Places To Do: PlayStation 4 Experience – Toronto
Gamer Living got some early access to a PlayStation 4 Experience at the Scarborough Towne Centre in Scarborough, Ontario. This event was designed to let gamers have a sneak peak at some of the system’s launch titles, and get their hands on the newly designed controller. There were three titles on display, including Knack, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, and Killzone: Shadow Fall. If you were unable to get to one of these booths, or one wasn’t available in your city, we’ve detailed our previews of each below for your reading pleasure!
First stop on my tour was Knack, an interesting action-adventure title from SCE Japan Studio, and published by Sony). In this game, you play as the titular character Knack, who is a being composed of Relics, strange devices appearing similar to a child’s set of shape toys, which contain miraculous power and energy. My goal was to lead this floating set of shapes through a series of government tests and trials, in a bid to sell him as a weapon. Things start out slow, with simple punch and dodge tutorials (basic play is akin to Jak and Daxter), but Knack quickly unfurls some interesting new mechanics. Being made of these Relics, Knack can expand and augment himself by destroying objects, resulting in constantly changing shape, complexity, and size. As he takes damage, however, he starts to lose pieces of himself in real time, appearing more battered with missing spaces. As well, Knack is able to absorb energy from certain crystals, enabling him to use different special abilities. One of such sees our hero slam the ground and shoot his non-essential Relics in all directions, dealing large area-of-effect damage to surrounding enemies and obstacles. After a few seconds, these Relics will return, re-establishing Knack’s pre-assault aesthetics. Speaking of visuals, the game has a very cartoony appearance to it, which actually reminded me a bit of Blue Dragon – but it retains a lot of very nice textures. Knack’s relics are made of various materials, such as wood and gold, and have an incredible amount of detail to them. Gold for example, has a mirror sheen to it, reflecting everything around it while putting off a distinct shine. Overall, Knack is set to be an awesome adventure game for the PS4’s launch window.
My next stop put me in front of the game Killzone: Shadow Fall, the latest installment in the popular shooter series. For the demo, I was privy to the multiplayer mode known as Warzones (players may remember this mode from the Vita title Killzone: Mercenaries). Here, gamers take part in long skirmishes, divided into multiple short segments. What happens is, players select between several gametypes pre-battle, and every few minutes within the round, the match will switch between these modes. So, for example, you may start in Team Deathmatch, but after a few minutes you’ll instantly and seamlessly move into Capture and Hold. What this does is take an otherwise static match and gives it a huge sense of depth and variety. No two matches will be the same, and you’ll be able to tailor the experience to your exact needs. As for the actual gameplay itself, Shadow Fall is very reminiscent of the Killzone games from years past, but with the obvious visual overhaul that the PS4 brings. Character’s movements were photorealistic, moving like actual people would, and the environment was incredibly smooth and well-rendered, with none of that up close pixilation players are used to seeing. What really brought it home for me though was the lighting, which was astounding. Walking out onto a balcony in one map, I turned in the direction of the sun – and was promptly blinded! This made it really difficult to see due to sun-glare, and my enemies took the advantage to gun me down. The fact that something as subtle yet game-changing as this was implemented gives me a lot of hope for Shadow Fall.
My final stop on the tour was at Octodad: Dadliest Catch, an action/simulation title from Young Horses. In Octodad, you play as an octopus masquerading as a human, unbeknownst to his family/friends/co-workers. You goal is to keep on with your day to day tasks, and not to do anything to break your cover – or it’s game over. You control Octodad through a sort of puppeteering concept, using L1/R1 to move his hands, and L2/R2 to move his legs. Tasks I had to complete included frying, flipping, and serving burgers, drinking coffee, pulling weeds, and navigating the house. Being a cephalopod out of water, Octodad moves in a very floppy and clumsy way, which is absolutely hilarious to watch.
On the whole, the PlayStation 4 Experience shows off a little of something for everyone, be it adventure, guns, or hilarity – all while showing what the console itself can do. With their fun gameplay, stunning visuals, and well conceived advancements, the launch of the PS4 is going to be one gamer’s aren’t going to regret! What’s even better is that these PlayStation 4 Experience kiosks are open to the public through January, allowing gamers to get a taste of what’s to come from the console for themselves. Check out the info below for a location near you, or keep up with PlayStation Canada on their Facebook page for new and exciting events going on in Canada!
Current PlayStation 4 Experience locations are as follows:
Toronto: Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Drive.
Montreal: Complexe Les Ailes, 677, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montréal
Calgary: Southcentre Mall, 100 Anderson Rd SE
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