I know, these next-gen systems are new and I shouldn’t complain but damn if I am anyways. I don’t know about you but I’m feeling this next-gen drought something fierce. I’ve played through Knack twice, slaughtered enough Helghast in Killzone: Shadow Fall to have at least thousands of weeping Helgan mothers in mourning and have cut a vicious path of plundering and assassinations in Black Flag where even Blackbeard is eyeing me sideways. It’s been fun. I’ve even gone back to Warner Bros. cheap cash in port of Injustice for a few rounds with Batman and friends but I’m hungry. I need something new, and it seems my PS4 is going to be starving for a bit longer.
Sure, I could pick up Tomb Raider Definitive Edition today on PS4, but asking $60 for a title I’ve already beaten with no replay value just because of some extra spit and shine is a no go for me. It’s pretty. Damn pretty, but asking $60 seems a bit steep. Now if you’ve never played the Tomb Raider reboot, I’d hop on it. It’s one of the best games of last year; but as most hardcore PC gamers know, they’ve already played the “definitive” edition for about $10 on Steam. Making the price point more than a little insulting.
So what’s on the horizon?
Well, thankfully we have Thief coming up next month, but late February seems so far away. March, which brings InFamous: Second Son and Titanfall even longer. At this point both the Xbox One and PS4 are starving for games. I guess, I have no choice but to wait a little bit longer and bide my time killing a few more Helghans and perhaps making a bit more loot in Black Flag. Hmm…. there’s always something to tackle in my massive Steam backlog… Nah! LOL
What’s keeping you occupied till the big games coming in the next few months?
2014 is in full swing, Xbox One’s and PS4’s are in gamers hands and the whole console war bitching is everywhere. Clearly, a new generation of console gaming has begun. And with any new console generation, it’s not so much about the hardware but the games. If you’re an RPG fan then 2014 is going to be a VERY good year. Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect to be playing on those next-gen systems and even a game or two to keep you more than happy on your old faithful current (last-gen?) systems.
2013 was a pretty great year for gaming and 2014 brings the promise of more amazing games, best of all, on brand new shiny consoles. As with any closing of the year, I always like to look back and reflect on some of the better gaming experiences of the year. Here’s my list in no particular order.
It’s that time of year again, the time where we spend insane amount of money on the ones we love, or at least like. Looking for some last minute gifts for the gamer or lover of all things geek in your life? Then we gotcha covered. Here’s our list on what should be under that Christmas tree.
The PS4 is out in the wild and as things happen to be in the wild, completely unpredictable. One of the PS4’s biggest new features is the ability to stream your games over Twitch and let everyone rejoice in your failure or just ask you random questions. As with all things that have to deal with the internet; things haven’t gone completely as expected, at least on Sony’s end. Due to the new PS camera and the included Playroom software, folks have discovered that they can stream themselves and their living room to the whole damn world.
At first it was a very cool and random creative use of the Playroom, and it’s found some neat success with couples like Spartan and his wife taking calls and talking about video games. Kind of like a low ass rent Wayne’s World.
But it was only a matter of time before this all went to hell. And let me tell you, it really has… and fast. Twitch streaming from your PS4 and Playroom has become the Wild West of the PS4. Go to Live from PlayStation on your dashboard and you’re just as likely to find someone streaming a game of Battlefield 4, as you are someone passed out drunk on their ass after eating a bucket of chicken or pizza. It’s entertaining as fuck, and at times kind of sad but also opens the Pandora’s Box for just about anything. Including webcam shows, if you know what I mean (Boobs!). Props have to go to Twitch’s MODS, which have been banhammering the living hell out of streams but this is just the beginning.
With streaming from PS4, Sony has created an instant community. One that is now constantly creating new content from their games but also just their living rooms. It’s exciting - and generally a pretty fantastic feature for the new console. It also comes with a dangerous side as we’re quickly seeing. The odds of this reaching Fox News and becoming a shitfest can happen at the drop of a hat.
Hopefully Twitch will be able to stem the tide of boobs that are flooding streams; and creative uses like Spartan and other gaming related shows can rise to the surface. If the internet has shown us anything is that expect the unexpected. Live from PS4 has the potential to be a wonderous creative outlet that creates new experiences or… just tits.
With the Xbox One and the PS4 out in almost all markets, we can now officially - and with some sadness amidst the joy - usher in a new ‘current gen’ of gaming consoles. For some of you it may have been a long time coming (and gosh doesn’t 2005 seem like an age ago) and for others it may be too soon, but one thing is for sure: our 360s and PS3s sure got a lot of mileage. So as we embrace these new machines, with many of us perhaps still holding off for for the time being, our trusty old beloved machines clinging on for their dear lives, it’s time to reflect on our favourite moments of the generation now either entering its twilight or, for you lucky ones out there, already passed. Here are some of mine:
Two weekends ago I was lucky enough to score tickets to one of the many Xbox One events being held around the UK, getting a chance to preview several launch titles and sample the new Xbox controller on the Shoreditch High Road. My GND colleagues have already covered the PS4, so here are my thoughts on the One ahead of its impending launch.
My verdict on the One controller is that it looks and feels like a mix between the 360 and original Xbox controller - perhaps not the best thing at all in regards to the latter for those of you who remember that monstrosity, as the smooth shapeliness of the 360 pad have this time been replaced by flat surfaces and sharpish edges. It’s clearly a consistent design decision made with the squareness of the console taken into consideration and definitely not as bad as the OXB pad, but I do prefer Microsoft’s last controller. Size-wise the pad is smaller than the 360’s where you’ll feel your supporting fingers tucking in behind the middle of it, but comes in at around the same weight.
The good news is that finally - finally! - the Xbox D-pad is actually worth using now as a viable replacement for the left stick in games that support it, and along with the face buttons they are slightly flatter, but feel good to the touch. The LB and RB buttons are basically the same, with the left and right triggers being slightly pointier on their tips and more compact overall. As can be expected, they still feel great, especially with the new rumble feedback coming from within the triggers rather than the middle of the pad. Forza 5 has taken particularly good advantage of the improved rumble so that using the triggers for brake and acceleration feel hefty as you race around each corner and accelerate into straights - as to whether FM5 is worth the upgrade, I’ll get to that later.
My main concern with the pad is with the sticks, as they are now slightly smaller than the 360’s - with the likelihood that your thumbs will sit dangling off the top of them significantly. The concave ‘cups’ for your thumbs are still there for grip, but the sticks are a lot lighter to the touch. In other words, they feel like PS3 sticks, and while Microsoft have purposefully stated that they’ve been designed that way for greater responsiveness, the same complaints I have with Sony’s previous sticks - that they feel flimsy and are actually unresponsive - are now present with the One. Not to say that I had any major control issues with them in-game, but for 360 veterans it is definitely something to get used to in the longer term.
The size of the console itself is worth talking about, too, as personally I can’t say I’m too fond of the design - it’s just a large box, essentially - and did remind me of an old top-loaded VHS player. Harsh, but that was my first instinct. Compared to the 360 Slim it may even be larger in every aspect: wider, taller, and longer…and if you choose to plunk your Kinect camera on top, the overall package is pretty hefty. Add to it the fact that MS recommends against placing the console vertically, it’s something to consider when you’re imagining the full picture of your gaming and TV setup at home.
Unfortunately my attempts at assessing the new One dashboard along with its multimedia features were met with MS representatives asking me to minimise back to the games, so I’m unable to cover that aspect of the machine.
Now onto the games…Dead Rising 3 may well be an exclusive and a big factor to consider for hardcore fans of the series, like me, when it comes down to choosing between a PS4 and an Xbone. And on the face of it, you can’t argue with what it offers: no loading screens as you traverse an open world, with three times as many zombies on screen at once compared to DR2. But these new features all come at quite a cost to performance: a frame rate that peaks at 30fps and struggled all through the demo, and all locked at 720p resolution, to boot. As far as ‘next gen’ goes, colour me unimpressed.
The new Killer Instinct was promising with great graphical detail, with it even reminding me of when I first laid eyes on Soul
Calibur 4: ultra sharp detail on both characters and background, but as to whether it will be a successful series reboot, particularly to the newer generation of gamers who didn’t get a chance to play the original and for whom the series remains a mystery, remains to be seen.
Battlefield 4 looked and played ultra smoothly as one could expect, and it’s a noticeable step up from the current gen systems. Coupled with MS’s reliable Live service, you’re going to be in with a winner here. But I must say that Forza 5 just doesn’t seem worth upgrading to a One as yet, especially given there are fewer cars AND tracks compared to 4 - with extras likely to be made available behind DLC paywalls. It certainly looks good and there’s a nice motion blur the developers seem to have added to try and set it apart from 4, but looking close up and still being able to see pixellation on, say, steering wheel and dashboard details, wasn’t too inspiring. Forza fans may be in for a slight disappointment here especially if they’re after sweeping changes to the existing formula.
Ryse is certainly pretty to look at but, at its core, seems to have very simple beat ‘em up mechanics with a fighting system that tries to emulate but simply isn’t as good as that seen in the Batman Arkham games. I’d save this one for a rental (*ahem, and just as well you CAN rent games for the One after earlier controversial ownership rights MS have since reneged on, thankfully).
As for the new Kinect, my time spent chatting with MS representatives made it sound promising with improved tracking and on-paper improvements, but I certainly didn’t see any way that it enhanced any of the games on show, with unreliable motion controls for steering in Kinect Sports Rivals making me wonder why controls weren’t simply mapped to the controller. The jury remains out on this one.
As with the launch of new consoles, my initial advice for those who haven’t pre ordered an Xbone as yet would be to exercise patience and restraint: there’s certainly potential there regardless of the recent controversy over launch titles not quite hitting the ideal dual 1080p and 60fps benchmark in performance. For those still on the fence about whether they should go for a PS4 or a One, my experience of the One didn’t leave me all that excited at all to be quite honest. If your friends are getting Battlefield 4 on a One and you’re already imagining spending hours and hours on that, go for it…same with if you’re a Dead Rising fan who doesn’t mind sub-par technical performance and absolutely need to gorge on Capcom’s latest offering. But all in all, go with your gut if you HAVE to get one right now…but I’m certainly leaning towards Sony this gen, and still waiting for MS to convince.
By: Will Ooi
The PS4 is finally here and yes, it’s the first next-gen console I’ve decided to purchase. It was a tough call at times but the strange messaging that Microsoft has had on the Xbox One; it made my call a little bit easier. I will get an Xbox One at a later time, but for now I’m slowly coming to grips with the PS4 and the first next-gen version of the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise. Off the bat I have to give huge kudos to Ubisoft for making what is easily in my opinion one of the prettiest damn next-gen games. For a title that started its life as a current gen game, it’s making quite a debut on next-gen hardware. 1080p, high-res textures, DX11 effects and more all makes Black Flag a sight to behold.
You can still tell it’s current gen roots but damn if it does a fine job of hiding it fairly well. I’m still incredibly early in the game but so far it’s managed to bring together everything I love about the Assassin’s series (action/adventure/historic settings) and blend it with my love for all things pirates. It’s also nice to see that Edward Kenway doesn’t have the personality of a wet turnip, which let’s face it - many people had a problem with Connor. To be fair to Connor, he didn’t exactly have a lovely life so you can’t blame him for not being fun loving. One very small thing I just wanted to share was an email I received after registering my copy of Black Flag into Uplay. Seeing as I’ve played just about every Ass Creed game there is - there was a nice little video from the guys at UbiSoft saying thanks for supporting the series. It’s a small thing but made me smile. Here’s the video below. If you’re a fan of the AC franchise and are even mildly interested in another go through the Animus, I highly suggest giving it a go. Black Flag so far takes some risks with the franchise but also keeps a lot of the things that AC fans love. Sadly, one of them is not Ezio.
We’re all now at the cusp of a new console generation. It’s exciting, wallet crushing but more than anything else - about damn time. We’ve been living with the PS3 and Xbox 360 for about 8 years, and in those 8 years we’ve seen some amazing games but these systems are running out of steam and we need more. Much more. The PS4 and Xbox One are launching this month worldwide. Well, at least the PS4 is launching worldwide. With a new system comes some preparations and we’re here to help get you ready to kick some next-gen ass.
Sony’s PlayStation Vita by all accounts is a fantastic piece of hardware, something I’m currently finding out. Myself, like many of you, have been reading various forums and the roaring media news of the Vita’s untimely demise. It’s a great piece of kit with no software and no place to go. And to be honest, I believed that was the case as well. But the past few months Sony has slowly been turning that Titanic around and it looks like the Vita, much like its namesake still has some life in it.
I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of handhelds. I prefer to do my gaming on a PC or in front of my big screen TV with a controller in hand. While I do own a 3DS, I hardly touch the thing. Granted; games like Luigi’s Mansion really do tickle my fancy. None the less, with my PS3 becoming slowly a fading relic with the approaching next-generation and backward compatibility becoming a thing of the past, I figured I’d dive in head first into the whole Sony ecosystem (God I hate using that buzzword).
I’m getting a PS4 day one - There’s no question about that. I’m going ‘balls deep’ as a buddy of mine is prone to saying. PS4, PS4 Eye and 5 launch games is a big investment and well, with second screen becoming a big thing for all three next-gen systems (Yes, the Wii U is next-gen) I figured it was time to get a Vita to be best buds with the approaching PS4.
So I packed up my PS3, 5 games and headed off to my local GameStop to peddle that shit off for store credit. I came away paying slightly more than $60 for a Walking Dead PS Vita bundle and an 8GB memory stick. I won’t even get into a rant about the pricing scheme for those damn things as you’ve heard more than enough complaints about it - and rightly so.
After a 20 minute setup process and downloading a few games like Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss, I’ve come away impressed with the hardware. The Vita is a solid piece of electronics with a gorgeous OLED screen, which is sadly not in the new revision that Sony is hocking with the PS Vita 2000.
Gravity Rush is easily the best game I’ve sampled so far. It’s the kind of software that uses all of the Vita’s impressive hardware and touchscreen functionality in an original new IP exclusively for the platform. Uncharted on the other hand is well… Uncharted. Although not as good as Naughty Dog’s entries in the franchise. It does do a good job of giving the Uncharted experience; it just feels like a needless cash-in to try and sell the system on its visual horse power.
It’s truly what the Vita is promising in the future that excites me most. Playing games like Deep Down on a second screen while in bed or away from home streaming is a very seductive offering. The Vita’s close connection with the PS4 and flood of new Vita content coming from indie studios like Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter, and Japanese third party exclusive games like Phantasy Star Nova are the biggest selling points for the little system.
It’s great to see that Sony is strongly committed to the Vita for the long haul, and it’s clear that it’s only in the next 6-9 months that we’re going to begin to really see Sony’s vision for the PS4 and Vita power combo. The idea of interacting with friends all on a unified system, local and Wi-Fi game streaming of PS4 and soon PS3 and PS2 games are all part of an incredibly ambitious future for the Vita. Let’s hope that Sony doesn’t let what is a fantastic piece of hardware down.
With the surge of casino’s, bingo sites and pretty much every other type of game now being available on mobile – the question is what will this do to console gamers? Will it make a difference to them? To be honest we think it probably will. Data has been collected and the statistics show that 46% of people who took part in the survey’s stated that they preferred to play games on their mobile at home as opposed to on their console. 26% of the participants stated that they played on console’s in their home and only 23% stated they played computer games on their PC.
There were 21% of participants who were happy to admit that they spend at least an hour each day playing mobile games and 24% of people admitted they spent over an hour a day playing on their consoles. 10 years ago perhaps those stats would be very different but technology has advanced so quickly.
Big brands such as Microsoft and Nintendo could be in trouble if they don’t come up with a new kind of strategy to appeal to users who would now rather to play via their mobile or tablet device as sales could definitely dwindle. It is completely understandable that people would now rather do this if they can as it’s much more convenient – even if you are at home. Who wants to go to all the effort of setting up and switching on your PS3 when you have your mobile phone full of handy little apps at your disposal that can be accessible on just one touch!
There are other additional advantages to gaming via your mobile as opposed to via your console especially for those of you who are a fan of bingo or casino’s. You can play for real money which is good if you fancy bagging some extra cash, not to mention take part in regularly updated offers and promotions which isn’t something you would get from anything available on your Xbox one. You will also find that there can be a large game selection under one app – so you won’t ever be bored as there will be lots to choose from. Of course another thing to take into consideration is the fact that mobile apps can be much less expensive than purchasing console games and have the same or more level of enjoyment – in fact a lot of them are free. You also don’t need to worry about the constant upgrades in console’s – as apps are compatible with most hand held device’s. Visit this link to see some of the top casino apps.
Some of the bigger brands are more than aware there are huge mobile casino advantages to their players and it will soon be a must have feature for operators. With the online gambling world being quick to make their adjustments to satisfy customers – what will console and game manufacturers do next? Perhaps they could develop games that are available via iPhone or Androids and focus more on those – but we are pretty sure they won’t get too far with simply offering more and more console’s and expensive games in this competitive industry.
It was an almost endless toxic wasteland of strife, hardship, and disappointment, where one could wander around literally for hours and only take away from it even more negativity and gloom…and this was just the reception from Fallout fan sites and forums when Fallout 3 finally saw the light of day - or, rather, when it rose from the nuclear ashes of development hell.
You may find it surprising to hear that the average gamer is not a 12 year old child with nothing better to do that sitting at home playing video games. After a recent study, it was actually found that the standard game is a 35-year-old with a job and a family. It was also found that the average gamer takes about a month to complete a game.
One reason why older gamers make up a larger proportion of the gaming population is that maintaining an active hobby can be quite costly. With consoles costing up to £400 and games now costing up to £50 before making all the in-game purchases you are expected to make, it often stretches a little further than pocket money can cover.
The recent study was commissioned by Pixwoo, who are a new social gaming company based in the US. The network, who is currently pushing their services in the UK, took a closer look into gamers, mainly concerning their age, relationships and gender. Besides countering the stereotype of a gamer being a child sitting in their bedroom after school, it was found that gamers were just as likely to be female.
The even gender spread is likely to have been helped by the fact that a lot of women have begun playing online bingo over the past half-decade or so. Some of these female gamers, who often use PayPal as a method of transaction, spend more time playing games than many school children. Contributing to the growth in online bingo is that with the rise of PayPal Bingo, there is a larger selection of safe bingo sites, meaning that many more people feel secure gaming in this way.
Online bingo is still on the rise, powered further by the rise in mobile gaming and this could offset the ‘stereotypical’ games. Soon, the average gamer may be more likely to be female and even older than 35.
By: Jonathan Carr