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Dan Booth

British gamer and technology addict.

Gaming Season

I hope you have been saving your money over the summer, its coming to the time when video games are released thick and fast! Gaming season is upon us as publishers release their games as we come ever closer to Christmas.

Its an exciting time for gamers, September, October and November are always a crazy time when you will struggle to keep up with whats getting released and what’s getting delayed. This Autumn/Fall seems even more special as its the first time the “next gen” consoles will get a large influx of new games, it may even be time for you to buy a new console if you were looking to get one.

Minecraft and Destiny are coming within a week of this post. Destiny could be the game of the year quite easily, it has the hype and the backing, I have no problem thinking that Bungie will create another epic game with their first game since Halo Reach. Speaking of Halo, the Master Chief Collection will come out in November and will surely be one of the most bought games this gaming season.

Are you looking to get a racing game instead? Not a problem, project cars will be right up your street, or depending on which console you own you could get Forza Horizon 2 or Driveclub. Racing games have been left out a bit with the next gen consoles so far, a nice little influx of games will be welcomed by hardcore racers.

How about some other remade games, GTA V and Sleeping Dogs are coming to the new consoles, and COD Advanced Warfare will be… COD.

Sports games will be coming out, Fifa comes out in September and if EA Sports have worked on the game like they have done with Madden then it will actually be worth buying.

How can I forget one of the most anticipated games too, Sunset Overdrive, what can I say about this game except for… I… Can’t…WAIT! Crazy games should be embraced, make more of them!

Indie games can’t be missed either, there will be plenty but I am certainly looking forward to Costume Quest 2, the first one was a really fun little game and I look forward to playing the next installment.

With so many new games coming out and a couple of remakes coming to next gen, the time to upgrade is now. You will definitely find a game you will love and if not, stop gaming. I hope you have the funds to buy everything you want.

For a full list of games coming out soon check out http://uk.ign.com/games/upcoming?time=3m

Happy Gaming!

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Previous Blog: SNew Ninendo 3D

 

“New” Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo have had their 3DS line rolling since 2011, every year since Nintendo have decided to release redefined versions of the console which improve the consumer experience. Nintendo have now announced the 4th version of the 3DS which will in turn make the older versions obsolete.

The Nintendo 3DS has been a popular product for good reason, the Pokemon games. Nintendo have redefined the console with minor tweaks, the 3DS XL for those who want a bigger screen or a bigger console to hold onto. The 2DS was a very clever move as there were a lot of people who complained that the 3D screen hurt their eyes. I fully sympathise with the people who struggle with the 3D screen, The 2DS made the console more widely usable, a fair move by Nintendo.

The “new” 3DS  could be labelled as the £D$, a complete money making scheme. The idea of the “new” is to bring in a second thumbstick that will be just above the AXBY buttons. This thumbstick is to make games like super smash bros easier to play, aswell as acting as a camera button. The “C” thumbstick is more like a button than a button and is closely related to the old Gamecubes Controller C Stick

​Nintendo Just Announced a New 3DS. It Has Another Analog Stick.

They have also announced that there will be “Z” buttons on the back, presumably to make the console more closely related to a controller. I understand why they want to add more controls to the console, a lack of controls makes gameplay restricted.

​Nintendo Just Announced a New 3DS. It Has Another Analog Stick.

Along with extra controls, the 3D screen has been improved to take away the “sweet spot” area, so viewing a 3DS from the side wont be blurry.

​Nintendo Just Announced a New 3DS. It Has Another Analog Stick.

However, all these additions make the older 3DS consoles outdated. Developers will make games for the console with more available to it. The console isn’t more powerful than it’s predecessors, it has only has an improved CPU for downloading content quicker, and they have added external storage in the form of a micro SD slot.

Apart from the small improvements they havn’t helped the majority of 3DS owners who won’t want to make the switch. Nintendo would have annoyed less people by announcing this as a completely new console. There are already exclusives announced for the new 3DS and the amount will only increase as time goes on. The release date is late 2014 for Japan and sometime in 2015 for everywhere else, so your 3DS still has some life left in it, just don’t be surprised if you can’t find any compatibly games in the future.

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Previous Blog: 10 Reasons to start PC Gaming

10 Reasons to Start PC Gaming

PC Gaming, the so called PC master race. Its always claimed to be so much better than their console counterparts, but what are the benefits?

1.  The graphics are so much better, they fix pixelated outlines with powerful graphics cards that use “anti-aliasing” and they can process much more, even a cheaper computer is a much better gaming experience than a console.

2.  Frame rates are miles better than the 60 FPS that  consoles are locked to, some PC gamers get over 200 FPS with certain settings on some games. FPS will make games look and flow much better when a lot is going on at once.

3. Keyboard and Mouse is generally seen as a much more accurate way to play games, there are a lot more ways to hot key buttons, you can switch buttons around very simply. There is a lot of choice so you can get a set that suites how you play best! You can hook a controller to your PC if you would prefer!

4. You will get attached to your PC, if you build it yourself, you will very quickly name it and people will think you are a massive nerd, good job!

5. Steam makes games much cheaper than their console counterparts, there is more selection and there a steam summer sales that will make any gamer buy something!

6. Mods. Games and mods go together like bread and butter. Mods makes old games relevant again, they usually add spice and can make something completely mental, just like carmegedon on GTA IV.

7. Uprading a PC is simple, you can normally just take out one part, such as a graphics card and pop a new one back in, simple for people who want to start PC gaming on a budget, but are looking to upgrade later on.

8. Indie games are normally made just for PC, this means you find some hidden gems that very few people know about, there are also games like DayZ, 7 Days to Die and Far Cry’s Multiplayer.

9. Oculus Rift, the future of immersed gaming is only available for PC games, along with this, you can run your games across multiple screens if you wish to.

10. Your gaming machine also becomes your main place of study, this means you can quickly switch between the two. Particularly useful if you have parents who check on how work is going.

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Previous Blog: The Golf Club Review

The Golf Club Review

The_Golf_Club_XboxOne_01

The Golf Club is an excellant golf game available on PC, Xbox One and PS4. Ever wanted a more difficult golf game than Tiger Woods/ EA Sports PGA Tour? Look no further than The Golf Club

For a full review check out: http://www.previousmagazine.com/golf-club-review-xbox-one

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Previous Blog: Indie Games

Indie Games

Indie games are quickly becoming my favourite games, its disappointing that so few people give them any time because they aren’t made by a well known or big brand.

Indie developers, on the most part, love gaming, thats why they make their own games. Every wanted a certain type of game made a certain way? Thats most likely the reason why indie dev’s started creating their own game. We’ve all been there, we have been playing a game and wondered, what would it be like if I made a game like this, but changed this, this and this?

The problem I have with the majority of major developers now is, they are too money focused. Most of them look to gain money through micro transactions through DLC. Most games have DLC announced before the game has even been released! Most indie games don’t come with DLC, mainly because they don’t have the funds to and also because they normally put all they want into the game in the first place. It should be noted that I don’t hate DLC, some of it is great, but alot of it is a money grab of regurgitated maps from a previous game… Looking at you Call Of Duty!

Indie developers appreciate everything you do for their game, theres normally a better community as its more closely knit than the bigger games. The stories in indie games are normally a lot better than some of the stories that a large group of highly paid writers can do, because indie games have heart. Yes Indie games may not have the flashy graphics that the top games do, but they certainly look unique, and a lot of the time unique looking games are the best, just look at Borderlands on that one!

If you ever want to know what a certain indie game is like then go to youtube, there’s normally plenty of videos of gameplay commentary, they will let you know what’s good and bad in an very unbiased way. You may or may not know that some extremely good games started life as indie games, technically they still are, included in these is Minecraft, which took off by the help of Youtube! Among other well known indie games: Battleblock Theatre, Fez, Monaco, Super Meat Boy, Castle Crashers and many many more!

Never overlook indie games, they are normally so unique that they are worth a look!

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Previous Blog: Timed Exclusives

Timed Exclusive

Timed exclusives in video games are the most ridiculous things that have ever been created! I don’t get why or who started this stupid craze but it seems to have stuck within the games industry.

Timed exclusives are normally some form of DLC that is available on one platform for a set period of time before other platforms, basically, the developers temporarily reduce their income and spread it through a longer time span. On a perspective purely from a developers point of view, they will get the same amount of money through a longer time but they will be paid a decent sum of cash up front from the platform that wants the timed exclusives. So the developer gets more money, but in my eyes they loose respect for not dishing out DLC at the same time.

From a consumer point of view, its entirely frustrating, the developer turns and almost says, sorry you don’t have the right platform to play this DLC at this time. Why? Cause this platform offered us a lot of money and we sold out. Timed Exclusivity can last anywhere between a few days to a year, The one good thing is that it normally isn’t a rediculous amount of time and at least with timed exclusives they release it to everyone eventually.

Which brings me on to platform exclusive content… Just why!? Why limit what a game can be on another platform? This actually makes timed exclusives look good. The only time fully exclusive content would be acceptable is when a platform cannot handle the content, only the Wii U would have this issue at this point in time. If a developer wants to have exclusive DLC for a platform they may as-well make the game a full exclusive, it just seems wrong to me, they waste money by not making it available to everyone!

I understand that consoles have exclusive games, this is normally because the platform owns the developer. It makes a console more buy-able as you may want one set of games over another. When a game is cross platform then the games content should be available to everyone at the same time! This will unfortunately only get worse as time goes on.

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Portable Gaming

Portable gaming, for years the best way to play games on the move was to have some form of Nintendo handheld device, and more recently Playstation have joined handheld gaming with the PSP and PS Vita. Both platforms have come under threat from phone gaming, which brings the question, are handheld games consoles still worth it? Lets start with phone gaming.

Phone gaming is beneficial to the majority as they offer games to play with something that you will almost always have in your pocket. Its the ease of gaming on phones that makes them more desirable, yet the quality is sacrificed with very simple games. The best game on phones is arguably Angry Birds, it linked brilliantly simple gameplay that worked well with a touchscreen. However the depth of decent phone games past Angry Birds is questionable, most games focus on getting you obsessed through simple gameplay. Then they try and rope you into micro transactions! Which I have written about many times, it rarely is a good thing  (http://www.thebootube.com/free-play-hell/) Whats worse on this is that normally a game becomes unplayable without micro-transactions, then they will claim that its for people who don’t have the time, just a hint, but generally, they won’t game at all!

Handheld consoles are dominated by Nintendo, it’s been this way since the original gameboy came out and Pokemon became one of the most successful and well known games ever. However, games on handheld consoles have lost something special, no one every seems to rave about new Pokemon games or any handheld game for that matter. The issue is that developers do not see the benefit of creating content for handheld consoles as the market has become smaller with the phone invasion. Nothing on the Nintendo 3DS makes me want to buy the console, Pokemons were better when it was red and blue, Mario Kart is better on the Wii U (one of very few games that always improves) as are most of their other games. I felt that the 3D aspect on the 3DS was a farce just to make people buy, it doesn’t work like 3D and it makes my eyes hurt.

I own a PS Vita, but here’s the thing, unless you are on the move a lot, for example you commute by train every day, I would not recommend buying one. I really enjoy some of the games and some of them I wish were available on consoles or PC. It must be said, the UI on the Vita is wonderful and the gaming experience is really fun, but its the same as the Nintendo issue, games are better on consoles or PC and most games are cross platform.

However, if I had to do Portable gaming and I had the option between handheld and phones, I would pick handheld consoles every day. Games may cost more, but the thing is, they are playable forever. They may require a small amount of DLC but they generally have better games. If you want to pass travel times through gaming get and 3/2DS or a Vita. Your gaming experience will be massively improved! I promise!

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Main Characters in Games

For main characters in games, is it better for a game to allow you to create your own character? Or is it better to have a default character that you cannot customise? Custom characters within stories seem to be coming the norm the past year, and many games of the future have a custom character as the main character, my question is, does it take some magic away from the story?

The main game that made me think of this was Destiny, I played the Beta, the campaign was good fun and the multiplayer was pretty hard to get used to for me! My issue with the campaign was I expected to get instantly invested in the basics of the story and I never really did, my main intent was based on levelling up my character quickly and having the best possible equipment. I can’t even explain what the story in the beta was… Something about old Russia, bacon supplies? Some pigs may have been flying and we had to stop them.
On the opposite though, I have played The Elder Scrolls Skyrim and Oblivion and I spent a large chunk of time heavily invested in my custom character that levelled up. So maybe the issue is that your character is directly compared to everyone else due to Destiny being pretty much all online based? I feel that because I want to have the best everything, I will most likely race through the game and not fully concentrate which I did, but that could have been for two other reasons:

1. I wanted to explore the Beta, not play the story of the game (half true)
2. I was playing on hard on my first time through and it was one of the hardest games ever.

To compare this topic there is Borderlands, Characters are levelled but aren’t fully customisable, yet I felt very invested in the game, even playing on co-op. Maybe it was because the EXP is shared so there is no point running as fast as possible to get kills (which is a flaw in Destiny’s free roam).

I think character ranking in any story based game is bad, particularly in multiplayer based games, it seems to ruin the whole point of playing, to get immersed. Yeah sure levelling up a character is fun, yet it is also frustrating and usually forces you to farm XP to rank up. Unfortunately the easy way to get around it is normally micro-transactions, and they suck the most. The other issue is the strange way that they get around an un-named character and then the complete lack of replies!

Its very rare that a custom character gets love in a game, no one really raves about the character you play in Skyrim or Oblivion, or WoW. Games with powerful main characters are remembered! Master Chief, Link, Mario the list goes on! No one ever argued too much about the characters being bad, normally they were so bad ass you would want to be them!

I will still buy most games that come out that are multiplayer stories, however I am sure whether I will end up being as invested in the game as I would hope! Oh well, as long as there are cool customisations and its got good gameplay I’m sure I can cope.
BUT! A really good main character can make a game immortal.

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Re-Mastering Games

Plenty of games are being re-mastered for next gen gaming, it brings in a whole new argument of is it really worth buying these games when they get updated?

A game that is in the spotlight right now is “The Last of Us” which after just 1 year of original release on the PS3, was re-mastered for the PS4. Its not like the PS3 version looked bad, and it didn’t have major issues with loading, the remastering just seems a little money grabby. On the positive, “The Last of Us” is one of the best games ever made, making it available for the PS4 (which has no backwards compatibility) has kept the game relevant as it really only had 4 months of time on the PS3.

 

GTA V is getting re-mastered for next gen as well, although the reason this is happening could just be that Rockstar has decided to make the Xbox 360 and PS3 version as good a they could, then work on it for the PC and in turn upgrade the game for Xbox One and PS4, this seems logical to me! Re-mastering GTA V is very much needed, they did a great job of pushing the limit of the Xbox 360 and PS3, but the loading times were terrible! Hopefully this will be fixed for next gen! They will add more traffic as well with next gen, which is needed as it can be a bit sparse! With GTA V, I hope they keep on track with developing the game now, we’re still waiting for hiests!

Halo is getting a more cost effective re-mastering, with Halo 1,2,3 and 4 coming to Xbox one and as a big Halo fan, I love this! The plan for Halo is to put a graphics layer over the top of the game and leaving the gameplay as it was. Very needed for Halo 2! They are also including a multiplayer with the game, it should include the best of all the Halo maps, which will be great as I felt that Halo maps lost a spark after Halo 3.

I personally have loved N64 games being re-mastered as well, the likes of Perfect Dark, Duke Nukem and Banjo Kazooie were some of my childhood favourites, definitely worth spending money in my opinion! Classic games don’t need a major amount of graphical updates, generally they have taken away blurs, taken away blocky pixels and kept the game how it was!

It should be noted that not all re-mastered games are good. I was highly dissapointed to find that Colin Mcrae Rally was re-mastered and it turned out to be a mobile game port! They game looked pretty poor, not the HD it claimed, the handling was terrible, there was no damage and you couldn’t tinker with car set up! Basically the developers successfully ruined a game, they would have done a better job just re-releasing the game, instead they chose ruining it!

So the criteria for re-mastering a game, is the game loved and highly rated? Is it old? Can it be improved? If all these can be ticked then its probably worth doing! I personally can’t wait for some re-mastered games!

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Get Sims 2 for Free

The Sims 2 is free! At least until the 31st July (2014). EA are temporarily allowing everyone to download the Sims 2 Ultimate edition for free, all that’s needed is for you to download Origin and redeem a code. Check the link for details:  http://help.ea.com/en/article/how-to-get-the-sims-2-ultimate-collection/

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