#FixWWE2K20 — I’m Preston from Silver Soul Gaming, and WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

If you’re a gamer and avid pro-wrestling fan, this week has most likely been a rough one for you.  WWE 2K20 was released this Tuesday, and its customers have been in a complete uproar about not only the missing features, but also the sheer amount of bugginess this game contains.  Whether it’s bad hair physics, messy targeting, game crashes, or characters getting stuck in the ring, 2K20 has been viewed as an absolute jobber by wrestling-gamers around the globe.  It is unknown if the team at Visual Concepts got lazy or the game was rushed out due to contractual obligations with the WWE.  Regardless of the main reasons, we can only hope that 2K manages to release a patch that pulls the game out of its nosedive.  WWE 2K20 has the ability to be in the wrestling-game title picture, but it must first be able to get into midcard status.

Review of Grid (2019) — I always race to win

I know I’ve said this at least several times before, but I’m gonna have to say it again  — Codemasters has a long resume when it comes to racing games. Whether it be rallying, Formula 1, or even over-the-top off-roading, the British publisher has done it all. But while Dirt and F1 have still been going strong, fans had been wondering if/when the Grid series would return to the track.  Well, after five years, we don’t have to wonder anymore.  This self-titled reboot is the series’ debut on current-gen hardware, and I’m here to give you the full synopsis on everything it brings to the table.  So with that out of the way, let’s drop the green flag and get this review started.

Turn the car into the wind

Like other established series such as Gran Turismo and Forza MotorsportGrid tasks you with making a name for yourself in a variety of racing disciplines.  You won’t find rally racing or modern Formula 1 in here, but you get to race sports cars, open-wheelers, touring cars, tuner cars, and stock cars from different eras of the sport.  During your career, you must not only place high in the standings, but also manage your race team properly.  It’s your job to collect prize money, buy (And paint) the cars you want, and hire teammates.  No virtual racing career would be complete without a diverse track roster, and this game delivers a hefty number of road-course, street-course, and oval configurations.  There are only 13 locations at the moment, but more will be added in free updates.

GRID-dle cakes

Of course, all of the above would be meaningless if the racing itself wasn’t solid, and the folks at Codemasters have once again delivered solid racing in spades.  While not an arcade racer like Need for Speed or BurnoutGrid tries to be a little more accessible than Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport.  Despite the car-setup functionality being quite simplified, the driving does have weight and realism on both gamepad and wheel.  Flags and pit stops are non-existent, but you still have to drive carefully to avoid crashing out or being penalized.  If you race an opponent too aggressively, they’ll become a Nemesis and try to give you a taste of your own medicine.  Like the previous game in the series, you have the ability to ask your teammate to charge through the pack or play defense, not that they’ll always be able/willing to do what you ask them to do.

Online multiplayer is a bit shallow in this game, as you only have quick-match and private-match options.  Without any search options for public lobbies, you basically jump into public races hoping that the events found are to your liking.  If you want an online race that can be run the way you want it, you have no other alternative but to invite 1-15 friends who have the game.  It’s not a dealbreaker, but I do hope this online-mode drawback can be sorted out.

Pedal to the floor, lap is runnin’ faster

After sitting in its garage for the last five years, the long-running Grid series has made a satisfactory comeback in the form of this reboot.  It may occasionally bust a flat or drop some horsepower, but it still belongs on the shelf of any type of racing-game junkie.  Checkered flag, here I come!

Opinion: Politics in Video Games

Politics in video games: an aberration, or inevitability?

First and foremost, the following text (and rant) is strictly my opinion and doesn’t represent the stance of Silver Soul Gaming.

I think that most people nowadays agree that now video games have become a form of art. Not only that, but they also became a widespread and influential media resource. And as it happens, both of those areas are rife with the political content of various forms and shapes. Sadly, that trend also hit video games and video game journalism. 

Why would I say “sadly”, you may ask? Let me explain. Thing is when politics come into play (in any media, not just in video games), then rationality and objectivity come out of the window. It stops being about the fun and the quality of the content, and it starts being about the message it presents. Combine it with the gaming journalists with a political agenda, and things will get really ugly really fast. In fact, that combination led to the situation when gaming resources refuse to have anything to do with a game just because it doesn’t pander to their political views. That frustrates me to no end.

Of course, there is such a thing called “freedom of expression” which means that the creator can choose whatever theme he wants. Not to mention that there is such a thing as political art. Honestly, I totally agree with that, and political games, while not my cup of tea, have a right to exist. In fact, I respect political artists for their expression of their beliefs, even if I personally disagree with them. 

What I don’t respect. however, is pandering. Political art is well and good when it is stated that it was created to convey a message. But if the game was not advertised as such, and it was never stated that it has such a purpose, and it is clear that this message was pushed in without a care for the content’s quality – this is where I draw a line.

And not just me, apparently, as many such games, as well as companies creating and selling them, have faced a pushback from the community. I hope that this trend will die out sooner rather than later, along with its many propagators. I want high-quality content in my games, not a half-baked pandering for this or that agenda.

Once again, I’m not against politics in the art and video games, just make it mesh with the game and setting, make an effort in creating a good game. And, better yet, advertise it as a part of your message. 

And get off my gaming journalism lawn with your political bias, ya darn kids!

Your resident Russian and a concerned gamer Darth NYUTON, signing out.

Sony Announces Next Console Called PlayStation 5 and Details Controller Changes

Sony has confirmed its next generation console will be called the PlayStation 5 and discussed some controller changes as well.

Sony confirmed the PS5 name and release date before Holiday 2020 on its own blog. It also detailed two big changes for the controller in the form of haptic feedback to simulate different gameplay experiences. The other change called adaptive triggers, allows developers to program resistance into the L2 and R2 triggers to react differently to things like driving off-road or pulling a bowstring.

The most detail was released in a Wired article this morning which went a little more into the console hardware itself. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan discussed ray tracing, the solid state drive, and more details on the controller.

The PS5 UI will allow players to preview multiplayer and single player content before starting the game and to download and even delete each part separately. The Wired article also mentions the controller has an improved speaker and a USB Type-C connector. The controller was apparently identical to a PS4 controller (minus the details mentioned above) but I’m hoping the controller will get a cosmetic and ergonomic overhaul before the PS5 launches.

Check out the Wired article above for more details on the controller batter, a discussion with a developer from Bluepoint Games (of last years Shadow of the Colossus remake), and a little more info on what the SSD means for the PlayStation 5.

Destiny 2 Year 3 First Impressions

As of this writing, I’ve been playing Destiny 2 Year 3 for 12 hours. There are very good things, and some not so good things. Grab your ship, we’re going for a ride.

The Moon

How are things now on the moon? Well, in short, it’s hell. The geography has gotten even worse with giant fissures where cracks in the ground were once seen. The Hive are even more prevalent then back in Destiny, and they’re more powerful now. Needless to say, they’ve been up to no good up here. I won’t say any more than that because of spoilers. But, it’s a fun challenge.

Eris is still up here, brooding (and so can you if you got that pre-order exotic emote). She’s created a Sanctuary up there, or about as good as you can get on the Hive-infested Moon. Here you can watch her brood, pick up bounties, and some other cool stuff that you’ll discover as you progress through the missions of Shadowkeep.

Brood with me, Guardian, and face fear.

Power Resets

So everyone, whether you’re a new player with New Light, or a veteran who had already reached power cap in Year 2, starts at the new lowest light of 750. This is both good and bad. Good because if you’re like me and haven’t done a bunch of adventures, you can now go do them and get decent rewards for it. Bad for new players because they don’t get the experience of leveling from zero, which to me is essential, but maybe not to others.

Season Pass

Okay, so there has been some controversy over Bungie including a season pass in to the game. Most battle royale style games have season passes which require you to play an absurd amount of games just to get anything good out of it. This one, however, seems to be rewarding both free players and those who purchase it the same at the start. You gain experience here just by doing your normal stuff- campaign, quests, strikes, PvP. It doesn’t take long to gain levels either. In my 12 hours logged (about 2 of those were idle and in menus and such) I’ve gained 8 tiers, almost to the 9th. If you hard push you can gain even faster too.

Free tier on top, Paid tier on the bottom (not my screenshot)

There are two tiers: free and paid. Free season pass is included for everyone and this is where the Season Artifact resides, and it seems pretty well balanced, at the start. There are some tiers where free players get nothing, but up until rank 35 (where you would get Eliana’s Vow) there aren’t many of these. After this, however there are more blank spots, especially as you get above rank 60. Plus, most of the free rewards in the higher tiers are the Nostalgic Engrams from Eververse, so is this really a reward for all the time spent playing?

The paid season pass (included if you bought the deluxe edition of Shadowkeep) is where most of the good rewards lie. Glimmer and XP boosts for you and your fireteam, awesome weapons, and ornaments, as well as more frequent Upgrade Modules are here. Also, if you get the season pass, at rank 1 you get a crate that has Eliana’s Vow and a set of seasonal armor for your class.

Each season can be purchased as a whole set, or individually. The current season is Season of the Undying, which features Vex events and the seasonal artifact- Eye of the Gate Lord- which can be upgraded to give you armor mods and other effects.

Weasels and Squirrels and bugs, oh my!

Squirrels are not good, in this sense, or in legacy Magic The Gathering. If you need context on the latter, Google it. Personal qualms aside, Weasel and Squirrel are error codes dealing with connection issues in Destiny 2. They took down their servers shortly after launch on October 1st because people could not log in. Shut down at 4 pm EST and back up at 9 pm EST, I’d say that’s a decent turnaround for login issues on the first day with new servers on a different service. Bugs are still being found and fixed, including where The Scarlet Keep strike on PC wasn’t performing matchmaking. I ended up beating that strike solo, in just under 40 minutes, and it was actually pretty fun!

Review ongoing

Overall, I’m having a blast with this new year and new expansion. I hope that sometime down the line that Bungie adds more free tier rewards and doesn’t just focus on the paid season pass. I’m wishing them luck that their bugs get fixed quickly, and I hope that those who are playing New Light are enjoying their time in the universe. Eyes up Guardian, we’re just getting started.

Vlast plays Destiny 2 on PC and streams on our Twitch channel! Give us a follow and see him live Friday mornings at 10 am EST.

Sony Cross-Play Available to All Games

In yesterday’s Wired article announcing the price drop of PlayStation Now, an interesting bit at the end apparently also announced cross-play is available to all games.

While the focus of the article was the big changes that came to PS Now, like God of War and other major first party games now available on the service, cross-play is discussed at the end. Wired states that “PS4’s cross-play efforts have officially moved out of the beta stage”, strangely with no announcement from Sony.

While cross-play on PS4 has been available for Fortnite and Rocket League for a while this means any game can theoretically do it. PUBG immediately took advantage of the end of the beta and announced the update was live yesterday. With Call of Duty Modern Warfare offering the feature at launch it’s likely many other games will start to add it soon.

As for the PS Now change, the service is available for $59.99 a year now, down from $99.99 previously. The monthly version is down from $20 to $9.99. The previously mentioned God of War, Infamous: Second Son, Uncharted 4, and GTA V were all also made available to download or stream.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Add Autosaving

Gameinformer reported yesterday that the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield games will feature autosaving.

It will be the first time in the franchise’s 20-plus year history players don’t have to pause the game to save. During an interview with game director Shigeru Ohmori, it was only mentioned for the open-world Wild Area, but later clarified it can be used throughout the entire game

But for anyone who feels like that takes away from the Pokemon experience, it’s optional. You can decide for yourself which you’ll want to go with when the game releases next month on November 15.