Saturday, October 16, 2021

Revisiting Beyond - An Underrated Game

Many years ago I reviewed the game Beyond. It was the next major release from Quantic Dream, and their second PS3 game. For me this release was a big deal — not just because I was interested in it’s story, but because it was also the first time I got to be a part of it’s “hype train.” You see, when Heaven Rain released on the PS3 before it, I was what you might call an Xbox fanboy. (Well, Xbox and Nintendo fanboy.) I had no interest in going back to Sony at the time, despite loving my PS2 and PSP, and there was nothing coming out in PS3 that really interested me. At least, not that I was aware of. Heavy Rain was one of those games I actually heard about from one of those in store GameStop advertisements, and at the time I just completely ignored it. At least until I started hearing about it online.

The game was huge, and stupid me had no idea why. I started seeing conversations about it non stop, and I kept seeing all of the hype surrounding it. The more I read, the more interested I became, and eventually I realized that it was something I would really love — if I had a way to play it. So, long story short, it became one of the few reasons I actually wanted a PS3, and it was one of the first games I bought for it. After that, I told myself I wouldn’t miss out on what was to come, and that ended up being Beyond.

When Beyond released, I was caught up in the hype of the whole thing — I won’t lie. The game also came out during a hard time in my life, so it became a much needed distraction to keep my mind off of things. While normally I wasn’t the type of person to be into ghosts and spirits, for whatever reason Beyond was still a game that pulled me in. Maybe it’s because it was more focused in living the main character Jodie’s life (and not just a typical horror ghost story), or maybe it was because I loved the mystery of the whole thing. Either way, it was a game that kept me hooked from start to finish, and it was one I continued to come back to.

While Heavy Rain was something I have only played through once (at this time), Beyond was the game that I played over and over again to see what would happen. Originally I was going to get the platinum trophy, but a single ending stopped me from achieving that. Despite my love for the game, playing it from start to finish roughly seven times eventually burned me out. But that’s okay — it was something I needed to do. It was something I really liked and wanted to continue, and playing it non stop finally gave me the closure I wanted when the ending credits rolled the first time. It was a world I didn’t want to leave, and I one I didn’t until I finally tired myself out. It’s rare for a game to make me feel that way, and now here we are all these years later, and I’m right back to it.

Replaying Beyond on the PS4 had brought back so many memories of why I loved the game. Despite knowing the outcome of the story, there’s still some mysteries that I have completely forgotten about. And this time playing through it with my fiancĂ© is yet another way for me to experience it. Although we aren’t playing the coop mode (which I honestly forgot about), it’s still fun to go through the story with another person. This time it’s not just fully my choices, and now it’s fun going through Jodie’s life with another. While I played through parts of Heavy Rain with friends, Beyond was something I played through completely alone. So it’s nice having that no longer be the case. 

Despite all of this though — despite my personal feelings towards the game — it’s actually really underrated.

While Heavy Rain continues to be a game discussed by the gaming community, Beyond is one you rarely hear about. While Detroit also isn’t as popular, it being a PS4 game has helped it to keep it’s steam over the past few years. But even then, you can’t put all of its popularity on being a PS4 game. Considering Detroit, Heavy Rain, and Beyond are sold in bundles together on PS4, and despite Beyond being a free PS+ title, Beyond still remains the lesser known of the titles. 

For whatever reason, Beyond just didn’t make quite the same waves as other QD games. Maybe it’s because it didn’t appeal to as many, or maybe it’s because it wasn’t as open with as many options as Heavy Rain. Or maybe it’s because of the whole “I’d rather buy a movie and not play one” argument. Either way, Beyond just wasn’t as popular, and it really is a shame. 

Now that we are back in the Halloween Season, I see it as the perfect chance to give this game another shot. If you haven’t checked it out before, now is a great time to jump in. Or if you haven’t played it in a long time, why not be like me and give it another replay? It’s a pretty special game, and it’s unique story is worth experiencing more than once. 

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Friday, April 23, 2021

Ben's Gaming Memories - The Sims

When I was a kid, going to visit my cousins was always a fun time. They lived in a fancy subdivision close to St. Louis (which was out of state for me), and they seemed to always have the coolest games and toys. Their house was where I first played Super Mario World on the SNES, it's where I first played Mario 64 and was blown away by the 3D graphics, and because they lived near a major city, they had access to places like Block Buster and the largest malls around! (And now both are dead!) Usually when we visited them we would spend the night, so it always felt like a mini vacation to me. I had a lot of fun there, and I always looked forward to the next time we could go back.

Of course I could go on and on about all the things we would do as a family, but as a gaming blog I guess I should keep that to a minimal. The thing is, despite having a lot of gaming firsts at their house, one of the things that always stood out to me the most at their house was their PC. You see, growing up I didn't have one. My grandpa eventually bought one, but I wasn't really allowed to use it until I was older. Instead the only time I really got to touch one was at their house, and even then I was limited on what I could do. I mean I was just a kid, and unlike kids of today, kids back then didn't really mess with computers. We were lucky to play Jump Start 1st Grade in school, yet alone really sit down and use one. And because my parents didn't know much about them, nor did we really have the extra money for such a thing, me getting one of my own was out of the question. Heck, only reason I did get one years later was because my aunt's (different aunt) company was getting rid of a junk one! But anyway (getting back on topic here), the point is I was never really around computers, so seeing one at my cousin's house was huge. What was even bigger for me though was the fact I got to play a new game called "The Sims."


At this point I shouldn't really have to explain what The Sims is, but to be brief... The Sims is a simulation game where you play with life. You create a family, build a house, take care of your Sim's basic needs (they have to eat, use the toilet, shower, etc), and ultimately lead them to successful lives. OR you can make their life a nightmare, and watch how fast you can set them on fire in a house that "magically" had it's doors removed. (Not sorry.) Basically though, the game was like a doll house that you had complete control over, and it let you live out any fantasy you could think of. To me that was amazing, and I couldn't get enough of playing it.

Each time I went to their house, I would ask to play the Sims, and then spend time playing it with my cousins. We'd make different houses, create different Sims, and just have fun messing around with them. Although I didn't own it myself, it eventually became a game we would talk about quite often, and they'd always tell me the moment a new expansion came out for it! I still remember the day I got signed out early from school because they came down for a visit, and we ended up talking about The Sims for hours. They were all excited about the new expansion that added in pets, and I just remember wishing I could go back to their house to play it. Funny enough, I never did. This was the last time we really talked about the original Sims game, but it wasn't the last time I'd play it.

About two years later (now finally having a PC of my own), my cousins bought me The Sims Deluxe edition for Christmas, and for the first time in my life I got to play the game as much as I wanted to. It was an exciting day for me, and one I'll never forget. I stayed up late all night playing it, and would go on to continue playing it for years to come. I loved it, but it was really just the start.

The Sims 2 was a game that was out of my reach once again. My PC couldn't handle it, and around this time we stopped seeing my cousins as much. I did go to my neighbor's house to play Sims Busting Out on his PS2 from time to time, but it wasn't the same. Eventually I did buy Sims 2 for the Nintendo DS, but even that was nothing like the actual Sims 2. It was a fun game, don't get me wrong, but it was more of a story based spin off than an actual Sims release. It wasn't until my aunt went through her divorce, and my cousins moved in with my Grandma that I finally got to play the real Sims 2, but that wasn't really a good time. They were going through obvious hardships, and as a young teen I didn't really know how to handle that. I just assumed everything would be okay in the end, but I didn't know how or when. During all of this is when I started spending time with all of them again, and it's what eventually lead my cousin Andrea to buy The Sims 2 (for both of us to play.) It was weird having them around all the time though, and ultimately we didn't spend a whole lot of time playing the Sims. Sure, once in awhile I'd go over to play it, but that's really about it. It wasn't really until they moved back out of state that I gave the game more of a chance, and that was only because I was starting college.

I used to always say I wanted to buy a laptop, and then fill it with The Sims. A good laptop that could run all of the expansions, and be able to take the game with me anywhere. I never expected that to happen, but when I started school that dream became a reality. Apparently Sims 3 was already out at the time, but I had no idea, and went with what I knew -- The Sims 2. I finally had a job of my own so I could afford it, and I made sure to buy as many of the expansions as possible. I didn't get all of them (at least not until they were given away for free many years later), but I bought enough to keep me busy both at home and at school. (Of course I had to buy the college expansion, because it was one I could relate to!) It was a lot of fun, and it eventually became a game I would play with my neighbor as well. Sadly the laptop I had was too weak to upgrade to Sims 3, but it was fine. I was happy with what I had, and there was plenty left for me to buy expansion wise. But in the end, it only lasted me for a couple of years. Eventually my laptop died, along with my desktop, and I was forced to upgrade.

When I got my new desktop, I decided to go with something a bit more powerful. I was tired of not being able to play games, and I wanted something that would last me. So stupid me bought a slim HP PC with integrated graphics, and a weak CPU. Yep... Back then I had no idea about computers, and I just assumed something newer would work for anything. Technically it was fine for the games I wanted to play at the time, but obviously it didn't get me very far. That being said, The Sims 3 was one of the first games I went out to buy for it, and thankfully it was strong enough to run it.

With The Sims 3 once again I found myself spending a lot of time playing it. Not too long before I got my new PC, I had gone out and bought it for the Xbox 360 instead, but (like with The Sims 2) this wasn't really the full experience. The game had to be toned down for consoles (no open world map), and playing on console just wasn't that easy. Once I got the PC version however, all of my time was sunk into that. I put a lot of time and effort into each house I made, and using the new community features I spent quite a lot of time updating friends, and sharing creations with them. It was a lot of fun, and so much better than the 360 release. At the time I assumed this would be the version of The Sims that would last me for years to come, but soon I found out just how wrong I was. 

Around 2013 my PC was really showing it's age. It was having issues running things, and I started to realize just how "bad" of a PC it really was. It turns out that model was prone to overheating issues when playing games (explained the jet engine sound even when idling), and I eventually got too paranoid to keep playing games on it. I heard about The Sims 4 coming out, but figured I wouldn't play it until I got a new PC, and by then I honestly didn't care anymore. I was kinda Simsed out, and was more focused on console gaming once again. (Not to mention the fact that I had finished college, and was now moving onto a full time job, so I had less free time.) Eventually that PC did fully break down though (thanks Windows 10 update), and once again I found myself updating to a new PC -- this time a custom built gaming rig.

While my main reasons for wanting a gaming PC were mostly for games like Final Fantasy XIV, I'd be lying if I said The Sims 4 wasn't one of my first purchases. At the time it was on a summer sale in a bundle, so I pulled the trigger and bought it. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed at first. Gone was the open world, gone was the more advanced house building tools, gone was the custom clothing and furniture patterns, and gone was the old social feed. It felt like a huge down grade in many ways, and I just didn't give it much of a chance. Later on at Christmas I would spend most of the day playing it with my cousin, and that's how I eventually realized how much the gameplay had improved, but that didn't fully change how I felt about the game. It wasn't until a few expansions (and updates) later that I felt the game really came into it's own, and even then I still didn't like the removal of the open world map. It switched back to the style of 1 and 2, and for me that was hard to go back to. But go back to it I did.

Last month (March of 2021) I had to have my wisdom teeth removed. It's something I've been dealing with since around the time I started this blog, and now finally it was time to get them removed. I was pretty nervous, and the risks involved with the surgery didn't help things. A few days prior I had downloaded The Sims 4 on my PlayStation 5 just for the heck of it, and the night before the surgery me and my girlfriend Allison decided to give it a shot. She isn't big on video games (she's watched me play through a few), but The Sims is a game from her childhood as well. She had similar fond memories as I did from playing it with her cousins and other family members, so we decided to give it a shot. Rather than just using it to mess around with our Sim's lives however, we started it up and played it the legit way -- something I have never really done.

(I got a little help from the library)

Playing The Sims 4, without cheating, is a very different experience. There is so much going on in the game that you just don't realize, and there's a lot you have to manage. Obviously you need to meet your Sim's needs, but you also need to keep the house up and running. You need to make money to upgrade your appliances, you need to clean the house, repair things that are broken, take care of laundry, feed your pets, make sure your kids don't completely destroy the house that you are trying to clean and repair, get your Sims to work on time, get the kids to school on time, deal with the people who come visit you, take part in the holidays and events that happen throughout the year (all while completing the event goals), plan outfits for different seasons, make sure your Sims don't freeze to death of burn to death, put out fires, work actual jobs if you have the Get to Work expansion (I do), and, and, and... It's just never ending! Just when you think you have things figured out, a curve ball gets thrown at you (congrats it's twins!), and now you're rethinking everything you thought you had figured out. It's crazy just how much like life The Sims has become, and how many features have actually been added in.

You now have social networking, video gaming skills, you can enter tournaments, go snow boarding in the mountains, uncover the mystery in StrangerVille (not going to lie, that was kinda horrifying), open your own business and run it (recreated my family's bakery), become a dancer, become a singer, become a comedian, and so on. Each chat/action category also has so many different choices now, you never really know what your Sims are going to do. While the game is a down grade in some areas from The Sims 3 still, it really makes up for it in all the new additions to the core gameplay. Heck, right before I downloaded the game to my PS5, a new free update came out that added bunk beds! The game is still getting new content all the time, and constantly improving itself. What was once a meh replacement for the amazing The Sims 3, is now a game I don't want to see come to an end any time soon. After only a month of playing, we have already received the platinum trophy, yet we have only scratched the surface of everything that is actually in the game. It's just that big, and each day we find something new. Eventually I plan to buy the rest of the expansion packs as well, but that'll be something I'll slowly work towards in the future.

Overall I'm really enjoying my time with The Sims 4, and I hope it becomes a game both me and Allison can continue to return to for years to come. The Sims has always been special to me, and now I'm not alone.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

PlayStation 5 - Review


The PlayStation 5. You know? It's a really weird feeling saying that. As someone who grew up playing PlayStation, it's always strange to me when a new console in the PS family comes out. It's like each release marks a different stage in my life, and looking back at each generation is like looking back at those memories as well. I remember getting a PS1 for Christmas one year, and spending the next few years playing games like Rugrats -- and I also remember the Christmas I destroyed it PlayStation by spilling hot chocolate on it. I'd eventually replace the original PS1 with the "PlayStation One" that next Christmas, but it would only get used once in awhile because later I would replace it with a PlayStation 2 Slim when I graduated from 8th grade. That console was something I would continue to return to throughout the years (I still play it to this day), but it really was what marked my high school years. The PSP was my gift when I turned 16, the PlayStation 3 was something I would buy and play through college, and the Vita was what I got for my 21st birthday. Then finally you have the PlayStation 4, which is something I bought once I started working my first real full time job. Each console was something special that marked different stages of my life, and even now it still doesn't feel like so much time has passed. I still consider the PS3 to be new, but now it's two generations ago. It's just... Strange. 

So now here we are, and once again the PlayStation 5 is marking a new stage in my life. A lot has happened over the last year, which is mainly why I've slowed down posting here on NGR, but I'm back today to hopefully make up some for what I've missed. As one of the lucky ones to actually find a PlayStation 5 (that's a story for another day), I wanted to take some time to let you guys know exactly how it is. It's something I've owned for a few months now, so I figured now would be the best time to actually give my opinion and let you guys know what it is exactly. Sure, it's the next generation (we know this), but how is this new generation really? And just how much worth it is a PS5? Does it deserve all of the hype behind it, and pain and suffering of obtaining one? Or are you better off waiting for it? With this review I'm going to tell my complete honest opinion, and cover as much as I can about the console, so hopefully those questions will be answered for you. Obviously I am a "PlayStation fanboy," but I promise, I'm not going to let that get in the way of this review. So, with that being said... Let's get started. Once again.

PlayStation 4:

The first major thing to know about a PS5 is the fact that it is also actually a PlayStation 4. Yes, basically every single game from the PS4 has been carried over, and can be played just as always. Games with PlayStation 4 Pro upgrades will run in "PS4 Pro" mode when playing on a PS5, but some other games have additional upgrades for the PS5 as well. Just what are these upgrades? Well it's basically improvements to framerate, and the graphics. Some games will run in 4K, make use of HDR, and run at 60 FPS (rather than the typical 30 that the Pro would run at when playing 4K content), but for the most part PS4 games will be exactly the same as they were. The vast majority of games out there will not be updated for the PS5, but many of the major titles have been updated for the new hardware. Other than some graphical and framerate updates, some games do load faster when running on the PS5's solid state drive, but only a handful will really see a boost from this. Most of the others will either have the same load times as before, or see a slight improvement. In short, this too isn't that big of an upgrade from the current PS4 hardware.

As for how the PlayStation 4 side of things works, it's actually pretty simple. Existing PS4 owners can hook up their PS4 and do a direct data transfer from their PS4 to their PS5 to carry over their content, or they can use the cloud to redownload their saves. For those who used external hard drives on their PS4, all they have to do is unplug the external from the PS4, and then plug it into the PS5. The PS5 will not reformat the drive (thankfully), and all games and saved content on the drive can be instantly accessed and played on the PS5 as well. Some games might have new PS5 updates, but other than that everything is ready to go. The PS5 will also automatically set the external HDD as the default install location for new PS4 games, so you don't have to worry about having PS4 games take up the limited space on the PS5's internal SSD. Of course you can also transfer games between the external HDD and the internal SSD if you wish, but that's up to the person, and if they would like to see a boost in the game's loading speed. (Assuming you're playing a game where it can benefit from it.)

Once your PS4 games are on the PS5, everything from there on is exactly the same as on the PS4. There's really no difference, other than the console's UI (which also isn't quite that different). To make it even better, if you wish, you can use your original PS4 controller to play these games. You don't have to give up what you're used to, just because the hardware itself has changed. The transition from PS4 to PS5 is an easy one, and that's exactly how it should be. No complaints there.

The UI:

As mentioned above, the UI of the PS5 is different from the PS4; however, it's also not really all that different. This time around Sony went for a mix between the PS3 and PSP's XMB, and the PS4's UI, and the result was something that's easy to navigate and makes sense. Games and media are broken up into different tabs at the top of the screen, and your game and movie content fall into tiles that line up from left to right just like before. Going to a game will allow you to drop down into a game detail page, and here you can access different things like DLC, trophy information, etc. To make things even better, trophy progress and in game progress is now tracked as well, and you can easily tell how close you are to finishing something. Some games also provide tips and hints on how to do something, and you can also compare your progress to your friends. It's all in an easy to access location, and takes very little playing around to figure out. This information can also be viewed in game by pressing the PlayStation button, but that's really only one use of said button.

Like before, the PS button can be used to return you to either the home page of your PS5, or you can use it to bring up a quick list of actions. Here you can access trophies, see your friends, read notifications, or even access an app switcher that lets you quickly load up your recently used apps. It's a nice touch that helps you navigate the console faster, but it's something I personally rarely use (mainly due to not being used to having it). Music can also be accessed from this menu (and yes, Spotify still works), and you can quickly put your console into sleep mode here as well. It's basically the same menu that many became used to using on the PS4, but a lot more streamlined and a lot slicker looking.

As for the media tab, here is where you can access all of your streaming services, and other TV content. Videos can actually be loaded while a game is running, so you don't have to close out of your games if you want to take a break to watch Netflix or something. It's nothing too major, but it's nice knowing that you don't have to reboot your game once you decide to go back to it -- with some exceptions. (Sadly games that require internet will disconnect you the moment you back out, and even games like Call of Duty will kick you back to the main menu. A minor complaint, but it's understandable.)

On top of all of this, the PlayStation Store has also been integrated with the UI as well, which means we no longer have to load up an app or, what was technically, a website to access it. This means the store is much faster than before, and it's a bit easier to actually find your content now. Previous versions of the PlayStation store weren't the greatest, and this is definitely a step in the right direction... At least for the console store... The desktop site? Yeah, not so much.

Next Generation Gaming:

The main reason to get a PlayStation 5 is none other than the games. I mean, what's a console good for if you don't have games to play on it, right? That being said, the big draw (as it is with every generation) is the power of the console itself, and the fact that it can do things previous generations couldn't. This time the increase in power allows the PS5 to output to 8K, play 4K games, run some games at 60 +  FPS, and make use of advanced features like ray tracing and higher quality 3D audio. We all know this, and it's what Sony themselves have beat into our heads since before the console was even fully announced. The thing is, just how much of this is really true, and how much of it will really be used? That's what everyone wanting a PS5 needs to understand. Just because this console is powerful, and can do such things, it doesn't mean we can do all of this at once. These higher end features are demanding on the hardware, and there are still limitations because of this.

The best way to think of a PS5 is to compare it to a higher end PC. PC gamers already understand changing settings, and optimizing games to fit their build, but console only gamers have never really dealt with this. That all changes with the PS5 however, as it's going to be up to the game developers, and the players to decide what they want out of each game when they play it.

Sadly the bottom line here is the fact that you CANNOT have it all. You cannot have 4K, 60 FPS (or 120 FPS), and ray tracing all at the same time -- especially on more graphically demanding games with high resolution textures, and a large amount of objects loaded on screen at once. It's just not possible with this hardware. Because of this most games have options you can toggle on or off, and others have default settings you can pick from. Usually your choices are between a "quality mode" and a "performance mode," but other times there are inbetween options and sliders as well. This allows you to choose if you would rather have a nice looking game (ray tracing, 4K, etc), or if you would rather have a higher framerate and more fluid gameplay. It's really up to the player to choose their preference, but usually they can't have it both ways. It does depend on the game itself, and how demanding it is, but in general this is how every PS5 game will be going forward.

But, what does this all mean? What is 4K? What is ray tracing? Why should you care? And does it make that big of a difference? Well...

4K is a resolution size, and, needless to say, you'll need at least a 4K TV to make use of it. To put it simply, TVs are made up of a bunch of dots that change color to display an image, and 4K has 4 times as many dots as older 1080P HD TVs. This means your image quality is much more detailed than before, with the PS5 actually making use of this higher resolution. Now not every PS5 game actually runs in full 4K, but they do run at a resolution that is higher than 1080p, and they are noticeably better. (But again, this is a hardware limitation, and depends on the game.) To go along with 4K, you also have HDR (high dynamic range) which basically allows the screen to display much more realistic lighting and color differences when displaying both dark and light areas. This is something that's been around for awhile now (even the original PS4 could display HDR content), but again it's something you would need a newer TV to make use of. The bottom line is, it makes lighting look really nice, and allows games to look a lot more realistic.

The other major feature of the PS5 is it's ray tracing. Ray tracing is, to put simply, realistically simulated light. Basically light beams bounce off of something, and that allows you to see it. Those same light beams bounce off of a reflective surface, and now you can see the same image being reflected off of it. It's something we should all understand in real life, and now it's something that games can do now as well. In the past reflections were usually faked in or ignored completely, and light sources were simulated to make lighting look as realistic as possible. Now we can just flat out have light beams act like real light beams, and the results are reflections, and real world quality lighting. It's actually a huge step up, and this alone can make games look a LOT better when used properly. It is a very demanding feature however, and something many players may turn off in favor of performance.

On top of the graphical enhancements, the PS5 is a much stronger console in other ways as well. The CPU has received a major upgrade as well, and that means the console can process a lot more as well. So, just like before, this generation you can expect another upgrade to in game physics, improvements to AI, and in general less limitations in games. Of course we are way too early into this generation to see this be put into use, but it's there. These are the real improvements that will carry over across every game, despite your graphical settings, and the main reason to look to the future. But again, it's going to take awhile before we actually get there. At the time of this review, PS5 games are basically just PS4 games. They have graphical and performance updates, but it's really no different from playing the same games on a PC. Is that a bad thing? No, the games are still a lot of fun. Does that mean the PS5 is something you NEED to have right away to keep up? Also no, unless the game you want happens to be PS5 exclusive. All it really means is that the PS5 is just starting it's life, so we won't see what it can really do for quite some time, and that's perfectly okay. As long as the games are fun, that's all that really matters. And if they can be played elsewhere before you get a PS5, then that's perfectly fine as well.

The Two Consoles:

Another thing people need to know before getting a PlayStation 5, is the fact that there are currently two models. One model has a disc drive, while the other doesn't. So, what does this mean? Exactly as it sounds. The physical edition PS5 allows you to play physical discs, which include audio CDs, DVDs, Blurays, PS4 Blurays, and of course new PS5 Bluray games. The digital edition on the other hand, cannot. This version of the PS5 is focused only on digital downloads, and that it is. It's aimed at people who would rather save $100 off the price of the PS5, and for those who would rather only download their games. This is the only difference between the two. (And yes, the physical PS5 has access to all the digital content as well.)

The Accessories and Controller:

Another big feature of the PS5 is the new controller, and other accessories you can get with your PS5.


The DualSense -

The new controller made for the PS5 is the first generation of their new "DualSense" line. Replacing the DualShock, the DualSense is of similar build to the DS4, but with some new features added in as well. It's a little bit of a larger controller, that's more form fitting to your hands, and it has all of the buttons that one might expect. You have your four face buttons, a D-Pad, a left and right analog stick, a start button, and returning "Share" and "PlayStation" buttons. The touch pad from the PS5 DualShock has been brought back as well, and the front of the controller features lights and a speaker that some games can make use of. This time around however, the controller also contains a built in microphone, and the triggers have been replaced with new adaptive triggers that can tighten or loosen based on what you're doing. For example, in shooting games you can feel the resistance of the triggers for different types of guns, while other games can use it in their own creative ways. Mixed in with the new haptic feedback, the controller can now help you "feel" the game you are playing, and can actually help you respond in ways you never could before. Of course this is something you need to experience for yourself to really explain it, but if you've ever used a newer smart phone, then you might already be used to it.

Pulse 3D -

The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is the first headset to be made with the PS5's new "Tempest" sound in mind. What does that mean though? Basically just that it's an official PlayStation headset. That's all there really is to it. Tempest is Sony's new higher quality 3D audio, which is actually REALLY nice sounding, but you don't need the Pulse 3D headset to enjoy it. Basically any headset will give you the same results, but the higher the quality the better. As for the Pulse 3D itself... It's pretty nice! It's wireless, and because of that you can connect it to other devices as well. The only down side is that it's not blutooth, so you need to use the wireless dongle, but it's not a big deal. You also have the option to wire it using a standard headphone jack, if your device doesn't have a USB slot. As for controls, you can use the buttons to increase/decrease the audio, you can mute the microphone (yes, it has a built in mic), and you can use the rocker to toggle between how loud in game audio, and voice chat audio is as well. Overall it's a nice headset, and a perfect accessory for the PS5... Assuming you don't already have a better headset.

Media Remote -

The PlayStation family has always doubled as both a game console, and a media center. The PS1 could play music CDs, the PS2 introduced us to the world of DVDs, the PSP was meant to be both a Walk Man and a portable gaming console, the PS3 stepped it up with Blu-ray and online services, the Vita expanded on what the PSP did before it, and the PS4 expanded on what the PS3 had in place. Needless to say, the PS5 has done the exact same thing, and to go with it is none other than a media remote. Of course the media remote isn’t needed to use the console, but it does allow you to quickly access services like Netflix and Disney +, and is a lot more convenient than using the standard controller. It has a button to turn your TV on and off, and you can control the volume as well. While not a key feature for the console, it’s still a nice one, and a worth wild accessory if you plan to use your PS5 as something more than a game console.

The Camera -

Like the PS2, PS3, PS4, and Vita, the PS5 has a camera as well. This camera has HD video, and can be used in multiple ways. However, it really depends on the developer, and on Sony themselves if they want to make full use of this accessory. For example, in the past games like LittleBigPlanet could use it to take pictures to insert into your levels, and when a game allows streaming to services like Twitch, you could use the camera to show your face as well. This is all still possible with the PS5 camera still, but currently it’s main use is for tracking PlayStation VR, and verifying your identity to log into your PS5. It’s not much, but it’s something. And on the plus side, you can use your original PS4 camera as well. You just have to verify you owned one, and then have Sony send you a free adapter. Pretty easy to do.

PlayStation VR -

An accessory that has carried over from last generation. The PlayStation VR still works with the PS5, and can be used to play VR games. At the time of this review a new model for the PSVR has not been announced, and as such the experience is very much the same as it was on the PS4. While games will run in their “PS4 Pro” enhanced modes, there are really no other enhancements to speak of at the moment. The PSVR itself has a lower resolution than most other VR headsets on the market now days, and the PlayStation Move controllers are extremely outdated technology from the PS3 days. While it does all still work, it really can’t compete with the rest of the VR market in it’s current form. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that (as there are MANY great PSVR games), but that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a PS5 just for VR either... At least not at this time. On the plus side, a new model will most likely replace the existing PSVR, but until then fans will be stuck with the same headset and limitations that they are already used to. (But considering the PS5 is a much stronger console, you can expect these limitations to be lifted, and for more PC quality VR experiences to be on their way.)

The Good and the Bad:

I will just come out and say it. Overall the PlayStation 5 lives up to it’s expectations so far. It’s a pretty big step up from what the PS4 offered before it, but it’s also not really anything many PC gamers have already become used to. For console only gamers, this will be quite an upgrade, and also quite a bit of an adjustment. For PC gamers? They are going to feel right at home with the PS5 from the get go. The console is strong, but thanks to 4K, HDR, ray tracing, and higher frame rates, now we have to deal with game graphic settings, and other features that were never an option on consoles. Players will be forced to choose between graphics and performance, and sometimes that’ll take some playing around to find the right balance. Again, this isn’t a big deal for PC gamers, but console gamers will have to get used to this, and will need to understand the hardware’s limitations. You can’t have everything, and that’s just a fact. This might be disappointing to some, but that’s the reality of this next generation. The line between PC and consoles are becoming blurred, and honestly that’s a good thing.

Putting aside the console’s limitations... The games are fun, the hardware is pretty impressive, it’s affordable, the new OS is great, and the fact that it’s a PlayStation 4 as well is a MAJOR plus. If you’re a PlayStation fan, or someone looking to get into console gaming, then there’s really no reason to not get the PS5. Of course that doesn’t mean the console is perfect, but what is? Sadly at launch there have been some issues that needed worked out (and some that still need to be addressed), but that’s to be expected. Sure, everyone would love to see the PS5 launch perfectly without issues, but realistically there’s always going to be something that was overlooked, or missed during development. With consoles becoming much more advanced than what they used to be, it’s pretty much unavoidable. That being said, so far the PS5 has had issues with downloading some games and updates (Devil May Cry 5 DLC in my case), there have been reports of the rest mode crashing the system, and even reports of game updates stopping the console from turning on. These issues are unfortunate, but thankfully they aren’t wide spread problems, nor are they issues that can’t be fixed in future updates.

So, would I recommend the PS5? For sure. Would I recommend it as soon as possible? Honestly, that’s up to you. At the time of this review (2/16/2021) there’s not a lot of exclusives to make it worth owning, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be coming out in the future. The handful of PS4 games that have received PS5 updates are nice as well, but ultimately they are still the same games. I’m not someone who can tell you if these upgrades are actually worth it or not, but I can tell you that I have personally really enjoyed them. They aren’t system sellers, but it’s something I love to see, and are games I’ve spent more time playing because of the enhancements. And although not all PS4 games receive this treatment, it’s still fine. The PS5 is a great PS4, and I still enjoy playing PS4 games on it. Considering we'll be seeing new PS4 games for quite some time, I plan on using it as a PS4 for years to come.

Anyway... the answer is yes. I would recommend getting one. However, just know the console isn't perfect, and it honestly depends on what you're looking for. For me? I'm more than happy with my purchase. No regrets!

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Monday, July 6, 2020

Anime Monday - Zoids: New Century Zero

So it’s been two weeks since I made my last blog post. Things have been pretty hectic at both home and work, and it’s been kinda hard for me to keep up with things. A lot of gaming related news has come out over these two weeks, and, while I do want to get around to talking about them at some point, it’s just a bit too much for me to cover at the moment. Putting that aside though, I didn’t want to fully go back on what I promised to do with this blog, so once again here we are with another Anime Monday! This week I’m going to be talking about an anime that is pretty special to me, and one I’m sure many others grew up watching as well. It’s Zoids: New Century Zero.

How I Discovered Zoids:

Like many other kids in the early 2000s, Toonami was my go to after school programming block. It’s where I got to watch great series like Dragon Ball Z everyday, it’s how I got into Gundam, and it’s really the main reason I even like anime to this day. Back then I didn’t really understand what anime was though, but I could tell that it was something special. It wasn’t like all the other “cartoons” I watched where everything was episodic. Instead these were shows with actual development, with each new episode progressing the story towards a definitive ending. They were complete, and each episode was a small part of a much grander journey. Even shows that didn’t have endings/would continue on in the future, still had major story arcs that had conclusions. Each part of Dragon Ball Z for example was it’s own epic adventure, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. So it’s really no wonder that I, and many others, tuned in to Toonami each and every day. And that’s exactly how I discovered Zoids.

I still remember the first time I saw Zoids: New Century Zero. It was the episode where they went up against “Harry Champ, a man destined to be king.” Honestly my first impressions of the series was “look at this Power Rangers rip off with their wannabe White Ranger Tiger Zord,” but for some reason it still interested me. I mean I thought the same thing about Gundam as well and ended up loving it, so why not give Zoids a chance as well? So I did. And yeah, I am so glad I did.

Before I knew it, Zoids had become my new favorite series. I watched it every day after school, and I remember even trying to build “Zoids” out of legos. I didn’t know about the model kits back then, so I made due with what I had, and somehow I completely missed the fact that it had some game releases as well. Of course, I didn’t have the internet back then to look these sorta things up, and the kids I would talk to at school really weren’t much of a help. They watched the show too, but they were in the same boat as me. We only knew what we saw on TV, and just hoped there was more out there... Without ever realizing there was... But that’s besides the point. The bottom line is, I loved the series, and I made sure to never miss an episode... At least, until things changed — but that too is a story for another time.

The Story of Zoids: New Century Zero:

Zoids is an interesting series. It’s a show that’s based on a model kit line, and because of that it’s not actually just one series. There are multiple Zoids shows, and each one is a series all it’s own. New Century Zero is actually the “third” Zoids series, but it was the first one to actually be shown in the US. While the original Zoids, and it’s follow up series, focused on war, New Century Zero takes a competitive approach to the whole thing, and focuses on teams fighting each other instead. It’s this team combat that really had me hooked from the get go, and I quickly found myself rooting for the different characters. But, once again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The story of New Century Zero is set place in a world that’s unlike our own. In this world giant mechanical beats known as “Zoids” rule, and humans pilot them in (typically) 3v3 battles known as “Zoids Battles.” Each Zoid is typically based on a different animal, and although they are machines, they do have an AI that acts as their brains. In a way, a Zoid is like a living creature, and although humans do pilot them, it’s more of a partnership between the Zoid and the pilot. A Zoid can reject it’s pilot, and refuse to fight in a Zoids Battle if it wishes, and that’s exactly where our story begins.

The Blitz team is a newer team that hopes to become one of the best. They have some skilled pilots under their belt, as well as some nice Zoids, but they just can’t seem to catch a break. Their “lead” Zoid the Liger Zero refuses to let anyone pilot it, and that ultimately leads to a lot of issues. That is until the rookie pilot Bit Cloud enters the picture.

Bit actually has no interest in becoming a Zoids pilot — instead he only cares about Zoids parts, and being able to make money of off them. After causing an accident that broke the Blitz Team’s lead pilot’s arm, Bit find himself being brought in by them to take responsibility for his actions. This is what eventually leads Bit to come face to face with the Liger Zero, and is how they discover that the Liger has actually accepted Bit as a pilot. After a series of events, Bit does eventually get into the pilot seat, and before long he is accepted as a part of the Blitz Team as their new pilot.

After Bit joins the team, each episode of New Century Zero focuses on the struggles the team must overcome if they want to make it to the top. The team has no money, their gear is outdated, and they aren’t as experienced as other teams out there battling. To make things even worse, a shady group called the Back Draft Group is constantly making illegal deals and causing trouble, and it doesn’t take long for the Blitz Team themselves to start running into them. Although each episode is mostly episodic, there’s a natural progression to the show that allows us to see this team continue to improve. It’s not easy for them however, and the show does take quite a few unexpected turns along the way. While many episodes do follow the same formula of new teams and characters being brought in each episode for Bit and his friends to fight, it doesn’t always stick to this setup, and often we get to see the other teams develop over time as well. These characters aren’t just single episode throw away characters, like in many episodic series, but rather new characters that continue to evolve along with the Blitz Team. They too are shooting for the same goal, and they are all just as capable of achieving it. Sure, it’s not as serious of a story as the war torn “Zoids: Chaotic Century,” but that’s perfectly okay. It’s a fun ride form start to finish, and you can’t help but be drawn into it’s world and characters.

Zoids Moving Forward:

When New Century Zero ended it’s run on Toonami, they continued to rerun it a few more times before they finally moved on to the rest of the Zoids series. The first series and it’s sequel was their next go to, which was a completely different experience from what NCZ offered. Again, this was a war torn world, and focused more on Zoids as being “wild animals” mixed with war machines. It was a much darker series in general, and caught many fans off guard when it first came on. Following this series’ success they then moved on to Zoids Fuzors which... Was canceled after basically one episode. After that Zoids pretty much vanished from the US, which is a shame. Zoids Genesis would air in Japan and once again focus more on the war aspect of Zoids, and at the end of the 2010s Zoids would once again return with Zoids Wild. In this series, characters ride on the back of Zoids (rather than piloting them), and it takes a step back towards the lighter side of things. As for Zoids in the US however? It’s remained missing. None of these follow up series ever got released here, and still to this day we’re waiting for them. It’s sad really, but that’s something Zoids fans have come to accept.

Should You Watch It:

So, should you watch New Century Zero or Zoids in general? Well, that really depends on you. Zoids is a unique mecha series with mechs based on animals. Each part of the series is completely unique, and because of that it’s not ensured that you will like every aspect of it. While NCZ is a fun ride with tournament style battles (with some drama mixed in), the style of the other series is a completely different case. So which Zoids you watch really does depend on what you’re looking for, but I can say that it is a series worth looking into. New Century Zero will always be my favorite out of all of them, and it’s something I’ve personally watched from start to finish many times. I watched every rerun on Toonami as it aired, I rewatched it again in high school, and then even after I became an adult, I often found myself going back to it just for fun. It’s a nice series, and I think everyone should give it a shot. So yes, I think it’s worth watching. 
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Monday, June 22, 2020

Anime Monday - Ghost Stories

I’m not going to lie. I sat here for quite awhile trying to figure out how to even start this post. Normally I just randomly choose an anime, I talk about it a little, and then go on with my day. It’s typically pretty straight forward, and I don’t have to put too much thought into what I want to cover. Then sometimes something like today happens... I clicked on my RNG, sorted through the list that was created as I looked for something I have seen, and then my eyes stopped on something unexpected. Ghost Stories. Man, I knew this day would come eventually, but I was never actually prepared for it. I mean, how do I even start with this one? What should I even talk about? Why couldn’t it have just been a normal anime!? Yeah, this is not an easy one to cover, but I hope to do my best... And to do that, I feel like we need to start at the beginning. Back to the stories that would not only take Japan by storm, but also be the reason we have many of our top horror movies today.

The Origin of Ghost Stories:

Originally written by Toru Tsunemitsu, “Ghost Stories” is not actually one series, but a collection of horror novels. Each book is a story of it’s own, and typically deals with supernatural beings that must be stopped. These stories became insanely popular in Japan, and would become the inspiration for many other writers and film makers. The series was huge, to say the least, and it’s because of that popularity an anime series based on it was eventually greenlit. It was only natural that something this well known would eventually come to TV as well, but the result wasn’t what one might expect.

The anime version of Ghost Stories follows the story of a group of kids, as they deal with different strange occurrences around their school and town. Every episode introduces a new threat, the kids investigate, and eventually find a way to stop the ghost and save the day. It’s a very episode format, without any real danger, or even a real reason to watch it. It was a shell of the source material, and it failed to appeal to nearly everyone. It was a kids series that kids didn’t want to watch, and it was too dull for an older audience to really give it a second look.

The English Dub:

After the anime completely bombed in Japan, it was picked up in the west by ADV Films — a company that had brought many other “older” anime series to the West. Unlike with most dubs however, ADV was warned about just how badly Ghost Stories did in Japan, and they were given the go ahead to do “whatever” they wanted with the series (with a few exceptions). As long as ADV didn’t change the way monsters/ghosts were defeated, then they were free to change anything else to make it into a story of their own. So, that’s exactly what they did.

The Ghost Stories dub is an example of both a “perfect” dub and also the “worst” possible dub. A lot of people may not agree with what was done to the series when it was translated, while many people will only watch it because of it’s dub. Why? Because the dub is what one might call an “official” abridged series — without the abridge part.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with an “abridged” series, they are something that became popular online during the early days of websites like YouTube. They are series that take anime, trim down the scenes, and apply a comedy fan dub to what is happening. They are complete parodies of the source material, and aren’t afraid to do whatever they want. They aren’t official projects, and they can get away with saying nearly anything. Ghost Stories is exactly the same thing, but in official form.

The dub of Ghost Stories doesn’t hold anything back. Right off the bat there are major changes to the main characters, and the nonstop craziness begins. The main character’s brother is transformed into a mentally disabled child who has a hard time speaking from time to time, another girl was made into a very strict Christian, while another kid is now Jewish, and another simply says whatever is on his mind whenever he wants. The dub isn’t afraid to take these traits to the extreme, and in the process they try to offend as many people as possible. One character is told to run as if he were being chased by a “big black man,” and the little kid is called the R word pretty often. The Christian girl constantly jumps to the “extreme” with everything, the Jewish kid visits Jewish only adult sites, and so on. You never know what to expect every time someone opens their mouth, and that’s exactly what makes the dub so good (yet also horrible). It’s definitely not for people who get offended easily, but it’s great for anyone who wants a parody.

The only down side is that it is an older series, so some of the jokes may be lost on newer fans — such as the “YOU WANNA BE AN AIR FORCE RANGER” scene, which is a direct reference to a certain popular movie. It doesn’t really stop it form being any less funny if the reference goes over your head, but it is definitely better if you get the joke. All things consider though, it’s actually pretty shocking what they were able to get away with some of the things said, but now days a lot of it most likely wouldn’t fly.

It’s a controversy show, but again, that’s why so many people also love it.

Should You Watch It?

That really depends! Going in you need to understand what it is. It’s a basic boring story about kids fighting ghosts. The series itself really isn’t that special at all, and I really can’t recommend the “original” to anyone. The original sub has actually officially been released, so that’s one option when it comes to watching it, and they did go back and do a “proper” dub as well. Both the sub and dub are the complete original experience, without any of the alterations by ADV... But why would you want that?

If you don’t easily get offended, then I would recommend Ghost Stories ADV dub for sure. While the initial episodes do start out a little rough, the following episodes will have you laughing non stop from start to finish. You really never know what to expect next, and you’ll constantly find yourself just staring at the screen in complete disbelief over what was just said. They don’t hold anything back, and that is why either you'll love it, or hate it.

So to answer the question, "is it worth watching," then you have to really consider what you yourself like. If you have a problem with strong language and offensive material, then stay FAR away from this one. If not, then go check it out. It's a rare anime series that deserves to be watched.
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Saturday, June 20, 2020

New Pokemon Snap - A Dream Come True

When I was a kid, Pokemon was massive. It was something completely new that was taking the world by storm, and I too was being drawn into it. I still remember the first time I saw the anime, the first time my parents bought me a toy, the first time I got some Pokemon cards, and the very first time I started up Pokemon Red. These are all memories that will forever be burned into my brain, yet they were all such small parts of what Pokemon would eventually become for me. It was something I had never experienced before, and it was also something I could not get enough of. Heck, I used to worry about "what would happen next" once Ash finally made it to the Pokemon League. As far as I knew, that would be the end of it, but then Pokemon Gold and Silver came around to give me hope. But again, what would happen once those games were over? Would Pokemon continue? How long would it last?

Back then, despite it being so popular, I really didn't expect it to continue to evolve into the franchise it is now. I was living completely in the moment, and during that time it was my everything. I hoped those times would last forever, but I wasn't sure if they would. For the time being however, I planned to enjoy it as much as I could, and I was always waiting for the "next big thing" to come to the Pokemon world. That's when I heard about Pokemon Snap.

During those days, Pokemon games were still quite limited. We had the Game Boy games, Pokemon Stadium on the N64, and Hey You Pikachu (which I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who liked that game). They were all fun games, and offered different looks at the Pokemon world, but there had yet to be a 3D game where you could actually "explore" this world. The first time I saw Pokemon Snap was actually at a Toys R Us, and I completely mistook what it was right off the bat. The demo was setup for you to play, but I didn't actually have much time to stand there to play it. I just remember the screen slowly moving towards a meowth, and me using the buttons to zoom in closer and throw apples at it. I didn't know what was going on, but the fact that it was a 3D Pokemon game meant I HAD to have it. So I began asking for it.

I'm really not sure how or why it happened, but one Sunday night I was over at my grandparent's house, and my uncle and his wife came over with a sack in their hands. I can still recall my uncle handing that sack over to me, and me looking inside to see not just Pokemon Snap, but it's guide book as well. Needless to say, in that moment, I was pretty excited! Even though it had only been a few months since I had first asked for the game, as a kid that seemed like an eternity's worth of waiting. And now, that wait was finally over.

Sadly I couldn't play the game until after school the next day, but once I got home, that game would became my "go to" for many, MANY, months to come. Although it wasn't quite the exploration game I was expecting, I still loved every minute of it. Seeing Pokemon in their "natural environment," and trying to line up the camera for the perfect shots was a lot of fun. Eventually you started unlocking tools to help you, and by using them you could lead Pokemon into unique situations for even better pictures. It was a really cool concept, and I was always striving to take better pictures.

Even when I wasn't playing Pokemon Snap, I was still thinking about Pokemon Snap. Thanks to that guide book, I was able to "study" the maps, and learn as much about the game as I could. I still remember talking to my cousins about that game, as we walked with our parents to the town's fall festival, and I remember bringing the guide book with me so that we could look at it on our way up there. They too became pretty interested in the game, and whenever they came over they instantly wanted to play it. Sadly that day wasn't really the best for me however, as I got stung up by bees, and was then forced to walk all the way back home in pain. My cousins were planning on coming over to play Pokemon Snap after, but I'm pretty sure that didn't happen that day... And later on, their love for the game would actually start to annoy me.

I guess it was because the game was mine, and I had already played it so much, but eventually Pokemon Snap did start to annoy me. My cousins ALWAYS wanted to play it, and I was tired of that being the only thing we did. So one day I actually "hid" it behind my TV so they wouldn't find it, and... That was actually the last time I ever saw it myself. That day a large group of neighborhood kids came over to play, and one of them must've found it... When they left I went to retrieve the game from my "hiding place" (behind the TV), and it was no longer there.

Losing Pokemon Snap crushed me as a kid, and sadly the next time I got to play it wouldn't be until I was 18 years old. The game eventually came out on the Nintendo Wii, and since I started working at my uncle's bakery I was easily able to get the extra money to buy it. Funny enough, my one cousin (who loved the game) came over as well to play it. It was the first time either of us had seen the game in roughly 9-10 years, and it was just as good as we remembered. Sorta.

Overall, Pokemon Snap really wasn't that big of a game. You only had a handful of areas, only a fraction of the original 151 Pokemon were included, and the "secret paths" weren't so secret once you figured them out. It was still a fun game, and the scale was understandable for the time, but overall it really wasn't as "amazing" as I had once thought it was. That's not to say I still didn't love it, it's just the magic of it had at that point worn off for me. But I still had hopes that one day we'd get to return to it... And now here we are.

11 years after I returned to the original Pokemon Snap, we are now finally getting that sequel I had wished for. It's hard to believe so much time has passed. I never once thought it would take this long for a follow up, nor did I really ever think that it would actually happen at this point! The announcement of New Pokemon Snap was a dream come true for me, and once again I find myself returning to how I felt during my childhood. Like back then, a world filled with the unknown is awaiting me, and I can't wait to dive back into it.

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

First Look at the PlayStation 5

It's finally happened! Today we got our first look at the upcoming PlayStation 5, and not just that, but it's digital only model as well!

While we've already covered the PS5's specs in the past, today's announcement was more for the games coming to it, and the look of the console itself. As you can see, it's pretty unique. It will come in two models (one with a physical disc reader, and one without), and both will sport a similar black and white design. To go along with the console, a new HD camera was announced (which will most likely be used for PlayStation VR), as well as a media remote.

For a closer look at the new console, check the trailer below:

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Square-Enix announces Project Athia for PS5

Luminous Productions, the team behind Final Fantasy XV, have finally shown off their newest game -- Project Athia! While not much is currently known about the game itself, it's being built with the PlayStation 5 in mind. Check out the stunning new trailer below:

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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - PS5 Trailer

Ratchet & Clank are back, and this time they find themselves caught in a new adventure between dimensions! Featuring instant "dimension hopping" thanks to the PlayStation 5's power, this is said to be a title that could have only truly been pulled off using next generation hardware. It's been quite some time since we've seen our two heroes, but it's good to have them back. Plus they're joined by a new heroine this time as well!

Check out the trailer now:

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Sackboy: A Big Adventure - PS5 Trailer

The star of LittleBigPlanet returns, and this time in a game of his very own! Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a co-op 3D action platforming game, that barrows it's setting from the main LittleBigPlanet titles. While past LittleBigPlanet games were actually game creation games, this time around the game itself is the main focus here. Check out the trailer now:

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