Hello Games announces No Man’s Sky

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Hello Games, developer of Joe Danger, has announced today on VGX the next gen title No Man’s Sky.  The game will be a science fiction featuring a huge universe that encourages exploration with multiple planets to explore from top to bottom.  The game promises that the stars in the sky are suns featuring planets that can be explored with a “living” persistent world.  It looks like a game with a lot of promise and I’ll be sure to post more regarding this game when more details become available.

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Tomb Raider : Definitive Edition announced for next gen

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Tomb Raider was released earlier this year and was well received.  Personally, I found the game to be the best I’ve played this year and easily one of the best on this current generation of gaming platforms.  It had some of the best action platforming I’ve ever experienced and was a much-needed reboot to a stagnating gaming franchise.  Needless to say, I’m ready to get stranded on a hostile island with Lara Croft again with the power of the new game consoles.  The game will feature improved graphics with some of the highlights being a completely reconstructed face for Lara as well as more realistic hair effects.  From the trailer that was shown on VGX, it wasn’t terribly mind-blowing with the graphical improvements, but the hair does look good.  The game will be released on Xbox One and PS4 and will be available next month.

Diablo III console edition impressions

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I can’t really label this a review since I haven’t completed the game yet and don’t really have a fully formulated opinion of it.  But, I have spent several hours with the console release (specifically the Xbox 360 version) of Diablo III and have some thoughts I’d like to put down on digital paper.  The game is over a year old on PCs now and so it doesn’t really warrant a review in that sense.  It’s Diablo – the king of dungeon crawlers.  It’s awesome.  Yada yada.  But how does it play on consoles?

Pretty great, actually.  Honestly, for several years now I’ve been favoring console dungeon crawlers over their PC counterparts.  There’s not always a whole lot of ports, but since the days of the Dreamcast, I’ve been doing most of my killing and looting with a controller in hand.  This isn’t to spark a PC vs. Consoles debate, this is just my preference (and you’d damn well better respect my preference).  PC gamers tend to have a bit of apprehension when it comes to ports of their beloved mouse and keyboard exclusives.  Sometimes they’re right to be worried (typically, real-time strategy games (RTS) don’t translate well to console controls), but sometimes their apprehension is unfounded.  Thankfully that’s the case with Diablo III.

diablo-3-demon-hunter-02Personally, I wasn’t worried about the transition.  I had enjoyed Torchlight immensely in its console release (and sincerely hope that its sequel gets some new life on consoles) and knew that Bilzzard was more than capable of delivering a high-quality port.  They did, too.

I think the biggest selling point for me on the console version is the couch co-op.  I can be old school at times and so I’d much rather be playing a game with my friends in the same room as me than as disembodied voices over the internet.  It’s a much more enjoyable experience.  That being said, killing, questing, and looting is so much more rewarding to me when I can sit back on the couch and maybe throw back a couple of drinks with my pals while making clever or not-so-clever quips.  It’s great to have that social interaction mixed in with my favorite hobby.  It also helps that the translation to consoles didn’t affect the fun factor of Diablo.

It would be insulting to say that there’s not much to the game on PC, but in playing games like Diablo it has a missing sense of control.  With playing the game with a controller in hand, I feel much more like I’m playing a game.  My character moves where I’m leading him and reacts to my every move – I’m not just telling him what to do and he follows my commands; I’m given a much greater sense of control.  That is what I like about playing Diablo III on my console.  Does the console version have its drawbacks?  Sure.  It’s not perfect, but it offers to me as a gamer more of what I’m looking for in a game than the PC version does.

The biggest disappointment I have with Diablo III is less of something the game did wrong and more of a hugely missed opportunity.  Couch co-op is great.  I love sitting with my pals and playing this game on the same screen.  However, sharing the screen during inventory management sessions sucks.  Only one player at a time can view his or her inventory or have any interactions with merchants.  This breaks the flow of the game and results in several sessions of checking facebook or playing games on your phone while you wait for your pals to finish up their shopping, crafting, and customizing.  This is something that could have been easily remedied with SmartGlass.  Let’s say that you’ve got 3 friends over and you’re all looking to score some epic loot.  Well, while Johnny McSlowshopper is browsing the shops, you can connect with SmartGlass and interact with a shop keep or examine and manage your inventory on your phone while the television is occupied with someone else’s menu.  This would have been a great solution in keeping the game moving at all times rather than making every trip to town a 20+ minute ordeal because you have to take turns managing your inventory.  With that said, it’s a relatively minor complaint.  It’s not a broken gameplay mechanic or a fatal flaw in the game, it’s just a painfully missed opportunity.

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Diablo III on the console is a blast.  It’s pretty much everything you can expect from a Diablo game while giving you a little bit more joy with couch co-op.  It’s a welcome addition to my gaming library and I’m sure I’m going to sink many, many hours into its loot-filled world.

 

Diablo III is currently available on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.  A PS4 release is planned and in development.

I preordered an Xbox One, and here’s why…

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I’m a gamer.  I’ve spent countless hours hunched over keyboards and slouched back in a couch holding a controller; I’ve even done my fair share of time flailing with Wii remotes.  It’s a great hobby and it’s something that’s really come to define a part of who I am.  Over the years, I’ve grown attached to certain properties.  Games like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid helped to shape my childhood along with Sonic and Sega’s band of misfits.  Sega, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have all had a part in shaping me, my imagination, my interests, and even my sense of humor.  Gaming is more than what I do, really, it’s a part of who I am.

With E3 just wrapping up, there’s a lot of hubbub going on about which of the two new consoles to get.  There was a huge, and I mean huge, negative outcry against Microsoft’s Xbox One with gamers responding to Sony’s less restrictive PS4 with thunderous applause.  The Xbox One requires a daily internet connection, it locks games to users’ accounts, there’s the possibility that publishers can block or profit from used game sales; these are all, obviously, awful things.  These horrible things are all things that Sony’s last bastion of hope for freedom in gaming doesn’t do, so why pick the console that does?  Well, the games.

New-Xbox-One-ConsoleI watched the E3 press conferences for Microsoft and Sony and even the Nintendo Direct.  I saw a few reasons to get a Wii U in the future, but nothing that made me want to run out right now to get Nintendo’s already dated home console hardware.  From Sony, I saw them promise a less restrictive platform with a lower price point than Microsoft’s Xbox One.  And from Microsoft, I saw games.  Games I wanted.  Games I cared about.  All the reactions I’ve seen regarding who won E3 come back to Sony in that they announced a cheaper and less restrictive system.  What I really wanted to see was games.  I didn’t really feel like Sony delivered on that front.  A large portion of what they showed off was stuff we’ve known about for quite some time.  Sure, Sony has some great franchises in its library and I’ll no doubt be buying a PS4 when Quantic Dream (one of my all-time favorite developers) releases their next title after Beyond: Two Souls, but I didn’t see anything at their conference that made me want to have the system at launch.

Microsoft, on the other hand, showed off Ryse: Son of Rome in its latest, controller-based iteration.  It was damned gorgeous and captivating–something I’ll definitely want to play.  They showed off a new Killer Instinct which will be available on Xbox One at launch.  They touted some beautiful footage from Forza 5.  They showed a little more on Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break–and I can’t miss a Remedy game.  And, probably most importantly to me, they teased a new Halo game.  Since the first title, I’ve been attached to the Haloverse–I’ve read the books, the comics, watched the anime, watched Forward Unto Dawn, and played all the releases on day one since Halo 2.  It’s a story I care about and I was thrilled to see that 343 Industries actually cared about telling an epic space opera with Halo 4, so I’m more than a little excited to see where the franchise goes moving forward in this new trilogy.

KI_LogoIn addition to that, there’s some really exciting stuff in the “other” media features on Xbox One.  While not gaming per se, there are two original television series in the works for Xbox One that I’m interested in following:  Halo: The Television Series with one Stephen Spielberg being involved and Remedy’s extension to Quantum Break with episodes being tailored depending on decisions in-game.  I love stories and that’s one of the most important things, to me, when it comes to what games I want to play.  If the developers expand on the universe in interesting ways, I’m all for that.  I’d love to see more of the Haloverse outside of the games (but inside canon).

Now, I can’t say I’m entirely thrilled about everything regarding the Xbox One.  It is baffling that Microsoft would think it’s a good idea to move forward with some of their restrictions (specifically the locked games and daily online access requirements), but these are things that, I don’t think, will affect me.  Microsoft has confirmed that borrowing/lending as well as selling/buying used games will still be supported on the system.  They’ve also made it sound like there’s going to be some great new ways to borrow and lend games with a sharing library where 10 users can have access to your library.  What this means is that I can be lending out games to friends in a different state without having to give them my disc–they simply install the game and enjoy it based on my sharing settings.  Pretty great.  The downside is that these friends do need to be on your friends list for a minimum of 30 days and… well, that’s all I can really think of.  I’ve got friends and family several hours away and being able to share games from my account is pretty awesome, in my opinion.

Xbox-One3I’m not strictly a console gamer; I’ve got a decently sized gaming library on my PC which is primarily thanks to Valve’s Steam.  While I’ve always been a fan of how consoles worked differently than PCs with no needing installs, keys, or being able to easily lend your games as physical media, I can’t really complain about Microsoft’s system requirements when I willingly subject myself to similar or stricter restrictions on my PC.  I can’t lend games on my PC, they’re locked to my account.  I need periodic internet access to get on Steam.  I don’t have a problem with this on my computer, and it really should have been expected that the console market would move in this direction sooner or later.  I’m not defending the Xbox One’s restrictions, but I am saying that they’re not as ridiculous as everyone is claiming.  If Microsoft has a solution for if and when Xbox Live is down, good, because that’s really the only problem I can see with the system.  Really, my biggest concern is longevity.

I still have all of my classic consoles.  I’m really quite proud of my gaming collection (as I said earlier in this post, gaming is a part of who I am).  I love going back to play some of my favorites in the best way possible–authentically.  Sure, I can easily boot up an emulator and enjoy classic games that way, but there’s something special about holding the proper controller and taking it in the way I did 10 – 20 years ago.  It’s a great feeling.  So, since I’m such a nostalgic sap, what’s going to happen to my Xbox One library 10 or 15 years from now when Microsoft stops supporting the system?  Will I no longer be able to go back and enjoy my favorite Xbox One games like I do with all my other classic consoles?  That’s what I really want to know.  Not that there’s much I can do about it, but I’d like to have my worries comforted as we move forward into a new console generation.

So, the Xbox One… I’ve made my big day-one decision and I’m sticking to it.  It’s got the games I want, and that’s the most important thing to me.  It’s nowhere near a perfect console and some of the restrictions are downright depressing, but I’d rather play the games I want to play than buy a PS4 simply to send a message to Microsoft.

Mirror’s Edge 2 coming when it’s ready

Another EA reveal was the highly anticipated Mirror’s Edge 2.  The teaser is composed entirely of in-game footage and it looks absolutely stunning.  The DICE-developed sequel will be released “when it’s ready.”

PS4 design unveiled

A first for Sony, the PS4’s design managed to stay under wraps until today’s E3 reveal.  Honestly, it’s kinda ugly.  I think both systems this coming gaming generation are pretty unspectacular in their physical appearance, but, hey, it’s the games that matter, right?  It kinda looks like a smaller, slantier Xbox One with a cutout in the center.  Image below:

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Sony’s PS4 has no used game restrictions

Your move, Microsoft.

The announcement that Sony’s next system will not change the way we play used or borrowed games was met with nonstop deafening applause.  Promising gamers that the system will not have restrictions on used games and that we’ll be able to borrow and sell games at our leisure, the PlayStation 4 seems to be the game console that people were expecting.

Today, Sony proved that the future of gaming doesn’t need to be this dark, dismal place where people are limited on what they can do with their property.  Hooray.

Additionally, the PlayStation 4 doesn’t need to do online checks with disc-based games.  It’s been reported that the Xbox One will require an internet connection at least once every 24 hours to verify ownership of games.  PS4 does not have this restriction.  Another win for Sony gamers.

Mad Max coming to PS4 (Update: Trailer)

A game based on the Mad Max property is headed to Sony’s PS4.  The system will have exclusive content for the game.  There was a very Mad Max teaser with the announcement which is now posted below:

Mad Max is coming next year and will be available on current and next gen systems (minus Nintendo’s consoles) as well as PC.

Sony’s PS4 may incorporate DRM

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Microsoft has been receiving a lot of bad press lately surrounding their Xbox One reveal.  They weren’t exactly open with certain platform policies (such as an always-on connection, locking out used games, and blocking borrowing) which has drawn a lot of criticisms and gamers have sworn their allegiance to the PlayStation 4.  While a lot of the speculation surrounding the Xbox One has been unfounded rumors (the system won’t be “always-on” but will require a periodic connection to authenticate games; used games are a part of the business and will not be blocked, though Microsoft and publishers will now see a cut of the profits; and borrowing and lending games is still much alive), it still looks, for many consuemrs, as though Sony is the better choice.  It’s worth noting that Sony was equally elusive after the announcement of the PS4.

Little details beyond the fact that the PS4 is coming and it will, indeed, play games were confirmed.  Sony, after the conference confirmed that the system will play used games, but didn’t specify anything beyond that.  While Microsoft was a bit foolish in, well, talking and breeding speculation, Sony took what might be the smarter route by being quiet in not stating any potential scenarios.  While many believed this to be a confirmation that Sony won’t be trying to get their slice of the used game pie, it may have easily been omission to make themselves more appealing.

GameTrailers’ Geoff Keighley has stated that it’s unlikely that developers would allow one platform (Microsoft’s Xbox One) to enable them to retain some of the profits of used game sales without the other embracing such a feature.  There’s been a lot of hubbub surrounding this speculated used game DRM and fans have been crying out to Sony to not allow such a feature in the PS4.  It’s worth noting that whether or not the developers and publishers see a cut of the used game sales, the consumers will likely be completely unaffected by this implementation.  Business will carry on for us as usual–we will be able to buy, sell, lend, and borrow games as we normally would, just the workings behind the scenes would make the selling and buying of used games more ideal for the people who actually made the games.

Personally, I haven’t made any sound decisions on either console.  I know I’m likely going to end up with both of them, but there are too many uncertainties to be, well, certain.  I love gaming and I prefer doing it on a console, so I’m going to continue doing that until it is made incredibly undesirable to enjoy my games from my couch.  E3 is right around the corner, so I’m sure a lot of these rumors for both systems will be cleared up soon.

 

Source:  GameSpot

Cyberpunk 2077 to have “Multiplayer Features”

Upcoming CD Projekt Red game Cyberpunk 2077 has been confirmed to have multiplayer features.  Speaking with Eurogamer, managing director of Cd Projekt Red stated that the game will have an amazing story-based single player campaign, but the developer will “add multiplayer features.”  What those features will be was not stated.

Cyberpunk 2077 will be feature an open world for players to explore with their customizable player characters.  As the game will not feature a pre-defined player character as CD Projekt’s other franchise, The Witcher, players will be given more freedom with world exploration and story progression.  The game is expected to be released in 2015.

 

Source:  Eurogamer