Archive for December, 2013

Christmas Is Interesting

December 24, 2013 Leave a comment

I don’t normally type out my blog entries directly into WordPress, but this is a quickie, so I’m breaking tradition. Also, this isn’t a typical entry. It’s a special one.

I just want to wish every one of my readers a very merry Christmas, since tomorrow is the day. Christmas is the main reason I haven’t been updating much lately, since I’m currently in the States and preoccupied with enjoying myself. That said, next week I aim to at least get up my Games of 2013 on New Year’s Day, and if I find myself getting ideas for anything else, then I shall post those too.

For now, eat, drink and be merry and I will see you all again in the New Year!

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The Award For Worst Awards Show Goes To…

December 13, 2013 1 comment

Dear gaming industry,

We need to talk.

Last week was the VGX awards show. While primarily an American show, gamers over here in the UK do pay attention to what goes on. We do have the BAFTAs offshoot about games, but it gets barely any coverage, and so the live-stream of your major video game awards show is the next best thing.

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Buyer’s Guide To The Next Gen (By Someone Who Hasn’t Touched A Single Console)

December 5, 2013 1 comment

So the next gen is officially here, which means it’s now the current gen but everyone’s going to keep calling it next gen for at least a year anyway. There are three contenders to the eighth generation throne: Nintendo’s Wii U, which has been out a year, Microsoft’s Xbone, which has been out for a couple of weeks, and Sony’s PlayStation 4, which has been out for a few days in the UK.

Since everyone else is discussing which one is the best, I thought I’d chip in and offer my opinion on it all. What’s that? I haven’t played any of the next gen consoles so therefore can’t have an opinion on the matter? Shut up, yes I can, it’s a free country and nobody can stop me.

In all seriousness, my judgements on the console come from what I’ve heard from various sources, and I’m mixing them all up with my own personal preferences to suggest which console seems to be the best right now.

Let’s talk about the Wii U first. I’ve previously written about the console, and expressed my concern over the lack of new titles. There’s a bizarre scenario lately where Nintendo fans will openly criticise Sony and Microsoft for a complete lack of originality, and then praise Nintendo for their original ideas, which is laughable when the biggest available titles for the Wii U right now are a clip show version of a 30-year-old franchise and a direct remake of a 10-year-old game.

Sure, Super Mario 3D World looks kinda fun, but it’s hard to get past the fact that it’s little more than features from every other Mario game, bolted together to form some kind of Frankenstein’s monster in red overalls. And if I really wanted to play Wind Waker, I could easily pick a copy of it on Amazon and play it on my Wii and not spend money on a brand new console for it.

I reiterate what I said about Nintendo in the past. They need to innovate. They need to take their charming, quirky sense of family-friendly fun and make something new and exciting and MUST-HAVE. Mario is all well and good, but honestly, they need some new IPs, something to make it stand out and show the world that yes, they are the most innovative console company and yes, you should buy a Wii U.

Until then, I will view the Wii U as an amusing novelty that I may pick up a few years down the line out of pity.

And then there’s the Xbone, which I actively refuse to call the Xbox One, because that’s what the Xbox released in 2001 was called. If you follow me on Twitter, you will know how much I pick on the Xbone. I pick on the Wii U too, but I also feel kind of sorry for it and want to like it. I make fun of the Xbone because boy, did they misstep on everything!

When Microsoft announced that they were going to reveal a brand new Xbox, I watched the event. I was curious and wide-eyed, willing to give the console an objective view, and if it looked better than the PS4, then I may have considered it.

Since then, Microsoft have scored negative points with me every time they do, well, basically anything at all. The focus on the multimedia hub options at the reveal looked rather pathetic to me, and now I’m hearing that none of those options are available in the UK, which makes me wonder why they even bothered in the first place.

And then there were the always-online rumours, which changed to a daily online check to a myriad of other things, along with the original restriction on used games. These decisions were reversed following a backlash, but the moment they decided those were sensible ideas, I knew I simply couldn’t trust the company with anything. Part of me feels the always-on DRM crap will sneak its way onto the console anyway with a firmware update, and if that indeed does happen, please send me lots of money for my amazing psychic powers because I told you so.

Oh, and I don’t want a Kinect. I don’t want a camera staring at me unblinkingly from the corner of the room, uploading my every thought to this mysterious “Cloud” they keep talking about but doesn’t seem to actually exist. The fact that Microsoft are absolutely determined to force people to use this thing doesn’t sit well with me.

Hearing about the user interface, which is apparently a tangled mess with a controller, and using voice commands is about as good as getting a stoned sloth to make your dinner for you, has not made me particularly optimistic either.

I’m also hearing that basically every exclusive launch title makes extensive use of everyone’s favourite form of exploitation – microtransactions. Ryse has it, which already looked repetitive and features useless quick-time events that do nothing if you fail them, and the microtransactions were just the rancid cherry on the cake of shit. Forza is a car game that doesn’t look as fun as the car game I already own, Gran Turismo 5, and also features microtransactions.

And all that’s before you bring up the reports that it doesn’t run in 1080p resolution nor does it support Dolby Surround very well, and you wonder, how is this “next gen” when it’s incapable of doing things a cheap freeview box can?

Basically, I have tried my best to be objective about the console, but quite frankly, it’s a mess and I hope it fails. Badly.

Then there is the PS4, which is…well, it’s alright. I certainly have plans to get one, albeit in a year when the PSN overload issue has been solved and more games have come out, but right now it’s looking decidedly average. Reports are pretty unanimous in saying that it’s a pretty nice bit of kit that does everything you want it to, but it’s a nice console in its potential rather than what it can currently do.

I mean, I do like the look of Infamous: Second Son, Watch_Dogs and The Order: 1886, and I know I’ll certainly be picking up OctoDad: Dadliest Catch for it someday, but right now it’s kind of choosing between Knack, which everyone says is terrible, and Killzone, which I think is terrible. So we’re not doing too well, really.

So basically, the PS4 is running on potential, the Wii U is running on nostalgia and the Xbone is running on fumes. The next gen kind of arrived less by crashing through a wall and throwing a party and more knocking on your door politely and asking if you’d like to come out and have a few beers for an hour or two, but it’s OK if you’re not up for it.

Or in the case of the Xbone, a drunken uncle crashing at your place and drinking everything you own before vomiting all over your new carpet.

Where am I going with this analogy? I have no idea. Basically, I’m saying, give the PS4 and Wii U a miss until they start living up to their potential, and give the Xbone a miss…forever.

Becoming A Grownup: In A Daze and Inner Child

December 2, 2013 Leave a comment

So it’s one thing to want to be more organised. Everyone wants to be more organised. Getting more organised is the key to being successful, and being successful means Being A Grownup in my eyes.

But it’s another thing to try and meticulously organise yourself in such a way that everything becomes a somewhat meaningless task and you lose sight of exactly why you’re doing it in the first place.

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