PlayStation recap: Horizon Forbidden West launches to rave reviews, Sony buys Bungie
The shortest month of the year just so happens to bring us a lot of PlayStation news. I'm fudging this recap a little by including PlayStation's acquisition of Bungie, which happened on Jan. 31, but that's only because my January recap and that announcement went up at the exact same time. PlayStation's already off to a hot start in 2022 with the release of Horizon Forbidden West, and it's only set to pick up with games like Gran Turismo 7 and God of War Ragnarok on the docket.
In addition to to having plenty of games, PlayStation's not slowing down on the live action front, either. Uncharted released to mediocre reviews, but we have high hopes for HBO's The Last of Us. Without further ado, here's everything that happened in February.
PlayStation surprises everyone by acquiring Bungie
Here's a funny story: I write these recaps throughout the month, adding more sections as I go along. I usually finish them a few days before the end of the month so that my editor has time to edit and schedule them for the last day. On Jan. 31 at 1 p.m., my January recap went up. Surely there wouldn't be any major news that day, right?
Well guess what else happened on Jan. 31 at 1 p.m..? Sony announced it had bought Bungie, the studio behind the huge live-service shooter Destiny 2. What are the odds? Anyway, that's why this whole piece is now in February's recap. Because timing hates me.
Anyways, PlayStation acquiring Bungie is a big move for the company, especially at its $3.6 billion price tag. It's a strange deal at first glance, specifically with Bungie remaining mostly independent. However, it makes more sense than you think. While PlayStation is known for its cinematic single-player adventures, it can't keep all of its eggs in one basket. Bungie can lend its experience and expertise to help create live service games that can bring in recurring revenue for Sony.
Not only that, but this gives Bungie an avenue to expand the Destiny universe to television or the big screen. Between Sony Entertainment and PlayStation Productions, the team has more than enough ways to adapt the popular franchise.
It's a big move also because it comes on the heels of Microsoft's big announced acquisition of Activision Blizzard. While not nearly comparable (Microsoft's deal will cost nearly $69 billion), it shows that both companies are looking to boost their value and ecosystems over the next couple of years. We can expect way more announcements.
PS VR2 gets a sleek new look
It's been a long time coming, but PlayStation finally unveiled the final look of the PlayStation VR2 headset. It was designed with the PS5 in mind, so it features a slim aesthetic with a white finish and black accents. Sony notes that it has carefully balanced the weight to keep it ergonomic and comfortable. Even with the built-in motor, it comes in at a lower weight than the first PSVR.
Senior art director Yujin Morisawa revealed that its new integrated vent design is one of his favorite parts of the headset. "When I started to work on the design for the PlayStation VR2 headset, one of the areas I wanted to focus on first was the idea of creating a vent in the headset to let air out," he said. "Similar to the vents on the PS5 console that allows airflow. Our engineers came up with this idea as a good way to allow ventilation and avoid having the lens fog up while players are immersed in their VR games. I worked on many design concepts to achieve this, and in the final design, you can see there is a little space in between the top and front surface of the scope that contains the integrated ventilation."
Horizon Forbidden West launches to critical acclaim
Horizon Forbidden West launched on Feb. 18 to praise from just about everybody. It currently sits at an 88 on Metacritic based on 106 critic reviews, including a perfect 5/5 from Android Central. Simply put: Horizon Forbidden West is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. I was lucky enough to review it for us, and it's amazing.
This should come as no surprise given Horizon Zero Dawn's reputation, but it's nonetheless great news for Guerrilla Games, which can continue the franchise. Horizon Forbidden West ends on a huge cliffhanger that sets up a decisive third (and likely final) act. Aloy has the fight of her life ahead of her, and it's going to take everyone working together to stop it. I don't want to spoil just what it is, so you'll need to play through Forbidden West and find that out yourselves.
I spent 45 hours in it to complete my review and have since spent another 10 hours just completing side missions and taking down machines. After looking up all of its trophies, I think I'm going to go for a platinum in it. It's an easy time sink and a hell of a lot of fun to play.
The Uncharted film is... just OK
Pretend to be shocked: the Uncharted movie starring Tom Holland is fine. Nothing to write home about apparently (I haven't actually seen it, but I trust the opinions of others who have). It might be a fun adventure movie, but Holland and Mark Wahlberg were miscast as Nathan Drake and Sully, and it misses out on a lot of the charm we know from the games. It currently has a 40% rating from 189 critics on Rotten Tomatoes. It's fairing better in its audience score, however, sitting at a 90% from over 2,500 ratings.
Uncharted also bagged $44 million at the domestic box office during its three-day opening weekend, which set a record for 2022 so far (via Variety). With continued success, and keeping in mind that its budget was $120 million, we could be seeing more live-action Uncharted projects in the future. In fact, Sony Pictures CEO called it a "a new hit movie franchise for the company."
Gran Turismo 7 headlines first State of Play this year
Sony's first big State of Play for the year focused on none other than Gran Turismo 7. Polyphony Digital is calling it the most complete Gran Turismo ever, with over 400 cars, 30 locations, and 90 layouts at launch.
The popular racing sim franchise is looking bigger and better than ever thanks to the power of the PS5, but those on PS4 can still have their fun, too. Gran Turismo 7 is a cross-gen title, though unlike Horizon Forbidden West, those wishing to upgrade from the PS4 version to the PS5 version will need to pay an additional $10.
Gran Turismo 7 on the horizon
Hot on the heels of Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7 is expected to launch on March 4. There seems to be no slowing down Sony this year. And even if its PS VR2 headset doesn't make it in 2022, we're sure to be hearing a lot about it in the coming months. Until next time 👋
– Jennifer Locke
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Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.