The pandemic has forced a number of movie studios to take their projects to streaming services to reach an audience. Disney has its premieres on the Disney+ service; Coming 2 America made an impact on Amazon Prime; now we have a truly underrated animated movie from Sony’s studio on Netflix for all to enjoy. But don’t let the streaming format fool you – The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a big-screen delight for all ages to enjoy.
Directed by Mike Rianda and produced by the Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Mitchells takes the robot apocalypse theme and has a field day with it, thanks to an unlikely villain who’s a laugh riot – and the surprise heroes who do much more than chuckle.
Those heroes are the Mitchells, a goofball family led by not-so-super dad Rick (Danny McBride). His daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) is looking to take her YouTube filmmaking career to the next level with college, but her father Rick opts to take her there via a road trip across the country, with her mother Linda (Maya Rudolph) and her younger brother Aaron (Rianda, superb in the role) along for the ride.
But it’s just when they start their road trip that the robots start acting up. And it’s all thanks to a cell phone-like device called PAL, voiced by Hot Fuzz’s own Olivia Colman. She’s fed up with being a hand-me-down in the face of a new PAL device, which tech whiz Mark Bowman (Eric Andre, fresh from his Adult Swim show) has introduced. So what’s a forgotten device to do? Lead the robots against the humans and try to eradicate them, of course.
So much is working for The Mitchells vs. the Machines that it’s not even funny – though it is hilarious. First off, the writing is superb, and there’s a number of Easter eggs. So many, in fact, you’ll have to watch the movie two to three times to catch them all – and you still might miss something. It’s also got some wonderful action sequences for a family film (how many times can you say that?), including a run-in with an enlarged Furby that’s a sight to behold. You might just find it to be the best movie sequence with a Furby ever. (I believe it’s the only one…?)
On top of that, the animation style is insanely good. Along with top-notch animation and other neat little effects, the movie also benefits from sweet hand-drawn designs stemming from Katie’s brain, so you get a look at just how she perceives everything. It’s original and really well done, and gives the movie a little more shine.
Not to mention the music. It’s loaded with upbeat, delightful pop tunes, but also features a killer score by DEVO co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh. And he’s very well up for the job – so much, in fact, that he probably should see what films he can work on next. If it’s possible, Lord and Miller might want to consider him for the Spiderverse sequel. Just saying.
Finally, The Mitchells vs. the Machines wins with its voice cast. Abbi Jacobson is great fun as Katie. The rest of the family is fun as well, and it’s great to hear Fred Armisen and Beck Bennett joining the fun as a pair of unconvertable robots. There’s also Blake Griffin, Chrissy Tiegen, and Conan O’Brien if you listen closely enough.
And Michael had something special to say about Danny McBride as well, since this isn’t his usual territory. “performances in the movie for me was Danny McBride as Rick Mitchell. While I deeply appreciate McBride’s acting style and on-screen antics, Rick Mitchell seemed like an odd casting choice from him from his typical roles. Examples would be like Your Highness, Pineapple Express, and This is the End just to name a few. Those are only a few examples of his prior roles but give you a good feel for his acting style but he made Rick Mitchell his own and did an amazing job bringing thia character to life. Not just by playing a fatherly figure but the depth of how far he went into character. You’ll see it or you’ve seen it, when you watch. I don’t want to spoil some of his best lines in the movie but you’ll know them when you hear them.
But, to me, the real star of the show is Colman. She’s a laugh riot as the fed-up PAL, making all sorts of great points about technology while still somehow being incredibly ruthless. This is easily one of her best performances.
Oh. And Michael also wanted to add: “Least not we forget the trusty, loyal animal pet/sidekick, Munchie the pug. They DID NOT disappoint! We can’t go into to much detail without giving away some of the best parts of the movie but the shenanigans entailed just add to the viewing pleasure and overall hilarity.” I definitely agree.
Even if you’re not up for traditional family fare, not to worry. The Mitchells vs. the Machines is anything but. It’s filled with hilarious moments, as well as heartfelt stuff that helps you feel the connection with family. Not to mention it has thrilling animation, excellent music and truly amazing style that other few films can match. You may be thrown off by the fact it’s on a “streaming channel,” but don’t be. These Mitchells provide big summer entertainment, and you shouldn’t miss it. Now put down that phone.
Miles Morales has been taking the world by storm as Marvel’s edgy newer hero, who only first made his debut in the comic line Ultimate Fallout in 2011. He follows in Peter Parker’s footsteps as a new, teenage Spiderman after gaining similar abilities, but seems to have far more to offer in terms of sheer power. Marvel’s Spiderman Miles Morales allows us to walk in the footsteps of this green hero in an all-new action-adventure game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive. This story directly follows the events of Marvel’s Spiderman, the previous entry of the series. I loved everything this game had to offer despite it being a shorter tale than the first entry. This game is playable on PlayStation 4, and the 5 for only $49.99, making it way cheaper than most new games that are usually set at $69.99. I will warn new players, though in the game there is a recap of previous events I very much recommend playing the first game. Not only was the first Spiderman a fantastic game, but the story is crucial seeing as there will be more to follow.
The story follows Miles in New York after his father’s passing in the previous events that took place in Marvel’s Spiderman. Miles and his mother Rio had just moved to Harlem, where she is running for City Council to fight for her home against a new energy company Roxxan. Peter goes on vacation, allowing Miles to fly solo in New York to find his footing, deeming him ready to fight for his city. Miles soon uncovers a war between this secretly corrupt energy company and the Underground; a terrorist group that is following the Tinkerer in trying to take them out. Compared to the previous game, I found Miles to be a bit more relatable than Peter. Miles shows the struggle of being a child hero and his feelings on trying to fill the shoes of Peter. Throughout the story, he unlocks unknown abilities that he learns to master over time, while also finding himself behind the mask and in real life. Between the mistakes he makes along the way and trying to overcome his self-doubt, the game does well in making Miles feel more human in this game, as well as creating a connection between the player and character. While the previous Spiderman did well to help the players play as Peter Parker, he felt more of a self-sacrificing hero that knew what to do. Miles, on the other hand, went through major character growth from starting as a timid teenager unsure of whether or not he is ready to take on the mask and changing into a full-fledged Spiderman. Insomniac designed this game so well in terms of overall character growth and story progression to the point where I even teared up at the ending of the game in both play-throughs.
Marvels’ Spiderman Miles Morales was a plain right personable game that was jam-packed with emotions. Every character made a massive impact on the game in their unique way. I could not get enough of how well designed the side characters and villains were in this game. Ganke was such a fantastic supporting character to Miles and helped bring a more realistic and modern feel to the game. Designing the Friendly Neighborhood app, helping Miles find himself as his person, and assisting on missions by remoting into his suit felt insanely cool and showed how reliable he was as a friend and partner. One could even say his best friend was the Sam to his Frodo. I also absolutely loved that this game brought the Prowler, a.k.a. Uncle Aaron in and designed him as not only a supporting character that contributes to Mile’s growth as a family but also as a man that struggles between right and wrong. Even Rio fought so hard for her family and city against Roxxan and stood to show Miles that their family never backs down no matter how hard the fight is. Miles, like Peter, built such a good support system without even realizing it. Even the citizens of New York in the game felt more realistic compared to before as far as side quests go. Each character in the side quests felt more natural and had a lot more personality such as Teo and Hailey. Most of the characters you help out start off suspicious of the new Spiderman in town and over time warm up to him and deem him their district’s Spiderman.
Though the story of this game was short, it was incredible and filled with fantastic side content. I do wish there was a bit more as far as side quests go, but there were good options outside of the new game plus for playability. All missions that were side quests and main quests can be replayed. In addition, you could trigger crimes over and over again to get activity tokens for unlocking abilities and suits. As far as resources go, there were significantly fewer options compared to the first game, for you only needed activity tokens and research parts to get gadgets, mods, and suits as well as the required level. This made the game far less tedious, but also I felt because of this I would have liked to see more to do. This game did do a good job of keeping you busy for the most part, since with each story progression you essentially got new collectibles or fetch quests unlocked as well as side missions. The side content provided also god a good story with each of them, such as finishing Mile’s father and uncle’s soundtrack, the end game scavenger hunts his father left for him, and even his time capsules he made with Phin. While the content might be lacking in quantity, the game has made up tenfold in quality.
What I do feel like the game lacked in a bit more was gameplay. While I love the replayability of it, I felt like the new game plus option should have offered more in terms of content. Aside from some new game plus suits and abilities, there was no real reason to add it. You can change the difficulty for NG plus, and there are no new quests for it whatsoever. I felt because of this, new game plus was just a filler to feel like there was more to game content-wise, but there was not. The only real reason outside of suits and abilities for NG plus is for trophy hunters. In addition, the combat was satisfying but also left you feeling a bit too powerful regardless of difficulty because of the bioelectricity abilities, invisibility, and gadgets. Finishers only required combos rather than taking away from your venom attack build-up bars. While you consumed a bar to heal from your bioelectricity bar, it racks up so fast and using them often leaves you in less need to heal. You can combo off of them so easily causing insane damage to enemies. Even on Spectacular while they might not die as fast it still takes a big chunk off of heavy hitters. Gadgets also replenish fast and rack up damage with gravity well, the holo-drones, and remote mines.
While you have fewer options compared to the first game, they do way more damage. I found myself using all of the gadgets, but you could also pick off enemies super easily with gravity well and venom blast. My only other complaint as far as the combat goes is how exploitable camouflage is. Enemies do not counter this until late game, but through the majority of the game you could go in wreak havoc or stealth kill and no matter how you get caught you can go invisible again leaving enemies confused dropping their guard fast. I tore through each base so fast because of this ability alone. I’m not saying the game should be hard, but more so there should be a better balance for each difficulty. Harder modes are for players that want a challenge or players that don’t want to steamroll through the game, but there were no considerably noticeable gaps with each jump. That being said the combat did at least feel satisfyingly cool.
All in all, I loved this game, though some areas are lacking it set a new bar for the series as far as story and quality go. I loved the amount of detail that went into creating the environment and story. I also can not wait to see what happens in the next entry per the end scenes we got in the credits. Miles is an amazingly human character and an incredible Spiderman. This game also played incredibly smooth on the PS5 at 60 frames per second. The Marvel’s Spiderman series offers some of the best superhero games out there, and I expect great things from Insomniac.
The Playstation 5 is the new, current-generation console released by Sony last November of 2020. The console is the most powerful yet of all the released consoles and really built upon what players wanted as opposed to their last released console the Playstation 4 Pro. I was very pleasantly surprised with the overall performance of this console and left with a feeling of satisfaction and comfort. There are a few changes I would have made personally, but this release is a huge success for Sony compared to previous releases. This console comes in two editions, being the digital-only and the disc. The digital edition costs $399.99, while the disc edition costs $499.99. If you can manage to get a console outside of scalpers, they are released in batches at stores such as Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, and Target.
The PS5 is excellent as far as performance goes, especially now that they have included a high-speed NVMe SSD creating a hell of a lot faster boot up, and cutting load times for games from 1GB in 20 seconds per the PS4 to 2GB in .27 seconds on this new console. The console supports 8K streaming for apps such as Netflix and Hulu, and we can now play games in full 4k thanks to the new AMD custom GPU with RDNA 2 architecture hardware. I will say what I am most impressed with the cooling system. We all of course remember the previous consoles, and how hot they could become leading to the fans running overtime. This resulted in load fans constantly trying to cool down the CPU and system leaving users feel nothing but anxiety or annoyance. I mean let’s be real, the PS4 Slim and Pro could get insanely loud. However, this system uses liquid metal cooling between the CPU and heatsink, as well as using new AMD technology where unused power will be diverted back and forth between the CPU and GPU. The only downside to this is that players experience varying frequencies depending on the demand from either part. Not to mention the PS5 will only be as quiet depending on the game being played and the performance it is being played in. We now also get to experience 3D audio with our games, creating a highly immersive experience, as well as finally getting a 4K blue ray player for the disc edition which we were left out of with the PS4 Pro. The only downside to the cool new technology is that with every console comes a give and take for your budget. The system runs slower than its competitor at 10.28 teraflops at 2.23 GHz but does have a good 16 GB of GDDR6 Ram. Space is another issue since new games tend to eat up storage, for instead of that terabyte we got with the PS4’s HDD, we only get 825 GB of storage for the new SSD. The system also only has a 350 power supply, which it already uses quite a bit of power when loading.
Personally, I also loved some of the little things about the setup for the console. Before with the previous PlayStations’ uploading and downloading save data could be a pain. Half the time for plus players they did not always upload automatically, and you would have to manually do it. Other issues would lie with the actual upload and download because sometimes it would not upload the first time and you would have to go back and do it again for it to appear in your cloud saved library following up with the download which did not always work the first time either. I was initially worried about this when setting up my new console, however, the transfer of data was seamless and I had no issues whatsoever. All of my saved data was there in a matter of a minute. I also loved that the system set up was integrated with a new mobile set up from your app making it quick and easy, rather than having to worry about a long and tedious login. Lastly, I am excited as any other player when it came to the new backward compatibility feature. It might be a bit more limited than Microsoft’s Xbox line, but it definitely has a great selection. I was surprised to see the even Final Fantasy Type 0 made the cut, which I have been currently working on a replay of. The list is pretty extensive with a wide selection of Playstation 4 games.
The interface for the console has its pros and cons for me. While I love the overall clean look, I feel like it is less interactive than before. The home screen is definitely more organized compared to the previous console entries, giving you now a media and games tab on the top. I also love that hovering over each game allows you to track your progress, and you even get a cool new news tab that follows the store tab. However, it feels a bit less social than the previous Interface. Rather than seeing your community feature, or seeing comparisons of other people playing the same game as you, you now have to individually search players or go to your mobile app to see a social media like a page of what your friends are up to. I do like the new profile layout, it feels a lot cleaner and innovative compared to a social media page. And the new menu you get for sharing content, trophies, a cool feature that replaced the social page which is game base, music, and notifications. So while some things could change, overall the new changes are mostly positive. Even the store feels a lot more innovation than the previous layout and feels very clean and modern. The overall Interface just has a more sleek and modern feel to it. Another great bonus is in addition the still getting PS4 free games of the month we now get PS5 exclusive games as well as plus members. Who doesn’t love free games? One downside players will face now is the increase in cost for games and accessories. Rather than spending the normal $59.99 the average game now goes for $69.99, which in all honesty is to be expected for the price the console was sold at and the number of resources that now goes into making these high-performance games.
The PlayStation 5 overall is an excellent console despite a few shortcomings. The controller feels fantastic, the console runs smoothly and has fantastic performance, and we now get access to a larger library thanks to the new backward compatibility making it so we no longer have to worry about using PS Now. Though the console right now is extremely hard to get a hold of due to scalpers and high demand, I do believe this is a great success for Sony since the launch of the PS3. We have fair pricing, great releases, and top-quality performance that we always expect from a reliable company like Sony.
When it comes to new gamers, or even veteran gamers choosing a platform to play on can be intimidating. You can be faced with a variety of choices, even as a parent choosing one for their child. This guide can come in handy by helping you narrow down your choice without feeling overwhelmed or pressured by irrelevant parties that tend to be a bit biased with their opinions. I mean let’s be honest, gamers can be the worst fanboys and their views might not be aligned with your best interests. In light of this I am going to break it down by covering each current generation system along with their advantages and disadvantages. These systems will be the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, PC, and I will also touch upon the Classic editions of retro consoles.
The Nintendo Switch was released on March 3rd of 2017, and made a huge comeback for the company since the Wii U console that was largely unsuccessful due to it’s limitations. Part of what made the console so successful is the fact that it was immediately open to 3rd party titles and support, and also has a unique design for home console and as well as portable, and the exclusive titles that were strong candidates for 2017 Game of the Year.
However, why should anyone choose this console over the others? Firstly this console is well suited to those whom are mostly on the go. Any full time employee that has limited time for gaming can easily take this console with them to work. The Nintendo Switch is a handheld console that has the a docking station that enables it to be play on a TV making it also viable as a home console, and has a platform that allows coordinating game play with other remote players. This capability is very well suited for those who often travel as well as the homebody. This console is an excellent choice for families, as Nintendo is mostly known for popular family oriented games like Super Mario Brothers, Pokemon, and even goofy games like Arms. Gamers with a budget can also benefit from picking the Switch since it only costs 299.99 instead of spending 499.99 like the other console choices.
For gamers that do not care for playing on the big screen, the Switch Lite version is available at 199.99. Though additional accessories can be expensive, you still get everything you need just buying the console by itself. The other big plus is you’ll have access to Nintendo exclusive games that will not be available on any other platform, such as Mario Odyssey, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The Switch also now features live services to play online games with others such as Splatoon 2 and Overwatch, and the subscription is much cheaper than other services starting at 3.99 a month.
That being said there are some downsides to going down this route. A lot of accessories are sold separately, such as a protective case and screen protector. The screen for the Switch is plastic and easily scratched up. Some of the accessories, like additional joy cons for family events are expensive, as a pair of joy cons costs 69.99 USD and you will need to get a separate docking station. Another factor to consider is that the joy cons are extremely small, so for those with bigger hands will probably end up dropping another 59.99 on the Pro Controller. Additionally, you will also probably end up buying an SD card since the console only offers 32 GB of storage. Going along with the storage dilemma, it must be said that not all games will auto save to Cloud storage. Lastly, if you want to play in full 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, this is not your console. Nintendo has never been about being the latest and greatest, they hold value in their games and are more invested in their consumers instead of performance.
The Playstation 5 is Sony’s newest console which released on November 12th of 2020, and made remarkable improvements from their Playstation 4. It is the best selling new generation console so far with 4.5 million units sold and 47.4 million subscribers. This system is sold at your local stores for 499.99 for the disc edition, and 399.99 for the digital edition making it a pretty hefty purchase. Which is why I am narrowing down the pros and cons to help you decide if this is the best choice for you.
First and foremost, I always say base your console choice on what your friends play on if you play online often. It can be pretty lonely for those who base their choice off of internet or local peer pressure, and we all have ran into elitists at your local Best Buy or GameStop that have their own opinions that may differ from yours. However if you genuinely don’t care about playing with your friends, there are still a number of great reasons that the PS5 can be well suited for you. First and foremost we all love Sony exclusives such as Bloodborne, Spiderman, Ghost of Tsushima, and God of War. While these exclusives are making their way to PC, not everyone has that budget, and you may have to wait years until new releases launch on that platform, IF they ever do.
This console is also more geared toward single player gamers with Japanese Style and Action Adventure RPGs respectively. You also get powerful performance from the PS5, with the ability to play new titles in 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, add their 3D audio support and controller that uses haptic feedback.
Nevertheless there are some downsides to this platform. Chiefly the storage size for their SSD, which is only 825GB, and the system is just not as powerful as the Xbox Series X. So for those who want the most powerful console, you might want to look at other options. Another downside is that while their backwards compatible list is impressive, it does pale in comparison to the available Xbox selection that goes as far back as the original Xbox’s titles. The overall design for the console is also extremely huge compared to other consoles, which might prove inconvenient for those with limited space. That being said, the console is a great pick for the gamer more geared towards single player RPGs, or those who absolutely love Sony’s exclusive titles that are almost always Game of Year candidates.
On November 10th, 2020 Microsoft released it’s Xbox Series X, the most powerful console of this generation. While the console was remarkably improved from the last entry, the launch did not do well, like previous console launch. That being said, the Series X is still an excellent option for gamers that love multiplayer games, Microsoft exclusives, and the most powerful performance that doesn’t bust the budget, and a great choice for those who love PC gaming, but need a break from traditional PC play. This console is a beast, running up to 8K resolution, the 12 Teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU and runs at 120 fps with 16 GB of RAM. The Series X is also usable as a home theater system to watch movies or stream in general. You can gain access to exclusives (also on PC) such as Halo, Gears of War, and Sea of Thieves, making this console perfect for players that want to make the most of a multiplayer experience.
If higher performance isn’t as important, you can also step down to the Series S. This is just a less powerful and cheaper option for those who care more for the multiplayer aspect and don’t want to fork out 499.99 USD. At 299.99 USD the Series S console still suits online gamers that need to budget but still care about pure performance. There aren’t as many of the more popular its counterparts, but it is cross compatible and cross save with PC, and allows for the use of the Xbox Game Pass, which carries over to PC as an app. With this option you can start playing on an Xbox machine, save, and literally pick up where you left off on your computer. You can also play with PC key and mouse friends who don’t have an Xbox.
Xbox is also know for its backward compatibility, so most of the original Xbox or Xbox 360 titles can be played on various Xbox consoles in upscaled resolution and frames. While the Xbox Series X has amazing perks, there are things to consider. There are a lack of many new titles available because of a poor launch and horrible performance shown for Halo Infinite. Also since Xbox Game Pass is compatible with PC, it might be more expeditious to do PC gaming if you have the budget and are not concerned with having a console, especially one you might find inconvenient or visually unappealing.
Last but not least, classic PC gaming has limitless options, and can prove to be the ultimate and most powerful experience with varying costs. You can buy a prebuilt computer, laptop or make your own build. However, to get the best performance despite what biased opinions might say, you will be spending at least a grand if not more especially with current surge in demand due to the huge influx of online education and employment brought on by Covid.
PC gaming is the best avenue for those who want the most customization for their gaming and performance experience. You can get apps and download games from almost any major gaming company like Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and EA. You also get great platforms like Steam that have excellent bundles and a massive collection of various games dating back to the Stone Age. You’ll also find apps for customizing your accessories and parts, i.e. Razer offers headset, mouse, keyboard, and even mousepad customization; AMD will offer you a performance customization app for your motherboard, GPU, CPU, and more.
A personal computer can be updated as needed and can last a lot longer instead of having to upgrade often with new gaming consoles. These serve as great examples for players looking to maximize their performance and have total control over how they choose to play. However there are downsides for going down the computer route, such as price. You can spend less to play, but those players will find you won’t be playing in 2K nor 4K with limited frames depending on your settings. Even with a smaller budget you will be looking $800 at the bare minimum.
Those looking to build will also find that the market is totally off the charts with GPU and CPU prices. Tt might be far better to buy preowned at this point in time. Portable gaming laptops are great if you are on the go a lot, however they have a tendency to run hot because of the graphics which tends to give them a shorter life span. PC’s also have a learning curve, because unlike consoles you generally have to adjust your game settings to reach the quality you want. Not all games available have an automatic optimization setting for your build. You’ll also end up needing to learn how to use different apps to monitor your performance or adjust your peripherals. Lastly, operating systems can be quite expensive and literally a pain to deal with. Windows 10 nearly always releases bad updates in need of patches which can lead to minor issues such as audio problems all the way to random crashes.
Lastly and briefly I want to touch on the Classic Editions of retro consoles. Gaming companies have been releasing new classic mini versions of retro consoles like the NES Classic, Sega Genesis Mini, and the Playstation Classic. These mini consoles come loaded with old bangers like Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Metal Gear Solid. These are great options for collectors, retro players or for those who just want to buy a quick console for the family for a few hundred dollars. A downside to these consoles is how fragile they are and that you are limited to the preloaded games, but they still are great buys for the price and love of nostalgia.
It can be a struggle for gamers to find the right gaming console or computer that best fits their needs or play style. As a gaming fan that has owned nearly every platform, I hope this article serves as a guide that helps players veteran and new find the platform that best suits them.
So, yeah, 2020 wasn’t the greatest year for a lot of events. But one that got hit particularly hard is EVO, the yearly tournament where some of the best fighting game players in the world compete for glory.
Last year’s event didn’t take place because COVID-19 struck so hard. And while there was an online event in the works, it was also scrubbed after its chief executive, Joey Cuellar, was accused of sexual misconduct, leading to his dismissal.
But fret not. EVO 2021 is ready to return this August, and this time it has a major new partner behind it – Sony Interactive Entertainment. Through a deal with the Endeavor talent agency, the company will take over and present Evo Online in just a few months, as part of a joint venture with a group called RTS.
“Evo would not be possible without the collective passion and collaboration of the fighting game community, and we’re deeply grateful for your dedication over the past 25 years. We know last year was challenging due to the pandemic, and the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of Evo Online involving a former team member who has been completely separated from the company.
“We want to reaffirm that harassment or abuse of any kind has no place within Evo or any of our future events, and we’re taking every precaution to make sure members of our community will always be treated with the respect, dignity, and decency you deserve.
“In order to deliver on the trust you have all put into Evo, we realize that we need an experienced strategic partner who truly respects the spirit of the FGC. This is why we’re excited to announce that Evo has become part of the joint partnership of Sony Interactive Entertainment and RTS. The new partnership is committed to bringing amazing tournaments and competitive gaming experiences back to you this year and beyond.
“We’re thrilled to work with the teams at PlayStation and RTS to bring you Evo 2021 Online this August. More information on the event will follow.”
This will likely take away the “indie” feel of the event, and also may feature titles that are PlayStation specific, like the best-selling Street Fighter V: Champion Edition. But we’ll see what the companies have in store in the months ahead.
Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima has finally arrived on PlayStation 4 after a slight delay in development, with the team pouring all its effort into the game. And based on early reviews and sales, it’s easily becoming a hit on the PlayStation 4 front.
But there’s a lot more going into this game’s release than you might expect. That’s because of the many aspects that tie into it. Let’s take a look at what makes Ghost of Tsushima so damn special.
It’s Practically the Last First-Party PlayStation 4 Release Before the PlayStation 5
There’s always a chance that we’ll see some sort of surprise release from the company. But the way it’s looking now, Ghost of Tsushima could be Sony’s last first-party release for the PlayStation 4 before the PS5 arrives later this year. That follows a trend of best-selling titles that have come out for the platform over the years, including Uncharted 4, The Last of Us Part II, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and countless others.
And what a way to go. Ghost of Tsushima didn’t get the incredible amount of hype that the Last of Us sequel did, but Sony did push online for it in a big way with behind-the-scenes footage and cinematic trailers. And word of mouth is spreading very quickly.
So while it may be Sony’s last hurrah with the current hardware, it’s one hell of a way to go out. With a bang. (And with a samurai, no less.)
Sucker Punch’s Reputation Built Up For Something Great
Ghost of Tsushima marks a huge turning point for Sucker Punch Productions, who have been making great games for the last couple of decades.
It got its start producing Rocket: Robot On Wheels for the Nintendo 64, a small sleeper hit that eventually got the attention of Sony. That prompted them to team up with the developer for a trio of Sly Cooper games on the PlayStation 2, creating a popular new franchise for the platform.
But Sucker Punch would move on to bigger things on the PlayStation 3, creating the superhero/supervillain adventure Infamous and its follow-ups. The developer would continue to work on the franchise on PS4 with two games, Second Son and First Light.
Now, with Ghost of Tsushima out for release, Sucker Punch has turned a monumental corner with its development and set itself up to continue its efforts on the PlayStation 5. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
It Pays Tribute To Arika Kurosawa In the Best Way Possible
There’s no doubt that Ghost of Tsushima is inspired by classic samurai films of old – namely Akira Kurosawa, the director of Seven Samurai and Sanjuro. In fact, one of the key modes featured in the game is Kurosawa Mode, in which the game takes a turn for the black and white, featuring original Japanese language and subtitles.
To get this mode up and running, the developers at Sucker Punch actually got the blessing of Kurosawa’s estate, so that they could pay loving tribute to the long-time director, who passed back in 1988. As a result, many fans are pleased by the end result, playing Ghost in the best way possible.
Of course, some people may prefer color, if only to see the absolute vivid details that the game is capable of. But for those that really want to get that old samurai feeling out of Ghost, Kurosawa Mode is the way to go. (Not to mention that the photo mode is surprisingly fun. Here’s to a good looking samurai!)
The Wind Is Your Guide
Usually, in video games, you have markers that give you a good idea of where to go in the open world. However, in Ghost of Tsushima, you actually have to rely on something else – the wind.
To get an idea of where your next objective lies, all you need to do is follow the wind current within the game. It’s fairly easy to see, with waves brushing over the land. It’ll also give you an idea of how you can travel within the world, whether it’s on your loyal steed or by foot, depending on the distance.
It’s a nice touch, keeping the game distinctively old-school while adding a flair that truly works in one of its nature.
Khotun Khan Is an Outstanding Villain
Finally, you know how most games feature bad guys that are letdowns and really don’t offer anything of importance to the story? We’ve seen that all too often. But Ghost of Tsushima actually has a terrific one, the terrifying Mongol warrior Khotun Khan.
Not only is Khan confident in battle and absolutely relentless in his attack style, but he’s also…sympathetic and honorable? Believe it or not, there’s some depth to Khan as he’s speaking with Jin and his uncle, as you see his motivations right upfront. Sure, he’s ruthless, just like Genghis Khan before him. But you actually get an idea of where he’s coming from. Not that you relate to someone as merciless as him, but you feel the need to bring him down, and that motivates you to continue on your journey.
And no matter what language you choose, he’s incredibly well voice acted, adding to the depth of his character. Your final battle with him is nothing short of spectacular, and it’s all about the build-up.
Ghost of Tsushima is available now for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro.
Illfonic has become well known in the multiplayer game space with its surprisingly enjoyable adaptation of Friday the 13th: The Game, where one player takes on the role of the unstoppable Jason Voorhees while the others are hapless campers simply trying to escape his grasp. So, naturally, they’re an ideal team for bringing the Predator to the gaming space, right?
We’re talking about the sci-fi villain first introduced in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name from 1987, who has since gone on to star in a few lackluster sequels, and mostly forgettable games (save for the rad Alien vs. Predator adaptations we’ve seen over the years). So, yeah, done the right way, a Predator game could be aces in our book. And that’s just what Illfonic tries with Hunting Grounds. The real question, though, is if they capture lightning in a bottle again. Well…
Is It Time To Hunt?
If you’re looking for a single-player experience, Hunting Grounds, sadly, isn’t it. You’re stuck hopping into online-only sessions against other players, with one taking on the role of the alien hunter and the others playing hapless commandos that use whatever weapons they can muster to try and bring him down. It seems like a balanced affair at first, but then you begin noticing the little things that detract from the experience.
I mean, how hard would it have been to throw in a single-player story mode with both perspectives? One side playing as the soldiers hunting after the Predator, and another from a Predator’s point of view, perhaps introducing him to the hunt in general. It’s a sorely missed opportunity.
Alas, as it stands, the game seems to lack balance. The Predator side of things is a thrill to play, especially with his numerous weapons and tools to use to his credit. They’re ripped straight from the films, so everything, from the claws to the shoulder-mounted cannon to the various heated viewpoints, are fair game.
However, if you’re playing as a human commando, the experience just isn’t quite the same. That’s because along with having to try and communicate with your team (which doesn’t work as well as expected), you also have to deal with secondary objectives that just don’t make sense. Dealing with enemy soldiers is one thing, but having to flip switches and get other things done – it just wears on you. We’re here to hunt, not build up to a hunt.
Then there’s the hunting itself when the Predator finally enters the picture over the course of one round. This is where Illfonic shows off what magic it can do, as match-ups can be fun at first. Playing as the Predator, as we said, is quite satisfying, especially if you can bag a couple of kills in a row.
However, the commandos seem a little empty-handed. You’d think that they would have some kind of advantage as they enter this lopsided match-up. Alas, you’re stuck firing blindly, hoping to get a Predator out of the mix. That said, we didn’t experience a single match where the humans came out on top. We’re not sure if it was intended this way or not, but a little more balancing could’ve gone a long way here.
Plus, the Predator can climb to the high ground and actually gain a new perspective on things, all in wonderful third-person. The commandos, well, don’t, and it makes it feel like the other players are shut out of the experience. Not to mention that none of them have the benefit of the awesome invisibility cloak.
Not to mention the fact that Hunting Grounds is painfully short on content. Without any sort of offline mode, there’s only one general hunting mode to choose from, across three maps. This game could’ve easily been loaded with more content. This one is painfully shorthanded, even for the discounted price.
A Lopsided Presentation and Poor Leveling Up
There’s additional equipment that you can unlock on both the human and Predator sides of the game. Unfortunately, they don’t change up the experience much. Sure, you may bag a couple of extra “cool” kids for your trouble, but outside of that, it just doesn’t go to new heights. It feels like the Predator continues to have the advantage, no matter what. If only we had more Predators to hunt each other, instead of the other way around.
On top of that, however, Hunting Grounds also runs into trouble with its visuals. They can be sharp at times, especially playing from the Predator’s side of things. But there are also troublesome glitches and all-out crashes that can hamper a match-up relatively easy. It also doesn’t have the fastest frame rate, even on a PS4 Pro.
That’s sad to see because the audio is about spot-on. The commando jabber is about on the level of the film, and the sound effects and music cues are truly authentic.
Also, there should be something said about cosmetic appearances within the game. It is cool to pick up new skins and weapons using in-game currency, but it can take a while. Surprise, there is an option to use real cash to unlock it. That’s right, loot boxes appear to be back in droves. Take that news as you will.
The Thrill of the Hunt Is (Mostly) Gone
I really wanted to like Predator: Hunting Grounds on the same level as previous good games featuring the character. It’s a novel concept, and in the hands of Illfonic, it could’ve easily done no wrong. Alas, with its short amount of content, lacking visuals, and lopsided gameplay, it’s not quite the killer hunt that players were expecting. There are some good moments here, but they’re drowned in cheesiness – and not even the good kind, like the films.
Predator: Hunting Grounds has time to bleed, but not in the way that many fans are expecting.
While we still have yet to get a look at the PlayStation 5 hardware, Sony did, at the very least, take a small step with their next-generation console today with the unveiling of its new PlayStation 5 DualSense controller.
That’s right. Instead of being called DualShock, it’s now under the name DualSense. Senior vice president of platform planning and management Hideaki Nishino explained this further in a PlayStation Blog post.
With the controller, he’s hoping audiences will “hear our vision for how the new controller will captivate more of your senses as you interact with the virtual worlds in PS5 games. The features of DualSense, along with PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech, will deliver a new feeling of immersion to players.”
So how is it?
Based on the first images, the DualSense controller looks a little…spacey. It has a design similar to the DualShock 4 controller, but the Touchpad is more integrated into the controller itself, with glowing streamlines on the sides. The D-pad and buttons also look to be a little more “mushy,” probably easier to use with games that will utilize them. There’s also a smaller Home button on the bottom of the controller, a bigger PlayStation logo, and an overall black-and-white look (with a bit of blue) that makes it stand out compared to other controllers.
There’s also a “built-in microphone array, which will enable players to easily chat with friends without a headset – ideal for jumping into a quick conversation. But of course, if you are planning to chat for a longer period, it’s good to have that headset handy,” according to the blog.
It also has haptic feedback, a much-requested feature that’s been a big hit with Xbox One controllers. That’s some good news.
Wait, no Share button?!
The ”Share” button has also been replaced, but with a new “Create” button. According to Nishino, “we’ve built upon the success of our industry-first Share button to bring you a new ‘Create’ button feature. With Create, we’re once again pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves. We’ll have more details on this feature as we get closer to launch.”
The company went through “several concepts and hundreds of mockups” to get to this final design. It’s…creative, to say the least. But whether it can hold up compared to the DualShock 4 has yet to be seen. Sony did promise we would eventually get our hands-on with it.
It does mark a “radical departure” from traditional controller design, that’s for sure. But is it enough for gamers? We’ll have to see when we eventually get around to playing it later this year.
So right now, we’re in the midst of a major shutdown of, well, pretty much everything due to the Coronavirus. States are shutting down bars and restaurants; stores are becoming barren with supplies; and, well, E3 is no more.
But this, soon enough, shall pass once a vaccine is figured out and all that. But even then, E3 is no more, as we pointed out in a previous editorial. And while there are a lot of digital events that will be happening (so we can enjoy them in our jammies like damn human beings), there’s not really any sort of gathering planned to get us through the doldrums of our gaming summer.
Ah, but that’s where I’d like to make a request – PlayStation Experience.
For those unfamiliar, this Sony-exclusive event was a big hit with fans over the years. It originally began in 2002 in Europe, but started its U.S. run in 2014, taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Soon enough, Sony moved it to San Francisco and finally Anaheim, where players could go to Disneyland when they weren’t enjoying up-and-coming games on the horizon.
The last couple of years haven’t seen an event like this, but both 2016 and 2017 were magical years for the event. 2016 in particular was huge, as Sony introduced a number of potential hits, like Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, Persona 5, and several others. It became a haven for both AAA and indie releases. 2017, not so much, as there weren’t as many games. But it was still a winner with fans.
Then, in 2018, it kind of faded off. Sony switched it to Southeast Asia for some reason and left U.S. gamers high and dry. Then it started skipping E3 and going with digital presentations, akin to what Nintendo was doing with its Direct specials.
But here we are in 2020, with the PlayStation 5 just months away (pending any sort of Coronavirus-related incidents, of course), and there’s no word on what Sony has in mind. That’s why we’re thinking that the PlayStation Experience would be perfect. Mind you, later this summer (think late June or early July after all this illness stuff is figured out) when we could get a first look at the hardware and, more importantly, the games the company has in mind.
Sony’s always had a way to pace these shows out so that users could enjoy a handful of great games, including potential PS5 releases. So, a new PSE in Anaheim would make sense. First off, it wouldn’t be overcrowded like E3 usually is, preventing pretty much anything from being seen. And Sony could literally take the show any direction it sees fit, whether they’re hyping Horizon Zero Dawn 2, Knack 3 (c’mon, you want it) or whatever else it has planned for the new hardware. Not to mention a great indie showcase for those that want to see it.
And considering that E3 is done for (and, for that matter, EA Play and, for all we know, maybe even PAX West), we need some kind of get-together to remind us how great gaming is. And the PlayStation Experience could be the comeback ticket.
Obviously, Sony isn’t thinking about it at this moment, since it’s just released MLB the Show 20 and Nioh 2 for fans to enjoy, with The Last of Us Part II not too far off. But it doesn’t hurt to have it in the back of their minds, prepping for some kind of summer event where people could get together and enjoy all that Sony has to offer.
Just a thought. I mean, what else are they going to do, have a digital presentation? It makes sense if the Coronavirus is long-term, sure. But they want that crowd reaction. They heard it from the previous PSE events and it just works. And the PlayStation 5 could bring the biggest one yet, especially – and we’re crossing our fingers on this – if backward compatibility is a thing. We need that.
So, give it some thought, Sony. Obviously, you’ve got other things on your plate, but the return of the PlayStation Experience would be a big hit with us. And, hey, you could bring back Cory Barlog and company for presentations. And surprises. Heck, even bring along Greg Miller for something. (Provided he’s wearing a shirt.)
For the first time since 1996, there will not be an Electronic Entertainment Expo to call home. The Entertainment Software Association (or the ESA, for short), confirmed the news on Wednesday morning, citing “growing concerns over (the) COVID-19 virus,” or Coronavirus as it’s more commonly known. As a result, it’s now “exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.”
Now, here’s the thing. The coronavirus is definitely a reason why the show eventually went the way of the dodo this year. But leading up to that, many were questioning what it should’ve been anyway. With Sony pulling out for a second consecutive year and many companies wondering if it was worth it, the ESA previously noted that it would come back with an all-new take on what people expected from the show. This followed a previous data leak of over 2,000 journalists and other attendees, which the company still has yet to apologize for.
This newly focused show would’ve originally included “surprise guests, stage experiences, access to insiders, and experimental zones,” going against the mantra of what the show was known for in the first place. That means focus on games, game developers, and game hype. Instead, it sounded like E3 was headed in a disastrously worse direction, leading many to wonder if the show was still needed. Alas, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Despite E3’s cancellation, this gives a chance to the ESA to refocus and bring the show back to basics. We’ve recommended a few things that it can do to win over the community again, because, boy, does it need to.
First off, the apology. It noted that it was aware of the data leak that took place last year, but not once did it say it was sorry for the error. Honestly, this goes a long way. By acknowledging a mistake and saying, “We’re ready to win back your trust” instead of hiring some outside security agency to protect its assets, it repairs the bridge that it burned down once the data leak took place.
The second thing? Get back Geoff Keighley. Say what you will, but Keighley is a prominent figure in the E3 scene. When he announced he wouldn’t return to the show last month because it wasn’t the same event he remembered, that was a colossal blow. Now that the show will take an online stance this year, it’s a good opportunity to mend that relationship and have him host an E3 online special, done his way. As he’s proven with the Video Game Awards and the Gamescom presentation in the past, doing things his way totally works.
And then? Forget the hoopla. We understand that E3 is trying to do things in the way of the Penny Arcade Expo. But let’s be fair – it’s not PAX. It’s an industry show. That’s what many people recognize it for, that’s what it needs to be. Part of these Coronavirus fears come from the fact that the show is more packed than it needs to be. We know that the ESA wants to make money from the public, but this is the wrong way to do it.
A separate event. Some activities surrounding the event, like what Microsoft has done with its pavilion. Doing stuff that will have people feeling the E3 mantra without actually being at E3 itself. There are smarter ways to do this. And now that the show is on the shelf for the next year, the ESA can knuckle down and take it back to basics. It needs to if it’s going to win over the trust of attendees again.
And do away with the business plan of “experimental zones.” Really? Is this a children’s museum? No, it’s E3. That means having games that fill up space and not necessarily energy drink dance parties like what took over the floor last year. This is a matter of focusing on games and giving everyone a chance to show off what they’ve got coming in the next year.
That means lowering rates. We know the Convention Center in L.A. isn’t a cheap space to host an event, but it worked so well in the past. So, make use of every corner of its building. By that, we mean this: bring back Kentia Hall and the weird, wonderful developers that can’t afford the typical floor space or the private meeting rooms. Bring back the back halls where smaller companies can provide a good hosting spot. Hell, bring back Naughty America and get people talking again. (Once more, make this an industry event and not something where the kids can go in and accidentally brush into, say, Dr. Disrespect.)
This is your chance, ESA. Make June’s showcase something special with Geoff Keighley, Melonie Mac and all the talent you can muster to get people excited for games. Then reshuffle your deck and make the show what it should have been for the last few years, complete with all the games you can carry and the open opportunities for everyone – smaller developers included – to thoroughly enjoy. Make E3 E3 again, if that makes sense.
Meanwhile, we’ll see you in the chat rooms for the virtual presentation in June. Hopefully, it won’t be overloaded with “experimental zones.”