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Gaming Roundup – Five Alive

Hello! Welcome to the latest edition of the Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, the PS5 reveal event and some new games. That’s all.

Behold! The PlayStation Five!

Sony have revealed the PlayStation 5 to much fanfare, and it seems to have won quite a few people over. The final console design can be seen just above, and while it looks like a wi-fi router and is going to collect SO MUCH DUST, ultimately the things that matter in a new console are the price and the game library. And while we don’t know the former yet, we know a considerable amount about the latter.

I mean, the PS5 is getting Grand Theft Auto 5. It’s so revolutionary!

Joking aside, the rest of the lineup was much more interesting, so let’s run through it all, shall we?

First up, Spider-Man: Miles Morales. A teaser for the sequel to 2018’s Spider-Man game, which has got a lot of people very excited. Not me, I don’t care for superhero media, but I’m happy for those who enjoyed the last one. Which initially disappointed me because I’d heard Insomniac were working on a different project.

Then there was Gran Turismo 7. If you weren’t expecting the PS5 to have a Gran Turismo, then hello, welcome to Earth, how was Mars for the last 20 years? It’s Gran Turismo, so expect a lot of shiny cars and a pretentious menu soundtracked by smooth jazz.

Remember that disappointment I mentioned at the Spider-Man announcement? Turns out, Insomniac WERE working on another project, and much to my delight, it’s a new Ratchet & Clank! I’m aware I’m the one person in the room more hyped for Ratchet & Clank than Spider-Man but this is my roundup, I’m going to fanboy for a moment. Please allow me this.

Anyway, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an absolutely stunning R&C game, and the big plot hook this time is dimensional rifts, which Ratchet can manipulate to teleport around in combat. A lot of it seems to be designed to show off the PS5’s fast load times because so much of the game seems to be about hopping from place to place through dimensional tears. Some areas in the trailer and brief gameplay demo looked very familiar to me, so I’m wondering if we’ll be revisiting old areas from across the series. There also appears to be a lady Lombax who looks like she’ll team up with Clank when he gets separated from Ratchet. Whatever the outcome, I am always up for more adventures with Sony’s space cat and robot backpack buddy.

Next up, Square Enix revealed Project Athia which appears to be a cool looking action adventure with a parkour wizard. I’m interested, but I have no actual idea what it is yet.

Stray is a beautiful looking game set in a world populated by robots. So you’re playing a robot, obviously, right? Except no, because you’re playing a cat. And on that revelation, I was sold. I didn’t know I wanted a game where you play as a cat in robot world, but now I know it’s coming out next year, I want it.

Returnal is Housemarque’s new game and is a huge departure from their past work. This is a third-person shooter where you’re stuck in a time loop, making it at least the third game with time loops ready for release in the next year or so. Very much a teaser but you look set to be an astronaut crashed on an alien planet trying to survive, and death resets the timeline.

Anyway, I already gushed about Ratchet & Clank, now it’s time for me to do it again for another first-party PlayStation franchise because LittleBigPlanet is back in the form of Sackboy: A Big Adventure. This looks very much like a spinoff rather than a direct continuation of the past games, as there appears to be less focus on creation and the perspective has shifted to full 3D.

And oh my god, I need it. I adore the world of LittleBigPlanet and now a big ambitious 3D platformer set in it is always going to put a smile on my face. Co-op is still an option, and The Go! Team appear to be back on the soundtrack. Now we just need Stephen Fry and all is well.

Then they showed Destruction All Stars, which made me irrationally angry. Something about these big bold tryhard multiplayer titles annoys me now and I will speak no more on the matter. There’s cars and parkour. There you go.

Then a couple of cute small-scale games. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a game about a girl with a magical staff interacting with cute creatures in the woods, and on a mission to restore nature against a great evil from the looks of things. It’s got a great art style and every time I look at the trailer again I realise just how much I want this game. Look at those cute lil floofs up there!

Goodbye Volcano High is narrative adventure game about dinosaur teens with a slick cel-shaded look. It’s a little big Night of the Woods from what I can tell.

Sony’s third treat for me personally was the much-awaited reveal of Oddworld: Soulstorm gameplay. It’s looking big and bold and is probably the most ambitious Oddworld game to date from what I could tell. There was a big fancy train sequence with a lot of stuff exploding, so looks like Abe is set to throw himself into the usual dangers again.

We also got the first reveal of Ghostwire Tokyo gameplay, and it’s not at all what I was expecting. The initial reveal made me think it was going to be a tense horror game, but the reality is a first-person action title with magic powers and strange ghost designs. It’s got me curious though.

Jett: The Far Shore had a slightly vague trailer but appears to be about space exploration…I think? Maybe? Godfall gameplay was shown and it’s a big flashy slash-em-up whose trailer had the least appropriate music choice in the history of game trailers. And Solar Ash from the Hyper Light Drifter devs looks stylish as hell.

Hitman 3 was the next big game, with a stylish thriller-inspired trailer that ultimately was far too serious to be representative of a game where you’re more likely to be dressing up as a clown and killing someone with a homing briefcase.

Astro’s Playroom is more of the little robots from The Playroom and Astro-Bot on PS4, and appears to be some kind of platformer, although it’s not clear if VR is required for this one. Little Devil Inside was a weird-looking game about a man out on adventures mixed with shots of a Victorian-looking man in a fancy shop. Not sure what was going on here. And Bugsnax is a new game from the Octodad team that features living food that turn characters’ limbs into food when they’re eaten, resulting in a character gaining “wienie hands” and honestly I’m slightly scared.

NBA 2K21 will be on PS5, so I’m sure this will matter to people who care about sports.

Big news, particularly to Shuhei Yoshida, is that a Demon’s Souls remaster has been officially confirmed. Bluepoint are working on this, which is a good sign after their work on Shadow of the Colossus. The predecessor to Dark Souls will finally get a new lease of life, and will no doubt result in the next ten years of review discourse featuring the words “it’s hard, just like Demon’s Souls” even when that isn’t remotely true. So look forward to that.

Then they showed gameplay of one of the previously-announced time loop games. Death Loop, from Dishonored devs Arkane, will be a timed console exclusive to the PS5, and it looks excellent. It pulls in a lot from Dishonored, but it’s more action-oriented and has a cool 70s grindhouse vibe to it. I dig it.

Resident Evil Village was announced next, or rather, Resident Evil VIIIage (spot the subtle Roman numeral there). It’s going to follow in Resident Evil 7’s footsteps as a creepy first-person horror, and features werewolves and some creepy hatted ladies.

Capcom also revealed Pragmata, in a trailer reminiscent of Kojima’s nonsense, where an astronaut meets a little girl in a deserted city street, they fight off a satellite and end up on the moon. A hologram cat is also there. I have no idea what was happening here, to be honest, and we won’t know until 2022. Considering Capcom announced a vague, distant release at the PS4 reveal that never saw the light of day (Deep Down, remember that?) I’d be a little wary about this one too.

And then, the big game reveal of the night. Horizon: Forbidden West is a sequel to the excellent Horizon: Zero Dawn, and this looks set to be a great continuation of that story. There’s a more tropical vibe this time around, and sea life appears to be organic rather than robotic. Not that the robots are gone, as a huge turtle-like creature and a mammoth were seen stomping around in the trailer. Undoubtedly set to be a massive hit, and something I’m personally looking forward to.

And that is everything revealed in the PS5 reveal event. Phew. No date or price just yet, but we do know that it will be available in two versions, one of which is the disc-free digital edition. That model will presumably be a cheaper version for those who aren’t interested in buying physical copies anymore, and it’ll be interesting to see how the two models compare sales-wise.

So far, it’s looking like a decent system. Not a huge leap forward, but I think we’re at the point where we can’t really go much further. I think the main things are going to be improvements in lighting, resolution and loading times, and none of those can easily be demonstrated in a trailer I think. But it’s still a solid line-up, so it’ll be interesting to see what first-party games Microsoft have up their sleeve in a month’s time.

New Releases

Quiet week for releases too this week, with a few indie games of note, and not much else.

First up, Skyhill: Black Mist is a top-down horror game where you find yourself in the Skyhill condominium building, trying to avoid cultists and creepy monsters hunting you down.

For something a little calmer, Evan’s Remains (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) is a mystery puzzle platformer, where a young girl sets out to a deserted island to find a missing boy named Evan. It’s got some gorgeous pixel art and looks set to be a challenging yet chill sort of game.

Game of the Week

Game of the Week this week is Beyond Blue, an undersea exploration game put together with assistance from the BBC’s Blue Planet team. It’s a game that not only offers a relaxing exploration of deep sea environments, but also one that sets out to teach the player about the environmental challenges our oceans face in the real world.

Whether you’re here to dodge sharks or learn more about the effects of pollution on the world around us, Beyond Blue looks like something that needs to be experienced. It’s out now for Steam, PS4, Xbox One and Apple Arcade.

And that’s it for this week! See you again soon with more gaming news!