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State of Play – November

Greatness Awaits on PlayStation 4

With almost 100 million consoles sold, all the biggest gaming franchises, a catalogue of killer exclusives and the futuristic experience that is VR, Sony’s PlayStation 4 is a gamer’s paradise. Each month we catch up on the latest and greatest PS4 news and announcements.

Big This Month

Death Stranding

Few games have been more shrouded in mystery than Death Stranding. But what else should we expect from the eccentric genius of Hideo Kojima? This is the brain behind the Metal Gear series, known for its immersive gameplay, bizarre narratives and even stranger characters. Death Stranding is his newest creation and it takes the iconic Kojima style to the next level.

To answer your first question; yes, that is Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead fame in those screenshots. Only it’s not really. He plays protagonist Sam Bridges and – alongside a number of other well-known actors such as Mads Mikkelsen – has been so brilliantly motion-captured you’d swear you were watching a movie. Lengthy cutscenes flood the game, with quality performances and excellent dialogue helping to sell the story in a way well most games simply can’t match.

That story is centred around human connection. Unfolding in the USA, civilisation has broken down into walled-off societies distanced by Badlands controlled by renegades and strange beasts. It’s your mission to help reconnect these cities – using the titular strands – and to re-establish a sense of society.

This doesn’t just play out behind the scenes. The game you’re playing is connected to the games being played by other people all over the world. While you don’t interact with others in an MMO style, the actions of other players impact your world. For example, you can leave a package of items you don’t need that will populate in someone else’s game. Or you can leave a motorbike in a handy place, or a ladder. Such actions can be liked by your fellow players, which acts to further connect the millions of worlds out there.

The gameplay is, well, hard to explain; this is a Kojima game. It involves exploration and survival through large open-world areas. You’ll need to manage your inventory on an unprecedented level, as elements breakdown, sometime beyond repair. Everything you choose to carry with you impacts your weight, too, and how you move. Even packing your bag without an even weight distribution will make you lopsided. At least unlocking hoverboards, bikes and other equipment can ease the burden.

This is just the start of the eccentricities in this game. It’s unique, there’s no doubt. Did we mention you’re carrying a baby that you need to rock to sleep with motion-controls, sing to and otherwise placate? Were serious! And we can’t even describe what happens when you die.

There’s more traditional fun to be had, of course. Such as combat that plays out from the third-person in a way MGS fans will feel at home with. And the game is visually stunning, showing off the true power of the PS4. But bottom line; you’re just going to have to jump in and experience this weird world for yourself.

What’s the Word?

Sporadically through the year, Sony hosts State of Play digital conferences. They’re similar to the big E3 conferences, but are streamed online, dumping a tonne of news and content on eager gamers. One such event just unfolded; here is everything you need to know.

  • The highly anticipated sequel The Last of Us Part II from legendary developer Naughty Dog finally scored a release date. The big day is February 21, 2020. In the works for five years, this is the developer’s biggest (and longest) game yet. We’ll give you a more thorough rundown next month.
  • Those of you with a PS Plus subscription – which should be all of you – can grease the wheels for the big release with The Last of Us Remastered. Alongside MLB The Show 19, it’s the free PS Plus game for October.
  • Newly skinned versions of the PS4 Pro and DualShock controller themed to Death Stranding will land alongside the game on November 8.
  • The king of empire-building strategy games is coming to the PS4. We can happily confirm that the great Civilization VI lands on PS4 on November 22, bringing with it optimised console controls two big expansion packs.
  • Always happy to experiment in new genres, Sony is backing the next PS4/PSVR game from Tetris Effect developer Enhance. Called Humanity, it’s described as a humanity simulator. The idea is to show what people would look like from the perspective of aliens examining human group behaviour. Weird! Details on gameplay are slim, but it looks a bit like Lemmings meets Total War.
  • Also announced was Arise: A Simple Story, which is a “gaming as art” indie venture that takes you on a journey through someone’s afterlife. Bright, colourful, atmospheric and emotional, Arise is looking enthralling.
  • If you’re looking for some multiplayer VR action, something cool is on the way from the creators of Arizona Sunshine. It’s called After the Fall, and it’s a fast-paced, co-op shooter where you need to survive against undead creatures in a frozen, post-apocalyptic L.A. wasteland.
  • Finally, VR fans also got word about a first-person, gladiatorial brawler called Gorn. It’s looks deliberately over-the-top and brutal fun.

For the full article grab the November 2019 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.

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