PlayStation Plus has reached an inevitable impasse. Having introduced the mandatory subscription service to the PS4, if you wanted to play online games that is, Sony needed to justify the additional monthly tariff that consumers like me had no prior use for. An annual £40 surplus was a considerable investment, one that I initially felt was validated. Providing a select range of free games for the PS4, PS3 and Vita every month. Ensuring a more secure online network, an essential resource considering PlayStation’s infamous fallibility in this area. The capacity to save game data onto the cloud. All of this functionality was a clear and definitive incentive, albeit one passively enforced by Sony. But a lot has changed since then, most notably the price of subscription.
Being the purported “Sony Pony” that I am, with my previous statements advocating the online service that only further reinforces that sentiment, it can be rather difficult to accept failure in certain area’s. But I’m not so totally complicit with my allegiance that I can’t call bull when I smell it. And Sony’s currently inflated pricing of PlayStation Plus has a distinctly pungent aroma of a recently destroyed China shop. By increasing the price of admission you’d expect to be getting more for your money. In fact your getting less! Fewer games are now available monthly, with Sony depriving users of the PS3 and Vita titles. But neglecting to subsidise those loses by increasing the number of PS4 titles. Increasing the price by 25% isn’t so bad in and of itself, but offering less of a comprehensive service is! With only 2 free games being made available every month, with arguably only one of those being a recognised, critical title that most gamers have probably already purchased, PS Plus is just a antiquated reason to charge gamers to access online content. The only real solution to rectify this brazen manipulation of its fans is to incorporate PS Now into the price.
Comprising these two separate features into one comprehensive utility is really the only way Sony can justify the escalated cost, without further propegating the perception that Sony are simply greedy (like any corporation I guess). Its a mutually beneficial integration, one that at the very least makes the excessive price more alluring. PS Now as a separate entity simply isn’t viable. Its a service that really only holds a peripheral interest to me, as streaming games isn’t really practical considering the snail powered WiFi I have at my disposal. Though it’s possible to download games, it still doesn’t incentivize me enough to have it separately from PS Plus. But intergrated with it, to me at least is a much more feasible alternative.
With the announcement of the PS5, tentatively confirmed for late next year, PS Now should be a compulsory integration with PS Plus. This could be the perfect accompaniment. Permitting access to a wide range catalogue of iconic PlayStation games on a new generation of consoles. It’s the ultimate backwards compatibility. Something that makes PlayStation Plus a more inviting prospect.
Should PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now merge? Would you use PS Now if it were intergrated with PS Plus. Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
Change is inevitable. For the most part it’s daunting. But mostly annoying. As necessary as it is, sometimes it can be hard not to feel as though something has been left behind. In the case of Uncharted 3’s multiplayer’s admittedly timely epilogue, a little part of history, so often sought after by Nate is lost to the ethereal purgatory of progression. Along with its predecessor “Among Thieves” and its opulant sibling “The Last Of Us”, Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception online extensions are sadly no more. It shouldn’t really be much of a surprise considering that even the most committed fan has almost certainly long since eloped to more occupied community. I know I did, hastened I might add by the release of the Ps4.
Uncharted 3 was my first real foray into a competitive, multiplayer environment. Purely incentivized by the fun and captivation I was having with the story mode. Once I had achieved relative greatness by completing the game on its appropriately titled “Crushing” mode, and having given myself the necessary time to recover from the control shattering, wardrobe punching frustration solicited by this execrable mode, I wanted more. Though it wasn’t for everyone, to me it seemed like a natural extension to Deceptions rousing bluster. I remember buying my first Bluetooth earpiece, emblazoned with a vulgar red and black camo for added dick knobbery, just so I could communicate with other level headed individuals and engage in some courteous exchanges. Perhaps even some light hearted banter post match. Yeah, I didn’t really understand how online interactions worked. But I relished the combative nature of Uncharted’s multiplayer none the less.
Whereas as most players were content to improve their kill/death ratio, performing the “Carlton” over the limp, cursing bodies of their opponents. I preferred to battle my way through waves of disposable grunts in co-op mode. This was always my favourite mode, teaming with other players to battle automated foes always gave me a great sense of kinship. As if are dedicated synergy was the fundamental basis for our eventual success. But that shouldn’t precipitate that I didn’t also enjoy pounding the living “Crap” out of people in 5v5 games. Darting from one side of the map to the other in dramatic, heroic fashion. Taking down players with assured accuracy, snaeky close quarters asphyxiations and running around blindfiring like a short sighted radical. All while leaping and rolling in a zig zag motion to avoid the distant reticle of some clandestine sniper. The matches were often unbalanced, with one player always being the seasoned veteran amongst a group of moderate, often erratic casuals. Yet there was always fun to be had, even when you were losing. And I think that’s what I’ll miss the most.
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t venture back to experience Uncharted 3’s multiplayer in its closing phase. I regret that immensely. But it’s significance should not be undestimated, even amongst the most revered FPS’s of its time. It had so much charm and charismatic irreverence that you just didn’t get in other online multi-player’s. Though I’m satisfied with the time I had, I will be sad to see this go. So with a heavy heart I bid Uncharted 3’s multi-player a fond, if abject farewell. You were truly the most underrated online experiences I’ve ever had.
Gaming narcolepsy. I’m not confident this is a legitimised condition, certainly not one recognised by medical practitioners. Maybe apnoea is a more appropriate term, I don’t know. All I know is I’ve got it! Perhaps it’s my age, fatigue, some innate “sleep mode” that activates whenever a controller touches my skin. It’s a particularly aggressive strain, persistently aggravated by my nocturnal comfort and isolation. An almost intuitive mechanism that debilitate’s my ability to play games for longer than a loading screen.
I’ve had moments when I’ve literally loaded in to a game, walked approximately 10 feet…..and then nothing. Just a brief period of blackness, before my eyes strain to comprehend the sudden view of my ceiling that moments ago were attentively gazing at my television?! As I lurch from my vertical position, peeling my daughters strewn “Peppa Pig” toy from skull that I’d carelessly rested my head on, its jagged frame leaving malformed indentations I try to gather some composure, wiping the drool from the crease of my mouth and stare sympathetically at the idle character on-screen. Standing there like a soldier awaiting command, motionless, confused and oblivious to my disobedient convalescence. Helplessly seeking guidance from anyone that will listen. Looking at me as if to say “Dude, seriously?! Again!”.
I’m at a loss as to what to do. Do I fight, revolt against my own failing anatomy? Seek genuine medical advice or just accept that I’m not as young and virile as I once was? Finally conceding that the wick in that candle I’ve been burning at both ends for years may finally have run out.
How often do you you fall asleep during a game? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
Being a sociable human being is not something that comes naturally to me. My abstinence from any social tête-à-tête is certainly a provocation I’ve become expertly adept at avoiding. You’d think integrating yourself into conversations would become easier as you got older, that it would become a more natural and fluid necessity in maturity. But frankly the exchange of dialogue, however trivial is still something I struggle to engage with. My job requires a degree of active communication, primarily to train new recruits, assist with stock management and general admin, which are interactions I’m comfortable doing. But it’s the innate, casual conversations I have trouble with.
Engaging in any vocal associations is not only incredibly awkward but also intolerable to me. A conversation instigated by me is usually direct, short and to the point. No prattle, no amusing anecdotes, just a brief chat that conveys everything I need say. Now I’m not suggesting I’m some rejected Skynet project sent back from a post Brexit Britain, without the ability to express human emotions. That’s only partially true. Levity is not concept that totally alludes me when I talk to people, I just find that I’m completely uninterested in people’s boring little lives. That may seem harsh, but it’s sadly true. I struggle to maintain eye contact as I begin to search the room for more interesting subjects to distract my attention. It doesn’t help that I’m also the most sarcastic individual on the planet. As a result people often interpret these contemptuous remarks as insults. That these brazen, yet harmless remarks are instinctively voiced to insight people, which isn’t the case. It doesn’t help my introverted nature that some of my colleagues aren’t people I enjoy associating with either.
There’s a distinct, often vigorous display of adolescent masculinity that pervades the work place, especially in the canteen. With many conversations straying into misogynistic declarations or assertions about other female employees. It makes for uncomfortable and frankly unpleasant working environment, forcing me to be even less inclined to chat. You’re expected to laugh at their crass little anecdotes concerning some unspecified women and their drunken, casual encounter. Or be enthralled by a story about some altercation outside a nightclub that resulted in another person being beaten. Throw in some “casual” racism and homophobic slurs and you’ve got my lunchtime entertainment. Amusing right? Now it’s worth noting that these kind of insensitive conversations aren’t a prominent fixture amongst the majority of the staff, just a few of younger lads looking to assert some primitive form of dominance over their peers. But it’s just another example of why I don’t engage in extended conversations with many people.
I wish that I could regale colleagues with some amusing story, expressed in a verbose and amusing manner that enraptured the room. But sadly that just isn’t me. And I’ve excepted that, even if it does get me down sometimes. I still enjoy the company of others, to a degree and I certainly don’t sit around stoically remarking how fun shouldn’t be part of the work environment. I still have a laugh, I just don’t talk about it too much.
Oh Bethesda, you ignorant fools. The perennial punchline of the gaming community. The drunken uncle at a family wedding trying to impersonate his wife by making misogynistic comments in a shrill, high-pitched voice that doesn’t reflect his spouses cadence. “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Bethesda”. Bethesda’s historic negligence has become mythologized. Ridiculed and dismissed, mocked for their flagrant disregard for conscientious quality control and spurious statements concerning their shoddy often misleading work. Bethesda have steadily become the industries most notorious charlatans, with Fallout 76 only solidifying their adverse notoriety.
I haven’t played the game, so most of my assumptions can be dismissed as purely scrupulous conjecture, but it’s an opinion influenced by the numerable and very vocal majority. And I’m inclined to believe those that have no doubt enjoyed Bethesda previous content as well as endured their less than stellar frame rates, glitches and bugs. With hundreds of think pieces already inspiring some rather creative fury against the much maligned developer, it’s hard to imagine how they could have bungled the development of Fallout 76 any worse than they have, short of physically abusing cancer patients with uranium syringes. You’d think a community so openly aghast by their persistent negligence would have realised that Bethesda really don’t care about the quality of their products.
I had intended to debate the various issues and calamitous procedures adopted by Bethesda. To analyse objectively if their dubious conduct is in any way salvageable or perhaps even something that can be vindicated. But the almost daily revelations associated with Fallout 76, and by association Bethesda are so extensive it may take a literal nuclear winter to properly assess the situation with any redeeming clarity. And frankly who has time to deliberate the intricacies of Bethesda’s duplicity when so many respected and creative exponents have already scrutinised Fallout 76’s inept release. For me the most concerning factor is how Bethesda’s indolent development processes will affect The Elder Scrolls 6.
I can tolerate bugs, mild irritations that have a negligible impact on the players immersion. But to endure potentially a decades worth of waiting for a Skyrim successor that replicates the same insufferable apathy that has ravaged Fallout 76 terrifies me. We can only hope that Fallout 76 can be redeemed and that valuable lessons can be gauged from this experience. So help me Bethesda if you mess that up!
Traditionally the release of a new game would necessitate time off from work and a chance to reserve a couple of days devoted to the engagement of some relaxation. Usually I’d bookend the weekend with the nurturing splendour of a new exciting game, brimming with untapped potential. All the speculative assertions you’ve made about a games quality can be vindicated, the game has the potential to exceed all expectations, with the farcical monotony of the world and all its trivialities for a short passage of time is everyone else’s concern. Your world is localised entirely through your 50 inch, 4K television with soundbar and compartmentalised on your preferred gaming console. An uninhibited experience that truly enables you to absorb a game without distraction or adhering to the limitations of time. Time off work or perhaps even school are always the best gaming times.
For most of us any opportunities to play a game is solely regulated on the caveat of restricted time. Whether there are other domestic or professional obligations to full-fill, borrowed time, restricted and mediated by the critical considerations that dominate our lives. So any time dedicated to the solitary delights of gaming is embraced as though the 4 Horseman were coming round “with the boys”. Utilising this time efficiently is dependant on external interference’s or in later years, battling dreaded unconsciousness, at least in my case. The only truly liberating method is taking time off these compulsory duties. To really engage and assimilate without yielding to some other pedantic or menial task. These are the best times to game.
Memorable moments are almost exclusively reserved for those introductory sessions of uninitiated catharsis. Those little points where your grasp of game mechanics are erratic, tentative and downright embarrassing. Familiarizing yourself with it takes time, with only fleeting sporadic periods that impart the briefest slivers of potential skill. You can’t replicate this kind of “toddlers first steps” progression with interspersed engagements, nor truly immerse yourself in new insatiable environments. You have to take your time to marvel at what you are playing. To savour the experience permitted by the luxury of time unrestrained by responsibility.
I remember playing Skyrim on day of release. I’d booked the day off, ventured out bright and early to my local Sainsbury’s that I’d reserved a copy from. Entering the store I sauntered over to customer service desk and requested my copy of Skyrim. After explaining to the elderly receptionist precisely what a Skyrim was, I purchased my copy, thanked the bewildered lady and dashed off picking up a few choice snacks to consume over the course of my day. I’m not ashamed to admit that I spent the first 20 minutes just looking at the case, not even considering the contents. Of course I eventually tore through the protective casing and rescued the trapped disc from its cellophane prison, idly trekking through this frigid and enchanting land. Such extended vagrancy and slow, listless ambling wouldn’t have been possible without taking time off work.
With only a few hours at your disposal you’re compelled to make good use of the time. You can’t compromise it by idly wandering with no direction, at least not without feeling like you’ve wasted your evening. That’s why it’s so important to take time off to play new titles. No commitments. No responsibilities. Just you, some unhealthy food and oodles of time to meander. I had the same experience with GTA V, Uncharted 3 and many others besides, simply because my first play-through was uninhibited by life. The simple extension of time is crucial to really experience a game without restriction. And nothing promotes this quite like a day off.
There, I think I’ve just about justified to myself that booking the day off to play “Red Dead Redemption 2” is the right decision. As if I needed an excuse.
No Mans Sky certainly had ambitious plans. With a formidable potential that was perhaps hastily grandiose and hideously exacerbated. You can’t fault that kind of over exuberant inflation or scald such a dedicated will for aspiring infamy. The scale and scope are wonderfully invigorating, with a ceaseless expanse for players to traverse, resource deposits to deplete and hostile weather to negotiate. Mocked and ridiculed on release, No Mans Sky’s fertile reputation was in tatters before it had even had a chance to be established, then accused of deceit. It has taken Hello Games years of hard, surreptitious work to redeem their dubious introduction. All whilst assuming the role as the industries most infamous propagator of inflated promises. Thankfully I wasn’t duped by its extravagant claims, totally indifferent to the growing hysteria surrounding its release so I didn’t suffer the disappointment that afflicted so many optimistic adopters. But I have now and must admit that I’m not sure what to make of it.
The game certainly does espouse a principle that bigger is better. The universe, occupied by a punitive 18 quintillion planets is a daunting prospect. The sense of scale, the diverse and often hostile ecosystems that really encourages exploration are breath-taking. Extracting precious resources from verdant landscapes enriched with minerals that provide fuel for your spaceship is meticulous but very unique. All whilst averting the procedurally generated wildlife and sentient alien droids that roam these often inhospitable worlds. The experience is actually one of serenity, of meditative repose. There’s no war to ratify, no pestilence to cure, just the opportunity to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations. To boldly go where “no man”, or indeed women has gone before. And boy can it be boring.
Perhaps I just don’t get it. Maybe the games revolutionary intention has overshot me like so many of my contemporary ramblers that routinely bypass me as I struggle to remember which extracted mineral combines with another to form another? The vaguely defined objectives are reminiscent of a concerned mother prompted their agoraphobic child to go outside and play anywhere, which feels nonchalant. Perhaps years of restrictions, inert goals and cloistered linear paths have ruined my ability to appreciate freedom. Or maybe, just maybe a game that celebrates the splendour and tranquillity of liberating, leisurely exploration that isn’t harried by a perceptible, all-encompassing goal is just a little too relaxed for someone like me who gets home from work at half 9 at night, consumes a late supper that I have to reheat in a microwave and requires a stimulating game to entertain rather than put me to sleep.
No Mans Sky is a game that has transitioned from ambitious failure to be hailed as a progressive masterpiece. Sadly it’s also a game that has come good at a time that just isn’t convenient for me.