Posts Tagged ‘console’

E3 2016 – My Highlights (Xbox)

July 2, 2016

Well another E3 has passed, people have been wetting themselves with excitement.  Amongst all of the hype and bling here are the few things I’ve taken away from the event focusing on the Xbox presentation:

Battlefield 1 is looking better and better with each trailer, this is one game on my definite buy list for the year.  I am hoping this may be the year BF kills Call of Duty which has grown more stale and less fun each year since it’s glory days.bf1

Titanfall 2 – This looks awesome and with free DLC maps this is sure to be a hit.

Dead Rising 4 is coming, I liked the original but this probably won’t be a purchase for me.

Forza Horizon 3 – This looks amazing, another game I would like to purchase.  I just hope the music soundtrack falls more in line with FH1 than 2 as  that was a great soundtrack.

ID@Xbox – Always like to see what comes from here but there is a lot of crap to  sort through to find the gems.  However ‘We Happy Few’ really has taken my interest, this game looks very creepy but exciting.

xbox-one-sXbox One S – Don’t get me wrong, this looks great and I love the fact the size has been reduced and the power pack is in built.  I however have very little interest in 4K TV at the moment so it’s not for me, although I do know many people foaming at the mouth in anticipation of it’s release.

Project Scorpio – This was the big news for me, what is going to be the next generation of Xbox console for Microsoft and boy have they made it powerful.  They clearly stated it would not be the death of the Xbox One but Iscorpio-2 assume it will be purely backwards compatible with games as opposed to being able to play Xbox one players with better graphics.  The cost is an unknown at this stage and also it makes me wonder if this will just push Sony to delay their next console until the can make it better, however history has shown (as with the Xbox 360) that first out of the gate can gain a massive market advantage, so here’s hoping.

 

 

 

Microsoft – Opening Up The Gaming Network

March 24, 2016

microsoftIn the last few weeks MS has announced that it will open up it’s gaming network to other platforms, with a stealthy nod towards Sony and the PS4.

This would mean that subject to a game developer deciding to go down this route, you would be able to play say a PC gamer from your Xbox One.  Also in what was thought to be a ‘never going to happen’ scenario there is the possibility to allow Xbox One gamers to play PS4 owners, that is if Sony decided to take up this offer from MS.
xbox-live-1

I am not a tecnical guru and my knowledge is limited however I have a number of concerns with this proposal which I will detail below:

PC gamers can have an advantage through mods;
PC gamers have always been known to mod games with some even creating whole new games based upon an original game’s engine (DayZ for instance).  However the issue comes with games such as first person shooters as the PC world is plagued by servers full of PC gamers who have modded their game with things such as aim bots, disruptors to others connections, etc.  It doesn’t appear as if this issue has ever been fully resolved on the PC so how do MS propse they will prevent this on the open network?

Varying performance of platforms causing an unfair advantage.
Even if the PC gamer is more saintly than mother Teresa they may have an advantage simply by the speed their rig can display images on screen.  For example lets take the fast paced world of Call of Duty.  If a PC gamer has a top of the range rig, they may see an enemy just a split second sooner thus giving them  the upper hand.  Again how do MS propose to prevent this, or is this down to the game developers?

Is it opening the Xbox world up to more risks of attack?
As we have seen over recent years Xbox Live has probably been the most secure of the gaming networks, however even that has come under attack a few times.  Will opening up the network perhaps leave us Xbox gamers open to more risk, such as when the PSN network gets attacked yet again.  Does it make it easier for attackers to carry out a multi network hit at the same time?
psn-logo

Finally do we want to play with other networks in the first place?
It may be just my personal opinion but I feel there is a subtle difference between the type of Xbox and Playstation gamer, I feel that the Playstation gamers particularly on Call of Duty are often younger and more vocal (what I call squeakers).   As someone in my 30s I don’t want to have to mute half a lobby just because the network has been opened up.

MS has already mentioned that cross network play will be optional to the user, so you will be able to specify that you only want to play with Xbox gamers, however some of the above risks would still be applicable.

I am sure this is not a decision MS has taken lightly and I am sure in time they will publiclly address these and many other concerns, but for the time being it just makes me a little nervous.

The Gaming Addictive Personality

May 16, 2015

addictI have been a gamer for many years, spending much of my teenage years piling money into my gaming hobby.

As I have grown older, and responsibilities have grown my spending has reduced drastically but there is still always the desire to get the latest games.  I am not alone in this and I am sure many gamers would agree.

No matter how many barely played games you have sitting on your console shelf/hard drive there you find yourself looking for the next game to buy.  This can lead to serious problems if you have a weak mind-set.

There are however alternatives to spending your life away on gaming:

Deals, if you spend just a little time searching you can quite easily find large discounts on most games, it just takes a little time and effort.  You can easily get discounted credit from sites such as www.cdkeys.com (e.g.. £50 Xbox credit for around £41).

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I however have found the solution that meets my needs in Boomerang game rentals http://www.boomerangrentals.co.uk/.  The majority of games I play I will get tired of in a very short space of time, there are only a few that I come back to time and time again so rentals are a great solution to my desire for the latest releases.  Boomerang offer various packages and I currently have the Priority 2 package, this gives me access to latest releases and I can have two games at a time.

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Whether it be trying out 3DS games or getting the latest Xbox One releases I have found the service excellent. 

Some people have had issues with fraud on their accounts in recent months which many have blamed on Boomerang.  Boomerang did handle these accusations in a very poor manner, despite the fault lying with a 3rd party vendor they were very lacking in their responses to queries and still have not admitted any responsibility, although in my opinion this is more the responsibility of the 3rd party vendor to make customers aware, but either way no one had given a conclusive message to the customers.

I myself was not victim to any money loss as my bank’s fraud systems stopped any transactions leaving my account however I am aware of people I play games with having lost £1000 from their account for a period before the bank would refund it which is a horrible situation to be in when you have bills to pay and mouth’s to feed.

However personally I cannot fault the service I have received from Boomerang, from their speedy responses on Twitter to queries to sending me games on day of release, they have saved my bank account and my sanity and I would highly recommend them to anyone, who like me has a burning desire to play new games and is always looking for their next fix! 

If anyone wants to join Boomerang please let me know via twitter @SXFoxstar as any recommendations I make help build up loyalty points!

Kinect-less Xbox One–Issues, Issues, Issues

May 17, 2014

xb1

This week Microsoft announced they would be releasing a Kinect free Xbox One.  This has been met with great internet back lash.

This is showing yet again Microsoft are doing yet another u-turn on an executive decision.  My problem with this decision however is just how much of a U-turn this is.

Back last year when the Xbox One was near release, Microsoft were going on and on about how this is the future of gaming, how that by supplying every Xbox One owner with a Kinect sensor that developers will be utilising this amazing piece of tech.

6 months on and we have just a handful of games utilising the tech and most of these aren’t great.  Kinect sports is ok and a vast improvement on the previous Kinect Sports games but there were still things lacking, that I believe with time and research could be improved.

Kinect2

However now that gamers will be able to buy the Xbox One without the Kinect the incentive for developers to utilise this has been removed.  I feel this was one of the main reasons the Kinect v1 wasn’t very successful or improved over it’s short life span.

Whilst I am not a massive fan of the Kinect games, it did offer some nice features to games, for instance in Battlefield 4, the leaning function felt very intuitive (you leaned on you chair, the first person view leaned).  The voice commands were also very good, although this was not so much of a draw for me as I play in the same room as my wife watching TV so I don’t really get to utilise this feature often.

phil sPhil Spencer is still saying that developers will utilise the tech but really it just means that any developer wanting to use the tech will also have to come up with a non Kinect alternative for the new owners.

I do understand why they have done it as they are falling way behind the PS4 sales, however by removing the Kinect I feel that they are not offering anything different to the PS4, other than a same priced, less powerful machine, so i don’t understand how that will draw people in.

Whilst it is refreshing to see a company listen to feedback and make major changes, it does also put the company in a bad light and make it hard to trust anything they say.  When the console was launched last year they said the Kinect was an integral piece of equipment and it was essential to the consoles success.  6 months later and apparently it is not essential and you don’t really need it.

So whilst they cannot please everyone, they should at least stop the rubbish they are coming out with regarding developers still wanting to use the Kinect when there has been little evidence of this before it was no longer a requirement for the console.

What will happen, who knows, if it does draw new crowds in then great, I am an Xbox gamer through and through and anything that prolongs the console’s life is fine by me, but please just stop the bs declarations Microsoft!

Gaming An Outlet Not Just For The Geeks!

April 3, 2014

For years the gamer has been seen as the geek, the young men who sit at home alone playing on their consoles until the early hours of the morning.  Often depicted as an overweight spotty kid with no friends.

geeky

Over the last couple of decades gaming has become more socially acceptable with console’s such as the Wii enabling older people previously unable to understand the complex control systems to play with their families.  Last year games exceeded film revenues, evidence that gaming had become more mainstream.

However there is still an essence of the stigma of gaming that is prevalent still today.  Whilst I understand where some of the gamer stereo-types come from, it at times it can be a little ignorant.

I by no means expect to change many people’s minds,  however I wanted to highlight what I find so appealing about gaming in general and why I can easily waste a good few hours at the weekend on my console without worrying what people may think.

Firstly I’d like to make the point that gaming is now very social, yes you can still play single player games, but more often than not games today contain multi-player elements.  Yes you can find yourself in a lobby of young, idiots or aggressive hormone driven teenagers but I find the ability to simply mute this small faction means they have little impact on me.

For me what makes gaming so appealing is the ability to get lost in a game, completely forgetting any stresses of the outside world, much like a book or a film can do but there is just more interaction in gaming.  For instance I can come home from a hard day at work, angryperhaps someone has wound me up, simply switch my console on and lose myself in a Premiership football match, go to war against others joined by a band of teammates trying to become the leaders of the lobby.  It is just this variation and removal from the trials of everyday life that can bring so much fun.

Don’t get me wrong, this does need to be balanced with everyday life, we still need to get exercise, earn a living and socialise in face to face situations, but when there is not enough time for that type of socialising, an hour or two playing a game can give you that stress relief you need.

I have recently joined a gaming forum (Frugal Gaming) which I originally just joined for the cheap game listings and email offers, however this has since given me even more opportunity to meet like minded people for game nights, which makes the multiplayer games even more fun.

Whether you have never played games before, are a casual gamer or you spend a lot of your time playing games, don’t view these ‘gamers’ with any misconception.  They are just like you, they just have another outlet for all the stress of daily life.

Gaming, Facebook and Twitter – Going Cold Turkey! (1 Week Offline) – Day 5

June 29, 2013

Day 5

quit-chewing-tobacco-cold-turkey

Well it has been a pretty uneventful week off of the Xbox.  No irritation, no getting moody, which was a surprise.  There have been moments of slight boredom but I have always quickly found something to occupy my time.

Despite having to correct a couple of my friends and family that despite some apps and this blog auto posting to Facebook, I haven’t actually been on Facebook.

Initially the hardest part from this week off was surprisingly not posting to Facebook and Twitter, there were times I would normally reach for my mobile to post, such as when bored on my commute to work but I quickly realised that by logging out of both apps it made it much easier to realise what I was doing and quickly shut it back down again.

Now my time off of Xbox had not been hard at all, there have of course been times where I have thought I would fancy a quick game of Call of Duty but I have quickly found something else to do instead.  I have managed to finish the book I had only just started a month ago which I really enjoyed and I have also started the fourth book in a series I have been reading over the past year which I am really enjoying.

So this week, so far has not been too hard at all, today being Saturday and tomorrow will be the real test as I am not working but I am not worried.  I have found that what originally prompted me to start this week off has actually improved.  I was finding that even when not playing I was thinking about playing or posting videos to YouTube of my gameplay.  This over the course of the week has diminished, it hasn’t gone completely (I am not expecting miracles) but it has stopped distracting me from more important things in my life.

So I have two and a half days to go, it has been a revealing week and I am pleased I took the decision to do this as I have benefitted from it, also through pure luck my self-imposed ban does end the day before the new Call of Duty map packs are released and the new free game is released on Xbox Live but both of these are pure coincidence (to back this up I have yet to play the last free game they released).

I think I will do one more post on this topic when the ban is lifted unless of course anything major happens over this weekend, but I seriously doubt there will be anything to report.

Thanks for reading and please follow if you have enjoyed any of my posts!

Next Gen Consoles – Thoughts So Far – Part1

May 24, 2013

xbox one vs ps4

Let me start this post by making the statement, I am currently an Xbox360 user.

I have not played on a PS3 but many of my friends own one and in my opinion there is little difference between the consoles bar the PS3 Blu-Ray.  There will always be the fanboy wars over which is best but in general it is just down to personal preference.  I chose Xbox360 after owning a PS1 and PS2 as it was cheaper.  I also prefer the controller as I am not having to stretch my left thumb to the analogue stick, but as I stated before, this is just my personal preference.

Over the past couple of months both Sony and Microsoft have made major announcements about their next gen consoles, both presentations (as I presume they planned) presented more questions than answers.

Now both consoles have very similar specs and the varying combinations of RAM type and CPU/APU pretty much makes it a level playing field as far as you can tell at this stage.  The real test will come when the consoles are in the users hands, or more importantly the independent reviewers hands.

However I am guessing the actual games are going to be very similar, I cannot see publishers spending huge amounts of time making one version of a game significantly better than another.  There are of course the exclusives but it really depends on the type of games you are into.  Xbox may have the advantage of being more similar to a PC operating system and therefore easier to port from PC (which most developers use) to Xbox.  But this probably won’t have any impact as they rarely release a game on one console before the others.

Overall I was more impressed with the Xbox One presentation, from the limited game snippets we saw, there does not appear to be much difference between the two consoles when  it comes to gaming, yes this is what the main purpose of the console is for despite all of the new functionality.  Partly due to the similar specs and partly because we cannot assume anything we have seen is genuine, often previews are pre-rendered making them look even better than they actually are.

microsoft-xbox-one

The Xbox presentation was better for me purely because  they showed the improvements from current gen and also they numerous new features.  Sony however spent much time talking about the social side of the system, I have never found the need to let a friend take over a game for me as once completed I cannot say that I completed it if a friend had to help me.  Sony spent much of their focus  talking about the social aspects and with the (in my opinion) fatal marketing error of only showing the controller,  I completely lost interest.

That is not to say I was amazed by the Xbox presentation, whilst I must admit I probably am an Xbox fanboy, I did find some of the presentation a little underwhelming.  For example, Kinect 2.0, whilst much improved on the current system, I rarely get the chance to use it as you cannot have other things going on in the room or others talking whilst you use it, therefore with my current setup I only really get to use it whilst my wife and I watch films or when she is not in the room.  This leads on to the new TV functionality, whilst it is pretty amazing, I cannot imagine many households where the Xbox would be connected to the main TV.  If you are a single person living alone then this functionality is pretty impressive however many families, couples would have the Xbox connected to a different TV to allow others to watch TV whilst others play games.  Therefore impressive but not a major consideration for someone like myself.

Also the ability to use multiple applications together, again impressive but just how much would we use it?  I am not so sure as I very rarely use internet explorer on my Xbox as it just isn’t as user-friendly as on my laptop.  However the ability to leave a game and come back to where you left off is pretty cool, especially if the speed of switching is as impressive as the presentation.

Dual-Shock-4_contentfullwidthThere are still a number of ongoing debates regarding pre-owned games, Xbox has given some information none of which is particularly clear, however it does seem that games will have to be installed (as currently on PS3) and each game will be registered to a user profile, so no lending games to your friends without a fee.  This is however all guess work and without Sony making any announcements yet I am sure it is a strategic waiting game between both companies as to exactly what will happen as whichever makes a wrong move will knock their own market share to disastrous levels.

No prices or release dates have been announced so it is now just a waiting game whilst we sift through the numerous rumours and snippets of information out there.  Roll on E3 where hopefully many of the outstanding questions will be answered, although I am not holding my breath!

UPDATE 25th May 2013
Since publishing my post yesterday I have watched Woody’s Gamertag on YouTube who raised some more concerns. Will our existing accessories work on the new console? Allegedly the Xbox has a new connection on the controller so does this mean our headsets will need to be replaced? I have a new set of Turtle Beach XP 500s and I can’t afford to replace these yet again! I am hoping that they bring out a new connector which would be far cheaper than a completely new headset. The theory behind this change is so Microsoft can take a cut of any accessories for the new Xbox as the connection is proprietary to them. Alternatively they may be looking to only allow some companies to produce items for the console which wouldn’t be good news for consumers as competition would be all but eliminated.

Another concern raised in the video was privacy. If the console can be always online could hackers switch on the Kinect’s camera without your knowledge? I am sure these questions will be answered in time but for now it is definitely food for thought!

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Weapon Excel Stats Sheet

November 30, 2011


This is a sortable, colour coded excel spreadsheet for CODMW3 that makes finding your ideal Primary/Secondary weapon a whole lot easier.

Includes numerous stats colour coded for the best one in each category.  Excel 2007 onwards is required for the colour coding.

CODMW3 Weapon Stats Spreadsheet

The Next Gen Consoles – The Good The Bad and The Fun!

October 1, 2008

I have recently acquired an Xbox 360 console, which made me realise that my gadget addiction is really quite bad as bar the PS3, I have owned at some point all of the current generation of consoles!

I am by no means a rich man so I have always sold on the console before getting the next one.  Below I list my personal opinions on each of the devices from the handhelds to the consoles.

I have always been a PC game fan, mainly as my parents never allowed me to get a games console as they wanted it to be educational as well as fun.  Maybe it was this ban that made me the addict I am today.  I have to admit upon analysing the fact that I have owned most of the latest generation of consoles that I must be easily bored, quickly losing interest with each console and moving on to the next.  I have however owned each of them for a fairly long time which I feel gives me a good grounding for commenting on the positives and negatives.

The first of the latest consoles I owned was the Sony PSP.  This was a fairly pricey machine, but it was upon seeing a friend play Virtua Tennis on it that I was hooked and had to have one.  Much eBay selling later I had enough cash to buy one.

The PSP is an amazing piece of kit, with video, games and music however there were a number of issues I had with the device.  Firstly the price, for a handheld console it was very pricey (at the time £180).  My second issue was that for a handheld console it was pretty big.  However, the device had an excellent screen, plush colours, film and games looked realy good and the games were as good, if not better than the actual PS2 console.  The reason however that I decided a year later to get rid of the machine was just that the machine didn’t have the games to make it a great device.  This may have since changed but at the time I felt that the games whilst stunning, were not much fun.

My next acquisition was the Nintendo DS, after selling my PSP this was  gaming device that was completely different.  The graphics are no where near as good as the PSP but the games I felt were just a lot more fun.  The device was also a lot cheaper at nearly half the price.  So on a comparison between these two devices you have to consider what you want from the machine;

If you want an MP3 player, video player and amazing graphics then obviously the PSP is for you, but just watch out for the price tag.  However if you want a device purely for games (and now training games) then the DS is definitely a cheaper and more fun option.

I then on the basis of how fun the DS was and from much recommendation from work mates purchased a Nintendo Wii.  This is an amazing piece of kit and in comparison at the time, a lot cheaper.  This has since changed but I will mention that later.  Nintendo in the latest generation of console went for innovative instead of the costly high powered option which currently appears to have been a wise decision.  Whlst not as powerful, I find the Wii has very good graphics and the games are amazing fun.  I would however state that I have found this machine only coming out when friends are over.  I am not entirely sure of my reasons but as a one player machine I just do not find it a great deal of fun and the controller is somewhat of a novelty when playing serious games.  As a party device tough this is by far the best machine I could recommend.  Family and friends who were never, or would never have considered themselves to be gamers really found the device fun, and any machine that can get my Dad wanting to play to all hours on Christmas day must be something special.  With four controllers it is a huge amount of fun, seeing friends and family frantically pointing and shaking their controllers is a site to behold.  As I said though as a one player machine I feel you would soon lose interest, as I did and therefore you will need to have friends over often or a partner to get the full use out of it.  The wii also has the great download system so you can download games from your childhood which are still amazingly fun today.

The final console I have owned is the Xbox360.  Now this machine never really appealed to me in the early days as I had a PC for gaming and the price tag was just too much for me to consider.  This however has changed, with the price dropping for the Arcade version to £129 it started to become a possibilty for me.  Whilst I cannot compare to the PS3 I can only say that the few friends I know who have played both state that the PS3 is far too over priced and isn’t a lot better.  The main incentive for me to buy this machine was the fact I was selling my pc, I was no longer able to play Fifa and so wanted a system to play PC equivalent graphics.  So with the price drop I quickly shifted some items on eBay and raised the cash for the console.  Now I have only owned this machine for a week but I can give the following opinion.  This is a gamers machine, not really a social machine for when friends come over but it does have a lot of positives.  Firstly this machine has HD graphics, you will need an HD TV to benefit from this but it needs to be seen to be believed.  Games such as Grand Theft Auto are absolutely amazing, to have seen every evolution of this series from the first jump from 2D to 3D to the latest incarnation is amazing.  This game is so rich in detail, from the graphics to the gameplay, it has to be seen to be believed.

There are however some negatives to the Xbox, firstly is the Microsoft online system Xbox Live, whilst I have heard many great things about the service my issue is why should I have to pay for an online service to be able to play my friends when Nintendo and PC games provide this for free?  So paying to play your mates seems a bit expensive to me.  Another downfall to this service is whilst it provides the ability to download demos and previews and also full games, the Arcade version of the console does not have a hard drive and so you do not have the space to save any downloads.  Therefore if you have the Arcade version you will be paying £40 a year just to be able to play other people online which is too much.

Anyway, from what I have seen so far from this machine I am very impressed and hope to continue to be impressed.

 

To summarise I would say each of the machines are for the following people:

PSP – People who travel a lot, want games, music and video and also have a big wallet.

DS – For people who travel a lot and just want something fun to play as they travel, with a slightly smaller wallet.

Wii – For people who regularly enjoy having friends over for laughs on a whole new control system.

Xbox360- For the serious gamer, who appreciates the level of detail and style this machine provides (watch out for the online cost though).