Posts Tagged ‘consoles’

Sony has announced its next-generation gaming console – the PlayStation 4 – at an event in New York.

Its new hardware is designed to offer superior graphics as well as new social features including the sharing of recorded gameplay clips.

It will succeed the PlayStation 3, which went on sale in 2006 and has sold about 75 million units.

The PS4 will eventually compete against Microsoft’s still-to-be-unveiled Xbox 360 successor and Nintendo’s Wii U.

Sony also confirmed a range of big-name software for the machine including Bungie’s upcoming “shared-world shooter” Destiny, which will include exclusive content for the PS4.

WatchDogsUbisoft’s WatchDogs was among the titles confirmed for the PlayStation 4

The developer’s previous title, Halo, helped drive sales for the rival Xbox platform.

A successful launch might spur on sales of Sony’s new televisions and other consumer electronics, helping turn around its fortunes.

Sony posted a 456.7bn yen loss ($4.9bn; £3.2bn) in its last financial year, marking the fourth year it ended in deficit.

But the firm has forecast a 20bn yen profit for the current financial year ending in March.

Sony said the console was “coming holiday 2013” suggesting it will go on sale in at least some countries in or around December.

It did not give any indication of its price nor did it show what the console would look like.

There was also no mention of whether the console would support 4K – or ultra-high definition – video. However, Sony told the BBC it would have more to say on this matter “at the appropriate moment”.

DualShock4 controllerThe new controller features a touchpad and a light so its movement can be tracked by a camera

PC-based chip

Sony described the machine as being like a “supercharged” PC.

It runs off an x86-based CPU (central processing unit) – similar architecture to that found in most desktop computers – and an “enhanced” PC GPU (graphics processing unit). Both CPU and GPU are designed by the US firm Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

It comes with the new DualShock 4 controller, which includes a touchpad, a “share button” and a lightbar, which allows a separate camera to track its movement.

“This is a complete controller upgrade with touch, share and better responsiveness,” said Brian Blau, an analyst at the tech consultancy Gartner.

“The new controller is the key to a better PS4 experience. It has the ability to share content easily, and brings in a component of touch that allows even more ways to interact with games.”

The console also includes new hardware dedicated to video compression to make it a more social device.

Users will be able to pause a game, select a few minutes of recorded video of their most recent activity, and instruct the clip to be uploaded to a social network.

This will then occur in the background while they can return to their game. The firm said it wanted to make sharing video clips as common as it is today to share screenshots.

Another new feature is that gamers can let one of their friends connect to their machine and take control of their character to help if they have got stuck, or allow several friends to watch their live progress as spectators. This facility uses technology from Gaikai – a cloud-based service Sony acquired last year for $380m.

Gaikai’s technology is also being used to allow PS4 games to be streamed and played via the PlayStation Vita handheld console, which may boost its sales.

Sony said it was also exploring the possibility of using its Gaikai unit to allow PlayStation 3 games to be played on the new machine as well as other devices.

However, at the moment PS3 games will not run on the new console.

“The decision to not make the PlayStation 4 backwards compatible is disappointing and means the 5.5 million plus people who own a PS3 in the UK will essentially have to start their gaming collection from scratch,” said Alex Simmons, UK editor-in-chief of the gaming site IGN.

“PlayStation 3 games – and indeed PSone and PS2 games – will be available to download at some point, but most likely at an additional cost, which might turn consumers off.”

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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Legend of Zelda series is one that encompasses many different genres, from RPG to action / adventure to fantasy to FPS.  Each individual game within the series possesses its own unique feel and mood, and this can largely affect how you as a player will react to the game.  Majora’s Mask is frequently heralded as the darkest of the Zelda franchise with a special emphasis on death and dying, a time mechanic that requires you to reverse any positive effects you have on the myriad of townspeople you help, and the constant doom and terror of having a huge evil moon grinning down at you the entire game as he silently heads towards a collision with the earth.

There are many aspects of Majora’s Mask that still give me chills to this day, but it isn’t the only Zelda game to do so.  Scary moments in the Zelda franchise have been around since the very first game, and they still persist today even in Skyward Sword.  I am a huge (HUGE) fan of horror, whether it be in book, movie, video game, or real life form.  If I am playing a video game and it manages to make me jump, or freak out, or give me goosebumps, I consider it a huge plus for both the game and the game designer.  One of my favorite aspects of the Legend of Zelda franchise is the fact that in the middle of this amazingly epic game, you never know when something is going to pop out and catch you off guard and give you nightmares for the next week.  Since there is no way I could possibly encompass all of the terrifying aspects of The Legend of Zelda series in just one post, this will most likely be an ongoing series where I continue to examine the most scary parts of the Zelda franchise, and just why they are so friggen scary.  So here they are, the first things that pop into my mind when I hear “scary Zelda.”

The wallmasters have been around since the very first Legend of Zeldagame, and have been scaring the crap out of me since I first played Ocarina of Time way back when.  These enemies are insanely frustrating even without the extra creepy factor of being disembodied hands hanging from the ceiling waiting to snatch you up.  Forcing you to go back to the beginning of the dungeon and start all over, these guys are one of my most hated Zelda enemies, but they didn’t really gain “horror-status” until their Ocarina of Time debut in the Forest Temple, where they are accompanied by a very sinister whooshing sound right before a dead and visibly rotted hand the size of adult Link descends on you faster than you can move.  Eesh.

Pretty much every aspect ofMajora’s Mask could be considered at least somewhat horror, if for no other reason than the backdrop of Termina is very rooted in death, suffering, and the futility of your heroism.  Ikana Canyon is one of the most fright-filled locales in the game, home to what I consider to be the creepiest quest in the game, helping the little girl and her father in the music box house.  I remember when the mutated mummy/father bursts out of the wardrobe for the first time and I jumped.  I had no idea what was coming and then THAT happened.

The Kafei / Anju side quest, though undeniably romantic and worth the time and effort it takes to complete, is one of the best examples of horror from Majora’s Mask.  The quest takes the entire three day cycle to complete, and you spend most of your time running around delivering messages and helping to reunite this couple.  My first time doing this quest I made it to where you have to go to Sakon’s hideout to help Kafei steal the Sun Mask and I could not for the life of me find Sakon’s hideout.  When I finally did and went inside, the back and forth of Link and Kafei to reach the Sun Mask was intense and rushed, and I knew the entire time we were fighting the clock. Finally, after I helped him, I went back to Clock Town to wait with Anju…  and freaked the hell out the entire time.  Did I forget to do something?  We only have a couple hours until the moon crashes into Termina, what if I was supposed to do something else and Kafei isn’t going to come and the world dies and I was just sitting here like an idiot waiting for him to show up?  Of course, in the end he came and they reunited and I played the song of time to stop the moon, but for several intense moments I was scared.  This quest doesn’t bring out fear like the wallmasters, redeads, or even Zant in the first 70% of Twilight Princess.  Instead, it creates a realistic situation that you have put considerable effort into helping, pits you against a strict and unforgiving clock, and then forces you to wait patiently, hoping that what you did was enough…  This very scary moment (for me anyway) appeals to the humanity in us to make us fear for the worst, which is something not many video games can claim to have done.  There are countless other terrifying aspects of Majora’s Mask (the Happy Mask Salesman was definitely a top contender), but for the sake of this article let’s move on to other games.

Is it just me, or are the scariest versions of many of The Legend of Zelda‘s most popular enemies featured in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask?  The redeads stuck out to me as the scariest part of playing through Ocarina of Time.  From the moment I first stepped out of the Temple of Time as an adult and saw how the world had changed, my mind was forever blown.  The first time I approached one of the crouching figures in Castle Town, only to hear its soul piercing scream and be frozen in place while it slowly leaped onto my back and started biting me is eternally etched into my brain.  All the cheerful townspeople from before were replaced by ravenous zombies in the seven years I was asleep!?  That is some scary stuff right there, and it really helped to set the tone for the rest of the game as adult Link.  You’re not a kid anymore, so stop acting like one and save the day.

The last example of horror in Zelda I have for today comes from the most recent entry in the series, and also quite possibly the scariest gameplay element I’ve seen in any Zelda game ever.  In Skyward Sword, Link must enter the Silent Realm to collect Sacred Tears, but must evade detection by the guardians of the area.  You have only a 90 second period from the time you collect your first tear to when you have to collect your next one, otherwise the game goes into “oh crap what the hell just happened” mode.  Suddenly everything is bright and harshly colored and there are loud stomping noises as these huge metal guardians attempt to beat the crap out of Link and force him to restart his trial from the beginning.  I don’t think my heart has ever beat so hard as when I was running desperately trying to find the next Sacred Tear before these things came to life, and when they (inevitably) always did, my brain went into panic mode.  The worst is when you have no idea where the next tear is and you fall into some Waking Water before your 90 seconds is up, and you’re surrounded by guardians.  I mean… it really is like being in a horror movie with ax murderers chasing you around.

Those are just a few of the scariest moments I could think of from the Legend of Zelda Series, but I know that’s not even close to all of them.  What are some of you guys’ scariest memories from playing a Zelda game?  Can you think of any from the earlier titles?  The 2d Zeldas didn’t bring up anything horrific to my mind, but it has been a while since I’ve played some of them, and some of them I still have yet to play.  Let us know what scares you the most about The Legend of Zelda in the comments!

Recently, I finally got a chance to play Assassin’s Creed II. It sold millions of copies, gained widespread critical acclaim, and… I found myself wondering why.

Not that it’s a bad game, necessarily, but if there’s one thing that defines this game, it’s the fact that the game is constantly inflicting arbitrary limits on you from the first frame. You can’t start the actual game proper until you talk to everybody in the room before entering the Animus. You can’t just climb up the towers to get to certain viewpoints, you have to follow a specific path laid out by the development team (or worse, unlock a mechanic to use). You have an open world but it’s deliberately limited until you finish certain memories, because God forbid we could unlock chunks of the map.

For me, the breaking point was an Assassin’s Tomb where you had to chase after a Templar who, of course, beat you to the goal. So you climb up to get into the room and fight the group. At this point I had throwing knives and a pistol.

And they were disabled. I couldn’t use two weapons to fight because the game had decided I wasn’t allowed to for no reason whatsoever except the game felt like it. This was immediately followed by a platforming section where you not only had to deal with the game’s imprecise controls but had to use an entirely new mechanic the game hadn’t introduced before this point.

Overrated or what?

The worst part is that this was hardly the only open-world action game that hit that year. inFamous and Prototype both were far less restrictive and frankly more fluid in getting around the world, and had better controls.

Again, it’s not a bad game, but it’s so unnecessarily restricted that I found myself wondering where the praise came from.

What about you? What game have you played and found maybe not bad, but baffled at the praise?

3-D is here - YAHOO!

3-D is here - YAHOO!

More details about the console, the latest addition to Nintendo’s DS line-up, will be given at E3, the annual video games expo which takes place in June.

Although the Japanese video games giant is yet to release specific pricing or launch information, the company said the 3DS would hit shops sometime before next March. Players will not need to wear special 3D glasses to enjoy 3D gaming on the 3DS, said Nintendo.

The hand-held games console will also be fully backwards-compatible with Nintendo DS and DSi games. Nintendo has refused to give any more details about the technology involved until E3 later this year.

Nintendo said it had sold more than 125 million Nintendo DS units worldwide since the device first went on sale in 2005. The range has particularly appealed to women and older games, who have snapped up the consoles in order to play games such as Nintendogs and Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training.

All the big three console makers have announced refreshes to their hardware line-ups this year. Microsoft has confirmed that its Project Natal gaming system, which does away with the need for a control pad, will be in shops by Christmas, while Sony’s Wii-like PlayStation Move motion-sensitive controller system will be on sale by the autumn.

3D is shaping up to be one of the big trends of 2010, with a host of television manufacturers – including Sony, LG, Panasonic and Samsung – unveiling 3D televisions for domestic use, while Sky’s dedicated 3D channel launches on April 3.

LEGO Universe, the latest and most ambitious Lego-themed video game, has flung open its doors to those who want first go on the game while it’s still in testing.

Initially, free trials were only on offer to fans that visited LEGO’s display at the Consumer Entertainment Show in Las Vegas this January.

Now, the announcement of a public beta phase means that the full game is likely to be less than six months away. Successful applicants will be able to play on a pre-release and in return help the developers improve the game before it goes on sale.

Recently, other games emphasizing online interaction such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Star Trek Online, and MAG started their public beta tests between four and five months prior to launching.

The LEGO toy line started life as a wooden toy company in the 1930s, and by the 1950s had grasped hold of a new technology – plastic.

The modern recreational shift to video games prompted LEGO to involve themselves in cross-over titles following up on popular films: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Batman have all found their characters given the LEGO treatment.

One major difference between LEGO Universe and previous LEGO video games is that it’s not thought to make use of characters licensed from other franchises. Instead, the citizens of LEGO Universe are original LEGO creations.

So here we are folks!

A Blog that allows us all to talk about Games Consoles, Games and all the latest news about what Hot and what not within the Gaming industry.

If you fancy talking about ‘Back in the day’ games like Space Invaders or what the next Zelda game will be called then be my guest.

If you fancy talking about the old school consoles or the current crop out there or the up and coming new possibilities like the XBox 720 then be my guest.