Tag: PS4

Game on!

After a bit of an editing hiatus (sorry about that), we are back at it! Over our summer vacation, we had the first opportunity ever to get together as an entire GOON group and play some games, so we played a bunch of board games!

Many games were played – those we discuss on this episode is Deadwood by Fantasy Flight Games, Tokaido from Passport Game Studios, Boss Monster by Brotherwise Games and Battlestar Gallactica from Fantasy Flight Games.

We also discuss what we’ve been playing for video games, as well as preview our next game for the Gamecast, Rogue Legacy.

Also, we’re having a… SHOW NOTES CONTEST! If you’re reading this, you can win! Just email gameongoons@gmail.com with what games and/or TV Shows each of our five break music songs are from/referencing (the last one is a tad tricky). First person to guess correctly gets a free month of PS Plus! (more…)

Tom Awesome

I finally got my hands on the Destiny Beta last week. Unfortunately, it conflicted with a family trip and my full-time job hunt, so I was limited to a couple hours of playtime. While I could not spend nearly as much time with the game as I wanted, I feel like I at least understand the basics.

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Game On, Oblivious Noobs!

We’re off-topic once again as we wanted to finish up our thoughts on E3 and then discuss the Destiny First-Look Alpha that happened right before that!

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Game On, Oblivous Noobs!

Welcome to Episode #3 of the Gamecast!

This time, we’re off-topic, discussing our gaming consoles and why we have them along with why we don’t own the other consoles.

Then, that branches into a larger discussion about Nintendo – what we think about them and if we believe they are in trouble and need to try to right the ship in some way.

We also talk about the games we have been playing as of late and we also listen to some listener email!

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My girlfriend is a huge fan of Batman, and after seeing a teaser video for Injustice: Gods Among Us we had to check the game out on Playstation 3. We loved it. She had never played a fighting game before, but we thoroughly enjoyed playing through the storyline together, taking turns with the fights.

One day, she was messing around in the App Store on her iPhone, and she saw there was a mobile version for free. She downloaded it and showed it to me. You collect cards of the DC Universe characters, and fight through battles by tapping, swiping and holding down two fingers on the touch screen at once. It was a decent experience, but I’m not a huge fan of mobile gaming, and the small screen failed to hook me.

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Every now and again, a person has that moment of clarity where they recognize how truly blessed they are. Everything combines to formulate a feeling of euphoria that excites and exhilarates.

The past fortnight (and then some) has been one of those times, especially when it comes to video games. I have played a few games that have re-kindled my excitement for video gaming. On top of that, E3 has gotten me truly excited for a couple of games on the horizon that have me stoked.

So, I felt it best to go through this fortnight of gaming euphoria (including one non-video game item) that made it such a memorable time period!

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Sticking with the space theme of the past two days, today we move on to the war for survival and salvation in one of my favorite games of the year:

Game #8

The key to great game design is creating a game that is simple enough in concept, allowing the player to  just jump in and play while still being complex enough to keep them interested, immersed and coming back for more. Sony second-party developer Housemarque, with games like Super Stardust and Dead Nation, has proven their design mettle.

Resogun is a remarkable example of old school game design, throwing storytelling out the window, choosing to players into the action, giving them incentives to push deeper into the game. It is no surprise that this “little” indie game is widely regarded as one of the best games available on next-generation consoles.

Resogun is all about gameplay. All you get for a plot is an annoucement, delivered through the speaker on the DualShock 4 controller, to “Save the last humans” at the beginning of each level. In this day and age, this may seem like this is a key mistake.

Things can get pretty hairy pretty fast

But it is quickly realized what Housemarque’s goal is: make a gameplay experience that is fun and difficult and let nothing get in the way of that.

The first time I loaded up the game, I looked around at the options and thought to myself, “is this really all that there is in this game?” There are three different ships to pilot through five worlds. And that is it; there are no secret levels and no unlockable extras.

Starting playing with the average ship on the first world on easy difficult, the game seems simple enough. Use the left stick to maneuver the ship and the right stick to shoot. Going through the level, text overlays explain the other special functions – boost, overdrive and bombs – that the ship has.

The waves of enemies keep scrolling from left and right at you, creating some basic, but fun, gameplay, hearkening back to arcade classics like Defender and Galaga, only with vibrant and crisp graphics and a frantic frame rate that never stutters one bit. This is what distinctly defines it as a next generation game; there is no way the PS3 could handle the amount of action and enemies occurring on screen without melting down its innards.

Getting to the end of the first world, I face a boss and easily figure out, thanks to onscreen clues, how to defeat it. Sounds totally simple.

The first boss battle

But continuing forward, the difficult ramps up, leading to the fifth and final world where, even on “easy” difficulty, it is a challenge to complete without losing all of your lives. Finishing the game, the player starts to think, “is that it? That can’t be everything that the critics are raving about?”

But, that is where Housemarque’s skill in giving nuggets of motivation to players reveals itself. Having beaten the game, as in those classic arcade games mentioned previously, you see your high score and how it compares to the top of the leaderboard and your friends for that difficulty level. Incentive number one to play through again.

The level select screen deftly displays the high score list, taunting you to do better.

Incentive number two is trophies, where a nice balance is struck between trying cool things – like juggling humans to try to save two in one second – up to more game maximization based incentives – saving all humans in the different worlds or beating the game on each difficult level – pushes players back into the game.

Speaking of saving the humans, this also becomes a motivator. There were many times where finishing a level, I would notice that I missed saving the a couple of humans. Saving all humans, other than unlocking trophies, also helps to boost your score. This pushes you to go back through, focusing on which keepers release which humans and trying to save them before abduction or death. Saving each human also gives you an instant bonus, from an extra life or bomb to boosting your overdrive, which then helps continue deeper into the game.

Starting the game at another difficulty ramps the action up even more. Finishing the fifth world on easy is harder than all subsequent worlds, but jumping into the first world on intermediate ends up building upon that difficulty.

If one gripe could be made, it is that the game does become ridiculously hard. The fifth world on the second of four difficulty levels is an insanely difficult challenge, especially with the end boss, which is near impossible to beat without losing at least one life, if not all of them.

But this ramping  of difficulty pushes you forward and alongside the high score rankings, makes you want to go through again and again to topple all of your friends or everyone else in the world.

The last piece of the puzzle are the different ships. There are three different ships to choose from and you will find that each one changes the strategy used to go through the game and how best to complete the objectives at hand. One is more nimble and has some auto-locking lasers, while another ends up being more of a gunship, using high powered weapons to destroy more foes in less shots. But, playing through the game with each of the ships ends up being a different experience and challenge.

As you progress through the levels, power-ups add more laser streams and other add-ons to each ships weaponry. And you will need these advances to combat the difficulty moving through the game. If there is one opportunity that the developer missed out on, it would be allowing you to control or customize the weapons or creating power-ups that changed the way the ship fired for the time being. This change could have helped to add a little bit more variety and personalization into the game.

As you can see, what starts off as a very simple concept and gameplay experience evolves the more you play into a frantic shoot ’em up, forcing the gamer to think about multiple things while playing through the level. This fully immerses him/her into the gaming experience unlike almost any other game out there today. It may only take a bit over an hour on the first play through, but with the number of variations and difficulty levels, as well as the outside motivation of high scores and trophies, it is very easy to spend fifteen hours or more.

Too many games these days get themselves lost in their own convoluted storylines or fall down a rabbit hole of control issues or frustrating gameplay sequences. Keeping it simple but including layers of immersion is what makes Resogun a fulfilling experience as well as one of the best games of the year.

Rating: Six Stars out of Seven – Great

What are your thoughts on Resogun? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Let me know in the comments below.

Where to Buy

Resogun is a PlayStation 4 exclusive game and can be purchased for $15 on the PlayStation Store. Resogun is also currently free for PlayStation Plus subscribers, so you have no excuse to not download it and play it right now if you own a PS4!

‘Tis the season to be merry! It also ’tis the season to be out and about, braving the cold and the crowds to shop endlessly and tirelessly for your loved ones. Either that, or you’re looking to take a break from thinking about others and want to purchase a gift for yourself.

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a difficult time determining what to buy for other folks or even sometimes for yourself when deciding to “Treat yo’self!”

Have no fear! Over the next twelve days, I am going to be giving you twelve game related items or ideas that you can stuff into other people’s stockings or use to spice up your holiday celebrations. This also will serve as my “Best of 2013” gaming rundown.

So, without further ado, let us begin the The 12 Games of Christmas!

Game #1

If you have anyone on your shopping list that owns a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 or PlayStation Vita, I am going to save you a ton of time: This is a Must Buy!

I know what you may be thinking, it seems kind of lame to buy them just a card to open up on their Christmas celebration, but this ends up being much more than just a card.

PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) is a subscription that comes in lengths of three or twelve months. With this subscription, gamers receive access to download games for free each month on the PlayStation Network Store (PSN Store) and receive increased discounts on downloadable games from PSN. These discounts range from 10% to 75% in some instances.

How Good of a Deal is this Really?

In actuality, this is an amazing deal. For the price of only $17.99 for 3 months or $49.99 for 12 months, players receive immediate access to what Sony calls the Instant Game Collection for each PlayStation System. If the code is entered today, here are the games that could be downloaded and played on PS3:

  • Borderlands 2 (Game of the Year Nominee for 2013)
  • GRID 2
  • Uncharted 3 Single Player (Game of the Year Nominee and Winner in 2012)
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Game of the Year Nominee in 2012)
  • Shadow of the Colossus (PlayStation 2 Classic Remastered in HD)
  • ICO (PlayStation 2 Classic Remastered in HD)
  • Hotline Miami
  • Zen Pinball 2: Star Wars Pinball
  • ibb & obb
  • Poker Night 2
  • LittleBigPlanet Karting
  • Galaga Legions DX

That’s a lot of games! And I can attest that both Borderlands 2 and XCOM are amazing games.

Add to that every month, one to two more games will be available to download, and you can see how this can be an insane amount of value.

And that isn’t even including the six games available for Vita and two games available for PS4 at this time. And each of those is scheduled to get at least one new game a month as well moving into the future. That increases the value that much more for someone who owns multiple Sony systems.

As an addition, if the person has purchased or is looking at purchasing a PS4 in the near future, the system requires PS Plus to play games online, so that adds to the benefit of having a membership.

What if the person is already a PS Plus member? No worries – whatever subscription amount you give them, once they enter the code, it just adds that to their already existing subscription. So if they had seven months remaining and you get them a three month card, they will have ten months of gaming goodness before they will need to renew their membership.

And what happens if the PS Plus membership lapses or is not renewed? The only downfall is any game downloaded from the Instant Game Collection will cease to work without an active account, so those games will not be available until a new subscription is purchased.

Worried about not having enough space on your PS System’s hard drive to download any or all of these games as they are available? Have no fear.

All you need to do is go to the PSN Store and begin the download. What this will do is add the item to your account as a “purchase”. You can then download these items later at any time from the PSN Store’s “View Downloads” area. This means that if you are like me and only have a very small amount of space on your PS3, just “purchase” all of the games and download them when you clear up space.

Here is another interesting trick if the user only has one system but plans to buy other systems in the future and wants the free games available now to be waiting for them:

One other item to consider: if your system only has a 4GB hard drive, you will most likely not be able to play some of the larger games from the Instant Game Collection. For instance, Borderlands 2 is a 5.3GB download. The largest game I have seen has been around 13-14GB in size, as an FYI.

If you are shopping for someone with only an X-Box system, you can still never go wrong with buying them a membership card for X-Box Live Gold. This is required for all online access on Microsoft systems and has also begun to give users access to downloading some free games, though it isn’t as complete as Sony’s service.

Where to Buy

PS Plus Membership cards should be available at all major retailers that sell video games.

PS Plus codes can also be bought from Amazon.com at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/1-Year-PlayStation-Plus-Membership-Digital/dp/B004RMK5QG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387035000&sr=8-1&keywords=PS+Plus

Are you already a PS Plus member? Let me know your thoughts or send me any questions in the comments below. And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for the 2nd Game of Christmas 2013!

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One full weekend is in the books for Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) and while there have been issues with the PlayStation Network (PSN) and a few reports of systems that have broken, overall, it seems to have been a smooth beginning to the next console generation for the PlayStation brand.

As you have probably suspected, I spent a good deal of time with the console and some of it’s launch games since last Friday at midnight. It is safe for me to say that I am quite happy with my purchase and would recommend a purchase of this system to anyone out there.

The System
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This is one sleek looking system. Sitting next to my launch PS3, it just looks much more refined. Most of this is because Sony went into this console cycle with the goal of making something that would be cutting edge but at the same time not rely on a bunch of proprietary electronic architectures (like the Cell processor of the PS3). Also, leaving out backwards compatability means they wouldn’t have the same bulkiness of wedging in PS3 hardware along with the PS4 hardware into the box – which was the pitfall of the launch PS3 as seen above.

The other sleek feature of the box itself is the light bar that runs from the front to the back of the system. This acts similarly to the colored lights on the front of the PS3, showing different colors or patterns as the system is performing a separate task. Usually, the color is blue, but as it is going into Standby Mode, it will then flash white until the system is powered down. It is also rumored to pulse red when the system is in danger of overheating (thankfully I have not witnessed that first hand yet).

The system is whisper-quiet compared to its predecessor. Per Sony, much of this is thanks to the proprietary centrifugal exhaust fan that resides over the motherboard inside of the system. I will admit that at one point after a long gaming session, when I felt the system, it did feel quite warm, but it still must have been operating within safe system temperatures.

The Xross Media Bar (XMB)/Menus

Once loading up the system, you will notice a much different layout than what exists on both the PS3 and Sony’s handheld gaming system, the PlayStation Vita. The best way to describe the menu is being a merger of the 360 and PS3 interfaces. There is a bit of a learning curve to get used to the layout and how to find the different pieces you are looking for.

One thing that the new layout does is it places the games or applications (apps) you have recently used to the left side of the menu. This is nice when you are switching back and forth between a couple of different applications.

Which leads me to one of the most welcome innovations of the PS4 XMB – the ability to run multiple programs at once. Similar to the PS Vita before it, the PS4 can run multiple programs at one time. This is a huge improvement and a necessary one for Sony to make, as almost all consumer electronic devices, from computers and tablets to smartphones, allows this functionality (and our ADHD culture demands it).

This allows the gamer to quickly bounce between separate games or into some of the other applications. All one needs to do is click the home button on the Dual Shock 4 and you are taken back to the menu to be able to access other functions of the system – from video services like Netflix or Amazon Instant Watch to the in-system web browser. Once you are done with the other application, just use the home button again to go back to the menu, select the game, and you are right back where you left off.

There are a couple of deficiencies at this time that are a bit of a struggle to deal with. One nice thing is that it will show all games that have been downloaded on the main menu selection bar, which is nice. However, to use Netflix, you have to go to Video Services, arrow down, then arrow over to the right to select Netflix. This process is a bit more cumbersome that it was on the PS3.

One thing that would help with this is if users were able to personalize pieces of the XMB to have certain items display in different places. For instance, I only use Netflix and I use it regularly. I wish I could place that on the XMB in a more prominent or permanent spot, so I can get to it quickly. Just a thought for a future firmware update.


My walkthrough on launch morning of the XMB (while I waited for everything to download)

System Features

There are a lot of new functions being introduced to the PS4 and all of them center around attempting to satisfy gamers and give them the tools they need to enjoy their gaming experience and share it with others.

So, let’s start with the Share button. Residing nice and out of the way in the upper left corner of the controller, this little button is innocuous enough.

However, once it is pressed, you then have the ability to share your gaming experience Live to others via twitch.tv or Ustream or record your gameplay session to show your friends just how awesome you are at the game you are playing.

Now, this may seem fairly inconsequential. But, in the evolving world of the internet and gaming, this is a huge look at where the gaming public is going, what they are consuming, and delivering that to them ahead of time.

Live streaming is quite popular with PC gamers and Sony is bringing this to console gamers and making it easier than ever to quickly stream content. I know this is definitely one tool I will continue to use quite a bit in the future.

Another related addition to the controller is the inclusion of a combination headphone and microphone jack on the Dual Shock 4 controller and the bundled in mono headphone with microphone.

With this, Sony is hoping they will be able to develop a more vocal online community, as well as making it easy for gamers to share their experience as described above. One of the largest differences between the Xbox Live and PSN communities is the lack of verbal communication between players on Sony’s gaming network.

Another new feature that Sony hopes will help combat that problem is the Party Chat function, which is supposed to ale up to 8 players chat over the PS4 regardless of what game they are currently playing. I haven’t had a chance to test this feature out, and I have heard it isn’t working optimally as of yet, but this is something gamers have been complaining about for some time.

The other big new function Sony is touting is the Remote Play ability. This allows users with a PS Vita system to be able to link to their PS4 and play it from somewhere other than their living room. So far, I have tested this out in various areas of the apartment on the same wireless network and have found very little lag at all. Granted, for most games, I would still prefer to play them on my television to fully take in the visuals, but it is a fantastic alternative.

My next test of this functionality is to try to see if I can connect from other wireless networks and still play relatively lag free. If so, it may just be one of the cooler and more useful new functions for the system.

The one last change is the altering of the social functions, which includes increasing the friend limit from 100 to 2000, giving status updates of accomplishments to friends, and being able to share your real name with PSN friends. This, together with the previous ability to link your account to Facebook, all goes toward that same direction of building a stronger community of gamers. Right now, this function is a bit weak as many of my PSN friends aren’t on the system, but it will be interesting to see if this helps to build that gamer community.

The DualShock 4
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It is widely accepted that the new version of the PlayStation controller, the Dual Shock 4, is a phenomenal step forward for Sony. And I will have to agree.

As mentioned before, the microphone/headphone jack is a huge plus, not only for using the sharing capabilities, but also for the ability to listen to the game sound on headphones if others need it quiet in the room.

A couple of other new additions are the clickable touchpad, light bar and built in speaker. So far, I haven’t played a game that has used the touchpad for anything and it doesn’t seem to work from the XMB at all either. The light bar, when playing the game Warframe, did flash in different colors to add effect, otherwise didn’t do much.

The speaker is an interesting addition. On game that has used it so far is Resogun, a downloadable space shooter game from developer Housemarque. In the game, the ships computer speaks to you through the speaker on the controller and it is a really interesting effect and has me enthused to see other uses to help create an immersive experience.

As far as usability, the new controller feels great. The sticks have a bit more of a give to them, which allows you to have a bit more control over exactly what you are doing onscreen. The new convexly concave design of the sticks also helps to keep your thumbs planted without slipping off – which happened to me a lot when using the Dual Shock 3.

Also, the triggers do feel nice as well, though I haven’t played any first or third person shooters for an extended period of time, which will be the true test.

One thing that I did notice is that the wider layout of the new controller has led to a bit more wrist fatigue than what I remember feeling on the PS3. It isn’t anything major (not carpal tunnel or anything) but it was noticeable. It could be just that I need to get used to it a bit more, so we will see if that changes the more I play the system.

It is easy to state, however, that this is the best controller to date.

The Games
Resogun in action!

One thing I think people tend to forget is that usually, launch games are quite mediocre. Of course, there are some exceptions (Halo for X-Box and Super Mario Galaxy for Nintendo). With that being said, the PS4 has a solid list of titles, from both outside developers as well as Sony owned companies that makes sure there are some enjoyable games available.

Overall, critics are quite positive about the third-party games available at launch, such as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4 (even with the system issues), Call of Duty: Ghosts and Need for Speed: Rivals. Sony’s first-party developed Killzone: Shadow Fall is also receiving large amounts of praise.

At this point in the launch, I can only personally speak to a few games, but I will say that I have enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Top of the list for me is downloadable game and PS4 exclusive Resogun. I will go into more detail later on this game, but it has taken up a large amount of my time over the past few days. Its fast paced action, nicely building difficulty level and variety of options and tactics make this game one huge time-sink – and an enjoyable one at that. Also, the graphics do a phenomenal job of showing off the graphical prowess of the system.

Another graphical masterpiece is NBA 2K14. The online videos definitely didn’t lie: the graphics and television-perfect presentation of the game are phenomenally entertaining. And the game, so far anyway, also isn’t any slouch in the gameplay department. The game is very fun to play, but isn’t overly simplistic. I am not very good at the game right now, but I am looking forward to going back and honing my skills.

The game also has depth, with a full General Manager mode where you perform interviews and make roster decisions, a My Player mode with a fully developed story, as well as the My Team mode, where you start with random, lesser-skilled players and with victories, can continue to build your team to super-star status.

I also had a chance to play the first few minutes of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. At this point, I have only had one sea battle – which was a blast by the way – but the game looks brilliant. I also played the Free-to-Play Warframe, an online, cooperative space ninja game. I had a few problems with the controls in this game, but I am definitely going to give it a bit more of a go. I mean, the price (free) is right.

Value

The PS4 sells at a price of $399. This isn’t just a drop in the bucket. But, that is $100 less than Microsoft’s X-Box One (which releases Friday, November 22).

But, the price of Sony’s system can be deceptive, in a good way. Inside of the box, you get a Dual Shock 4 controller, a microphone/headphone earbud mono headset, an HDMI cable, and a micro-USB controller charging cable. Also in the box is a pamphlet giving you a 30 day trial for PlayStation Plus. This gives everyone buying the system a) the ability to play all games online via the PSN, b) two free downloads (while you have a PS Plus membership), the phenomenal Resogun and indie-game Contrast, and c) free downloads on any other PlayStation devices: PS3 and PS Vita. PlayStation Plus is one of the best deals in gaming, at only $50 a year and receiving at least one free-game per system every month and further discounts on many other titles.

Also in the pamphlet is a 30-Day free trial of Sony’s Music Unlimited Service and a $10 voucher redeemable on the PSN. I recommend buying Flower; I know I will be redeeming that very soon.

On top of the two games downloadable for free with PS Plus, there are also three Free-to-Play games available immediately as well. These are the previously mentioned Warframe, DC Universe Online, an MMO set in the DC comics, and Blacklight: Retribution, an online shooter.

That gives you five games to play immediately, out of the box, and all you will have to do is pay $49.99 at the end of your fist month. A very consumer-friendly offer indeed.

Overall, I feel that things have been great so far for the PS4 launch. Of course, launch day was filled with PSN outages and a large amount of downloads in order to play any of the games. But, once that subsided, it has been a fairly un-hindered gaming extravaganza. And with titles like Infamous: Second Son, Drive Club, and Destiny coming early next year, there are only going to be more great games coming down the pipeline.

I won’t be rating the system as a whole, because it is going to be ever-changing and the greatness of the console will not be fully realized until a year or two worth of games have passed by. But, I definitely would give it the Hobby Box Seal of Approval and recommend anyone go out and purchase the system.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a PS4? Do you have any questions about the system that you want answered? Or are there certain games that you would like to see gameplay footage of? Well, drop a line into the comments.

Also, I am planning on doing a bunch of things with twitch.tv over the next week, so if you are interested in following along, you can follow me at twitch.tv/hobbyboxburns.

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The PS4 has finally found its new home!

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What’s in the box! What’s in the box!

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My system with his new friends!

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PS3 and PS4 Side by Side Comparison!

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The newer, slimmer PlayStation!

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DualShock 3 and the DualShock4 side-by-side.

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It’s alive! It’s aliiiiiiiiiive!

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Light bar in full effect!

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Ready to play once this bad boy is done updating…

Comment to let me know which game I should play first!

The decision to buy a PS4 was easy. I have been excited to be an early adopter of a new system for a while.

The really difficult decision is what games do I buy? I am only going to purchase two games and I have been waffling back and forth a bunch in determining which ones are worthy of my hard-earned money. So, in order to make my decision, I’m going to talk it through, blog-style.

Each game is going to be given a probability on whether I will buy it or not and why.

Killzone: Shadow Fall

To be 100% honest, I have only played a Killzone game once – I believe it was Killzone 2 in a store at some point. So, I know nothing other than the Hellghasts and that they are kind of like future Nazis.

Now, as you’ve seen in a previous post, I’ve become lukewarm on the First-Person Shooter (FPS) genre. Adding to that, it would probably be even more frustrating trying to learn the slightly-different controls of another FPS series (part of the learning curve is always multiple inadvertent grenade throws at the worst possible time). And multiplayer usually isn’t my thing.

But, it looks beautiful.

That is one convincing argument in my mind.

Given the fact that this is the only big-budget game being produced by a first-party (Sony owned) studio, the development team had all of the resources to make a phenomenal game while being able to ask all of the questions of the hardware team to do it right.

And as much as I’m a little cold on FPSs, they do go hand-in-hand with console gaming. It will also be a good test and validation of the multiplayer infrastructure PlayStation Network (PSN) on PS4 will be.

Purchase Probability: 6/1

Battlefield 4

In an effort to keep both launch shooters together (remember, Call of Doody doesn’t count), the next option is the epic multiplayer action of Battlefield 4.

From what I have seen in reviews, Battlefield 4’s single-player campaign makes it look like Killzone: Shadow Fall was written by the ghosts of Shakespeare and Hemingway.

But who are we fooling; the Battlefield series has always been totally about multiplayer. And from the sound of it, EA is taking the newest iteration to 11.

One of the biggest selling points in this offering of the series is the destructible set-pieces that occur on each map, altering the tactics needed to win the match. Include with that the expanded game-types and that 64 players can join the firefight on the PS4, things are starting to look quite enticing.

So what is holding me back? Well, I usually don’t like to dip a toe in the FPS multiplayer water without a buddy. Unfortunately, the friends I usually play multiplayer with aren’t upgrading to PS4 in the near future. Since it is very rare that I will venture out without anyone I know, I’m not sure a multiplayer-centric game is the best idea.

Purchase Probability: 10/1

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Keeping with the action vibe, the other full-out, big budget action experience at launch is the newest Assasin’s Creed, the pirate adventure Black Flag.

Of the cross-generation games, this one has received the most mixed reviews. Some are happy that the series has stepped away from the confusing future-day Desmond storyline, while others are saying that the annual release schedule is starting to wear down the series.

One thing that really speaks to me in this game is the expanded open world gameplay, navigated by pirate ship.

Having only played the first Assassin’s Creed, I do not care as much about the overall story arc that branches between the games. However, I am worried about the reason I never finished the first game – the exponential difficulty ramp-up about two-thirds through the game.

But the ship combat is really tugging me in the purchase direction. Also, it sounds like the PS4 version is supposed to be quite pretty to look at as well.

From what I have heard about this game, you either love it or hate it, not a ton of middle ground. That makes it a gamble I might not be willing to take.

Purchase Probability: 5/1

Madden NFL 25

It has been a couple of years since I have played a Madden game. The main reason: I get bored with the game after a season or two. I tend to prefer the bigger complexity of the NCAA Football series (may she rest in peace). There is enough extra stuff going on that it makes what is happening on the field more interesting. That is what I wish I had more of in Madden.

So, having not purchased a football game yet this year, Madden NFL 25 is looking quite appealing. Add to that the last time I bought a PlayStation at launch I purchased a Madden game and things are starting to look up for EA Tiburon’s game.

The word on the internet is that the Ignite Engine EA is using in this game really makes for a realistic football experience. The engine allows for players to act in a more individual and dynamic way and seems like it is simulating a more realistic experience, both visually and gameplay-wise.

Ultimately, with NCAA Football being discontinued after this year, I am going to need to purchase that one last time for PS3 (as backwards as that sounds in this post). So, will it be worth it to buy both franchises on two different systems?

Purchase Probability: 11/2

NBA 2K14

I am going to be transparent here: I am definitely buying this game.

Why? I’m only a passive NBA fan (I keep up with the Wolves, but don’t watch every game). Also, I haven’t played an NBA game in ages, even though I got one with my PS3 when I purchased it off of eBay.

Why is this a definite buy?

It is simply stunning. I mean, just look at the detail of what is going on around the court. Just amazing.

Out of everything I have seen on the next-generation consoles, this game truly looks like a step up. This is one of those games that people could take a passing glance and think you are just watching basketball on television.

In addition, although I haven’t played a basketball game in a while, that doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I poured a ton of hours into NBA Jam and NBA Live when I was younger.

Purchase Probability: 3/2

Knack

From one beautiful game to another, we have Knack. This game also looks quite beautiful. Other than being visually striking, this game was developed by Mark Cerny, who also played a significant role in the design of the PS4. If anyone knows how to make the system spit out a phenomenal game, he would.

This is the only game that is on this list that I have actually played. Before picking up the controller to actually play this game, I was skeptical. After playing it, the only way to explain the experience was, “Meh.”

Granted, the game is very good looking. The particle affects displayed with Knack growing by absorbing artifacts looks really neat. The way the game got larger as Knack grew reminded me a little bit of the mechanic seen in Katamari Damacy.

However, the platforming action wasn’t fun or varied. In the couple of different areas I played at in the game, there just weren’t many ways to attack. Hit attack button to punch. Jump and hit attack button to do a jump attack. Build up and you can do a couple of different power attacks. Overall, quite bland.

Granted, if I played it from the start at home, I would probably have a different experience from that of standing awkwardly at Best Buy and playing it. Ultimately, it just didn’t grab me. And I have a soft spot in my heart for games like this.

Purchase Probability: 50/1

Well, although one pick is assured, I am still a bit up in the air between a few of the games. What do you think I should buy? Also, if you are getting a PS4 tonight, let me know what you are buying and maybe we’ll get a game in on PSN.

Well, we don’t have long to wait until it is decision time. The good thing about buying a PS4 and having PlayStation Plus, is that I will have two games for free to download once I hook the system up to the internet, along with three free-to-play titles available for download at launch as well. That will make it seven games for the price of two. I’ll take it!

Follow the blog through the night as I’ll be posting some updates as I’m picking up the system as well as photos and possibly videos once I get the system home. Also, if you’re on Twitch.tv tomorrow night, you can watch me play through a few games.

The PS4 Fortnight continues!

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As this posts, only 14 hours stands between me and the launch of the PS4. And I am stoked!

I keep thinking back to the last system I bought at launch. It was back on October 26 of 2000. My buddies, Brent and Clobes, came with me to wait outside of Target in Rochester (back when there was only one and it wasn’t super yet).

We got in line at about 2:00 am. Well, Clobes slept in the car (that’s so like him) while Brent and I waited outside, third in line to pick up our system when the store opened at 8:00 am.

Our alibi for school was that we were going to a college visit at Winona State the next day. We were set.

We got in, I picked up my system, Madden 2001 and Timesplitters immediately and we were set! While I was in the line to check out, I was helping parents pick out games for their kids (I was even offered a job by the store manager because of how helpful I was).

But then, we made the excited journey home and booted the system up and played a game of Madden. And it was awesome! The jump in graphics was stunning at that time and the detail in the players was great.

We then went on the college visit. Granted we ended up just sitting in on the 30 minute presentation and then cutting out before the tour to go grab lunch, but we went.

Then it was back home for some Timesplitters. It was a fantastic day.

This year, I am just as excited as then. I couldn’t get a PS3 at launch because it was too expensive and I was student teaching at the time (No money + no time = no system).

This year, I’ll be going solo to pick up my system at midnight. But, I’ll be sharing the whole thing with you all as a community tonight and through the weekend. Why? Because it is the PS4 fortnight that’s why!

Later today, I’m going to post on the launch games I am debating about buying – expect that around 6:00 CST. Then, while I’m in line, expect small anecdotes and posts, starting around 10:00 pm.

But then the magic happens. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be posting some photos and probably poor-looking videos of the system in action and my first reactions to the games I buy and the free games I get!

Then this weekend, expect links to twitch.tv to follow my live stream of some gameplay footage (that’s right, I’ll be getting my share button on)!

If your getting a PS4, let me know what games you’re most excited for at launch!