We’ve seen a few PS5 titles not make their intended 2021 release window, but the system’s been getting a lot of love through ports of previously released games lately. Today we’re looking at three of them, with Dustwind – The Last Resort, The Medium and Port Royale 4 – all three of which received a next gen version.
Dustwind – The Last Resort (PS5)
Dustwind, from Dustwind Studios and Z-Software, was certainly a title we didn’t expect to see on PlayStation. Here it is though, albeit with a slight name change from the PC game that first launched back in 2017 and left early access just under a year later. The biggest reason is that we just don’t get a lot of real-time tactics games on consoles, but that’s all the more reason to get excited. It also has a native next gen version for PlayStation 5, which is the one we checked out.
A game with strong echoes of the PC classic Fallout Tactics, Dustwind has a post-apocalyptic theme where few survive and even fewer get along with each other. A single player campaign introduces you to the world through a female protagonist who remains nameless and suffers from amnesia. Born out of a desire to survive after an attack, you set out across 16 missions to fight back and regain some of your personal history and a new perspective for the survivors that follow your cause.
The writing certainly isn’t brilliant (and English clearly wasn’t the primary language), but the campaign does a decent job of introducing the mechanics over the course of a 10 hour campaign. The nature of the missions and their objectives should have been more diverse, and it’s clear to see that the game’s origins lie with a multiplayer approach to the Fallout Tactics formula, and the single player campaign was added later.
The gameplay itself is fun though, and features plenty of tactical depth. There’s a variety of weapons to use, you can sneak about and outflank your opponents, and you can aim for specific body parts to cripple an enemy’s chances. Add traps, vehicles and explosives to the mix, and (combined with extensive character creation options) you’ve got a lovely sandbox to play in even though the mission objectives can feel repetitive. The real time tactics elements (there’s a pause option) work great, so fans of that niche genre on consoles should definitely check this one out.
The Medium (PS5)
We first covered The Medium when it launched for the Xbox Series S/X and PCs back in January. It had just missed the holiday season then, but Bloober Team’s back with a PS5 port of the game that launches just in time for Halloween 2021 – and it could be one of the standout releases for horror fans this season.
Content-wise, this is exactly the same game we reviewed at the start of the year, and technically it’s good to see that it shines on the PlayStation 5 as well. With a ton of environmental detail and the always impressive effect where you traverse two dimensions at the same time, this is a looker, and it’s easy to tell why this was launched as a title that’s exclusive to next gen consoles.
There’s a bit of a game-changer in the PlayStation 5 version though, and that’s support for the DualSense controller – which obviously has a lot of potential to add to the experience in a psychological horror game. The developers must have realized this, and have implemented several subtle and less subtle uses of its features into The Medium.
Voices that emanate from the controller sound just a bit more “in your head” when they suddenly come out of our controller rather than the TV, rumble is used to great effect when building atmosphere or emphasizing stress, and the triggers feel excellent when used to launch supernatural abilities that build up in power. Sure, it’s not enough to warrant another purchase if you already picked up The Medium before, but if you didn’t then we consider the new PS5 version to be the best way to experience it.
Port Royale 4 (PS5)
Having previously launched for PC and last gen consoles, with a PS4 and Xbox One version at launch in 2020 and Switch port earlier this year, Port Royale 4 has now sailed into the next/new gen domain of gaming. And while it feels like a series that’s firmly rooted in its PC origins, you can tell that this isn’t the series’ first venture into console territory – Port Royale 3 also appeared on the PS3, and while that felt like an early attempt at porting the franchise the UI and controller support are more streamlined in Port Royale 4.
Sure, this is still a game that originated on a mouse and keyboard platform, and it’s a game filled with stats, text and details that are tucked away in (sub)menus, but changing that would ruin the formula and turn Port Royale into a completely different game. In short, this is a console port for people who enjoy PC-centric titles but want to play them on their living room TV, and the developers have done a good job bringing that experience to gamepads. Sure, there’s a learning curve where you need to get comfortable with which button does what, but they didn’t cut any corners in bringing the experience to PlayStation.
Speaking of gamepads, the game doesn’t make much use of the DualSense controller’s unique features, although that’s hardly surprising when you consider the nature of the game. Its technical improvements can be found elsewhere, most noticeably in the visual department. The biggest change is in the enhanced weather system for the game, which thanks to clouds that are rendered in real time and improved lighting looks gorgeous. There’s not a lot of room to enjoy the effects when in menus or combat, but whenever you have a chance to just pan out the camera and sit back, it takes you right to the Caribbean. For those with a compatible screen the game now also supports 4K resolutions, and performance has been improved over the previous console versions as well. It may not be a showpiece next gen title for your new console, but Port Royale 4 delivers a polished experience for those looking to trade and battle on and near faraway shores.