The Red Herb Roundup: The Big Goddamn PlayStation 4 Edition


So something rather intriguing happened this week.  It would appear this new fangled “next-gen” officially kicked off.  Well, unless you count the Wii U next-gen, which you’re completely allowed to (inversely, I get to call you wrong).  That’s right, Sony finally ripped off the wraps on the PlayStation 4.  Fast, socially integrated, the ability to stream games, two separate cup-holders – Sony’s future proofing their brand and the attempt is, surprisingly, not a laughable disaster.

You can find my initial reaction to the hardware’s specs hereabouts, but we’re dialing back the technophilia today and also focusing on something more important than even a brand new, highfalutin’, Facebookin’ console: the games.

Hit the jump to check out what’s in store for gamers next generation; a generation right around the corner.  Oh, and welcome back to the Roundup.

First up: Sony’s big conference didn’t quite reveal everything.  Notably, a price point or what the PS4 even looks like (hopefully it can’t put a hole through a car hood like the original, husky PS3 models could).  Here’s the nuggets of information that satellited around the PS4’s reveal:

  • Backwards Thinking Compatibility: So the PS4 ditched the Cell processor and suddenly can’t tell a PS3 disc from a Laser Disc; that much was confirmed at the big show.  This attack on the past doesn’t stop at the physical, either.  Sony also confirmed downloaded PS3 titles won’t be supported.  Just when you thought it was safe to trade in your PS3.
  • Stream of the Past: But Sony’s partnership with Gaikai may mean old school titles can find another chance through emulation and streaming.  Don’t get your hopes too far up.  It’s loads easier to emulate PSone games than, say, to emulate Skyrim, which is exactly why neither Sony nor Gaikai are throwing around any promises.
  • Bullet Dodged, Resellers: “So, used games can play on PS4.  How’s that?” said Shuhei Yoshida.  “I knew you’d see reason, boy-o,” replied GameStop, re-holstering its gun before chomping down on a cigar and receding into the darkness.
  • Same Price, New Games: Good news!  PlayStation 4 games will still cost $60.  And now the bad news.  PlayStation 4 games will still cost $60.  Digitally, free-to-play games will eat up a bigger chunk of the market and some games can, apparently, be bought for as low as $.99.  (NOTE: Like everything from Mickey D’s 99 cent menu, these games are probably bad for you).
  • 4K and 3D Hold No Sway: The peak resolution on PS4 games is 1080p.  Before you throw out your $25,000 TV (you fucking lunatic), videos and photos will support 4K.  Stereoscopic 3D is also both capable, and better, on the new system, but Sony says the market-wide disinterest in giving people headaches has subsided somehow, ensuring the PS4 and its games won’t focus on the feature.
  • Cavemen Welcome: With a subsystem continuously downloading content even while the console is asleep, plus the advent of F2P titles demanding your internet connection, many pondered if the PS4 would enforce the aggravating online-always rule.  Nope!  You may persist living off the grid, successfully avoiding the rest of the world.

Now, the main event. I present to you the first wave of announced PS4 games (make sure to hit the links to view their trailers):

  • image Knack: Returning to the spirit of the original PlayStation’s burgeoning days of platforming and adventure, Knack tells the tale of a horrible, metal pig-like creature that can absorb substances, allowing it “explosive growth” in order to thrash around goblins.  Knack stinks of that underwhelming “launch” feel.  If it can capture the essence of Crash Bandicoot or Jak and Daxter, though, I’ll warmly embrace the pig-monkey freak.image

  • Killzone: Shadow Fall: I didn’t see it coming, but it seems first-person shooters will still have prominence next generation.  Shadow Fall may not have shown us a reinvented wheel mechanically, but graphically the footage showed the PS4 hardware banging on all cylinders, and hard.  If games can look this good so early on, imagine the uncanny shit you’ll see four years into the system’s life cycle.  Brace your eyeballs.image
  • Infamous: Second Son: A new setting, a new threat, and a new superpowered punk keen on incinerating his oppressors.  Sucker Punch’s sublime take on the open-world superhero game is back adding to the PS4’s slowly growing wheelhouse of must-have exclusives.  I’d kill the dough-eyed animals that join Disney princesses in song for this to be a launch title (Relax.  If they were real, science would dice those singing monsters up way before I could).image

  • DriveClub: First rule of DriveClub - don’t fucking make dated references to a David Fincher film.  Movin’ on.  Evolution Studios (masters of the MotorStorm brand) has over a decade of racing titles to their name; now they hope to create a truly encompassing, socially conscious racer that pits you against your friends in the ultimate online exper– Wait, I’m describing Need for Speed: Most Wanted.  Huh.  What the hell is DriveClub again?image
  • Destiny: Bungie’s next monolithic game may be coming out for the 360 and PS3, but I can’t help but consider it a legitimately next-gen title.  I try to avoid calling things epic – the word lost power when people started using it to describe breakfast and failing greatly – but that’s exactly what Destiny is.  Hit the link to see something epic.image

  • Watch Dogs: It’s like Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto had a beautiful, cyberpunk baby.  Open-world titles learned how to walk this console cycle.  Just with a handful of short trailers, Watch Dogs looks like the genre is ready to run at breakneck speed.  Watch the trailer; I assure you no amount of creepy French narration can sully such promising footage.image
  • The Witness: Braid’s legacy goes further than its warm critical reception; it goes down as one of the first digital games to grab the mainstream’s attention and elevate the downloadable format from “Up-and-coming” to “Here to stay."  Now, Jonathan Blow returns with a new puzzle-solving adventure set on a lusciously detailed but mysteriously uninhabited island.  The Witness will seem comparably quiet to games like Killzone and Infamous, but if it’s anything like Braid, its impact will be resounding.

Honorable Mentions:

  • image Capcom Goes Deep Down: Capcom has done the unthinkable…They’re making a game without the MT Framework engine.  To show off Panta Rhei, the Japanese powerhouse came to the PS4 presser with Deep Down, a tentatively titled fantasy adventure that inexplicably isn’t Dragon’s Dogma 2 (you bastards).  The footage here has to be a mock-up, but if even an inkling of it represents actual gameplay, thank the video game gods they put MT to rest.
  • Diablo Loots Consoles: After Blizzard incessantly promised to look into a console Diablo III – and telling us to go screw if we demanded confirmation – the impossible has come to be!  The famed but flawed dungeon crawler is making the leap to both the PS3 and PS4 with modified controls and all of the major updates since its PC release.  And the PC community said (and still says) it couldn’t be done.image

  • Quantic Dream Envisions an Old Future: David Cage spit into the uncanny valley at the PS4 conference when he unveiled a new graphics engine capable of unsettling, old man realism.  Cage points out the effect is so lifelike, you can glimpse the model’s soul through its very eyes.  All our video games need next is sentience and we’ll be well on our way to certain, agonizing doom.
  • What Fantasy?: Square Enix also made the show, toting a huge announcement.  Millions became heated up with expectation.  Were we on the cusp of a Kingdom Hearts 3 reveal?  Was Versus XIII pushed to the PS4?  Did they actually remake FFVII?!  Instead: "We are making a Final Fantasy game for the PS4!  See you at E3."  Thanks for the lovely shade of blue you gave my balls, Square.image

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