Friday, 15 August 2014

The Xbox 7" Times Loser"20

God, I really stretched to find a headline there...

XBOZ L05ERS-related news today, as, after Sony announced  that 10 million PS4s had been sold at their Gamescom conference, American sales-recording company NPD reported that PS4s have been the top selling console in the US for 7 months running. Poor old Phil Spencer. The property market has gone really downhill. (If any of you get that, I feel sorry for you)

Anyways, this shows that, although a Kinectless bundle did help sales, the damage for Xbox has been done, and they'll need a few showstoppers if they want to claw back some ground. Which is exactly what they've just done. Sunset Overdrive now has a bundle with an exclusive White Xbox One, Advanced Warfare gets a themed 1TB Xbox One and a headset that doesn't actually kill your ears, and with the (Timed) exclusive Rise of the Tomb Raider, they have a real system seller.

However, the biggest news, also reported on by the NPD, is that combined sales of both console after 9 months is up almost 80% over the PS3 and Xbox 360. Why has this happened? I believe that it's down to two things: 1) the video games market has boomed over the last 9 years, leading to many more sales, and 2) the decline of handheld consoles. Both the DS and PSP were much more successful in sales because of a non-existent mobile gaming market, meaning that, with the rise of smart phones, gamers can now spend less money on handhelds and more on consoles.

What do you guys think? Will the Xbox One be competing with the PS4 anytime soon? Tell us in the comments below!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

SWTOR Lowdown: 2.10 Patch Notes !

Hi guys,

Below are the patch notes and some class changes that will be appearing on the latest Public Test Server patch. This is the final game update before the new story expansion in Patch 3.0. Patch 2.10 is scheduled to arrive on PTS on August 14, 2014 with a mid-September release date on live servers.

SWTOR Lowdown: Surface Details

Hi guys,

Just sharing the second part to the SWTOR story that we shared in previous articles, so enjoy! This is the prelude to the Manaan Flashpoint currently on the PTS.

Best of Gamescom 2014: EA Edition

The last big conference of Gamescom, EA's was somewhat of a disappointment, with only 1 new game (And one piece of DLC) announced. Still, the very few moments that were highlights were great to watch, so Andrew Ryan (AKA the Barbie doll that was never released) did an alright job this time around. Still no Mass Effect 4 though.
                                                                          Battlefield Hardline

Like Call of Duty, Battlefield Hardline underwhelmed many at E3, and Gamescom was its chance to win back the hearts of fans lost after an unconvincing Beta. Also like Call of Duty, Battlefield succeeded, showing off two new trailers that applied to two new fan groups. First up, the 12 minute Singleplayer gameplay demo shows off how Hardline's missions have become more open-ended, somewhat like Far Cry's. As the player advances through the mission, multiple approaches can be chosen and, unlike many other games, you can choose to stick with that approach for the whole mission, not until a scripted event happens. The facial features look accurate and deep, too, along with amazing-looking explosions. The second trailer shows off two new multiplayer game modes: Hotwire and Rescue. Hotwire is a Bloody Good Time with squads game mode, where squads from each side are sent to hunt down another, and Rescue is a Counter-Strike-esque mode, where a SWAT team tries to rescue as many hostages as they can in 3 minutes. Sure, it has been influenced a lot by other games, but it's looking more promising than it did at E3.
                                                                                Shadow Realms

The only new game announced by EA at Gamescom, Shadow Realms takes Evolve's 4v1 aspect and turns it into a third-person Action RPG. Developed by SWTOR creators Bioware Austin, who sure know how to develop an RPG, Shadow Realms is set on modern-day Earth and a magical world called Embra (Check Bioware's blog for more); its modern day setting meaning that as well as classic RPG swords and magic, there will be firearms in the game too. It'll be an episodic game that focuses on story, where the 4 heroes can be either a Warrior, Wizard, Assassin, Cleric, Ranger or Warlock, each with their own magical and technological abilities, while the 1 bad guy will play as a Shadowlord, an invisible beast that  can possess creatures and control the game world. You can sign up for the closed alpha at the Shadow Realms website, but you will need an Origin account.

                                                                                  FIFA 15  

Originally, FIFA 15  looked like Fifa 14 with better graphics, as I expected. It may still look that way, but there have been some subtle changes that will make the game generally more fun to play. Goalkeeper technology has been improved, meaning that the Legendary goalkeeper you just bought with REAL MONEY (Tut Tut) on Ultimate Team won't suck and blow at the same time, instead being the unstoppable superstar that you expected. There will also be "improved daylight". Whatever the hell that means. Anyways, it's now more licensed than ever, too, with all 20 Premier League stadiums appearing in the game, more scanned player faces and the return of the Turkish League! Thanks god, I missed playing as Ufuk Degirmenci! The demo will be coming out this month, but only on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
                                                                                    Titanfall: IMC Rising

Titanfall was revealed as the best-selling Xbox One game so far. Not a big surprise, considering how it introduced verticality, mechs, and the Smart Pistol to Microsoft's console. After a free update that improved the graphics and an impressive new map pack, Frontier's Edge, Respawn have announce the third and final map pack: IMC Rising. It will include three maps and will be coming out in Autumn, but not much has been said apart from that, althjpugh I'm predicting that there will be IMC-themed Titans and weapons in the pack as well.
So, that wraps up the highlights of EA's conference; there was also NHL 15, Dragon Age: Inquisitition an The Sims 4 gameplay, but nothing that excited. Stay tuned for Joe's highlights of the Microsoft press conference later today!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Best of Gamescom 2014: Sony Edition

Yesterday, Sony held their conference at Gamescom Day 1, showing multiple trailers and making multiple (minor) announcements. It started with the triple A game trailers for the exclusives: The Order 1886, LittleBigPlanet 3, and Bloodborne which all look insanely good. The community creativity is still present in LBP, The Order, although missing sound, looks really fun and Bloodborne seems like Dark Souls in the future. After the initial burst of trailers, CEO Jim Ryan revealed that 10 million PS4 consoles were sold through. Those are some impressive numbers, but what they announced next was slightly less...

Indies! Indies! M-More Indies...
A wave of indie game announcements hit the conference, starting with The Tomorrow Children, a game about dreams being trapped in some place. Unique and interesting premise, sounds cool. Next there was The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a game that has the feel of a horror but seems to have Murdered Soul Suspect-like gameplay (Let's hope it's better than that). Following that was a game called Volume, a stealth game with a 3D retro look, but it seems too familiar. Next was Hollowpoint, a seemingly 2D game that features robots. After that DayZ was announced to be coming to the PS4! No word yet on if it is a exclusive or timed exclusive, but it should still be as fun as the PC version. Next we see Hellblade, possibly a spiritual successor to Heavenly Sword (A game I sadly missed out on) coming first to the system. After that, vibrant open gameplay appears showing a kid exploring in a game called Rime. Another wave of indie games which seem fun, but this is in fact the problem of the entire conference (more on that later).

Triple A's! Tactical Boxes! Possible Drugs!
Following that was Activision's CEO talking about how Destiny is the most pre-ordered IP ever and that there will be timed exclusive content on Destiny for the PlayStation. We get a peek at some Far Cry 4 gameplay of 'Shangri-La', a mythical plane to explore (Maybe on a drug trip?). Shadow of Mordor and MGS V trailers next, with MGS showing tactical use of cardboard boxes such as...distracting people with pictures of pretty ladies stuck on the side of your box. Funny but weird. P.T (*cough* Silent Hill *cough*) shows footage of people being scared, but I want to see the actual game. The interactive trailer is on PS Store for everyone to try.
PS Now! Wild! Paper!
Share Play was announced, allowing the friends of PS Plus members to take turns on playing games, allowing them to join and play games that you own without needing to download or own the game themselves. Also some talk about Morpheus and that PS Now is coming to EU 2015. A horror game called Until Dawn is unveiled and Driveclub is shown again. Looks nice, and speaking of looking nice, Tearaway, the beautiful paper cut-out looking game by Media Molecule, is coming to PS4 with new content.! Wild, a fantasy game closes out the conference, an open world game but no actual gameplay (I think).

Overall, Sony revealed many games and showed off the games that had already been annpunced, but I feel that it got too crowded with indie titles and didn't really explore the triple As. Although the indies seem interesting, the triple A games seem more exciting and would draw a larger crowd, but exclusives like Uncharted weren't even mentioned. Just slightly lacklustre but good nonetheless. It needs to focus on a particular subject other than bombarding us with snippets of separate ones.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Best of Gamescom 2014: Advanced Warfare Edition

After an effort last year that saw a once gargantuan franchise (And developer) struggling to innovate and carry the monolithic series forward, Call of Duty needs a revolution that can convince the world that COD still has plenty of oil in its tank. Sledgehammer have their work cut out for them, and with their multiplayer reveal showing yesterday at Gamescom, it looks like COD won't be going quietly. Here's our highlights from last night!
"Power changes everything" Advanced Warfare claims, and it may well do so thanks to additional firepower in the form of exoskeletons. Exoskeletons have a Deus Ex esque augmentation system, where you can choose between different abilities. While everyone can double jump, slam down into enemies and kill them, other abilities provide  much more helpful ally. Shield generates you a portable riot shield (Duh) for when you come under fire, Ping is basically a UAV in your pants, and the Trophy System makes a comeback, defending you from explosives. All of these abilities use energy, though, so staying in cover and recharging is essential.
For every serious mode in Halo 3, there were always one or two fun 'party' modes, such as Grifball. Advanced Warfare notices it's winning formula by adding a new mode called Uplink, a mix between said fan-inspired mode and a little sport they like to call Basketball. The goal is to get a satellite and throw it into your goal for one point, or boost jump through it for two. Holding the ball renders you defenceless, though, so the throwing mechanic becomes hugely important. As well as passing to teammates, you can throw it to your enemy, then take them out easily. Still, one new mode won't be enough, Sledgehammer have to think up a couple more to really impress.
While the 'Pick 10' system is upgraded to a 'Pick 13' to accommodate the exoskeletons, the real gem here is the ability to customise how many Score streaks you have. While 4 is the maximum, you can always eliminate one or two (Or all of them if you prefer) to make way for a more powerful gun, ability or grenade. Its great that Sledgehammer are taking the Borderlands/Destiny approach and handing over customisation almost entirely to the player.
Some may claim that I've missed out other additions, such as new maps, only the most impressive things have been listed here. In the maps' case, there's nothing really new to be excited about since maps have been interactive since Black Ops 2. While this isn't the revolution Call of Duty needs, this iteration should provide enough evolution to save the series from falling from grace. Still, we'll have to wait until November 4th to see whether Sledgehammer have done enough.
Stay tuned over the next couple of days for evaluations of Sony's, Xbox's and EA's press conferences, plus a preview of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Monday, 11 August 2014

First World Problems

Hi guys!

First of all, I'd like to apologise for the lack of posts, as of Friday I've been on holiday with no access to Wi Fi. Due to the temperamental nature of said fidelity, until next Thursday I (Sam) will only be able to post news articles and no usual big articles. Sorry for the lack of posts, and thanks for being great readers!