Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dark Sous 2, Crysis 3, Roku vs Chromecast

Dark Souls 2 (Steam)

I'm about 12 hours in and slowly making my way to my next death.  So far I am enjoying DS2, it does improve on some issues I had with DS1, but it lacks the weight and darkness of the first title.  The character model in DS1 felt perfect, he had weight and the way he interacted with the ground and environment felt right, in DS2 the character feels a bit floaty and not really connected to the world.  It's not a big issue but after playing so many hours of DS1 it's noticeable.

They have made the game less of a grind and more about exploration which is a good thing.  There were times in DS1 that it seemed I had to grind for a bit to up my level to proceed any further.  In DS2 there are more paths to follow and I really haven't felt the need to grind for souls, plus if you kill an enemy a set number of times they don't respawn so unless you use an item that makes them come back even tougher you can get through a tough area with a little patience.  I think I've only had this happen on 3 enemies.

The game is still tough but it feels more accessible than the other games so if you haven't tried any of the Souls games this is a good one to start with.  The game is a long adventure with around 50-60 hours of content plus multiple NG+ modes so you do get your monies worth.

Crysis 3

Still trying out my new 21:9 monitor and it's growing on me fast.  The colors are so much better than my other monitors and the higher resolution just has a nice crispness to it.  I played Crysis 3 last night for about 2 hours and wow is that a pretty game.  The game seems to focus a bit more on stealth play this time around, at least in the early stages. I'm playing on the Veteran level and the AI seems really good, you need to make sure you are well hidden while replenishing your suit power or you will be seen an then that will alert all enemies.  The game still makes you feel like a powerhouse and it's fun to run up to enemies, grab them, throw them into the air, and shoot them on the way down.  The game is just too taxing to play on a triple monitor setup but on this monitor I'm able to crank everything up to almost max and get around 50fps.  

Roku & Chromecast

I have 2 TV's upstairs that I use occasionally so I thought I'd try out these new sticks to see how they perform.  They both require power either from a USB slot or wall outlet.

$15 more than Chromecast but comes with a remote and does have mobile apps to control device.
Has all the major streaming apps and a ton of niches apps so content is not lacking.
Plex support and works very well.
Netflix takes up to 30 seconds to load which is a bit slow, once it's loaded then it's fairly fast using menus and loading videos.  My biggest gripe.  
Easy to stream videos and pictures from my iOS devices.
Must use a mobile device to control.
Has most of the major streaming apps but is still missing some and not many niche apps.
The apps must be loaded onto your mobile device then you send that data to the Chomecast and it connects to the source and streams from there.
Plex works well.
Netflix load in under 10 seconds.
Had to download a couple of apps to be able to stream pics and videos from my iOS device.
I was unable to stream my Chrome browser on the phone.
Overall they were both pretty easy to use, but I like the Roku the best.  The included remote is a nice feature and even though I usually have my phone nearby, always having to use that to change settings or pick a new video is a sometimes a little annoying.  Also if you have multiple people using the device you have to have the apps loaded onto all the devices and then update them which is another hassle.

New Releases - No really big games this week.


Battleblock Theater (download - $15) - Finally releasing on PC.
The Last Tinker: City of Colors (download - $22)
Chronology (download)
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition (download - $50)
Memento Mori 2 (download)
Fearless Fantasy (download)
Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion (download) -  Flat?????

Xbox One

Super TIME Force (download)

Xbox 360

Super TIME Force (download)

PlayStation 3

Minecraft: PlayStation 3 Edition (retail)

Wii U

Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails (download - $10)


Borderlands 2  - Interested to see how well it plays on the Vita.
Soul Sacrifice Delta

Nintendo 3DS

Moon Chronicles - Episode 1 (download)
Mega Man IV (Game Boy) (download)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

AOC Monitor, Sony Pulse Elite Headset, Cabela's Big Game Hunter Pro Hunts

AOC 29" 21:9 Monitor

Saw some reviews of these larger monitors and I wanted to try it out on my 3 Monitor rig.  The only issue I have with playing on 3 monitors is that the image is stretched on the side monitors so while it's good for peripheral vision it's not much use for anything else.  The AOC monitor has a resolution of  2560x1080 so you see more of the screen horizontally and it gives you quite a bit of the peripheral vision without the distortion of the image.  Also since the resolution is less than a full 3 monitor setup it doesn't take as much graphical power so I can run every game smoothly. 

It's an IPS panel so the colors are rich and deep and the viewing angles are much better than the TFT monitor I was using.   I don't play every game with 3 monitors so I wanted a better center monitor for those games as well and this blows the other away, it really looks sharp.  On racing and FPS games the extra resolution really makes a difference.  I thought about a 4K monitor but they are too expensive now and require to much hardware to push that resolution. Not all games support the 21:9 resolution so you can either stretch the image or have black bars.  I tried Diablo 3 and I'm not sure why it doesn't support that resolution but the stretched image didn't look too bad. 

I took my other 2 monitors and rotated them to portrait mode and I really like it, browsing webpages in portrait mode is quite nice. Also it makes placing my side speakers a lot easier.   I'm debating picking one up for work as I use two monitors there and I don't really have the space to sit two monitors effectively. 

Sony Pulse Elite Headset

I have a Logitech G930 headset, but really don't like the bass output as it sounds very muddy.  I've played around with the equalizer settings and haven't been able to fix the issue.  I saw a review of the Sony headphones and thought that I'd give them a try, plus they were on sale.  They are designed for the PS3 and PS4, but work with a usb dongle that can be plugged into a PC.

The interesting feature is the Bass Pulse, it kind of works like the buttkicker speakers where it will pulses(rumbles) when the bass notes are played. It's great and really adds to the immersion, I haven't setup my actual buttkicker yet so it should be awesome to have both going at the same time. 

The sound is much better on these than the G930's and they are a bit more comfortable.  The only gripe I have is the 5 hour battery life but I usually don't play that long on that PC anyway so not that big of a deal. There is an app that you can use for PS3 games that will set the headphones equalizer to maximize sound in certain games, I need to try this.

Overall I'm very impressed by these headphones and recommend them to any one looking for a nice set of wireless headphones. 

Cabela's Big Game Hunter Pro Hunts (Steam)

Usually these games are awful but they made an awesome hunting sim with this version of the game.  I was hesitant to buy the game even with it being half off but after reading some user reviews I decided to give it a chance and I've had a great 2 hours so far.  The game plays like a simulation where you have to purchase gear and fill your backpack with different hunting items and then go out into the wilderness and find your prey.  You have to be wary of the wind direction and the amount of noise you are making. 

Once you find your prey it's time to shoot and here is where the game gets cool.  When you shoot it goes into slow motion and gives you stats about the bullet as it follows it's trajectory and as it gets close to the prey it will show an x-ray of where the bullet penetrates so you can see the bullet hit bones are lungs or other vital organs, the sound effects are awesome as well.  If you just graze the animal then you have to track the blood trail in order to find where the animal ultimately falls. 

There is a career mode that I've just started so I can only hunt deer and boars for now but will get to hunt bears and other larger creatures.  The game has many weapons and accessories that you can buy including bows and calls so there is a ton of content. I've really liked what I've played so far it doesn't feel restrictive and gives you a huge world to explore. 

​New Releases - Another week and some good releases.  Bound by Flame and Tesla Effect.


Age of Mythology: Extended Edition (download - $30)
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure (download - $20) - A new Tex Murphy game with FMV. 
Bound by Flame (download - $40) -  Looks interesting. 
Sweezy Gunner (download)
Coldfire Keep (download)

PlayStation 4

MLB 14: The Show
Bound by Flame
Sportsfriends (download - $15)
Stick it to the Man! (download - $15, free for PlayStation Plus)
Titan Attacks (download)

Xbox 360

Bound by Flame
Peggle 2 (download) -  Sure wish this would come out on the iPad or PC.

PlayStation 3

Bound by Flame
Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi
Sportsfriends (download - $15)
Titan Attacks (download)


God of War Collection
Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse (download)
Titan Attacks (download)

Nintendo 3DS

Mega Man 2 (Game Boy) (download - $5)
Mega Man 3 (Game Boy) (download - $5)
The Denpa Men 3: The Rise of Digitoll (download)
Grinsia (download)