Monday, November 25, 2013

Xbox One

Xbox One

As soon as you lift the box you can tell there's a big difference in the 2 consoles. The Xbox One design reminds me a bit of the original Xbox, it's big, square, and heavy.  I do like the design though and it looks nice with my other equipment below the TV, there is a slight glow of the Xbox logo when it's on which is better then the blue glow of the PS4.  The huge power brick is back but luckily I can hide it behind my speakers.  It's all touch based like the PS4 for turning on and ejecting disks.

I really like the Xbox 360 controller and it's the best controller I've ever used.  The PS4 controller is really nice and if they had moved the left analog stick up a bit I think it would top the 360 controller.  The Xbox One controller supposedly had over 40 refinements but not all of them were a good idea.  The controller is a bit smaller than the 360 and the analog sticks are smaller as well, I have small hands so it fits perfectly, but if you have large hands it might feel a bit cramped.  The d-pad is crossed shaped and makes an audible click when pressed, it's a bit different than the d-pad before but seemed to work well.  The triggers have rumble in them and some resistance when playing certain games which works well.  The problem is the left and right bumpers, they made them smaller and to click them you have to be on the edges and I found sometimes that my clicks wouldn't register hopefully they just need to be worn in.  The headset is really nice and where you plug it into the controller is where the mute and volume controls are which is much easier to hit in the dark.  The Kinect is solid and about the same width as the previous one so it does take up some space.  There is a light on it but it's not bright enough to be a bother in total darkness. 

The UI resembles Windows 8's interface and it does OK.  There are still too many boxes to get to what you want and it can be a bit confusing.  The voice commands worked perfectly for me even when I had the sound cranked up and shaking the walls, the kinect was able to hear my voice and respond immediately.  I watched some videos of others and they seemed to have to say the commands multiple times, I guess my room acoustics are good.  I was able to say Xbox Record that and it would create a video clip of the last 30 seconds, I really like that feature.  The PS4 records the last 15 minutes by default, which is really too much unless you want to capture a whole round of COD so it takes time to edit out the part you want, you can manually make the time shorter by using menu options but the Xbox version is easier.  I will upload some of those to my Youtube channel later this week.

Overall I'm impressed with the hardware and it's seems solidly built and it was very quiet.  The blu-ray drive is much quieter than the PS4's.  It is large though and has to sit horizontally so you may need to make some changes to your setup.

Dead Rising 3

Zombies, zombies, and more zombies.  The graphics may not be the best of all the launch titles, but the sheer number of zombies on the screen is crazy and each one is unique.  In one scene there must have been about 400 zombies in a block radius and there was no slowdown, it's something that couldn't be done with the 360.  Creating different types of weapons and seeing how they interact with the zombies is so much fun, there are around 300 different weapons you can create plus you can combine different vehicles. The game still has it's sense of humor as I was killing zombies dressed in daisy duke shorts and shirt plus my manly fireman moustache and aviator shades.  They removed the time limit which really opens the game up and gives you time to explore and experiment.  You can use your tablet as a companion device which adds some new missions and other additions as well as recieve phone calls from the game, it's a nice touch that works well. 

Forza 5

Only played about 5 races it felt pretty good with a controller, but I miss my wheel.  The rumble triggers work ok, they are supposed to give you a better indication of when your wheels are losing grip, but it didn't help me much but I probably need more time to feel the nuances.  The loading times are about 25 seconds between races which is something I had hoped would be improved with this generation so that was a little disappointing.   The Drivatar feature which uses your friends and others driving tendencies to create AI drivers seemed to work ok, I did have a lot of cars crash into me.  You only race 4 times before it uploads them for others to use which seems a bit quick since you are just learning, they will evolve over time as you become better but initially be ready for some crashes. 

Madden 25

Played about 3 games so far and I've been impressed, it still has a long way to go but it seemed much better than the 360 version.  The bad blocking seems to have been fixed as I didn't notice anything strange while watching replays.  The AI seems better and it was able to run against my defense even on the default setting, I was playing as the Cowboys though.  

Call of Duty Ghosts

Squad mode.   Awesome.   Multiplayer has been fixed. 

You know how in multiplayer you get people who camp or just don't play right, it's frustrating and makes you want to quit. Last night during normal multiplayer there were 2 people who were running around just knifing people, they were able to set their perks so that it made it difficult to notice and shoot them on a regular basis.  After this I decided to give Squad mode a try and it's probably the best ideas COD has had in years.

In Squad mode you create a team of 8 AI soldiers who will accompany you in battle against other AI bots or against another persons squad.  The AI is much better than previous games and really feels like you are playing against real people without feeling like the game is cheating.  It's very challenging and rewarding as you can equip each member with different loadouts which will alter their AI so it adds strategy on how you build up your squad for each game mode.  Taking your squad out against another was better than regular multiplayer as everyone played "correctly".  Also since your experience carries over to the other multiplayer mode it's awesome and has no drawbacks. 

My only gripe with the game is loading times, it's about 20 seconds to load a map.  The maps are larger and have more detail but the loading should be much quicker on next gen. 

New Releases - Not much till next year which is good since there are so many games to play.


Professional Farmer 2014 (download - $20)

PlayStation 4

flOw (PSN)
Tiny Brains (PSN)

Xbox 360

Air Conflicts: Vietnam

PlayStation 3

Air Conflicts: Vietnam
Metal Gear Solid VR Missions (psone Classic)
Oddworld: Abe's Box (psone Classic)
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PSN)
Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers (PSN)
Saint Seiya and Ys: Memories of Celceta
Super Motherload (PSN - $15)


flOw (PSN)
Ys: Memories of Celceta

Nintendo 3DS

3D Space Harrier (eShop - $6)
3D Super Hang-On (eShop - $6)
Race to the Line (eShop)

Nintendo DS

HeathCliff Spot On (DSiWare)

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