Category Archives: PlayStation 5

Shoot 1UP DX out today on PS5 and PS4

Shoot 1UP DX is now available for PS5 and PS4 in the Americas and Europe. Developers Mommy’s Best Games and Super Soul have taken special care to port their shmup darling to Sony’s consoles.

Shoot 1UP DX is an award-winning twist on the shmup formula: instead of hoarding each 1UP, you now may play all your ships at the same time. Starting with three ships, players can continue to build an armada of fighters, and deftly blast their way through 8 wild levels of alien forces.

“There’s so many new changes and improvements for Shoot 1UP DX and we’re bringing all the tasty bites to Sony’s amazing systems” declared Nathan Fouts, lead designer, “new level designs, big-bad bosses, new enemies–there’s plenty of new content to shoot up!”

PS4 and PS5 Release Available Now

Shoot 1UP DX is now available in the Americas and Europe on Playstation 5 and Playstation 4. Shoot 1UP DX has been remastered, with higher resolution art, new enemies, more levels, on-line leaderboards, and a locked framerate of 60fps. Exclusive to the Sony consoles are the exciting Trophies.

And despite a challenging process, developer Mommy’s Best Games managed to release Shoot 1UP DX to both Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, last year, to positive acclaim.

Key Features for Shoot 1UP DX in 4K

  • Remastered for 4K resolution at 60 fps with tons of action!
  • 1UPs instantly enter the action!
  • Command up to 30 ships at the same time!
  • 2 player local co-op play for 60 simultaneous player ship insanity!
  • Contract your phalanx to dodge enemy fire, expand your ships to fire the PLASMA AUGER!
  • Hardcore? Crank up the difficulty and gameplay speed for THUMB-TWISTING maneuvers!
  • Classic shmup design – 8 levels of alien-fighting action, ready for you to get your revenge!
  • Deluxe Version includes 2 brand new levels, a dozen NEW ENEMIES, bosses, and more!
  • Challenging Trophies for Playstation and a Platinum Trophy for completionists!
  • Online Leaderboards to compete with your friends and chase scores!

Renzo Racer out today on PlayStation 5

Video game publisher Joindots and independent development studio EnsenaSoft release the go-kart racing game Renzo Racer on PlayStation 5 today for $24.99/€24.99/£19.99.

Renzo Racer is a fast-paced cartoon style racing game challenging your maneuverability and driving skills to cross the finish line first.  Choose your driver from a selection of 16 comical personalities and race down 20 exciting tracks full of twists and turns, hazardous obstacles and unexpected surprises. Play individual tracks or tournaments against the AI cars or also against a friend in local 4 player mode.

Features

  • 16 Comical Drivers with Unique Personalities
  • 20 Challenging Race Tracks
  • Race Karts or Boats!
  • Destructible Objects, Rockets, Bombs, Nitro and more
  • Obstacles & Surprises
  • Local 4 Player Mode to Enjoy with Friends
  • Fast and Furious Racing Action

Apart from PlayStation 5, Renzo Racer is also available on Nintendo Switch, the Windows Store (desktop only), and it supports VR on HTC Viveport and Steam.

THE SKY IS JUST THE BEGINNING. WINDFOLK, A THIRD PERSON AERIAL SHOOTER, RELEASES TODAY EXCLUSIVELY ON PS4 & PS5!

Sony Interactive Entertainment Spain (SIE Spain) and Fractall Fall are pleased to announce that Windfolk, a third person aerial shooter developed under the PlayStation®Talents intiative is now available as a digital-only title for PS4 and PS5 in the PlayStation Store for 14,99€ / 14.99$. The title was also awarded wth the Best Use of PlayStation® Platforms at the IV PlayStation®Talents Awards.

The world of Eurian is at war. The ruthless Coalition wants to gain control over the floating islands, and in the process are abusing the power of trydian, the mineral that keeps them flying. Play as Esen, a victim of their experiments and now a soldier of the Resistance, to stop them and complete your revenge.

Fly around with Esen’s jetpack in this third-person aerial shooter to change the tide of the war and put an end to this conflict. In Windfolk you will have six degrees of freedom to roam around a picturesque world full of floating islands where positioning will be key to outflank your enemies and defeat them.

KEY FEATURES

  • Fly freely around the world of Eurian in combat mode or speed up to be as fast as possible in turbo mode once you finish the main story arc.
  • Use your wits to flank your enemies in hectic combats that will challenge you every second.
  • Explore Eurian and its wondrous environments, from a scorching desert to a tropical seaside.
  • Combine different weapons and skills to create your own unique play style.

Maneater Review – PC & PlayStation 5

Not many games dare to let you play as the proverbial “bad guy”, but Maneater does just that with a flip-the-script story that will have you rooting for the fish and booing whenever humans show up.  The game wastes no time in setting up just how evil mankind truly is, both as mindless hunters and a threat to the planet.  After a brief tutorial you are immediately set upon by hunters led by Scaly Pete, a notorious fisherman who has his own reality TV show hosted by none other than Chris Parnell.  Chris will also provide hours of entertaining banter and narration while you play in hopes of balancing out the blood and carnage that dominates this game.  A twist at the end of the prologue reveals you haven’t been playing the main character at all, but rather the mother of a baby shark (do not start singing or I will stop this review right here) that plops out just as Pete kills the mom in a scene ripped right from the 1977 movie, Orca.

This sets up the next 20+ hours of what ultimately become a bit of a tedious grind as you check off a seemingly endless array of activity icons spread across a massive map of coastal Louisiana divided into distinct areas with unique themes and environments like a swamp, toxic waste zone, retirement community, boardwalk theme park, etc.  Regardless of the location, you are presented with dozens of activity markers that slowly reveal themselves the more you play the game.  Unlike many games that just show you everything, Maneater spoon feeds you its content one undiscovered (?) at a time.

These activities/collectibles include; eating license plates (a nod to the original Jaws), discovering landmarks complete with mini-cutscene and humorous narration by Parnell, hunting for chests full of mutagens used to power-up, and lots of hunting/eating missions that culminate with a unique apex predator hunt for each region of the map.  Oh yeah, there are plenty of human attack missions where you get to eat dozens of innocent swimmers or anyone else who ventures too close to the shoreline.  One of Maneater’s more endearing charms is your ability to jump out of the water and flop around on dry land for a limited time (even longer after an upgrade) and eat anyone you can fit into your upgradeable jaws.  At first this is mostly swimmers and sunbathers but soon you will be snatching your next snack from a canoe, paddle boat, or Jet Ski.  Once you learn to “hold your breath” you can venture further onto dry land eating people on the boardwalk or from their very own backyards if their retirement home is too close to the water.  You can even flop into a golf course and occupy water hazards as you wait for passing golfers.  There is even a challenge mission to eat ten people from a crowd gathered on a putting green and another where you terrorize a senior mixer.

A threat meter slowly increases the more people you eat and eventually the shark hunters will arrive to eliminate the menace (that’s you), so you need to do this balancing act of attacking the hunters, trashing their boats with bites and tail-whips, or leaping onto their deck and munching away while avoiding taking damage by quickly evading their target locks.  Thankfully eating hunters (or any nearby fish) will replenish your health, but the more hunters you kill the higher your notoriety and even deadlier waves of fishermen will arrive with bigger guns and even dynamite.

As mentioned earlier, you start the game as a baby and as you complete objectives you earn XP and level-up which fuels into the whole ShaRkPG aspect of the game.  You have a small but manageable skill tree that slowly unlocks upgrade sockets and by using the mutagens you collect from the hidden chests along with DNA consumed by eating various predators you can start to unlock impressive abilities attached to your body, teeth, fins, and several passive perks like sonar.  There are matching sets of upgrades like the bone set that turns you into this terrifying, armor-plated, prehistoric looking monster able to smash boats with a few attacks.  Some upgrades work better in certain regions, so managing these perks based on your location is a cool underlying tactic to the gameplay.

There is a nice level of progressive difficulty with enemies that are just slightly ahead of you in level like eels, gators, marlins, other sharks, and even whales.  Using a mix of biting and tail whips to stun combined with various upgrade perks, much of the combat is more button-mashing that tactical.  The lack of a proper lock-on camera makes things more difficult than need be.  You can snap the camera to target but it won’t stay locked.  I was annoyed that low-level enemies would attack when I returned to earlier levels.  Why is a level 2 eel attacking my level 22 shark?  There is a perk you can equip very late in the game to make this happen; useful for when you are doing post-game completion stuff.

I reviewed Maneater on both the PC and the PS5 and the experience is mostly the same in both gameplay and technical presentation.  I had some performance issues on the PC with the game hitching when making long trips across the map and even when transitioning between swimming on the surface and submerging.  Sometimes the stutter would be 1-2 seconds.  I’m convinced this is an asset loading issue.  On the PC I moved the game from my mechanical drive to my SSD and nothing got better and then I started playing on the PS5 with their fancy new super-fast drive and the problem persisted.  I can only assume this game is poorly optimized on both platforms.  Despite the PS5’s fast storage there are still lengthy load screens starting the game and going between gameplay and pre-rendered cutscenes.  It’s more annoying than anything else, and in the 20-hours spent on the PS5 I only had one game-breaking glitch where the Barracuda apex predator intro movie locked up as I began that fight.

As for presentation, I was playing on an RTX2080ti when I started my PC review and finished on an RTX3080.  There was no difference between these two cards, and both ran the game fully maxed out at 4K at 60fps.  Both had the same hiccups while swimming long distances or diving and surfacing, which eliminated the GPU as the culprit, especially when the PS5 did the same thing.  Given the art style and asset design both console and PC versions look and perform identical but the PS5 did have slightly better lighting and HDR support.  Both versions support ray-traced lighting for water reflections.

The DualSense controller uses the haptic motors for a bit of additional feedback and immersion that you won’t experience on the PC using and Xbox controller, but there is no use of the speaker.  The surround sound mix for both formats is outstanding with a great mix of ambient environmental sounds, real-world effects like boat motors and a great variety of screaming and crying from dying people and those watching them die as well as the comments from the hunters.  Parnell is on point with all of his narration that includes a lot of smart humor and references.  Even the background music is nicely composed and smartly integrated into the gameplay.

Maneater is a mindless way to kill 20 hours.  It has all the epic map-clearing you’d find in an Assassin’s Creed game or any other open-world sandbox.  Much of the content is literally gated behind metal grates that you can only open at certain stages of your growth, so you will need to return to previous areas as an Adult or Elder to access those areas and the treasures they contain.  Other collectibles require upgrades to jump higher or stay on dry land longer, so there is a bit of backtracking; thankfully you can fast-travel between each region’s grotto (your home base) to speed things up.  Fast-travel is also a great way to escape underwater caves when you get hopelessly lost.

Admit it…we all root for the shark in movies like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea and now we finally have a game that lets us live out our fantasies of stalking helpless people, ripping them into bloody pieces and eating them with all the sickening crunching sound effects.  I was humming the Jaws theme the first few times I was swimming toward the surface near the beach with dozens of kicking legs deciding who would be first.  I bit down and leaped from the water thrashing side to side as arms and legs went flying in difference directions and the red splotch of blood expanded its circle.  Moving on to the swan paddle boat I jumped and grabbed a guy from the seat and ate him before I hit the water, listening to his companion screaming and pointing from the adjoining seat.  She would join him soon.

Maneater is currently on PC on the Epic Game Store and coming to Steam in the future.  The PS5 version is just as good in my opinion, and if you already own the PS4 version you can upgrade for free – your save files won’t transfer so you will need to start over.  I had a great time with Maneater despite its ultimate lack of variety and formulaic approach to gameplay with an exhausting amount of content that can often turn into a grindy checklist.   The RPG elements give the player some agency over how to evolve the shark and actually play the game.  The designers wisely gate content and upgrade paths to keep you motivated until the end, and the terrified screams of human prey are always a great incentive to keep playing if you are as twisted as me.  And remember, when Scaly Pete brings out the bigger boat you can always bring out the bigger fish.

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DIRT 5 Review – PC & PlayStation 5

Welcome to our review of DIRT 5, a project of seemingly epic proportions that began in October and has taken us eight weeks, two reviewers, two PC’s, a PlayStation 5, and nearly a dozen pages of notes.  We were set to publish this a couple weeks ago before learning of the big holiday patch that just released, so we decided to wait and get that content included in what will hopefully be the most comprehensive coverage of this game we can provide.  Thanks to Travis Young for his early work and notes on this.  Your input was invaluable to this project.  Let’s get started.

As the fifth game in the franchise (six if you count Dirt Showdown, DIRT 5 comes with a bit of a legacy,  Earlier games offered a more sim-like rally approach to the genre, but for DIRT 5 we are getting a pure arcade racing experience, more akin to an off-road version of Ridge Racer or Need for Speed.  Packed with a massive garage of cars, a seemingly endless supply of unlockable collectibles, and 70+ track layouts scattered about 10 exciting locations around the globe there is enough content to keep you occupied for months.  We literally just finished the career mode after six weeks of casual play mixed in with other modes like Arcade and Playgrounds earning 357 of the 375 possible medals.

The Career mode is the core of DIRT 5, consisting of nearly 100 events spread out across a daunting flowchart of interconnected races.  You are free to plot your course through the career creating your own path of unlockable races, or methodically check off every race in a bracket before moving on to the next.  There are numerous styles of events, so there truly is something for everyone whether you just want a simple lap race or perhaps one long sprint course.  You have Landrush, Stampede, Ultra Cross, Ice Breaker, Pathfinder, and Gymkhana stunt arenas where you try to chain fancy moves into high-scoring combos.   I’ll admit, I did not like Gymkhana at all and the Sprint events were broken to the point where I simply did my laps and took my 12th place finish just to log completion of the event.  The Ice Breaker events were also an issue until I was able to buy better cars so I could brute force my way to victory.  And the Pathfinder events had their own challenge.  You basically MUST drive from an external camera view on these races and even then the physics were so ridiculously wrong that even the tiniest stone on the track would send your car flipping and rolling like your giant tires were filled with helium.  So basically, I enjoyed about 75% of the content and tolerated the rest, but when the game was firing on all cylinders it was a breathtaking and thrilling experience.

The design of the career mode basically has you coming in as this new rookie and racing your way to the top to take out the current and former champions; the latter who also happens to be part of an ongoing podcast who will chime in with personal advice as well as constant banter with his cohosts between races.  It’s definitely that old-school vibe back when EA had their EA Trax setup with licensed music and DJ banter in Need for Speed and Burnout.  It’s pretty cool if you happen to be spending time in the garage  designing your cars, but some of these podcasts run several minutes and I’m not going to hang out in the menu delaying my next event just to listen to what is frankly some juvenile broadcast radio.  You also get the personal banter directed at you before and after races, much of which gets quite repetitive given the sheer amount of events in this mode.

In addition to the regular events your career mode also has Throwdowns; special challenge events with limited racers on special sections of tracks.  I enjoyed the concept of these challenges but it was never clear when one of these events opened up and there was no record of which ones you had done, so outside of the first event where you are told to do it I kind of forgot about these until I had completed the career and then I went back and did them all sequentially.  You’ll also need to manage your Sponsors in the career mode.  These will determine your income for winning races as well as secondary challenges that will earn you reputation to increase your loyalty level with each sponsor.  Sponsors have 15 levels of loyalty and you can typically max out 3-5 sponsors in a single career, but honestly, Pepsi is the only sponsor you really need as they pay 22,000 for each race you win; twice as much as the next highest paying sponsor, and most sponsors only pay 4,000-6,000.  Many of the unlockable assets are sponsor-specific, unlocking at each new reputation level per sponsor, and even after unlocking they must still be purchased with in-game credits.  Other assets are unlocked based on your driver XP level, and will take considerable grinding to earn.

There are a lot of underlying systems in play in DIRT 5 that could incentivize you to play longer than you should.  Much of the content is locked behind level gates and pay walls (in-game credits; not real money).  There are hundreds of items like race badges, lanyards, stickers, car liveries, sponsor decals and layouts, and more.  Each car offers multiple design slots, and you can spend hours in the garage designing an endless variety of car designs, colors, and skins, but everything is cosmetic; your performance stats are fixed, and therein lies one of the biggest issues with the game.

DIRT 5 can be easily be won with minimal effort and even less challenge with a few simple smart car purchases. Once you own these certain cars there isn’t much to keep you from winning unless you ramp up the difficulty levels.  In some events, especially the early ice track racing it is nearly impossible to win with the default car provided, but purchase something a bit nicer and then try to lose.  Most races will have you breaking to the front of the pack and you’ll never see another car unless you wreck.  Wrecking is especially devastating, especially on the last lap.  Even going slightly off-road or hitting a wall too hard can force the game to reset your car on the track taking up so much time that unless you already had a 2-3 second split time you are going from first place to last with little hope of winning.  Many tracks have intentional design elements that will snag your car if you try to ride the outer walls, bringing you to a dead stop while the rest of the pack flies by.

Events also offer secondary challenges like trading paint, drifting, jumping ramps, overtaking, and various combinations of these like overtaking while drifting or trading paint while in the air.  These offer fun objectives that can prove to be distracting and sometimes impossible to attain.  Once you are in the lead you have to intentionally let other cars catch up before you can trade paint or let them pass so you can overtake them.  It’s easy to get caught up in these distracting secondary goals and accidentally lose the race.  Even worse are objectives that are clearly impossible like catching 25 seconds of air on an ice track with NO JUMPS.  You can reroll these objectives before an event but it will cost you.

Multiplayer support is great with local split-screen co-op for up to four players in both arcade and career modes or you can head online for exciting 12-player events that include player-generated content using the awesome Playground mode.  There are countless hours of thrilling racing waiting even beyond the career content.

So we are covering DIRT 5 on both the PC and PlayStation 5 and up until this point everything we’ve talked about is identical across both console and PC, but it’s time to get technical and here is where things start to differ; not enough to change the score but stuff still worth mentioning.  Playing this game on a high-end PC with an RTX3080 card cannot be matched, even by the mighty PS5…but it comes close, and if you are lucky enough to get a PS5 then you can play DIRT 5 almost as well as those spending $1500 on a comparable PC.  Both versions of the game have issues, some dating back prior to launch that still exist today.  The PC takes upwards of 2-3 minutes to load after clicking the Steam play button.  I’ve been told this is a one-time shader rendering process that happens when you first load the game after any length of time.  Other games do this but they do it after the game launches and there is a progress bar.  Here, you are just left to wonder what is going on.  The PS5 version loads in 3-5 seconds after hitting the Play button…every time.  Other bugs like crashing to desktop and locking up during sponsor selection have been patched but there is still one random and annoying glitch that is happening on both PC and PS5, even after the most recent holiday patch.  At the end of some races when they are showing podium finishers the car model will not load into the scene and the A or X button will not progress the game.  You just see fans cheering at an empty podium and I have to ALT-F4 on PC and force the game to close on PS5 and restart.  Thankfully race progress isn’t lost…just my time in having to reload the game.

There are some other variances.  The PS5 DualSense controller offers some of the most tactile controls of any racing game I’ve played short of using a force feedback racing wheel.  The subtleties of rumble and vibration combined with the pushback on the throttle trigger really connect you with the track surface and enhance the race immersion whereas my Xbox controller feels loose and a bit sloppy on the gas and superficial vibrations seem more in tune with engine RPM’s than track surfaces.

Visually, the PC looks incredible with all settings cranked to the max and running flawlessly at 60fps in 4K.  I also played this on an RTX2080ti and had to run at 1440p to get 60fps at max settings.  HDR is a bit of an issue trying to get it to look right on the PC without washing out the colors, whereas the PS5 handles HDR brilliantly…literally; I am blinded in many of the scenes.  The PC nudges out the PS5 in certain areas of detail like draw distance, shadow pop, and quality of reflections, and some events with certain lighting, weather, visible opponent cars, or increased level of scenery detail will cause the PS5 to drop frames; sometimes quite badly, especially when doing handbrake turns or any huge lateral shift in scenery.  When the PS5 is running smoothly it’s a surprisingly close match for the PC running on high quality settings and easily one of the best looking console racers to date.

It’s also worth noting the various camera angles available, many of which can affect your framerate.  I know Travis always races from the cockpit and I almost always race from the hood camera, so in respect to Travis I tried racing from the cockpit and instantly fell in love with the realism and immersion this view offers.  There are two cockpit views; one with dash and one with wheel and dash that offers a more set-back view of steering wheel and fully functional instruments.  I chose the latter and never regretted it, and with the exception of the Pathfinder events where I raced from an external view out of pure necessity, the cockpit cam is amazing with dirt, dust, water and snow spray that gets wiped away by the wiper blades and realistic sun and shadows.

The audio package is fantastic with great engines noises that change based on your camera view.  There are all sorts of violent metal on metal scraping when you grind the wall or smash into other cars that sounds just as bad as the cars look when you see their cracked and crumpled bodies at the end of a race.  The podcast and DJ banter is fun until it starts to repeat.  I did enjoy that they offer all the podcasts in a menu, so if you are going to spend time in the garage you can replay anything you may have missed.  The music selection is incredible with so many great tracks; I can’t think of a single song I didn’t like and several that I couldn’t wait for them to cycle back on the playlist.  The multi-channel surround mix on both PC and PS5 are totally immersive, and if you are using the Pulse 3D headset for the PS5 expect to be blown away, especially if you are driving from the cockpit view.

So to summarize, PC is the consistently better performer if you throw a massive PC at the game while PS5 does an admirable job at a fraction of the cost while offering more immersive gamepad support and better HDR.  PS5 also has faster load times starting and while playing the game.  Multiplayer is equally accessible between PC and PS5 although a powerful PC can handle multiple local players a bit more smoothly and DIRT 5 supports Steam’s Remote Play Together, so you can invites friends to join your game who don’t even own their own copy.  Basically, play this on whatever you have.  Even scaled back on lesser PC’s, DIRT 5 is still a blast and looks great.

Codemasters has plenty of content coming.  In addition to the most recent holiday update that added racing wheel support as well as dozens of holiday themed graphical updates to the library of collectibles and even a holiday themed race event, there is a full year of content planned for DIRT 5 in 2021.  Plan on endless hours of thrilling arcade racing as you climb behind the wheel of dozens of cars, racing on some of the most breathtaking tracks set in exotic locales from around the world.  DIRT 5 sets the bar for the future of next-gen racing.

You can check out our launch week gameplay video and see this awesome game in action on the PlayStation 5 with commentary.

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Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead PS5 Version Available Today

Headup and AMC released today Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead, the latest installment of the Bridge Constructor™ franchise, on Sony’s new PS5 console.

Set in the Walker-infested, post-apocalyptic world of AMC’s The Walking Dead, the game promises to smoke the brains of TV series fans and veteran Bridge Constructor players alike, as well as any who seek a challenge on their shiny new console. With PS4/PS5 Cross-Buy, the puzzle game can be enjoyed on both consoles for $9.99 / €9.99 / £7.99.

Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is also available on Xbox Series X & Xbox One (also featuring Cross-Buy), Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android, while PC, Mac and Linux users will get the game on Steam, the Epic Games Store and GOG.

The Pathless PS5 Physical Editions Now Available

The Pathless, a mythic adventure of an archer and an eagle in a vast forest, is now available in two PlayStation 5 physical editions. Annapurna Interactive and Giant Squid partnered with iam8bit to release two physical editions of The Pathless for PlayStation 5: the Day One Edition is available starting today at retailers around the world, and the iam8bit Exclusive Edition is available at iam8bit.com.

“Ever since the rise in popularity of physical editions of games, there hasn’t been a significant console cycle shift,” said Amanda White and Jon M. Gibson, co-owners/co-creative directors of iam8bit. “This is an historic moment for us, to be the first independent games publisher to bring premium physical editions to PlayStation 5, letting gamers and fans worldwide own a piece of next gen history.”

The digital game launched in November 2020 for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 via the PlayStation Store, for PC via the Epic Game Store and for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV via Apple Arcade.

In early 2021, Annapurna Interactive, Giant Squid, and iam8bit will also release a vinyl soundtrack for The Pathless, with music by Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory. With The Pathless, Wintory brings another wholly unique aural experience — encompassing both the wandering serenity of the game’s hunter hero and the epic encounters with the cursed island’s inhabitants. The vinyl soundtrack is available for pre-order at iam8bit.com.

See below for more information on The Pathless PlayStation 5 Physical Editions and vinyl soundtrack:

The Pathless PlayStation 5 Physical Editions: 

  • Day One Edition
    • PlayStation 5 physical edition
    • Includes six premium art cards
    • Available starting today at global retailers via distribution from Skybound Games
  • iam8bit Exclusive Edition
    • PlayStation 5 ESRB physical edition
    • Includes six premium art cards, a poster and exclusive reversible cover art
    • Available now at com

The Pathless Vinyl Soundtrack:

  • 2xLP gatefold jacket
  • Cleansed Blue and Cursed Red vinyl
  • Music by Grammy-nominated composer, Austin Wintory
  • Album art by Emmy winner, Elaine Lee
  • Mastered for vinyl by Townsend Mastering
  • Expected to ship globally early 2021
  • Available for pre-order at com

About The Pathless

Developed by the award-winning team behind ABZÛ, The Pathless sees players take on the role of the Hunter, a master of archery who travels to a mystical island to dispel a curse of darkness that grips the world. The Hunter must forge a connection with an eagle companion to hunt corrupted spirits, in turn being careful to not become the hunted. Players will explore misty forests full of secrets, solve puzzles in ancient ruins and be tested in epic battles. The bond between the Hunter and eagle and the fate of the world hang in the balance. The Pathless is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC and Apple Arcade.

For a deeper look at the game, check out this walkthrough video featuring commentary from the game’s director Matt Nava

TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW SIX SIEGE XBOX SERIES X | S AND PLAYSTATION 5 VERSIONS ARE NOW AVAILABLE, ALONGSIDE OPERATION NEON DAWN LAUNCH

Today Ubisoft announced that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six® Siege is now available on PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X | S in up to 4K and 120 FPS with render scaling, at the same price as the current-gen version. All current game owners can get the next-gen version of the game on the same family of devices at no additional cost*. Rainbow Six Siege also features cross progression and cross play within the same family of consoles. This series of enhancements aims to leverage the key possibilities offered by the new generation of consoles to offer the highest quality experience for console players.

In addition, Operation Neon Dawn, the final season of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Year 5, is now available on PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox Series X | S, the Xbox One family of consoles and Windows PC, including UBISOFT+, the Ubisoft subscription service.** This new season brings new features such as Aruni, a brand-new Operator, the rework of the Skyscraper map as well as new accessibility settings.

Owners of the Year 5 Pass can play with Aruni immediately, while other players can unlock her with Renown or R6 Credits starting December 8. New seasonal content, including the Skyscraper map rework, are available for free to all players. Year 5 Season 4 also welcomes the Battle Pass, available now through February 22nd.

Equipped with an original gadget called the Surya Gate, Aruni can deploy laser gates on walls, hatches, doors, and windows. Those gates damage Attackers and their utility but turn off to allow defenders to access. The gate is intended as an obstacle, zapping all drones, projectiles and damage Operators. Aruni comes with a P10 RONI or a MK 14 EBR as a primary weapon, and a PRB 92 as a secondary weapon.

In addition to this new Operator, players can now discover a reimagined Skyscraper map, which has been newly reworked with three major objectives. The first is driving Attackers inside by lowering the number of balconies and relocating them to remove some of the crossfire players could create previously from outside. An entirely new rotation between the two sides of the building on the second floor was also added. Lastly, the bombsites have been balanced to make them all more competitive.

Operation Neon Dawn also marks the launch of the Sixth Guardian program, in which certain seasons have a limited-time bundle dedicated to a different charity. As of today, Rainbow Six Siege players can purchase a bundle with a uniform, weapon skin, charm, and headgear for Doc. One hundred percent of net proceeds, with a minimum of $6 USD per bundle sold, will be donated to The AbleGamers Charity. AbleGamers is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that aims to support players with disabilities by providing gamers with the tools they need to enjoy their playing experience and by promoting inclusion in the video game industry.

For more information about Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, please visit rainbow6.ubisoft.com.

WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship Review – PlayStation 5

A few months ago I reviewed WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship on the PC and found it a highly enjoyable and satisfying racing simulation that tackled the world of rally racing from both a driver and business management perspective.  Running on top-end PC hardware, the game looked and performed amazingly, so I was excited to see how close the new PlayStation 5 could come in matching the experience.

First off, let’s just say that the PS5 is a nearly identical match for the PC running on high settings with all the immersive lighting, dynamic weather, draw distances, and loads of texture detail both in the environments and the detailed car models that exhibit real-time damage, both in visuals and performance degradation.  WRC 9 is further enhanced by two PS5 accessories; one that everyone has, the DualSense controller, and the other being the 3D Pulse Headset.  Whether you play games with headphones or not, the 3D Pulse does an amazing job of immersing you in the aural aspects of racing, not only with the perfect mix of engines, road, and environmental effects, but also in their perfect placement within the 3D listening space.  Assuming you are driving from inside the car (and you better be if you are playing a sim like this) the sound of rain hitting the metal roof of the car inches above your head is perfectly recreated when using the headphones.

The DualSense controller is the real game-changer here, in many ways outperforming my racing wheel setup on my PC…almost…but it does come very close to replicating the precision a $400 racing accessory offers.  First, all of the road surface noise comes from the controller speaker which adds a bit more immersion to the soundscape.  Hearing gravel clinking off your undercarriage and the pop of your exhaust is pretty cool, but the real savior to the experience is the controls themselves.  The haptic feedback in the triggers combined with the rumble of the pad and the extra-long travel distance of the L2/R2 buttons provide an uncanny connection with the road.  You can literally “feel” when your car is about to lose traction, and the new trigger design provides much more variable input for throttle and braking, allowing for cleaner driving and fewer mistakes.  Compared to playing with an Xbox controller on the PC I was shaving 10-30 seconds off my times.  The DualSense is still a close second to an actual wheel/pedal setup but Sony’s new pad is coming awfully close.

The PS5 version also benefits from the snappy load times on their internal SSD.  Menu navigation is fast and fluid and event and stage load times are just a couple of seconds.  The PS5 version still offers support for up to 8 online racers (PS Plus required) and those who may have already gotten the game on PS4 can enjoy a free upgrade to the PS5.  But beyond the PS5 specifics, what’s going on under the hood of WRC 9?

As I stated last year, I play dozens of racing games every year, and I also drive these cars in real-life and nothing comes close to the level of complete and total immersion you will find in WRC 9, not just in the actual driving of the cars, but in every facet of what goes on behind the scenes of a professional race team.  For those who place value on stats welcome back more than 50 teams from all the WRC categories with all the current season liveries including fan-favorites Toyota Gazoo Racing, M-Sport Ford and Hyundai Motorsport.  Play as numerous racing stars in the Season mode or create your own driver to seek fame and fortune in the elaborate and lengthy Career mode.  As always, you also have Quickplay, Training, a test area to test your setups, and 50 unlockable Challenges that will test your proficiency with specific cars, earning you gold, silver, and bronze medals.  There is no shortage of racing in WRC 9.

Career mode is the cornerstone of the content allowing you to start in the lesser leagues and make your way to the WRC or just jump in.  In career mode you not only have to worry about what happens on the track but also manage your crew and team behind the scenes worrying about things like fatigue, mechanics, business agents, and even a meteorologist to predict the weather for your next event.  Keeping your staff healthy and happy is just as important as navigating the massive R&D tech tree that lets you customize your career by spending points earned through leveling up while racing.  It’s an amazingly intricate and often overwhelming multi-layer system that’s running behind the scenes and all visualized quite nicely with a fun and detailed isometric view of your racing HQ.  Of course if you’d rather not worry about all the non-racing stuff you can just jump into the Season mode for pure racing and none of the paperwork.  WRC 9 also offers up a nice set of multiplayer options including online events, split-screen local play, and daily, weekly, and special challenges. Some are available for a limited timed only, encouraging you to check in with the game regularly.,

There can be a lot to micromanage if you want there to be.  You can populate your own race calendar with specific events, but make sure to put in “rest days” so your team can recover.  You have to maintain a staff of six professionals, often with backups in case someone decides to take off right before a big race.  You get to affect manufacturer reputations and setup season and short term goals that all factor into rep and team morale.  Your race results will all factor into money, XP, reputation, and morale and if you’re rep drops too low a sponsor could drop you.

While much of this sounds the same as WRC 8 there is quite a bit that is new including three new rally championships in three new countries; Kenya with its stunning diversity of scenery and technical difficulty, New Zealand offering some of the most twisted gravel tracks in the game along with stunning coastal views and of course, Japan offering high-speed asphalt racing and crazy hairpin turns through small towns.  Naturally, you get the other 13 countries that are already part of the championship, all offering their own unique visual presentation and specific technical driving elements that can all change based on time of day and type of weather.

The underlying physics engine is as advanced as it gets with plenty of setup options allowing you the ability to setup variations for race surface, temperature, weather, etc., and then save those settings to test or keep as presets for future use.  Lots of player feedback from last year went into many of the changes we’re seeing in WRC 9, making this a game that is truly for the fans.  Before each race you can dial in the difficulty on a percentage scale, and you can also tweak the level of damage effects and toggle perma-crash for each event.  Reckless driving is discouraged not only with potential time penalties between rally race days while you repair the car but also the fact you have to pay for repairs after each event with your earnings…team salaries too.  Lose too many races and you could go broke.

Also new to WRC 9 is the highly requested Clubs mode that allows gamers to create their own groups with their own tournaments, members, and leaderboards.  You can choose up to eight stages in any of the countries with cars, categories, and conditions to create your own custom championship then either offer it to the public or invite your own friends for some private racing action.  Also look for lots of future extended content coming in regular updates to keep the game fresh.  A newly designed Finland is due to arrive shortly with six new stages and Portugal is two months out, not to mention new cars, teams, and game modes.  One of my most anticipated new features is still a few weeks away but will allow an online co-pilot to call out the track and pace notes in what promises to be one of the coolest co-op modes in racing history.  Best of all this is all free content and not reliant on a season pass or special edition of the game.  Look for the first big update in December.

WRC 9 has never looked better or more realistic now that it’s gliding along at 4K 60fps with PC-quality special effects.  If you have a supporting display you can even try out the 120fps performance mode if you’re willing to sacrifice some visual fidelity.  When played on a large screen from the cockpit view with a wheel and pedals the level of total immersion is unparalleled.  The tracks and environments are photo-real and the lighting effects for nighttime and extreme weather racing events can be terrifying.  The way the headlights reflect off fog, snow, or sheets of rain is eerily realistic; both visually and how it impacts the road surface and the way your car handles.  The god rays streaking through the trees and the improved shadows combined with water and ice reflections and glare, water splashing the windshield before being stroked away with a wiper blade, or even the droplets that sprinkle the external camera totally sell this experience.

A few months ago I was able to enroll in a week-long rally driving school in New Hampshire to get a feel for what these cars are like in the real world.  Before that I had driven NASCAR, Indy Car, and Formula F1 and I can say that rally is unlike any other type of racing; a fact that this game clearly communicates through stunning visuals and incredibly realistic physics and driving mechanics.  While I would never discourage anyone from playing this game just please go into it knowing that this is a hardcore simulation that rewards patience and dedication and punishes casual racers who are coming to sightsee while crashing around corners.  For those up to the challenge grab that DualSense controller and become one with the machine and the road.  WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship has once again set the standard for reality racing.

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