Playstation Now – First Impressions

I recently signed up for the Playstation Now 7 day free trial.  The range of titles is pretty impressive and our buddies across the pond have had another load drop in this week – when the EU gets a hefty update is unclear – I haven’t found anything online as yet.

The service itself is pretty straight forward – you select the game you want to stream, it saves to the cloud and allows you to gain trophies…ideal for folks who either don’t or no longer have a PS3 and still want to play older titles – a nice way to get past the lack of backwards compatibility.

My main concern is the pricing.  £12.99 a month for unlimited access is pretty good but there are no deals for PS+ users.  A perk would be, for an extra few quid more, PS Now is an added feature to all PS+ users.   Most of us nowadays also have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify and a variety of other streaming subscription services so the price is a bit off-putting.

If a monthly subscription isn’t your bag, then a 48 hour rental period for £2.99 or a 30 day rental period for £7.99 may be better BUT this is per each title meaning that the £12.99 option is more worthwhile unless you simply MUST play the odd title here and there.

To give the actual gameplay a review is difficult as my internet has been terrible over the past week meaning that even browsing the web has been a chore.  Sky, yet again, are having issues in my area – no doubt all that tinkering with the cabinets with fibre now being available here.  Sadly I haven’t played it much due to my connection issues hence this isn’t a review.

So far I have tried Twisted Metal, Everybody’s Golf, Crazy Taxi and Ratchet & Clank A Crack In Time.  Due to my connection  I cannot fairly comment on the quality of streaming as I suffered a lot of input lag.  The games themselves loaded pretty smoothly and the only time the stream struggled was during the CG sequences on Ratchet & Clank.  Gameplay was fine aside from the input lag meaning that, as you can imagine in a platform game, timing of jumps and attacks were off resulting in a severe beating and level restarts.  At times, movement would get stuck so when you’re running, despite letting go of the stick, you keep going.  Again, that resulted in many deaths and me giving up to play a PS4/PSN game.

One thing I was quite surprised about was that Remote Play functions on PS Now.  I usually use the PS TV in my living room as my PS4 stopped working on my main TV (HDMI handshake issue, I think) so the PS TV gets me by until I’m in bed.  Obviously, due to my connection issues it struggled over Remote Play but the sheer fact it lets you do it is pretty awesome as a lot of features don’t work over Remote Play.

So, all in all, it’s a good service with a good selection of titles that looks to be getting expanded upon soon but for folks with poor upload speeds it’s not worthwhile unless you want to suffer from input lag to the point you Hulk out.  Plus, the price seems too steep for my liking especially as I already pay for PS+.  Seeing as PS+ gives us access to PS3 titles monthly, for those that can’t redeem them it would be awesome to allow unlimited access to that game on PS Now.

If you’ve tried it out, share your thoughts below!

Just Dance 2016 Preview

I had my review copy from Ubisoft in a few days ago, came home from work to find it so I decided to have a quick go on it that night.  I was lying in bed.  And after 3 songs had earned 4 trophies without even busting a move.

I don’t own a Playstation Camera, I have the Playstation Eye and Move controller but the Move is only compatible with the new camera as the Eye doesn’t work on the PS4 which we all (should) know.  So after popping in the disc to install it and then running through the quick profile set up the typical getting started cards appeared and, to my surprise, one mentioned playing via your mobile phone.

Singstar and Just Dance have a number of similarities, the 2 main ones being the fact you can play with your mobile if you don’t have or can’t be bothered to haul the bits ‘n’ bobs out.  Secondly, as I found whilst lying in my bed and waving my arm around like an over-caffeinated flight controller it’s quite easy to “cheat”.  Singstar allowed you to mumble or say other words but as long as the pitch was similar you’d score points.  Here, you can dance the night away by just waving your arm around like a loon.  But where’s the fun in that?

Naturally, like Singstar and other games of their ilk, these are party games with much fun to be had with family and friends.  At the time of writing this little preview, I haven’t had a chance to do that yet but my first impressions are that this game seems like the perfect means of entertainment if you have a few friends round or a family night.  Whether I will be saying this after the kids try their hand at it and end up dropping my Galaxy S6 or getting too hyperactive due to the lucid colours and dancing pandas is yet to be determined.

Pick up your copy now!

Living Daylights – My Time So Far On Dying Light

Yet another zombie game.

That’s what you could think and what you probably will think.  But you’d be wrong.

Ever imagined what Glenn’s life in Walking Dead was like before the group decided to move after Rick’s arrival?  This game gives you a bigger insight into survival in a zombie outbreak situation.  It’s quite an adrenaline rush venturing out, scavenging for items to craft weapons and to trade to scrape together some cash for bigger and better weapons before it gets dark.

Your undead adversaries are rather docile by day, although still a tough challenge if they swarm you – wrestling yourself free from their deadly grasp can be tricky if you are surrounded as you get grabbed from all angles and if you don’t have a spare few seconds to use a medikit you’re pretty much screwed.

The visuals are lush – you start in the slums and despite the fact the premise is very samey, the exploration and, at times, the adrenaline fuelled parkour to escape deadly foes disguise the mundane.  The location is beautiful in a bizarre and morbid kinda way but at the heart of it, most buildings you can enter are practically identical in terms of design, layout and decor but when you’re scurrying around trying to find a DVD or a book for one of your sidequests you barely notice.

Wait, did I say DVD?  Yes, electricity is still working as is gas and water.  So, in a strange turn, rather than being without any sort of amenities etc. folks can still enjoy some pastimes.  Not that you get to, mind.

Story-wise, I’m only about 11% in after playing for just over 10 hours.  I think the story could probably be completed rather quickly but there are so many side quests and other tasks to do that I end up side tracking a lot – this reminds me a lot of Fallout but without the clunkiness of a VATS interface.

You start off by parachuting into Harran – your character is a mystery that is explored between missions when you have to sneak off to radio back to your handler – a mysterious woman who works at the GRE.  As you go on, it turns out you’re planted there to infiltrate and gain intel.   As you’d expect, things get complicated and I’m guessing allegiances are tested and broken.

The skill system is what you’d expect but, to be fair, I have noticed gradual changes as a result of unlocking new skills.  Unlike other games where you unlock a new ability and you just seem all-powerful until a situation arises where another power/ability is required, here the changes are more subtle.  For example, I unlocked a skill for improved free-running.  Now, when I run and leap between buildings the flow is much smoother – rather than feeling like an overweight, unfit twat the running feels like you’re becoming…well, fit.  Adept at doing activities that were previously a struggle.

Unlike other ‘survival’ games, guns are a rather rare element – at least so far.  I discovered a gun in someone’s house (the previous owner no longer required it seeing as he installed a sunroof in his cranium) but I then gave that to a chappie back at the Tower (the base of the folks who take you in at the start of the game).

My second and most recent discovery of a gun is on a mission for another group where you have to locate one of his teams and now I own a machine gun.  I made the mistake of using it to pop a few heads and now I have about 7 rounds left and that’s it – again, another significant difference – usually you find guns and then there’s no going back to melee weapons.

The drop-in/drop-out co-op online play is a huge benefit at times – especially on quests that have you trek from one side of the city to the other.  My one  gripe so far is the fact that to speak to a NPC to advance/start a quest requires all of you to be there (unlike Borderlands where you could just start regardless of the others’ locations).  Some other players seem to have their own agenda and go off leaving you to fend for yourself.

I really like the competitions you can set up – go near a mast and you can race the other folks in your session to the top (I won my first one – yay!), you can compete to kill the most zombies, collect the most loot, kill other survivors…it keeps the online sessions fresh in a PvP kinda manner without resorting to Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag etc.

Another online mode is where you can have someone drop in on Be The Zombie Mode – it’s a case of you destroying the nests while your opponent has to stalk you and take you out.  It’s a tense game of cat and mouse – as a human you have a set number of lives to destroy the nests.  Armed with your UV light, you have to weaken the zombie until you can go in for the kill and in the time it takes for it to respawn you have to advance towards the nests.

In summary, so far, this game well and truly rocks.  It’s oddly addictive and I find I actually care about the folks I meet and my own character too.

Destiny Review (PS4)

I’ve spent a few hours on Destiny – not as much as I would like – damned work/kids/life in general!

Despite the lack of playing it over Christmas (PSN DDoS attacks), when I finally got on it, it turns out it was well worth the wait.  I love it.  Yes it’s repetitive, yes it’s samey.  But it’s beautiful and challenging.

I’ll get my criticisms out of the way first .

  1. Despite the large environments, the lack of other players except at the Tower feels a tad underwhelming.  I’ve played games like World of Warcraft etc. and you couldn’t move for spying other players questing and generally dishing out death and inadvertently saving your ass.  Destiny has a smaller number of players roaming the game world outside of the Tower and the fact that a ‘fire team’ consists of only 3 people it seems less populated despite the number of players online.
  2. Due to the lack of players on the various planets, getting members on your fire team for the trickier missions is nigh on impossible.  I’ve only had 2 people join mine in all my time playing and even then they disappeared after like 10 minutes.

Other than those, there are a few minor gripes but nothing worthy of actually noting here.  For the most part, the game is truly amazing.  It has a fantastic voice cast (including Peter Dinklage and Bill Nighy) and the story is your familiar fodder that allows you to just get stuck in.

Visually, each word is lush in its own way, for example Venus is a beautiful haven of greenery consuming and enveloping the architecture – think of Poison Ivy when she breaks loose and lets Mother Nature have her way with Gotham.

PvP is something I’m yet to delve into – I have had a quick go on a few match-ups and had my ass kicked for the most part.  Player matching seems a bit off in the sense that some folks have stupidly advanced gear and for newbies like myself, it was a proper arse-rapingly embarrassing affair.

At this time, I haven’t bought the expansions so my experience is based solely on the original game.

Overall, yes it is an extremely good game and I think I went in with expectations on the scale of WoW but it seems more like Bordlerlands in the sense of a more drop in/drop out co-op multiplayer gameplay.  If you enjoy shooters then this is a must.  If you can get past the the niggling feeling of solitude (at least that’s how it seems in my experience, but may vary if you have a lot of buddies on PSN that you can hook up with to take down some Fallen nasties rather than hoping strangers will join you on your journey).

Here’s a video of some gameplay of mine a few days back.  I died.  Lots.  But the 2 other players were randoms I bumped into and we banded together (we weren’t in a fire team).

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3jkx0EQIeE”]

Once I’ve had more time on this and tried out Expansion I ‘The Dark Below’, I’ll try and update this with a bit more ‘meat’.  But for now, game on!

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Playstation 4 Review

I finally got this bad boy fired up on Christmas Eve!  I didn’t get much gaming done, mind – most of my time was spent downloading game updates, installing the games and redeeming my codes (Season Passes etc).

This isn’t a review per se – it’s more a run-down of my perceptions of the console (I haven’t tried everything out yet).

 

First Impressions

Despite the fact this is more powerful than its predecessor, it is significantly lighter than the original PS3 (Fat 6oGB).  The almost alien look of it and cool strip light is a pretty suave, futuristic thing of beauty.  The controller took a bit of getting used to – it feels familiar but at the same time, getting used to the lack of ‘START’ and ‘SELECT’ buttons is still a struggle.

The touch pad is a pretty cool feature and again, feels a bit unusual, but once the old creature comforts die out, the controller is a mean piece of kit!

 

Getting Started

So, my Christmas Eve on the console consisted of installing GTA V, Destiny, Lego Batman 3, Far Cry 4, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Last of Us Remastered and a few other PSN games I downloaded.

Then the games needed software updates.

One thing I do love is the fact that you can multi-task now – as a game is installing/updating, you can flick to another game or app and play it while you wait.  No more boring black screen with a seemingly stationary progress bar.

 

First Game

I was torn as to which game to play first, but I settled with GTA V as I wanted to get online and claim the free items as part of the Festive event.  I was fortunate enough to be able to sign into PSN after 2 or 3 attempts and had a quick go online.

I then decided to hit the story mode and enjoy a game I had spent hours on on my PS3 in a new light – this game looks even more fantastic than before!  It took a bit of getting used to using the touch pad to change camera views and the first-person driving, whilst it looks lush, is just not my thing.  I also tested out my Turtle Beach Ear Force Z60 headset and was amazed!  I wasn’t sure if it’d work – my PS3 allowed voice chat but gameplay was still heard on the TV.  I plugged this in and felt a bit deflated as I had seen a video on Youtube saying it worked but didn’t specify what (would it just be the same as on my PS3?).  Googling turned up no info as to how it worked so I was glad that I finally got to test it myself and find that the PS4 has an option to send the audio to the headset as well.

On top of the awesome surround sound quality, I shortly discovered that my control pad also speaks to me.  You can pick up police radio chatter and phone calls from GTA V on it and the light was having an epileptic fit of blue and red flashiness as I was being chased by the cops in the opening mission.

Impresssed was not the word.

 

Disaster

So, Christmas Day hit and I was on the console off and on throughout the day.  PSN seemed intermittent and I just assumed high levels of traffic due to other new users as well as folks getting Destiny and the like.  Later in the evening, I discovered it was due to DDoS attacks.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say it ruined my Christmas but it did piss me off – I was dying to get onto Destiny and see what the fuss was all about!

In the meantime, I made do with playing Injustice and the story mode on CoD for a bit as well as bouts of GTA V.

Boxing Day was much the same and then I was back in work the day after.  After a few days, PSN was back and I still couldn’t get on but thanks to a post on Twitter that I spotted, it made mention of changing the MTU settings and voila!  Back on.

 

A Far Cry

Having played Far Cry 2 (for some reason I never got round to getting number 3), I loved the game and Far Cry 4 seemed like a good buy.  I wouldn’t say it’s shit but I’m just not…feeling it.  Visually it’s lovely and there is so much scope for activities and so on and I think that’s why I feel so miffed by it.  I see a fantastic game but I am becoming more and more apprehensive of vastly open worlds.  I get a tad anxious as it’s daunting trying to figure out where to start and what to do.  Plus, with the sheer abundance of side missions, easter eggs and collectibles games like this wind me up no end.  I will play it properly and I will no doubt over come this hurdle – a similar hurdle that I have with Lego Batman 3.  I know it is a rather linear game but there are large numbers of choices as well as the replayability freeplay gives you to go back with other characters to unlock new items and explore previously blocked areas.

 

Socially Twitchy

The social features on the PS4 are pretty neat – uploading videos and screenshots to Youtube and Facebook respectively and of course live streaming on Twitch.  This is something I plan on using a lot as part of the social and networking side of Nerdgazzum and tie that in to game reviews and so on.

 

Traveller’s Tales

Finally, I get to play Destiny the night I get my PSN back.  Despite my previous comments about anxiety over large, open world games this wasn’t so bad.  Again, it has its linear moments but the open world isn’t THAT open.  Having played other MMOs (namely World of Warcraft), this felt immediately familiar and quite comfortable.  Unlike WoW, though, I suck at PvP games so I think I’ll be spending my time levelling up and getting shit-hot gear before I tackle the Crucible events again.

The voice cast (Bill Nighy and Peter Dinklage for example) is awesome and the visuals are retina-scorchingly beautiful.  Again, there are a few things that need getting used to (events and so on) but I am thoroughly enjoying it.  One thing I’m finding odd, though is the number of players (or lack thereof).  I know millions upon millions play it but, unlike WoW, when you go to the likes of The Tower (the game’s hub basically) there aren’t that many other players there.  Trying to get folks to join a Fire Team is a chore and i just seems to dampen the experience for me at the moment as most missions are mainly tackled by myself.

 

Summary

So, in short – the PS4 is amazing.  There are a plethora of features and apps and what-not that I have had a shot on and many more I haven’t tried yet.  Add to that, the scope of possibility and other apps and abilities.  One thing I really wanna try is the Game Share feature just to see how well it works.

Stay tuned for more reviews as the PS4 is going to play an integral role on this blog for gaming reviews, funny moments and possibly even walkthroughs at some stage.