PSN Name

You Can Finally Change Your PSN Name, and The First Time is Free

Posted by | News, PlayStation 4 | No Comments

After years and years of being stuck with the same goofy or embarrassing name you chose as your PSN online ID, Sony has finally added the ability to change your user name. There are a few caveats but everyone can change their name once for free. After that it’ll cost you.

Here are the step-by-step instructions to changing your PSN online ID:

PlayStation 4:

  • Step 1: From your PS4 go to [Settings].
  • Step 2: Select [Account Management] > [Account Information] > [Profile] > [Online ID].
  • Step 3: Enter an Online ID of your choice or choose from one of the suggestions.
  • Step 4: Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the change.

Web browser:

  • Step 1: Sign in to your  and select PSN Profile in the menu.
  • Step 2: Select the Edit button that’s next to your Online ID.
  • Step 3: Enter an Online ID of your choice or choose from one of the suggestions.
  • Step 4: Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the change.

The first name change is free. After that each additional name change will cost $9.99, or $4.99 each for PlayStation Plus Members. When changing your name you have the option of displaying your old name in your profile for 30 days, so friends can notice the change. Your old ID is not released back into the system, and remains only available to you, and reverting back to an old name is free.

The biggest caveat with the name change is that not every game supports it. All non-remastered games released after April 2018 should support ID changes without issue. The keyword here is ‘should’ as Sony apparently found at least one game where that wasn’t the case.

Older games were developed before Sony planned on supporting this feature, and may run into problems. Sony has divided them into two categories: Games with Issues Identified, and Games with Criticial Issues. Critical Issues include loss of save data and trophies, while the former category could might mean having to redo your game settings and re-linking accounts.

roblox

Roblox Achieves 90 Million Active Monthly Users

Posted by | Mobile, News, PC, Xbox One | No Comments

Fortnite, Minecraft, and most recently, Apex Legends are getting a lot of buzz surrounding their popularity. Meanwhile Roblox is quietly becoming one of the most actively played games on the market. This week the Roblox Corporation has announced that Roblox has surpassed 90 million active monthly users.

This is a major increase from the 70 million reported users as of September 2018. The company cites the addition of French and German language support and expansion into European markets.

“Roblox is where anyone can unleash their creativity and have fun with their friends, no matter where they live,” said Chris Misner, President, Roblox International. “By bringing top games and resources to French and German audiences, we’re uniting the next generation through a truly global platform for play.”

“Roblox’s commitment to supporting multiple languages helps us connect with new markets and expand our business,” said BlockfaceSteve, founder of Blockface Evolution Studio and creator of popular Roblox game Heists 2. “Supporting everyone, everywhere continues to get easier and provides us a great opportunity to become truly global providers of world-class gameplay experiences.”

As one of the most popular games for young kids and teens, Roblox is committed to online safety and parental resources. The company recently hired Elisabeth Secker from the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body in Germany as part of their Trust and Safety Advisory Board.

“We are excited to welcome Roblox as a new member to the USK and I’m honored to join the company’s Trust & Safety Advisory Board,” said Elisabeth Secker, Managing Director of the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK). “We are happy to support Roblox in their efforts to make their platform not only safe, but also to empower kids, teens, and parents with the skills they need to create positive online experiences.”

Roblox is available on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon, Xbox One, and VR (Oculus Rift and HTC Vive).

starlink: battle for atlas

Ubisoft Shuts Down Starlink Toy Production Due to Poor Sales

Posted by | News, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One | No Comments

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard any good news regarding the toys-to-life genre. Unfortunately more bad news has hit this week. Ubisoft announced they are ending production of the physical toys for Starlink: Battle for Atlas.

“Despite the immense and continuous support from our players, the sales for Starlink: Battle for Atlas fell below expectations,” read the official statement. “Consequently, we recently made the decision to not release any additional physical toys for the Spring update and in the future.”

It’s important to note that unlike previous toys-to-life games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity, the physical toys for Starlink are entirely optional. In fact, the digital version is a far a better deal, as it includes four ships and several weapons, far more than the physical starter set.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas released in October 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch. The starter packs included a physical ship and several attachable weapons. The Switch version includes a special Star Fox crossover, including Fox McCloud and his Arwing spaceship.

At launch Ubisoft released six starship packs ($24.99), four weapon packs ($9.99), and four pilot packs ($7.99). These packs can also be purchased digitally at about 50% reduced prices.

Despite the physical toy shutdown, the game itself is still going to receive updates. As per the most recent Nintendo Direct, Starlink is receiving new content later this month. The Switch version is getting even more Star Fox content, including exclusive Star Fox missions. All the versions are getting more missions and challenges, including starship racing. Additionally, the Starlink team is currently working on the “biggest update to the game so far,” which will include new ships, pilots, and weapons, all digital.

kingdom hearts 3

Opinion: Kingdom Hearts 3 Has a Nostalgia Problem

Posted by | Feature, Opinion, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

A YA-friendly, easy-to-play action-adventure that explores and celebrates Disney animated movies should be a winning formula. It certainly was in 2002 when the original Kingdom Hearts launched on the PlayStation 2. The popularity of the series and decade plus drought of a main-line game created a huge amount of anticipation for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Unfortunately, Kingdom Hearts 3 feels like a PS2 game in all the worst ways.

Seventeen years feels like forever ago, but I played and enjoyed the original Kingdom Hearts. The hack and slash combat was fast and fun, and the use of Disney and Final Fantasy characters as NPCs and party members was something truly special. The story rested on whimsical light against darkness tropes, which is perfectly fine when you’re battling alongside Goofy and Donald. When the sequel came out in 2005 I jumped all over it, only to be left with a vastly more convoluted story involving virtual world copies, soul-merging heroes, and impostor villains.

Several spin-off games, prequels, and side stories were released in the years between Kingdom Hearts 2 and 3, which I ignored. I fully expected to be completely lost in Kingdom Hearts 3’s story. But I did not expect the series’ defiant refusal to evolve beyond its PS2-era interface, combat, and level design.

kingdom hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts 3 is a grim reminder of how far gaming has come in the last decade and a half. I was frustrated from the very opening level in the Disney Hercules world of Thebes and Mt. Olympus. Every area is mostly a series of walled, linear hallways, with a few larger rooms for bigger combat sequences. A minimap in the upper right corner is mostly useless, and the game lacks a proper world map. Countless times I got completely turned around, doubling back for awhile before I realized I was going the wrong way.

Exploration in most worlds is extremely limited and not very rewarding. The exception early on is the Toy Story world, which primarily takes place inside a three story toy store, granting a bit of freedom to explore different areas. Even then I got completely lost when I was told to go to one location, only to finally look it up online where exactly I needed to go. Never have I ached for a proper quest marker or just any kind of journal. At the very least a standard map would’ve saved so much of my frustration, even with the mostly boring level designs.

Don’t even get me started on the Gummi ship sequences. They managed to make the weakest part of the original games and make it even worse in Kingdom Hearts 3.

To travel to each new world you have to pilot an ugly, blocky, customizable ship in a pseudo free-roaming space sequence. Controlling the Gummi ship is abysmally frustrating. Worse still the game forces you into retro shoot ’em up boss battles between worlds. These boss fights weren’t difficult but took forever to complete, all while doing nothing but mildly moving the ship around and holding down the attack button.

kingdom hearts 3

On-foot combat isn’t much better. Fighting the heartless and the nobodies mostly boils down to mashing the attack button as quickly as possible while Sora vaults through the air with colorful keyblade attacks. Occasionally a special attack is available, such as uniting with your allies or summoning a neon-colored Disney attraction, like the teacups or carousel.

The attraction attacks are a neat idea but given their resource-less cost you never pass them up, and it turns the already dull combat into an even duller shooting gallery or rhythm game. The first time you unleash the teacups or the splash run is a blast. Not so much the 20th time.

Gaining a new keyblade after completing a world is the one piece of fun loot you’ll ever get. Each keyblade has slightly different stats and different special attacks they can unleash, including transforming into entirely different weapons like a warhammer, dual pistols, or a magical staff. Visually it’s fun transforming the Frozen keyblade into a pair of lighting fast dual blades, but the actual combat doesn’t change. I’m still mostly mashing the attack button.

kingdom hearts 3

Elemental spells can be thrown around, but feel sluggish and weak compared to the much quicker basic attack combos, and selecting a spell using the d-pad is a nasty UI holdover from the PS2 era. Equipping abilities is also needlessly fiddly. Sora and friends level up and gain new abilities, which must be actively equipped. Each ability takes up a certain AP cost, and a character can only equip so many. If you equip an accessory which grants additional AP, you’ll need to first de-equip a number of abilities in order to shuffle your items around. It’s exactly as annoying as it sounds.

I’m not going to comment too much on the story itself, given that I fell out of the Kingdom Hearts loop long ago. But I was disappointed in how the story approaches the Disney worlds. The worlds of Frozen and Tangled simply recreate the movies, beat for beat, including drawing cutscenes directly from the films (yes, they do the entire “Let it Go” number).

In the Frozen world I was hoping to actually adventure with Queen Elsa. She has superhero-style ice powers – how do you not include her as a party member! But no, we have to tell the entire Frozen story again and follow everyone around, at one point getting thrown into an annoying, bland ice labyrinth for no reason other than to pad out the adventure.

kingdom hearts 3

The Pixar worlds fare much better. Both Toy Story and Monsters Inc take place AFTER their respective films (first films anyway). The stories and level designs are much better served when they’re not beholden to retelling stories that were clearly not built for video game adventuring. Tangled’s world consists of running through a forest to the castle, then running back through the exact same forest. Whereas in Toy Story Sora and company are shrunk down and explore a toy store with giant robots. The Pixar worlds are far more interesting (to a point) and make the actual Disney animated worlds that much more disappointing.

I had fond memories of the original Kingdom Hearts. And I still think a high-concept RPG using Disney’s deep roster of worlds and characters is a wonderful thing to explore in a video game. But Kingdom Hearts 3’s shocking refusal to evolve beyond its aging level designs and simplistic combat create an experience that only the most nostalgia-blinded fans can enjoy.