Opinion PlayStation Mobile

What is PlayStation's new PlayLink and how does it work?

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If there was any one particular announcement that flew under the radar at E3 2017 it was Sony's new PlayLink experience. The company announced the new series of games before the press conference, and I was pretty excited to see what it was all about.

So what is PlayLink and how does it work? Well, if you are familiar with the Jack O Box series that sees a group of players use their cellphones to play a game connected to a screen, then PlayLink will feel right at home for you. If you are not aware of this, what it is, basically is a game that lets anyone play by using your mobile device connected to the wifi or the internet. PlayLink is just that and Sony's main goal is to eliminate the need to use a DualShock 4 when playing the games and this, in turn, lets anyone join in on the game from a mobile app which is developed just for the game you are playing. 

At E3 I got to test out all the upcoming PlayLink games with a few other media and the developers of the game. Each PlayLink title was pretty cool and they felt different from each other but at the same time, all had something in common. It is important to keep in mind that PlayLink is not just one collection of games, rather, it is a new series of titles that will be released that make use of the mobile connection of games.

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How this all works is that everyone downloads the mobile app for the game and once you launch the actual game from the PS4 you connect your mobile to the console. Some of the titles I played were more intense than others, while a selection of them was very "family party" oriented, which was awesome by the way. Hidden Agenda is the latest from Supermassive Games that saw me and the other players play through a cinematic experience where we could decide what to do next. It was all in-game footage that was on the screen and at certain spots, we would have to select a path for the characters to take. Should the cop shoot the maniac who is keeping a woman against her will, or do you save the cop from being electrocuted because you have to decide to save him or the hostage who has a gun pointed at her head? 

All these decisions are made as a group and the more people who select the option, the greater the chance that it will be the one you will all go with. Players also get "hidden agendas" which are cards that give you hints on the story and let you guide it in a different direction. The mobile app also keeps all the information you have gathered and intel on each character you meet along the way together and you can access it at any time. Think of it as a document that makes you feel like someone from SVU.

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Hidden Agenda was just one of the awesome games I played at E3 and while it had a much darker undertone to it, Frantics was a happier game. Again, Frantics is another game which means we used a different app for it. The app was gorgeous and you could see there was quite a lot of time put into making it look and feel great. Frantics was a collection of mini-games that saw us create avatars, take a selfie with the camera on the device, and then head into a collection of games that fully utilised our devices. Some of the mini-games used the gyroscope to rotate the character in the game and knock the other players off a cliff, while the others made use of a flick motion to send you flying into the other player's avatars and try to knock them out of the way. 

At one stage in the demo the Fox, which is the host of the game, called me on the phone I was using and told me a secret about a skill I would have in the next match that no one else would have. Of course, this was for myself only but when I raised my phone to my ear it was like the character in the game was actually talking to me and it all felt pretty cool.

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I think this new PlayLink collection is great and it most definitely will get the family playing together without necessarily needing to have controllers in their hands. Everyone just has the smartphone and the app of the game they are playing, and they are set. The collection of games are also nice and make you feel that everyone is playing and involved. I kind of think of this all as a new collection of board games that are on your TV and everyone can just play. 

Take a look at the video below and see just how this whole new gameplay experience works. 

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"Everyone just has the smartphone and the app of the game they are playing, and they are set"

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