Hello! Welcome to the latest edition of the Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, PS5 details, bland Baldur’s Gate players, plus all the latest releases!
More PS5 Details Revealed
Sony have gone into a little more detail regarding PS5’s features, including backwards compatibility and the UI.
For backwards compatibility, things are looking straightforward. More than 99% of the PS4 library will run (to some degree) on the PS5, with only a tiny handful of games which won’t work at all. However, looking at the list, which consists of just ten games, you’re not missing out on much, as the list has a collective Metacritic average of 56%, most of them are poorly-received VR titles, and the only one I’d even heard was Hitman Go, a port of a mobile game. You probably don’t need to worry if Ghost of Tsushima will run okay.
Some have taken issue with Sony’s clarification that there may be issues with some other games, but this isn’t a surprise to anyone who tried running PS1 games on the PS3, as that emulator would frequently mess with games (can confirm that Ape Escape, for instance, never leaves the title screen). I see the PS4 library running smoother than that on PS5, but anyone in the games industry will tell you that games can frequently glitch out for no reason when running on hardware it was never optimised for. Which also means that the more recent the game, the better it’ll probably run.
It’s also kind of funny how much of a non-story this is after how many people kicked up a fuss about wanting details because…there are basically no details. The PS5 supports PS4 games, and that’s…it.
More notable is the PS5 UI presentation which emerged this week, showing off the menus and features of the system software. It looks a lot like the PS4’s menu system, but slicker in its presentation. And the new features seem to revolve around the in-game “control centre”, which is a more condensed menu that pops up at the bottom of the screen when you press the PS button while in a game.
There are also new additions designed to make sharing easier, and a feature called Activities, where you can get little challenges within the game, complete with hints and an instant access button to jump to the place you can start that challenge. It’s a feature that looks cool, but it is incredibly dependent on developers making good use of it. Not sure how this will pan out long term.
There are also changes to the party system and voice chat, allowing you to view other people’s gameplay while playing a game of your own, cards instantly accessible in the menu to join other games (rather than the slightly laborious series of menus you currently have to click through), and easy switching between games to facilitate this further.
There has been a little concern due to an announcement regarding voice chat, which will apply to both PS4 and PS5, although it seems to have been misconstrued. Voice chat can be recorded and clipped for reporting purposes now, so if someone’s being abusive in chat, you can report them to Sony to get them suspended or banned from the service. However, many have interpreted this as Sony constantly spying on party chat for nefarious ends, but the actual functionality sounds almost identical to the share function, where the last 15 minutes is recorded and can be clipped from at any time. And not staff at Sony sitting and monitoring everyone’s voice chat like Big Brother.
There are some other little things too, such as the shop seemingly being fully integrated into the system UI, rather than a separate app, and non-games media shoved off into its own menu, so Netflix will no longer sit in amongst your games like it thinks it belongs there.
Looking pretty nice, but then again so to is the Xbox UI. Everything is looking pretty nice! Yeah!
Amazon’s live service title Crucible is being shut down for good.
Amazon took their first awkward steps into AAA gaming in May this year, with Crucible, a weird hero shooter/Destiny hybrid. Following a lukewarm reception from the general gaming audience, two of the game’s three modes were shut down mere weeks after launch. Later in June, the game was pulled back into closed beta, a move that didn’t bode well for the future of the game.
This week it’s been confirmed that it will never re-emerge from closed beta, and instead will be shut down, as developer Relentless says they don’t see “a healthy, sustainable future ahead of Crucible.”
It’s not a great start for Amazon’s games business, which currently can only list Twitch as its sole success, and that was due to purchasing the site when it was already popular. Along with Google’s limping Stadia, it suggests that entering the billion-dollar gaming market isn’t as simple as a big tech company throwing obscene amounts of money around. Microsoft seem to be the sole success so far, and they did that by entering it 20 years ago (although Game Pass is good if we’re keeping it current).
Amazon still have plans for gaming coming up, however. Their MMO New World is set to launch next year, and their own streaming service, Luna, is on the way. Time will tell if they fare better.
Nintendo Take On TikTok User
Nintendo have sent a cease and desist order to TikTok user Pokeprincxess over trademark concerns.
Pokeprincxss, now known as Digitalprincxss, has been forced to change her user name and pay back some earnings after she caught Nintendo’s attention, and weren’t too pleased about her use of their IP.
On the surface, this seems like a major company abusing their legal power to take down a humble creator, but then you look into her and realise, oh, Nintendo did have a point. Among Pokeprincxss’ crimes were selling merchandise with Pokémon characters and symbols, along with her username. At first glance, these shirts could easily be confused with officially licensed Nintendo products, and perhaps unsurprisingly, you can’t just slap someone else’s IP on a shirt and expect to not face some ramifications.
Oh, and also she has an OnlyFans where she posts pornography, and Nintendo don’t seem to be too fond of that part of it either. You know, what with Pokémon being a family brand and all.
To be fair, she has taken it in her stride and owned up to not really being aware of what she was doing, and that it was her fault. Which is a much better reaction than we usually see in influencer-related stories like this.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Players Are Boring
Dungeons and Dragon is fun and presents an opportunity to jump into the shoes of a completely different person in a vast imaginative fantasy world. Baldur’s Gate 3, officially licensed by Wizards of the Coast, presents many of the races and classes from the popular TTRPG, including the demonic tiefling and the weird alien githyanki. With the game now out in Early Access, developers Larian Studios got curious about the kind of characters people were creating in the game, and used data to construct a representation of the most-chosen features of the character creator.
The result was depressing, as it was a boring white man with the blandest features imaginable. In Larian’s words, it was a “default Vault Dweller”. And as someone who can’t stand the idea of making myself in a game that isn’t Animal Crossing, I find it bizarre. You’re in a vast fantasy world, go wild with your character choice!
Larian are just playing around in their comments but it does make me wonder, just how many people are boring and just make themselves in character creators?
In new indie releases this week, we’ve got quite a lot going on. Foregone, out on all consoles, is a fast-paced 2D action game, very similar to Dead Cells without the roguelike elements. Syntherapy is a visual novel all about acting as a therapist to a malfunctioning AI, raising questions about mental health and ethics around AI. Batbarian: Testament of the Primordials is a 2D platformer where you’re navigating a cave with a luminescent bat buddy. Crown Trick is a cross between a strategic RPG and roguelike dungeon crawler where the dungeon only moves when you move.
Advertised absolutely everywhere online right now, Partisans 1941 is a real-time strategy game for PC set during World War II as you take control of a band of rebels taking on German occupants through guerrilla warfare. If you like strategy and aren’t terminally bored with the WW2 setting like I am, this might be of interest.
Torchlight 3 is the third in the Diablo-lite series. Initially an experiment with an MMO-style title, this sequel is now a straightforward follow-up to the initial two. Out in Early Access since June, this week sees it emerging as a full release, along with releases for PS4 and Xbox One. A Switch version is set to arrive later.
Cake Bash is another wacky multiplayer title available for PC, PS4 and Xbox, but not Switch yet, oddly, since it’s a perfect Switch game. As the title suggests, everyone plays a cake and they all have to bash each other. It’s really that simple.
Second Extinction entered Early Access this week. It’s been getting a lot of attention thanks to its heavy promotion around Xbox Series X, but it’s not clear if it’ll be completely done in time for that system’s launch in a month. It’s a big brash shooter that throws huge numbers of dinosaurs at you, like Turok on steroids.
And as you’d expect from October, there are more than enough spooky themed games out this week. Vigil: The Longest Night takes cues from both Igarashi Castlevanias and Dark Souls, in a brutal monster-filled Metroidvania that I personally found a little too frustrating when I played a demo of it earlier this year. The Signifier is a dark moody thriller combining investigation, psychology and AI in a unique experience that delves into the subconscious for a tense-looking experience. Ring of Pain is a roguelike card game featuring horrific monster designs, also on Steam. And This is the Zodiac Speaking is a mystery horror game based around the infamous Zodiac Killer from the 1970s.
Lucifer Within Us is a mystery game where you play as an exorcist. You interrogate suspects and figure out their stories, but also work to track down and exorcise demons that are possessing people. It looks like a really interesting experience.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain is the sequel to 2018’s Remothered: Tormented Fathers, which seems to be a bit of a forgotten horror gem, which won a ton of awards and got endorsed by Keiichiro Toyama of Silent Hill and Siren fame, and yet never seemed to get hugely successful. Broken Porcelain is set around a mysterious inn where the protagonist works as a maid. It’s clearly taken a lot of influence from the Clock Tower series so if you’ve been hoping for a new game of that style, this might be worth looking into.
We may not be seeing Bloodlines 2 until next year, but it’s not the only game based on the World of Darkness TTRPG Paradox are putting out, as this week saw the release of Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Heart of the Forest. Yes, that’s far too many colons, but the game itself sounds decent. It’s a visual novel with RPG mechanics focused on an American woman of Polish descent heading to her ancestral home to discover more about her heritage. Spoilers: it involves werewolves. In case the title didn’t make this clear.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is Re:Turn: One Way Trip, a horror-themed point and click adventure.
After a group of teens go camping in the woods, they get separated, and protagonist Saki must head out to find her friends. As she explores, she finds an old abandoned train lodged in a tunnel, and discovers dark secrets hidden within, sparking a story featuring ghosts, time travel and unrequited love all represented in a stylish pixel art look.
I’ve played through this already (and will have a full review soon!) and really enjoyed the atmosphere of this. It’s a short one, but it’s so engaging and interesting in both atmosphere and storyline that I recommend checking it out. Some of the puzzles are a little obtuse, but what else is new for a point and click?
And that’s it for this week! See you again soon with another Gaming Roundup next week!