PS Plus Price Hike; The Sims 4 on Console + Some Tumbleweed

Greetings. As we near the end of what feels like a very quick July, it’s time to look forward to the month of August a.k.a. tumbleweed month. And what better way to introduce that month than to announce a £10 increase of PlayStation’s yearly subscription of PlayStation Plus… yay. Clearly, Sony does not like tumbleweed, and this very fact has had a negative effect since the price increase is very bad news.

The timing of the news is quite peculiar also. Just one day prior, they announced their PlayStation Plus free monthly games for August, which included Just Cause 3 (PS4), Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry (PS4), That’s You (PS4), Super Motherload (PS3), Snake Ball (PS3), Downwell (PS Vita) and Level 22 (PS Vita). Not bad at all. Relatively impressive, actually. Maybe in their hope of an impressive monthly line-up, it would dampen the grievance. NOPE. This new pricing represents very poor value for money which makes me seriously consider switching to either PC or Xbox in future. To think that not only 4 years ago we didn’t even have to pay for online play. It’s a whole different world now. Not only do we have to pay for online multiplayer, but the free monthly games aren’t even of value anymore in my opinion.

Ever since the PS4 launched along with its newly revised PS Plus, its value was always questioned especially so seeing as the always free multiplayer is now behind the paywall. However, apart from that, the quality of service had seemingly declined. Noticeably the free monthly games. The games given away at the tail-end of PS3’s life were amazing. For example, games like: Wipeout HD, LittleBigPlanet, Burnout Paradise, Infamous 2, Dead Space 2, Red Dead Redemption etc. We haven’t seen anything like that amount of value on the PS4 so far despite an encouraging showing the last 2 months (Until Dawn and Just Cause 3). It could be because of the smaller library compared to the PS3, but then why not give away more of the great PS3 games? Or why don’t they compensate in some other way?

I think it’s become clear why they haven’t decided to maintain the quality and value of previous years. Sony are market leaders now, know they have the player share and the pull of new console buyers. They’ve probably looked at Xbox’s dominance last gen, seen how many Gold subscriptions they sold despite the competition’s more valuable alternative, and said ‘Hey, we can do that now’. It leaves a very nasty taste in the mouths of their loyal customers. Almost like force feeding us Turkish Delight (Delight it is not, people).

So, what’s Sony’s explanation for the price rise? When Eurogamer reached out to a Sony rep, this was part of their response:

“We are changing the pricing to reflect various market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members.”

Yeah… no. To whom is that exceptional value exactly? Maybe 4 years ago, but now it’s non-existent. I’m really hoping they sweeten the deal somehow, but if the service continues as is, I’m not going to renew and will seriously consider switching to other platforms in the future – probably PC. I’m sure there are many in the same camp as me as well.


Finally, some news I know that will interest a lot of people is the announcement that The Sims 4 will be coming to both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on 17th November. It’s a highly popular series so this news will be welcomed by many. I know The Sims belongs on the PC but I have very fond memories of console Sims. In fact, I think I bought 4 iterations of The Sims on the PS2: The Sims, The Sims 2, The Urbz: Sims in the City, The Sims Bustin’ Out. I had a lot of fun with those so it’s great to hear they’re still expanding the series to consoles. As they so eloquently put it in Simlish, “dis wompf es fredesche”.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!

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Looking back at Soul Reaver; Splatoon 2; Destiny 2 & Free DLC

Hello, all. It’s the end of another week, which means I get to waste 5 minutes of your life again (muahahahahahahahahahaha *takes deep breath in* muahahahah-awww forget it). Hopefully not, though seeing as there are a few exciting things I’d like to get through today including a look back at the classic, Soul Reaver; the recently released, Splatoon 2; and some other multiplayer stuff.

The reason I’d like to look at Soul Reaver this week is because Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry did a very nice comprehensive video on the game which I see as an opportunity to discuss and wax lyrical about — what I regard as — a masterpiece. Digital Foundry covered a lot of aspects of the game including the history behind the series, the circumstances surrounding the development, cut content, and comparing the performance between PC, PlayStation, and Dreamcast. What I’d like to focus on is the cut content.

While I had previously learned of the revelation of cut content 5 years ago — thanks to a ridiculously meticulously detailed post on NeoGaf by Mama Robotnik (which I encourage you to take a look at) — Digital Foundry’s well-expositioned video put everything into context and prompted me to blog about it.

Now, for those who don’t know, Soul Reaver is a quasi Metroidvania action-adventure game which released on the PlayStation in 1999 to much critical acclaim. What makes it so enamoured and highly regarded even today is mainly its superb storytelling and truly unique art style not mentioning its level design, adaptive combat, and realm-bending puzzles. You could play it today and still fall in love – there isn’t another game like it in my opinion.

So, when you hear of such revelations like cut content – it’s a big deal. What Crystal Dynamics (developers of the game) had in mind was something much much grander in scale than what was actually produced. Incredible really, but when you see all the research Mama Robotnik outlines here, for example, the quite abrupt ‘to be continued…’ ending and the appearance of new powers in cut scenes not apparent in gameplay, it all becomes believable.

The numerous amount of areas, abilities, enemies, and bosses planned and designed in addition to alternative story content is staggering. So, to learn that all that was cast aside is both mind-blowing and sad. The developers clearly had something more ambitious in mind but unfortunately, due to deadlines and technical boundaries, they weren’t able to fully realise their vision.

This is all a big shock to me because surely if all that content was planned but at the very last was put in the bin, then surely it would have become obvious and the released game should have been a wonky and incoherent mess. The very fact that it wasn’t and was, in fact, a masterpiece shows you what an amazing job Crystal Dynamics did. Personally, I felt like the game was already massive and complete. The ending didn’t really come as a big surprise to me as it did to others, so, to learn all this is bewildering.

While ultimately, this is sad news and does leave a sour taste in your mouth leaving you wondering what could’ve been, it almost feels like a celebration of Soul Reaver and Crystal Dynamic’s work. And it should be because they created something special in very difficult circumstances. Their work lives on in many people’s memories and hearts including mine. I’ll take this opportunity to link the intro to Soul Reaver as a tribute — surely the greatest videogame intro ever.


Whew, I just got some dust in my eye there. Anyway, In other news, Splatoon 2 released on Friday to a splattering of great reviews. Lots of 9s and 8s going around with most outlets praising its fun, original and addictive multiplayer, very much like the original with some improvements here and there. If it ain’t broke… right? Sounds like an essential pickup for Switch owners.

Continuing the multiplayer theme, It’s the last day of the Destiny 2 console beta. I haven’t played it but, like Splatoon, Bungie seemingly has decided to stick close to the D1 formula without drastically changing much. There have been lots of complaints that it looks too similar, which I can understand. When you have a massive and ambitious concept like Destiny, you’d like to see more innovative changes and additions in the sequel to fully take advantage and attract more players. But on the other hand, you could argue Destiny was already ambitious, so playing it safe and polishing things here and there might be the smart decision. Who knows? We’ll see.

Moreover, Id Software has announced that all paid DLC for Doom is now free, which includes 9 multiplayer maps. I love decisions like these. It shows love for the players and reunites the user base. It makes the multiplayer space more active and attractive. I wish more games did this. I understand the financial gain for companies to lock maps to DLC but really, when everyone has access to every map it makes the game more vibrant and more of a community. Surely that would attract more players and hence more sales of the game, recouping some of the DLC money. Then there are micro-transactions they can use, which I think is the lesser of two evils. If that’s the price to pay to get access to all maps, then sign me up. I understand EA released all the Battlefield 4 map packs for free at one point and plan to release Battlefront 2’s maps for free also. This is great news and I admire EA’s attempt to try something new and pro-consumer. Thumbs up from me. But this is definitely a hot topic and something to look out for in the future.

I think that’s where I’ll leave it today. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week for some more rambling.

Crash’s Rolling Success & Consumerist Balderdash

Hello. It’s a very sunless Sunday here – not a very honourable gesture towards the Egyptian sun-god, Ra. May he smite those responsible (any weather person who smiles while forecasting rain or cloud). He can do what he wants, he created Sunday after all. Deal with it people.

Deflecting the sun’s light into a more gaming-related direction, one news item that sparkles this week is Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy’s continued sales success. In particular, it remains in top spot in the UK chart for the second week running, first time for a PS4 exclusive since Uncharted 4 last year apparently. And bearing in mind that its launch week sales of last week beat even that of Horizon: Zero Dawn’s, it makes you admire the appeal Crash has even today, 21 years after its debut.

To be honest, the success it’s had really surprises me. I didn’t think the market had the appetite, and despite how beautiful and faithful it looks (it really is an amazing job), it wasn’t something that looked to me like a worthwhile purchase – if I wanted to play Crash Bandicoot, I’d just play the originals knowing that it plays as well as it did 21 years ago, but it shows what I know doesn’t it. But hey, Activision might even commission a Crash Team Racing remake now. How amazing would that be with online racing?! That would be a worthy upgrade.

What you have to take into account is that unlike me, the majority of people don’t have access to the old games and when an opportunity comes to play such classics beautifully remade, you take it. No doubt there are countless of 90s kids feeding that nostalgia thirst – never underestimate nostalgia. Never. Moreover, I’m pleased that others who either were too young to play it or just missed it have the chance to play them. Hopefully, it releases on other platforms too so others get the chance. It brings up the discussion whether this will mark the beginning of a remake trend. Other publishers (Konami *cough*) will be looking closely at this and thinking about taking advantage. There are a few games that come to mind which I’d love to see remade. One to watch for sure.

Speaking of classics, Polyphonic has announced a new release date for Gran Turismo Sport (for realsies this time, I promise) with a very short but sweet trailer. They do make some amazing trailers. If you haven’t already, go watch their previous ones, especially this one – very much Jurassic Park inspired with a hint of Back to the Future. Steven Spielberg would be proud. So yes, Gran Turismo Sport will be releasing on 18th October this year. Not too long to wait and looks like it’ll be a good one. There haven’t been too many racers this gen (maybe something to discuss soon), so one as iconic as this one will certainly help to fill that gap.

In other news, Amazon’s Prime Day or whatever they call it turned out to be quite good for gaming deals. I managed to grab PS Plus 15-month subscription for £30 and Call of Duty Infinite Warfare for a grand sum of £0 thanks to a glitch (I probably won’t play it but you can’t say no to free). Other deals included GTA V for £20 and WipEout Omega Collection for the same price. Not bad at all.

As much as I appreciate the good deals, I can’t help but think of sales like these as an orgy of consumerist activity. It feels unhealthy and It brings out the materialistic obsession some people have while the corporations know this and prey on it. Just look at the Steam sales. You get loads of people buying games they don’t even know just because it’s a good deal (I know because I’m guilty of doing that sometimes). No wonder, the term backlog has become so ubiquitous among gamers. The ironic thing is that sales are so common these days that it should be easier as a consumer to control your spending and not splurge all your money out all at once, seeing as the next sale is only around the corner. It’s like the consumerist culture should now be self-consuming. The culture is so big now that it has to eat even more to sustain itself, but It’s so hungry for sales that instead of waiting a bit, it’s decided to eat itself… well, that’s how I see it…

Anywayyyy, that’s your lot for this week. I hope you like what you’ve read. I’m having fun with this blog at the moment and hope that continues. See you next week!

An Introduction… (Part 2)

Hello, again everyone… *crickets* (I’m fully aware of the likelihood that I’m writing to very few people or just to myself. Please, just humour me). Last week I departed on that very crafty cliffhanger, leaving you wondering whether I’d expand more on my introduction or just commence the blog outright. Well, I’ve made a decision, and I’ve decided on the former… please, hold your excitement. I think it’s a good idea to elaborate more on my plan for the blog and on my gaming tastes to let you know more about what you’re getting yourself into (don’t worry, contrary to the ominous tone, you can leave at any time). So without further ado, I’ll crack on.

I think to start off with, my plan is quite simple. As mentioned last time, the main blog will just be my ramblings about the main videogame news, my related thoughts plus other random musings. I might end my posts with a section of what I’m currently playing, just finished or what I plan to play, with a brief summation of my views. I think for now, I’ll do this once a week.

Once I become more comfortable writing and blogging each week, I plan to supplement the main blog, fleshing it out more and making it more engaging. This, I envision, would include reviews (critiquing new and relatively recent games), retrospectives (looking back on older games), opinion pieces (elaboration of a point made in the main blog), previews (anticipation of games soon to be released) and spotlight (giving attention to games that deserve recognition). I consider both the main blog and these supplements to add up to make up the foundation of this website. Obviously, I have other ideas in mind I could implement for added polish but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. With some effort and luck, hopefully, I can pull it off. *crosses fingers, legs, toes, and face*

So with that said, I’ll give you more insight into my gaming tastes. Fortunately, I have quite a diverse palate. Generally, as long as it’s good I’ll play it. Of course, I have predilections towards narrative-driven games like Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill and The Last of Us (3 of my favourite games everrrrr). I just love how their games possess such a distinct style. The themes and motifs expressed are so meaningfully manifested in well-written stories and characters. I just love a game that evokes an array of powerful emotions, one with characters you strongly connect with and one which provokes thought. Each time I finish games like these, I really reflect on that transcendent experience and I yearn for more like it. Games have the potential to do that and I love it.

Of course, the beauty of games is diversity and creativity. There are so many different types of games that I like to play whether it’s racing, fighting, sports, simulation, horror, platformer. Each genre provides an itch to scratch. Although there are some I play less of either due to lack of access (I have no gaming PC, so no strategy games for me anymore) or due to complexity (the thought of playing some RPGs puts me off).

To sum up, I don’t dislike any genre in particular. There are some I play less of due to time constraints or accessibility, and there are some I love, but as long as they’re interesting and decent, I’ll give them a go.

OK, I hope that makes everything clear on what to expect from me and this blog. The website still needs some maintenance to make it look more polished, but hopefully, I’ll sort that out in the coming weeks. Thanks again for reading and I’ll be back next week where I’ll probably start my rambling proper. Although, I do wish to do a post sometime on my history and relationship with games for more background (yeahhh I’m a bit of a perfectionist freak. I don’t like leaving anything out haha).

Ciao!

Welcome! An Introduction…

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…

Alright, so this probably won’t be the greatest blog known to man, but I can at least assure you that it isn’t being written by a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters. How my writing compares to a monkey is another question altogether, however, I hope that it at least provides you, the readers, with serviceable insight, information, and entertainment. Touch wood.

If you haven’t gathered already from my formal writing style, my blog Viewpoint ‘n Click is a platform on which I voice my opinions, reviews, retrospectives, wishes and — as my namesake suggests — my viewpoint on all things related to VIDEOGAMES! That’s right, I’m not as mature as you thought I was, but the all caps hint at my excitement and passion for games and that is the driving motivation behind this blog. Hopefully, it fuels itself for years to come (and not — as the case usually is — after a week or two).

Introducing myself, my name is Michael. I’m 24 and recently graduated a.k.a put out to pasture. My history with games stretches back to when I was just 4 years old. That’s 20 years! Since then, I was hooked — for lack of a more graceful word. Games are essentially my life. I absolutely love them. So it excites me to share my un-Kratos-like voice with the world i.e. you.

I don’t necessarily have a master plan for this blog, but for starters I plan to blog once a week, sharing my ramblings on all things current in the world of videogames. As habits set in, ideally I’ll blog at a set day and time each week (e.g. Monday mornings… hahahahahaha). If things go well, in addition to my once-a-week musings, I’d like to carry out retrospectives on older games, reviews, previews, opinion pieces and all that ilk. Hell, if I’m in the money I might even set up a podcast.

It must be said though, that since I only own a PlayStation 4 (I’m a one-console peasant. Forgive me), I’ll probably be partial to covering more games on that platform, but I promise you that if I see anything interesting on PC, Xbox, Switch etc. I’ll definitely give it coverage. Just to be clear, I’m not one of those console warriors or fanboys or whatever you call them. I hate those terms more than I hate people who refuse to say thank you for holding the door open for them.

Right, I think I’ve written enough for one day. I might do another introduction next week just to give you more insight into my intentions for this blog and to reveal more about myself (e.g. my tastes in games. Not my deepest darkest secrets…). Or I might just jump straight into things. I’ll leave you on that *suspenseful note. Until next week.


*suspensful sounds wrong but it’s actually a word! TIL