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DF Direct Weekly talks PS5 Slim and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Switch

Plus: hope for PlayStation Plus EU/UK classic games?

A packed week of gaming news forms the basis for the latest episode of DF Direct Weekly - our 67th episode! Taking point on our topics this week are a couple of great Sony stories, kicking off with the arrival of the European iteration of Sony's PlayStation Plus subscription service. On the one hand, there's little doubt that the 'extra' tier hits it out of the park in terms of the sheer wealth of titles available for PS4 and PS5 users - even if the extreme value does put the high price of Sony's new titles into even sharper focus. But what about the thorny topic of the premium tier's classic games?

Unfortunately and inevitably, it's an unfortunate initial showing for fans of Sony's amazing library of older games in that we are seeing 50Hz titles badly fit into a 60Hz output - but there is hope, with Sony announcing that where possible, 60Hz renditions of those games will be made available. John, Alex and I discuss the news, hopeful that this disappointing scenario will eventually be resolved in the way Sony says it will, but at the same time wondering how we got into this mess in the first place. After all, the same criticisms were levelled at the PlayStation 2 classics range for PlayStation 4, yet years later, we're still in the same situation. If and when those 60Hz games are available, we'll be taking a look at them - but even with this situation addressed, Sony still has lots of work to do with its emulator to make these titles truly shine and to match the kind of features the retro community has delivered.

We also spend some time talking about DIY Perks' remarkable custom PlayStation 5, which aims to create a deluxe 'slim' console not more than 2cm thick. The custom watercooled solution looks great, featuring the kind of materials and engineering work that could never be introduced to a mainstream piece of consumer electronics. However, the gigantic PSU/watercooling solution demonstrates just how difficult it would be for Sony to make such a machine. Our money is on a more refined, smaller (but not slim) design based on a processor die shrink - we'd expect this further on down the road.

DF Direct Weekly's 67th edition, with Rich Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and John Linneman perpetrating the episode.Watch on YouTube
  • 00:00:00 Introduction: John, Rich and Alex are revealed
  • 00:00:36 News 1: PS Plus Europe classic games bungled... with a twist
  • 00:09:26 News 2: Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Direct
  • 00:17:36 News 3: Forza Horizon 5 adds TAA support on PC
  • 00:24:39 News 4: Klonoa Switch Demo struggles
  • 00:30:18 News 5: Custom PS5 Slim model
  • 00:37:32 News 6: Tony Hawk 3+4 cancelled
  • 00:41:21 DF Content Discussion: DF Retro and Developer Interview updates
  • 00:46:17 DF Supporter Q1: Do you think Naughty Dog could given TLOU Part 1 a better showing by showing more gameplay comparisons instead of mostly cutscene comparisons?
  • 00:49:54 DF Supporter Q2: Is there any way to know if the game disc you're buying contains a full playable game?
  • 00:54:59 DF Supporter Q3: Could a new Switch have a dock with a PCIe interface and a higher wattage GPU?
  • 01:00:06 DF Supporter Q4: What new technologies could significantly change the gaming experience?
  • 01:04:09 DF Supporter Q5: What sort of weaknesses or shortcomings do you think this generation will be remembered for in the annals of history?

Moving on, Alex shares his thoughts on Forza Horizon 5's TAA update for PC users, with the team wondering why Playground Games didn't deploy it on Xbox Series consoles. Meanwhile, John is unhappy with the Klonoa remaster's initial showing on Nintendo Switch via a Japan-only demo - quantifiably worse than the original releases in some ways. He is, however, at pains to point out that the PlayStation and Xbox releases seem to be OK.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 received a massive 24 minute Nintendo Direct Special and we also spend some time commenting on that. It's difficult to tell how the developer has pulled this off (a new TAA/reconstruction solution, perhaps?) but image quality looks exceptionally good - a big upgrade over the last game. We'll be taking a very close look at this closer to the game's launch, but we're quitely excited about it.

As always, the show finishes with questions from our supporters. Why did Naughty Dog show so little of The Last of Us Part 1? Why not show us the enhanced gameplay or graphics comparisons that weren't stacked up against pre-rendered PS3 cinematics? My thoughts on this are fairly straightforward - this is just the first part of a concerted marketing campaign that will cover off gameplay at some point in the future.

Other questions include requests for our thoughts on whether the Super Switch (ie the next generation Nintendo console) could have another GPU in its dock for enhanced TV plays, and if there's any way to know whether the physical disc you're buying for your current-gen console actually has game code on it (spoilers: not really). And we round off with an intriguing question about the shortcomings/limitations in the current-gen consoles that the machines may be remembered for in the years to come (similar to the PS360's era of poor performance and obviously sub-native image quality in many, many games).

We're exceptionally proud of our supporter program: the community we've built, the bonus material we routinely give away, the early access - and, of course, the massive commitment to DF Retro this has allowed us to make. Join us!

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