More than six months after its initial debut, the PlayStation 5 remains as elusive as ever. Sony also expects console shortages to stretch into 2022, however, at 5:15PM ET / 2:15PM PT, both the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition will be available at Sony’s store. You can head to that site right now, and the page will automatically toss you into the queue to (hopefully) secure a PS5 from the batch being released into the wild today.
Sony says that you don’t need to refresh the page, but make sure that you stick around once the queue begins because it’ll likely ask you at some point to verify that you’re still present, or else you might be booted from the queue. If it’s your first time, welcome to the needless drama involved with buying a PS5.
So, what’s the difference between the two models?
The standard PS5 ($499.99) and the Digital Edition ($399.99) are nearly identical, aside from the obvious. The standard console features a UHD Blu-ray disc drive whereas the latter does not, meaning you’ll need to download or stream anything you want to watch or play. The Digital Edition also features a slimmer, lighter build because of this, however, keep in that the size difference is slight. Both consoles also sport an 825GB SSD.
Sony’s flagship next-gen console, which includes a disc drive, allowing you to play both digital and physical games on the PS4 and PS5.
If you do manage to purchase a PS5, there are a few games and additional accessories we suggest you pick up, including Sony’s Pulse 3D Headset, the forthcoming midnight black DualSense controller, and the best PS5 exclusive released thus far: Returnal.
In addition to the accessories above, we also recommend buying an annual membership to PlayStation Plus. Doing so gives you access to online multiplayer, a selection of free monthly titles, and the PlayStation Plus Collection, which allows you to play a host of PlayStation 4 classics on your PS5 at no additional cost.
CD Projekt says Cyberpunk 2077 will return to Sony’s PlayStation Store on June 21st, slightly more than six months after being removed. As Polygon notes, the news came in a regulatory disclosure by Cyberpunk 2077’s developer, CD Projekt Red’s parent company, saying Sony had agreed to reinstate the game.
A CD Projekt Red spokesperson declined further comment about Cyberpunk 2077’s return, including what potential bug fixes or other updates the new version offers. In a statement to Polygon, Sony confirmed the news but said that it still doesn’t recommend playing the game on PlayStation 4. “Users will continue to experience performance issues with the PS4 edition while CD Projekt Red continues to improve stability across all platforms. [Sony Interactive Entertainment] recommends playing the title on PS4 Pro or PS5 for the best experience,” a spokesperson said.
CD Projekt executives have said they frequently updated Sony on fixes for Cyberpunk 2077’s myriad bugs and performance issues since the game was pulled from the store on December 17th, 2020. The studio has released numerous patches for its console, PC, and Google Stadia editions; in late May, joint CEO Adam Kiciński told investors there’d been “visible progress” on stabilizing the game. But Kiciński said Sony would have to make the final call.
Cyberpunk 2077 was released in December to strong sales but severe technical problems. The game struggled to run on last-generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, and players faced numerous (and frequently hilarious) bugs on every platform. Microsoft and Sony both offered refunds for the game, and Microsoft added a warning label for Xbox One owners on its Xbox store. Sony took the more drastic step of pulling Cyberpunk 2077 from its PlayStation Store entirely. Console owners could still buy physical discs, but CD Projekt has said that the digital version’s absence may have slowed down sales on Xbox and PC as well as PlayStation.
CD Projekt Red spent nearly a decade designing Cyberpunk 2077, and it calls the game a long-term investment that it can sell for “years to come.” The studio has backed away from plans for a standalone multiplayer mode, saying it would focus on adding online features to all its games instead. But it’s promised downloadable content for Cyberpunk 2077’s single-player campaign, plus a major upgrade for new consoles — including the PlayStation 5 — in the second half of this year.
Update June 15th, 2:00PM ET: Added comment from Sony via Polygon and response from CD Projekt Red.
Supergiant Games’ excellent roguelike Hades, which was one of the best games of 2020, is coming to Xbox and PlayStation consoles on August 13th. It will be available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, PS4, and PS5. And if you’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, you’ll have access to the game on August 13th as well.
Supergiant is also offering physical editions of the game in partnership with Private Division. The Xbox physical edition will work on both Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles, and there will be separate physical versions for PS4 and PS5. But if you pick up the physical or digital PS4 version of the game, you’ll be entitled to a free upgrade to the PS5 version.
The PS5 version of the game will also take advantage of some of the DualSense controller’s special features such as haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, Supergiant Games creative director Greg Kasavin said on the PlayStation blog.
As for performance, “the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Hades run at 1080p at a target 60 frames per second,” Supergiant Games said on its blog. “The Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 versions run at 4K at a target 60 frames per second.” The Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game won’t support the PC cross-save feature that the Nintendo Switch version has, however.
Back 4 Blood has been confirmed as an Xbox Game Pass title available to play from day one when it launches on October 12th. It’ll be available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4.
The new trailer for the co-op zombie shooter revealed during the Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase also announced new swamp and PvP modes. Those who want to try out the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead will be able to take part in an open beta running from August 12th to 16th. Players who pre-order the game will be get early access to the beta from August 5th to 9th.
More gameplay details are expected later today during Warner Bros Games’ Back 4 Blood showcase.
Devolver Digital made its return to E3 with another no-holds-barred satirical swipe at the games industry, taking shots at subscriptions, games as a service, and even NFTs. Dubbed the Devolver MaxPass Plus — “the new era of monetization as a service” — the spoof showcase features the infamous Devolver executive Nina Struthers and her cohorts extolling the ridiculous virtues of its new service.
But besides being the most irreverently entertaining segment of E3 (so far), the publisher also included some new game announcements. Here are the most notable:
Trek to Yomi
The first of these was the cinematic Trek to Yomi, with a trailer that’s refreshingly not actually a pre-rendered cinematic. The black-and-white game follows a young samurai who is sworn to protect his town and the people he loves against all threats. The game is coming to PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One in 2022.
Wizard with a Gun
Wizard with a Gun lives up to its title as an online co-op sandbox survival game where you face dangerous creatures armed with magic and guns. It’s coming to PC and consoles in 2022.
Inscryption comes from the creator of Pony Island and The Hex, which combines deckbuilding with roguelike mechanics, escape-room style puzzles, and psychological horror. It’s coming to PC later this year.
Devolver Tumble Time
Despite the satirical trailer, Devolver Tumble Time is actually a real physics-based puzzle game featuring a roster of characters from Devolver Games. It’s a free game coming to mobile, although there will probably be ads to watch, because nothing is ever really free.
Demon Throttle is an 8-bit game from developer Doinksoft, the creators of Gato Roboto. Besides its old-school gameplay, what makes this title stand out that it’s not only a Nintendo Switch exclusive, it’s a completely physical-only release from Special Reserve Games.
Previously known as Rainbow Six Quarantine, Ubisoft finally revealed Rainbow Six Extraction during its Ubisoft Forward conference on Saturday. The presentation started with a cinematic reveal; Extraction is set in the same Rainbow Six universe, featuring Siege operators such as Hibana, who’s gone Missing in Action. United under the Rainbow Exogenous Analysis and Containment Team (REACT), you form a team with other operators on a rescue mission and face a creepy alien threat known as the Archean. Here’s the trailer:
A deep dive gameplay trailer reveals Extraction as PvE co-op experience for up to three players where you’ll be able to choose from a roster of 18 Rainbow Six Operators with their own unique gadgets, weapons, and abilities. Extraction is set across 12 maps, which feature procedurally generated challenges, and a diverse set of enemies and infestations that evolve into greater threats the deeper you go in. Working with your team, using tactics, and making tough decisions will be essential to survival.
Rainbow Six Extraction is coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, and Stadia on September 16th.
The infotainment system inside a Tesla Model S is now as powerful as a PlayStation 5, according to company chief executive, Elon Musk, speaking at a public launch of the Model S Plaid.
The car is quicker, more expensive, and has a longer range than previous Model S, but what’s really important is that in-car computer, which was shown running Cyberpunk 2077, with Musk commenting that the game can run at 60 fps, on what we’re assured is an AMD Navi 23 GPU. This new RDNA2 entry-level graphics chip packs up to 2048 stream processors and 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, though Tesla hasn’t confirmed the precise specs. It pushes the car’s main 17-inch touchscreen, which has a resolution of 2200×1300,
Tesla does, of course, have form in this area, having already shown off a 10 TFLOP in-car rig, but with no specifics beyond that. The new system’s CPU has not yet been revealed, but the game recommends an i7-4790 or Ryzen 3 3200G, so it’s clearly going to be a much better spec than either of those.
Also visible at the event was a Tesla-branded game controller, with sticks in a PlayStation configuration. A standard Xbox One pad was also spotted sitting on the passenger side of the car’s fascia.
The Tesla Model S Plaid is on sale now, starting from $122,990.
Elon Musk teased that Tesla’s new Model S Plaid would be capable of running Cyberpunk 2077 earlier this year, and he’s now demonstrated the car’s “PS5-level performance.” The refreshed Model S includes a new Tesla infotainment system, powered by AMD’s Ryzen processor and a discrete AMD RDNA 2 GPU.
“There’s never been a car that has state of the art computing technology, state of the art infotainment where this is literally at the level of a PlayStation 5,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a demo event last night. “This is actual PlayStation 5-level performance… yes it can run Cyberpunk. It’s high frame rate, it will do 60fps with state of the art games.”
AMD revealed last week that it’s powering this new infotainment system in both the new Model S and Model X, with 10 teraflops of compute power. That in itself is nearly identical to the 10.28 teraflops found on Sony’s PlayStation 5, although Tesla’s total compute includes both the integrated and discrete GPUs so it won’t be a full 10 teraflops for gaming alone.
We only saw a brief demo of Cyberpunk 2077 running at high frame rates on the $130,000 Model S Plaid during Tesla’s event, alongside a closer look at the updated UI on the infotainment system.
In separate demonstrations after the event, some Tesla fans were able to get pictures of what appears to be a Tesla-branded game controller. It’s not clear if the controller, which mimics the shape of the car’s steering wheel, is a dummy unit or not. It appears alongside an Xbox controller in a photo published by Reddit users (above), and videos seem to show the Xbox controller being used to play Cyberpunk 2077.
You might be wondering why you’d need PS5-level gaming performance in your car, which the Technoking is happy to answer. “If you think about the future of where the car is often in autopilot or full self-driving mode, then entertainment is going to become increasing important,” said Musk. Until that’s a reality, we’re hoping to see the folks at Digital Foundry benchmark a car running the latest AAA games against powerful PCs, the PS5, and the Xbox Series X.
Borderlands developer Gearbox and 2K Games announced a new fantasy shooter called Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands on Thursday at Summer Games Fest. It has an all-star cast, including Andy Samberg, Will Arnett, Wanda Sykes, and Ashly Burch. The new game is set to launch in early 2022.
At the event, Burch, who voices Tiny Tina in the Borderlands series, described it as a “high fantasy looter shooter,” and in the trailer, it certainly looked a lot like a Borderlands game, both with its cel-shaded visual style and the appearance of a ridiculous-looking gun that shot some kind of electric laser beam. Unlike in Borderlands, though, you’ll create your own character.
The game will be coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC (on Steam and the Epic Games Store), Xbox One, and Xbox Series X when it launches early next year. It will have a full-length campaign and four-player co-op, Polygon reports.
Ahead of E3 Microsoft and Xbox are putting a heavy emphasis on cloud gaming and its Game Pass subscription program alongside its existing console ecosystem. This includes new, dedicated streaming hardware for any TV or
. It is also updating its cloud datacenters to use the
Xbox Series X
, so that gamers who stream are getting the company’s most powerful hardware.
comes ahead of Xbox’s joint E3 games showcase this Sunday with its recent acquisition, Bethesda, and also comes with a slew of new attempts to push Xbox onto just about any device you might already have. The Xbox division is moving to get its software embedded into internet-connected TVs, which would require no additional hardware other than a controller to play cloud games.
Additionally, the company is looking into new subscription offerings for Game Pass. (though it didn’t get into specifics), and is looking into new purchase options for Xbox All Access, which lets people buy the console and Game Pass for a monthly fee, rather than paying up front. (This is similar to how many pay for smartphones in the U.S.).
Building its own streaming devices, however, is a bigger push to make Xbox an ecosystem outside of consoles and even moves Xbox into competition, to a degree, with Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV for the living room. (Chromecast is scheduled to get
support later this month).
Still, the company sees its consoles, the Xbox Series X and Series S, as its top-notch offering, even while it expands in mobile, on PC and in streaming. In fact, that’s the other major piece of hardware Xbox is working on: the next console.
“Cloud is key to our hardware and Game Pass roadmaps, but no one should think we’re slowing down on our core console engineering. In fact, we’re accelerating it,” said Liz Hamren, corporate vice president of gaming experiences and platforms.
“We’re already hard at work on new hardware and platforms, some of which won’t come to light for years. But even as we build for the future, we’re focused on extending the Xbox experience to more devices today so we can reach more people.”
This isn’t exactly surprising. Consoles start getting designed years in advance, and these days, the mid-life cycle refresh cycle is common. Microsoft has also positioned the latest consoles as a “series” of devices, so it’s possible there will be new entries in the line that remain compatible with the current options.
Cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is set to launch in Brazil, Japan and Australia later this year. Meanwhile, cloud gaming in a web browser, including support for Chrome, Edge and Safari, will go live to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers “in the next few weeks.” The Xbox app on PC will also get cloud gaming integrated this year.
Hamren said that Game Pass has more than 18 million subscribers, though that wasn’t broken down between the console, PC and ultimate plans, (which include game streaming).
The Series X and S haven’t seen a ton of new titles from Microsoft Studios yet, but it sounds like that will change.
“In terms of the overall lineup, we want to get to a point of releasing a new game every quarter…” said Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Game Studios. “We know that a thriving entertainment service needs a consistent and exciting flow of new content. So our portfolio will continue to grow as our service grows.”
Xbox has more than 23 studios and also recently acquired ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Game Studios, as well as id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios.
Game Pass games are released simultaneously on PC and Xbox, which Xbox Head Phil Spencer used to poke at its competitors, namely Sony and its
“So right now, we’re the only platform shipping games on console, PC and cloud simultaneously,” Spencer said. “Others bring console games to PC years later, not only making people buy their hardware up front, but then charging them a second time to play on PC. And, of course, all of our games are in our subscription service day one, full cross-platform included.” (PlayStation brought Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone to PC but long after their PlayStation 4 releases.)
Tim Stuart, the chief financial officer for Xbox, said “we’ll do a lot more in PC for sure.” There have been rumors of big changes to the Microsoft Store on Windows, including making it easier for developers to sell games. That’s another avenue we may see explored soon, as Microsoft explores
what’s next for Windows
later this month, after E3.
The Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase will take place on Sunday, June 13 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET and will stream on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and Twitter.
(Pocket-lint) – The Ratchet & Clank series has been a PlayStation stalwart for almost two decades. But we’ve not had an original outing since Into the Nexus in 2013 – and that was on the PlayStation 3.
Yes, developer Insomniac Games remade the first game for PS4 in the shape of 2016’s Ratchet & Clank, but it has rather focused its attention on Sunset Overdrive and the superb Marvel’s Spider-Man games instead.
That’s why we’re thrilled to see the return of everyone’s favourite Lombax and his robot chum. And, thanks to the leap to PlayStation 5 proper, they have never looked – or arguably played – better.
Insomniac cut its next-gen teeth on Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, plus a dolled-up remaster of its predecessor, but Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is its first PS5 exclusive. That has given the studio free rein on a featureset of tools and talents only the latest in Sony’s kitbag can provide.
The entire premise of the game is only possible thanks to clever compression techniques and superfast SSD loading speeds. The graphics drip with ray-tracing and other wizardry from every pore. And the tricks afforded by the PS5’s DualSense controller are exploited to the max. In many respects, this is the first truly next-gen game on any console and has us salivating for what’s possible in the future.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves though. Technical bells and whistles aside, this is a Ratchet & Clank game through and through, so we’ll start there.
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Like most others in the series, this is essentially a shooter-meets-platformer with a keen sense of humour and stunning, Pixar-like visuals. It is split across a fair few planets and regions, each with their own puzzles, secrets, bosses and, in the case of some, open-world landscapes.
Favourite elements return, such as crazy, often hilarious weapons, hover boots, rail riding, the weapons shop (which is now in shape of Mrs Zurkon – an enemy in the 2016 remake), and plenty more besides – but there are some key differences too. Not least the fact you play as two Lombaxes this time around.
That’s because, after Dr Nefarious gets his hands on the oft-featured Dimensionator and accidentally opens up huge dimensional rifts, our eponymous heroes are split up. That leads Clank to meet with Rivet, a female Lombax who is new to the series, and Ratchet, to eventually hook-up with an alternative robot pal named Kit.
Sony Interactive Entertainment
This allows for missions to be split between them all – and provides variety in both gameplay and dialogue. You will often swap characters when choosing which mission to undertake from the navigation screen and likely not return until it is complete – certainly for the first part, anyway.
There are also other-dimensional versions of many recognisable friends and foes, to add extra weight and humour to the story. Certainly, as fans of the series, we loved the references and a few Easter Eggs. However, if you’re new to it, you’ll still get plenty from it – you might even end up seeking older outings elsewhere, such as on PlayStation Now.
Levels in the game will often require a lot of blasting, but are reasonably varied. Some are based on massive open areas that can be explored, a la the R&C remake, others tighter and largely on rails. One thing that ties them all together is the ability to jump through dimension portals to reach different areas in a zone.
Sony Interactive Entertainment
For example, a small rift might appear on an otherwise hard-to-reach patform, so you just focus at it, tap a button, then are instantly zipped over to that location. It certainly helps you get around a map during a battle, zipping through portals to keep ahead of enemies.
Traversing different dimensions is also used cleverly too, with one level in particular requiring you to hop between an existing, thriving world and a destroyed version in another dimension. By jumping between the two, you can get past barriers in one, or solve an otherwise impossible puzzle.
It is here where the PS5 exclusivity becomes obvious. Travelling through rifts or swapping between dimensions is instant – you certainy don’t notice any loading time, even when everything in the landscape has completely changed or you are on a totally new part of the map. Insomniac has previously said that this needs both the SSD and Sony’s clever loading shenanigans to work, and it’s easy to see why.
The DualSense controller is also a necessity for gunplay, as the game uses both haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers as effectively as Returnal (a very different game, but an amazing one – as we said in our review).
Not only do you feel every shot – with the gamepad’s speaker also utilised for some elements – you get different shot options on the right trigger. Press it down halfway and you get one weapon mode, pull it harder and the other activates. It takes a little getting used to, but is intuitive and immersive when you do.
So, so pretty
The last, obvious reason why this is a PS5-only game lies not in its gameplay but in its look. This is quite simply the most gorgeous next-gen game yet. Easily the best use of high dynamic range (HDR) that we’ve seen.
As with Miles Morales, the developer has provided three graphics modes: Performance, Performance RT, and Fidelity.
Sony Interactive Entertainment
The prettiest – Fidelity – runs at 30 frames-per-second (30fps) but is in 4K resolution with HDR and features ray-tracing, enhanced lighting, additional VFX, and increased scene density. This is the way we preferred to play, even with the lower frame rate. It looks incredible. The different worlds are bursting with details and creativity, so having the enhancements make it for us.
Performance RT keeps some of the options, such as ray-tracing, but drops the resolution and some of the effects in favour of 60fps. While, Performance mode offers 60fps with an increased resolution over the last, it ditches the ray-tracing entirely.
Whichever you opt for, the game is still a stunner. We played it on a 65-inch OLED telly, where the colours popped out of the screen so vividly, but we’d expect it’d look great whatever your TV or display tech. There are also so many instances of neon lighting in the game – not least cascading from your weapons – that it would even be a great reference test for a new HDR TV.
Sound is superb, too, especially the excellent voice acting. And the use of Sony’s 3D Audio tech is great if you have compatible headphones. The spacing in open-world segments is especially good.
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Indeed, our only minor quibbles with the game is that there is a fair amount of repetition in bog standard enemy types and, like with previous outings, it’s a little short.
Still, there are sub-quests on most of the worlds, and there is a decent enough challenge here, with some bosses that will take you multiple tries to defeat. Also, it’s refreshing to have a game that doesn’t take over your life for a month once in a while.
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Rachet & Clank: Rift Apart is an excellent return for the franchise. It is steeped in invention and it wrings every ounce out of the PlayStation 5’s capabilities.
We’ll no doubt see more complex, even better-looking games over this generation of gaming, but considering we are still relatively at the beginning, this is highly impressive stuff.
Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that, because it looks like a cartoon, this is a kids game. Like previous R&C adventures, there’s plenty to enjoy here for young and old, with ample challenge too.
Throwing new playable characters into the mix is also inspired, because it both breaks up the narrative and gameplay a touch. There’s a fair amount of repetition, which is par for the course, but apart from that, this is top-level stuff.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t take Insomniac eight years and a new console generation to deliver another slice. But then when it’s this good, it’s worth the wait.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart takes great advantage of the PlayStation 5’s SSD and offers creative third-person combat, but a second playable character doesn’t do much to change the formula.
+ Fast level changes enabled by SSD
+ Grinding levels are particularly fun
+ Creative weapons for hectic combat
+ Plenty of collectibles and side quests
– Goes overboard with DualSense haptic features
– Ratchet and Rivet have no gameplay differences at all
– Glitch puzzles don’t connect
When the PlayStation 5 arrived about six months ago, we were promised a number of improvements under the hood that would change the way people play games. One of the big ones was that consoles finally moved to solid state drives for faster loading.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Available on: PlayStation 5
Developer: Insomniac Games Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Platformer, Action, Third-person shooter ESRB Rating: E10+ Release Date: June 11, 2021 Price: $69.99 ($79.99 for Deluxe Edition)
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart takes full advantage of that upgrade. The latest game in the franchise, exclusive to Sony’s latest console, throws the heroes through multiple dimensions, often at a moment’s notice to show off that speed. But it also expresses it through chaotic combat and some zany platforming.
Still, it slows down just enough to examine the main characters’ thoughts and vulnerabilities when it comes to heroism, their own confidence and which questions about your life are worth asking, making for some strong character moments amidst all the havoc.
Talk About Distant Relatives…
Rift Apart serves as a sequel to 2013’s Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus, but, at the beginning, at least, it serves as a fine entry point to the series. The game finds Ratchet, the last Lombax in the galaxy, and his robot compatriot Clank, being celebrated for most of their major achievements (cue the history lesson for newer players). And Clank has a surprise for Ratchet — he has repaired the Dimensionator, a device that opens rifts to other, well, dimensions, in the hopes that Ratchet can find one where the Lombaxes still exist and meet his family.
Ratchet is hesitant about this. Life is good. He’s getting a parade. Why mess up a good thing with questions he’s always had at the back of his mind? But there’s a bit less of a choice when their enemy, Dr. Nefarious, steals it to find a dimension in which he’s always the victor.
The chase to stop Dr. Nefarious leads Ratchet and Clank to a dimension where a small group of freedom fighters are led by Rivet, the last Lombax in the galaxy (that is, in her dimension). The game switches between Ratchet and Rivet, both of whom suddenly are partnered with someone very different, but also very familiar.
From there, the game hops between planets and dimensions, some of which are alternate versions of levels from earlier games in the franchise.
Rivet and Ratchet are similar beyond their heritage. Both are quick to take action and like to crack jokes. Rivet is a bit more competent than her interdimensional counterpart, but she’s not used to working with others, robot or otherwise. Of course, meeting each other turns everything Ratchet and Rivet know upside down, and leads to alternate realities that flip what you may know about the franchise, too, with references to other games in the franchise taking a bit of turn.
Much of the game, especially its quieter moments, focuses on introspection and self doubt. Ratchet isn’t sure how long he can keep the hero thing up. Rivet isn’t sure if she can overcome her loner tendencies. Heck, even Dr. Nefarious’ plan is based on the fact that he feels he’s not good enough in his own dimension.
Two Different Lombaxes, Same Crazy Gameplay
Rift Apart is a single-player third-person shooter with heavy platformer elements. Much of the game consists of sections in which you transverse different planets on foot. But to get to your goals, you’ll also wall-run, jump between platforms, stick to magnetic platforms, grind on rails and race with rocket boots.
The other big part is combat, where waves of enemies attack as you fight them off with increasingly bizarre weapons that you obtain from Mrs. Zurkon, a robot with enough southern charm that I’m sure she has a good cornbread recipe. These include the executor (a double barrelled shotgun), the lightning rod (yeah, it shoots lightning) and my personal favorite, the topiary sprinkler, which temporarily stuns enemies in place and turns them into landscaping. The game is heavy on the gunplay, but the violence is cartoony, making it more than appropriate for its E10+ rated target audience.
By time you’re done with the game, you’ll be shooting rockets, bullets, lasers and have tons of little minions at your command. As you move on and get more powerful, the combat shines more and more, with wackier weapons and higher stakes. Additionally, certain battle and puzzle areas have rifts that you can “tether” to in order to pull yourself around the stage, instantly loading the new area around you. It’s disorienting and a bit gimmicky, but ultimately provides some novelty in each part of the game.
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Beyond their species, Ratchet and Rivet are incredibly similar in that no matter which of them you’re playing as, the game feels exactly the same. The two share gadgets, controls and even weapons. Buy something as Rivet, and Ratchet will have it next time. On the one hand, this makes the game seamless. You never lose something you just saved up for because you switched to another character. But it also creates a bit of sameness when you’re playing as a new, interesting character.
Most of the missions contribute directly to moving the story forward, but there are some that branch out to encourage you to explore, and those tend to reward you with collectibles. Throughout the game, there are two other types of puzzles. The first, which largely features Clank, requires you to explore a level and use a number of powers (speed, antigravity, etc.) to move alternate-dimension “possibilities” throughout the level. It doesn’t make huge amounts of sense to the story, but they’re a fun way to put the spotlight on Clank. The others are worse. Early in the game, Ratchet meets a spider-like robot named Glitch, who can enter computers and fight viruses. Glitch has a small side-story, but it ultimately doesn’t affect the main narrative, and I found that it pulled too much attention from the plot that I actually cared about.
My other personal favorites, which I completed as soon as I could, were a series of combat challenges that provided tons of in-game unlockables and money for further upgrades. These fights have unique gimmicks, like randomizing weapons or changing gravity.
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In combat, switching between weapons requires opening a menu and picking new arms. This has the effect of pausing fights often, and varieties of enemies, like some with shields that require attacks that don’t hit from the front, encourage you to switch. I personally liked the little pauses, as they gave me time to plan, but the game also lets you assign four weapons to the D-pad for quick switching. However, those four didn’t seem to serve enough, as I ultimately ended up using the larger menu.
All-in-all, my initial playthrough lasted about 16 hours per the PlayStation 5’s clock. (I don’t believe you should necessarily judge a game’s worthiness by it’s length.) That was with some, but not all, of the optional quests, nor did I find every single collectible or piece of armor, so there’s still plenty to go back for. For those looking to squeeze every bit out of their $70, there’s also a Challenge Mode that makes the game more difficult, provides new weapon upgrades and lets you earn far more bolts, the in-game currency.
I suspect some diehard fans will wish that the game were longer, though the story doesn’t necessarily require it.
The PS5’s SSD Makes the Difference
Rift Apart is the first major exclusive in the back-half of the PlayStation 5’s first year, and, in some ways, takes the most advantage of the system’s new features, both to its advantage and to its detriment.
We reviewed the game using pre-release code from Sony. For this review, we played primarily in Fidelity mode, which promises a stable 30 frames per second with ray tracing and other enhanced effects using a high quality image derived from a 4K base. We had less time with the day one patch, which adds Performance RT mode, which aims for 60 frames per second with fewer effects and a lower resolution; and performance mode, which eliminates more effects for a higher resolution 60 fps. It also fixed a few bugs from our first playthrough.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the game, with its mix of colorful, lush environments and the darker, grimmer environments was beautiful. There’s some nice fur effects, primarily in cutscenes. And no matter how much was happening on screen during the most intense battles (and they got pretty crazy towards the end), the game was stable.
Ultimately, though, I preferred playing at the higher frame rates. The 60 fps made combat and platforming puzzles, like pocket dimensions, look and feel smoother to play. It simply felt right to be playing it that way. Unless you’re gaming on a 4K TV, you shouldn’t even consider Fidelity. Even then, I think the sacrifice for frames is worth it.
But the star of the show here is the SSD. For most of the game, it feels as if there’s no loading at all, which is surprising when you’re pulled through multiple, complicated environments in just a few seconds as Ratchet, Rivet and Clank travel through rifts. This happens for the first time fairly early in the game, and it was clear then that the SSD, not the graphics, is the most important reason for a console owner to upgrade. Sure, PC gamers have had SSDs for years. But now we’re starting to see what happens when a game is designed around it.
This wasn’t complete, though. There were a few sections where it felt like the game was slowing down to enable the game to load, which put those parts at odds with the rest of the game’s tempo. On one mid-game planet, I got into an elevator several times, and waited the entire ride while the characters had small-talk. After so much speed, everything, for a little bit, screeched to a halt until those rides were done.
Sure, when we saw Spider-Man: Miles Morales (and Spider-Man Remastered), it was surprising how quickly one could fast-travel around New York City. But here, it’s not just a feature – it’s integral to the story. That’s really cool.
The DualSense controller was a real mixed bag. While I was initially wowed — and sometimes continue to be — by the controller’s enhanced rumble and trigger features, it sometimes felt like Insomniac lacked restraint when using them. Every single effect in the game does something with the rumble, as does each gun. During combat, it’s a cacophony in your hands, as the controller vibrates and the triggers lock and unlock almost constantly. I did, however, get some joy out of the built-in speaker as I used the ricochet, a button which lets you fire and then bounce ammo off enemies. It made an arcade pinball sound that burst from the controller, which gave me a laugh.
You can turn down the rumble by switching to a “functional” mode that provides gameplay cues and nothing else, or shut it off altogether. This sometimes felt like it went too far in the other direction, as not every action you would expect provides feedback.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a chaotic thrill ride through space and, well, space in other dimensions. While the storytelling is not especially deep, it’s enough to make for a game that enables some creative platforming setpieces and intense combat.
Even when the game dips into the dark world of a facist leader, has heroes hide from tortured monsters or simply asks them to be introspective about their flaws, its soul is ultimately zany and upbeat. With the exception of a handful of side-puzzles, it’s a tight, fast-moving game with room for the cast to shine.
While the game doesn’t always feel like it’s taking full advantage of the PS5’s power, the near-instant changes in scenery powered by a game designed by an SSD is exciting. The developers would be well-served by being more conservative with the DualSense controller, though. The game has a lot of rumble, and sometimes it’s too much to be immersive.
Those looking for a moderately-sized family-friendly romp that takes advantage of the latest PlayStation’s features will likely enjoy Rift Apart and all of the bonkers experiences it provides.
There were times during Rift Apart, the latest entry in the Ratchet & Clank series, when I felt like treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Buildings collapsed around me as I made my way through perfectly tuned action set pieces, and I’d manage to jump out of the way of each explosion at just the right second. The only difference, of course, is Rift Apart is much cuter — think of it like a sci-fi, family-friendly take on Uncharted.
A combination of shooter and platformer, Ratchet & Clank has always been a series closely associated with PlayStation, and the last game — a 2016 reboot of the original — showed that it could also be a technical showcase. Rift Apart, meanwhile, might just be the most pivotal entry in the franchise to date. Thanks to cross-generation releases, true PS5 exclusives still remain vanishingly rare, even months into the console’s life. But Rift Apart is exactly that: a game you can only play on Sony’s next-gen console and one that actually takes advantage of the new hardware. It also happens to be an extremely fun adventure.
Though the series dates back to 2002, Rift Apart is largely a standalone story. It stars a fuzzy little fox creature named Ratchet (he’s actually an alien called a Lombax, believed to be the last of his kind) and his adorable robot companion Clank. As a nice intro for new players (and a refresher for longtime fans), the game starts with the pair being honored for their past achievements in a parade-like setting in front of a huge crowd of adoring onlookers. It even serves as a clever mini-tutorial — but it’s not long before the celebration is interrupted when longtime villain Dr. Nefarious attacks.
The core of Rift Apart is a device that can open up portals between dimensions. After yet another defeat, Nefarious uses the device to go to a dimension where he always wins — and he accidentally brings Ratchet and Clank along in the process. The two become separated. Ratchet is on his own for a while before befriending a tiny bot named Kit, while Clank teams up with another Lombax named Rivet. It’s a clever setup that has the new duos jumping across planets, searching for sci-fi MacGuffins to fix the device and return the dimensions back to normal. The setup is also great because it allows you to play as both characters in a way that feels organic; often, you have a choice of which planet to explore, and you’ll control whichever Lombax is closest.
Ratchet & Clank isn’t exactly a series known for its narrative, but Rift Apart pushes things quite a bit forward. The new characters, in particular, are a great addition, turning it from a wise-cracking caper into a story with real heart (though there are still lots of wisecracks). Rivet starts out as a pessimistic loner, but you get to watch her slowly learn how to trust and work with people, thanks to Clank’s calming presence. Likewise, for most of the game, Kit has a hard time connecting with anyone for reasons that become clear once you learn her surprisingly dark backstory. But this leads to some heartbreaking moments. At one point, in a fit of frustration, she yells, “Why do none of you understand? I am broken. I will always be broken!” This is not the level of emotional awareness I expected from a series with a character named Skidd McMarx. There are even side missions where you can learn more about Lombax lore.
The film-like quality of Rift Apart is heightened by the visuals. Simply put, the game looks incredible. I’ve said this about past games in the series, most notably the 2016 release on PS4, but it’s even more true now: playing Rift Apart is like being inside a gorgeous animated film. There’s a level of detail that you rarely see in games. You’ll venture through a densely packed sci-fi city that puts anything in Cyberpunk 2077 to shame and glide across desert wastelands, creepy underwater research facilities, and an incredibly charming gas station in space. It’s all rendered in a kid-friendly way but also with a sense of realism, whether it’s the gleam of a metallic robot or the fuzz on an alien sheep. Every time I saw Ratchet’s furry ears up close, I wanted to give him a pet and tell him he’s a good boy.
Rift Apart doesn’t just look great, but it runs incredibly well, too. I didn’t experience any slowdown during my time with the game, despite the fact that battles get pretty wild, with dozens of enemies on-screen and all kinds of projectiles flinging about. Ratchet is a series defined in part by its inventive weaponry; you’ll have guns that shoot razor blades, encase enemies in blocks of ice, and — my personal favorite — a grenade that launches a sprinkler, covering everything it touches in beautiful green foliage. Battles involve constantly switching between weapons and firing off all kinds of strange bombs and bullets, and yet I didn’t experience a single hiccup or stutter while playing. (Rift Apart also offers three different graphics options: “fidelity,” which runs at 30fps and features ray tracing, better lighting, and 4K support; “performance RT,” with 60fps and ray tracing, but lower resolution and fewer details and visual density; and “performance” which runs at 60fps but features increased resolution in place of ray-tracing.)
Perhaps even more impressive is that this happens with barely any noticeable load times. When you venture to a new planet, there’s a brief clip showing your ship taking off, but once you’re in a level, there’s no loading whatsoever. Likewise, the game transitions between cutscenes and gameplay seamlessly, to the point that sometimes I didn’t realize I had to pick the controller back up. One of the most impressive things in the game are the titular rifts. Essentially they’re cracks between dimensions, and you can see — and often enter — them to head to a completely different world. It’s wild standing in front of one and just staring through at a totally different location and then jumping into it without any friction whatsoever.
At its most basic, Rift Apart is a fairly standard action platformer. There are some nice diversions, including a side story involving a spider-bot that kills computer viruses, and a series of tricky puzzle rooms that reminded me a bit of the shrines from Breath of the Wild. But for the most part, you’re running around and shooting things. It’s straightforward, but it works: the gunplay is fun, there’s an almost overwhelming amount of variety in the weapons, and lots of cool spaces to move around in. At one point, you’re even riding a dragon. But all of this is elevated by how beautiful the game looks and how well it runs. Rift Apart is the kind of game where I keep stopping just to ogle at seemingly simple things like waves in water or the reflection on a glass cockpit. It shows the importance of aesthetics and style.
That said, the game is relatively linear. For the most part, that’s not an issue. The levels are big enough that you can still poke around and you never really feel boxed in. It also helps keep you from getting lost. (If you do, you can see your destination with a simple click of the right stick.) But what this does mean is that, much like in Uncharted, the big action set pieces follow a very specific path. When it works, it’s incredible, like you’re controlling an action movie sequence in real time. But if you miss a step or are unsure of what to do, everything falls apart. There were multiple times where I had to replay the same sequence a whole bunch of times because I missed the best way to time a jump or didn’t see a ramp with a speed boost on it. These moments are relatively rare, but they stand out because everything else is so seamless.
I should also note that Rift Apart makes great use of the PS5’s controller. In fact, aside from launch showcase Astro’s Playroom, it might be the best DualSense game so far. In one early sequence, for example, you have to find a dance club in a bustling alien city, and you’re able to do it by following the music through vibrations you feel in your hands. I especially loved how some of the weapons made use of the two states of the controller’s triggers; one lets you give a slight press to activate a shield, but when you push it all the way down, that shield turns into a destructive blast. It’s an intuitive way to add depth to the controls.
For the most part, Rift Apart doesn’t stray far from what has made Ratchet & Clank so enduring. The formula remains the same: silly characters, great graphics, and lots of interesting guns to play with. But virtually every element is better than it’s ever been, from the touching-if-goofy story to the frantic action set pieces. And through this Rift Apart becomes a showcase for why someone might go through all the trouble to secure a PS5. It shows how more detailed worlds and faster load times can elevate a tried-and-true formula — and it might even make you care about Lombax lore in the process.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart launches on the PlayStation 5 on June 11th.
This week, Apple brought its Apple TV app to many new Android TV devices — not just the Nvidia Shield. And Apple was smart to widen that support — the expiration date for free trials of Apple TV Plus is swiftly approaching, with many customers about to see their subscriptions end July 1st. That gives Apple a month to win over Android TV users by letting them watch flagship shows like the earnest and delightful Ted Lasso on the big screen, a show whose second season will premiere near the end of July.
The rollout of the Apple TV app to Android TV OS devices started Monday at 8AM PT, a Google spokesperson confirmed to The Verge. As a caveat, the Google spokesperson clarified that support does not extend to third-party operator set-top boxes, so, for example, devices like AT&T’s Android TV set-top box probably won’t get Apple TV anytime soon.
That Apple’s finally made its streaming app available across Android TV devices isn’t much of a shocker. The app was previously made available on non-Apple devices like the Chromecast with Google TV and the PlayStation 5, and it’s been on Roku and Fire TV devices since 2019. Some Sony TVs running Android TV and other Vizio models running SmartCast OS additionally received support for the app last year.
But it’s also not entirely shocking for a company banking heavily on its services offerings. Apple seems to have figured out somewhere along the way that it needed to play nice with other device makers if it wanted to grow Apple TV Plus subscriptions in any meaningful way. With some 660 million paid subscriptions across its services as of April, Apple TV Plus’ estimated 40 million U.S. subscribers is a small but certainly not insignificant slice of that pie — but that figure could quickly change come July when those users will have to decide whether Apple’s shows are worth paying for.
Apple launched its service back in 2019 with an astonishingly meager lineup of originals. Sure, they were high-caliber productions with big-name talent and directors at the helm. And sure, some of them were even good! (M. Night Shyamalan’s bizarre psychological thriller Servant is one such example.) But Apple has extended its lengthy free trials of the service that it offered to users who purchased its devices, and that trial period is very nearly about to end for some of the earliest users to hop on the freebie train.
Ted Lasso — which Tim Cook has cited as being a critical success for the platform — will, again, release its second season toward the end of next month. But for some Apple users, their free trials to Apple TV Plus end July 1st.
In other words, Apple’s dangling a content carrot in front of its most loyal users in hopes that they’ll stick around and hand over their money. But with so many other services available at present, it’s unclear whether that’ll be enough to make them stay. In fact, research MoffettNathanson estimated earlier this year that nearly 30 percent of Apple TV Plus subscribers did not plan to resubscribe following their trial periods. While $5 per month isn’t too much for a premium service comparatively speaking, it does start to add up when people are counting all the subscriptions they fork out money for each month.
Because Apple’s entire plan for the service is to be a hub for either its own in-house productions — or exclusively attained feature films like Tom Hanks’ Greyhound — that means the company has some catching up to do to reach anything close to the library scale of most of its peers, particularly considering it’s about to start making people pay for the service. Making it available across Android TV devices hooked up in users’ homes is a good way to prepare for this change. Plus, especially accounting for the pandemic, who on earth wants to watch an entire feature film on a palm-sized iPhone when they can watch it on the biggest screen in their home instead?
It’s almost as if Apple realized that doing things the Apple way wasn’t going to be a successful model for competing in the streaming wars. And while the service is late to the party in terms of accessibility across platforms — it has taken far too long for this app to arrive on more Android TV devices, in my opinion — it was a necessary move for Apple TV Plus’s success in the long run. As long-trialed subscribers discover they’ll suddenly need to pay for Apple’s content, the churn is going to burn.
Remember when Elon Musk claimed you’d be able to play The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 on a 10 teraflop gaming rig he’s stuffing into the new Tesla Model S and X? AMD is officially providing the guts — during its Computex 2021 keynote, the chipmaker just revealed that the new Tesla infotainment system consists of an AMD Ryzen processor paired with an AMD RDNA 2 GPU.
“So we actually have an AMD Ryzen APU powering the infotainment system in both cars as well as a discrete RDNA2-based GPU that kicks in when running AAA games, providing up to 10 teraflops of compute power…. we look forward to giving gamers a great platform for AAA gaming,” says AMD CEO Lisa Su.
And if you combine that information with another piece of news AMD revealed today, plus a earlier leak in January, we may now have a passing idea of how powerful that “10 teraflop” infotainment system could theoretically be: likely a little less than Sony’s PS5.
You see, leaker Patrick Schur dug up a Tesla block diagram in January that singled out an AMD Navi 23 GPU specifically for Tesla’s new vehicles, and today AMD announced the new Radeon 6800M, 6700M and 6600M laptop graphics chips — the weakest of which just so happens to use Navi 23, AnandTech reports.
As we learned today, that Radeon 6600M chip comes with 28CUs and 1792 shader units— compared to the 36CUs and an estimated 2304 shader units worth of RDNA 2 GPU in Sony’s PlayStation 5, which also claims to be a 10-teraflop gaming rig. While it’s not quite apples-to-apples, it’s largely the same technology beneath, and a smaller number of cores on the same GPU architecture suggests we should expect slightly less performance from a Tesla compared to Sony’s console. (The higher-end Radeon 6700M / Navi 22 has the same number of CUs as the PS5, for what it’s worth.)
Performance depends on the software platform, though, as we’ve seen with the 10-teraflop PS5 and the 12-teraflop Xbox Series X — and a recent job posting by Tesla suggests game developers may actually be building for Linux if they want to target the new Tesla in-car gaming rigs.
Linux isn’t necessarily a benefit when it comes to gaming performance, though. Google’s Stadia cloud gaming also boasted 10 teraflops of performance from its AMD GPUs, but ports of games from Bungie and Square Enix didn’t look nearly as good as they did on weaker Xbox and PC hardware at the service’s launch.
The most important question is probably still the one I asked back in January, though: Who is going to sit in their $80,000 sports car and play a triple-A video game?
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that the Model S Plaid, which includes the new AMD system, will start deliveries on June 10th.
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