It is a tough time to be online right now. We are watching as a whole race rises up against the systematic oppression they have experienced for years. It is hard not to be upset and the urge to help is strong. If you are in Australia you may feel like helping is too hard, the distance too great. Player 2 would like to remind you all though that Australia is by no means innocent. Indigenous Australians have been victimised and silenced by ingrained systemic racism and police brutality for generations. We, as a nation, have treated them in such a bad way for so long their voice is no longer even acknowledged let alone heard. So helping starts at home. Write to your local state or federal MP. Donate or assist a charity that works with the Aboriginal community. Educate yourself about the traditional owners of the land you are now sitting on. These are just some of the small but important steps each and every one of us needs to take to make Australia and, by extension, the world a better place. Player 2 would also like to say it is important to recognise all marginalised voices in this country, from the LGQBT+ community to disabled Australians to other minority ethnic and refugee groups, and work together to make this a truly equal place to live.
Player 2 Vs The PS5 Reveal
The PlayStation 5 has been blown wide open courtesy of this morning’s flashy digital event held by PlayStation. Though the event was designed to spotlight games coming to the upcoming console, we got a few more juicy details as well. Join Player 2’s own Matt Hewson and Paul James as they go head to head over the PS5 reveal event and discuss their thoughts.
Grand Theft Auto V
PJ: We opened the event with a PS3 game. Alright. Strange way to set a tone for a new console, but you can’t argue with the biggest, most valuable IP in gaming I suppose, and to see a clear doubling down on the partnership between Rockstar, Take-Two and PlayStation here sends a strong message to players and commentators going into this next generation that when GTA VI does eventually show up, it’s PlayStation fans who stand to benefit the most.
MH: Super strange way to open the show right? I mean by this point who needs more GTA? Just make the PS4 version work on the PS5 and be done with it. I mean I guess it is nice to have Rockstar at your show in some way, but I find it hard to get excited about such an old game.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
PJ: For as excellent as the trailer to Spider-Man: Miles Morales was, I can’t help but wonder if this is simply an inFamous: First Light style of bridging game, something to fill in the gaps between Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. Either way, it’s looking exceptional, and given the events of recent weeks, to see Miles as the lead protagonist was a fantastic coincidence, in a time where we’re craving increased diversity in our game leads.
MH: This is totally just a filler game for the franchise. Take the map from the first game, upscale it for the new system, add Miles skin, a few new missions and Robert is your mother’s brother. Launch title with ease. I am being overly cynical here and I have no doubt it will be a blast but this won’t be a game-changer at all, just more of the same in a prettier skin. Which is fine, not exceptional, just fine.
Gran Turismo 7
PJ: Racing sims are not at all my thing, so for as visually stunning as GT7 looks, I’m still sitting back unimpressed otherwise. What is here to tempt me to try it out? Why aren’t we just rebranding it as Gran Turismo and making it a platform for all things GT over the months, years and decades to come? On top of that, Polyphony have had a long time since the release of GT Sport, how does this game not (at least presently) have a 2020, or even 2021 window specified for release?
MH: Look GT used to be the king of this stuff, but those days have long gone and they need to up their game significantly. GT Sport sold solid numbers, but didn’t set the world on fire and compared to their direct competitor, Forza, the game has felt stagnant for the last couple of releases. I hope it comes out and kicks ass, but the chances of seeing this one before late 2021 are slim to none.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
PJ: Between this and Spider-Man, PlayStation have very quickly justified to all of us why the acquisition of Insomniac was worthwhile. They got them for (relative) peanuts and they’re bringing two of my three most anticipated games of the PS5 in the near future. Was thrilled to see Ratchet & Clank return following the exceptional remake of the original title, and Rift Apart looks to be significantly upping the ante, set by its predecessors. Cannot wait to get into this one.
H: For me, this was one of the best games in the presentation. I am all about that Ratchet action and it looked stunning. Getting a whole “into the Spider-verse” vibe from both the animation and the setting, which gets a big thumbs up from me. I think this is the most underrated and underappreciated of all of Sony’s big IP, so hopefully, it lands with a bang!
PJ: Such a Square-Enix move here to announce a game, with a codename, and expect us to be happy to wait half a decade for it to actually show up. It was cool to learn after the fact that Gary Whitta (Star Wars: Rogue One, The Book of Eli, Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 1) is on the writing team, and that bodes well for the project, but that’s the only thing that really pulled me in, since we’re obviously going to be waiting quite a while for this one to show up.
MH: Vague trailer, cool look, not much more to go on. Square Enix has a bad rep when it comes to announcing games way too early so I am not expecting this anytime soon.
PJ: At first I thought “Chappie: The Game” then I didn’t know what to think. It’s a game about stray cats in a robot world? That’s about all I understand of the game so far. I guess it’s cool, but I’ll need a bit more to go on before I get myself too excited.
MH: No idea what this game is or what it will be so it is very hard to get excited, especially as I seem to be the only person in the games industry that hates cats. Needs more to sell me.
PJ: I was genuinely concerned for the future of HouseMarque following the commercial flops of “Matterfall” and “Nex Machina”, two fantastic titles that never got the fan love that they deserved, and the whole “Arcade Is Dead” press release they put out. To see the PlayStation Studios name followed by the HouseMarque logo pop up fills my heart with hope that the studio is in the clear for now. Returnal is an interesting concept, and it’s hard to argue with the pedigree of the studio, especially in terms of the core mechanics behind any game they develop, but I’ll need to see more of this one before I let myself get too up and about.
MH: Look let’s get this out of the way first. Returnal is a dumb name, like F3AR level dumb. That said I am very intrigued by what was shown, getting some serious Prey vibes which is fine by me. If the gameplay can keep up its end of the bargain, call me excited.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
PJ: LittleBigPlanet 3 didn’t hit like its predecessors, and in the meantime, Media Molecule has gone on to develop Tearaway and Dreams, so for the adventures of Sackboy to continue, it makes sense that recent franchise stewards Sumo Digital, hone in more on the character than the initial concept. A 2.5D (maybe even 3D at points) platformer, targeting the wider family is exactly what the PS5 and the franchise need so hopefully Sumo can execute and Sackboy can once again become the adorable console mascot I think we all want him to be.
MH: It seems odd to me, that a franchise so known for its creativity, has seemingly gotten rid of that for a standard style platform adventure. That isn’t to say that it will be bad, just odd. I know my youngest is super excited about this one and I have no doubt it will be of high quality. I am just not sure it is for me. Also Stephen Fry is a must.
PJ: Meh, PlayStation already has a cool car combat franchise in the form of Twisted Metal, and it’s a fairly malleable one too, it wouldn’t been a better fit for what Destruction AllStars is attempting, but none-the-less, fans of vehicular combat games should be happy with what they saw here. More info needed for me personally.
MH: I totally disagree with Paul. Twisted Metal has been terrible for a long time so a fresh start is nice and this looks more like Destruction Derby crossed with Titanfall so I am intrigued. I am not sure it will be a hit but I am certainly interested in the final result.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
PJ: This one was a surprise favourite of mine from the event. There are hints of Ori in the musical accompaniment and a gorgeous visual style. Those alone crack the door open quite a lot for me, now I just want to see the game in action to confirm that it is, in fact, a game I want to play. A very strong start from this one though. To be clear, the team at Ember Lab are the folk responsible for making that mind-blowing Majora’s Mask fan film – this is definitely one to watch
MH: Very much getting a Zelda X Pikmin vibe here. It is stunning without doubt, so it will be interesting to see if the game lives up to its influences. Whatever the final result is, there is no doubt this is a studio with a talent for stunning animation.
Goodbye Volcano High
PJ: Can’t say that I was a fan of this one out the gate. Not because I believe it’ll be a bad game per se, but rather that it simply didn’t speak to me at all. Would love to come around on it at some point though
MH: I don’t know how to get a read on this. Dinosaur people in high school. What sort of game is it? What will I be doing? It could be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but honestly, I can’t say.
PJ: When Lorne Lanning speaks, I pay attention. This is a veteran who has barely missed a target over many years of game development, and seeing Oddworld: Soulstorm in the PS5 showcase, says that those who’ve seen more of the game than you or I have incredible belief in the product. I can’t even say that I hope it’ll be good… I know it will be good
MH: Oddworld is a special sort of crazy and that is looking to be true here too. These are games that aren’t for everyone, but for those that enjoy them, they love them. I really hope this one knocks it out of the park because it has been a lean few years for the Oddworld team. Hopefully, this leads to Strangers Wrath 2 as well.
PJ: Shinji Mikami doesn’t have the same stage presence that Ikumi Nakamura does, so it’s a shame for the team that they’ve lost her, but in terms of the game itself, I’m feeling a little less into Ghostwire Tokyo off the back of this event than I was going into it. The tone of the debut trailer hit right between the eyes and had me super intrigued, but seeing it in action today made me a little less sure that it’s a game I want to play. Hopefully, this was just a poor showing (in my eyes) and that with more exposure in the future I can come back around on it
MH: It was interesting to see what the game was, I am getting a Dying Light/X-files feel from the action, but as is the case with this sort of game, I need to get hands-on to see how it plays. I am certainly intrigued by what was shown and I dig the setting, I am just sitting on the fence regarding the action.
Jett: The Far Shore
PJ: Outside of Jett being a space-bound science-fiction game, this trailer told me next to nothing about what the final product will be. Aesthetically it didn’t speak to me either, so hopefully, with more exposure and a bit more detail is provided about what the game actually is, I might change my tone at some point.
MH: I got some serious No Man’s Sky vibes, but apart from that there was little to go on. Once again no real gameplay on show, so it was difficult to get a read on.
PJ: Hoo boy, while I’m digging the way Godfall plays, and it looks incredibly fun, I’m not so sure about the tone of that trailer. Godfall, despite there being obvious parallels to Borderlands in some respects, doesn’t seem to be visually or tonally in line with it, and so the musical backing to this trailer indicated to me that the developers aren’t overly sure of what they want the game to be. Here’s hoping that was simply a marketing blunder, and not representative of an identity crisis for the actual game.
MH: I have to say, this game looks like it will either be a massive win or an epic fail. I can’t tell which yet and I don’t think there will be a middle ground either. I dig the character design and the action looks sweet, but there is just something about it that feels off and I am not sure I can put my finger on it.
PJ: I love Alex Preston, Hyper Light Drifter, and the team at Heart Machine, and when Solar Ash was revealed over a year ago I was pretty hyped. To see it on the PS5 stage signifies that others are of a similar mindset to me, and I’m extremely happy about that. If Solar Ash comes even remotely close to the calibre of Hyper Light Drifter, then we’ve got another indie gem on our hands
MH: Boy what a stong sense of style this game has. I am keen as a bean to dive in, hopefully lessons learned from the brilliant but flawed Hyper Light Drifter guide this game to success.
PJ: I’ve been standing on the outside looking in on the hype that the Hitman rebooted games have been getting. I’ve wanted to dive into them myself but haven’t had the time to do so, and now a third game is on the way. It’s looking great, but I’m unsure if I should play the first two or just pick up here, and the increasing number of sequels makes me worry that I’ll just never catch-up, and they all may remain unplayed.
MH: Everyone’s favourite bald assassin is returning to once again kill a whole bunch of people in really creative ways. They are like puzzle games with a gruesome death at the end and endlessly fun to play. If you have never giving Hitman a go, I strongly suggest you dive in and there is nothing here that indicates that this will be anything less than excellent.
PJ: Anything Astrobot: Rescue Mission adjacent is good to me. Astro’s Playroom will likely not be the revolutionary experience that the VR title was, but regardless, I’m excited to see what the game can do. Very eager to see more, and learn when I might get to play this one.
MH: Look, I can’t say I am pumped for this. Looks a little to kiddie for my tastes, but that isn’t to say it won’t be fantastic, just for a different audience and that is totally ok.
Little Devil Inside
PJ: Another indie I’ve been tracking for a while, Little Devil Inside is a game I helped to Kickstart at least 5+ years ago, and I’d been concerned that it was going to find itself stuck in development limbo – not anymore. I’m excited because it was on the stage, not because of what it showed, because thankfully, I’ve long been all over this one.
MH: This looks very cool, it has taken on a “paper” art style that, while simple, is seemingly used to great effect. Good to see a long-gestating title get some airtime on such a grand stage. A great little adventure title in the making I feel.
PJ: Not sure that an annual sports title needed to be here, but I guess it’s cool to see Zion Williamson from the Pelicans here, and for those that love their annual game of hoops, it was undoubtedly great to get your first tease of the upcoming entry.
MH: I love me some NBA 2K but man was this superfluous to today’s reveal. A wasted slot.
PJ: When an Aussie accent is not done well it stings, and I felt my ears stinging during the debut of Bugsnax. It comes from the folk responsible for Octodad, so it could well be an excellent (and hilarious) game, but I’m not sure yet what exactly it’s supposed to be.
MH: I have no idea what I just watched. It looks like the bastard child of Adventure Time and Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. But boy oh boy do I want to know more.
PJ: Soulsborne titles aren’t my jam and so a remake of Demon’s Souls does nothing for me, but it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come. I remember when Demon’s Souls was first premiered for the PS3 and everyone laughed at it for how it looked and played – I wonder how many of those same people now are the hardcore Soulsborne of Sekiro fans of the world. PlayStation has a sure-fire winner here with Bluepoint’s latest remake.
MH: I want to say something nasty just to upset the genre’s millions of adoring fans. But I won’t because, despite these titles not being for me, it looks fantastic. The frothing souls horde looks to be well catered for here.
PJ: Super into Deathloop after seeing this. For some reason, Arkane games haven’t really jived with me up until this point, but Deathloop may change that. It’s got an awesome gameplay “loop”, really cool visuals and a tonne of personality. I’m keen to see more of this one whenever Bethesda wants to present me with that info… soon, please?!
MH: You see I love Arkane. Dishonored and Prey are absolutely my jam so I am here for this. The style is fantastic and the gunplay is very much in the Dishonored style, I just want to know more about how the time loop works and how it affects gameplay.
Resident Evil VIII: Village
PJ: It has only been since Resident Evil VII that I’ve become a fan of the franchise, but now that I am, and I’ve gone back and played some of the classics along the way, I couldn’t be more excited for a Resident Evil game. Village looks cool, and I want to see a lot more of it, so it’s a good thing Capcom isn’t leaving us to wait too long with the game coming next year!
MH: Time to scare the shit out of yourself again. This time with werewolves and creepy British village types (The greater good). Capcom is on a serious roll with this franchise after a patchy period so I expect this to be another high-quality scare-fest.
PJ: This Capcom game has Kojima signatures alllllll over it, and whilst the man himself may not be involved at all, you can see traces of Metal Gear and Death Stranding all over the place. The internet seemed to mimic my sentiment, so none of us really know what it is as a result. Interested to learn more about Pragmata
MH: There is a seemingly endless supply of “who knows what the hell is going on” trailers at the moment and this is right up there. Once again I need more, but I am more than happy to keep an eye on it.
Horizon II: Forbidden West
PJ: This was the big one I was waiting for and of course PlayStation waited until the last minute to roll out the sequel to arguably the best new IP of this current generation. I’d tipped to see the game at launch, and that doesn’t seem to be the case, but what Guerrilla showed of Horizon II: Forbidden West has be bursting with excitement to dive into another Alloy adventure. Surely this will come no later than 2021, so the wait shouldn’t be too much longer… I hope.
MH: I have no doubt this will be fantastic, but just like so many trailers shown, we have no real idea of when it will arrive. That being said, I am down for it and want it in my hands right now. The lack of a date does give me a chance to replay the original when it hits PC so that is something positive at least.
PJ: I should’ve suspected after seeing the DualSense that we weren’t going to get a conventional-looking console with the PS5, but I came away quite impressed by the look. It’s a tall one, even making the Xbox Fridge look small by comparison, but let’s hope that with that extra space, the PS5 won’t become the jet engine that my PS4 often does.
MH: It is…odd. I can’t say I hate it, but I can’t say I like it either. A weird choice that I am sure will grow on me with time. I am worried however that with the shape as it is, fan noise is going to be a continuing problem.
PJ: The controller is cool, the console too, but it was nice to see Sony outline a suite of peripherals here that included the media controller, a charging dock and the camera. Like the console, no prices or release dates to be seen which, while not totally unexpected, was still a bit disappointing as I have money burning in my pocket to lay down on a bunch of this stuff. I guess I’ll just have to wait a bit longer
MH: I like the controller design, not a fan of the colour but I am sure it won’t be long before we get different options. Everything else on show was pretty stock standard for a new console and nothing that screams “must buy” yet.
PJ: As a ride or die PlayStation fan there was a lot here that I adored. To get Horizon, Spider-Man and Ratchet within the first year or so bodes incredibly well, while some of the other top studios like Santa Monica, Sucker Punch and Naughty Dog are either wrapping up PS4 games or remained silent. I dig the look of the console, the third party and indie support seems to be there from out the gate, and so there’s much for me to anticipate. A lack of solid dates for some of the big hitters and of course the console is a concern, but given the current world climate I don’t blame either Sony or Xbox for keeping their cards to their chest until they’re of the mind that nothing more could possibly go wrong. It’s a strange year, and an unusual lead up to the consoles launching, but there’s more than enough here, especially when you factor in third-party titles that we were introduced to at the Xbox showcase that we know are also coming to PS5 to be very happy with how things are shaping up.
MH: There is a lot here to like, but at the same time I can’t help but feel apprehensive about the lack of firm release dates or prices. It is roughly six months until this puppy releases and we don’t have the ability to pre-order yet, which must be driving retailers up the wall. Also, it seems like the launch range will be slim pickings so I wonder if perhaps Sony would have been more comfortable releasing in early 2021 but Xbox forced their hand a little. Regardless of my misgivings, there are exciting times ahead, I am just not sure when they will truly start.
Push Start on a unique look at Australia’s gaming landscape