Welcome again to This Week In Gaming, where we’ll cover some of the news highlights we missed, and look back on some of the better ones we didn’t. The news this week was dominated by the PS4; we’ll bring you up to speed on everything you need to know, while also covering some of the console’s newly announced games, next Kinect rumours, a look at some upcoming titles and a mixed bag of everything else. Check it out after the jump.
The Playstation 4
Expectant fans were given a ton of information to digest from Sony’s big reveal of the Playstation 4 – it’s all a little overwhelming, but here are the relevant things you may want to know.
The hardware specs are pretty impressive, with an eight-core AMD processor, high-speed Radeon graphics engine and a whopping 8GB of GDDR5 memory.
The console now has a “suspend mode” – much like “Hibernate” in Windows, you can turn your console off at any time and it will save a “snapshot” of what you were doing, so you can go straight back where you were in the game without waiting for it to boot up or load save files. Nifty.
PS4 games will be playable over Wi-Fi on the Vita via “Remote Play”. It’s not certain yet whether this will be for all games, or just ones that have been specifically developed for it.
Sony has also confirmed that they will not be blocking pre-owned games, something people have been suspecting of the next-gen Xbox.
Sony has included some pretty awesome network features as well. Games can now be played while you’re downloading them – you can play as much of the game as has currently been downloaded, a pretty awesome feature for us South Africans suffering with slow connections. You can also try out games on the Playstation Store without downloading them, using Gaikai’s cloud-gaming technology.
The PS4 won’t require an always-on connection, and will also automatically update itself even when switched off – meaning you won’t be stuck with large, unexpected updates when you just sat down to game.
It turns out a few of the rumours surrounding the DualShock 4 were true as well – it does in fact come with a small touch pad on the front as well as the “Share” button which allows you to upload gameplay footage and screenshots for your friends to ogle your mad skills.
There’s also a built-in speaker, and rather sadly the Select and Start buttons have been replaced by a single “Options” button. It’s the end of an era. Unfortunately, the PS4 won’t support your old DualShock 3 controllers. It would appear that the technology should be compatible (since PS4 does let you use the Move), so it seems that maybe Sony just wants widespread adoption of their new tech.
Sony has also announced their own version of Kinect – the Playstation 4 “Eye”, which is expected to come with every system. The Eye is two cameras which can “recognise the depth of space precisely” (according to Sony, anyway). It can also track an LED bar on the controller to make it act like a Move; and it even lets you sign in with facial recognition. Neat.
The PS4 is expected to be released in time for Christmas this year, but it’s not certain yet whether it will make it to our neck of the woods before early 2014. In the meantime, check out NAG’s breakdown of the hardware here.
Next-gen gaming goodness
The PS4 brings with it a TON of new games that have been announced, although some are of course a little more exciting than others.
CD Projekt RED has confirmed that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will in fact be coming to Playstation 4, good news for console owners who missed out on The Witcher 2. There isn’t an exact release date nailed down just yet, but expect it sometime in 2014.
Studio head Adam Badowski says the new hardware gives them “the opportunity to do something great” and that they plan to use their REDengine 3 to “push the graphical limits of what the PS4 hardware can display”. Take that, Crysis.
If that isn’t quite enough RPG for your television, Blizzard has also confirmed that Diablo 3 would be coming to the PS4 (as well as the PS3). Blizzard’s Chris Metzen made the announcement, saying “console development is in our blood”. Could of fooled me, Chris.
Metzen did go on to ensure this wouldn’t be a crappy port either, promising fans “painstakingly optimized control schemes”. No word yet on release dates, although the PS3 version is already up and running and will be shown off at PAX East in mid-March.
For a comprehensive breakdown of all the announced games, check out NAG’s coverage here (and more videos than you can shake a DualShock at). In the meantime, feast your eyes on the first look at Bungie’s anticipated new IP, Destiny, coming to both current and next-gen consoles.
Nextbox Kinect specs
Speaking of next-gen, the specs on the next iteration of the Kinect have reportedly been leaked. It looks like the new hardware will board a lower latency, better skeletal recognition and the capability to track six players at the same time.
It’s also able to track much smaller objects, and has better feature recognition. Rumours also have said that it will come bundled with every Nextbox, although none of this is confirmed yet.
If you like numbers and abbreviations, check out the full breakdown on all the technical specs in the source below.
Newly released and near-release
Crysis 3 has gotten a somewhat mixed reception from critics, with a few 80+ scores mixed with some downright mediocre ratings in the sixties.
All the reviewers could agree that the game looked as pretty as usual, but as for the actual gameplay opinion was divided. One thing that most did agree on is that there is a pretty large gap between console and PC versions, with the PC better able to make up for the lack of originality with beautifully rendered environments.
Bohemia Interactive has announced that its upcoming war shooter ArmA 3 will be a Steam exclusive. The main reason given for this decision is that had they not done this, Arma 3 would not be able to meet a 2013 deadline.
Closer to release is Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider reboot, which will be hitting shelves on the 5th of March for all current major platforms. The studio has released a new “Guide to Survival” video; this one being Episode 3 in the series. Check it out:
Best of the rest
Let’s be honest – video game movies have been mostly terrible. Well, pretty much all terrible. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Doom, Hitman, anything Uwe Boll touched with bare skin – these all really sucked. For the Deus Ex movie, however, director Scott Derrickson and co-writer C. Robert Cargill promise to do better.
“The chief philosophy is we’re not making a videogame movie, we’re making a cyberpunk movie,” Cargill said. “We’ve taken a look at what’s worked in videogames and what hasn’t, and really what we’ve broken down is what we think the audience really wants and what the audience that loves Deus Ex is going to want to see out of a Deus Ex movie.” I’m a little gunshy to get excited just yet, but it sounds like this one might just be better. Maybe.
Bioware have announced a new DLC pack for Mass Effect 3, Citadel, which will be launching on March 5th. This will apparently be an “emotional ride” and “one last send-off for Captain Shepard” and blah blah no one cares anymore Bioware, you ruined it and it’s too damn late.
Speaking of things no one cares about anymore, John Romero may be getting a job with Square Enix. The developer tagged himself at their headquarters on Facebook with the status “now let’s get a deal done”. Maybe he makes a mean cup of coffee.