Gamasutra spotted a note in the move’s FAQ that reveals what happens when someone makes a comedic overstep (or is an asshole). When detected, the name is changed to Tempxxxxxx (so Temp345678, Temp902716, etc). If you’re changing the name on an old account and the new one stinks, users can revert to the old one, and if it’s detected on a fresh name, they’re asked to change it to something that doesn’t suck.
This is interesting because 1) it’s a much cleaner solution than just banning accounts and have people make new ones, and 2) you now know that if you’re ever in a game with Temp274503, think twice about voice chat.
It was recently the two year anniversary for the release of Horizon Zero Dawn. The open world PS4 exclusive is one of the best looking games of the generation and has some incredible looking machine creature, both big and small. But thanks to a fun post detailing some information about the development of Horizon, fans get a look at the early prototypes of these robotic monsters. They look a bit funny.
Over on the PlayStation Blog Herman Hulst, the managing director at Guerilla Games, shared some behind the scenes info and images to celebrate the two year birthday of Horizon Zero Dawn.
I love how colorful and blocky these testing prototypes look. I almost wish there was a way to bring them back into the game using a cheat code. Another interesting thing to note is in that screenshot Aloy, the main character of Horizon isn’t fighting the block monster. Because her model and character weren’t figured out yet, Guerilla games used a soldier from Killzone 3 as a placeholder.
Aloy’s face took the studio some time to figure out and in fact, it was only due to the flu that they eventually found their actress. As Hulst explained in the blog post
“Director Jochen Willemsen came down with a bad case of the flu. While recovering at home he saw a movie starring Dutch actress Hannah Hoekstra on TV,” wrote Hulst. “Immediately [he] knew he’d found the face of Aloy. Within minutes he was on the phone with the studio and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Another interesting behind the scenes bit of info is that the actual musicians who created the songs in the game also did some mocap for Horizon. These animations can be seen in various areas of the game.
I love getting to see more of how games are made, so I’m always happy to get posts like this. If you want to see more from the development of Horizon
The days of paying for a premium app to remote play PlayStation 4 games on iPhones and iPads is over. Today’s 6.50 PS4 firmware update enables game streaming between the console and the newly-released PS4 Remote Play app.
PlayStation 4 owners have been able to remote play their games on iOS devices for a couple of years now via applications like R-Play, a popular third-party solution sold on the iTunes app store for $11.99. The official PS4 Remote Play app, available now, does the same thing, only for free. Just download the app, pair it with your PS4 over the network, and you’re good to go.
The app uses on-screen controls by default. In landscape mode the controls are laid over the game screen, as seen here in a shot grabbed via my iPad Pro. In portrait mode, games run on the upper portion of the display, with touch controls underneath.
I have a good internet connection, which may be why I encountered very little lag while playing. Still, I wouldn’t recommend playing games that require precision timing. At least, not without a good third-party Bluetooth controller. The app is perfect for role-playing games, visual novels and other less controller intensive fare.
Thanks for keeping us going while Sony got its crap together, pricey third-party remote play apps! They’ve got it from here.
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.
I was on vacation last week. In addition to wandering New York and enjoying some of the finest pizza on the planet, I finally finished Kingdom Hearts III. In the process, I found a moment near the end of the game that perfectly captures the series’ magic and excitement. It also highlights one of Kingdom Hearts’ greatest flaws.
After journeying through a handful of charming but inconsequential Disney-themed worlds, Sora and the gang are ready to face off against the dastardly Master Xehanort. He’s a grumpy old wizard dude who wants to summon Kingdom Hearts, which is the heart of the universe. Using that, he plans to restart existence and rule over a world where Light and Darkness are in perfect balance. That’s some pretty wild stuff. Sora and his friends arrive at the Keyblade Graveyard, the site of a massive war that took place countless eons ago. They square off against the bad guys…and lose. But there’s some magical shenanigans that allow Sora to come back, revive all his friends, and try again.
When the bad guys summon a swarm of Heartless, the series’ evil enemy monsters, Sora receives a vision of a young boy: Ephemer. A lot of players might not know who Ephemer is, as he’s from the mobile game Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]. Thousands of keyblades soar through the air, and Sora rides them into battle against the Heartless. Each attack uses a different keyblade, with a character’s name—presumably a player’s name from Union χ[Cross]—and the result is this amazing spectacle of magic, friendship, and heroes triumphing over the bad guys. This summary makes it sound hokey, but where you see it in motion, it’s honestly some of the most stunning action in the entire series.
Invariably, this moment will get compared to the ending credits for Nier: Automata, where players are aided in a bullet-hell segment by other players. The player gets extra shooty bits and a shield made up of little representations of other players’ save data. The sentiment is similar here: Each keyblade is a player, and the bonds of the fanbase are uniting to give Sora strength. But the goal here is less existential than Nier: Automata’s, which was making a point about persisting in the face of impossible odds. Kingdom Hearts III wears its heart on it sleeve. This moment is a celebration of community. It is the big catharsis that players have been waiting for since the end of Kingdom Hearts II in 2005. It’s the explosive moment where Sora truly shows his worth as a Keyblade Master. It’s flashy, emotional, and the kind of anime bullshit that makes the series great.
But it’s also emblematic of the series’ larger issue: lore lockout. For all the talk of Kingdom Hearts’ confusing plots, the individual games are very sound. Characters have a wonderful tendency to state their motivations clearly, and even if you don’t know the full details, the raw emotional beats land. Underneath all of that is a tangled timeline of dark magics, prophecy, and more. That’s the thing people are really complaining about when they mention Kingdom Hearts’ convolution. You can see it here with Ephemer’s sudden appearance. Who is this boy? Well, to explain that, you need to know about the first Keyblade War, which also means knowing about the different Unions, which means knowing about the Master of Masters, which also means knowing who the Dandelions were….And seriously, why is Ephemer suddenly here? Without this knowledge, the moment gets robbed of context. It’s still a great moment—badass moments are what Kingdom Hearts excels at—but it’s a moment predicated in part on knowledge of a mobile title that many players have no experience with.
It’s also a little confusing and presumes maybe more interest in the broader lore than is reasonable. But I loved it—the music, the lights, what it meant for Sora. I loved the intense victory rush it gave me: the resounding feeling that good can triumph against all odds. It’s Kingdom Hearts condensed to a single moment. Emotional, resonant, experimental.
The Yakuza series combine deep melodrama with exploration through vibrant city streets. Yakuza Kiwami is a remake that recreates the feeling of the original game, adding new features to streamline the experience. It’s a glorious crime story that benefits from a fresh coat of paint.
This piece was first published on August 28, 2017. We’re bumping it today for Steam’s release of the PC port of this game.
Heather and Luke are big fans of Yakuza and decided to shake up the review format with an in-depth discussion of what they loved and what they’d rather kick to the curb.
Luke Plunkett, Kotaku: Yakuza games have become renowned lately for telling their story from the viewpoint of multiple characters. Yakuza Kiwami, out this month on PS4, doesn’t have this feature, so we thought we’d implement it for the review of the game instead.
Heather Alexandra, Kotaku: Which one of us is Majima? Keep reading to find out!
Plunkett: Joining me for this review will be Heather Alexandra, who is as much a fan of smashing dudes over the head with bicycles as I am.
Alexandra: It’s true. Give me a good old baseball bat and a full heat gauge and I’ll work some wonders. I think to start I want to get a sense of how you felt about Kiwami as a remake. The original Yakuza released in 2005 and when I look at the two games side by side, it’s really neat how much this seems to capture the feeling of the original. What do you make of it as our resident Yakuza fanatic?
Plunkett: I can barely remember the original, a game I played briefly at the time but never got around to finishing. And even then, I was obviously playing the game in its own time. This remake, aside from being technically beautiful (by Yakuza standards, anyway), is now very different, because it’s a 2005 game being experienced in 2017. So in that way it’s really interesting, both as a “historical” game, but also as a yardstick for how much the series has changed since it first began.
Like, you can see here that in some ways the series has barely changed. You run around Kamurocho, you punch a lot of people, there’s a lot of talking. And yet it’s also changed a lot, in that despite the technical makeover, there’s no upscaling the fact that Yakuza 1 is a game that’s lacking in a lot of the things that really appeal to fans who have come into the series through its later games.
Alexandra: Kiwami has a much smaller scope than something like Yakuza 0 but I think that also gives it a lot of focus. While the series is now famous for side quests and random activities, Kiwami has a focus and drive to it that I really enjoyed by the end. But maybe I’m a simple gal; all I really wanted were some dudes to punch and neon-lit Kamurocho streets to wander and Kiwami delivers that in a neat little package with only a few extra gimmicks.
Do you miss those other things? Different perspectives, building friendship with Officer Kikuchi or whoever else?
Plunkett: Yeah, it’s tough. I agree, there’s a vastly reduced scope to this game, which is as much a curse as it is a blessing. It’s a much shorter experience, with a lot less to do around the edges, which as someone very into Yakuza’s diversions was a disappointment. But the scope of later games had its own problems, with story bloat and drag definitely becoming factors, which meant part of me appreciated the fact Kiwami was over in under 30 hours.
Alexandra: I do miss Akiyama; I fell in love with him Yakuza 4. But I agree when you say some of the later games can feel bloated. I don’t remember the through-line of that game too well anymore but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to tell folks Kiwami’s story years from now without missing a beat. It’s a simple crime tale with very few twists that doesn’t really waste your time. Unless you accidentally bump into Majima while wandering the streets…
Plunkett: Okay, let’s talk about Majima. It was the thing I was most looking forward to, and ended up being the worst thing about the game.
Alexandra: I had fun with it! It was neat to go bowling with him at the very least. Honestly, my biggest issue was with how much time it took to unlock good stuff for the Dragon of Dojima Style. You have to fight Majima a ton of times to fill out that skill tree.
Plunkett: I hated it. It was on some Star Wars special edition type shit. This isn’t Majima’s story, and the way they just stuff him into Kiwami is so lacking in context or elegance that it kinda ruins the flow of whole sections of the game.
It’s not game-breaking or anything, but still, I actually would have preferred they’d left it out. There’s more than enough Majima in later games (or 0!), we didn’t need him here.
Alexandra: My bigger problem is being reminded of how Majima was written in Yakuza 1 after spending so much time with him in 0. There’s some method to his madness and clear respect between him and Kiryu. In Japanese, Kiryu even calls him “onii-san” in casual conversation. There’s the kernel of the more three dimensional Majima here but it’s still pretty jarring to watch how wild he originally was before the series fleshed him out. Majima Everywhere made that more noticeable. I had fun with the mode but I think you might be right to an extent; it sometimes felt a bit too wild.
Plunkett: I mentioned this already, but one thing I really liked was the fact this is still a video game set in 2005. That was 12 years ago now, and it’s funny going back in time to see a game that was once so modern transformed into a flashback, retro thing.
Alexandra: I keep picturing Kiryu coming out of prison and finally getting a crummy little cellphone. That stuck with me for some reason.
Plunkett: Which when the game first came out was probably this really poignant, modern thing! And now it’s like, lol, ok Grandpa, nice dumbphone. It’s also funny to note that this might be the only Yakuza game where Kiryu’s suit and collar are actually fashionable for the time period.
Alexandra: One of the great things about this series is how it manages to leap from year to year and really communicate a difference. Some of that is in the small stuff like fashion or cellphones but it also baked into the setting. Kamurocho always feels familiar but hold tiny little touches depending on the game. In Yakuza 0, it actually feels quants compared to Sotenbori but when I played a little bit of Yakuza 6 at E3, Kamurocho was as modern as ever.
There were roombas, Luke. Roombas!
Plunkett: Plus maybe the best thing about Kiwami is that it’s set only in Kamurocho, which means more than any of the more recent games it really lets you learn the lay of the land. By the end of Kiwami I was playing with the map turned off and was finding my way round pretty easily just by remembering the names of main streets and the landmarks. Considering Kamurocho is maybe the real star of the series—and like you say, it’s always nice seeing it grow up—it was great getting to spend an entire game there without being whisked away somewhere else.
Alexandra: Speaking of stars, can we be real for a minute and agree that this isn’t really Kiyru’s story? In a lot of ways, this game is about Nishikiyama.
Plunkett: It is! And maybe that’s Yakuza 0‘s greatest gift to the series. I just kept imagining playing this game without knowing Nishiki’s story (he’s your best friend throughout the prequel), and how shitty that would have been. Knowing the story of his friendship with Kiryu really made his turn in Kiwami more impactful, and also lent a little more (sorry) bang to his farewell.
Alexandra: They added additional story scenes for Nishiki in Kiwami and that really paid off. We get to see him struggle as he inherits responsibilities that everyone wanted Kiryu to have. For a while, he’s not really good at being yakuza. By the time of the game, he’s a smooth operator but its still really clear that underneath it all, Nishiki never forgot what it was like to feel inferior. It’s so well written. He’s probably the best villain in the series.
Plunkett: Yeah, he really is, that’s one of the things that stands out here. Were he the villain in a later game he’d probably lick a gun barrel before somersaulting out of a helicopter onto an exploding horse, but here, in a humbler time for Yakuza, he’s just a good kid who makes some bad decisions.
How’d you find the combat here? After the baseball bat-infused fury of 0, I had a bit of trouble returning to a more nuanced combat style, especially since I didn’t get far with the game’s advanced styles.
Alexandra: I really liked it. The three styles might even work better here than in 0. I stuck with Brawler for most of that game but here I found myself switching from Rush to Beast or whatever I had to do in order to win. Kiwami finishers had a lot to do with that. Missing those is punishing since bosses will regain a lot of health. I was a lot more aware of my stance and heat gauge here than in other games.
Plunkett: I wonder whether that’s just a relic of the original design or something they tweaked here, because I was the same. For the last 3-4 games I’ve mostly stuck with the one fighting style, but here you just couldn’t, otherwise you’d run into a brick wall where a certain boss or group fight wouldn’t let you progress unless you used the “right” style.
Alexandra: I got my ass kicked in the gambling den fight more times than I’d like to admit until I literally went Beast Mode on them.
If I do have one minor complaint about the combat, it’s that some of the bosses are reusing move-sets from 0. Shimano is basically a re-skin of Mister Shakedown. It’s not a big deal but from time to time Kiwami feels a bit more like a Yakuza 0 mod than a game unto itself.
Plunkett: It definitely feels like the odd Yakuza game out. We’ve had a fairly natural progression in terms of game design, if not the timeline (thanks to 0 being a prequel) over the last few games, but throwing Kiwami into the middle of it all certainly makes for a weird fit. I know this is going to throw out my “which Yakuza game do you try next” timeline, because while Kiwami follows on from 0 in terms of narrative, I assume it’s going to be jarring for many going from the more modern design and tone of the newer games to something shorter and more raw.
Alexandra: I’m going to start up Yakuza 5 soon and I bet that’s going to be strange. I’m super glad that 0 and Kiwami are around though. The former is one of the best games I’ve played this year and while Kiwami is a bit less ambitious, it’s still very good. I played this while on a vacation and enjoyed every moment of it.
Except maybe when Bob Utsunomiya didn’t have any extra items to give me. That greedy clown…
Plunkett: There are four constants in life. Death, taxes, a new Yakuza game every year and Bob Utsunomiya being a creepy piece of shit.
You’re heading to the store to get a PlayStation 4 right now, and need to know which games to get. (Keep your eyes on the road, please!) Or maybe you’re home, all set up, realizing you want more stuff to play. We’re here to help.
These days, there are more good PS4 games than ever, with new contenders arriving all the time. Below, find a list of the games we recommend for Sony’s machine.
We will, of course, continue updating this list regularly as more games are released for the PS4. We’ve capped the list at 12, and in the months and years to come will continue to remove old games to make way for new, better entries. Here goes…
At a cursory glance, Horizon Zero Dawn may seem overly familiar. It’s got Uncharted platforming, a Far Cry open world with stealth and crafting, Tomb Raider third-person bow fights and Monster Hunter-style battles against massive robot dinosaurs. Wait a minute, did we say overly familiar? Because that sounds great. Horizon actually manages to simmer those promising raw ingredients into something that works even better than we’d hoped. It’s got a steady stream of exhilarating gameplay and awe-inspiring sights all wrapped up in a surprisingly engrossing and satisfying story. As a bonus, it’s one of the most most technically advanced, gorgeous games you can play on a PS4.
A Good Match For: Fans of the games mentioned in the description above, anyone who’s ever wanted to go toe-to-toe with a robot velociraptor.
Not A Good Match For: Those looking for an easy time. Horizon is a bracingly difficult game, and you’ll have to play smart and aggressively to make it through alive.
From tip to tail, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a profound, glorious downer. It is the rare blockbuster video game that seeks to move players not through empowering gameplay and jubilant heroics, but by relentlessly forcing them to confront decay and despair. It has no heroes, only flawed men and women fighting viciously to survive in a world that seems destined to destroy them. It is both an exhilarating glimpse into the future of entertainment and a stubborn torch bearer for an old-fashioned kind of video game design. It is a lot, and also, it is a whole, whole lot.
A Good Match For: Cowboys, open-world connoisseurs, history buffs, lapsed game-playing persons lured by a game whose atmosphere strikingly mimics many masterpieces of film and literature.
Not A Good Match For: Those averse to open worlds, because this sure is the open-worldest of all possible open worlds. Also, Sonic the Hedgehog fans need not apply (your cowpoke’s walking speed is the exact opposite of going fast).
You’re alone on an island, surrounded by puzzles. That’s The Witness, an extremely complicated game that is really very simple. Some of the puzzles are obvious: They’re on screens right in front of you, stacked in orderly rows. Other puzzles are much less easy to find. All of them will stymie and confound you, but over time you’ll gradually dismantle them until the game’s grand design is laid out in front of you like the workings of a finely crafted watch. Some games make you level up your character to access new areas; this one makes you level up yourself. There are few more satisfying feelings in gaming than when you finally realize the solution to a puzzle in The Witness. With a click, a new door opens.
A Good Match For: Puzzle fiends, people who like a challenge, anyone who liked Myst and wants to see what a modern evolution would be like.
Not A Good Match For: Anyone wanting action, the easily frustrated, people who don’t like puzzles in games and generally just go look up the answers.
Nier: Automata will probably surprise you. It starts out as a fast-moving action game in the vein of Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, telling a story about hot robots exploring a ravaged future earth. And until the first time the credits roll, that’s what it remains. Keep playing, though, and Nier will begin to open up and transform. It shifts viewpoints and twists inside of itself, eventually unfolding in a spiral of revelations that crescendoes all the way to the grand finale(s). Yes, you must “finish” Nier: Automata five times to get the complete story. But like the rest of this fantastic game, that doesn’t mean what you think it means.
A Good Match For: Fans of narrative mindfucks like the first Nier or the Metal Gear Solid games; people looking for something ambitious and unapologetically weird.
Not A Good Match For: People who like their game stories straightforward, anyone who doesn’t like beat-em-ups or shoot-em-ups.
What if there was a soap opera that made you cry, but also let you play classic Sega games? The Yakuza series is a unique mixture of melodrama and comedy, packed with compelling characters and criminal intrigue. It’s also a series where you can hire a chicken as your real estate manager and manage a cabaret club. Yakuza 0 is the perfect entry point into the series, spinning a tale of two criminals wrapped up in intersecting plots. The story twists and turns, while the open world provides colorful sidequests and distractions. It starts slow, but if you stick with it, you’ll find one of the most sincere games on the PlayStation 4, emotionally packed and surprisingly funny.
A Good Match For: Tattoo enthusiasts, anyone who loves a good plot twist, folks interested in great localizations, mini-game lovers, and anyone looking to experience a rich story.
Not A Good Match For: Anyone who absolutely hates cutscenes, that one guy who says “this would be better with English voice actors,” and players looking for a shorter narrative experience.
Read our review.
Watch it in action.
Study our tips for the game.
Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop
There’s no shortage of ambition in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Geralt of Rivia’s latest adventure is massive, a world you can get lost in for hours and still have plenty to do. And while many games these days have sprawling landscapes, The Witcher 3 is utterly dense. Every nook and cranny is filled with memorable characters, clever writing, and rewards for curious players. The main story is as thrilling as it is emotionally draining, and the side quests are actually worth doing! Best of all? You don’t need to have played a Witcher game to enjoy the heck out of the third.
A Good Match For: Open-world fans, especially those who enjoyed Skyrim but were disappointed by the combat. In The Witcher 3, fighting is nearly as enjoyable as exploration.
Not a Good Match For: People who value their time and social life, or those who prefer their games hyper-polished without any framerate drops or other nagging technical flaws.
If you think Tetris can’t get any better, then you haven’t played Tetris Effect. Born from the minds behind Rez and Lumines, its trippy journey through wonderfully crafted synesthetic experiences is only amplified by the optional PlayStation VR mode. Tetris Effect’s Journey Mode takes you through 27 sublime levels that also introduce new and very welcome changes to the 35-year-old series. The game also has more traditional modes that let you compete for top spots on the leaderboards and unlock fancy avatars. It’s video game meditation and there’s really nothing else like it.
A Good Match For: OG Tetris fans who miss the series and newcomers who are curious about learning the intricacies of a nearly perfect game design that feels brand new again; PSVR owners.
Not A Good Match For: People who can’t get into puzzle games; players who prefer competitive multiplayer modes; anyone who hates electronic music.
It’s a fan-art generator. It’s pure cosplay fodder. It’s a meme machine, a water-cooler mainstay, and a cultural obsession. Overwatch is all of those things, but above all else it’s a finely tuned competitive video game that manages to encourage pitted competition and enthusiastic teamwork while ensuring everyone is having a good time.
A Good Match For:Team Fortress 2 fans, people who liked banging action figures together as a kid, people who’ve wanted to try a competitive first-person shooter but haven’t yet found the right fit.
Not A Good Match For: Anyone who wants to play offline, or who is hoping for a substantial single-player story campaign. Overwatch is strictly multiplayer-only.
For years, the best way to understand why so many people love Monster Hunter games was to play one on a mobile device. With Monster Hunter: World, everything that makes Capcom’s long-running series so great is finally playable on a modern, big-screen gaming system. World takes advantage of that screen real estate, and the massive beasts you’ll fight look just as fearsome as you’d expect. World may be the most approachable Monster Hunter game yet, but it’s still a complex, rewarding game that you can play for hundreds of hours without running out of things to do. It’s fun to play solo, fun to play with friends, and basically just really fun.
A Good Match For: Anyone looking for a thick, complicated game; those who like Dark Souls-style combat against huge enemies; people who’ve been intrigued by Monster Hunter and looking for a way to get into the series.
Not A Good Match For: Those who want a game that’s straightforward and easy to get into; vegetarians.
If we had to sum up Bloodborne in a single phrase, it would probably be “There’s blood everywhere.” The newest game from Dark Souls maestro Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team at From Software, Bloodborne represents both a careful iteration of the Souls formula and a significant departure from it. The games’ fundamental structure and signature difficulty remains, but everything has been intensified, with knife-cuts and quicksilver bullets flying faster than your eye can track. Bloodborne is a gore-soaked masterpiece.
A Good Match For: Fans of From’s other games like Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, people who like tough games, H.P. Lovecraft buffs.
Not a Good Match For: Anyone who gets easily frustrated by difficult games, people looking for a more traditional RPG with a more traditional story.
What if you could do relive high school but do it way, way better? That’s the promise of Persona 5, and Atlus’s killer social sim + dungeon crawler more than delivers. You’re a high school student spending a year at a new school in Tokyo, but you’re anything but ordinary. You and your motley crew of friends have the ability to infiltrate the subconscious “palaces” of the various villains and tormentors who challenge you in the real world, changing their hearts and bringing them to justice. As the days tick by, you’ll spend your afternoons deciding whether to go shopping, hang out with your friends, or head into a dungeon to slay some demons. The more you play, the more the cast expands, the story unfolds, and the mystery deepens. What’s really going on? Where do these mystical powers come from? How’s it all gonna end? And will you finally be able to get Makoto to go out with you?
A Good Match For: Fans of previous Persona games, along with anyone who likes stylish art and killer music. Persona 5 is overflowing with both.
Not A Good Match For: People who hate turn-based JRPG combat, people who don’t like games with a lot of text to read, anyone looking for a game they can finish in a single weekend.
God of War is every bit the prestige, mega-budget action game it sets out to be. It’s got uncommonly satisfying combat, gorgeous music and art direction, and gives players hours and hours of fun stuff to do. Like past God of War games, it mixes joyously violent melee fighting with clever environmental puzzle solving. Like past God of War games, it takes players on a Cliff’s Notes tour of an ancient religion, with Norse mythology taking over this time for the Greek pantheon of its predecessors. Unlike past God of War games, however, it takes greater care with its story, revitalizing and to an extent rehabilitating its long-in-the-tooth anti-hero Kratos by focusing on his relationship with his young son Atreus. Their story is full of shocking twists and massive set-pieces, but some of its best moments feature the heroes quietly rowing a boat down a river, regaling one another with stories of ages past. God of War is an unusually thoughtful blockbuster, an epic that manages to be quietly reflective and wildly entertaining at the same time.
A Good Match For: Fans of Norse Mythology, people who like intense action, anyone looking for something that’ll really show off how good a PS4 game can look.
Not A Good Match For: Those uncomfortable with on-screen violence. God of War’s mayhem doesn’t feel as gratuitous as past games in the series, but there’s still some extremely brutal stuff.
How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:
Update 2/11/2019: We’ve added Tetris Effect, Yakuza 0, and Red Dead Redemption 2 while removing Rocket League, Marvel’sSpider-Man, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Update 11/14/2018: We’ve added Marvel’s Spider-Man and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey while taking off Fortnite and XCOM 2.
Update 5/3/2018: We’ve added God of War and Fortnite Battle Royale while removing The Last of Us Remastered and Hitman.
Update 3/9/2018: We’ve added Monster Hunter: World and XCOM 2 while removing Inside and Resident Evil 7.
Update 6/2/2017: We’ve removed Uncharted 4 to make room for Nier: Automata.
Update 4/19/2017: We’ve added Persona 5 and removed Destiny, which Bungie has been winding down in preparation for a sequel.
Update 3/8/2017: After much debate we’ve added Resident Evil 7 and Horizon Zero Dawn, while removing Diablo 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. These cuts are getting harder and harder, people.
Update 12/09/2016: We’ve added Hitman to the list and retired Metal Gear Solid V.
Update 9/23/2016: Inside makes its way onto the list, while Until Dawn departs.
Update 7/27/2016: Overwatch joins the list; Assassin’s Creed Syndicate comes off.
Update 5/26/2016: Welcome, Nathan Drake. Goodbye, Batman. We’ve replaced Arkham Knight with Uncharted 4 this time around.
Update 2/11/2016: The Witness makes it in, and Fallout 4 heads out. Also, we’ve added a video version of this post up top!
Update 11/26/2015: Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate hop onto the list, knocking off Final Fantasy XIV and Assassin’s Creed IV.
Update 9/18/2015: The list gets another update: The Binding of Isaac, Transistor, and Dragon Age: Inquisition clear out to make room for Rocket League, Until Dawn, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Update 7/16/2015: These swaps are getting harder. After much deliberation we cut Wolfenstein: The New Order, despite our affection for the surprisingly good story-driven first-person shooter. We’re also saying goodbye to another over-achiever, Shadows of Mordor, whose best trick, the Nemesis System, isn’t enough to keep it on our ever more competitive top 12.
Update 04/07/2015:Bloodborne slices its way onto the list while Pixeljunk Shooter Ultimate says goodbye.
Update 11/25/2014: The fall has arrived, and with it a bunch of great games. Dragon Age: Inquisition, GTA V, PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth edge out Resogun, The LEGO Movie Videogame, Don’t Starve and TowerFall Ascension.
Update 10/21/2014: We’ve added Destiny and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor to the list, and removed Infamous: Second Son and Need for Speed: Rivals to make room.
Update 8/28/2014: Two games enter, two games leave. Outlast and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition make way for Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition and The Last of Us: Remastered.
Update 6/18/2014: Change is in the air, as Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Fez, and Injustice: Gods Among Us clear out to make room for Wolfenstein: The New Order, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and Transistor.
Update 4/14/2014: Our PS4 list has hit its 12-game ceiling, and we’ve added (and removed) more games than in any other single update so far. Rayman: Legends, LEGO Marvel Superheroes, Doki Doki Universe and Strider all clear out to make room for Infamous: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Towerfall: Ascension, The LEGO Movie Videogame, and Fez.
Update 3/10/2014: Two more games make it onto the list: Last year’s fine Rayman Legends and the satisfying remake of the NES classic Strider. One more and we’ll be at 12, after which we’ll have to start cutting games to make new additions.
Update 2/14/2014: Our second update brings with it two games: The graphically enhanced Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and the pee-your-pants-scary Outlast. Only three more additions before we hit our ceiling of 12 and have to start cutting games to make room for new ones.
Update 1/27/2014: Our first addition to the PlayStation 4 Bests list is Klei’s excellent survival game Don’t Starve, which brings the total number up to seven.
Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:
Note: While some games on this list are download-only, all of them can be purchased on the PlayStation 4’s online store. If you buy any of these games through the retail links in this post, our parent company may get a small share of the sale through the retailers’ affiliates program.
Sometimes, it is better to let dreams be dreams. A 19-year-old man from Nice, France learned that the hard way when he got the wild idea to take a PlayStation 4 off the shelf of a supermarket, walk to the fruit section, weigh it, print out a price tag sticker, put it on the box, and then buy the console for the price of a 6-pound bag of produce.
French publication L’est Republicain reports that the young man, named Adel, was recently sentenced to four months in prison for pulling off The Great PlayStation Fruit Heist Of 2018 back in September. Normally, he would’ve had to pay €340, or around $389, but his produce-scented ruse brought the price down to €9, or just over $10. He used a self-checkout line, which probably helped him avoid employee scrutiny, and he went on to sell the partially purloined PlayStation for €100, or $114, in order to pay for a train ticket.
Adel tried to do the same thing again the next day, only to get caught by police. Late last week, he did not appear in court in Montbéliard, France and was sentenced to four months in prison, though the sentence is suspended, so he’ll only have to serve it if he re-offends. At this point, he probably wishes he’d just bought a banana.
Correction – 6:30 PM, 1/29/19: A previous version of this story did not specify that the sentence was suspended. That error has since been corrected.
Japan Studio posted a short, but fantastic blog post earlier this week showcasing the art and design process behind the PSVR game Astro Bot Rescue Mission.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission was a gorgeous game to play in VR and that art was created with a lot of thought and care. When making props and environments, art director Sebastian Brueckner wanted to make the world feel playful and digital. To achieve this effect, the team added small details like printed circuit boards and LED faceplates to props and items seen in the game.
Similarly, animations for all characters in the game went through a lot iteration to find a style that would work in VR.
The whole post is a fantastic peek into the development process and includes early looks at levels in Astro Bot Rescue Mission
Astro Bot Rescue Mission: Inside the Art and Animation of Japan Studio’s PS VR Hit (PlayStation Blog)
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
This week, PlayStation Korea rolled out price cuts for the PS4 and PS4 Pro for a limited time only. Folks have lined up in droves.
The PlayStation 4 launched in South Korea on December 17, 2013.
The PS4 Pro is originally 498,000 South Korean Won ($444), but it’s marked down to 348,000 KRW ($311), while the 378,000 KRW ($337) PlayStation 4 is 248,000 KRW ($221). The PSVR is also on sale, priced at 298,000 KRW ($266) from 448,000 KRW ($400).
According to Afternoon News, a limited number of consoles and PSVR headsets is being alotted to PlayStation partner stores and online retailers. Check out photos of people from when the sale began yesterday. There are reports of sellouts, especially for the Pro.
When Final Fantasy XI was released for PlayStation 2 in 2002, it was part of the first wave of massive online experiences for consoles. Alongside games like Phantasy Star Online, it helped bring the MMO experience to the living room and pushed the Final Fantasy series to explore new frontiers. While the PS2 and Xbox 360 versions were shuttered in 2016, the PC version is still going, 17 years later. Last night, I logged in for the first time as a new player to find a clumsy but engaging world full of kind and enthusiastic players..
In order to play Final Fantasy XI, you need to sign up for PlayOnline, an online gaming service created by Square (now Square Enix) in 2000. For a while, it was one of the go-to launch applications for accessing online games, particularly in Japan; it also hosted Everquest II andthe short-lived online mode for Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. And you’ve still got to use it today, I found when I loaded up the PC version of Final Fantasy XI last night.
After downloading all of the necessary files, I booted up PlayOnline and was greeted by the sort of early 2000s internet home screen you’d see in a series like .hack. PlayOnline is a bubbly little thing, its menus home to jazzy music and other ambient tones. When I signed up, I even received a unique email account that I could access through the application. After navigating its menus and accessing Final Fantasy XI, I endured a six-hour patching process and then finally logged in.
What I found seemed hostile by modern standards. Final Fantasy XI exists in a sort of stasis lock where all of its old-school sensibilities make it incredibly hard to get started. When an NPC initially directed me to a quest giver, they laid out strict directions as if I was talking to someone on the street in New York City. Beyond that, there was little guidance. I had chosen the baroque-looking city of San d’Oria as my home, and the game dropped me there and left me to my own devices.
There were no quest markers or any form of guidance. A tutorial existed, but it was buried deep within menus and I only later found out about it when another player walked me through some basics. Final Fantasy XI doesn’t exactly get too many first-time players anymore. It’s a game of old-school veterans, and it is designed to facilitate their gameplay habits. If, like me, you are nearly 20 years late to the party, you’ll find that Final Fantasy XI doesn’t particularly care about making the onboarding process smooth.
While this apathy can initially be frustrating, it also leaves the player with an overwhelming sense of freedom. Unlike the series’ other MMO Final Fantasy XIV, I didn’t need to run around unlocking basic services. And where games like Star Wars: the Old Republic limit newbies to a starting zone whose story needs to be completed, I was completely free to choose a direction, walk wherever I wanted, and chat with NPCs in the hopes of stumbling upon adventures and quests. There’s a purity to that experience that guides players to create their own goals. I settled for leaving the city and beating up wildlife in order to level up and increase my skills.
Final Fantasy XI’s combat experience is remarkably passive compared to those of modern MMOs. Whereas most current games have you cycling through a collection of abilities with a variety of effects and cooldown lengths, much of Final Fantasy XI is automated. You pick a target, select the attack option, and watch as your character begins to duke it out with whatever orc or wild rabbit you’ve set your sights on. As you defeat enemies, you gain experience that raises statistics like health and strength, and you also gain individual points for special traits like hand-to-hand combat or dodge. Punch more and you’ll get better at punching. As that skill increases, you’ll gain access to skills that you can use in combat.
It’s somewhat opaque, and means that a lot of the experience is spent watching things play out instead of actively participating in moment-to-moment combat decisions. The result is a process that’s oddly meditative. You wander from area to area, size up enemies, and maybe occasionally select an ability to use. As you explore, maybe you’ll find a quest-giving character or sometimes run into another player. But the raw experience is something more solitary, at least at early levels.
To compensate for this isolation, I streamed my initial hours on Twitch, and found myself interacting with a chat that held many fond memories of their time spent in Final Fantasy XI. This was a formative MMO for many people, either as a point of contact with the genre or a long-lasting adventure. My misadventures—running as a goblin chased me through a zone, getting lost in the winding San d’Orian streets—were amusing echoes of other players’ experiences. I was bumbling but in good company, and my stream managed to attract some in-game help.
To my surprise, I suddenly found myself face-to-face with a diminutive thief who found me in the wild. Without so much as an introduction, they offered to trade with me, and I opened the menu. They offered me 500,000 gil, a significant amount of money for a newbie like me. After a few hours of beating up monsters, I only had around 30 gil. It was confusing. Was there simply some small, dapper philanthropist wandering the game world and tossing money at newbies? As it turned out, they’d stumbled upon my livestream and decided to track me down to lend a helping hand. It speaks to the kindness of Final Fantasy XI’s community. This is a game that resists easy learning, but some established players who suffered through the early game are eager to help dimwitted adventurers like myself.
My subsequent education at the hands of this tiny master player revealed that Final Fantasy XI is largely a single-player game with occasional personal interactions—that is,until you reach the massive endgame hunts against notorious monsters. In the years since its release, quality-of-life improvements have shifted Final Fantasy XI into a game that’s remarkably friendly to lonesome adventurers if you can penetrate its initial layer of obfuscation.
Much of this rests in the “Trust” system that was added to the game in 2013. It allows players to assemble a party of NPC allies to help them progress through the massive amount of content that’s accumulated over the years. Quest givers and limited-time events grant players access to allies of all classes and utility. After some help from my gentleman-thief benefactor, I was able to summon beefy paladins, stalwart samurai, and healing mages to assist me in my dungeon crawling.
Playing Final Fantasy XI today is a crash course in both old-school sensibilities and adaptation. The unrestricted freedom to explore wherever you might wander, without much of a guiding hand, captures an older and more romantic notion of digital worlds. Final Fantasy XI is less a theme park and more a national park, a loose connection of distinct landmarks connected by wandering trails and surrounded by barely-tamed wilderness. But as the player base shifted to a hardcore collection of stubborn holdouts and long-term veterans and left newbies without easy entry, it became necessary to provide tools that empower solitary journeying.
After getting over this initial hump, I’m left with a massive world at my fingertips. Between kind players, enthusiastic friends eager to join me, and my collection of NPC Trust companions, I have nearly 20 years of rich storylines and areas to experience at whatever pace I want. I had expected to find an abandoned world, limping along thanks to die-hard players. Instead, there’s an entire chapter of Final Fantasy history for me to explore now even though I missed it back in the day.