Ben's Week In Review: October 26
November is almost upon us and it's chock full of goodies...
Firmware update 2.00 enables the "virtual couch"
As cool as this new Share Play feature is, I couldn't help feeling a little saddened when I read the "virtual couch" description. There was a time when more than one person would sit on a real couch and play games together.
PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.00 will deliver a bunch of new options, and one of them is Share Play, which basically lets you turn control of a game over to a remote player. You can check out the brief tutorial if you're confused. It really is a great feature, and one I might actually use from time to time. However, I can also view it as just another way to keep everyone at arm's length in an increasingly digitally-oriented planet. One can argue that it brings people together, especially when they're far apart, but that's not the correct interpretation from a psychological standpoint. We simply have more options to avoid normal, healthy interaction.
It's still a nifty little feature, though, and the PS4 will definitely benefit from update 2.00 this week.
The biggest improvement next-gen hardware can provide? Maybe atmosphere
Ubisoft says it would've been "impossible" to put Assassin's Creed Unity on the older consoles. And why? Well, they specifically mentioned the crowd, in that it has become an actual gameplay element, as opposed to a background prop.
Honestly, this is where I think next-gen machines will shine: They're still not powerful enough for us to talk about photorealism and in truth, I don't think this generation was that big of a leap compared to the last one. However, the improvements the better hardware will offer will center on ambiance and atmosphere. Everything will be that much more believable and authentic; the details will be that much more refined. Even if it's only a small step, it's still significant. I think this will be very noticeable in a game like Unity, which is said to offer an "unparalleled scope."
Personal gaming update
I'm just psyched for Unity, Grand Theft Auto V on PS4, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. I'm less stoked for the shooters - Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Far Cry 4 - but I have high hopes for both. Until these arrive, I'll still be playing Diablo III, with my maxed Lv. 70 Crusader and 30 Paragon levels. I'm going through some Nephalem Rifts on Expert now and doing a bunch of bounties. It lets me progress much faster; just doing the campaign was getting boring, and it wasn't yielding much in the way of new equipment.
10/25/2014 Ben Dutka