Archive for the Initial Impressions Category

PS4 Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Posted in Initial Impressions, New Releases with tags , , , , , , on November 26, 2013 by Matt

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XBox One Unboxing and Initial Impression

Posted in Initial Impressions, New Releases with tags , , , , , on November 26, 2013 by Matt

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Some Thoughts on the PS4

Posted in Deep Thought, Initial Impressions on February 21, 2013 by jerva

ps4 logoThe PlayStation 4 has finally been announced, and I for one am pretty excited by what I heard. Here are my thoughts on what was shown yesterday, nicely ordered and categorized! If you haven’t seen and/or read a transcript yet you can go do that… pretty much anywhere you’d like to, really. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

The Hardware

First off, I love that they all but admitted that the Cell processor was a misstep, and that making the PS3 a pain in the ass to program for/port to with proprietary technology hurt them. This time they seemed to be excessively developer-conscious, and the several interviews I saw after the show with people from Ubisoft, Bethesda, Epic, and other companies, it looks like developers are pretty excited by what they heard. The x86 architecture, the 8 gigs of GDDR5 RAM (sixteen times what the PS3 has, and fast GPU RAM at that!), the fact that the CPU and GPU are on the same chip providing 2 teraflops of power that can be freely set to graphics/simulation/whatever in any ratio the devs desire… the PS4 is a beast, but a very accessible, flexible beast.

dualshock 4The Controller

I’m really excited to hold a dualshock 4, find out how hefty it is, how tight the analog sticks are, and test out the touch pad. Sony once again went to the devs and asked around what it came to redesigning their signature controller, tightening up the analog sticks a little, and modifying the triggers and d-pad significantly. The touch pad looks like it would be awkward to use for in-game features, unless it’s relegated to minigames or menu navigation but I don’t really think this is a bad thing. It’s placed in such a way as to be innocuous, something a developer can utilize if they so desire but can easily be ignored. Where I think the touch pad will really shine is in system navigation outside of games, when using streaming services or web browsing. The light pad is an interesting idea, doing things such as colour coordinating your controller to your character in local multiplayer, flashing as you take damage, or changing colour to indicate when your health is critical. This is definitely a feature I’ll have to wait for a hands-on experience with to make a final judgement, but currently I’m leaning towards gimmick. It also has a built-in speaker and a headphone jack (and according to the press release every PS4 will ship with a headset), making it seem like the dualshock 4 is going to be the best of every other system’s controllers in one nice, slick package. I’ll get to the share button in a bit.

playstation 4 eyeThe New PlayStation Eye

This was completely glossed over in the presentation, but the PS4 has a brand new Eye, a two-camera four-microphone system that will allow for motion tracking, voice recognition, and even the ability to login to your PS4 automatically via facial recognition. It will also track the dualshock 4’s light pads, as well as allow for PlayStation Move integration into the PS4. Based on what we saw with Move, this sounds to me like a Kinect that works. It sounds like the Eye software is specifically designed to recognize the depth and volume of a room and figure out where sound originates from. To me this sounds like a perfect combination with the share button, as the PS4 will (and this is based on information from the press release and video shown at the conference, not on any official announcement) allow for extremely easy livestreaming of let’s plays or first impression videos by automatically inlaying a headshot of you as you play even if you move around the room and automatically picking up on your voice and broadcasting it alongside your gameplay. As long as you have a decent internet connection, one-button let’s plays look to be possible with the PS4, and that is something I think is really damn cool.

ps4 vitaThe Features

The stuff Dave Perry talked about, like the ability to stream the entire PlayStation library from all of their systems to the PS4 or even potentially other devices, is pretty cool but at the same time it’s where they’re hoping and planning to take the technology in the future, not necessarily features that will be available at launch, or even in the first year or two of the PS4’s life. Until we get closer to release and get a better idea of exactly what the system’s cloud capabilities will be at launch, I’m not going to go into it too much. The ability to stream (at least some of) your PS4 games to play on your Vita was actually demonstrated though, and that is pretty awesome. This is a big step in keeping the Vita relevant, as it has somewhat been steamrolled by the direction modern society has gone despite being a really great bit of tech. That’s next-gen transfarring, bitches! I also think that this feature and the ability to instantly put the system on standby mid-game and pick it up later could be really strong selling points for the system, especially with parents or people who have a shared common area and several roommates. These are smart ideas that really help to put you in control of exactly when and how you game, especially where single player is concerned.

The biggest annoyance with the PS3 for me, and many others I’m sure, is updates. Sony has obviously realized what a huge pain in the ass downloading and updating is for people, because now we get a second chip that seems to specifically handle background downloads while you use your PS4, or even when it’s powered down! This combined with the ability to charge your controllers while the system is powered down pretty much guarantees that when you want to play all you need to do is turn the system on (maybe with your face) and get right to it. Now sure there are still a lot of questions, like exactly what the new system interface is and how you navigate it, how features such as PS Plus and friends lists work (they seemed to hint that it would be some combination of anonymous handles and social network integration), what kind of range you have when playing a PS4 game on Vita, et cetera… but as it stands I’m very excited, this truly feels like a next-gen system and unless there’s some big secret like the next Xbox will buy you weed or suck your dick or something, I doubt Microsoft will be able to top this.

I’m not going to go into the games right now (Watch Dogs ├╝ber alles!) but I did want to share this awesome meme pic I made, which I think sums things up nicely. Later, suckas!

-Jerva

blizzard ps4 announcement

 

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Purchase: Dead Space 3 (PS3)

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions, New Releases on February 5, 2013 by Matt

Dead Space 3

Today marked the release of Dead Space 3. I was going to wait for a price drop, but being a fan of the series made this intolerable. After selling a bunch of movies from my dvd collection, I had enough money to make my purchase.

I’m roughly 4 or 5 hours in and the game…isn’t really like the other Dead Space games. There’s something off about it. I’m playing through on hard mode, and there is a lack of health and ammo, which is good, but the combat is different. It feels like the monsters come at you differently. Maybe they’re faster? More lethal? I find it hard to move out of their way sometimes. The controls are not quite the same. It’s a lot of minor tweaks to everything. I’m not sure what to make of it yet. Sure, there are some tense moments, but the only real horror I ever face is the monsters that regenerate.

Power nodes are gone. Instead, we can find new parts and create custom weapons and add damage mods to them, or reload speed increases, etc. This is a cool feature and I like it. This is good and bad at the same time though. Good, in that it allows you to be more creative, and combine weapon types. It’s bad because it might create a bit of imbalance. Since weapon ammo is universal now, it doesn’t matter what weapon you have, you’ll always be picking up ammo for it. You can make an overpowered weapon and never run out of ammo specifically for it. No more moments where you’re relieved to find an ammo type.

The creatures in the game do look good, as usual, and dismembering them is still fun. You’ve got some new types, and then the same old necromorphs. Space babies have turned into space dogs though. Found that a bit weird. I’m curious to see what other monsters they’ve implemented.

I’m not sure what to make of the game yet. It’s been fun so far, but there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on yet. Something bothering me about it. I’ll let you know when I figure that out. Expect a review of this game. And yes, I know, it’s been a while since a review was posted. Maybe I’ll do a video review. Who knows?

Latest Purchase: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions, New Releases on January 29, 2013 by Matt

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch + Steel Case

Last week saw the release of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch as an exclusive in North America for the PS3.

The game is co-reated by Studio Ghibli (anime studio, responsible for Spirited Away, and a few other movies), and Level-5 (known mainly for the Dark Cloud and Professor Layton series). You assume the role of a young boy named Oliver, who’s mom dies and he goes on a quest to another world after he cries onto a doll and it comes to life, claiming it can help him save his mother. The game has a way of making you fall in love with the characters and the world. It oozes so much charm, and it’s extremely hard to set down when you start playing.

It’s not a random encounter system, and after you get to a certain level, some monsters will just run away from you if you’re too powerful. The combat system is different from standard RPG’s, in that you run around while in combat, and you can actually avoid attacks this way for the most part. There are ques to allow you to prepare for special attacks, and to interrupt attacks and counter them as well. Monsters have weaknesses, and when you exploit those, you are rewarded with life (green) or mana (blue) orbs that help restore some hp or mp during combat, and there is a special golden orb that drops and this allows you to pull off a special powerful move (almost like a limit break).

During combat, you also have the ability to summon familiars, which are small creatures you may use to fight with instead of using Oliver. You can feed them special treats to help boost their stats, and arm them with weapons, armour and accessories. I’ve only collected 3 so far, but after a while, you can seek out more and more. It’s sort of a pokemon element they have going, and I can see myself getting hooked on trying to catch ’em all.

I’ve invested 6 hours or so in Ni no Kuni and it’s been a wonderful experience so far. It’s on the top of my list for games to finish now. Totally worth picking up if you are a fan of the developers, and RPg’s in general.

Do You Remember… Arcana Heart (PS2)?

Posted in Initial Impressions, Let's Play, Vlog on January 22, 2013 by Matt

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Recently Purchased: Ragnarok Odyssey (PSV), Arcana Heart (PS2), Jak and Daxter Collection (PS3), Starhawk (PS3), and Modnation Racers Road Trip (PSV)

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions on January 20, 2013 by Matt

Alright, so these are some games I recently picked up.

Arcana Heart

First is Arcana Heart, that cost me only $0.87, from Atlus. The slogan on the back is “Humanity’s Last Hope is One Big Catfight!”, and therefor was a must-buy for the price. The game is in mint condition.

Ragnarok Odyssey
is a game for the PS Vita that is very similar to Monster Hunter, but is a bit more of an arcade-style hack-and-slash. Everything is a bit more streamlined and user friendly, and the graphics have a more cartoony, Japanese aesthetic style to them.

A few people I know own it, and it’s apparently got some good multi-player, so I need to check that out. As for single-player, it’s quite fun and it’s very easy to sit down and play for short periods of time, as well as long periods. The combat is fun and controls are tight. I’ve only played a small amount (roughly 2 hours), but it’s proving to be a great purchase. It’s available for $39.99 retail and as a PSN purchase. Go and check it out.

Ragnarok Odyssey and Modnation Racers Road Trip
Starhawk and Jak and Dax Collection

The rest of the games that I mentioned have not even been played yet, but were all picked up for $10 each. Starhawk is a game I played during it’s beta period, but never picked up. I doubt I’ll touch the multi-player in it much, but hopefully the single-player is worth the $10 admission.