Hello and welcome to the first PS4A Picks! In this brand new feature (which in no way resembles PS4A PlayTime), the PS4 Attitude team choose one or two of our favourite games of the last couple of weeks, and discuss what makes them so awesome. This week, you can check out our views on Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, Dirt Rally, Firewatch, Street Fighter V and TrackMania Turbo.
Storytelling in games is still in its infancy, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves. You can tell from the global reaction to a good story, such as when The Last of Us first hit our PlayStations. And while graphically inferior in every way (yet still beautiful), Firewatch is another title that sucks you in and keeps you guessing.
From the outset, you are introduced to an emotional backstory that will touch the hearts of many, and provide the reason that your character has taken a job in the middle of nowhere. Then, through a number of multiple-choice questions and statements, you uncover the rest of the story one piece at a time. The result is engaging, powerful, often unsettling, and keeps you wanting more.
There are some truly incredible scenes, a few jump-scares that’ll make you leap out of your seat, and a constant air of nervous tension. I may have maligned the graphics by comparing them with TLoU, but they really are wonderful – just not in the same league. But the real winner – beyond the incredible story – is the sound. The music is powerful, and the sound effects are perfect throughout. The result? Firewatch might be my favourite title of the year so far.
My pick for this week is the upcoming Dirt Rally. My experience with racing simulators extends to only Gran Turismo, but I thought I could easily make the jump into rally motorsports. I was wrong; the game is brutally challenging on the inexperienced. I started a race, not knowing the basic fundamentals of rally, and was surprised when my co-driver started shouting directions at me.
Suffice to say that race did not go all that well. Thankfully I’ve grown to be a much better driver in the time I’ve spent with the game so far. It’s a challenge, but it’s also extremely fun and rewarding as well. There’s no greater sense of accomplishment in the game than hitting a series of difficult turns without spinning out or crashing into an obstacle. I’m still not a great driver, but I’m slowly becoming one. Dirt Rally is one of the better racing sims out there. Even though I’ve never been a particular follower of rally sports previously, the game has made a new fan out me.
I’m trying to think of which games I’ve played most this week or have had the biggest impact on me; and whilst that title is easily Fire Emblem: Awakening, that’s not a PlayStation title, so I should probably pack my bags and frown as a writer on a Sony-focused website!
I did, however, get my hands on Dead or Alive Xtreme 3. Yes, that game that isn’t getting an official release in the West despite having full English subtitles for everything in-game. My feelings on it are mixed – I’m enjoying it a lot, but there’s minimal content. It’s mostly a collection of a few very fun mini-games, taking photos, and working to earn the affection of a select number of Dead or Alive girls. I’m enjoying it, but I don’t have much faith that it would sell well in the West anyway, although I think it definitely has a market here. I’ve played through two girls’ routes so far (Hitomi and Honoka), and will be playing through more soon! Maybe Kasumi or Momiji next.
Another game I’ve spent a fair bit of time on is Street Fighter V, which recently saw two patches and the release of its first DLC character, Alex. I’m not a big fan of him to be honest, so won’t be playing as him much, but I love many of the new outfits and colours; I’ve spent most of my fight money already though! Survival Mode is still unfair (those who’ve played it know my pain) in that you have to complete it with each character and in each of their outfits to unlock alternate colours. Worse, the difficulty ramps up so unfairly towards the end that many players are struggling and complaining about it, and rightfully so! I don’t mind a challenge, but make it fair, Capcom!
My pick of the last few weeks is bonkers racing game TrackMania Turbo on PS4, which released last month. Despite the fact that the franchise has already been around for well over a decade on PC, Turbo is the first TrackMania game to release on a PlayStation console. For the uninitiated, I like to think of the series as a mix of Burnout, Trials, and the licence tests from Gran Turismo.
Put simply, the aim of the game is to finish each of the 200 crazily designed tracks (which often feature huge jumps, loops and all manner of other madness) in the fastest time possible. At the end of the track, the online leaderboards show how you stack up not only against the rest of the world, but also your home country and region. There’s even an awesome multiplayer component (both local and online), plus a fully-featured track editor, which all adds up to what is probably the most fun I’ve had with a racing game since Burnout Paradise, way back in 2008.