Parappa The Rapper on PS4 is Actually a PSP Emulator

I’ll probably never use it, because I don’t jailbreak modern consoles, but it’s an impressive discovery by KiiWii on the GBA Temp forums  (via Wololo) that the Parappa The Rapper remaster for the PlayStation 4 is actually a PlayStation Portable emulator with special features. Those features let the developers replace the textures in an emulated game with upgraded assets that look better at the higher resolutions of the PS4.

Very few PSP games actually work in this emulator, it’s just fun to look behind the curtain of one of these remastered games and find out how the remastered sausage is made.

God of War (2018) Out Soon, Sounds Awesome

The 2018 God of War game without a subtitle isn’t a reboot of the series, but it does sound like a great starting point for anyone who dropped off after the earlier games or who wasn’t interested in them at all.

The review embargo lifted a few days ago, to almost universal acclaim, here’s part of Keza MacDonald’s take:

This God of War wants us to see Kratos as a person, rather than an instrument of extraordinary violence. The game not only pulls this off, but turns Kratos and his son’s journey into one of the best games of recent years: a deft intertwining of relatable familial drama and awe-inspiring mythological epic.

There are probably a huge number of takes on this game from other parents, but mine is short: I probably won’t get to play this God of War for a while. As appealing as it is, and I loved the PSP games in the series, I have a very limited amount of time to play anything when my son is sleeping and I try to avoid any kind of violent games when he’s awake.

For everyone else who doesn’t have children, or whose kids are older, God of War is out this Friday the 20th on the PlayStation 4.

Surprise, Shadow of the Colossus is Still Great

Shadow of the Colossus is one of my favorite games. It is from a unique moment in time before independent developers had found the ability to publish their novel ideas widely. Instead, we had this deep series of boss fights from Team Ico that turns out to work just as well today as it did in 2005. At least, once Bluepoint did some serious technical work to make the game presentable to a new and returning audience.

Eurogamer’s Oli Welsh reviewing the new Shadow of the Colossus remake for the PlayStation 4 that comes out on February 6:

So this PlayStation 4 remake is a risky undertaking. The developer, Bluepoint Games of Austin, Texas, is the undisputed master of remasters and has even been here before, having made the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection for PlayStation 3 in 2011. But this isn’t a remaster. This is a remake, rebuilding the game from scratch using new technology and all-new, much more detailed art. Ueda wasn’t involved and everything he and his team made for the original game has been redrawn and embellished to satisfy our hunger for fidelity. In a literal sense, this is an artist’s game remade without the original artist and containing none of the original art. Could its spirit survive such a process?

Yes. And how. Bluepoint has achieved an unprecedented feat in game preservation that creates the definitive version of Shadow of the Colossus and makes a generations-old game feel excitingly modern.

Joakim Sandberg’s Iconoclasts Out on Steam, PS4, Vita

It can be pretty frustrating to find out that something you want to fix is difficult or impossible to repair. Glued-on screens cover batteries that are all custom fit inside small cases that prevent curious people from learning how things work and fixing problems with their devices. Iconoclasts from Joakim Sandberg takes that a step further, it’s a world where a mechanic, Robin, finds that her profession is outlawed. Your mission is to get Robin and her friends together to fix things in what looks like a bit of a metroidvania side-scrolling action-adventure with a Metal Slug-y vibe to the art.

Andy Kelly likes it:

Iconoclasts is a fine game, offering both satisfyingly sharp platforming and shooting, and some really smart puzzles. It’s enormous too, packed with secret areas and other stuff to discover. And although I found the humour a little glib and childish at times, it tells its heartfelt story well. A lot of Metroidvania games go for a bleak, downbeat atmosphere, but Iconoclasts is infectiously vibrant and sunny, even if the story does occasionally venture into dark territory.

Iconoclasts is out now for $20 on Steam on Windows, macOS, and Linux, gog (same platforms)as well as the PlayStation 4 and Vita.

Xbox Game Pass Announced

Microsoft recently announced their Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

Most people are comparing it to a Netflix for games, it’s not a bad comparison excepting that while Netflix streams, the games with Microsoft’s service will download to an Xbox One.

The selection of games available will be pretty small, “over 100” when the service becomes available later this spring for $10 a month. The games will change every month, and once the game is cycled out you lose access to it. You do get a discount for purchases of games in the Game Pass library. The Xbox Game Pass games are mostly older from the Xbox One and 360, no real newer options though there isn’t a final list of what will be available.

There’s nothing exactly comparable to this from Sony, their Playstation Now service on the PS4 and Windows is $15 a month at its cheapest (3 month subscription), only streams older Playstation 3 games. The PlayStation 4 has no backwards compatibility with the PS3 otherwise.

Both Microsoft and Sony include “free” games every month with the subscription they charge for online play. I dropped my Xbox Gold subscription because I wasn’t playing online regularly, and the games they were offering weren’t as good as the Playstation Plus games.

Nintendo is going to include free games with their online service for the Switch, but final pricing is unknown, and they’ll all be swapped out every month.

There’s nothing at all like it from Valve on Steam or Windows, though the third-party Humble Bundle has a monthly subscription for $12 that acts like a blind box. Subscribing to that only gives you access to the next month’s games.

There are a lot of questions left to be answered. Games are different from movies, you might take more than a month to play through something and even some games could stick around for multiple months you might be coming up on the end of the month wondering if the one you’re playing is going to cycle out.