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Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:40

Quantum Break: A Game Worth a Second Look

 

Quantum Break

 

 Did you notice a stand-out video game that caught your interest during E3, 2013?  In my opinion, there were lots of notable video games showcased during E3, 2013; however, there was one video game that really caught my eye.

 

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The game that stood out at E3, 2013 among many, in my opinion, was Quantum Break by Remedy Entertainment and Microsoft Studios.  The demo shown was packed with action gameplay and started off with a bang.  Of course, during actual video gameplay, there may be slow-moving parts in the game to advance the plot along, but based on the trailer, these parts may be few and far between.  I especially enjoyed watching the still-action motions and the graphics of objects as well as some of the characters suspended in space and time during gameplay.

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To give you  background info on this game -- Quantum Break will be an action, science fiction time travel type video game with main protaganists, Jack Joyce, Paul Serene and Beth Wilder.  It is a single player video game, exclusive for the Xbox One. While Remedy Entertainment  is keeping most of the storyline and the  gameplay under wraps for now, it is known the plot  involves an experiment in a lab that went awry --  giving  the characters the ability to manipulate as well as  travel through time. For authenticity, the company consulted with time travel experts to keep the gameplay in this video game as realistic as possible.

 

Similar to another video game, Defiance, Quantum Break will have a television show tied in with the game. The television show guides you on how to play the game and how you play the video game will, in turn, impact the show.

 

Quantum Break has a pending rating and will be available  in 2014.

Published in Mom's Minute Blog

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The main protaganist, Aiden Pearce of the Watch Dogs upcoming video game, has his job cut out for him.  Not only is he expected to give video game players a spell-bounding, action-packed, suspense-riddled video game playing experience, but Aiden Pearce must also help bring in record breaking sales numbers for Watch Dogs --  similar to Grand Theft Auto V. When GTA V was released, it was probably not surprising that Watch Dog's original release date of November, 2013 was delayed.  (See Watch Dogs article link below).  You may know that GTA V went on to break video game sales records upon its release. During that time, it appeared that UbiSoft was not confident that Watch Dogs' Aiden Pearce was up to fighting against the video gaming beast that was GTA V; and subsequently, held off releasing Watch Dogs.

Aiden Pearce Fights an Uphill Battle

Looks like in some cases Aiden Pearce will be fighting an uphill battle to get to the "victory lap."  He is already being compared to the main protoganists of the Assassin's Creed and Unchartered video games.  Even the premise of seeking revenge upon which the gameplay is based resembles other video games.  As the storyline unfolds in Watch Dogs, Aiden Pearce gets into the hacking business to avenge the destruction of a family member.  His methods include hacking the surveillance system, CtOS which is used by the fictitious Chicago, Illinois company which he hacks into.  He spies not only on his enemies but also on his family because of his strong propensity to work hard to keep them safe. Even some of the gameplay of Watch Dogs is being compared to that of GTA V, Infamous Second Son as well as other games.  

The question is with these similarities to characters, actions, gameplay and missions of other video games, where does the uniqueness lies with Aiden Pearce as well as the game, Watch Dogs? What is the magic ingredient of Watch Dogs that will catapult it to record video game sales? The hacking element of the gameplay may fit the bill for uniqueness and may be the basis for the continued excitement for Watch Dogs, similar to when it was first introduced at Ubisoft's press conference at  E3 2012.  The game itself has been in production since 2009 and many may say that this game has improved with time.Watch Dogs Supporting CastWatch Dogs Supporting Cast

Aiden Pearce Strengths

Besides the similarities between him and other main male protaganists in video games, what does Aiden Pearce bring to the table that may entice you to want to play Watch Dogs?  For starters, he is a technological mastermind; an expert in social engineering; highly proficient in hacking; an expert at defensive and offensive driving; has impressive hand-to-hand combat skills,  and demonstrates atheleticism and agility when mobile.  He also appears to remain calm under pressure.  

Additionally, even though he is known as the best in his field, he still seeks out help with hacking from others including Clara Lille who he admits that he does not trust completely -- but she is the best hacker that he knows.  He shares the thought relative to technology,  "Big Brother is Always Watching." In fact, Watch Dogs gameplay uses the concept of information warfare, where all data is interconnected, in a world that is dependent to a degree on technology.  It is this information warfare and the thought that someone is always watching, in addition to revenge, that is the basis for Aiden Pearce's concentration on surveillance. Aiden Pierce in actionAiden Pierce in action

Aiden Pearce Weakness

Aiden Pearce has a criminal background, even though he seems committed to try to walk the straight and narrow sometimes.

Will Aiden Pearce Deliver for Watch Dogs?

All being said and done -- Will the video game character Aiden Pearce deliver for Watch Dogs?  The short answer is that after five years in development, the prevailing thought may be that Watch Dogs is now as good a game as it will ever be -- not allowing for the DLC that is sure to follow.  

With Watch Dogs being released in just a few days, I guess we will find out soon enough if the delay beyond the November 2013 initial launch date was worth the wait and if Aiden Pearce will deliver. When UbiSoft delayed the game upon GTA V's release, the expectation was not only would Aiden Pearce deliver for Watch Dogs, but the game, itself, would rival other games in the same genre of third person shooters, open world action adventure video games.

Watch Dogs, is rated M for Mature.  The video game releases on May 27, 2014 on the PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, the PC, and later (about Q4 2014) for the WII U.

http://www.moms-minute.com/index.php/ms-h-news/953-video-games-watch-dogs-release-date-revealed

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Published in Mom's Minute Blog
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 00:00

Call of Duty : Advanced Warfare Review [PS4]

Call of Duty. The game people love to hate. The Michael Bay movie of the gaming world, everyone will complain about it but everyone will play. This year’s addition to the franchise Advanced Warfare is brought to us by COD new comers (not including their help on MW3) Sledgehammer games. In this COD Sledgehammer have brought the franchise to the future. Exo skeletons and Minority Report stylisation galore.


From the offset you can be sure…this ain’t your daddy’s COD. The introduction of the double jump alone has created a whole new beast, let’s take a look shall we?


The campaign mode, while not any different from any previous year’s campaign weighs in at around 6 hours gameplay (for the average gamer) and this is what we have come to expect from the Activision shooter franchise. However this time, more than applicable to any previous iteration, it is advisable to play through the campaign first before delving into multiplayer as Sledgehammer have shaken the very foundations of the COD series that have remained relatively unchanged since the first major shake-up in Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare.
Story wise it is more or less the same length as previous CODs, you have your team, you have your buddies and you have your mission. While not quite as engaging as perhaps the Ghosts campaign, the jump to the future certainly changes the game significantly in location settings and looks, and also the equipment available. While playing the story, even in the opening chapter, you are witness to a ‘Matrix’ esque swarm of drones and walkers that look plucked straight out of Metal Gear Solid 4. A standard tale of power and corruption helmed by Kevin Spacey himself is enjoyable, but it won’t take the whole weekend to complete.

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In campaign mode, visiting the pause menu will greet you with a set of EXO challenges such as, get 50 kills or, collect 5 pieces of Intel. This gifts to the game a set of side quests to accomplish alongside your main objective. The introduction of the new arsenal such as the threat detector grenade, gives Advanced Warfare’s campaign even more reason to be played as it gets the player fully comfortable with the changes this time round. A short stealth section aside and some ninja like grappling, the campaign is an easy 6 hour blast, needed this time before hitting the multiplayer. While short and sweet like most COD campaigns, the main story proves more as a necessary training ground for the COD elite.


Controls are shaken up a tad with the dodge mechanic, clicking L3 down and flicking down, left or right will make your character dodge in the corresponding direction. While a nice touch, having it in the multi-player is quite redundant giving the fast paced antics you find in there. Clicking R3, knife kills are replaced with insta-death punches which feels immensely more satisfying than knifing. Finding the beam weapon instantly brings the Ghostbusters theme to your head and is gratifying to use to cause more devastation.

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Weapons are much more fun to handle, the aiming and feedback are a whole ton better than we had in Ghosts last year. Bringing the franchise to the future has seemingly brought the fun back to COD. Getting used to the new mechanics and the level layouts is a breath of fresh air to the series and something that needs to be recognised by the teams making next year’s iteration.


Onto multiplayer, while it’s always nice to play your favourite COD map (Nuke town right?) having a complete fresh feeling set is always better. Yeah sure most new CODs have their own set of maps, but never before has such as sense of freshness occurred in venturing into online multiplayer. Thanks to the ingenious (and about 5-10 years overdue) double jump mechanic, playing COD online is a very different game from ANY game previous. Maps have suddenly become much more open as reaching high places is as simple as a double tap of X. That one guy who used to be carefully placed in an unapproachable nesting spot can be quickly dealt with by a few timed double jumps.


Multiplayer seems a lot more frantic this time around. While standing pumping rounds into the guy in front, his buddy is generally only a corner away with a loaded fist. Fast paced has never been a more astute phrase, but this time you will need your wits about the multi layered levels. As granting players the ability to leap buildings and walls means you are never a minute away from the action.


For the old hard-core, online mode does feature a classics section, where you can play online with all the new-fangled young kids double jumping is negated for good old fashioned shooting and being shot at. The extra mile has certainly went into making Advanced Warfare feel as different while familiar as possible.

COD AW Riot-Slam-Dunk


On to the not so goods – graphically the character models in the cut scenes and in game are absolutely superb. Kevin Spacey being a natural highlight in the story but, each characters facial expressions have had some amount of work put into them. Hats off to Sledgehammers talented studio for that. However the downside is while looking very nice in cut scenes, when the game actually hits the backgrounds just can’t match that cut scene quality and somewhat detracts from the immersion. Getting new items and equipment this time around sadly is not up to the player and is assigned automatically after each online match. This leads to a sense of less customisation than the previous installments that have allowed the player to pick their rewards after matches.


All in all COD is a great package, it’s a big shake up in the way the games played and is visually impressive despite the shortfalls in the way the backgrounds look in gameplay. This is the game to bring back the COD doubters and is the game for any Kevin Freaking Spacey fan to play as he is fantastic in the campaign mode. It’s big dumb fun, but this time… it’s futuristic big dumb fun that might require some getting used to.
For more on COD Advanced Warfare, check out 42 Level One every Tuesday at 9:30pm GMT right here on All Games.
9/10

The Good
It’s the freshest COD since MW 1
Kevin “freaking” Spacey
The guns

The Bad
Campaigns still short and unsurprising
Scenery could look prettier

Published in Playstation 4
Monday, 02 June 2014 00:00

Gaming's Biggest Controller Failures

 In every generation of videogame consoles, a manufacturer attempts to take how we play games past the status quo. Videogames have been presented in the same basic way for nearly 40 years. You look at a screen and control whats on that screen with a joystick and buttons. The screens have gotten bigger and the controllers have added more buttons, but all in all, not much has changed. But each generation, a company tries to move gamers deeper into the experience and expand how we interact with our consoles. And they fail. Every single time. The failure isn’t because it’s a bad idea (well, sometimes it’s a bad idea). Most of the time its because the idea was poorly implemented, lacked support, or simply didn’t work. Or maybe gamers don't want anything new. Is it possible we're satifsifed with how things are and that's why gamers as a group steadfastly reject any control scheme other than a stick and buttons?  

In this article we'll go back through each console generation and look at some of those failed attempts at innovation. We’ll only be looking at 1st party peripherals, the items built by the console makers themselves since they had  best chance to succeed in terms of development and support. That mean famous failures like the Power Glove and U-Force will get a pass.

 


  XBOX One Kinect

xbox one kinectOk, this isn’t a surprise to anyone. Microsoft recently announced that the Kinect will no longer be a required part of the Xbox One console. While this doesn't automatically mean the camera/microphone sensor has failed, lets be honest. It means that it failed. The Kinect was the most advanced sensor of its kind. It could listen to your voice commands, translate your movements into controls for games or media. Hell, it could even tell if you were smiling and when your heart rate went up. Experts will be debating why the Kinect wasn’t embraced by consumers for a long time. But the lack of software support had to have been a huge problem. For most people who had the Kinect sitting in front of their TV, that's all it did..sit there.

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  PS4 PS Camera/Move

PS4-CameraSony’s PR people are the best in the world. Not because they’re great at promoting products. But because when they have a failed product, no one ever talks about it. At the launch of the PS4 was a Camera/Microphone sensor that had many of the features of the Kinect, just not as precise. The camera was a $60 option that the vast majority of PS4 owners have skipped. And the few that did pick it up quickly realized that there wasn’t much they could do with it other that make tiny robots dance in the free Playroom software.

 

ps4-dualshock-4-controllerThe PS4 Controller is also treasure trove of failed concepts. Sony added the ‘sixaxis’ motion abilities to the DualShock 4 controller. You can tilt and rotate your controller and thus have more precise and integrated movements on screen. It’s a feature thats used less than the Sweet n Low packets at a candy store.

Sony also managed to sneak in a PS Move sensor into all of the controllers along with a touch pad. The Dual Shock 4 is equipped with a bright tracking light that is very similar to the original PSMove controller that will allow the the PS4 to have pinpoint accurate motion controls. This has yet to be used in any game (but it's rumored to be important to the upcoming virtual reality headset). And the touch pad is a pretty good way to enter your password when signing into PSN, other than that, its a controller feature that has yet to be exploited.

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 Wii U Tablet

wii u controllerIt’s a 10.5 inch tablet with a screen smaller than my 7 inch Nexus. Nintendo knew their Wii U console was underpowered spec-wise when it was released, but they figured that the innovative tablet controller would be more than enough to alleviate any problems with horsepower. Nintendo has stood behind the controller, even if it does seem forced at times. Blowing into the microphone to turn a propeller on Mario World doesnt really boost your confidence that you made a smart purchase.

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  Xbox 360 Kinect

Xbox-360-Kinect-StandaloneThe first iteration of the Kinect had a lot going for it, a wide range of titles, tons of media coverage as the next big thing, and the unwavering support of Microsoft. But after the initial surge, the games quicky dried up and the consensus of the gaming public was ‘it just doesn’t work’. Microsoft didn't give up easily though and announced the second version would be a required part of their next console (until it wasnt). Meanwhile the original Kinect is gathering dust with development for it at a near standstill.

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  Live Vision Camera 

live-vision-cameraBefore the Kinect there was the Live vision camera. Basically is was a webcam that plugged into your Xbox 360. Why would you want to do that? No reason. None at all. Unless you wanted to play UNO and witness visuals that made Chat Roulette look highbrow. The camera was succeded by the Kinect sensor which for all intents and purposes made the Live Vision cam obsolete. 

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  PS3 PSMove 

playstation moveThis unfortunately shaped device was Sony’s answer to the overwhelming success of the Nintendo Wii’s motion controls. An illuminated bulb tethered to a makeshift gamepad worked in conjunction with the PSEye camera on the Playstation 3 to give you an incredible range of precise movement on screen. And it worked pretty well, too. But people couldn’t get over the fact that it looked like it should be sold at a discount by Adam & Eve, and also the game support for it was almost non existent. The technology would like in as it was transferred to the DualShock 4 controller and Sony still contends that the PSMove works with the PS4, even though there is no software available that uses it.  

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  Nintendo Wii Balance Board

Wii-balance-boardThe Wii Balance Board was going to transform your Wii into the ultimate fitness partner. Instead it spent it's life gathering dust underneath couches all across the world.

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  Sega Dreamcast VMU

Sega-Dreamcast-VMUThe Visual Memory Unit (VMU) for Sega’s Dreamcast added a new dimension to controllers. Think of it as a very early version of the Wii U tablet. Only much, much smaller with its 1.5 x 1inch screen having a resolution of 48x32 pixels. If that seems like it would be too tiny to do anything meaningful, you would be correct. It was intended to be used as a way to display information from your games, and the VMU even had a little controller and buttons on it like a baby gameboy. But in the end only a few games took advantage of it and most just ignored it altogether. 

 

 

 


  Sega Genesis Activator

Sega-ActivatorThe Genesis had its fair share of failed add ons (32x anyone?). But for the purposes of this article, the Activator fits perfectly. The Activator was a large ring that you placed on the floor and stood inside of. It would sense your movements so that you could punch and kick while your onscreen character mimicked your actions. Now, if the Kinect has problems pulling this scenario off in 2014, this 1993 controller had very little chance of success. Its lackluster sensors resulted in unwanted motions and twitching characters that almost never resembled what the player was doing. Since it was a direct controller replacement, you could use it with any game, like say, Ecco the Dolphin (which was actually suggested by the tutorial video). They never explained exactly how punching and kicking in the air corresponded to a dophlin swimming in the sea eating guppies.

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  Nintendo NES Power Pad 

NES-power-padNintendo wanted to get kids moving. Partly to silence critics who said the NES was creating a generation of couch potatoes, and partly to sell a bunch of overpriced plastic mats. So Nintendo introduced the NES Powerpad. The power pad was a large mat you placed on the floor with buttons embedded in it. The uses started and ended with running in place or hopping back and forth like a futuristic form of hopscotch. Unfortunately kids weren’t interested in being active. They had an NES so they -didn’t- have to run around. The Power Pad died a quiet death after having only 11 titles to support it.

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  Coleco Vision Expansion Module #2 


colecovision drivingThe ColecoVision launched with an available expansion module that added a steering wheel and gas pedal to the system. It allowed players a true arcade like experience when playing racing/driving games. Today PC gamers spend hundreds of dollars on steering wheels to go with their driving sims. But in 1982, not so much. The Colecovision’s driving controller only had 4 titles available for it. Which wasn’t nearly enough reason for consumers to get the accessory.

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  Atari 2600 Keyboard Controller 

atarikeyboardOddly enough, the Keyboard controller for the Atari 2600 wasn’t really a keyboard. It was actually a 12key number keypad(0-9 and *, #). As you can expect, there are very few titles that used the keyboard controller. Classics like 'Basic Programming' and 'Memory Match' weren't enough to spur gamers into leaving the world of up-down-left-right and a single fire button.  

 

 

 


 

Game makers continue to try to change how we play games, and even though none of them caught on and infact were often huge failures, I'm glad that they are making the attempt. As consoles get more powerful and games get more complex, we need to search for better ways to interact with the virtual worlds being created. Simplifying everything down to a few buttons and joystick movements deal a huge disservice to gamers and the games we play. Hopefully we'll get a control method that's not gimmicky and actually works. Until then, I'll be yelling at my Kinect and watching Hulu on my Wii U Tablet. 

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Published in All Games Blog

 

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Tomb Raider:  Definitive Edition

Tomb Raider:  Definitive Edition - Unboxing

After playing part of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition video game for the first time, I have a three letter word to describe it --  "Wow!"  I preordered this game awhile back and have just now had the opportunity to play part of it.  When I received Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, starring Lara Croft on the release date in March, 2014 from Amazon.com, I did an unboxing of this game complete with pictures. I was that impressed by the artistry of the video game packaging which included a hard cover book with artwork from the game that is worthy of framing.  What was missing was a poster of Lara Croft in action as she braves the perils and tribulations of what it takes to survive.

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Tomb Raider Unboxed (game and book) with Pixelbot robot courtesy of DPL looking on 

Of course packaging is just that -- packaging.  What really counts about a video game, in my opinion, is the enjoyment that you experience from playing the game, whether your excitement for the game stems from the action, characters, story line, creativity of plot, or any number of other reasons.  If you ask me which of these choices Tomb Raider: Definitive Collection excelled in, I would have to say the character and the action.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Expectations 

When I slipped the physical video game disc in my PS4, and the Tomb Raider cover art showed on the screen, I was unsure what to expect.  I saw the previous version of this  game played during the holidays by my family member, and at that time, I was impressed by the realistic graphics, as well as the requirement to use logical thinking skills to advance in the game.  At that time, I was a bystander, just looking at the video game playing action, listening to the realistic sound effects as Lara Croft splashed her way through the deep seas, roamed forests, etc., to accomplish her missions.  Just as there is a saying "Seeing is believing" -- regarding video game playing I think there should be a saying "Playing is believing."  It is only by actually holding a video game controller, controlling and experiencing the actions of the video game characters yourself that, in my opinion, you can truly decide if you will not only play the video game again, but will also recommend others to play it as well.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Spoiler Alert

I am going to give you a spoiler alert here, just in case you have not played the game and want to experience the gameplay with the surprises and suspenseful moments in tact.  If you have not played Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, you may want to stop reading here, because the next sections I will be talking about my experiences with this video game, including how Lara Croft got through certain obstacles during the first part of the game, that you may prefer to figure out on your own. I played this game in the normal mode, vs. the easy or hard options. Also as a disclaimer, this review does not cover the complete video game -- only the first parts that I played.

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Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Actions/Adventures

I liked the action-packed movie introduction which included actions where Lara Croft seemingly spirals down a long drop before she reaches the bottom. She is visibly in pain, her clothing is soiled and she has blood all over her, including her face. Unfortunately, she also is hurt and has a sharp object jutting in her left side.  My first action in the gameplay was to use the controller to remove the shart object from hurting her -- which I succeeded in doing.  From then on  -- for the part of the game I played, Lara Croft moves throughout the video game environments, clutching her side with her right hand over the wound while in some cases holding a torch in her left hand.  But not to worry, as I played the game longer, eventually she felt well enough to remove her hand from her side, to regain use of both of her hands.  

As I continued to move her along the terrains, I had already decided that this was an exploratory type game, where you use the character to discover the surroundings. However, I stood to be corrected.  I found out soon enough that Lara Croft does a lot more than move around the environments.  Just when I was getting comfortable moving her through parts of the dark cave where she had landed, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, an enemy apppeared and tried to capture her.  I literally jumped when this happened, because this was totally unexpected. From then on, I knew this game would be adventurous and suspenseful.  After about three tries, I was able to get Lara Croft to fight off her enemy, and breathed a sigh of relief when within the small cave she was in, a door closed that blocked the enemy from entering.  

That one particular unexpected action got my adrenalin going.  I kept thinking what would happen next.  I had Lara Croft continue her adventures in the cave by having her to traverse treacherous waters where there was fire on one side of a waterfall and barrels of fuel on the other.  The problem was that in order to get out,  Lara Croft had to go through the waterfall while carrying her torch -- which of course did not work. The water would put out the fire each time, as expected.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Strategies

Throughout the game, you are given pictures of which buttons on the controller to push as well as information on the mission or environment that Lara Croft has entered. Also, when you push the L1 button on your controller, the environment turns to black and white and items that can help you to escape, etc. are lit up brighter than the others. Once you release the L1 button, the game actions, including the colors return.

I studied the environment and saw a hanging apparatus, as well as a street car-like vehicle on another level of the cave area. Both were lit or shined  brighter when I pushed the L1 button so I knew these items were required for her to escape. Also the square button would appear on the screen to push as barrels and boxes floated in the water. When I did so, the barrels would start burning and continued to float in the water.  To give you a visual of where she was during this part of the video game -- Lara Croft was in thrashing waters, among lots of burning boxes and barrels, with debris, old bottles, shoes etc. floating around with loud sounds of waves of water crashing through several areas.

To make a long story short,  I was unable to get Lara Croft to push the street car off the ramp or get her on the hanging apparatus.  This is the first part of the game where I got stuck.  After a phone call for advice, I went back to the game and tried again, this time using different actions to get her out of this cave-like atmosphere that had water and firey barrels and boxes everywhere.  I was unable to pile barrels beneath the hanging apparatus as suggested, so I tried a different strategy which surprisingly to me -- worked.  Somehow I got her into the hanging apparatus. She was unable to swing back and forth -- so I had her to jump from this apparatus. Then I had her to try once again to push the street car which by this time was full  of burning barrels.  Lo and behold -- this time the street car actually moved out of the way.  Previously, it would move just a little and then return to its original position.  When the street car moved, a multitude of actions seemed to happen all at once which resulted in her being in a totally different mountainous environment.  I had Lara Croft jump over mountains where she hung dangerously off tall cliffs. She also had to fight off another enemy in this environment. As a disclaimer -- The apparatus/street car scene actions I did when I played this game, may or may not work for you.  It may depend on the level of game that you are playing, i.e., easy, normal, hard -- or even some other reasons.

Now for the next adrenalin moment I experienced when playing the first section of Tomb Raider:: Definitive Edition.   When Lara Croft reached the mountains, she had to actually climb the mountains, by frantically clawing her way up.  To keep her from falling, I had to keep pushing the L2 and R2 buttons quickly at the same time.  I also had to move the left stick on the controller either right or left to have her dodge large, gigantic boulders before I got her to the top of the mountain.tombraider4  I tried numerous times to keep her from falling by pushing these buttons, even at one time turning the PS4 controller around so the L2 and R2 buttons were facing me.  However, I got her on the mountain-top and kept her away from the boulders by using the controller positioned in the normal way.  My fingers got a true workout here, and with the controller rumbling, the sound effects of her climbing up the mountains, and her gasping -- when she finally reached the top of the mountain, breathing heavily, I was doing just about the same thing.  I felt as if we had both shared a victory at that point, and felt quite exhilarated that she had made it up the mountain safely.  

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Likes and Dislikes

Here's  what I liked and did not like about the part of the game I played.  I liked the realistic video game graphics, where the grass moved with the wind. I liked that the game started over close to the part where you may have tried to complete a mission, instead of starting all over again.   I liked the sound effects including the sounds of the rushing waters that in some ways can be a nice sound to listen to, but can also be frightening as well -- especially if the character is on a high mountain, looking down in deep, thrashing waters.   The voice acting, was ok; however, in some of the scenes, the voice actor was difficult to understand, and when the character fell from a tall mountain, I personally think that she could have screamed more realistically.  Also the illustration of the character can be improved in some of the scenes, because in some, her face seems to be swollen at her jaws -- not in all scenes -- but in some.  I liked the realistic movement of the character's eyes, as well as the expression she had which signaled that she was at a loss as to what to do in certain situations -- however, she was able to figure things out. I also liked the voice commands where you actually speak your options, such as showing the maps, pausing etc. 

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Highly Recommended

If you have not played this game, and enjoy playing adventure, action games, I highly recommend you play Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition on your PS4.  If you do not have a PS4, you may be interested to know that Tomb Raider is currently free to play on the PS3 for PS plus members.  I also have a PS3 -- but I was happy to play this game on my PS4 where I was able to use the new features of the PS4 and experience the improved graphics and sound qualities.

I'm looking forward to playing more of this game as well as seeing and experiencing via video game play the other adventures/missions Lara Croft will encounter in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is rated M for Mature and is playable on the PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows PC and Mac.

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Published in Playstation 4
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:06

The DPL XBox One and PS4 Fanboy Series

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With the new console launches comes the return of a phenomenon known as 'fanboyism'. It's where a gamer makes a decision on which system to buy, and then justifies the choice by vehemently trashing the alternative console. To a fanboy, it's much more important to find faults with the 'opposition' rather than find positive points for their chosen platform. DPL sees this as a huge opportunity to please everyone, and to also anger everyone. So in two special episodes, Dead Pixel Live becomes a fanboy for both sides. In Episode 785, we go deep into why the PS4 should have never been made and point out every one of it's many flaws. Then in Episode 786, we go deep into why the Xbox One should have never been made and point out every one of it's many flaws.

So no matter which system you're a fanboy of, DPL has you covered. Some people may see this as a way to show how little sense 'fanboyism' makes, and that such negativity doesnt help anyone. But Dead Pixel Live sees it as a marketing opportunity.   

 

Click here for DPL Episode 785 (Xbox Fanboys)

Click Here for DPL Episode 786 (PS4 Fanboys)

 

Published in Dead Pixel Live Blog
Friday, 14 August 2015 18:01

Spearhead’s Stories

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Stories: The Hidden Path is an action-RPG brought to you by Spearhead Games, and will be coming soon to your Playstation 4.  The design director and game designer on Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed II, respectively, bring you a magic filled world full of adventures where your every decision affects the game in real time!

Adventure as Reynardo the corsair as you battle the Armada with its eyes set on domination of the entire realm.  Slice your way through your enemies or fly in your airship but be careful what you choose to do as it will have an effect on the outcome of the Story.

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Published in News
Monday, 17 November 2014 00:00

In Space We Brawl Review [PS4]

The PS4 has distinguished itself as one of all time most friendly platforms for independent developers to release their games. There are some really brilliant indie games showing great creativity that you’ll never find from a mainstream game. There are others that are as amateurish as it gets that probably shouldn’t have seen the light of day. We look at the latest independent game to come out on Sony’s PlayStation 4, In Space We Brawl.

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In Space We Brawl has to be one the easiest games to review because honestly there’s barely a game. Take some basic twin shooter controls, add in some slightly different spaceships and weapons and you’ve got In Space We Brawl. The games is almost totally a multiplayer game and there isn’t all that much depth to these battles. The only thing the game has you do is to shoot your weapons while moving around with your left stick. You hope you’re the last person standing taking less weapon fire damage than your ship can stand and avoiding the few obstacles littering the map. There’s eight maps in the game and the only thing that even makes them even slightly different is the textures they use in each and the amount of asteroids you can hit, otherwise there’s absolutely no difference.

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There is what can be considered a single player mode, called the “Challenge” mode. As far as I could tell instead of programming bots for single player arena matches they just put a bunch of forced scenarios for you to play through that feels like tutorial missions rather than anything that could be remotely fun. You get to experience terribly boring goals like avoid the asteroid or travelling to difference waypoints on a tiny map. Honestly if you thought the multiplayer was lacking then the single player takes it to a whole new level.

The sound effects are atrocious, the developers discovered the Dual Shock 4 had a speaker and decided to use to deliver ear crushing sound effects on an all too frequent basis. That’s not to say sound effects coming from your TV is any better, the voice acting has to be the worst I’ve heard in any game and that’s with the option to pick from a handful of equally bad voice actors with none being even passable. The graphics are the nicest part of the game as they the ships are adequate, the background graphics are plain but look nice enough and the character designs are well done.

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In Space We Brawl is currently selling on the PSN for $11.99 in an PS3/PS4 crossbuy. I can’t recommend you buy this game at this price. There’s maybe two minutes of fun and then the game slowly evaporates into boredom and disappointment.

Published in Playstation 4

 

PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One controller

ps4 xboxone controllersIs it just me, or did you notice that both Sony and Microsoft did not spend much time, if any, talking about their video game system's controllers during their respective E3 press conferences on June 10, 2013?  Maybe they did not want to repeat themselves since the controllers were mentioned at their previous press conferences.  However, I, for one, would have liked to hear more indepth details about the new controllers and why they are (or are not)  considered to be an improvement over the current ones.

 

The Xbox One and PS4 battle continues with the video game controllers

Of course, the meat of the new gaming systems is the consoles themselves; however, is it  possible that a controller could sway you more toward buying either the PS4 or the Xbox One?.

ps4 xboxoneHere's information to help you choose between the PS4 or the Xbox One controllers. 

The PS4 controller is referred to as Dual Shock 4.  Unfortunately, the current PS3 (Dual Shock 3) controller is not compatible with the PS4. The PS4 controller will have a touchpad, a headphone jack and a built in speaker.  The controller will support motion detection via gyroscope sensors.

Additionally, the PS4 controller will feature a light bar that will display different colors to alert you regarding your status while playing a video game, i.e. low health, etc.  The controller will have a motion sensor similar to the PS move.  The existing PS move for the PS3 will be supported on the PS4.

The Xbox One's controller basically keeps it current design.  The battery compartment is slimmer and the directional pad on the controller has a four way design.  Each trigger will have independent rumble motors, called impulse triggers where the trigger will vibrate when performiing an action -- for example firing a weapon.

The best way to find out if you like either the PS4 or the Xbox One controller is to actually hold it and better yet -- to play your favorite video game with it.

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Is a video game more enjoyable if you like the controller?

In just a few months you will be able to do just that with either the Xbox One or the PS4 controller when the next generation systems, Xbox One and the PS4 launch during the 2013 holiday season.

Microsoft Xbox One Conference May 21, 2013 Read More

Sony PS4 Press Conference February 20, 2013 Read More 

 

Published in Mom's Minute Blog
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:08

PS4 Release Date Revealed

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Here --  In this seemingly ordinary looking Best Buy lies the answer you have probably been waiting for.

Have you pre-ordered your PS4 or plan to get one but do not have the slightest idea of when the system will be available?  You may have  a general idea or a nebulous time frame as to  when the PS4 will be released.  For example, you may have heard the rumor that the PS4 will be launched some time before the holidays, 2013.  The question you may have is --  how much time before the holidays arrive will the PS4 be available and is there a specific release date for the PS4?  

Could the release date be just days before Christmas, since some video game companies like to schedule launches around the holidays?  Or maybe the release date will tie in with Black Friday.  Since Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days before Christmas, it would be strategic timing on Sony's part to release the PS4 on a day when just about everyone will probably be out shopping anyway.  There's nothing quite like a big shopping day like Black Friday to launch a new,  highly anticipated video game system, especially for those holiday shoppers who like to get their shopping done early.

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Can you find the system inside Best Buy that shows the release date for the PS4?  Hint:  It's in the picture to your left.

Putting speculations aside, could it be that somewhere out there in the video game biosphere, there is someone or a group who knows without a shadow of a doubt the release date for the PS4?  Certainly Sony knows, but to date, they seem to be taking their time getting the word out.  I guess Sony may be satisfied that it has done enough by sharing  with you at E3, 2013 how much you will have to fork over to get your hands on a PS4 -- namely $399.99.  Maybe the company is of the mindset that the price is enough information for you right now.  However, I will wholeheartedly disagree.  I think Sony should share when this game will be available when known, without any leaks, teasers, etc. I'm sure Sony knows that news regarding video game systems or even video games for that matter involve providing answers relative to the Who, What, Where, Why and When.

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If you picked this Pre-order touch screen system, you were correct as to the source for the release date for the PS4.

You already probably  know the Who -- Sony;  the What -- PS4; the Where -- Whereever video game systems are sold; the Why --Releasing new generation video game system;  but until now you probably did not know the When.  Exactly when will the PS4 be released?

The answer lies in what I would describe as an  impressive pre-order display touch screen system located at a particular Best Buy I went to recently.  Using the touch screen, you can pre-order video games and/or the new video game systems.  While I was at Best Buy,  using the touch screen, I decided, on a whim, to select the video game consoles category since I was curious as to what would be displayed for the PS4.  I touched the screen that showed a picture of the PS4 -- when lo and behold --  I saw it!  There before me on the big screen was the release date for the PS4.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look and you will see what I saw as the availability, release, or launch date for the PS4.  Rather than me telling you the date -- check out the visual below.

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Pre-order touch screen at Best Buy shows availability date for the PS4 as 11/30/2013

There you have it -- practically in black and white -- that the release date for the PS4 is 11/30/2013.  In my opinion, it is beneficial to know the specific release date for the PS4 for planning purposes -- however; there is a caveat. If you are interested in pre-ordering the PS4, unlike Amazon or other places that do not require a deposit, you will have to pay a $25.00 deposit if you pre-order from Best Buy.

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The PS 4  will be available on 11/30/2013, and will require a $25.00 deposit if you pre-order from Best Buy.

Regarding the $25.00 deposit -- when you look at the big picture, if you already plan to spend $399.99 for the new video game console -- along with the cost of the video games you plan to buy for the PS4 -- paying a $25.00 deposit to pre-order the PS4 now may not be such a big deal.

As for me, I plan to continue to enjoy playing video games on my PS3, for now, even if the PS4 is probably a steal, when compared to the $499.99 price for the Xbox One when it launches. As the release date for the PS4 gets closer -- of course, this could change.

That being said, I'm looking foward to getting an up close and personal look at the PS4 on the store shelves when it releases on November 30, 2013. 

Published in Mom's Minute Blog
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