This week at Attitude Towers, Dolph got lost in virtual reality with the PSVR, Mitch faced his fears in Resident Evil 4, Sam crafted way too much fictional dye in Final Fantasy XIV, and I rediscovered the criminally underrated Knack (no, seriously).
Immersive. One small word, but in the games industry, it means so much to so many. For developers, creating an immersive experience for the gamer is the Holy Grail. It is the ultimate goal; creating an environment that players want to return to again and again. But lately, immersive has taken on a new meaning here at Attitude Towers, thanks to the PlayStation VR. In virtual reality, it seems immersive is a de facto standard, so which experiences am I enjoying the most, and what is really pulling me in?
Headmaster continues to surprise and delight. Sure, my neck feels like it’s gone 78 laps around the Monaco Formula 1 street circuit after a long session, heading (mostly) soccer balls into the back of the net (or at an ever-amusing set of targets), but it is so much fun. The dark, Portal-style humour adds to the game’s “stickiness” – you want to keep playing to see what ridiculousness is going to happen next.
The Playroom VR also offers a great deal of fun, especially the Robot Rescue mini-game, which really ought to become a full-blown title in its own right. Sony, are you listening? And PlayStation VR Worlds is brilliant too, especially when you invite friends around to “enjoy” the mild peril of a shark attack. In addition to all the above, EVE: Valkyrie is a brilliant game. It’s exactly the experience I wanted from a space dogfight title and has a good single player story too.
As one person said straight after their first PSVR experience, “how much did that cost, because whatever your answer is, it was worth it!” Never a truer word said. PSVR needs more titles, but it is truly the immersive gift that keeps on giving.
This week I’ve played a fair bit of Tales of Berseria, which is releasing this week! It’s a great JRPG and those who were disappointed with Zestiria will be pleasantly surprised with this one. The combat system is perhaps the best in the series.
I’ve also been playing through Resident Evil 4 again and, although it’s dated in mechanics which makes it a bit of a pain to play, it’s still one of my favourite games and one I always enjoy no matter how many times I’ve played it. I’m going to go through 5 and 6 again soon too… not before I play 7 though!
So, Final Fantasy XIV has consumed all, and I fear it’s only the beginning, as I now have the ability to craft dyes, which sell well in game. I plan on becoming the greatest manufacturer of dyes on my server. It will take work but, I believe with focus, it is very doable.
I’ve also briefly played a couple of other games in between my stints in Eorzea. For example, The Witness, which is an amazing game that looks simply stunning in HDR. The puzzles are challenging and are often seamlessly integrated into the world. This makes it difficult to know where you’re supposed to go next, but it’s all part of the charm of this puzzler.
Firewatch, meanwhile, has an opening that is reminiscent of Pixar’s Up, and gameplay that is strangely enjoyable; a map that must be read manually, a radio that shows the slow growth of a possible friendship, and two bras lying on the forest floor below some illegal fireworks. I love both Firewatch and The Witness, but I wonder if I’ll find the time to play them, or will Final Fantasy XIV hold my attention until I at least reach the Heavensward expansion?
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward continues to be a blast. Despite playing the game for over two and a half years, there are still big parts of the game that I’ve barely touched, so I’m doing my best to try as much out with my newest character as possible. Right now, I’m focussing on levelling up Alchemy. It’s the first time I’ve done any crafting for a while, and I’m actually really enjoying it! The only issue is that it’s led to me neglect the main story somewhat, but never mind.
As I mentioned last time, I recently purchased a 4K HDR television, to take advantage of the enhanced visuals offered by the PS4 Pro. So, which game have I played the most? Could it be the sublime Final Fantasy XV? Rise of the Tomb Raider? Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End? No, no, and double no. In fact, the somewhat surprising answer to that question is Knack, the critically divisive PS4 launch title. In my defence, I’ve always found it to be an extremely underrated platformer, and it’s never looked better than it does now. I’m very happy that it’s getting a sequel too!
January is usually as quiet as the grave when it comes to new releases, but that isn’t the case this year, as a frankly ridiculous amount of awesome Japanese titles arrived this week, including Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Tales of Berseria and Yakuza 0, many of which I’m hoping to play soon (if my wallet lets me, that is!).