Our impressions of the launch lineup for the new Sony console
For the launch of the PlayStation 5, Sony has timed the debut of the PlayStation Plus Collection – PlayStation Plus members can download 20 select past-generation hits, from God of War to Persona 5, for free, so they have something to play on the new console. But the platform also has its own line of starter games. Some of them are also available on the PlayStation 4 and are a console exclusive from Sony (like, for example, Bugsnax, which is available on PC, but not on Xbox consoles). And some – like, for example, Demon’s Souls – will be released only for the PlayStation 5. Our impressions of the new products from the launch line – in this material.
A free platformer that comes preinstalled on all PlayStation 5s, and in fact is a tech-demo designed to show what the DualSense controller is capable of with its improved tactile feedback, more responsive triggers and other advanced options. Although there is no plot in the game, it quickly evokes emotion – not least thanks to the protagonist, the nameless robot man, whose design simultaneously reminds of the smooth curves of the new PlayStation, and of the Aibo robot, which was once released by Sony. A funny kid travels around the worlds, assembled from parts of different PlayStations, looking for pieces of graffiti puzzles, collecting glasses, which he then exchanges for virtual prizes in the PlayStation Labo “recreation area” and meets the same little robots everywhere. Mechanical cousins pretend that they are filming each other, playing with enthusiasm on consoles or cosplaying characters from various popular games that are associated with the PlayStation brand. Here you can find, for example, Dante from the first Devil May Cry, and Kat from Gravity Rush, and travelers from Journey, and fighters from Tekken, and a hunter from Bloodborne. Bumping into them is a separate pleasure, and for the sake of such scenes you try to scrutinize all the scenery as carefully as possible.
Another joy is the sensory experience you get while playing. The tactile feedback from DualSense is really great – for example, when the hero walks on a smooth surface, you feel light tapping, and when rolling in a ball on a bumpy road – jolts when hitting another pothole. The types of vibrations change significantly depending on what the hero is doing and on what surfaces he is traveling – these are not just strong or weak vibrations of the same type, as in the DualShock. The overall impression is enhanced by sounds. A couple of times I deliberately lingered in areas where it was raining – just to once again feel the illusion of drops that plop onto the transparent umbrella opened above the hero.
But most of the tests related to the features of the controller are quite familiar (if you have previously used controllers with gyroscopes, like the same Dualshock) – for example, flying, during which the glider responds to controller tilt, or climbing walls, which also requires you to tilt the controller. so that the hero on the screen can grasp the hammered pins with his right or left hand. Still, Astro’s PlayRoom is definitely worth launching – if only to appreciate how DualSense can enhance the illusion of being in the virtual world.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
The LittleBigPlanet series has focused on how fun it is to create your own platform levels (and play through the ones other users have invented for you). Her spinoff Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a more traditional platformer: all about the adventures of a knitted man who collects the energy of his imagination across different worlds in order to discourage the same knitted friends from the villain who kidnapped them. The structure of the hero’s travels is familiar to all platformer lovers. There are several “worlds” with a supply of challenge levels. You go through the first world, defeat the boss – you get into the next world, and so on.
Knocking out permission to go to the next world is not an easy task: you are allowed to visit the boss only when you collect enough of those very spheres with the energy of imagination that are hidden at different levels. Sometimes – right in plain sight, sometimes so that without guidance you will not find it. For example, in the very first world, without really straining, I collected only 12 of the 20 necessary spheres – I had to look for optional levels and replay a couple of the already familiar basic ones in order to accumulate the necessary stock. And this is just the beginning: further in the worlds there are more levels, however, the requirements for the number of spheres are growing.
Sackboy is a cross-platform game available on both PS5 and PS4, and for the first five hours I was unable to find any missions that were exclusively for DualSense. There are tasks related to gyroscopes (for example, tilting the controller to move platforms), but the Dualshock from PS4 can handle them in the same way. The obstacle courses themselves are made very ingeniously – both in design and in different types of tasks, and in the abundance of “secrets”. At the beginning, they are all quite simple, but for those who like a challenge, “challenges” gradually open up – special levels that need to be completed as quickly as possible, and this is where you will be forced to train your reaction speed.
It is very pleasant to play Sackboy – it is a kind and sweet game, somewhat reminiscent of the design of the characters and the scenery of Sesame Street. Going through it with the children is the very thing: especially since there is an opportunity to play together, helping each other (there is still an online multiplayer in the plans, including a cross-platform one – they will be added later). But it’s also quite fun on its own – Sony’s developers have clearly learned a lot from Nintendo’s game designers who are renowned masters of addicting platformers.
Among the November free games available to PS Plus subscribers is Bugsnax for PS5 – an unusual game about strange island dwellers whose diet consists of “bugs” (as the official PlayStation website translates the name Bugsnax). When a cardboard bucket grows spider legs in the form of fries, this, of course, opens up room for imagination, and when a character who has eaten such a beetle discovers that golden potato slices have grown on his body, it is only thanks to the cartoon visual style and joyful music that everything it looks cute and funny, not creepy. There are no restrictions on experiments with appearance – you can feed the islanders whatever you come across, but first you have to catch the food.
At the same time, you help the inhabitants of the island, who quarreled before your arrival, to overcome all disagreements and find a common language
Beetles don’t particularly want to become lunch (and also breakfast or dinner), but they can be outsmarted by luring them into a trap. Basically, you solve a puzzle every time – which trap will work for a particular food and how exactly to build it. For example, the beetles that look like a burger get wild from the smell of ketchup and immediately try to gore everything they smell it on. The main obstacles in this hunt are not very convenient controls and a lack of prompts.
Bugsnax will not show you how beautiful a picture the PlayStation 5 can give – it just looks quite simple (because of this, a lot of jokes were made about it even at the announcement). Aside from everything that can be imagined in connection with food that causes mutations, then this is a typical experimental game, which, however, is not enough for a long time – the tasks quickly become monotonous. On the other hand, you can get it for free on PS Plus even if you don’t have a PlayStation 5 yet. You just won’t be able to launch it – although Bugsnax has a version for PS4, it is not included in PS Plus.
A remake of the role-playing game that popularized the From Software studio and its work in the West. Before that, there was, of course, the niche hit King’s Field, but it was after Demon’s Souls that many fans of complex games drew attention to From Software – those in which you need to stubbornly overcome difficulties, die a lot and collect the plot from scraps of phrases like a puzzle.
The redesigned version is a great way to gauge how beautiful the PlayStation 5 can produce (the second such game is Spider-Man: Miles Morales). Castle corridors with luxurious lamps, bas-reliefs on the walls, crumbling masonry – the right mood is created immediately after the very first foray into the ruined fortress of King Boletaria. The lighting did not disappoint either – in the same fortress there are many beautiful places.
Perhaps, for the sake of the spirit of the times, the gender item suddenly disappeared from the character creation menu. Now you just choose whether to make the hero a thin (and seemingly female) or muscular (and most likely male) body.
The adventures themselves, as far as can be judged by the first five hours, have not changed much – to the point that the dragon on the bridge in Boletaria still leaves some of the guards alive, and they do not even think to panic and run away, seeing how their comrades are dying. There were no more detailed explanations of the gameplay either. Various nuances (for example, that you can improve the characteristics of the hero only after defeating the first demon in Boletaria), you still have to comprehend from personal experience (well, or from the guides). Only pain, only hardcore.
Nice detail – you can choose an “immersive” vibration pattern for the controller, and then you will be able to feel the improved tactile response of the DualSense controller. For example, if a hero pours resin on his sword so that it burns the enemy with fire, the controller vibrates finely and very easily until the flame goes out.
Demon’s Souls is still the same evil game as before. She still sets dozens of traps for you and punishes if you forget, when passing through, where the next enemy is hiding. In action battles, you need to remember about the endurance reserve and not rush headlong at enemies. Finally, if you love intimate dialogue between characters and travel with flamboyant characters, then this is definitely not an RPG where you can find that. And if all this does not bother you, then, of course, this is the exclusive that in many ways justifies the purchase of the PlayStation 5 at the start.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Miles Morales’ adventures start right off the bat: the supervillain Rhino, who is escorted to prison under the supervision of Miles and Peter Parker, successfully escapes from his high-strength container. Superheroes rush in pursuit: they gallop across Manhattan lanterns and skyscrapers, dodge the scenery flying in them, miraculously pull the baby carriage out from under the Rhino’s feet and smash the shopping center into the trash. In between these spectacular scenes, Miles is explained how Spider-Man should move and what basic fighting techniques he has at his disposal, and then, after defeating the supervillain, he is left alone with New York – Peter Parker is forced to go on a business trip with Mary Jane.
The adventure itself turned out to be shorter than Spider-Man of 2018 – in about 8-10 hours you can complete the entire main storyline, and various side quests will take about the same amount. And in terms of gameplay, what is happening is not very different from the original game: moving around the city looks about the same as the basics of the combat system (although Miles has several original techniques). But if you love Spider-Man and all the aesthetics associated with his image, then Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an opportunity to once again enjoy all this, since in the original everything was realized at its best.
Console exclusive, also available on PC. According to the genre, Godfall is an action RPG in which the main stake is made on entertainment. Everything, from the armor of the heroes to their surroundings, shimmers and glitters like Christmas tree decorations, and the animation of fighting techniques looks very impressive. Another thing is that there is a problem with the content in Godfall – there is a boring plot and, in principle, there are very few interesting activities to which one could be distracted. All these beautiful fighting techniques are simply idle, because there are no serious enough tests around. Seriously recommending the game to someone is difficult, although the debut trailers, of course, looked very enticing. But what if you like shiny Christmas tree decorations?
Already decided what you would like to play on PlayStation 5?