Tag: square

The Sony PlayStation: A 2×12-Year Retrospective

Well, it's September 9th, 2019, which means its time for another 12/12 console anniversary. Yes, today makes 24 years since Sony's very first PlayStation console was first released in North America. Though Sega and Nintendo pretty much owned the home console landscape at the time they decided to enter the frey, a combination of smart business decisions and key partnerships, in addition to some pretty massive missteps by the competition helped Sony to quickly become the dominant force in the industry. A position they have continued to enjoy for the majority of their console-making career.

​Sony first began their foray into game consoles in the late 1980s when they entered into a partnership with Nintendo to create a CD-ROM add-on called the Play Station for the upcoming Super Nintendo console. The partnership was rocky though, particularly when Nintendo went behind their back to form another partnership with Sony's competitor Philips. At one point Sony even approached Sega with a proposal to a similar partnership to the one they had with Nintendo, but Sega, unfortunately, declined. Eventually, Sony decided to abandon the project altogether in favor of creating their very own gaming system for the next console generation. This, of course, is what would go on to become the PlayStation.

After settling on engineering the console to specialize in handling three-dimensional polygonal graphics, Sony then had to figure out how to get games made for its system. For this, they mainly relied on securing hundreds of deals for third-party games, both exclusive and multi-platform. In addition, they also acquired the British video game company Psygnosis which, along with creating the fantastic wipEout series for them (one particularly excellent entry of which appears on our list below), also had the unintended benefit of resulting in a more economical, dedicated game development system for their new console.

Finally, Sony needed to figure out how to get a jump on the already long-established competition. They accomplished this in two ways. With Nintendo, they primarily did this simply by beating them to market, since their next generation Nintendo 64 console wasn't even ready for release until the following year. And with Sega, they simply found a way to capitalize on their blunders, particularly by undercutting them on pricing. By selling the PlayStation for $100 less than Sega's Saturn, they made it a lot more attractive to otherwise undecided console shoppers who couldn't quite see the additional cost benefit of Sega's offering.

Even with a leg up though, without the right games, the PlayStation brand wouldn't have lasted for very long. But great games are something that every PlayStation console has always had in spades. Read on for our list of 12 of the best ones the original PlayStation had to offer.

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Hitman: First Impression- DRM Anyone? Update

UPDATE: Alright, so after playing through the Paris episode it does appear that cinematics are included along with each DLC addition. I can't say for sure they're not also sold separately since the frame is available for purchasing a cinematic. You can see for yourself in the fourth screenshot in this article.

And in the spirit of fairness, replayability has also taken another step higher by the "Contracts" mode. This is a game play option that allows players to create and post their own contracts in any of the playable missions and locations for others to play. Just enter the Contracts tab and create one for folks to check out or play one someone else has made. This screenshot explains the creation. For the original article, proceed below.contract


So recently I bought a new CPU and motherboard for my computer and with that came an activation code for the -Hitman, full experience-. The game went live this morning at 9am pacific time and I jumped in to see what's up with the newest iteration of Code Name 47's escapades. Here are my thoughts so far.

Upon startup I noticed that settings include quite a few options, one of which is the activation of DirectX 12. Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider, are two of the first games in the industry to receive the use of DX12 and I was pretty happy with the effects it's had on both. I'll say that I noticed no real visible difference in the look of either game, just that performance was far and away better.

I've been reading about people having issues with Hitman's performance. Crashing often, poor frame rates, stuck load screens etc. I can't speak to that since I have experienced none of those things personally. In fact the game loaded quite quickly for me once I had my options configured the way I wanted them and it runs on the highest settings I'm allowed at a consistent 60fps.

Now let's talk about that for a second, "...the highest settings I'm allowed". I can turn everything up as high as it will go except textures. They are stuck at medium, high is greyed out. This seems to be linked to graphics hardware. I myself have a 3GB card so I'm allowed to choose up to medium settings, cards with 2GB are limited to low. I'm not sure what it takes to run high because there's no explanation (none that I found as of yet anyway), could be 4GB could be 6GB. Hell, the aforementioned Rise of the Tomb Raider, wants more than 4GB of VRAM to run the highest texture resolutions, but it doesn't lock you out of trying it. Hopefully IO-Interactive will pay attention to people complaining about this and go ahead and unlock the settings. I won't hold my breath though. Worth noting here is the important fact that medium textures don't look too bad, but that doesn't mean I appreciate not having the choice to see for myself what the high setting would be like.47Game play itself is... well it's Hitman. Everything feels like traditional Code Name 47. Now, my last experience with a Hitman title was with Blood Money back on the PS2, and I liked it quite a bit. So after that everything added to the IP is new to me. That said, this latest installment has added some "features" I use the term lightly, like: talking with NPCs, being able to throw found objects at targets to knock them out, instinct mode and the ability to blend in to an environment to avoid suspicion. 47 has had occasions where he's had a voice before but not really (at least to my memory) in a way that could effect game play. That's not to say he has dialogue options or anything but it does seem that talking to, and listening to conversing NPCs can lead to intel on opportunities to help complete your mission. On the one hand that's pretty cool, on the other, 47 having a conversation with someone seems to be a bit out of character.

Instinct mode (hold CTRL on PC) will activate a kind of "Witcher senses" type deal and allow you to see and track targets through walls. You can turn this off in the settings if you wish. Aside from that it's still the good old -stalk your target, change your clothes, hide in plain sight- stealth assassination game we all like. And I have to admit that I do like it based on that at least. Instinct modeWhat I don't like is the play model. Hitman gives you the option to buy the Inroduction Pack for $15.00 which will give you access to basic content in the first episode. After that you can buy the Upgrade Pack for $49.99 and this will allow you to receive the rest of the game as it's released. Or you can spring for the $59.99 Full Experience and again I use the term loosely "have it all". What you actually get is the first episode just like everyone else, but you no longer have to upgrade to get the rest of the game as it's released. Essentially it's the game plus a season pass... blegh.purchase screenSo here's what you'll get when you start: The Prologue consists of three small, replayable training missions and a few cinematics. Yes, it appears they're even selling cinematics. You'll also get the Paris Episode, which I've yet to play since Steam hadn't yet installed it. That's being taken care of now as I'm writing. So for $15.00 you're probably getting an appropriate amount of content, selling cinematics (probably) as DLC though is pretty damn idiotic.

The Upgrade Pack is your season pass, and as mentioned above will allow content to be installed automatically as it's released. That's going to include six more episodes and five more locations to be released throughout 2016 starting in April. Presumably, you'll also be able to purchase episodes singly as DLC as they release.

One other thing to take into account is that you're locked into online play. Meaning if you lose your interwebs, you're booted from the game. At least there are auto saves so when you regain your connection you can probably just pick back up where you left off. There is an offline mode but it's separate and save games will not be compatible. Unfortunately for online play, down the line this could have the implication of service being stopped by Square Enix, and no longer being able to play at all.online onlySo based on my first impression would I recommend Hitman? Well, that depends. If you don't mind the DRM, the somewhat limited graphical options, or the possible pay walls then it might be worth it to you. It's still got a great feel, it's still 47 being a badass, untouchable assassin, it's pretty good as far as gameplay, it runs great (in my experience anyway) and for $15.00 you're getting content with quite a bit of replayability. On the other hand, if you're not alright with all that stuff, don't even look twice because you don't have a choice anyway. Let me say this. I wouldn't have bought this title if it hadn't accompanied a piece of hardware for my PC in the form of a redeemable code. training

System Requirements for Hitman are as follows

OS: OS 64-bit Windows 7
Processor: Intel CPU Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz / AMD CPU Phenom II X4 940
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 / Radeon HD 7870
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 50 GB available space

OS: OS 64-bit Windows 7 / 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1) or Windows 10
Processor: Intel CPU Core i7 3770 3,4 GHz / AMD CPU AMD FX-8350 4 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GPU GeForce GTX 770 / AMD GPU Radeon R9 290
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 50 GB available space


Just cause 3: First Explosion… I mean Impression

Rico's back everyone! He's blowing stuff up for justice!

Did you guys ever play Just Cause? Just Cause 2? Well this is those games but with a "3" at the end. Join me now for my first impression of the first couple of hours of Just Cause 3.Rico

So the first thing I noticed when I loaded up for the first time is holy shit these load screens are long. Like, there was a point when I first started the game that I thought it had locked up before the menu options even loaded. So I got up to get some coffee, cos yeah I play games in the morning, and when I got back the screen said "Performing online login"; oh good, login DRM. Aaaanywho, the menu finally loaded and I checked all my options, and set things the way I wanted them. By the way, make sure you guys do this because it won't set a native screen display for you. Other than that the menu auto detects your system specs. Then I loaded my new game and was greeted by some pretty cool cinematic intro stuff. plane wing viewJC3 is of course an action game that is presented as an action movie from the very start. I liked that quite a bit honestly. No boring slow tutorial screen, you're just thrown in to the action with a few "press this button now to learn" type of things and before you know it you're blowing stuff up and laughing your head off.tankThe biggest problem I had, and it was big folks, is that I recently updated my graphics drivers and that caused huge holes in the world. Well you know, the game world, not the actual world. Anyway turns out AMD didn't properly support JC3 in their latest driver suite so that was an issue that needed solving. Luckily the newest beta drivers over at AMD fixed that for me and most everyone with that problem. I happen to run an R9 280x, but not everyone with an AMD video card has this problem. According to various discussions about the subject, AMD is working with the JC3 teams to solve the issue with a full update soon. See the tearing of the world below.graphic bugsgraphic bugs 2Ok, on to interesting stuff. Just Cause has always been about discreetly overthrowing a corrupt government by quietly marauding your way through an island nation secretly destroying everything as loudly as possible. Right so words like quiet and discreet aren't really in Rico's vocabulary but the point is, Just Cause 3 is still just about liberating the downtrodden from an oppressive ruler. And man it's fun! I just wish the game would let you have fun. To paraphrase Demetri Martin, Sometimes when I'm giving and example I don't use the phrase, for example, instead I use something such as, such as for example. So for example, one of the first missions is "get to the rebels" you are given something such as a helicopter to do that and you have about one minute to complete the objective. If you don't get there in one minute, you fail, a long load screen comes up and you start over. Ugh. It seems about every 45 seconds there's a new load screen leading to a cinematic that leads to another load screen then you can play again. This is pretty damn annoying.

You'll also be greeted by this ever so subtle mission complete screen when you're done with something. you know, in case you weren't sure.mission completeHopefully such as in Just Cause 2, this will lessen and even fall away completely as you progress and missions become longer etc. Don't get me wrong this game is crazy from the get go, but there's a lot to contend with just to be allowed to actually play. Once the training is over with you'll have your freedom to explore and choose missions as you see fit. Oh and yeah, since you're playing online all the time there's some bullshit leaderboard nonsense to see too.mission screenVehicle control is a little lacking but really it's just something to get used to. Cars, turn really slow then suddenly dive one direction or another. Aircraft seem to handle better, but Ive only used a helicopter so far so I can't say much about that.HelicopterGraphically, this is a great looking and well optimised game. Textures are nice, especially the water. Character, world and object modeling looks great. Animations are fairly good as well, aside from spinning like a top when you turn your character around. Particle effects are of course epic because you can't have mass explosions without great particle effects. View distance is long even with options turned down, which is cool because it's important to be able to see a long ways out in these games. JC3 runs perfect on the highest settings with my now three year old system, so chances are good that it will run great on yours as well. Frame rate is sadly locked at 30fps, boo to that, But it feels smooth regardless. Hopefully Avalanche or Squeenix or whoever's in charge will unlock that later on. cliff jumpAnyway, I'm gonna conclude this because after all this is a first impression not a full review. So, long load screens and some general annoyances aside, I'll say that at least so far I would recommend Just Cause 3. It's the same as it's predecessors, but who cares? It's mindless arcade fun. This is a game about action and pure entertainment. This is a world where you can launch a grappling hook at a helicopter, throw the pilot out, get in and aim said chopper at a fuel station, jump out and open up a wing suit, fly to the ground and turn your back just in time to not look at the explosion! I love run on sentences.

System Requirements for Just Cause 3 are as follows:
OS: Vista SP2 / Windows 7.1 SP1 / Windows 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
Processor: Intel Core i5-2500k, 3.3GHz / AMD Phenom II X6 1075T 3GHz
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 (2GB) / AMD Radeon HD 7870 (2GB)
Storage: 54 GB available space

OS: Vista SP2 / Windows 7.1 SP1 / Windows 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz / AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 (3GB) / AMD R9 290 (4GB)
Storage: 54 GB available space



Opinion: Embrace Emulation

Computer games have a pretty short history when you compare them with other media - books, movies and music all have far, far more works attributed to them than video games could ever have - and yet those media [books, movies and music] don't have nearly the same technological hill to climb as video games.

Whole chunks of gaming history just get abandoned as we march ever onward toward greater polygon counts, better musical fidelity and tonal shifts in gameplay. Where once the platforming collect-a-thon ruled the roost, today, most people only really want to play first/third person shooters.

And in that shift - from one platform to the next - we lose games. Sometimes catastrophically terrible games, but sometimes, we lose wonderful pieces of history, too. Like Banjo Kazooie or Okami.

One of the answers? Emulation. But the industry tends to frown upon emulation, because it requires reverse engineering the original game console [or operating system] and Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft aren't fans of that.

But... Read more