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Tearaway: postcards from Valleyfold – preview

Thursday, 31 October 2013 08:07 GMT By Dave Cook

Tearaway’s latest preview build has sold VG247′s Dave Cook on Media Molecule’s concept. Take a trip to the charming world of Valleyfold and see what all the fuss is about.

There’s a certain brand of playfulness beating at the heart of everything Media Molecule produces. The quaint innocence of LittleBigPlanet had a way of letting you regress to your youth and act like a big kid rummaging through some long forgotten toy-box. It’s a distinct flavour that returns in the studio’s PS Vita debut Tearaway. The game speaks to anyone who remembers picking dried PVA glue off their fingers in art class, grey winter evenings spent entertained by Tony Hart and Morph on the BBC, and trying to guess whatever massive piece of art Neil Buchanan was making in Art Attack.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a new preview build while on holiday, and it brought all of those feelings and memories bubbling to the surface once more. Using the in-game camera I was able to document my travels across the vibrant land of Valleyfold. I didn’t quite figure out the filters and lighting, so please do excuse some of the washed out photos below. The game is bloody colourful honestly.

So without further ado, welcome to Dave’s Big Tearaway Preview Adventure.

Valleyfold is a place that thrives on whimsical stories, music and creativity, but unfortunately the keepers of the realm have become uninspired. They decide to extend an invitation to the human world so I could help the land blossom once more. I was asked to help plucky courier Iota ferry the message to a great portal in the sun which – thanks to the PS Vita’s front-facing camera – always displayed my face.

Here’s Iota now, taking a selfie. What a cheeky chappie. Hebegan his quest in a lush forest called The Standing Stones. He ran down a path and looked to the sky, where he saw my face. All he had to do was get there and deliver his message. It doesn’t look like it was that far, right?

It was clear that Valleyfold itself would be one of those rare game worlds that has as prominent a starring role as its central characters, and much of that could be chalked up to its hand-crafted veneer – imperfections and all. Parts of the scenery were coming unstuck, while others lay ripped or torn. Cardboard flowers toppled as Iota banged into them, while dainty paper bridges crumpled and sagged under foot.

There was a real tangible quality to the colourful world that increased my immersion and lent interactivity apace, but all was not well however. Iota came across a sad man quivering in fear like a big bowl of wobbly jelly.

He was afraid because gangs of mischievous creatures called Scraps were running amok, draining colour from the world and interrupting a theatre play. The curtain was down and the people were hiding in their homes. It was a disaster. Someone had to stop the Scraps, or the show simply wouldn’t go on.

Luckily, I was able to help Iota and the man by pressing my fingers against the PS Vita’s rear touch pad, and burst them through the paper floor. I was then able to slide them around to topple the Scraps’ cardboard towers and send them packing. With the bad guys smooshed and colour restored to the world, the theatre was open for business once more. Iota ran inside.

The path to Wassail Orchard lay beyond the stage, but first, Iota simply had to give a family of wandering gophers a big old hug to let them know they were no longer in danger.

They were so happy in fact, that they let Iota throw them through basketball hoops in exchange for Confetti, which is Valleyfold’s currency. I used it to redecorate Iota’s face and put a bee in his bonnet. I also gave him a snazzy tie because he means business. What do you think? Was it an improvement?

Looking sharp, Iota continued on his merry way and entered Wassail Orchard where he was dismayed to find that a great drumming ritual was being interrupted by Scraps. The chief didn’t look too happy, neither did his squirrel chum. Something had to be done.

Cheer up fellas, help is on the way. The chief told Iota that he’d be able to ascend the orchard’s many hills by bouncing on drums. All he had to do was stand on them while I tapped the Vita’s rear touch pad to send him flying into the air. In fact, anything that could be manipulated with the back of the device was painted like this.

Simple no? There were a lot of drums like this in the orchard. Just look how high up we got. Be careful if you’re afraid of heights now.

Scary huh? Well, Iota bucked up his courage and made the climb. At the top of the cliff we came across another squirrel who had lost his crown. Using Tearaway’s creation kit I grabbed a piece of yellow paper and drew a crown shape. I then used the scissor tool to automatically cut it out. Then, I was free to select other wild colours to make jewels and stick them down. Once the crown looked shiny enough, I approved it and stuck it down on the furry monarch’s forehead. He was delighted.

Even though the squirrel king was only a foot tall, it was the first time Iota had met royalty, so he simply had to get in the shot. Smile!

Iota used his bouncing technique to climb high above the trees, defeating Scraps as he went. He learned that the trick to sending the blighters packing was to wait for them to attack and then move out of the way at the last moment. He then picked them up and threw them around like a used bus ticket, causing them to explode in a shower of streamers. Pressing on, he came across this mysterious cylinder of power.

There was nothing powerful about it at all. I just didn’t have the heart to upset Iota. Using bounce pads, he was able to stand on top of the object. I then burst a finger under the ground and rolled it to create a makeshift bridge while Iota ran on it like a treadmill. It took great coordination between my fingers and the Vita’s left stick, but we made it to the other-side unharmed. We found another gang of gophers at the top of the hill.

They didn’t believe that I was helping Iota from the skies above, so they asked for photographic evidence. I pulled my most helpful face and snapped a photo. It was love at first sight, as you can see. After defeating all of the Scraps and restoring music to the orchard, Iota ran across some DJ decks while I scratched them with my finger to help him along his way.

My face in the sun was getting closer, but our journey wasn’t over just yet. Iota knew he’d have to reach the top of that mountain in the distance in order to get high enough. Lucky for him, he was taught how to jump on his own. Take that height! He then hopped on a cable car and rode it down into a new area.

Once there, Iota raised a tent. Rumour has it that while these shelters look quite flimsy, they can withstand anything, even a pair of scissors. In Valleyfold, tents act as checkpoints for travellers who want to take a break from all their adventuring and pick up their journey another day. Once he was well-rested, Iota carried on and ran into an interesting predicament.

We saw two farmers chatting. One of them explained that his friend’s pig wasn’t cute enough to be friends with his own pig. The animal was clearly upset. It was heart-breaking. But with a little paper-craft magic we were able to give him a pair of massive, glassy eyes and just like that, he won best in show. Huzzah for the pig!

He was so happy with his new award that he let Iota ride on his back to the next area. We sprinted along lovely grassy fields, smashing through crates of Confetti and tackling Scraps that burst forth from the undergrowth. Nothing could stop the dream team. It was a huge step for paper-pig relations, but the treaty was cut short as we reached the end of the trail.

The next location was huge. It was filled with Confetti, a carousel and plenty of hidden goodies. We even saw an elk walking around. Fancy that!

The base of the mountain lay through this rocky cave, but steam from the waterfall and a gang of angry crows were blocking the path. There used to be a scarecrow here, but its head had fallen off. We could have just scrunched up a paper ball and glued eyes to it, but as luck would have it, Valleyfold crows are only afraid of the freshest, most orange pumpkins in the land. We’d have to work together to grab one from the nearby barn.

As we Iota approached the barn something started to smell. It was a little bit like bad feet, but everyone knows that paper-people don’t have sweat glands. They’d get all soggy if they did. What on earth could be causing that horrible pong? We stepped inside for a closer look.

Peeeee-yeeeew! Smelly cheese ahoy! Luckily, this little mouse was allergic to the stuff so he asked us to use Iota’s new rolling attack – just like Samus in Metroid – to smash the cheese to pieces. He thanked us with a big present full of Confetti that I pulled open using the Vita’s front screen. Together we worked our way through the barn to find a fresh pumpkin head, but all we found were these new Scraps.

Lucky for Iota, those spindly legs could be destroyed easily with a simple roll attack. Once they were defeated we pressed on. Iota then hurled acorns into scales to lower platforms, and I even helped him by winding up the barn’s milling engine with my fingers. The machinery sprung to life and conveyor belts made getting around easy. However, we got stuck in a dead end, but thankfully those mice had chewed holes in everything big enough for Iota to roll under. Thanks guys!

At the top of the barn we found a pumpkin. I used the art suite to glue a pair of scary eyes and a mouth to the front. We then took it outside. Those crows didn’t know what was about to hit them.

Raaaaaaaaawr! I roared into the PS Vita’s microphone and using Valleyfold’s sound-magic my voice was transferred into the pumpkin head. Iota plonked it on the body and the scarecrow frightened all of the crows off. Iota thanked the chap and strolled through the cave to the mountain’s base.

It was so high. Iota wasn’t sure how he was ever going to carry his message to the summit, but using the Vita’s front screen I was able to fold objects with my fingers to make ramps. In fact, anything painted with a finger print design could be used to help him on his way.

Just like this see? Using this new skill we crossed big folding towers and perilous walkways. We even uncovered a few secrets tucked away behind walls.

Hello in there?

I even helped Iota clear away some yucky cow-webs. Luckily there were no spiders around. In fact, do they even eat paper? Iota didn’t stick around long enough to find out. We eventually encountered another elk, but this time he was plain white. He was in danger of being camouflaged by the snow too well. We didn’t want him to be come invisible to his friends, so we helped him out using the Vita’s camera. I snapped a photo of the nearest plushie toy to hand and in a flash the same pattern appeared on our new friend.

The pattern worked so well that all of the elk’s friends started copying his style. It didn’t take long for Iota to set a new fashion trend in the mountain, and full of confidence he continued his ascent. It wouldn’t be long now. We also helped out the local tribes by designing them a new banner. For some reason we went with a person being stung by bees. It was Iota’s idea, I promise. We even offered to jazz up the falling snowflakes in a hot pink color. The tribe loved it.

With one last final ounce of strength, Iota reached the top of the mountain. He had defeated many Scraps along the way, solved puzzles and worked with me to clear the path. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. In fact, Iota was making new friends everywhere, so they had set up a catapult to help him reach the sun. Would it work? Would Iota successfully deliver his message into our world? That’s a story for another time.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed helping Iota on his quest so far, and I think that’s because art is powerful. It lets us take something simple like a plain piece of white paper and make magic. That single sheet can become any number of things. Using that premise Media Molecule has created something that, while quite easy and perhaps targeted at younger players, also applies to the young at heart.

It’ll be interesting to see if the challenge ramps up much beyond the stages I’ve played, and to see how wild the studio’s imagination has run. For now though, I’m suitably charmed and eager to continue my trip into Valleyfold. I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my snaps so far.

Tearaway releases on PS Vita November 22.

Disclosure: To assist in writing this article, Sony sent Dave a download code for Tearaway’s latest preview build. All images were taken with the in-game camera.

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4 Comments

  1. Joe Anderson

    This game is brilliant. Not sure the release day is the best, it is PS4 launch day after all. Will probably get lost in that hype, which would be a great shame.

    *Edit*

    Wait, it launches on Nov 22, Xbox One launch day. Still the same arguement applies.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. onlineatron

    kiiiinda feel the release date isn’t a big deal. hard to imagine anyone who would have bought this £20 (amazon) game deciding against it for the sake of an xbox one

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Pytox

    I really want a vita for this game !!!

    #3 1 year ago
  4. mongbatstar

    I tried this at Eurogamer.

    I now own a PS Vita and eagerly await its release.

    #4 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Steam Machines will finally become a reality before the end of the year. Valve’s living room PC systems will release in November, the company announced today. Well, I say Valve’s – the idea behind Steam Machines is that a number of manufacturers will offer variously priced systems. Alienware and Falcon Northwest are among the dozen […]

  • Telltale veterans form new team, announce teen thriller Oxenfree

    Oxenfree is a supernatural teen thriller from some of the team behind Telltale Games’ award-winning adventures. New indie Night School Studios unveiled Oxenfree at GDC 2015. It tells the story of a group of friends who accidentally open a “ghostly rift” at an overnight party on the coast. Night School, which is made up of […]

  • PS4 global sales now stand at over 20.2 million

    The PS4 has sold 20.2 million units worldwide. Sony announced the new PS4 sales milestone at GDC 2015 today. It’s a hell of an achievement and salt in the wounds for Microsoft, which hasn’t updated us on Xbox One sales since it shipped “almost” 10 million back in November last year, and has fallen back […]

  • PS4 VR headset Morpheus out in 2016, capable of 120 FPS – video

    Sony’s VR headset Project Morpheus has some impressive grunt. Virtual reality and Morpheus were the heart of Sony’s GDC 2015 presentation today, ahead of its newly announced first-half 2016 comemrcial launch. SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida detailed the headset’s impressive capabilities, notably the fact that it can handle 120 FPS VR games. The PS4 […]

  • Papo & Yo developer making a VR game about dinosaurs

    Some days you write a headline and it makes you so happy that that you have to do a little chair dance, you know what I mean? Papo & Yo developer Minority Media, whom I would personally go to the wall for after they cut out my heart and stomped on it via the medium […]

  • Wasteland 2, Shovel Knight and more in big ole bunch of indies coming to Xbox One

    Xbox One owners are about to receive a pile of great new indie games. At GDC 2015, Microsoft revealed a list of new indie games headed to Xbox One. Some of these titles have already released on other platforms, so it looks like Microsoft has really relaxed the parity clause of ID@Xbox – or perhaps […]

  • Here’s an indie VR game made with Unreal Engine 4

    GDC 2015 is blowing up with indie games, VR and Unreal Engine 4, so here’s a video combining all three. Loading Human is a virtual reality adventure from indie developer Untold Games. It’s in the works for Mac and PC, and Sony has given an early green light for Project Morpheus, too, so expect it […]

  • GTA Online: Daily Objectives and Adversary Mode coming next week

    Heists aren’t the only thing coming to GTA Online next week: players can also expect Adversary Modes, new Daily Objectives and other Freemode activities. GTA Online’s Adversary Modes are new PvP modes which feature a range of competitive challenges and will unlock as players progress through Heists. Here’s a rundown straight from Rockstar: Come Out […]

  • Syndicate is the latest free game download on Origin

    The latest free title to be added to EA’s Origin service is 1993′s Syndicate. For a limited time, you can download the game for free and keep it, much like previous titles such as Theme Hospital. The isometric, real-time, tactical-action game was developed by Bullfrog Productions and released in June 1993. It is a favorite […]

  • Ancient Labyrinth DLC for Lords of the Fallen now available

    The Ancient Labyrinth DLC for Lords of the Fallen is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will run you $7.99 and builds upon the existing lore, characters, and storyline. Have a look at some new screenshots in the gallery below.

  • Shadowrun Online gets a name change and release date

    Shadowrun Online developer Cliffhanger Productions has announced the game’s name has been changed to Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown and a release date for April has been set. The new title was formed via the developer and its Kickstarter backers, with the goal being to let those unfamiliar with the game know by the title alone […]

  • Amazon hosting Rockstar and 2K Games sale

    Amazon is hosting a Rockstar Games and 2K Games sale with discounts Max Payne titles, Bully and more. Here’s just some of the offerings listed: Manhunt 2 PC Download $3.00 Max Payne 3 PC Download $4.00 Bully: Scholarship Edition PC Download $3.00 LA Noire Xbox 360 $2.95 L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition PC Download $6.00 […]

  • Destiny weekly reset video shows off Inferno Crucible gameplay

    We have a gameplay video featuring Inferno Crucible gameplay featured in the Destiny weekly reset for you. In it, Arekkz Gaming gives you a look at Inferno Crucible and goes over the various intricacies. You can read up on the weekly reset through the links.

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Episode 2 available from today

    Episode 2 for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is now available. If you’ve purchased the Complete Season, you’ll be able to download Episode 2 on PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. Steam players should see the episode go live around 9-10pm PST, and Xbox 360 owners should be able to download very early tomorrow morning, per Capcom […]

  • Here’s a sneak peek video for Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

    Fatshark Games has released a sneak peek video for its upcoming Games Workshop title, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide. Vermintide is a FPS, co-op action title coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and its set during the End Times of the Warhammer universe in the city of Ubersreik. Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video shows Ascendance DLC early access weapon

    As you know, Xbox Season Pass holders now have early access to the Ascendance DLC Pack bonus weapons for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Now you can watch a trailer for the weapon. The OHM directed energy hybrid weapon can switch between an LMG and Shotgun “on the fly,” and it also includes the OHM-Werewolf […]

  • March PS Plus games include OlliOlli 2, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, more

    March PlayStation Plus titles have popped up on the PS Plus page. Noticed by NeoGAF user skynidas, the titles include: OlliOlli2 (PS4/VITA) Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4) Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (PS4) Counterspy (PS4/PS3) Papo & Yo (PS3) Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment (PS3) A notice has also been posted on the EU PS […]

  • Sci-fi horror game Caffeine will release on Xbox One, PS4 alongside PC – new trailer

    Caffeine creator Dylan Browne has announced the Unreal Engine 4 game will be released on Xbox One. The game will be published through Microsoft’s Indie Program. As previously announced, it is also coming to PC and and now PlayStation 4. Caffeine is a sci-fi horror game which stars a young boy who has been abandoned […]

  • Xbox 360 Preview program invites going out this month

    Much like the Xbox One Preview program, starting early this month, invites for the Xbox 360 Preview program will start rolling out. Select invitees will be able to join program directly from their Xbox 360. A special Xbox Live message will be sent, directing users to head over to their Settings page. Further instructions are […]

  • Tron: Legacy director in negotiations for Gran Turismo film

    Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski is said to be in early negotiations to direct the Gran Turismo film. This is according to the Hollywood Reporter, which states Michael De Luca is still slated as one of the producers alongside Matt Milam, Dana Brunetti, Josh Bratman, DeVon Franklin and Elizabeth Cantillon. Plot details are still unknown […]

  • Fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation is available for download

    The Trigger, which is is the fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation, is available to download from today. In it, players will “compete against the clock” across three new maps in Survivor Mode. Set before the events of the main game, players step into the shoes of Sevastopol Station’s Ricardo who will do what he […]

  • HBO Go app now available on PlayStation 4

    Sony has announced the HBO Go app will be made available for download later today for PlayStation 4. The app works just like the PS version. Now you can watch True Detective, Game of Thrones, Veep and more through your console. Information on installation is available through the PS Blog.

  • Skyrim mods no longer restricted to 100MB in size

    Bethesda has announced a beta for Creation Kit update 1.9.33, lifts the 100MB size restriction for Skyrim mod makers. The beta is for both Skyrim’s PC launcher and the Creation Kit which will allow for unlimited file sizes. Here are the notes: Creation Kit 1.9.33 Update Creation Kit now supports unlimited file sizes for mods […]

  • Mad Max release date set for September, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions canned

    Mad Max from Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios has been given a September release date, along with the new of a last-gen cancellation. The axing of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were announced via Game Informer. Mad Max is the magazine’s featured game for the April issue. Avalanche, according GI, nixed development on […]

  • MGS 5: The Phantom Pain out in September, Kojima “closing the loop” on saga

    Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will be released in September, according to an IGN Italy video, which also features Hideo Kojima discussing “With Metal Gear Solid 5, I’m finally “closing the loop” on the Metal Gear saga. The video has since been removed, but an image cap of the date is posted above. […]

  • Forza Horizon 2 Rockstar Energy Car Pack now available

    The Rockstar Energy Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One is available now, alongside the free car for March. The free car is the Acura Integra Type-R, and the Rockstar pack included the following vehicles: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GRC 2015 Subaru WRX STI 1996 BMW 850CSi 2015 Jaguar XFR-S 1970 Volkswagen #1107 Desert […]

  • 3DS firmware update kills web browser exploit

    Nintendo has issued a 3DS firmware update which fixes a web browser exploit that was being used to run pirated Game Boy Color ROMs since January as well as inject code within downloadable games. Another piece of code, per Eurogamer, changed the setting on the handheld to make it region-free. The exploit was only available […]

  • Unreal Tournament video shows updated textures on Outpost 23

    The latest footage from Epic’s new Unreal Tournament has surfaced, and it shows off the game’s first high-textured map which is called Outpost 23. As you can see from Zaccubus’ video, its the same are which Epic showed in the flythrough video from last year, only with updated textures and some new areas outside. The […]

  • Final add-on for Sunset Overdrive arrives in April

    The final add-on for Sunset Overdrive, Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines, will be released in April. On April 1 to be exact. No, that’s not an April Fool’s joke from Insomniac Games either. Below, you can watch a fist-look at the new story, area, and traversal mechanic.

  • Heroes of the Storm playable at EGX Rezzed

    Heroes of the Storm will be playable at EGX Rezzed. This will be the first UK public hands-on with the online team brawler. Blizzard will also host giveaways and friendly tournaments at its stand. Tickets for all three days of Rezzed are still available, and you can purchase a pass through the official website. EGX […]

  • PES 2015 Data Pack 4 coming next week with Winter Transfers, new faces

    Data Pack 4 for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 has been dated, and it updates the game with Winter Transfers, new player faces, and additional stadiums. The latest free update contains real-time player transfers made within the January window, and player ratings have also been updated. Additionally, a number of improved likenesses to key players will […]

  • Here’s the changelog for Dragon Age: Inquisition Patch 5

    Notes for upcoming Patch 5 for Dragon Age: Inquisition have been posted, noting improvements to gameplay and stability, and the new features outlined back in early February. Along with the new party storage system added to the Undercroft at Skyhold, players also have the ability to adjust the size of subtitles. Below you will find […]

  • Game of Thrones, Mortal Kombat X, Batman mobile games on the way

    Warner Bros. has announced free-to-play mobile titles spanning its DC Comics, Mortal Kombat and Game of Thrones properties. The following five new games under development are: Mortal Kombat X from NetherRealm Studios: The game blends fighting and card collection with cinematic gameplay and Fatalities. Play as both classic and fighters, and if you own the […]

  • Win! Beta access to new MMORPG Skyforge and DLC worth $70

    We have ten Wrath of the Gods Founders Packs to giveaway for new RPG Skyforge, worth over $70. All you need to do to win a Wrath of the Gods pack is enter your details in the form below and we’ll pick 10 winners at random on Thursday, March 5, after 3pm GMT. Skyforge is […]

  • PC gaming expected to be worth $35 billion by 2018

    PC gaming is alive and well. In fact, it’s expected to be worth $35 billion by 2018. According to game-business group Open Gaming Alliance, the PC gaming industry is expected to grow beyond its current $26 billion worth and to a massive $35 billion by the year 2018. The information is based on data collected […]

  • Advanced Warfare: new patch adds new weapon, Master Prestige ranks, more

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has received a new patch that gives season pass holders early access to a new weapon and everyone else a myriad of fixes and additions. The patch went live today on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, without any official notes. CharlieIntel reports that among the new additions is the new […]

  • Destiny’s end game and raids explained

    Destiny’s end game can be a bit obtuse to those not used to MMO games. Fear not, we’ve got a few quick tips on how to crack it. Arekkz Gaming has a video for new players of Destiny or those who are looking to brush up on their knowledge of the game. Today’s theme is […]

  • Capcom adds local co-op to Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PC

    Following fan outrage over lack of local co-op support for the PC version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Capcom has now added it. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 now officially supports split-screen local co-op in both campaign and raid mode. The update is currently in beta on Steam, but anyone can opt-in to try it. Capcom […]

  • New Destiny glitch spawns infinite Thralls on Earth

    Destiny’s latest glitch spawns infinite Thralls to help fuel your bounty hunting and loot lust. The glitch is simple to replicate. You’ll need to start The Dark Within mission on Earth, on any difficulty. Then follow the steps in the video below (Via DualShockers) to get to an area out of the map. You’ll then […]