Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, PlayStation 5 and the latest releases!
We now have everything we need to know for the upcoming next-gen consoles. Took them long enough, but this week Sony finally provided a showcase to lay out their plans after Microsoft revealed theirs last week.
The showcase was fairly bog-standard, with nothing particularly revelatory for much of its run time. A lot of fancy new trailers for games we already know about. And while I am interesting in the likes of Resident Evil VIII, Death Loop and Oddworld: Soulstorm, I feel like I didn’t learn much new about them.
There were some new game announcements, namely Final Fantasy XVI, Hogwarts: Legacy and God of War: Ragnarök. But even then, none of these were all that surprising.
It was inevitable that Square Enix were going to make another entry in their hugely popular JRPG franchise, and while the trailer looked good, I hope that level of quality carries over to the main game. Personally I’ve been indifferent to the mainline FF series for a while now, with X-2 (yes) being the last one I actually enjoyed, this year’s FF7 Remake excluded. It’s got a dark fantasy vibe though, so it does look like we’re finally moving away from Nomura’s obsession with modern tech but magical.
Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world Harry Potter game that’s been an open secret for about two years now, with rumours and leaks flying around more than a Golden Snitch (that’s a reference that makes sense, right?). Of course, this news comes after J.K. Rowling has been attracting even more attention for her views on trans people, which I’m not going to go into here, but needless to say, it’s given this announcement a sour taste for many. Odd timing, but I guess it can’t be helped.
God of War: Ragnarök is the sequel to 2018’s excellent God of War, although the reveal was just confirming it’s going to happen. And honestly, if you didn’t think Sony weren’t going to make another God of War set in that universe following its phenomenal success and the fact it deliberately left a lot of questions wide open for a sequel, then I don’t know what to tell you. It’s out next year, but this vague announcement doesn’t bode well for that being true.
All in all, a fairly okay presentation with no major surprises, and we’re still in a position where most of the big releases aren’t coming for a year or two yet, raising questions about how essential the new system is right now.
They also finally revealed the price, which matches the Xbox Series X for price, while the Digital Edition is £370, £100 cheaper than the main model but also £100 more expensive the Xbox Series S. Which makes sense, as the Digital PS5 is just a PS5 with no disk drive, while the Series S is stripped down in many ways and rivals the Xbox One X for specs, making it less of a leap forward.
What Sony didn’t put in their showcase, bafflingly, was confirmation of the launch line-up and pre-order details. Instead, this info came out in a blog post about an hour or two later, which revealed pre-orders are up today. The problem with this information is that if you weren’t obsessively glued to social media after the presentation, you’re unlikely to be able to pre-order a PS5 at all now, as stocks are incredibly limited.
The lack of launch line-up is especially odd, because two games were given a big focus in the showcase, and you’d think a big “AVAILABLE AT LAUNCH” at the end would be a great sell for the likes of Spider-Miles and the Demon’s Souls remake. But no, this information was held back for no real reason.
Sony’s messaging has been getting increasingly odd too, with bizarre cageyness around exclusivity of certain games (a trailer announced a PC release for Demon’s Souls, and then was hastily pulled without explanation), some u-turns on cross-gen releases (months ago, there were no cross-platform releases, now three games have been confirmed) and the announcement of first-party games being pushed to £70, which is a really tone-deaf announcement considering the year we’re in and considering Xbox is pushing not only a payment plan for their systems, but bundling in a subscription that gets you all their first-party titles for “free”. It’s a little bit “The PS3 is $699” for my liking.
I still don’t know what’s going to happen with this new gen. Both consoles have strengths but they also have glaring weaknesses, and while one has a stronger launch line-up, the other has a stronger value proposition for customers.
I’ll no doubt have a full article closer to release explaining the differences between the two systems, if all of this is confusing to you at the moment.
This week sees the release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, the collection of classic 3D Mario titles coming to Switch. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Odyssey are all coming for a limited time starting this week. And then hopefully after that we could see the emulators they’re built on bring N64, Gamecube and Wii games to the Switch at last? Maybe? Yes?
In indie releases, we’ve got The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos, a game with an unpronounceable name coming to Steam. It’s a tactical RPG with a variety of classes and leans more Discworld than Tolkien in its presentation. And then there’s Pacer for PC, PS4 and Xbox, which is from a team of people who used to work on WipEout games at Sony Liverpool, and their new game is…WipEout with the serial numbers filed off. I mean, that’s fine by me.
One major indie release this week is Spelunky 2 for PS4, and a Steam release following next week. It’s the sequel to hugely popular Spelunky, in which you explore procedurally generated caves in search of treasure. The sequel promises more of the same experience but with greater tweaks and additions like mounts and liquid physics that drastically affect the environment. It’s getting rave reviews like its predecessor, so might be worth watching out for.
Game of the Week
My Game of the Week is BPM: Bullets Per Minute, an FPS which draws heavily from the old school of Doom and Quake, but with a unique twist. All your actions are performed on the beat, creating a wild symphony of death in time with the music, and honestly, isn’t that what we all want from our games?
I’ve played a little bit of it and so far it’s shaping up to be a lot of raucous fun that gets really fun as its unique mechanics get its hooks in you.
And that’s it for this week! See you again for more gaming news and releases!