Behind provides a delicate and engrossing look at Ellie’s life before she met Joel in an extra chapter that fans of The Last Of Us should absolutely get hold of.

With that rather stark and quite upfront endorsement, let’s explain why I feel that is the case. It should come as no surprise that the narrative aspects of The Last Of Us are as strong as ever in Left Behind, with the optional environmental interactions once again bringing a very human touch between the traversal and action sequences. This time around, the subject of lost innocence and growing up in a world gone to hell is the main focus, as Ellie’s relationship with her best friend Riley reaches a critical turning point. It should come of no surprise that the script is of a high standard, but it is the performances by Ashley Johnson and Yanni King that make each interaction between the two a highlight of the DLC.

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Beyond: Two Souls only £17.98 with code at The Hut

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Adventure Games, PS3 games, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment

Beyond: Two Souls only £17.98 with code at The Hut
Beyond: Two Souls | The Hut | £17.98 with code | Voucher Code: THEHUT
PS3 price comparison | Beyond: Two Souls Review

The price continues to tumble down for Quantic Dream's latest, and thanks to the voucher code above you can get it for below the £20 mark. Overall you'll save £7 over the next best deal elsewhere, although The Hut aren't known for their prompt delivery so bear that in mind before ordering.

Opinion on Beyond was scattered like a buckshot for good reason - player interaction and choice is nowhere near the level found in Heavy Rain, and David Cage has arguably produced better stories in his previous games - but at this price it could be the right time to make up your own mind. Thanks to darioredkin @ HUKD!

LittleBigPlanet Vita only £9.99 at The Game Collection

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Media Molecule, Platform games, PS Vita games, Sony Computer Entertainment

LittleBigPlanet Vita only £9.99 at The Game Collection
LittleBigPlanet Vita | The Game Collection | £9.99
PS Vita price comparison | LittleBigPlanet Review

Here's a great chance to get hold of one of the Vita's standout games for a bargain price. The deal from The Game Collection will save you around a fiver over the next cheapest offer elsewhere.

John has made no secret of his feelings that LBP Vita is the best game available for Sony's handheld, and it's hard to argue with him considering how naturally its Play Create Share mechanics fit with the touchscreen controls and camera functionality. Thanks to bargain76 @ HUKD!

Ratchet & Clank: Nexus Pre-order | £16.99 | Currys | PS3

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Action Games, Insomniac Games, PS3 games, Sony Computer Entertainment

Ratchet & Clank: Nexus Pre-order | £16.99 | Currys | PS3
Ratchet & Clank: Nexus Pre-order | Currys | £16.99 | PS3 price comparison

With the game coming out tomorrow, this is a excellent bargain for the latest Rachet & Clank title. Overall you can save yourself around £3 over the next cheapest listing.

Our review is currently in the works, but it's almost safe to say that if you're a fan of the series you'll no doubt get your money's worth from Insomniac's latest. Thanks to SUPERCOOLWILLOW @ HUKD!

COMMENT | The Crushing Disappointment of Beyond: Two Souls

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Beyond: Two Souls, David Cage, Ellen Page, PS3 games, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment

COMMENT | The Crushing Disappointment of Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls has proven to be a divisive and contentious title primarily because many have struggled to find a place for it when it comes to their definitions of what a game should be. When I sat down to write my Beyond review, I had to begin with a caveat because I felt that one's enjoyment of David Cage's latest opus would no doubt depend on whether or not the player was open to Quantic Dream's signature style, though even that might prove to be a fallible basis for investigation:

Your appreciation, or lack thereof, of David Cage and Quantic Dream's latest opus is largely going to be determined by how much you subscribe to many of the controversial statements that Cage has made over the last couple of years, not to mention whether or not you enjoyed his last QTE-'em-up: Heavy Rain.

And even then, given Heavy Rain arguably worked because of its delicately balanced mix of genre, form and function, you might not find Beyond to your liking.

Games are not reviewed in a vacuum, as we've stated many times on this site. Therefore, it's impossible to separate Beyond from the canon of experiential games, large and small, that have surfaced in the wake of Heavy Rain these past three years. The same tricks that worked in 2010 might not prove as effective this time around, and so it seems to have been the case, for this writer anyway.

COMMENT | The Crushing Disappointment of Beyond: Two Souls

I promised I'd go into further detail, expanding upon a few of the points I made in my review, and so here's a more personal, expressive take on some of Beyond's failures (in my eyes) to deliver the emotionally-connected experience that David Cage and his team have constantly espoused, and why I'm not sure if the team at Quantic Dream fully understand the enormous capacity for direct, emotional connection that this interactive medium can offer.

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Beyond: Two Souls Review | Beyond Redemption

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Adventure Games, Beyond: Two Souls, PS3 games, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment

Beyond: Two Souls Review | Beyond Redemption

Platforms: PS3

Developers: Quantic Dream

Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment

Let's get one thing straight, right from the start. Your appreciation, or lack thereof, of David Cage and Quantic Dream's latest opus is largely going to be determined by how much you subscribe to many of the controversial statements that Cage has made over the last couple of years, not to mention whether or not you enjoyed his last QTE-'em-up: Heavy Rain.

And even then, given Heavy Rain arguably worked because of its delicately balanced mix of genre, form and function, you might not find Beyond to your liking.

Beyond: Two Souls Review | Beyond Redemption

Let's start with the most important aspect of this game: the story. You play the role of Jodie Holmes -- a young woman reflecting upon a life led constantly in the company of a powerful ethereal entity named Aiden -- stepping into her shoes and going with her on a journey that takes us from birth, through adolescence, and into young adulthood. From an early age, she's placed under the observation of the Department of Paranormal Activities, and cared for by Nathan Dawkins and his assistant Cole Freeman. Cage's narrative hops about Jodie's timeline -- sometimes to great effect, though it is at times slightly overused and feels a little gimmicky at points -- letting us witness her first attempts to play with other kids, go to her first teenage party, and sneak out of the military compound in which she's spent most of her life to grab a quiet drink at a local bar.

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Rain Review | Shallow Water

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Adventure Games, PlayStation C.A.M.P., PS3 games, PSN, Puzzle games, Rain, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment, Stealth Games

Rain Review | Shallow Water

Platform: PS3 (PSN, £9.99)

Developer: PlayStation CAMP

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony should be congratulated for bringing a diverse and experimental range of gaming experiences to the PlayStation Network, and Rain was set to be their bravest and most innovative yet. This soulful adventure stars an invisible boy alone in a storm-swept world, chasing a mysterious girl who's always just out of reach through a sort-of-stealth puzzler, trying to get back home. As fans of innovative new experiences, suffice to say that we were more than a little excited about PlayStation C.A.M.P.'s latest venture.

So it's galling that Rain falls totally flat because, when it comes right down to brass tacks, it simply isn't brave nor innovative enough. In fact, it has a dirty little secret that undermines almost everything.

Rain Review | Shallow Water

We're getting ahead of ourselves, mind, so let's start by accentuating the positives: Rain is one of the most beautiful games I've played in years. The city, an impossible labyrinth of rain-drenched French architecture, is brought to life with a rich yet muted colour palette, melancholy practically dripping from every gutter and flowing down every drain. A real sense of loneliness and isolation is hammered home by a truly masterful soundtrack that applies the lightest touch: a light piano refrain here, an accordion there, and silence when necessary for maximum impact. It is truly a feast for the senses.

There are moments when you'll just stand staring at your television, gobsmacked and humbled, listening to the rain.

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