Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is Virtual Reality The Next Step In Gaming Technology?

As many of us gamers are well aware of, graphics are getting exceedingly better as our game systems progress. Remember when we saw Crash Bandicoot for the first time and though "Holy crap! This looks awesome!". Then we saw "Mercenaries" or some other PS2 game and thought the same thing. Then came the PS3's graphics. We saw "Resistance: Fall of Man" and thought "Sweet mother of yes, this is incredible!". "The Last Of Us" came out towards the end of the PS3's life cycle and everyone drooled at how incredible it looked. Around this time, we started seeing a few new "devices" that might take their place next to our game consoles. Tech such as the Oculus Rift VR headset. That takes us now to the PS4 and we all can see that the graphics are getting scarily close to photorealism, and I'm pretty stoked on that.

Graphics will continue to get better and more fluid as time goes and technology advances, but with that advancement in gaming tech, a question arises: Are we going to see VR headsets coming to our current gen consoles?

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Will PlayStation 4 Bring VR To Consoles



We've seen a few different immersive techniques performed by our boys at Sony Entertainment. Remember the EyeToy? Not many people took a hold of it, but the few that did started to play with their first versions of augmented reality games. Now the new PS Eye for the PS4 is able to give you the same thing while incorporating the use of the new Dualshock 4 controller. Everything from the touchpad, to the vibrating motors in the controller are used in conjunction of the Eye to make the augmented reality a bit more believable. That being said, they're now also developing something a bit different with their own VR headset, codenamed Project Morpheus. There isn't too much detail on the project as of yet, but it will be used for "social screen" gaming. Essentially, it will work with companion apps so that whatever the person wearing the headset sees, so too will the people running the app see. Should the person be playing in a haunted house scenario, the everyone will be able to see what's inside.



The Oculus Rift



If you've not heard about the Oculus Rift as of yet, you may be living under a rock. They're still very much in development, but definitely towards the later stages. Instead of being used mainly for console gaming, this company is going for more mobile gaming (possibly due to the company being bought by social network Facebook). They're still sending out DK's to specific developers but also have DK's ready for just about any publisher or developer who wants to take it for a spin. They've made heavy improvements to their older model. They're now making an Oculus Home and Oculus Cinema to go along with the new device. Oculus Home will be a place to download and start new VR content, much like the PS3 Xross Media Bar. Oculus Cinema is basically a movie theater for your face where you can watch whichever 2D or 3D movies you have stored.



SEE ALSO: Samsung Is Working On Wi-Fi That Is Faster Than You Even Thought Possible


Is It Practical?


The thought of having VR gaming is nothing short of titillating. The idea of being able to place a headset on your noggin, and physically turning your head to look around in the game world would be a truly incredible, almost scary, experience. The only problem is that with today's technology, we are still a bit behind in what we could actually accomplish. To say that we are ready for VR technology for our gaming consoles might be a stretch. Technologically wise, we're not there...yet. In our gaming hearts and minds, we've been ready since we've seen them shown on cartoons and movies that showcase them. It still might be a while till we see games through a headset instead of a TV Screen though.

Needless to say, I think we will be seeing photo-realistic graphics before we see VR headset technology. There is just a lot more to take into consideration when dealing with VR technology, especially since they cater to the physical motion of the user. We're a lot closer to "movie-quality" graphics than we are VR gaming. It's sad but true.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Destiny Is A Living Game That Expands Over Time

Destiny is one of the most ambitious games in recent memory. The game itself is a first-person shooter (FPS) and also a massive multiplayer online (MMO) game with role-playing game (RPG) elements. Acronyms aside the game is one of the first of its kind to come to consoles. MMOs have traditionally been a PC only venture but developer Bungie is looking to expand that market to more gamers across the globe.

When you first boot up Destiny and jump into playing, the game feels familiar. It plays like almost every other FPS you've ever come across in the past. You have a tutorial (this time in the form of Peter Dinklage's "Ghost" leading you through) that familiarizes you with all the basic mechanics of your character. You learn to run, jump,. crouch, shoot, etc... and you are entirely on your own. It isn't until you complete the first mission that you see the MMO elements come into play. At the central hub of the game, known as The Tower, players can interact with other gamers in a living game world, allowing you to join up and go on missions together or jump into the PvP (MMO slang for multiplayer) matchmaking system.

Should you decide to play the game solo you will probably think that Destiny is just like every other FPS on the market. However, Executive Producer of the game Patrick O'Kelley believes that the game doesn't truly open up until the player reaches their character's level cap of 20. Once this occurs, O'Kelley says players will begin to experience the endgame missions and objectives that really transform Destiny and set it apart.

"I think what players will find is that the game unfolds and transforms over time," O'Kelley reported to Xbox Wire in a recent interview. "In the first hour, it might feel like a familiar shooter. Then, players will start to see other players in the world. They will undertake cooperative and competitive activities without really worrying about it. Or they might keep on a solo journey but partake in public events. Eventually, they'll go to the Tower and learn some of the mechanics to improve their character. They'll make decisions about character customization and ability customization."

O'Kelley bills the game as an evolving experience and a game that requires you to invest a fair amount of time into to really sink in. In addition to that, O'Kelley also promises that gamers who take the time to really explore the game and build their characters will be rewarded with a sense of community and progression.


"Twenty hours in, I think that players will find that they've evolved to playing a whole different kind of game than the shooter that started them off," O'Kelley adds. "They'll find that they're immersed in a different world, and are deep into the history of their characters. They'll have built a community of other players. And without realizing it, they'll have learned some sophisticated mechanics that enable them to gear up and dive into a six-player cooperative raid, in pursuit of high-level exotic weapons and armor."

Destiny is definitely an ambitious game and one that is a staple for the newest generation of gaming consoles. A genre that was restricted to PC gamers has now been opened up and let loose on the console gaming community so it is natural to see some people have some reservations. However, should Bungie keep up with the game and keep the content coming in fresh and exciting then we may just be seeing the future of console gaming with Destiny.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Gold Limited Edition MSI GS60 Gaming Laptops

There have been plenty of smartphone companies that have put out gold versions of their devices. So, who wouldn't want a gold gaming laptop? Everyone wants a gold gaming laptop. MSI has gone ahead and ditched the sleek black aluminum design of the GS60 Ghost and the GS60 Ghost Pro 3K and completely blinged out the chassis. These are limited in quantity and will only be sold on Newegg.com.

The 15.35 x 10.47 x 0.78-inch Ghost and Ghost Pro come with incredible Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M graphics. The Ghost has a 2.4-GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ CPU, 12GB of RAM, a 1TB 7,200 RPM hard drive and only weighs 4 pounds.

The Ghost Pro has the same dimensions as the regular Ghost. It has a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM and two different 128GB SSDs in RAID 0 configuration with a 1TB 7,200 RPM hard drive. The Ghost Pro 3K edition also has a 2880 x 1620 resolution, which is really similar to the popular retina displays from Apple.

There are also a ton of different ports on these for just about anything. They each have 3 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, a mini DisplayPort, Gigabyte Ethernet, a 3-in-1 card reader, a jack for headphones, and a jack for a mic. Both versions of the laptop also have SteelSeries keyboards with customizable lighting and programmable keys.

These are pretty fantastic gaming machines. The fact that they are gold probably won't help you out that much in the online gaming world, but it is definitely a self esteem booster. It's also probably pretty intimidating for anyone who sees it in person.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Are You Ready To Face Your "Destiny", Or Just Go Back To The "Borderlands"?

No matter how old I get, I know for a fact that I will always be a gamer deep down inside. It's just who I am now. I'm extremely passionate about it, and like most gamers, I'm constantly demanding something new to catch my attention. The release of the PS4 and Xbox One saw very few title releases, but then again, developers didn't have access to the new technology to adequately make things happen quickly enough. That's why most of the games that we've seen have been a bit... lacking. The games will only get better from now on, but the ideas might still be borrowing. What I mean by that is that games might be losing a bit of their originality. The stories may be different. The worlds may be different. The guns may even be "different". That doesn't mean that the overall mechanics and ideas of the games have changed. One such game that might be suffering from this is the new game Destiny. The concept is almost like that of the popular Borderlands franchise.

Destiny
This is a game that ALL gamers should be familiar with at this point. The Beta has just recently been released and you better believe that all of the game forums like Gamespot and IGN have already been given access so their employees can try it out. The idea of having a game with a gun upgrade system like this just means that shooter fans will be in heaven. The game is on a huge version of Earth that has been taken over by different alien races and factions. The player has to help protect the last human city on Earth, all while surviving and growing the skills of their character. They pick the class and skill sets, and as I said earlier, upgrade their guns in many different ways. The other bonus? It's on the next gen consoles! You can still play on the last gen PS3 and Xbox 360's. That's fine. But don't you want to look at the better graphics?




Borderlands
Borderlands is one of my all time favorite games. You play as one of four different characters, each possessing their own set of skills and special abilities. The game advertises "bazillions" of guns, and boy do they deliver! The guns seem to be endless and different in so many ways, not to mention how the brands of the guns play a big role in how much damage, fire rate, accuracy, and more that the gun puts out. The game is set on the planet of Pandora and lets the player go out as a mercenary to work for anyone that will accept him or her. Just about everything and everyone is an enemy and the maps are pretty big in themselves. The game's only real drawback is, possibly, the design of the guns and the animation style of the game. The comedy is definitely there however. It's only available on the last gen systems as well. All of this sounds... familiar though, doesn't it?


The Comparisons
  • Both games showcase many different guns.
  • Both games have different classes of characters to pick from, each with their own skill sets
  • Both games take place in a "desolated wasteland" type of environment fighting aliens
  • They both put heavy emphasis on character growth and the guns that you use
  • Both have damage counters
  • They are both essentially RPG shooters
The Differences
  • Destiny is on both next-gen and last-gen, while Borderlands is only available on the last-gen consoles
  • The animation styles of the games are very different
  • The gun upgrade system in Destiny is a bit more in depth than the guns on Borderland
 Both of these games look amazing and play just as well as they look. It really is up to the discretion of the player, but I personally feel that Destiny might not be offering as much of a breath of fresh air as most people think. That's not going to stop me from playing it though.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

TMNT Video Game For Xbox Kinect Has Been Confirmed, And It Is FREE!

Everyone loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Everyone also knows about the new movie that is coming out in August. Paramount Pictures is the company behind the brand new TMNT movie, and they have officially confirmed that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Training Lair is a real game, and it's actually coming out soon.

Paramount Pictures announced that they are partnering with Microsoft and that they have developed the game for the Xbox Kinect. The game is going to be using images and designs from the new movie coming out, and it will probably be the coolest thing ever. Can you imagine standing in front of your TV and literally becoming a Ninja Turtle? I guarantee there are going to be millions of 30 year old dudes who will wait for their wives to leave the house so they can call off work, that will have to go out and replace their TVs because they accidentally karate kicked it over and broke it.

The new game is a part of the marketing strategy for the movie. It is going to be free for a LIMITED TIME starting on July 22nd. So be sure to download it that day to make sure you get it.

There were a lot of rumors floating around the internet about this game before its existence was confirmed. There were even pictures, screenshots, and box art showing up on xboxacheivements.com. This made everyone think that it was going to be an Activision game, but as it turns out, Activision isn't even involved with the game at all.

Other pictures show some pretty neat action scenes. One of the first ones to pop up showed a guy playing the game, and he was karate chopping across the screen to slice things like a Ninja. Judging from of that, it could be like a Fruit Ninja type of game, just way cooler and you would actually use your body to do the moves. Either way, it's going to be a blast. Who wouldn't like to be a Ninja Turtle? The 8 year old in me is having a happy heart attack right now.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

A Quick Recap If You Didn't Catch Sony's HUGE E3 Press Conference!

There is a reason why I'm the huge Sony fan boy that I am. I've had a PlayStation, a PlayStation 2, a PlayStation 3, and am currently dreaming of the day I purchase my PlayStation 4. Sony has always delivered in terms of their technology. While I might not be the biggest fan of Xbox, I can still respect a worthy competitor. This year's E3 event was nothing short of spectacular, as it is every year it seems. I know for a fact that there is a reason why both Sony and Microsoft have the "hardcore" systems. They've both proven their worth, time and time again. Seeing as how I'm all about Sony however, you can bet that I had to recap their press conference just because it blew me away that much. It's always hard to say which brand/company won E3, as it's not really a "competition", but I'm always rooting for Sony, and I'd have say that they won this year for sure.

Let start soft. For those other Sony fan boys out there, you may know a little game called Ratchet & Clank. Well, this franchise has done so well, that now there is a movie currently in production that should come out sometime next year. I've always loved the crude humor and cartoony action of these games. Developers, Insomniac, are always sure to deliver a bevy of outlandish, crazy guns for you to blow things up with. To coincide with the release of the new movie, which will be CG and NOT live-action, they've announced a new game to help the promotion of the series. Normally a franchise like this wouldn't be worth mentioning. The only difference is that we are talking about a franchise that has seen success since the PS2 days, so to hear more announcements for the movie and the PS4 version of the game (complete with updated graphics), is nothing short of a highlight.

The next thing I want to bring up is a game that has had everyone talking or a while now; Destiny. This game comes from the same people who brought us the outstanding "Halo" franchise. This game will also see its first Open Beta testing on the PS4 and PS3. Starting July 17th, we Sony lovers will be the first consumers to get to play the game, even if it's just testing it. Needless to say, however, that both Sony and Microsoft will be benefiting from having this game released.

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The last thing I can really talk about is all of the crazy announcements that went on during the conference. Sony's conference time itself was very long in comparison to the other gaming companies, but the best part about that is that there never seemed to be any dead time. We saw a new Uncharted 4 confirmed for a 2015 launch date. I'd be lying if that alone didn't get me excited. But that wasn't all. Both "The Last Of Us" and "Grand Theft Auto V" are both coming out on PS4, and both will have the touched up remastered graphics. I've already seen footage for the new GTA V on PS4 on a commercial, and I thought I was watching a vacation ad for a moment. The Little Big Planet franchise will be making a return as well. LBP 3, is coming Sony fans, don't worry.

This is probably the biggest reason why I love Sony as much as I do. They cater to their exclusive titles, because they know they have a very loyal fan base for them. Just about every game that they talked about during their conference was an exclusive title, and even more exclusives were being announced. The company is looking towards more bundle packages to help move product sales along, and to be honest, I'm sold. Sony knocked it out of the park this year, and if you've yet to watch the full conference, what are you waiting for? Greatness awaits.

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5 Big Games Revealed At E3 2014

E3, the biggest gaming convention and event of the year, recently concluded, inundating gamers and gaming professionals with tons of new games, tech and all things awesome. Since the next generation of consoles has been released, this year's E3 was a fresh return on focusing almost entirely on games. The three big companies - Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo - didn't have to worry about throwing lingo and jargon out about their new consoles and instead focused on the games you should buy for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. As a result, we has gamers were given an in-depth and inside look into what could possibly be the best year for games in history.

Most of the games talked about here are first-time reveals from E3 or games that we have heard about for some time but have never received anything solid on them. Regardless, here are some of my top picks for this year's E3 214!

Assassin's Creed: Unity

The Assassin's Creed franchise has always been one of my favorites ever since it was first released on the Xbox 360. The parkour free-running movement and the seamless combat made the game fun and entertaining and I don't think anybody could forget the first time they climbed to the tallest building in Jerusalem and did a leap of faith right into a wagon full of hay. Since then, the Assassin's Creed games have evolved. The free-running has become more fluid, the combat is more brutal and new features keep the game feeling fresh. The latest installment, Assassin's Creed: Unity, is the second next-gen release for franchise and adds one new element that is sure to have a lot of people talking: 4-player co-op.

In the demo shown at E3 gamers were shown a new Assassin's Creed that allows you and 3 friends to do story-based missions together. Multiplayer has been a staple of the Assassin's Creed franchise since it was introduced in Assassin's Creed: Revelations but that was left strictly to online PvP combat. This new mode marks the first time players will be able to team up and hunt AI targets in a single-player setting.

Battlefield: Hardline

I don't know if any of you have ever played Payday: The Heist but the game was a 4-player co-op game similar to Left 4 Dead where you team up with 3 friends and pull off various heists, whether it be robbing a bank or a diamond safe or breaking into a drug kingpin's hideout and taking his profits. I personally loved the idea of being bank robbers and having to flee from the police, which is probably why Battlefield: Hardline grabbed my attention so much.

Battlefield: Harldineis the next installment in the Battlefield military-shooter franchise though it isn't a true sequel like Battlefield 4. Instead of playing as the US vs. China or Russia you play as Cops vs. Criminals. The dense jungles and beaches have been replaced by sprawling metropolitan areas with skyscrapers, tunnels, bridges and lots and lot of explosions.

The demo for this game was one of the more impressive ones as it showed a full multiplayer match between cops and criminals and kept switching the camera from one team to the next, allowing you to get both sides of the action. Some of the more incredible scenes included a criminal in a tunnel dropping a bridge on some cops with an RPG thus getting a double kill and opening up an escape route for him and his pals. There was another incredible scene with a crane crashing to the ground (making another escape route), a police sniper picking people off from a rooftop, criminals getting tazered and even a criminal using a baseball bat on the head of a cop. This game promises all the destruction and action of past Battlefield games with a unique spin on the story and setting.

Mortal Kombat X

There were some rumors that this game might be a thing when some posters were leaked online. E3 confirmed that there is indeed another game headed to the Mortal Kombat franchise, much to the joy of gamers. The Mortal Kombat series had become stale, especially after some truly terrible games were released, but that didn't stop it from getting one of the best reboots to date thanks to NetherRealm Studios. The new Mortal Kombat was fresh, fun and added the oh-so-satisfying X-Ray combos that delivered literal bone-breaking moves to the game.

Mortal Kombat X is running along a very similar past to its 2011 predecessor but is also making sure to add in some unique features to the game. Two of those new items come in the form of two new characters, some weird chick that controls bees and a giant/midget combo reminiscent of Master Blaster. In addition to that the interactive environments are back, adding things you can pick up and use to fight with or enhance your fighting abilities. If this game is anything like the last ones diehard fans and new ones alike should find a lot of fun here.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

The Uncharted series is by far one of the biggest staples for the PlayStation 3. Gamers fell in love with a game that seemed to mix Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones. When the trilogy completed on the PlayStation 3 many gamers thought that Nathan Drake's story had come to an end. Boy were we wrong. The only thing we saw of Uncharted 4 was a visually impressive trailer that showed a (traditionally) beaten and battered Drake on some potentially terrible tropical island face-down in some water. A voice-over of Sully and Drake plays over the images with the two amigos promising one last adventure together.

Uncharted 3 was one of the best games to hit the PlayStation 3 so we can only imagine that Uncharted 4 will follow suit on the PlayStation 4. There hasn't been any inclinations that this game is the start of a new Uncharted trilogy for the next-gen though the voice-over and game's title look to be pointing to the end. All we have is speculation at this point.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

This one took everybody by surprise. Rumors of a Halo 2 Anniversary Edition had been floating around ever since the original Halo got the treatment. Not only was this game confirmed, however, it was toppled with something nobody could have anticipated. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is set to debut on November 11, 2014 and will include (brace yourselves) Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4. In addition to that, all games will run at 1080p and 60fps. And if you thought that this announcement couldn't get any better, the developers also announced that all 4 games will include their original multiplayer suites in their original form with the added bonus of running on dedicated servers! As an added bonus, you'll also get a free ticket to the Halo 5 mulitplayer beta that will begin in December 2014 and the digital film Halo: Nightfall which is set to premiere on November 11.

Halo 2 is probably the most beloved and cherished game in Xbox history so getting just that game would have been enough. But when you add all the main games along with all their original multiplayer maps, weapons, etc... along with updated graphics and dedicated servers you get something that is almost too much to comprehend. This is truly one of the greatest announcements E3 has ever had.

Well there you have it! These are only a few of the incredible games that I saw at E3. There are some honorable mentions, namely Star Wars: Battlefront, which only showed some very early in-game graphics with the promise of more to come in Spring 2015. There was also Far Cry 4, The Witcher 3, Shadow of Mordor, Metal Gear Solid 5, Evolve, Boderlands The Pre-Sequel, Rainbow Six: Siege, Dead Island 2 and so much more. We as gamers definitely have a lot to look forward to in the coming months and, particularly, in 2015. It looks like 2015 will truly be the year of the next-gen consoles.