Four Hours : Red Dead Redemption II

I don’t really like reviewing games, especially since I have not finished it yet so cant give a real “review” of it…. so lets do what I think of the game so far.

When Red Dead Redemption (the original) was first announced way back when, it caught my interest, but when was only going to be released for PS3 era consoles, I was a bit gutted……  but it became the reason I bought a PS3. (Got a great deal on the PS3 with games inc RDR)

I was hooked on the game – GTA 3 etc were good but this was amazing, the freedom, the graphics, the sound, the game play, it was just a top notch game.

It was/is so good, I even bought it on Xbox360 for my Xbox One (backwards compatibility FTW) and was still playing it until a few weeks ago when I pre-ordered RDR2…..

Anyway, onto RDR2

Graphics – being a “nex-gen” console, of course I was expecting better graphics than the first game, but wow, the detail and draw distance is fantastic. You can just lose yourself in the environment and forget about the rest of the game. Everything is well detailed and animations spot on.

Sound – again, amazing, just stop and listen to the world around you. Some of the speech of NPC’s can be a bit repetitive after a while but cant have everything.

Gameplay – Great as usual with Rockstars games.Does take a little while to get used to the controller changes from RDR but everything is accessible fairly quickly. I’ve only done a couple of the missions so far, but each have flowed well and been straight forward to complete. The intro missions are a bit linear but its more of a training system – does take a while to get through though.

Now, warning – it does take approx 90mins to install the game on a standard Xbox – so dont get home after buying it and think “yay, cant wait” – you will wait. But its well worth it.

Multiplayer will be available soon but I wont be trying that as I dont subscribe to Xbox Live Gold.

If you enjoyed RDR, or GTA5, just grab this, you wont be disappointed – except you cant put an exhaust on your horse 😉 But its testicles do shrink when its cold…………

 

Xbox One Repair

Last year our 3 year old Xbox One stopped connecting to the controllers consistently. They would connect, then after a short period drop out, then come back and drop again. I found the closer to the Xbox I got with the controller, the more stable it was.

Everything else appeared to be working perfectly on the Xbox, so was a bit puzzled and frustrated that a 3 year old device was giving this grief, when my 8+ year old PS3 has never missed a beat (apart from controller failing after years of constant abuse).

After doing some research online, found the issue was quite common, yet no-one had managed to get Microsoft to come to the party to fix it.

So everyone was left to their own devices to fix it.

Turns out its a small card in the Xbox which is primarily the Wifi controller, but also handles the controllers wireless connection as well – makes sense.

Swapping this out for another one was the most common fix. So I did it.

Found the replacement part of Ebay for $10NZD, waited 2 months for it to arrive, then spent 30mins installing it using the following guide.

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Xbox+One+Wi-Fi+Board+Replacement/36779

And now have working controllers!!!!!!

It wasn’t hard to do, just more frustrating trying to get the bits of the Xbox apart without breaking them 😉

Hopefully thats the last time I have to take it apart.

Game on!

Easy as Pi Emulation

Recently I was given a Raspberry Pi, inc case, power, wifi and SD card. Plan was for my eldest daughter to play with it and see if its something that would interest her going forward…. she showed a lot of interest, more so when she found Retropie.

Since then, she started hassling me to help her get it running to play some old games….so I did.

And guess what ? It was damn easy.

Just dump the latest Retropie image on the SD card, and away you go. The only thing we had issues with, was getting through the initial controller setup. It didnt seem to like my budget USB game pad, so ended up using an Xbox One controller.

Now, since this is an original Pi, its not amazing at emulation, but runs the early arcades such as PacMan, Space invaders, Donkey Kong well, but anything else can be hit and miss. My daughter fired up Super Mario Kart (SNES) and while it did run, it wasnt great.

Copying new games was easy as copying some ROM’s into the relevant folders onto the SD card over the network.

So now, I’m hooked on this little box for emulation purposes, but looking at obtaining the latest Pi which apparently handles most stuff without a problem. Being so small, its portable, which makes it great for throwing into a bag when you go away for a weekend and the kids start going “Im bored” – find an HDMI capable display and you’re away.

Now, this does make my RetroBox project rather redundant………  I may still do it, I’ll see how the new Pi goes.

 

Check out : Retro Asylum

If you’re into retro gaming and listen to podcasts, I’m pretty sure you would have come across Retro Asylum.

It’s a great podcast with a group of guys who love their retro gear and gaming and have a great sense of humor.

I’ve been tuning into them for about 8 months now and find it fascinating listening about all the systems they’ve come across or own, a lot of gear we never saw officially in New Zealand.

They cover all aspects of retro gaming, from hardware, software, peripherals, newly developed games (inc Amstrad!) and more.

I highly recommend checking them out. You can find them on all the usual social media platforms, including Discord – but the bugger about discord is that we’re usually asleep when they all come to life 🙁

 

Sea of Thieves : Thoughts

Sea of Thieves – since it was first announced it had my attention, but I was slightly concerned that would be it different enough than everything else out there to get people interested, and hold their interest.

Well, since the game had its Final Beta this weekend and I can reveal more info and a video (all previous Beta’s etc were under a NDA), I’m happy to announce its looking damn good and a lot of fun.

Graphics – wow. I have not seen such amazing water physics in a game. GTA5 water was good, but this takes it 5 steps further. The water looks real, acts real, and when light hits it, it reacts how it would in the real world. The main ship and character graphics look like they’ve been ripped from Team Fortress 2 due to their artistic style, but are very well animated. Their simple looking but very effective. Everything is very smooth and clear. Now, most games of this ilk, if you go under water, you’re either looking at fairly bland scenery or just cant see the bottom – not so here. When you’re near an island, the water is teeming with life and color.

Sound – everything that can move, has a sound effect attached to it – sails, ropes, wood, when people moving around on deck while you’re below, you can hear their footsteps etc. Music is played in a similar fashion to Red Dead Redemption – a small bit of background music will come on occasionally. If you like your sailing to be a bit more noisy, then you can select one of two period correct instruments and start playing one of 3 pieces of music (Ride of The Valkyries while chasing an enemy boat is awesome) and if one of your fellow crew decides to pull out a musical instrument at the same time, you both play the same piece giving the music a more complete sound.

Gameplay – very simplistic and yet effective. Switch between a sword and a pistol/rifle/shotgun quickly, access various other equipment such as buckets (needed when you’re taking on water), banana’s (for energy), lanterns (to see) and other options. When you encounter an enemy ship, thats when the game really kicks in, you can either attempt to get away by angling your sails with the winds for maximum speed, or fight it out – either with cannons, or just ram the other ship and board them.

When you die, you end up on The Ferry of the Damned, a ghost ship where you must wait a couple of minutes before being able to spawn back into the game.

If you are left behind by your crew, or fall overboard, you can spawn back on board courtesy of the friendly mermaid/mermen who appear.

Overall, this game is looking to be a lot of fun, with crew not working together (oi who’s steering/fixing the ship/bailing water), firing yourself out of a cannon to board ships or get to hard to get to places, getting drunk in game together and so on. I’m on board for it and hope to purchase the full game on the 20th when its released.

I have had someone ask if its a grinding game etc like WoW/Guild Wars etc – not really, depends how you want to play it. There are quests and treasure maps, to give you money to buy better gear, but honestly, I think if you were just in it for the ship battles and exploring, then you’ll be happy as a fish in the sea.

Now, for those on older systems thinking “crap, Ill need a graphics card/CPU update”, fear not. Its well optimized and runs nicely on my system (specs below) which is considered “crap” by many 😉

Intel Pentium G3258, 8GB DDR3, Zotac AMP! Edition 760GTX (2GB), Kingston SSD.

Rare have done an amazing job on this game, and I look forward to playing it.

 

ARK : Survival Arrives on Windows 10 Store with Cross-play

ARK: SURVIVAL EVOLVED, THE ULTIMATE DINOSAUR EXPERIENCE, ARRIVES ON WINDOWS 10 TODAY, ADDING CROSS-PLAY WITH XBOX ONE PLAYERS

Seattle, WA –  20th December , 2017 – Studio Wildcard today announced the release of the multi-million selling dinosaur action-adventure survival game, ARK: Survival Evolved on the Windows 10 store. Already available for Xbox One and Xbox One X enhanced, ARK is now an Xbox Play Anywhere title that allows players who purchase the game digitally to play on both platforms at no additional cost. Tied to the players’ Microsoft account, ARK survivors can now pick up their adventure where they left off, switching between their Xbox One and PC while taking their saved progress, Gamerscore, DLC, and achievements with them.

Additionally, ARK for Windows 10 version supports Microsoft’s cross-play feature, which means Xbox One and Win 10 players will be able to cooperate or compete on the same servers to capture, tame and train some of the Jurassic-era’s most powerful beasts, from the vicious Velociraptor, to the earth-shaking Titanosaur!

Windows 10 purchasers of ARK: Survival Evolved can also purchase its Expansion Packs including Scorched Earth and last week’s update – the derelict, malfunctioning underground world of Aberration, loaded with fascinating items including five new Biomes, 14 new Creatures and 30 new Engrams to craft. Aberration is available now for $19.99 USD or is free for download for owners of the ARK Season Pass.

“Aberration” Expansion Pack Features

  • Tame New Creatures: The intense radiation of Aberration has led to incredible genetic mutations, resulting in dozens of new creatures with amazing abilities! Clamber up walls & glide through the air on the back of a camouflaging chameleon-like ‘Rock Drake’, keep the dark at bay with one of four friendly ‘Lantern Pets’, or grab and toss multiple creatures simultaneously with a massive ‘Cave Crustacean’, or – if you are brave enough – allow the horrific “Reaper Queen” to impregnate you, and spawn a vicious male Reaper alien lifeform you can tame and control.

 

  • Craft 50+ Unique Items: Use cave-climbing picks, gliding wingsuits, and ziplines to traverse this new ARK. Learn advanced engrams to dominate the harsh environment, protect yourself with hazmat outfits, charge lanterns, flashbangs, batteries, glowsticks, railguns and much more. Thrive by gathering new resources, using fishing baskets, gas collectors, fortify your home within the caverns using cliff structures, and much more!

 

  • Conquer New Challenges: With the maintenance systems of this new ARK malfunctioning, earthquakes, radiation exposure, gas leaks, and Element chambers are among the many hazards that survivors will learn to grapple with Aberration’s varied biomes, both aboveground and below the surface. Gear-up to take on the horrifying threat lurking within the deepest depths of Aberration…

Since its launch into Steam’s early access program in June 2015, over 12 Million survivors have been stranded on the ARK island, wandering into an incredible land to discover how to tame, train, ride, and breed the 100+ dinosaurs and primeval creatures roaming the land.

ARK: Survival Evolved is rated “T” for Teen (Violence, Blood, Crude Humor, Use of Alcohol) by the ESRB.

Feel like riding a dinosaur? Join the ARK growing band of survivors in the community forums HERE: https://survivetheark.com/forums/

For the latest updates follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, subscribe to us onYouTube, visit the Website at playark.com and watch us tame and train leviathan dinosaurs on Twitch.TV.

# # #

ABOUT STUDIO WILDCARD
Studio Wildcard was co-founded in 2014 by industry veteran Jeremy Stieglitz and Jesse Rapczak, former Technical Art Director at Microsoft Game Studios, with the mission of bringing AAA quality to ambitious indie productions that are designed for core gamers. With combined 25 years of industry experience across multiple independent and studio-backed titles, Jeremy and Jesse have teamed up with other veteran developers for Seattle, WA-based and Gainesville, FL-based development studios that also include distributed team members across multiple continents. Wherever talented, driven developers may reside, Studio Wildcard intends to seek out and work with them!

Bridge Constructor Portal is now available on iTunes, Google Play and Steam

“Make no attempt to solve it.”

Headup Games proudly announce today’s release of Bridge Constructor Portal. The unique puzzle game is now available on Steam for PC, MacOS and Linux (9.99 USD / 9.99 Euro) as well as iTunes and Google Play (4.99 USD / 5.49 Euro).

To end our outstandingly long marketing campaign of the last two weeks, here is a brand new gameplay trailer just your pleasure. Enjoy!

And HO HO HO – since it’s this season of the year: Everyone who purchases Bridge Constructor Portal on Steam will also receive the original Bridge Constructor for free – unless it’s already part of the user’s Steam library. Merry Christmas!

Bridge Constructor Portal blends the laws of structural engineering and technology straight from Aperture Laboratories into an exciting new game experience. Versions for Nintendo Switch, PlayStationŽ4 and Xbox One will follow in early 2018.


About Bridge Constructor Portal 

Enter the Aperture Science Enrichment Center and experience Bridge Constructor Portal – the unique merging of the classic Portal™ and Bridge Constructor™ games.

As a new employee in the Aperture Science test lab, it’s your job to build bridges, ramps, slides, and other constructions in 60 test chambers and get the Bendies safely across the finish line in their vehicles.

Make use of the many Portal gadgets, like portals, propulsion gel, repulsion gel, aerial faith plates, cubes, and more to bypass the sentry turrets, acid pools and laser barriers, solve switch puzzles, and make it through the test chambers unscathed.

Let Ellen McLain, the original voice of GLaDOS, guide you through the tutorial, and learn all the tips and tricks that make a true Aperture Science employee.

The bridge is a lie!

Features:

  • The merging of two worlds: the first Bridge Constructor™ with an official Portal™ license
  • Create complex constructions in the Aperture Science labs
  • Let GLaDOS accompany you through tricky physics adventures
  • Use portals, aerial faith plates, propulsion gel, repulsion gel, and much more to master the complicated tasks
  • Evade dangers such as sentry turrets, emancipation grills, laser fields, and acid

About Headup Games

Headup Games is a hybrid games publishing and development company providing players worldwide with the best content in the independent gaming sector. Active on all major platforms such as consoles, mobile devices and PC, the company has released over 100 titles since its establishment in 2009. With over 50 million customers served on mobile and further several million players on the PC and consoles, Headup Games is always looking to raise awareness and commercial success for developers thinking outside the box. More information can be found at www.headupgames.com .

About ClockStone Software

ClockStone Software is an Austrian company specialized in game development across numerous platforms such as iOS, Android, PC, and Xbox One. Their many years of experience with the Unity 3D technology allows for state-of-the-art graphics as well as efficient product deployment to various mobile market places. Their product range is multifaceted – from action role playing to simulation and puzzle games. ClockStone published their mobile game hit “Bridge Constructor” on Android in 2012 and have since developed two also very well received successors with their publishing partner Headup Games. Please find more information at www.clockstone.com .


Copyright Š 2017 Headup Games GmbH & Co. KG, All rights reserved.
“Bridge Constructor Portal” is being developed by ClockStone Software in close collaboration with Headup Games. “Bridge Constructor” is a registered trademark of Headup Games GmbH & Co. KG.

Portal Š 2007 Valve Corporation
“Portal” is a registered trademark of Valve Corporation 

“Nintendo Switch” is a trademark of Nintendo.

“PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. “PS4” is a trademark of the same company. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.