PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One controller
Is 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?.
Here'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.
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.
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
Ok, 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.
PS4 PS Camera/Move
Sony’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.
The 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.
Wii U Tablet
It’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.
Xbox 360 Kinect
The 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.
Live Vision Camera
Before 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.
This 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.
Nintendo Wii Balance Board
The 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.
Sega Dreamcast VMU
The 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
The 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.
Nintendo NES Power Pad
Nintendo 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.
Coleco Vision Expansion Module #2
The 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.
Atari 2600 Keyboard Controller
Oddly 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s the freshest COD since MW 1
Kevin “freaking” Spacey
Campaigns still short and unsurprising
Scenery could look prettier
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.
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.
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.
Now that a brand new year is here, is one of your resolutions to enjoy even more video games in 2014, than you did in 2013? If so, the video game industry is ready to help you keep your New Year's resolution by offering new games not only for the next generation video game consoles -- the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 -- but for the previous video game systems as well, such as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii U.
Limited New Games
There have been complaints about the low quantity of video games released for the next generation video game consoles at launch; however, I believe the developers are hard at work to provide quality video games, which may take longer than churning out video games as if they were on an assembly line. I'm not making excuses for the developers, but it's possible that there is a learning curve in upgrading or creating new games for the next generation video game consoles. Speculations aside, a developer actually admitted that making video games for the next generation consoles was 10 times -- I repeat -- 10 times harder than for the previous video game systems. Additionally a senior manager from Capcom, Masaru Ijuin, stated they ran into some problems using their original engine, MT Framework -- which is the reason they are now working on a new engine, Panta Rhei. Of course video game development itself takes time, and there may be a "gazillion" reasons for the limited number of video games for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 at the current time. Hopefully as the developers get more accustomed to the new video game hardware (or overcome other causes for delayed new video games) -- games will start flowing abundantly, similar to what happened during the tail end of 2011. I recall during that time -- just about every day a game was being released for the Xbox 360 and the PS3. I was so impressed with the rapid availability of video games, I gave kudos to the video game industry here.
Slow Start for New Video Games
I'm choosing to take a positive projectory stance regarding the slow start for new video games for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Even with the slow start for new video games, things are looking up for the video game industry as a whole. Did you know the video game industry is estimated to be worth approximately 76 to 100 billion dollars, with the video game console segment currently heading the market? To keep its market lead, I think it's important for video game companies to develop quality video games -- not only for the satisfaction of the video game player -- but to also keep its lead, and to survive in general -- since it's reported that PC and mobile gaming are on the heels of the consoles -- attempting to take over market share.
Xbox One and PlayStation 4 Woes
Unfortunately, the new generation video game consoles are not without problems since both systems have failed to deliver on some promises. A thorough, unbiased summary and assessment of those broken promises are here: http://www.allgames.com/component/k2/item/7217-broken-promises-of-the-next-gen-consoles
Microsoft - Sony Video Game Issues
The good news is that I'm sure both Microsoft and Sony are aware of these issues and have them on their radar. The lack of new video games is certainly obvious. In fact, a video game company has gone so far as to offer pre-order bonuses for the game, Evolve, without the prerequisite gameplay footage available to preview. Essentially if you preorder this game, you are doing so in the blind. I guess they wanted to fill the void by at least offering a preorder bonus for a game that is in the works -- with an unspecified, projected release date of the near future.
With the above being said, here is the list of video games that may be on your "can't wait" list of video games for 2014.
Video Games -- "Can't Wait" List for 2014
Note: Remember to check the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings of video games and purchase accordingly.
1. Watch Dogs -- Since the announcement in October 2013 that Watch Dogs would be delayed, Ubisoft has been relatively quiet about the progress of this game. There was a rumor there would be some "GTA 5"- like gameplay when it is released, which, personally, I'm wishing is just a rumor. In my opinion, Watch Dogs is one of those video games that will show that a video game can be innovative and exciting to play without an overload of bad language, blood and violence. I believe this game is certainly worth waiting for and I'm hoping that it will not disappoint. Watch Dogs will be playable on previous and next generation video game consoles and the PC. Release date: Spring, 2014
2. Titanfall -- Microsoft has announced there will be a special, limited edition wireless controller available for this game which will be designed to have the feel of a military spec item transported from the Titanfall universe. This first person shooter video game won numerous awards as well as a record breaking six E3 critics awards at E3 2013. Titanfall will be playable on the Xbox 360, Xbox One and the PC. Release date: March 11, 2014.
3. Project Cars -- Slightly Mad Studios plan to give Gran Turismo 6 and Fortza 5 a run for their money. They are developers of Need for Speed and Need for Speed Shift 2 and are showing they mean business by the stunning, realistic graphics of the cars in this video game as well as the environment. Having high quality video games Gran Turismo 6 and Fortza 5 as competitors, I'm not surprised the video game graphics of Project Cars have been described as "beyond incredible." Hopefully the gameplay will measure up as well. Project Cars will be playable on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, Wii U, Steam OS and the PC. Release date: Third or fourth quarter, 2014.
4. Quantum Break -- This third person shooter is described by Remedy as the "ultimate Remedy" game, Quantum Break meshes television action with your video gameplay. Of course this video game/television scenario has been done before, i.e. the video game Defiance, but the storyline, in my opinion makes this video game stand out. Here's my take on Quantum Break:
5. Tom Clancy's The Division -- If you are a fan of Tom Clancy's video games, you should be happy to know that more action-adventure video gameplay is coming your way soon. Video gameplay involves fighting against a virus and other type enemies to save everyone from the fall of society. This game will have a companion app where you can join your team of friends as a drone from a smart phone or tablet -- anytime and wherever you may be. Tom Clancy's The Division will be playable on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC. Release date: Possible 2014. (An anonymous developer is rumored to have revealed they have quite a ways to go before this game is finished).
6. The Order: 1886 -- In this action adventure video game set in Victorian-era London, you will use advance technology to fight against monsters. Add this gameplay with the fusion of time, and you will have a unique experience playing this video game. The Order: 1886 is a PlayStation 4 exclusive video game. Release date: Third quarter, 2014.
7. Destiny -- With an open world setting, Destiny is described as an action, role-playing first person shooter video game with a "mythic science fiction" type influence. The unique feature of this game is actions may happen during gameplay that were not necessarily designed or orchestrated by the developer. Destiny will be playable on the previous and next generation video game consoles. Release date: September 9, 2014.
Here's more on Destiny: http://www.moms-minute.com/ms-h-news/745-video-games-halo-4-successor-destiny-changes
8. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes -- I guess this video game was so nice, they had to do it twice. The video game is in two parts -- with part one being more of an extended prologue and the action continuing in part two -- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain -- which currently does not have a release date. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will be playable on the previous and next generation video game consoles. Release date: March 18, 2014.
9. Dragon Age: Inquisition -- Unlike its Dragon Age predecessor, Dragon Age: Inquistion will afford you the opportunity to explore the open video game environment with a mission to save the world. It will be playable on the previous and next generation video game consoles as well as the PC. Release date: Third quarter, 2014.
10. Smash Bros -- In my opinion, this list would not be complete without an Nintendo video game. Enter Smash Bros -- a fighting game featuring Nintendo characters. This game has been providing fun video gameplay since 1999 and is still going strong. It will be playable on the Wii U and the 3DS and has the connectivity to play between the versions. Release date: 2014 (specific timeframe unavailable at press time).
If you do not see your "can't wait" video game for 2014 on the list -- don't fret. I'm sure if I had extended the list to more than 10 video games -- your game would have found a place -- front and center.
Happy New Year Everyone.
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.
Bigmoon Entertainment is bringing Demons Age to the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2016. Demons Age is a turn-based, fantasy, role playing game developed by the people who brought you Trapped Dead: Lockdown and Space Empires V: Battle for Artemis.
In Demons Age you will set up your character and be able to hire a cast of diverse characters to help you in your adventure. You can play a single character or in party mode. Level up by following the main story, solving puzzles, and performing side quests. Watching the video you can see that it has that classic dungeon crawler feel that makes me reminisce about my days playing D&D. So if you want to don’t want to roll your dice for your Listen check find out more info at http://www.demonsage.com
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.
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.
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.
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. 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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