Posts by Ben Silverman

  • Review: Diabolically difficult ‘Bloodborne’ is among the PS4's best

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 3 days ago

    Bloodborne   is a game about hope.

    It’s also a game about death. It’s about vile monsters smashing, slicing, clawing, and chewing you to bits. It’s about horror, frustration, salty language, and broken controllers.

    What keeps you playing   Bloodborne , the incredibly challenging PS4-only role-playing game crafted by demented developer From Software, is a spark. It’s hard to see, a flicker in the darkness often obscured by the rage of yet another failed attempt to kill a thing you are clearly in no shape to kill. But it’s there, a glimmering beacon, a calm voice telling you that despite a learning curve shaped like a wall and hours spent futilely jabbing at creatures so hellish that you vaguely worry about the mental health of the people who created them, you are going to be OK.

    You are going to win. And it’s going to feel great.

    Suffice it to say, Bloodborne isn’t for everyone. It’s unforgiving, repetitive, and bad for your blood pressure. But it’s also mysterious, powerful, and good for your soul -- the best PS4 exclusive yet. What more could you have hoped for?

    What's Not: Debilitating feeling of despair; unclear systems and mechanics; PTSD treatment costs extra.

  • Nintendo paints outside the lines with inky shooter 'Splatoon'

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 5 days ago

    It’s okay if you have no idea what to make of Splatoon .

    It’s a Nintendo game lacking any recognizable Nintendo characters. It’s a shooter, but the goal isn’t to shoot people. It’s about online team play, but the Wii U isn’t exactly an online powerhouse. Splatoon doesn’t make a great deal of sense on paper.

    But Nintendo doesn’t stare at spreadsheets when they create games, and after spending a few hours shooting through Splatoon at Nintendo’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, I’m sold. Splatoon ’s clever, quirky design is classic Nintendo: confident, smooth, and more than anything, just plain fun.

    What is it, exactly?

    Splatoon might be a shooter at heart, but it isn’t so much about shooting other players as about shooting the level itself.

    You’re an Inkling, a bizarre human/squid hybrid armed with a gun that shoots colored ink. Your goal is to douse the level in your team’s color while preventing your opponent from doing the same. Yes, you’ll ‘kill’ other players by pelting them with paint, but that’s only a means to an end. If your team is out-inked, you lose, and all those kills were for naught.

    Do you have to be awesome at shooters to enjoy it?


    But is it deep?

  • Joe Montana is working on a new football video game

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 11 days ago

    They don’t call him The Comeback Kid for nothing.

    Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana is trying to revive his long dormant video game franchise, Joe Montana Football . And according to a Twitter post, he’s charging downfield.

    “It just got Unreal,” Montana tweeted on Monday, along with a screenshot bearing the Unreal Engine 4 logo and the hashtag #joemontanafootball16 .

    Montana’s been hinting at work on a new game for a while now. Back in October he tweeted a gif of himself doing a little motion capture – the 58-year old looked pretty nimble – though the Unreal post is the first to include an actual in-game image.

    The screenshot indicates that the new game has yet to get approval from the NFL, and since EA and Madden have that license wrapped up for a few more years, it's unlikely that Joe's new game will feature real teams and players. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem – a new arcade football game might be just what football fans are looking for. Here's hoping Joe Cool can keep it together for the final drive.

  • Rory McIlroy replaces Tiger Woods as PGA video game frontman

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 11 days ago

    Just a few years after backing away from the train wreck that is Tiger Woods, EA Sports has found their next golf video game cover athlete: Tiger nemesis and current world number 1, Rory McIlroy.

    “This is a great honor, and something I couldn’t even dream of growing up playing the sport,” McIlroy said in a statement. “I really hope people enjoy the game and I’m very glad I can be a part of it.”

    Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is due out in June for the Xbox One and PS4. It’s EA’s first golf game since Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 came out in 2013, but more importantly, it’s the first EA golf game to bail on the ‘Tiger Woods’ branding since 1998.

    It’s not exactly a shocker. EA announced the end of the Tiger partnership in October of 2013, and McIlroy is the current young gun.

    Little is known about the game, however. A brief clip shown during EA’s press conference at last year’s E3 trade show showed off a combination of real-world and ‘extreme fantasy’ courses.

  • Horrible people can now play ‘Cards Against Humanity’ online

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 15 days ago

    You waited all game for the perfect time to play “A Super Soaker filled with cat pee,” only to watch your sister’s jerky boyfriend steal the show with an unbelievable use of “Home video of Oprah sobbing into a Lean Cuisine.” Who knows when you’ll have another chance to shine in Cards Against Humanity?

    Good news! You no longer need to throw a party to play the world’s filthiest party game. You just need to be online.

    The immensely popular and delightfully raunchy card game has been transformed into an online game called   Cards Against Originality. The free Web app is playable on computers, smartphones, and tablets.

    Featuring all the original cards along with the five expansion sets, Cards Against Originality does a pretty good job of emulating the real deal. Each round, one player draws a black card and acts as the judge. The other players anonymously play white cards in an effort to win the judge’s favor and/or gross everyone out to the point of uncontrollable laughter. Whoever the judge picks wins that round, and on it goes.

  • Review: Beauty meets the beasts in mesmerizing ‘Ori and the Blind Forest’

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 16 days ago

    Looks can be deceiving.

    For instance , Ori and the Blind Forest ($14.99, Xbox One and PC) looks like a Hiyao Miyazaki film. Its imagery evokes the same sort of fairy tale whimsy you might feel while watching My Neighbor Totoro . Its star, a small, adorable white creature, is equal parts ferret and Mogwai. This is, without question, a cute video game.

    Start to actually play it, however, and you’ll find that just on the other side of Ori ’s fuzzy warmth lies a spiked trap, or an acid-spitting blob, or some other terrible thing determined to turn your Mogwai ferret into a dead Mogwai ferret. This is, without question, a hard video game.

    It’s also a very special one. Combining stunning, dreamlike visuals with the harsh reality of a challenging action game, Ori and the Blind Forest is as grueling as it is gorgeous. It’s also the best video game released so far this year.

    But despite the déjà vu, Ori is rarely frustrating, because in another inspired control move, the game lets you save whenever – and wherever – you wish.

    What’s Hot: An aesthetic masterpiece; Outstanding controls; Great save system

    What’s Not: Except when you save into a bug; A bit too much trial-and-error

  • Watch one of the craziest snipes in ‘Halo’ history

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 21 days ago

    What's more annoying than getting shot by a good video game sniper?

    Getting shot by a lucky one.

    That’s the only way to describe Halo player Lawrencce 1 , who recently pulled off one of the most miraculous shots you’ll ever see:

    At first glance, it doesn’t look like much. Lawrencce 1 isn’t even really aiming anywhere when he fires off a round from his sniper rifle, and in pretty much every case other than this, that would have been just another wasted bullet. But the physics gods were smiling on lucky Lawrencce 1, because the bullet somehow ricochets three times before tearing through the poor shlub standing in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time.

    To his credit, Lawrencce 1 has no misconceptions about his skill:

    The video ought to make him the frontrunner for a role in any upcoming Halo /McDonald’s promotions. Off the floor, over the frag grenades, around the Elite, nothing but head.

  • ‘Rock Band 4’ is coming to consoles later this year

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 23 days ago

    Harmonix is getting the band back together.

    On Thursday, the music game developer announced   Rock Band 4 , the first core Rock Band   game in five years. It’s due out later this year for the Xbox One and PS4.

    The news might come as a bit of a shock to gamers who watched the once-mighty music game genre peter out several years ago, but to Harmonix, it’s about giving the fans what they want. And they want more   Rock Band .

    “Every time we announce a new game, everybody’s like, ‘That’s cool, but where’s   Rock Band 4 ?’” said project manager Daniel Sussman.

    The company is being pretty tightlipped about specific new features and gameplay, but here’s what we know so far.

    You can use your old gear

    Harmonix is working with Microsoft and Sony to ensure that older   Rock Band instruments will work with the PS4 and Xbox One, though it’s not as easy as it sounds. The change in hardware muddies the compatibility waters, but Sussman is hell-bent on making it right.

    “As a conscientious human being on this planet, I’d love for you to use the guitar you already have rather than force you to get a new one,” he said.


    You can use your old songs

  • Hands-on: Sony's Project Morpheus is a virtual delight

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 24 days ago

    Virtual reality is coming to the PlayStation 4, and it’s surprisingly comfortable.

    The newest version of Sony’s Project Morpheus headset made quite a splash at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco Tuesday night, boasting impressive tech specs and a definite launch window. It’s shaping up to be enticing piece of gear for PS4 owners.

    It’s also the coziest VR headset I’ve ever strapped to my face. While the Morpheus can’t yet quite match the jaw-dropping fidelity of the latest Oculus Rift kit, it’s a fair share easier to take on and off. You can smoothly slide the monitor back and forth to accommodate, say, a chunky pair of glasses, and the weight has been distributed to the top of your head, a small tweak that that pays off big time by keeping the visor from pulling down on your poor nose.

    Of course, without awesome software to back it up, it’s just a flashy set of goggles. Sony showed off a handful of new demos during their GDC presentation, and while they all offered a glimpse into the platform’s potential, two in particular stood out.

    The London Heist

    The Deep

  • Sony’s Project Morpheus VR headset is coming to the PS4 next year

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 24 days ago

    Sony hasn’t had much to say about its VR headset, dubbed Project Morpheus, since showing off a few demos at last year’s E3 trade show in June. Back then, the Morpheus was one of only a handful of VR products on the horizon, but in the past few months we’ve seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 tech companies throw their awkwardly visored hats into the VR ring.

    Sony decided to go all in at the Game Developers Conference taking place this week in San Francisco, however, showing off a new “close to consumer” prototype and touting some pretty serious tech specs.

    Crucially, it also tossed out a vague release window: The Morpheus will be available in the first half of 2016.

    There’s no word on pricing yet. Sony offered plenty of words about the headset’s new guts, however, and they’re certainly impressive. Project Morpheus now boasts a 5.7-inch OLED display with 1920x1080 resolution. It’s got a 120 Hz refresh rate, runs at a super-low latency (no noticeable delay between real-world movements and in-game action), and can handle graphics running at 60 or 120 frames per second. 

    That’s a lot of jargon. The gist: It’s a beast.