PS5 File Sizes Revealed for Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls

Sony has revealed the first estimated file sizes for PlayStation 5’s Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls, and they could take up to 20% of your PS5’s SSD.

These file sizes were revealed on the PlayStation Direct website where you can buy PlayStation consoles, games, and accessories right from Sony.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Launch Edition will require at least 50 GB, while the Ultimate Launch Edition will need at least 105 GB of space as it also includes a remastered version of 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man.

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Demon’s Souls, which is a remake of the 2009 PlayStation 3 game, will need 66 GB of space.

If you were to purchase both Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Launch Edition and Demon’s Souls digitally, you will need 171 GB of storage.

This is important to know, especially for those who wish to go all digital with the PS5 Digital Edition. These launch consoles have 825 GB, so these games, assuming the sizes don’t change, will take up 20% of the SSD by themselves.

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Sony’s first party games Astro’s Playroom, Destruction All Stars, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure will also be available at PS5’s launch, and that doesn’t even include other third-party titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion, and Destiny 2: Beyond Light.

Oh, and a backwards compatible Cyberpunk 2077 and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be out within the first week of PS5’s launch, and we already know how high Call of Duty’s file sizes can get.

PlayStation 5 will be released on November 12, 2020, and if you are still looking to get a preorder, make sure to check out our PS5 preorder guide and follow IGNDeals on Twitter to get up-to-the-minute updates on when they go live again. Luckily, Sony did mention more would be on the way in the next few days and through the end of the year.

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Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

Daily Deals: Preorder Oculus Quest 2, Akira 4K & Save Big on Beats Pro Headphones

Welcome to our weekend deals! Kicking things off this weekend is the latest Mario game, 3D All Stars, which is a joy to play. There’s also a huge sale happening at GameStop, if you’re in the mood for something else. Akira is getting a 4K edition in a couple months, and the preorder for that just went live as well and while we’re talking about preorders, why not check out the Oculus Quest 2, which will be releasing very soon!

Deals for September 18

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More Video Game Deals

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Twitch Removes Automatic Mid-Roll Ads, For Now

Before this week, Twitch viewers would typically only see a video advertisement when first clicking on someone’s stream, making sure they didn’t miss a moment of the action. That changed a few days ago when Twitch implemented compulsory mid-roll ads, removing creators’ ability to choose when they were shown. There was a huge outcry about the ads and, at least for now, Twitch has removed them from the service.

Several streamers complained about the change, emphasizing that the amount of content they’d be losing was not worth the extra revenue they’d be getting from having the mid-roll play during their gameplay sessions. Especially if multiple people are playing the same popular game, it could be the difference between a viewer staying on a channel or checking out someone else’s gameplay.

The official Twitch Support Twitter account clarified that it had finished its advertising test this week and that viewers would no longer see mid-roll. It also said it was taking users’ feedback into account regarding these changes, but it also stopped short of promising to not re-implement mid-roll in the future. With competitive games like League of Legends, Street Fighter, and Fortnite drawing big numbers on Twitch, this would have the potential to interrupt matches during their biggest moments. It’s like if the NFL cut to a commercial during a goal line stand.

Twitch does have some big talent returning that it can tout, however. Ninja recently signed a new exclusive agreement with Twitch after a year on Microsoft’s now-defunct Mixer. He’s joined by Shroud, who also signed a new agreement.

The Best And Worst Uses Of PlayStation 4 Hardware

The eight generation of home consoles was a strange time for video games. There were a lot of big ideas at play at Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, as each tried to capitalize on a number of developing and receding trends. All three platform holders were trying to set themselves apart, keep up with one another, and determine what might be the next piece of technology that took off among gamers the way motion control had for the Wii. It was a time that led to a lot of gimmicks and ideas that slowly fizzled over the life of the consoles–and others that appeared midway to become pretty successful.

Ahead of the PlayStation 5 and the next generation of game consoles, we’re looking back at some of the best and worst tech ideas of the Playstation 4–from the capabilities of the DualShock 4 controller, to the advent of PlayStation VR. Over the years, there have been some things that worked, plenty that didn’t, and many that were either abandoned or iterated upon.

Sharing And Streaming Become Quick And Easy

If there’s one idea that made sense from the start with the PS4, it’s the console’s simple, easy-to-use sharing controls. Using the DualShock 4 controller’s dedicated Share button, you can snap screenshots while playing, make a recording of whatever just happened in-game, start or stop a recording, and stream to services such as Twitch pretty much instantly. Sony recognized how big a deal streaming games had become in the PS3 era, and included robust, extremely useful content-sharing capabilities for the PS4 in response.

The PS4’s Share options made streaming easy for a lot of players who might not have considered it before, and while the quality was a little hinky at launch (I remember my Twitch test streams looking pretty awful in 2013), it still helped open up the streaming space to a lot of people. It also made it easier for the gaming community to create memes, show off big plays, share them on Twitter, and otherwise be more social with one another. The Share features on the PS4 did a lot of work expanding the world of gaming and making it a more social and vibrant place–just like online gaming had done in the generation before.

The Motion Controls That Always Feel Weird

The DualShock 4’s controller has a lot of weird little gimmicks that have gotten various degrees of use over the system’s life. A holdover from the PlayStation 3 is Sixaxis, a motion control gyroscope inside the controller that would allow players to move, twist, or rock it to perform certain functions. For the PS3, Sixaxis felt like a motion control gimmick Sony threw in so that it could chase the popularity of the Nintendo Wii (the PS Move peripheral was an even clearer attempt at motion control games, of course); in the PS4, the functionality never really found a home.

A few games found ways to work in a bit of motion control into their designs, but there are few uses for Sixaxis in the vast majority of titles. Recently, both The Last of Us Part 2 and Death Stranding made use of your ability to control the game by moving the entire controller, but pretty minimally. In The Last of Us 2, you can shake the controller to recharge your flashlight’s batteries. The game even has more options for gyro controls in its menus, if you want them. In Death Stranding, you could move your controller in order to sooth your BB when it gets upset, mimicking the sense of cradling and rocking the baby.

But if you’re having trouble thinking of other notable motion-sensing moments in PS4 gaming, that’s because there aren’t that many of them. A lot of the time when they do come up, the Sixaxis controls just don’t feel responsive enough, especially when they require you to turn the controller or execute anything like a complex motion. It just never felt good to use, which is probably why very few games actually employ the option. And of course, the Xbox One doesn’t have comparable tech in its controllers–so for the most part, any game that’s not PS4-exclusive skipped the option to utilize Sixaxis.

Maybe the best use of motion control as it stands now is for aiming, although it doesn’t come up very often as a function. You see this capability in Dreams, which allows you to move the controller around to guide your Imp cursor on the screen. It’s pretty intuitive and fluid, which shows how useful Sixaxis could have been with the right ideas behind it. You can also use motion control for text input menus, which makes entering passwords when signing into things like the PlayStation store or streaming services super quick and easy. Too bad we didn’t find more opportunities for motion control aiming in PS4 games.

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Adding Swipe Controls With The Dualshock Touchpad

Motion controls were one gimmick in the Dualshock 4 that never really took off; another was the touchpad. The big trend throughout the tech world during the PS4 generation was the rise of smartphones and touch technology, and the touchpad felt like Sony’s attempt to try to bottle some of that lightning for the PS4. (The Vita had much the same vibe, pulling a bunch of smartphone technology into a dedicated gaming device.) The big black rectangle in the center of your PS4 controller actually supports touch controls like gestures and swipes, but you wouldn’t know it in the case of most games. Though a few launch titles used the touchpad for various gestures, in the end, it mostly became a giant button in the middle of your controller.

Launch games tended to go with touch controls using the touchpad–Killzone: Shadowfall supported various gestures to do things like throw grenades, for instance–but the idea never saw widespread adoption. As with motion controls, you can probably chalk some of that up to cross-platform gaming, but it’s also true that the touchpad rarely felt especially responsive. Unlike pressing a solid button, it was easy to try to execute one specific movement and accidentally activating another. That made gestures get more and more simplified, so that controls rarely seemed to go past things like a vertical or horizontal swipe. When they’re straightforward, they’re pretty effective–Ghost of Tsushima uses the touchpad for a few simple swipe functions, taking advantage to add a few extra controls that otherwise wouldn’t fit on the controller’s button layout.

More often than not, though, the touchpad gets used for its button-press capability; it basically functions as one big extra button, usually to pull up a map or pause menu. As a button, the touchpad is pretty damn useful, and easy to reach with either thumb thanks to its enormous size. But it feels like a largely unrealized idea, and a big chunk of controller real estate that could have been used in other, more interesting ways. The touchpad is back with the DualSense controller, though, so one wonders if Sony is hoping to help developers find more use for the technology in the future.

Your Controller Is Now A Light Show

Apart from the big black space of the touchpad, the most unique thing about the DualShock 4 controller is the giant light on its back side. It’s hard to say whether this one is a good idea on Sony’s part or a bad one, because it has so little major impact on gameplay–and yet adds some cool touches.

Essentially, the light brightens, changes colors, and reacts to what you’re doing in some games. The lights are at their most useful in multiplayer games, because the colors correspond to which player number each controller represents–so you can easily see which controller belongs to what player if you set them down. The light is also used to convey some gameplay information in certain titles. In Destiny 2, for example, the light changes to yellow when your Super is fully charged. But that’s usually just a way for you to pick up peripherally what you’re already seeing on screen, like in Grand Theft Auto 5, when the controller flashes red and blue as you’re being chased by the cops.

Where the light excels is in helping create ambiance and add to the feeling of immersion in the game by reacting without being important. The Super light and cop flashers are two good examples, and color changes that react to the time of day (like in Fez) or beep along with the motion tracker (as in Alien: Isolation) are nice for making PS4 games feel like they’re not just happening on your screen.

The trouble with the light is that you can’t turn it off. Sony eventually released a firmware patch that let you turn down the light’s intensity, but it’s always on–and anecdotally, it feels like a battery hog, snarfing up your controller’s charge faster than it ought to. With the light adding little to gameplay experiences, one wonders why you can’t just turn it off. It seemed as though the light was intended for additional PS Camera integration, making it easier for the camera to see in the same way lights on the PS Move controllers do, but there was never a lot going on there. So in most cases, the DualShock controller light is just a minor annoyance or a fun novelty, and oftentimes, it’s both.

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The Vita: Your Second Screen Controller

The PlayStation Vita has slowly faded into obscurity over the course of the last generation, which is a shame–it was a neat, smart little machine, and worthy of praise if only because of its ability to download and play Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story, and bygone games of PlayStations past. But at the launch of the PlayStation 4, the Vita was a bigger part of Sony’s overall strategy. If you never owned one of the handhelds or you haven’t touched it in a while, you might have forgotten just how much of a companion it was to the PS4.

Before Sony started to phase the Vita out, it played with the idea of integrating the machine as a second-screen option and a spiffed-up controller. The idea wasn’t too different from the way Nintendo’s Wii U gamepad worked: with the Vita’s extra screen and touch capabilities, you could display additional information or provide different input capabilities.

It’s tough to find a list of games that support the Vita’s second-screen capabilities, but the ones that did often provided some useful, if a bit pedestrian, additions to the experience. In Wolfenstein: The New Order, the Vita displays the level map and your health. You can also use the Vita for a handy map in Metal Gear Solid V. The second screen usually seems to be the place for menu information you’d normally have to stop playing to access–but you get the occasional demonstration of what the tech could have been used to do. Tearaway Unfolded, a game ported to the PS4 from the Vita, makes use of the second screen and Vita touch controls to expand the experience (which actually makes it a lot more similar to the Vita version).

While the idea of two screens to play one game seems like it could have engendered a lot of potentially cool ideas from developers, it never really took off–likely because of the cost required for consumers to access the feature.

Playing PS4–On Everything Else

Another of the Vita’s PS4-aligned capabilities was its Remote Play option. The little device can sync up with your PS4 over WiFi, allowing you to play any PS4 games on the handheld via streaming. It’s the same sort of tech at play with PlayStation Now, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming, or Google Stadia: the game is running on the PS4 but the output and input data are sent over a WiFi connection to your handheld.

Remote Play is actually a long-running idea in the PlayStation ecosystem. The Vita’s predecessor, the PlayStation Portable, carried the feature with the PlayStation 3.. Though the Vita never caught on, Sony has continued to expand Remote Play to bring your PS4 to lots of other devices. There are now mobile apps that let you link to your console and play games either with connected controllers or with on-screen touch controls. You can also download Remote Play apps to your PC or Mac to play your PS4 on your computer.

As tech abilities with the PS4 go, Remote Play is pretty damn handy, and reliably stable. The only requirement is a strong internet connection, and it’s nice to fire up Spelunky or Marvel’s Spider-Man and continue playing on another device, even if you’re not sitting in front of your TV. There has been more than one occasion that I fired up a Vita or smartphone from across the country to update my PS4 at home, download new games, and give them a whirl.

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Companion Apps (Kind Of) Expanded Casual Gaming

As smartphones became a ubiquitous part of the social landscape, they inevitably started to pop up in video games. There was a while there that lots of big new games had companion apps to go with them, and several games touted possibilities that never really came to fruition. By way of example, The Division was originally set to have a companion app that would allow you to interact with players on console, piloting a drone around to aid in their game–or mess them up. It never made it to release, though. Other companion apps did the second-screen thing of allowing you to see a map while you played or gave you other menu-type functionality. For instance, Fallout 4’s companion app allowed you to access your PipBoy without opening the in-game menu.

Sony’s companion app plans went a little farther, and they’re actually pretty cool, if a little underused. The system is called PlayLink, and the app lets you control various games that use it over WiFi. The idea here is to basically let you use your phone as a controller for multiplayer games on the more casual end of the spectrum, where you don’t need a lot of precision. It’s a great idea for party games in particular, or games that can feel party-like. Maybe the most interesting implementation was in Hidden Agenda, a game from Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games. In a similar way to Until Dawn, Hidden Agenda feels like an interactive movie, and the controls focus on scouring crime scenes for clues and voting on choices that access branching story paths as the protagonists hunt a serial killer. There’s also the ability to make some players of the game double-agents working on behalf of the bad guys–hence the Hidden Agenda name.

A few other games have cropped up here and there with smartphone controls, including Erica, an FMV game with branching choices similar to Hidden Agenda. The smartphone control idea seems like a pretty great one for casual games–the Jackbox titles use this option to great effect–but PlayLink has a pretty slim library of supported titles. It’s a shame, because the smartphone app idea works to make games very accessible for people who don’t necessarily play a lot of games, so hopefully this is an idea that finds more traction in the future.

The PlayStation Camera Returns For Some Reason

Like the DualShock’s Sixaxis controls, the PlayStation Camera felt like a holdover from the PS3 era. After the Nintendo Wii became a breakout hit with its motion controls, Sony and Microsoft looked to create contenders. Microsoft developed the Kinect, a powerful camera that ditched the need for controllers by just mapping your movements onto the screen. And Sony released the PlayStation Move, which used the combination of a camera and special motion controllers for more precise tracking than the Wii. When the PS4 released, Sony created a better version of the camera, but initially, it didn’t really have a lot of clear uses for games.

Partially, the PlayStation Camera felt like the continuation of the console maker keeping up with the motion control trend even as it was dwindling. But the real upshot of the camera at launch was to interact with the PS4’s built-in sharing and streaming capabilities. Where most streamers at the time had to build custom broadcasting setups on their PCs, Sony’s version worked as an entry level streaming kit. The Kinect offered the same functionality on the Xbox One and was required with that console at launch, so the PlayStation Camera also helped Sony keep parity with its competitor.

But the camera didn’t have a ton of gameplay uses. Like the Kinect, it included a built-in microphone that was usable for games that supported voice controls in games and for the PS4’s menus. And it worked for games like The Playroom, EyeToy: Play, and Just Dance. But even though both Sony and Microsoft had consoles with cameras that sported a lot of the same features, not a lot of developers made a ton of use out of them.

It wasn’t until 2016 that the true potential of the PlayStation Camera became apparent, though.

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PlayStation VR Becomes The Affordable Version of Virtual Reality

As Oculus Rift created a big resurgence in interest in virtual reality, Sony jumped on the trend with PlayStation VR, and offered a version of the tech that was actually pretty laudable. PSVR was affordable in comparison to the offerings of Oculus and HTC, and while it wasn’t as powerful or high-res a headset, that lowered the barrier of entry on VR significantly.

Sony also made the smart move of utilizing existing peripherals with PSVR. You can play a lot of games with just a headset and a DualShock controller, but if you want the more immersive, motion-tracking experiences, you can get those too with the PlayStation Camera. Suddenly, a peripheral that didn’t seem to have much application if you weren’t a streamer or a dance game fan got a second life. PSVR also makes use of PS Move controllers, which are still compatible with PS4 from the PS3 era. So if you happened to be a motion control fan or an early adopter, you didn’t have to buy a bunch of new peripherals to access VR.

It’s true that Sony’s VR tech doesn’t look quite as good in motion as higher-end headsets from Oculus or HTC, but PSVR is still very impressive. Its controls are solid and responsive in all games, and the inclusion of the headset in Sony’s stable of peripherals has led to some games including VR support–like Resident Evil VII, which is terrifying in VR. Sony has a slate of VR exclusives at this point that’s pretty solid, and for a long time, Sony offered the most convenient and affordable doorway into VR for most players. Oculus is starting to cut in on that space with its Quest headset line, so it’ll be interesting to see how Sony stays competitive. But while VR remains a niche space in gaming as we go into the next console generation, a lot of the success it has enjoyed is thanks to Sony and PSVR, and that makes the headset probably Sony’s best tech idea of the generation.

Now Playing: Has PlayStation Done Enough? | Generation Next

New PS5 Images Show Size, How Stand Will Attach

The PlayStation 5 is set to be an absolute behemoth, and though it isn’t as wide as the Xbox Series X, the PS5 is quite a bit taller than Microsoft’s system. Taiwan’s National Communications Commission has published several images showing the console next to rulers so you can see just how much space it’s going to take up on your shelf, assuming you managed to order one. Spoiler: It’s a lot.

PS5 (Source: NCC)
PS5 (Source: NCC)
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The PS5 is just under 19 inches tall, and it’s about one foot wide. It’s certainly not going to take up the same space as a computer tower, but it could be too large for certain living room setups.

The images show far more than just the size, however, as we also see how the system’s stand attaches to the console horizontally. It has a few hooks on one side that will latch onto the console, ensuring it doesn’t slip, and there is also a lip that it will sit up against on the stand. A USB-C to USB-A cable included in the package is fairly standard, and the power cable looks identical to the one used on the PS4 now.

Using these measurements, you’ll have an idea about how to rearrange your entertainment center before the PS5 arrives on November 12. If you need that same planning stage for the Xbox Series X, Microsoft has actually provided papercraft blueprints so you can make a fake Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S and test out where it should go. That console releases on November 10 and preorders begin September 22.

Now Playing: Has PlayStation Done Enough? | Generation Next

Will PS5 Support PlayStation Now?

The PS5 is just a few months away from release, but there are still some big question marks surrounding the console. Among them is the cost of games from certain third-party publishers as well as subscription services–including PlayStation Now. Sony’s streaming service has been around for years on PS4 and a selection of other devices, but will PS Now be on PS5, and will this allow you to keep playing your favorite classic PlayStation games on the new console?

Will PlayStation 5 Support PlayStation Now?

Sony is being much less forthcoming about its plans for the PS5 than Microsoft is with the Xbox Series X. We know Microsoft wants to put xCloud on as many devices as possible, even bundling it into a Game Pass Ultimate subscription and integrating Xbox Series X hardware into data centers for increased performance. Sony, on the other hand, has not mentioned PlayStation Now at all in its PS5 marketing thus far. The service has been around for years and has never attracted the same buzz as xCloud or even Google Stadia, but it would seemingly even the streaming playing field a bit if the PS5 supported it.

How Does PlayStation Now Work Today?

PlayStation Now currently costs $10 per month or $60 per year and gives you access to hundreds of games for streaming across both PS4 and PC. New games are added each month, and while the majority of them are only available via streaming, there are actually about 300 that can be downloaded for local play. In this way, it’s actually similar to Xbox Game Pass as well as xCloud.

If you don’t have a PS4 and still want to play the system’s exclusives, that’s where PlayStation Now really shows its benefits. Bloodborne, The Last of Us: Remastered, and Gravity Rush 2 are among the available games. However, brand-new first-party games aren’t added to the service, so you still have to buy these the old-fashioned way, in contrast to Xbox Game Pass.

What If PlayStation Now Doesn’t Come To PS5?

If PlayStation Now isn’t available on PS5, a collection of the biggest PS4 games will still be playable for free if you have a PlayStation Plus membership. Called the PlayStation Plus Collection and available on launch day, the games include Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, Detroit: Become Human, and Ratchet & Clank, among many others.

Now Playing: PS Plus Collection Trailer | PS5 Showcase

Massive Marvel’s Avengers Update Patches Literally A Thousand Issues

Marvel’s Avengers has had a tough launch. The game has endeared itself to players with a strong story and a pretty fun post-campaign live game component–even though the two parts didn’t really feel in sync–but it’s been plagued with bugs since its release. With a new update, developer Crystal Dynamics is hoping to clear out the infestation, claiming to address more than 1,000 issues.

As Crystal Dynamics notes on the Avengers website, Update 1.3.0 is the first big patch since Avengers’ launch, built in response to bug reports it has received from players on Reddit and elsewhere. The focus is mostly on bugs at this point, with quality-of-life changes coming down the line in later updates. For the time being, though, there are a lot of bugs to patch, ranging from weird graphical issues to major problems.

Avengers’ biggest trouble up to now has been instability resulting in crashes. During my time reviewing the game on PC, I found crashing to be a major issue in the days after the game’s full launch. PC players in particular have been complaining about that issue, but it’s affected the console versions of the game as well. Crystal Dynamics mentions dealing with PC crashes in Update 1.3.0’s notes; Nvidia also has released new graphics card drivers that should hopefully help the issue.

Check out the full patch notes for Update 1.3.0 below.

REASSEMBLE CAMPAIGN & AVENGERS INITIATIVE

  • Fixed an issue where A-Day would not progress if the player started the campaign from the War Table after selecting Avengers Initiative first.
  • Fixed infinite loads when reloading the game during “The Light that Failed” and “To Stand Alone”.
  • Resolved bad save states for an infrequent bug where players are unable to progress with the campaign due to an infinite loading screen.
  • Fixed an issue where a strongbox in “House Call” was sometimes not usable.
  • Fixed an occasional bug with the bridge in the mission “House Call” that prevented progress. This should also fix bad save states.
  • Fixed an issue where Pause and Character menus were blocked during “Testing… 1, 2, 3”.
  • Fixed an issue where you would be teleported out of world when attacking the boss between fight phases in “To Stand Alone”.
  • Fixed an issue where steps 1 and 2 of the “A Global Offensive” mission chain were not tracking properly.
  • Fixed an issue where combat would not progress when defeating both Assault Adaptoids at the same time in “By Force of Mind”.
  • Fixed a hole in geometry in “Dogs of War”.
  • Fixed an where players could fall out of bounds in “Along came a Spider”
  • Fixed an issue where players could get stuck inside geometry in “Rocket’s Red Glare” after enabling the teleport to space.
  • Fixed an issue where sometimes an enemy could be stuck behind a closed door during “Task at Hand”.
  • Fixed an issue in “Bad Blood” where the Final cinematic would sometimes not play audio.
  • Fixed an issue preventing “Interrogation Anxiety” from being completed. This should also fix bad save states.

MULTIPLAYER & MATCHMAKING

  • Reduction of cooldown after leaving a strike team before the user could matchmake again (from 30 second down to 4 seconds).
  • Matchmaking now stays enabled during mission launch countdown to give more time for players to join.
  • Fixed a bug where the “Searching for Heroes” UI would not always match the actual matchmaking status.
  • Fixed a bug where multiple host migrations would prevent the player from matching successfully again.
  • Fixed “Quick Match – Launch with any Hero” failing when two Quick Match players joined another match simultaneously.
  • Fixed losing Quick Match status when a player failed to join another match.
  • Fixed a bug where leaving an existing Strike Team would prevent the next Quick Match attempt from working properly.

ART & ANIMATION

  • A variety of minor graphical issue fixes including clipping and popping.
  • Fixed several areas where players could see out of world.
  • Fixed many minor graphical errors and transitions.
  • Fixed several ragdoll issues.
  • Fixed a visual issue where enemy shields would pop in.
  • Fixed Captain America character model bug in “Front Line” outfit.
  • Fixed an issue where Thor would appear in the “War Cry” outfit in the Main Menu before unlocking it.
  • Fixed an issue where Tony appeared in the incorrect Iron Man armor during the “Alone Against AIM” cinematic.
  • Fixed Faction NPCs having no facial animation and freezing upon interact.
  • Fixed Sprint Heavy Attack sticking to ground during certain combat scenarios.
  • Fixed an issue with Black Widow’s grapple that launched her off trajectory.
  • Fixed an issue where Iron Man would play the incorrect animation when doing laser Heavy Attack.
  • Fixed an issue with Monotronic Exo Takedowns in multiplayer where the animations would get out of sync.

USER INTERFACE

  • Fixed an issue that would cause damage numbers to appear on destroyed objects.
  • Fixed an issue with Faction prisoner rescue, in which cell destruction markers would sometimes show the wrong icon upon Reload Checkpoint.
  • Various Skill Menu videos updates for Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man.
  • Various localization and text fixes.
  • Approaching hackable terminals with a Hero that lacks that ability now displays a tutorial explaining why it cannot be accessed.
  • War Table icon now has different appearance when there is a new Mission available.
  • Reward icons for some Missions have been corrected to display the actual rewards.
  • “Cancel” label added to the push-pull piston UI when interact option is set to “tap”.
  • “Inhuman Sanctuary” mission chain thumbnail now better reflects being a Pym-centric activity.
  • “Inhuman Sanctuary” mission chain notification no longer appears in campaign if it has already been shown in the Avengers Initiative.
  • Talisman Artifacts now display correct thumbnail images.
  • Faction Rank reward tutorial on helicarrier no longer displays before the Faction Vendor is available.
  • Vault sequence tutorials now allow players to access the Character Menu while active.
  • Based on player feedback, players can now see progress when being revived.
  • Based on player feedback, we have implemented a 0-10 Motion Blur slider. When set at 0, Motion Blur is completely disabled.
  • Fixed issues of objectives not displaying after player death.
  • Fixed an issue where UI elements would show up during the introduction of Dropzones.

COMBAT

  • Fixed an issue where “Control Point” events would continue to spawn new enemies after completing the control requirement.
  • Fixed an issue in “Defend” events where the battle would sometimes stall until Heroes got closer to defenders by increasing participation radius.
  • Improved an issue where sometimes the “Secure the Area” portion of some Sabotage encounters would not register completion due to enemies becoming inaccessible or hidden during battle.
  • Fixed an issue where at higher difficulties, enemies would hack rescue cells silently, causing mysteriously inconsistent activation times.
  • Fixed an issue in a small number of encounters where some stronger enemy types would spawn too many at once.
  • Fixed an issue which could prevent lock-on from working when the Warbot is downed.
  • Fixed some navigation issues that would allow flying enemies to go out of world.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause Dreadbots to become unable to move.
  • Fixed an issue that would allow the final stage of the Warbot to be skipped.
  • Fixed multiple issues where some attacks were not able to damage the Warbot when it is downed.
  • Fixed an issue causing some enemies to spawn without proper portal FX.
  • Fixed an issue where rarely a hero could still be controlled after being defeated by Adaptoids.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause Kamala to unintentionally throw grabbed enemies at her feet.
  • Fixed an issue which would cause Kamala’s arm to stay stuck in front of her when doing in-air attacks.
  • Fixed an issue where Widow’s Bite could get shot out of the air by enemies.
  • Fixed an issue where Widow could not move on stairs while aiming the High-Caliber pistol.
  • Fixed an issue where player would get stuck when triggering Hulkbuster near other interactable items.
  • Fixed an issue where certain Hulkbuster moves cause double vision on another player’s machine.
  • Fixed an issue where Hulk could become stuck interacting with the world while holding an enemy.
  • Fixed an issue when in high framerates, Hulk’s Sprint Heavy Attack would fall short.
  • Fixed various issues with Captain America’s “Mirror Shield” skill.
  • Fixed an issue where Captain America’s shield could become stuck in Iron Man’s Energy Barrier.
  • Fixed an issue where Iron Man could become stuck when evading while flying low to the ground.
  • Fixed an issue where Ironman’s Unibeam Heroic ability could be used infinitely during his combat on the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Various Iron Man lock-on improvements.
  • Iron Man’s “Hyper Coils” skill now grants the intended 10 second duration increase.
  • Iron Man’s Laser Specialization reduces the intrinsic cost of aimed ranged attacks.
  • Invulnerability frames when entering Hulkbuster have been extended.
  • Improved enemy spawn positions in 2 encounter locations.
  • Minor tweak to turret activation in “The Inhuman Condition” AIM bunker.
  • Reduced difficulty for Embiggened Kamala to revive downed allies.
  • Reduced difficulty of “Secure the Asset” in the “Alone Against AIM” missions.
  • Reduced aggressiveness of turrets and enemy ranged attacks.
  • Adaptoid laser attack is easier to avoid.
  • Assault Adaptoid tuning, including:
    • Less aggressive in multiples.
    • Less aggressive when the fire shield is active.
    • Triggers a smaller hit reaction when Heroes are hit by the laser.
    • The laser attack is easier to avoid in combat situations.
    • Fireball visuals were updated to make them easier to see in combat.

GEAR, CHALLENGES, & REWARDS

  • Fixed an issue where the Fabrication Machine would occasionally not reward an outfit (or units if a duplicate pattern).
  • Fixed an issue where resources in a player’s inventory – including Units – would disappear if they reached a total of 32,000. We have capped all Units and Resources at 65,000 for storage and ensured they will not disappear moving forward. If you lost a large number of Units due to this bug, please contact Square Customer Service.
  • Resolved bad save states and returned missing campaign outfits to users from a bug that was reverting them to a locked state.
  • Increased Gear power cap for Threat Sectors, Drop Zones, and Hives to 130 to align with their max mission power.
  • Exotics gear now have higher attribute points. Power Level 130+ Exotic gear now always has better attributes than other rarities.
  • Gear that was erroneously being awarded at Power 1 and Uncommon rarity has been fixed in all activities.
  • Activity-specific Gear earned in Elite Heroic Hives is now awarded at correct power and rarity.
  • Gear with hero-specific perks can now be awarded at Epic, Legendary, and Exotic rarities with the correct number of perks; previously Legendary gear items of this type had too many hero-specific perks and Epics were not awarded at all.
  • Faction XP is awarded to the entire strike team when rescuing Inhumans in War Zones.
  • Hulk’s “Fractured” outfit now appears in the Appearance Menu when awarded through a Rare Pattern; will display item correctly in inventory of players who have already collected this outfit.
  • A Rare Pattern is now correctly awarded at the start of the ‘More Assembly Required’ mission.
  • Various Hero Challenges that were incorrectly tracking progress or not advancing under certain conditions have been fixed.
  • Based on your feedback, we are moving to a single global content refresh and challenge reset time and day. Starting with this V1.3.0 patch, challenges will reset every Thursday at 10:00 AM PT. As a token of our appreciation we will provide 22 challenge points per hero with the refresh to account for the shortened challenge period. These points will be available to claim until Thursday the 25th at 10:00 AM PT.

PLATFORM-SPECIFIC FIXES

Additional PlayStation Fixes:

  • Fixed bug where players would not join an existing lobby if ‘Quick Match – Launch with any Hero’ was selected while set to the same Hero as a player in the lobby
  • Optimized matchmaking filters to reduce matchmaking search times
  • Changed matchmaking algorithms to reduce server load and further improve matchmaking search times
  • Generally improved matchmaking invite functionality and bug fixes.

Additional Xbox Fixes:

  • Fixed bug where a lobby would become unjoinable if a host migration occurred during an active mission.
  • Fixed a bug where invites would not work if a player had the “Show as offline” privacy setting enabled.
  • Update from V1.2.5: We have confirmed that “New Girl Makes Good” will retroactively grant on Xbox if you had earned it prior to Patch V1.2.5. “Tentative Peace” will not retroactively grant. Both have been properly registering progress since V1.2.5.

Additional PC Fixes:

  • Various stability fixes based on collected crash reports.
  • Additional error messages for failure cases based on collected crash reports.
  • Various CPU performance improvements.
  • Reduce number of CPU cores used for Direct3D shader pipeline compilation.
  • Overall reduction to memory usage.
  • Added Backup Save menu in Settings -> Gameplay.
  • Fixed Kamala and Thor HARM tutorials when Defense Mode was set to Toggle.
  • A number of mouse/keyboard UI improvements.

Additional Stadia Fixes:

  • Added Backup Save menu in Settings -> Gameplay.
  • Added ability to erase all save-data in Settings -> Gameplay.
  • Improved performance for 30fps High-Resolution display mode.
  • Fixed Kamala and Thor HARM tutorials when Defense Mode was set to Toggle.
  • A number of mouse/keyboard UI improvements.

Now Playing: Marvel’s Avengers Video Review

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Sony And Microsoft Are Rethinking The Importance Of Launch Lineups

We’re about to enter what is likely the strangest transition to next-gen consoles we’ve ever seen. After months of fragmented online speculation in times of COVID-19, we finally have an idea of what to expect from the release of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S and their respective launch lineups. On the surface, the consoles have all the traditional trappings of new video game hardware–faster performance, more detailed graphics, and bigger, better games. Sony and Microsoft have maintained the forward-thinking approach that encapsulates the promise of next-gen. However, what is different about the upcoming launch of both consoles is that Sony and Microsoft are actively reframing the expectations for the new hardware’s launch window, for the better.

What strikes me as refreshing, and a lot less stressful, about this upcoming generation is that I know that we’ll have plenty of games to play due to continued access to my existing games from the current and past generations. Historically, new consoles have been something of a reboot for existing fans, while also being a fresh start for newcomers. Once we enter the next-gen, it’s essentially a new era with dedicated games, a new infrastructure, and an assortment of features and innovations that put each console several leaps ahead of its predecessors. This change is to be expected with new hardware, and because of this ensuing gap, I tend to keep my older consoles close in case I want to play some games that aren’t accessible on the new hardware.

This divide can often be the decider when looking forward to the consoles, and it’s especially noticeable in the early period of new hardware. Truth be told, when I first bought my PS4, I had some regrets about my purchase. In the months immediately following its launch, the only games I had sunk any time into were Infamous: Second Son and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. So far, based on the messaging from both Sony and Microsoft, the launch of the new hardware seems to be addressing this rut that can often come from adopting new hardware early. Instead of anticipating the usual angst and uneasiness of having a new console with not much to play at launch, I see myself more enthused about buying a new console earlier than I expected.

What we’ve seen with the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox consoles is that they’re putting a much larger stock in having players retain access to the past. With this current generation raising the importance of having a mostly digital library, and away from physical media, there’s a need to have players retain access to the games they’ve purchased. Of course, backwards compatibility isn’t a new thing. The original 60 GB PS3 offered full backwards compatibility with PS1 and PS2 discs, a feature which was then scaled back with newer models. The Nintendo Wii earned significant praise for offering ways to play the classic games from its past via GameCube backwards compatibility and its Virtual Console store. But what makes the upcoming era different is that more of an emphasis is placed on having legacy games being a part of your launch lineup for the next-gen.

Yakuza: Like A Dragon is one of Microsoft's key third-party exclusive for the launch of Xbox Series X/S.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon is one of Microsoft’s key third-party exclusive for the launch of Xbox Series X/S.

To have new hardware actively push the importance of having access to older or even the more recent games on day one can remove that feeling of emptiness when owning new hardware and feeling like what you really want is still a generation behind, or in the distant future. In an interview with the Washington Post, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan stated that “99 percent” of PlayStation 4 games will be playable on PS5. In contrast, the Xbox Series X continues on with its radical and more comprehensive approach of having access to different generations of Xbox games, and that reassures me about next-gen. It’s becoming something more akin to me trading up instead of feeling like an investment in a console that will eventually get a larger library of games.

If anything, the best comparison I can make is that it’s something of an Apple-style approach with its line of iPhones and iPads. Instead of feeling like I’m ditching years of games and experiences, I’m simply getting a better and more efficient way to play some of my older favorites. I’ve put many hours in Bloodborne and God of War, and there’s something very exciting about the idea of replaying them with PS5’s faster processor and solid-state-drive, which are expected to improve the experience of older games in some regards. With this being available at launch, it’ll make me feel less like I’m going to be caught in the middle of two generations, and more in that I’m going to have the latest hardware to continue playing games from both the existing library and the newest games.

In Microsoft’s case, the company is approaching the accessibility to games and your existing library in a few ways. For starters, it’s leveraging the highly successful Game Pass program, which in itself is something of a killer app for Xbox One and PC users. With the expanding curated list of games to play from its standalone subscription service, it’s not only a great way to revisit some old favorites, but also play games you missed over the years. Then you have the Smart Delivery feature, allowing you to play new games like Dirt 5, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and other major releases on both the Xbox One and Series X/S. While the Xbox Series X lacks some critical exclusives during its launch window, the breadth of games available on day one still presents an enticing way to upgrade. Also, it does a lot to offset the disappointment of Halo Infinite being pushed back to 2021.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is one of the PS5's centerpiece games, and it will also be available on PS4 at launch.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is one of the PS5’s centerpiece games, and it will also be available on PS4 at launch.

Sony’s approach is comparatively less comprehensive. However, it still features a vast library of games for players to gain access to. In addition to the previously mentioned backwards compatibility with a large majority of PS4 games, the company also recently unveiled its new PlayStation Plus Collection program. For PS5 owners with PS Plus, you can play a curated selection of games that include the previously mentioned God of War and Bloodborne, along with other titles like Batman: Arkham Knight, Persona 5, and Uncharted 4. Having many of the PS4’s key games available on PS5 as an added PS Plus perk is really cool, and it’ll be great to see where the service can go in the future. While Jim Ryan has stated that the PS5 won’t have backwards compatibility with PS3 and earlier consoles, there’s still great potential for the curated list of PlayStation Plus games to grow in unexpected ways.

It does feel like the PS5 will have to catch up to Microsoft’s library, but there are a solid lineup of games to play on PlayStation Plus collection, and what existing players will bring with them from their PS4 library. One cause for concern is how PS4 games will operate on PS5, which Sony has been mostly vague about. Buying a PS4 game and instantly getting the PS5 release seems to be more on a case-by-case basis, which is different from the more simplified Smart Delivery initiative. While it’s likely the PS5 will be compatible with PS4 Pro versions of current games, there hasn’t been more concrete info about what sort of enhancements will be available at this time. In contrast, Microsoft has stated that earlier Xbox games will receive enhancements for existing games on Game Pass, which has an extensive lineup of games from the 360 and Xbox One eras.

Bloodborne is a fan-favorite PS4 game, and it will be playable on PS5 via backwards compatibility.

Both the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 are sticking close to their past libraries, which is very exciting to see. This reframing of what a launch lineup should be is a great attitude to see from both Sony and Microsoft. Not only does it present more value for jumping into new hardware, but it also shows more respect for its existing player base who have heavily invested in their chosen platforms. We’re entering a strange, new generation, but I can’t help but feel like it’ll already be a more welcoming one.

For more on what’s to come with PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, be sure to check out our Generation Next hub, which focuses on all the latest news, features and videos focusing on the new era of gaming.

Now Playing: Has PlayStation Done Enough? | Generation Next

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Review – Wow, Cool Robot!

Despite what the box and blurbs might tell you, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim isn’t really a game about piloting giant robots. I mean, sure, you do fight off massive swarms of building-sized creatures hellbent on total destruction in an alternate-universe 1980s Japan at some points. But these seemingly model-kit-ready metal combat suits are just a plot device, a cog in the story. In actuality, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a character drama: a twisting, turning sci-fi epic jumping through time and dimensions as it follows the lives of its numerous teen protagonists. Missiles, Gatling guns, and armor-crushing metal fistcuffs are merely a side event to the everyday drama of highschoolers who find themselves unwilling pawns in a bigger game with the fate of the world at stake. And you know what? That’s great. Once the narrative of 13 Sentinels sinks its hooks into you, you want nothing more than to go along for the ride up until the very climax.

13 Sentinels is a unique, genre-mixing experiment. It takes elements of point-and-click adventure games, visual novels, real-time strategy games, and tower defense games, mixing them together to create an experience that’s quite unlike anything else out there. Things get rolling when young Japanese highschooler Juro Kurabe is called upon to fight a horde of alien invaders in 1985, only for the story to flash back to earlier that year, then over to young soldiers in 1945 wartime-era Japan, then to two schoolgirls witnessing a crisis in the year 2025. You immediately meet a huge cast of characters across different eras, learning that there is one constant: the existence of Sentinels, massive human-piloted robot weapons who exist to protect the world from otherworldly monsters.

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The game is split into three parts: a Remembrance mode where you uncover the story piece by piece, a Destruction mode where you use giant Sentinel mechs to protect the city from invasion, and an Analysis mode that collects all of the information and story scenes you have discovered through gameplay. Remembrance is presented as an episodic series where you explore and interact with various environments and characters to advance the plot. Destruction, in contrast, is an overhead-view strategy segment where you use the Sentinels to defend a critical underground access point from invading forces.

The narrative sequences of Remembrance take up the good majority of the game’s playtime. Each of the 13 main characters’ individual adventures occurs at a different time and place, but every story eventually intertwines, with some crucial events playing out through the perspectives of several cast members. Gameplay is fairly basic: You can walk around to talk to other characters, stand around to observe the environment, and examine particular objects in an area. Occasionally, key words will be added to a character’s “thought cloud,” which acts like an item inventory; you can ruminate on the topics via an inner monologue, bring up thought cloud topics to others, or utilize physical items. Progress happens when you hit on the right dialogue or action.

You only control one character at a time, but you can swap between characters’ stories as you see fit–though you may find yourself locked out of a character’s path until you have made significant progress in others’ storylines and the mech battles. The nonlinear, non-chronological storytelling presents you with many mysteries and questions which you must piece together to get a bigger picture of what is actually going on–and how to save everything from absolute ruin.

13 Sentinels does a great job telling an engaging story from several perspectives; not only does everything fit together, but the characters have distinct, well-defined backgrounds and personalities to avoid confusing the audience. Each of these 13 characters’ individual adventures is a treat to unravel as more and more important events, revelations, and romantic entanglements come to light.

There’s Juro, a nerd who loves obscure sci-fi B-movies and hanging out with his best friend after school. He shares a class with Iori, a somewhat clumsy girl who keeps falling asleep during school because terrifying dreams keep her up at night. Meanwhile, resident UFO and conspiracy nut Natsuno may have just found the secret of a time-travelling alien civilization in the girls’ locker room. She just met Keitaro, a guy who seems to have been spirited here from wartime Japan, and who also might have a thing for her. Shu is a spoiled kid with a thing for the school’s resident tough girl, Yuki, who is too busy investigating mysteries around school to care for his advances. But why is Ryoko bandaged up, constantly monitored, and gradually losing her sanity? And why is Megumi hearing a talking cat ordering her to attack her classmates?

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim captured on PS4
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim captured on PS4

That’s just a sampling of the many character mini-dramas you see throughout the game, as the ordinary lives of these kids get flipped upside down and a massive, reality-changing mystery unfolds. Ultimately, however, the story works because the individual character drama is so well done, with each character’s tale playing a key role in the bigger, overarching sci-fi plot.

It also helps that the story sequences in 13 Sentinels are fantastic to look at. Developer Vanillaware is known for its vibrant, colorful 2D artwork in games like Odin Sphere and Dragon’s Crown. While 13 Sentinels takes place primarily in a more “real-world” setting than those fantasy-based games, the beauty of Vanillaware’s 2D artwork is still on full display. The environments are filled with little details that really make them come alive, from the reveling drunken bench-squatters by the train station entrance to the crumbling, shaking foundations of ruined buildings in the apocalyptic futures barely standing among the husks of dead invaders. Character animation is also excellent, with many characters featuring fun little facial and body movement quirks that bring out elements of their personalities.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim captured on PS4

Perhaps the biggest problem with the story segments, however, is that they are notably more enjoyable than the real-time strategy portion, where the gigantic Sentinels are supposed to really shine. The Destruction portion of the game is a mix of quasi-RTS and tower-defense mechanics: You command up to six individual Sentinel units in a usually-timed battle to protect a defensive node from a lengthy enemy onslaught. Each unit has a specialized role (such as melee, support, flying, etc.) and offensive and defensive skills, which can be individually upgraded to your liking through “meta-chips” earned in battle and from completing story episodes. If you either wipe out all of the enemies or manage to hold the fort for a specific amount of time, you win.

These battles certainly have their moments. It’s immensely satisfying to plan out a strategy and watch it play out–or to decide to go HAM with your best weapon and watch a couple dozen enemy drones explode simultaneously in a flurry of fireworks (which are enough to make a standard PS4 model slow down). Eventually, however, the game stops introducing new and interesting threats, making these strategy bits feel less exciting as you progress. The gorgeous 2D visuals and animation are also replaced with a bland, blocky 3D map that isn’t anywhere near as pleasant to look at for long stretches of time. While there’s a good amount of inter-character bantering and key story revelations before and after these combat sequences, you can’t help but feel like they can often be a roadblock to enjoying the more interesting story parts of the game–especially since clearing certain enemy waves in Destruction is necessary to open parts of the story in Remembrance.

But ultimately, the biggest problem with 13 Sentinels is that a chunk of the game is merely good while the majority of it is outstanding. The stories of these kids and their giant robots absolutely consumed me during my playtime, and even now, I’m ruminating over certain plot points, events, and relationships, wondering if I should go back through the archives to see what I’ve missed. I don’t think I’ll forget my time in the 13 Sentinels world, and I doubt you will, either.

Spelunky 2 Review – Shoot For The Moon

In Spelunky 2, the turkey’s fate is in your hands.

You could hop on the bird’s back, making use of its double jump and Yoshi-like glide to flap your way through your run. For a solid payout, you could return it and the other birds scattered throughout a stage to the turkey farmer who oversees their pen. You could whip it unconscious, throw a bomb next to its body, and eat the resulting Thanksgiving platter for one heart–or you could do that last one in the farmer’s line of sight, prompting him to take up arms against you, “you monster.”

This is the mode that Spelunky 2 constantly operates in. There are always risk-reward choices to make, and death is nearly instantaneous if you choose poorly. Like its acclaimed predecessor, Spelunky 2 is the rare platformer that demands to be played as much like a tactics game as it does like a Mario game. As you learn (or relearn) how to survive, success requires a willingness to think three moves ahead. Some tiles are booby-trapped to shoot arrows as you leap through their line of sight. Some vases summon a relentless ghost when smashed. Some pottery hides snakes and tarantulas. Some spiders hang from the cavern ceilings, hoping you pass by unaware. You really shouldn’t even move from your initial spawn point without pausing for a moment to pore over every treacherous inch of the screen. That is, unless you spawn near a bat, which will swoop down at you–hope you’re quick with your whip.

This time around, you are Ana, the daughter of the first game’s cave-faring protagonist. You’ve arrived on the moon in search of your parents, who have disappeared while exploring its very un-moon-like caverns. As you head into the mines, Spelunky 2 resembles the opening level of the first game–at least at first. You have a whip, you have some bombs, and you have a rappelling rope you can toss into the ceiling to climb to otherwise inaccessible heights. And the creatures you encounter, like bats, snakes, and spiders, will be familiar, too. And it’s all set against a clay brown backdrop which suggests the interior of a surprisingly well-lit cavern.

But from there, the game quickly bushwacks its way into unfamiliar territory. There are robots that turn into bombs when you stomp a button on their heads; mechanical ladybugs that spray fire from their outstretched wings; relentless cavemen with boomerangs. Each level–which, per Spelunky tradition, is remixed each time you play via procedural generation–houses new enemies and new environmental hazards to learn to navigate. After the first biome, you’re presented with a choice–jungle or robot volcano?–and with either comes a whole host of new rules to learn. All of this is rendered in the same expressive cartoon style as its predecessor. It’s slightly crisper and clearer this time around, but it’s a tribute to the timelessness of Spelunky’s art style that Spelunky 2 isn’t more of a noticeable step up.

The controls match the art’s precision. Developer Mossmouth has added some quality-of-life tweaks–you now run by default and need to hold a button to slow down, instead of the other way around–but mostly, the team didn’t mess with a good thing. The highest praise I can heap on Spelunky 2 is that, in a game where you need to land jumps on tiny spits of land, leap above spike pits, and skirt pools of lava, I never felt like my death was the game’s fault. Some things take some getting used to, sure. But once you have the hang of things, Spelunky 2 offers near-perfect platforming.

It doesn’t feel as buoyant as some of its genre contemporaries. Instead, Spelunky 2 feels grounded. Your jump won’t take you very high, and your puny whip necessitates getting close to enemies. The game’s many traps, unpredictable procedurally generated world, and punishing fall damage mean that the longer you spend airborne, the less likely you are to make it back to the ground in one piece. Spelunky 2’s ever-present sense of danger encourages you to make careful, calculated decisions. But if you take the time to analyze the screen before choosing your next move, getting there is usually easy. I often thought deeply about where to go, but that was the hardest part.

Spelunky 2 captured on PS4
Spelunky 2 captured on PS4
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However, that doesn’t mean you won’t still die a lot. Mastering Spelunky 2 is a little like penning the Great American Novel; you might have the vocabulary, but that doesn’t mean you can put the words together well. Spelunky 2 offers a brief tutorial to get you in the swing of jumping, climbing and bomb-throwing. Those rock-solid basics are your sole lifeline as you begin your adventure. Conversely, learning each new enemy and trap is a baptism by fire. It can feel overwhelming at first. Wait, that thing can kill me? Oh, those blocks shoot spikes? Why does the invincible ghost keep showing up a minute into my run? Over time, though, as you gain your bearings, this feeling almost entirely dissipates. For each seemingly arbitrary death the game doles out, there is a lesson about a set-in-stone rule waiting to be learned. There are some exceptions–I was still occasionally frustrated by the Naked Mole Rat, which moves erratically through dirt tiles, and more than once I was insta-killed by a bear trap that was barely visible in some tall grass. But, on the whole, Spelunky 2 does a stellar job of displaying all the information you need to know at all times, once you know how to read it.

Spelunky 2 doesn’t mess with the original’s formula too much, but the changes it does make keep that formula fresh. New biomes, like the world filled with robots and lava, come with new challenges for experienced adventurers. As each world begins, you will be unsure which tiles you can stand on and how new enemies will behave. It’s extremely satisfying to master a space that once killed you instantaneously. You don’t unlock new weapons or level up; instead, as the cliche goes, knowledge is power. Thankfully, as you’re learning a new world, you can contribute to one helpful NPC’s quest to dig shortcut tunnels to the later stages, allowing you to leapfrog over the early game to the spots that are giving you trouble.

Spelunky 2 doesn’t mess with the original’s formula too much, but the changes it does make keep that formula fresh.

Mechanically, the most significant addition, as attested to by the turkey anecdote above, is the inclusion of mounts. These double-jumping creatures make it significantly easier to breeze through levels. They move quickly, and some can attack from a distance, offering a nice change of pace on the runs when you find one. But they’re also easy to accidentally kill (and, in the turkey’s case, there is incentive to purposely kill them for health). I was always extremely grateful to find a Rock Dog, a pink fire-breathing goat creature that can be spotted and tamed in the wild or purchased at a store. And I was likewise sad to see them go when hit by an arrow or burned up in lava. A major positive of their addition is that they can tank that damage for you, effectively granting another hit point and, in some cases, a second life.

Spelunky’s additional modes have returned. I had a good time messing around against bots in the frantic competitive fun of Arena. But the modes I see myself returning to are Online co-op and the Daily Challenge. At the moment, my Online experience has been consistently hampered by pretty significant lag. It’s a shame because rushing through Spelunky 2 with strangers is a terrific, zany time and a great way to experience the later levels before you’re skilled enough to reach them on your own. Mossmouth has already pushed out several updates since launch, so hopefully the lag improves over time. Meanwhile, Daily Challenges, which offer you one shot each day to complete a successful run of the game, continue to offer exciting tension. This challenge may entice me to keep returning to this game long after I finally claim victory in Adventure mode.

Spelunky 2 captured on PS4
Spelunky 2 captured on PS4

In fact, the most damning thing I have to say about Spelunky 2 is that it mostly feels like more Spelunky. The new mechanics, like mounts, and the new stage themes feel right at home. To me, Spelunky 2 seems familiar. Obviously, that isn’t a bad thing. The first Spelunky is a fantastic game, and Spelunky 2 improves on its formula. Making the best version of Spelunky possible is a worthy goal, but Spelunky 2 suffers a little from the lack of ambition beyond that. Despite the great time I’m having with this game, my excitement is tempered slightly by the nagging feeling that this is mostly just a better take on the original design, rather than an ambitious, entirely new thing.

At least, that seems to be the case right now. The original Spelunky’s proc-gen depths hid secrets that took time for its avid community to discover, so it’s possible that Spelunky 2 has secrets of its own that I have yet to find, and they could push the game in a different direction from its predecessor. Spelunky 2 is a successful evolution of what made the original Spelunky work; the tight controls, impressive use of procedural generation, expressive art style, and interesting stage themes are better than ever here. But the more notable changes in how we play and talk about this game will likely happen in the coming months as players discover the heart of the game in the deep, dark depths we aren’t yet even aware exist.

Now Playing: Spelunky 2 Video Review