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With Comic-Con 2019 currently in full swing (no pun intended) in San Diego, Insomniac Games has cause to celebrate, as Marvel's Spider-Man has been crowned the all-time best-selling superhero game, eclipsing previous best-seller Batman: Arkham City. This especially impressive when you consider Arkham City was multi-platform, and Spider-Man is a PS4 exclusive.
Taking into account both digital and physical retail lifetime sales in the United States, Marvel's Spider-Man has overtaken Batman: Arkham City, while Rocksteady's trilogy closer Batman: Arkham Knight is just behind its 2011 predecessor in third place. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella shared the data on Twitter (via Game Informer), revealing the top 10 best-selling superhero games in the US.
Since its release exclusively for PlayStation 4 in September 2018, Marvel's Spider-Man has gone on to become Sony's fastest-selling first-party game, shifting 3.3 million copies within its first three days on sale. A sequel is assured, we'd say. If indeed a follow-up is on the cards, check out some of the villains we'd like to see in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 in the video below.
According to an insightful Wall Street Journal report, Sony is looking to make deals with major publishers in order to put the PlayStation 5 in the best possible position when it launches next year. The publication claims that the platform holder is focusing on major, big budget titles – and it’s lining up both timed exclusivity and exclusive content to differentiate itself.
This will likely end up an extension of its PS4 strategy, where it partnered closely with major releases like Destiny and Watch Dogs to give it the upper-hand. If anything, its bargaining power is likely to have strengthened since the launch of its current-gen console, so don’t be surprised if it spotlights some whopping third-party titles when the PS5 is finally revealed to the world.
All this, according to WSJ, is coming at the expense of smaller indie studios – but the Japanese giant will no doubt be remembering the IndieStation 4 reputation it earned at the beginning of this generation. Look at the reaction to Sony’s earlier E3 press conference and even the recent State of Play: it’s pretty obvious what fans want, and the company looks poised to deliver.
After 18 years since the last game’s release -- and four years since this new adventure was officially announced -- Shenmue III is finally coming. The story of Ryo Hazuki previously ended on a cliffhanger, and fans have been chomping at the bit to find out what lies ahead for their forklift driving karate hero. We had a chance to get some hands-on time with the game at E3 2019, and unfortunately Shenmue III feels less like a modern sequel than it does a time capsule to the SEGA Dreamcast era.
The 15-minute demo opened with Ryo speaking with Shenhua in a scene similar to the very first trailer for the game back in 2015. After a brief conversation we take control of Ryo and have free reign to explore the tiny rural village he finds himself in. I can speak to the locals, participate in some mini-games like Lucky Hit from Shenmue II or practicing martial arts at the dojo,
Eventually I can trigger a fight scene that serves as the 'end' of the demo. That sounds like a lot, but in what is supposed to be a sprawling open world game like it’s predecessors, this demo is barely an appetiser.
The first thing that sticks out immediately is the movement, which retains the slow and plodding pace of the previous games. We can make Ryo run by holding a button, but that takes away from his stamina meter in the lower corner so we can only use it sparingly. While this certainly fits into the world of Shenmue, and Shenmue fit into the climate of video games in the early 2000s, we’re not sure 2019 will be as kind to this approach.
As for the interactions between Ryo and the village folk - or should we say lack thereof - Ryo’s mouth barely moves in conversation, his eyes locking into place and barely blinking. His body doesn’t move, standing perfectly still and rigid as he speaks. If we didn’t know going in this was the Shenmue III demo, we’d wonder if someone was playing a trick on us and actually put one of the Shenmue remasters in front of us instead.
Worse still is the English voice acting, which makes us hope for some sort of Japanese subtitled voice option when the game launches. Each line sounds like it was recorded in isolation, the voice beats sounding unnatural and wooden. The written dialogue doesn’t help matters either; when Ryo approaches the area with the mini-games, a man sitting at a table says the following: “Want to play some games? You’ll need tokens. You need tokens to play the games.” Then when we approach him and press Talk, he says “Get tokens here, you need them to play.” We’re not entirely sure, but we think we need tokens to play the mini-games.
That’s not to say the demo is all bad, as there are two redeeming qualities that bring the rough presentation up a notch. First are the mini-games themselves, the aforementioned Lucky Hit and the training exercises being prime examples that retain the old-school feel in a good way. The Horse Stance challenge, where we must keep Ryo balanced in his stance and level with a green line on-screen, is a neat little event. Practicing combos gives us time with the fighting system, which is still old-fashioned fun. There’s clearly fun to be had here, we just had to eke it out.
Speaking of that fighting system, the finale of the demo lets us try that old battle system out again in a real bout. This was the best part of the demo, as getting back into that trademark brawling system felt like getting back onto a bicycle. It didn’t take long to get right back into the swing of things, and before long we were taking it to Ryo’s adversary...not that he noticed.
We’re not sure if our foe was adjusted for the demo or not, but this guy proved super tough. We were pulling off combos and knocking him down, but his life bar barely moved throughout the fight. Meanwhile, two or three combos from him and we were down for the count. We could attempt to fight him again, as many times as we wanted before the 15-minute demo ended, but each time he repelled our attack without much effort. Eventually time ran out, the 'thank you for playing' screen appeared, and our hands-on time was done.
As the demo wrapped up, we felt an equal sense of excitement and worry for Shenmue III. On the one hand it’s more of that unique Shenmue experience, to the point where it feels like a time capsule of sorts, which is what we’ve wanted all this time. The worry comes from the same place though; it’s more Shenmue, a game from 2001 coming to a new era in video games. Will it hold up? Will the recent delay fix some of these problems? We’re not sure, but for this long-anticipated game’s sake we certainly hope so.
Shenmue III will launch on 19th November 2019 for PlayStation 4 and PC.
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[Update] The beta is now live. [Original story] Preloading for the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beta on PS4 has begun, which means that you can download it now and be ready to play when it starts later today. The multiplayer beta is private, so you'll need to have a code, which is obtained by pre-ordering at select retailers. The beta can be downloaded through the PlayStation Store and weighs in at 18.09 GB.
The Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 private multiplayer beta weekend starts on August 3 and will run through August 6. A second beta weekend will then happen on August 10 through August 13. While the first weekend is exclusive to PS4, the second one will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can take a look at the full schedule below.
As revealed in a previously released Black Ops 4 trailer, the multiplayer beta will have a bunch of weapons and 10 Specialists, including Nomad and Prophet, who Treyarch says have "brand-new gameplay mechanics built for Black Ops 4." The beta will also have six maps to battle on, two of which will be making their public debut in the beta.
Modes available in the beta include Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, and Search & Destroy. Control, a new objective-based mode that has teams alternating between attacking and defending two static objectives will also be available.
Arguably the most exciting addition to this year's Call of Duty, however, is the Blackout mode, which is the series' take on the Battle Royale genre. Blackout won't be playable during the multiplayer beta, but Activision has said it plans to host a separate beta for it in September
Square Enix has announced that its side of the Final Fantasy XIV x Monster Hunter: World crossover collaboration will be going live this August, bringing the fearsome Ratthalos to the land of Eorzea. Revealed during E3, the Warriors of Light challenge, 'the King of the Skies', will see you encountering the legendary Monster Hunter beastie.
Arriving as part of the Patch 4.36 update, alongside the next instalment of The Forbidden Land Eureka (The Pagos Expedition), level 70 players who's finsihed the Stormblood main scenario quest will be able to tackle the Rathalos in Normal and Extreme versions of 'The Great Hunt' Trial. Eight players will be able to band together and go up against the Rathalos in the Normal version, while the Extreme version will pit four players against the beast.
Play through the Monster Hunter: World crossover content and you can also unlock the new Rathalos-inspired armour set, new Poogie and Palico minions, the Rathalos as a new mount, and a new BBQ Spot furnishing item.
The upcoming Patch 4.4 for Final Fantasy XIV will also be adding new main scenario quests, new sidequests (The Four Lords and Even Further Hildibrand Adventures), new dungeons (The Burn and a hard version of Saint Mocianne's Arboretum), a new Trial (Suzaku), and a new Raid (Omega: Alphascape), as well as updates to jobs, PvP, Battle System, Eureka, Gathering and Crafting, Grand Companies, Housing, The Gold Saucer and other stuff.
In a rather open interview with Italian site Multiplayer -- as translated by Kingdom Hearts Insider -- Square Enix game director and artist Tetsuya Nomura admits that both Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts III were announced "too early".
"I am well aware of the fact that we announced it too early, but even in the industry, word was beginning to spread that we were working on the game, so we just decided not to keep it more secret and officially reveal it," explains Nomura. In other words, the company wanted to make its projects official before they were leaked.
We suppose that's fair, but at the same time, the tactic has undoubtedly had a negative impact of its own. "In our case, we receive pressure from the fans even when we do not announce anything. They’re always asking us ‘are you working on this?’ or ‘why don’t you make a sequel for that?" Nomura says, alluding to the near constant requests from fans to see something -- anything -- of titles like Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Again, we can see where Nomura is coming from, but ultimately, we feel like you can't just reveal something as huge as a remake of Final Fantasy VII and then let the whole thing go dark for two or three years. What do you expect eager fans to do, exactly? People on the internet barely have any patience to begin with.
So what do you make of this? Does Nomura have a point, or has Square Enix simply dropped the ball? Feed us some honest opinions in the comments section below.