PlayStation Mega Bits: October 2020

We’re almost there. With only two weeks to go before the launch of the PlayStation 5 we are all on the edge of our seats as Sony continues to drip feed us information on this years best platform to play video games. I personally check the status of my preorder every week like a nervous parent to be just making sure everything is still on track for November 12. I hope you’re as excited as I am and I’ve got a plate full of PlayStation goodness for you to consume to help make the wait just a little easier. So get ready for the big news in a small package. This is PlayStation Mega Bits!

It’s All in the Cards

On October 15th Sony dropped a surprise State of Play breaking down many key features of the PlayStation 5 User Experience. In addition to lifting the curtain on the dashboard we saw Sony’s more refined focus on providing more necessary and key information dedicated to allowing the player to get in and out of their games and experiences faster. We were introduced to a host of new exclusive features that will compliment the PS5s players play experience. Most prominent of these would be the new ‘cards’ feature. Cards are interactive bookmarks and gateways to game specific information and interactive elements.

The game used to show off the cards system was Sackboy’s Big Adventure, and we a got a glimpse into how the cards are woven into the players experience with the game. Sackboy has specific cards that can instantly bring players to specific levels without having to wander the games overworld, the player simply pressed the PlayStation button and called up his card deck, selected the card for the level he wanted and the game instantly dropped him in that level. That specific card also showed the players progress in regards to completing activities and goals within that level. The card system is a great way to track play and trophy progression. In fact you can call up the specific card even while playing the level to see an itemized list of your activities in progress which is super helpful.

Speaking of help, one of my favorite new features is the PlayStation Plus exclusive “Game Help”. Game Help allows players to cue up hints and walkthrough videos that they can place as a picture-in-picture sidebar showing you exactly how to achieve an objective you might be stuck on or perhaps to find secrets hidden in the level. This is an outstanding benefit that will eliminate the need to pull out your phone and cue up a walkthrough to get past certain parts of the game that may have you stumped. I love this and will utilize it frequently.

In addition to the level and gameplay specific cards we saw a card for news and information and even media that you had captured on that specific game in the players Sackboy card deck. It’s quite a deep interface system that is something completely unique to the PlayStation 5 experience and really shows that Sony has gone all-in in ensuring the PlayStation 5 experience is NOT just all about the new games, it’s about the best way to experience your video games in the new generation.

Ready for Action

Filming is actually underway on the Uncharted movie. This statement alone is a shock since this film has been stuck in pre-production hell for over a decade, having shuffled through casts, directors and scripts multiple times through the years. But now it seems that we are not only getting our on-screen Nathan Drake, but a damn awesome looking one at that in actor Tom Holland. When Holland was initially cast as a young Nathan Drake many commentators were reluctant to get on board with this casting to put it mildly, but now we have our first official look at the actor in character and many people are preparing to eat their words. Holland looks exceptional on set and we were even treated to some behind the scenes shots of the actor talking with Nolan North during a set visit. North of course is known as the voice of Nathan Drake for the entire series run of games on PlayStation platforms.

While set photos obviously don’t make a good movie, and video game films have a near flawless record of being awful, I’m choosing to look forward to the big screen adaption of one of my favorite video game franchises. I’ve even got my fingers crossed that by the time this movie is released we’ll be safe to go back to the theaters to experience this movie the way all big blockbusters should be. Uncharted is set to be released next July and stars Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas and Tati Gabrielle.

Be Yourself

The October cover story over at Game Informer magazine was all about this holidays biggest PlayStation exclusive, Miles Morales. Insomniac allowed GI plenty of access to early sections of the game and we have several new details and teases as to what we can expect in the Spider-Man sequel. While much has already been said about the new visuals, seasonal changes and even battle techniques which will make this game different, there’s some interesting and unexpected new information about what makes this game stand out from its predecessor.

Most notable for me is Insomniacs focus on making sure the player never leaves the action and has no down time to break the immersion of the experience. The most obvious form of this is the elimination of load times. Period. Miles Morales has zero loading even in fast travel moments, this goes a long way to making an up-tempo action game work at the directors intended pace. No longer will you as the player be about to break into an enemy hideout only to be greeted by a slow-motion pan around a static Spider-Man image. Everything is seamless now and Miles will be able to get the drop on his enemies without delay with the elimination of load times.

In addition to that all puzzle elements of the game will be delivered on screen and in the world around Miles. That means no more looking through microscopes or playing Pipe Dream to open locked doors. There is a concerted effort into making sure the player has a much more fluid experience with as little break in the action as possible. It’s a great use of the SSD enhancements and its also a great idea considering the more up-tempo and lively nature of the Miles character.

One other tease that I found interesting in the article is that Miles is a mixer and enjoys sampling music. Insomniac is licensing more music this time around from hip-hop artists and Insomniac confirmed there is some sort of music sampling element in the game. It would be quite awesome if there was some sort of soundtrack customization involved in the game and it leans into one of the most popular elements of the Spider Verse film as that movie had an incredibly popular soundtrack.

We won’t have to wait long as Miles Morales releases in a little over two weeks on November 12th alongside the PlayStation 5.

Media goes hands on

Finally in our news segment I wanted to quick call your attention to the world of games media this week as many of your favorite industry icons are already in possession of the PlayStation 5 hardware and accessories. While Sony clearly has embargoes on what everyone is allowed to show and when (which is evidenced by a crap ton of pictures of the PS5 box and nothing else) we should really start to see things happening soon as we’re only 2 weeks away from launch. One video in particular I wanted to call your attention to is from Austin Evans on YouTube. Austin opens and deep dives the DualSense controller and I think there are some really interesting bits of info showing off the size and dynamics of DualSense when compared with the Dual Shock 4 and even the Xbox Series controller as well. Another thing to take note of is that the DualSense does NOT come with a charging cable in the box, so if you have not purchased a charging dock for your PlayStation 5, you may want to think about holding on to your current USB cable so you can charge this puppy up.

Whip it Good

A couple of quick notes on PlayStation VR this month. Firstly I want to alert all fans of Pistol Whip (my VR game of the year) that the Heartbreaker Trilogy DLC is out now and includes 3 brand new levels and songs as well as new customizable weapon skins including a super soaker aesthetic which is super fun. Pistol Whip is an absolutely fantastic PSVR game and a must-own for anyone who has the device. Pistol Whip is a rhythm shooter hybrid game that absolutely makes me feel like more of a badass than I have in ages. It’s also a great workout for people like me who are trying to shed some pounds before the Holiday cookie season. For more information please go check out my Report Card for Pistol Whip that I wrote up when the game dropped back in August HERE.

A Return to the Galaxy’s Edge

While not specifically a PSVR story, I want to take a moment to talk about the newly announced VR game “Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge”, which will be releasing November 19th for the Oculus platform of games. Now you may be asking yourself, Adam why are you talking about the Oculus VR platform on a PlayStation podcast? Hear me out as this has implications for future PSVR gaming. Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is a brand new Star Wars VR action adventure game launching only on Oculus, which you may remember is EXACTLY how Vader Immortal was marketed when it released in 2019. This game is being developed by ILMxLAB which is the same developers as Vader Immortal and if history does indeed tend to repeat itself, we very well may see this title landing on PSVR in the year 2021, perhaps maybe with a new headset for the PS5? Ok, maybe that last part is a reach, but I don’t think its outside the realm of possibility to think that Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge will eventually find its way to PlayStation.

A look at the announcement trailer gives a lot of familiar vibes to the previously mentioned Vader Immortal, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on how you felt about that game. I ultimately found the bugs and technical shortcomings of the game to seriously detract from my enjoyment of the experience, but hopefully time has allowed ILMxLAB to clean up some of these blemished for their follow up game. I can already discern from the debut trailer that they have eliminated the warping means of traversal in the game. You can now see the characters walking freely in the environments which to me is half the battle right there.

So I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this next step in Star Wars VR is a better one and hopefully we’ll be returning to a galaxy far far away on our PlayStation 5 console next year.

Each month on PlayStation Mega Bits my 6 year old son, Elliott and I recommend something we’ve been playing and this month we went back to Horizon Zero Dawn to play through the DLC campaign The Frozen Wilds. Featuring the coolest area in the entire game (Thunder’s Drum) and some new armor and weapon load outs, The Frozen Wilds is an incredible addition to the Horizon Zero Dawn package. If you own the Complete edition of HZD you already have The Frozen Wilds campaign, if you’re an early adopter however and you never picked up this extra bit of content we cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s a great addition to one of the best games on PlayStation 4.

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