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GTA V on next-gen; Worth it to buy again?

Grant Theft Auto V is just the beginning of Rockstar North's next-gen presence.
Grant Theft Auto V is just the beginning of Rockstar North’s next-gen presence.

GTA V has been out for eight months now, and free updates for the online play have rolled out consistently for the fastest selling entertainment product in history. One might think that with how many people that already own GTA they may struggle for their upcoming next-gen console release in September 2014. That could not be further from the truth.

Grand Theft Auto V is just the beginning for Rockstar’s involvement in next-gen games. In an interview with CVG almost a full year ago, Rockstar President, Leslie Benziez, said “We’re just going to add on new things to it, new places all the time.”

The most notable aspect of that statement is “new places”. Rockstar has created an incredible world to start from. There are animations, characters, and scenery that are so fluently well done, yet hardly used. There are ideas that can be heavily explored with GTA’s engine powering the way.

GTA V’s release on next-gen is just the beginning. With greater processing power to improve an already beautiful game, and much greater hard drive space to play with on PS4 and Xbox One, the window for massive add-ons to enhance the GTA world is open.

Will we see an updated Liberty City or Vice City again? Or maybe something entirely new?

The future for Rockstar’s next-gen invasion is very bright.

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Destiny proves promising by building off of Halo’s success

Destiny Landscape
Bungie is going to have a massive task ahead to market Destiny to the people to encourage them that this new franchise is indeed going to be incredible.

So far the quality of the game looks outstanding. The game has been presented extraordinarily well in the just the limited Alpha stages of game development. A staunch difference in comparison to their 2013 simple and straighforward trailers, the game has shown an incredible blend of classic Halo 2 multiplayer mid-game objectives and the power-up abilities introduced in Halo 3/Halo: Reach.

 

The classic scramble for the Sword (or other powerful on-map weapon) returns in a new style. A scramble for your own special weapon ammo occurs on the map randomly with an alert to all players. This brings together intense fire-fights in areas where you otherwise wouldn’t expect to face-off.

The power-ups of Halo: Reach take a new role as ‘supers’ here, but just how many will be included in the final game remains to be seen.

Combining the past success of their games will be crucial to ensuring the game takes off with early support from Bungie fans, and the game is sure to have a very Halo-esque feel to it. It will be exciting to see how they continue to build on what they’ve been able to showcase so far.

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Watch_Dogs is the best next-gen game right now, but it still underwhelms | Review

Watch_Dogs comes so close to being amazing, but falls short in too many ways.
Watch_Dogs comes so close to being amazing, but falls short in too many ways.

Watch_Dogs was originally presented as a very dark and mysterious future world. Instead the 3rd-person shooter is present-day, more action-oriented, and has nearly every aspect of the world revealed to you from the beginning. It is incredibly fun, but not exactly what you may expect when compared to their E3 2012 and 2013 trailers.

One of the greatest faults on the part of Ubisoft, was their “two months are enough to visit Los Santos” advertisement.

This advertisement opened the door for direct comparisons to GTA V. A game that Watch_Dogs struggles to live up to.

And because of that ad, it does help a comparison to GTA V feel more valid. Because this is evidently a game they were trying to compete with. Two open-world games that have deep stories with an intricate setting. The main difference between the two games though, is their presentation. GTA V tries to be funny but often comes off as serious because of how in depth the world and characters are. But Watch_Dogs attempts to be overly dark and serious and the story doesn’t have the depth to complement that.

In GTA V it seems that, even if you aren’t there, the world keeps going on. Watch_Dogs reveals nearly everything to you right from the beginning, and even though the map is a decent size, there is little motivation for you to ever explore much at all. You know where everything is in the city so why explore the parts of the game without a former objective? This makes the world very straight-forward for an open world.


Outside of their initial presentation, the game is not necessarily bad in anyway.

The graphics are great (though not as amazing as originally represented) -especially at night or when it’s raining. The lighting reflecting off of the surface of puddles as you slowly walk through the city is incredibly immersive. It’s clear they focused a lot on making the backdrop look fantastic as you travel through urban Chicago.

The missions are enjoyable and include a reasonable amount of diversity ranging from car chases and fire-fights to hacking and stealthily tailing various criminals. The game’s approach to combat and stealth help players find unique ways to approach each mission. These unique approaches prevent things from ever getting too repetitive.

The online missions and gamemodes are easy to quickly divert to when the main story grows a bit too dull. A simple “app” on your in-game phone can bring you straight to an online multiplayer match or an open-world to explore with friends.

The story was at times exciting, but all too often underwhelming. Aiden’s battle with his own thoughts were far too exaggerated and his actions compared to how his character emotionally reacts is sometimes laughable. The abandonment of some of the story’s most unique characters, mainly Jordie, your first in-game ally,  is also disappointing.  Jordie is initially presented as a major character, but is often cast aside in favor of following Aiden’s narrative over everyone else. There are moments where it seems as though it would steer the game in a more exciting direction, but it just never seems to come.


Watch_Dogs is decent, but it still feels slightly disappointing when you compare the game that was shipped to the one that was originally showcased at E3 2012/2013. Though the expectations for Watch_Dogs 2 should still remain very high.

8.1/10

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What is Valiant Hearts?

Can an emotional story be told with the style of game that Valiant Hearts is aiming to be?

The narration of the trailer alone peaked my interest in what this game was and how it will progress.

The trailer was beautiful and the story sounds heartfelt as well, but I question how deep the game can be with such a bright art style in a side-scroller. There are some side-scrollers that are able to pull off the serious feel, but they are typically very particular with their art style to help invoke the mood.

While the trailer for Valiant Hearts excites me, the older examples of gameplay, and the art style make me question if this game will just be lost in its identity.

 

Updated Review

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NHL 15 SCREENSHOTS

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EA Sports’ NHL series is poised to take a significant step forward from its last seven installments. The last time the series jumped from last-gen to next-gen we saw an incredible difference in gameplay and graphics. It looks like the same will be happening this time around.

 

While the most prominent difference is the graphical improvements, smaller stories lay behind these newly released screenshots.

What we know so far:

  • Two refs and two linesmen
  • Dynamic crowd — Super fans
  • Team celebrations
  • Multiple pucks on the ice(?) (Multiple pucks shown in first teaser trailer)

Anything you notice? Leave a comment!

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Bungie’s Destiny – Coming 9-9-14

Bungie has now set a date to release its newest project. Destiny is expected to release September 9th, 2014. With an incredible fore-running game like Halo to live up to, it will be exciting to see how the game progresses and changes over time.

Set in a mythic sci-fi world, Destiny shares many gameplay elements that Bungie’s games tend to have. It certainly has shown to have its own twists but the style remains very reminiscent of Halo. Destiny is prepared to unleash another new-wave multiplayer game, in which the singleplayer and multiplayer are directly tied to each other rather than separate aspects of the game.

How players will react to this world after becoming accustomed to the typical Bungie multiplayer experience will surely be exciting to follow.

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Xbox One – disc drive fix

After a mostly smooth launch Microsoft still has had its share of issues with its console. The Xbox One’s primary problem seems to have a very easy fix, though it may sound bizarre.

For those experiencing a strange grinding noise, a couple of bangs to the underside of the console may be all you need to correct the problem. The goal is to knock a loose rotating gear back into place. To rectify the issue make sure there is no disc in the disc drive and then unplug your console and set it down on a flat surface. After you have all the wires out of the way, flip the console upside down so that the serial code bar is facing upwards. On the right side of the upside down console (side of the disc tray), firmly hit the console 2-3 times to knock the gear back into place. Just like with the Playstation 4, this is not the recommended action that is officially advised. It is certainly safer to simply contact Microsoft for a replacement console.

*Per Polygon – Buyers may be compensated a free game from Microsoft for the broken disc drive.

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PS4 Red line of death fix

As can be expected with the launch of any new console, the Playstation 4’s release has had a bit of turbulance with its hardware. Few players have actually run into the red line of death, but for those gamers frustration will set in and complaints and issues will seem more prominent then they are, but for the vast majority of users, their consoles are everything they could have hoped for and more.

Speculation from gamers seems to highlight a multitude of possible reasons for the hardware failure. Some users suggest the issues stem from overheating issues, ironically reminiscent of the Xbox 360’s initial launch problems. There are also some reports of HDD issues as well -though this has been reported to be fixed by booting the console in safe mode. But it seems most users suggest a faulty HDMI cable port to be the culprit for most problems.

A soft blinking red light on the PS4 console could be an indicator of this HDMI issue. It seems to be the most common and is fairly simple to fix. Multiple users suggest that the HDMI port has a small piece of metal bent backwards within the HDMI port. It is possible to resolve the issue by just bending the metal back into place. It seems most users will be able to receive a new system through the manufacturer’s warranty so it may not be neccesary to attempt fixing it yourself. Though if you simply can’t wait, it’s very much worth a shot at your own risk.

*Per Kotaku – Currently, there is no reported fix for the blue line of death if that’s your issue. Your best bet is to use the manufacturer warranty to get a new console.