Playstation have just released 3 new games using the unique PlayLink feature on the PS4 in which you can play games party style without the need of multiple controllers. Everything is done from mobile phones connecting via WiFi. While we have been having a lot of fun with the Playstation Plus title “That’s You” it would seem that Sony have saved the best Play Link titles for now. 3 new games including Hidden Agenda, Knowledge Is Power and the return of a classic Singstar : Celebration. It was the perfect night to sit down and play, we had just had an amazing dinner and eagerly awaited as the three games downloaded, what followed was hours and hours of laughing, screaming and game faces as the mood shifted from the fun of Singstar to the competitiveness of Knowledge Is Power and the grim moral dilemmas that Hidden Agenda presented us with. It was a very interesting night.
Singstar has a solid history with Playstation and has delivered some interesting moments that have unfortunately been uploaded to the online community (including a few that were removed by moderators for what was deemed inappropriate content) the game includes 30 songs and you can also download any ones you have purchased on previous games and are fully compatible with this version. There is a great mix of different hits from decades from the 70’s to now and while you may feel and possibly look like a weirdo holding your phone while singing you can use the old USB microphones with your PS4.
The game can be played with up to 8 players divided into groups of two for battle or duet modes. Players will randomly be dropped into performances for either the entire song or whoever is the first to hit one million points. There are also modes in which players switch after singing each melody. The highlight is definitely Party Mode which last for as many rounds as you want allowing for marathon sessions, and while this game includes 30 songs there are over 600 on the singstore available to purchase. How much do my neighbours hate me right now! The Singstar App is great for queuing up songs to play next and organising playlists much better than the Dualshock controller.
Singstar Celebration is exactly what the name suggests, a culmination of hit songs, party modes and online community fun for karaoke fans. I have already had quite a few enjoyable nights with this game and I look forward to many more over the Christmas season. The game is priced quite well and is available via disc or the PSN store exclusively on Playstation 4.
Knowledge Is Power is essentially a trivia game for up to six players and while it feels very much like its predecessor That’s You, this game revolves around general knowledge and is divided up into some really random categories as well as some fairly typical ones like TV shows, movies and world history. All players will vote on which category to go with and while the majority usually wins, there are power cards that can make everyone else’s vote moot. The cards can be used on top of each other so different players can keep dishing out cards to have the final say. It is a great feature that I found by accident much to the dismay of everyone else in the room.
Each game in total lasts for around half an hour so it’s just enough to be a great time and leave you wanting more. The first time we played for about 5 rounds and the different categories and choices kept everything feeling fresh and fun. Graphically the game is quirky and cartoony in nature with some similarities to That’s You but a bit more cartoon wise in nature. Some of the loading times are a bit sluggish, particularly in the Pyramid Of Knowledge at the end of the game.
Out of the three we played this was definitely the highlight with everyone wanting to have “just one more game” and definitely will be in high rotation this christmas season. If you are going to purchase any of these games we definitely recommend this one as the best party game.
Hidden Agenda comes from SuperMassive Games (the genius team behind Until Dawn) this game takes a complete tonal shift from a fun party game to a more serious and dark time with a serial killer investigation. This definitely killed the party mode and with our guests deciding to leave I played with my partner and were gripped from the second it began to when it finished. The game stars real life actress Kate Cassidy (Arrow) plays police officer Becky Marney who must investigate the Trapper murders that happened 10 years ago, when the caught perpetrator is set for the death sentence, the murders start happening again while he is behind bars. You run Becky through the typical tropes using your smartphone to make decisions and vote on paths to take that shapes the events and outcomes, much like the equally as brilliant Until Dawn.
What stood out most for me in this game are the spectacular graphics, the beautiful motion capture is eye poppingly real. The performances from Cassidy and the other actors involved are outstanding and really help deliver a gripping story from start to finish.
What I didn’t enjoy were the moments in which you have to find clues in a crime scene. The game lag is astonishingly slow and most times we were not able to get all of the clues, not because we were slow but because the countdown timer starts before the phones kick in causing a large amount of frustration. Similarly the quick time events are painfully slow as well and so out of sync we did actually just give up in the end trying to achieve them.
Fortunately the story is solid, it really felt like I was interacting with a well written movie or episode of CSI : Crowd Participation Unit. While this is probably not going to be a hit at parties, it is a great game for people who enjoy narrative to sit back on the couch with some friends and have an interactive movie experience. It was great as a once off, I am not jonesing to go back and have another play through.
Overall Sony has teamed up with some great studios to deliver some great Play Link titles, these titles do more than enough to warrant the small price tag for maximum enjoyment. They would make a good stocking stuffer for that special gamer in your life and will be sure to deliver some Christmas Day laughs and fun. All of these Play Link titles (with more coming soon!) are available both on the PSN store and physical disc now.
Review by Alaisdair Leith