New Game Servers

Everyone loves the new game feeling, you load it up for the first time filled with excitement. You are about to start up a multiplayer game for the first time and BAM, the servers fail. New game servers have always been weak and I have never fully understood why.

Game developers know that servers will have a pretty high load during the first couple of days of play, this has happened to me with multiple games over the year, including Battlefield 4 (EA always seem to have poor servers to start), any FIFA game has issues throughout its whole life span. I have been playing Madden 15 recently and the game struggles to allow me to play online connected franchise games against the A.I.

Most recently my frustrations have turned to Halo Master Chief Collection, a game I have been looking forward to playing for a long time, especially Halo 1 and 2 online. But alas I try to search for a game and nothing happens, and the original fix failed too, over a week of having played about 5 online games total. Custom games do work but its extremely hard to get people into a roster and keep them there for a decent amount of time.

Call of Duty AW had a similar issue at the start where the servers couldn’t handle the amount of traffic going through the game, this is from a game that has had 8 previous instalments of high traffic. I wonder if developers don’t learn from their previous issues, or if servers just suffer from issues with loading at the start,

Games are starting to get so much money from DLC that they should be able to give back to the gamers and give us some nice servers from day one, normally we get some kind of useless reward for getting a game day one, but most of us would prefer to play the game from day one without issue

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Previous Blog: Call of Duty AW

 

Call of Duty: AW

Another year, another Call of Duty game. This time, a new developer, Sledgehammer, have come into the rotation of COD developers and created their own game that put simply, blends Call of Duty with Titanfall, a good mix on paper, but the execution on this Call of Duty is quite weak.

Starting with the positives, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare has a very good Campaign, the story keeps you pretty gripped all the way through and the variations if missions always keep you on your toes. Even the stealthy missions work well, it’s like Sledgehammer took at look at CoD 4 and took notes on the mission “All Ghillied Up”, still the best CoD mission ever made. At least the stealth mission was fun and challenging though. The story does keep you guessing and this is part of the games charm. Also the graphics on Xbox One are very nice, everything is sharp and the view blur is realistic, next gen has truly been worked on this time

Now onto the bad, and this list is long. Firstly on the story front there are minor perks you can purchase with points, these feel very ineffective and pretty pointless, the campaign shouldn’t need any extra perks, its a story, not levelling up multiplayer. Thats really my only gripe on the singleplayer.

Multiplayer really grinds my gears. Sledgehammer have been bold, bringing in the new EXO Suite and the ability to double jump adds another dimension to the game, a dimension that CoD really didn’t need. It creates a seemingly endless amount of kills from behind for the majority of players, the servers STILL suck, even though this is CoDs 8th game since CoD 4, they still cannot get the servers to perform properly from day one. Joining friends is a long and horrible process that normally ends in everyone playing in different games, plus hopefully they can fix the issue that makes the “players have been added to the game” notification pop up every couple of minutes. The maps in the MP feel pretty uninspired and simple, they are good for a game or two, but instantly feel very samey.

EXO survival is pretty good, survival is fun and the game can become quite challenging, the issue is that the tiers of difficulty make the game simple after every 25 rounds. Also the problem of the survivals being hosted on the MP maps doesnt help

This seems like a ranty review, it kind of is, I didn’t buy Ghosts as I have become bored of the CoD series, Advanced Warfare has cemented the sentiment, the best thing that the CoD series could do now is remaster CoD 4.

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Previous Blog: Manning v Brady

 

Co-op vs singleplayer

Co-op vs singleplayer? Games recently can be judged quite heavily on if there is a co-op option. However more recently the option of co-op has become more of a necessity to the game playing well rather than an option. Has co-op gaming gone too far? Or are the days of singleplayer games coming to a close?

The Elder Scrolls series has been the king of singleplayer only games recently (until Elder Scrolls Online was released), there was never much complaint about no co-op or multiplayer options. The Elder Scrolls games normally have enough depth and length to give a good 50 hours of gameplay and you would still need 100 more to get close to 100%.

Co-op games are generally fun just because you play with a friend, so you have the same experience etc. But games like Halo were just as fun alone, the story hardly changed and the difficulty didn’t vary too much. More recently though, games like Destiny and Borderlands have been releasing with an online co-op “jump in/out” style, and generally the games play much better with at least one co-op partner playing alongside you in this genre. Playing alone is fine, but the experience is generally better with a friend or two. Are games going to go more towards an online only experience from now on?

However much I enjoy the way Destiny works, always online and forced team up with strangers, at times its very frustrating as you have to rely on the arch enemy of online gaming, servers. Far too many times have I or a friend been kicked off in the middle of a level because the servers have become overloaded (or hacked). Sometimes gamers want to just play a game without worrying if they can get a team together or if the servers work on the day, gamers will want to play a good game whenever they want, not whenever they are able to. Finally, if you want a game to have a successful co-op, make it available to play splitscreen, they are the best co-op experiences!

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Previous Blog: Madden 15

Madden 15

Madden games have generally been very similar game to game, with additions so small that the change hardly noticeable. However the change from Madden 25 to Madden 15 is impressive to say the least, it’s still probably not worth the extra £45/$55.

The biggest improvement to Madden 15 is the physics of the game, players fall properly, most of the time collisions are correct and there isn’t too much morphing. Linebackers no longer perform superman jumps to stop every bullet pass over the middle, instead they bat down balls that are relatively close to them and you won’t feel like it has happened unfairly.

Defence logic has been improved. The A.I. seems to adapt much better to what you are working on to try and stop you. The game generally feels like there is more of a challenge playing against the A.I. though there are times of frustration with A.I. on your team not being as logical on you would hope. This is mainly noticeable when you are locked into the QB position, computer controlled running backs will look to bounce outside rather than gain a tough yard or two through the middle, even when its 3rd and short. A frustrating issue that could have a simple patch fix.

A BIG missing piece of Madden 15 is any form of online team play! There was few modes I would rather play on Madden games than playing WITH friends. Playing head to head is fun every now and then, but playing together was… just… fun! I am extremely disappointed with no team play on Madden 15, my friends and I wanted to do a connected franchise playing on defence together, but that will have to wait at least one year longer.

Madden 15 Ultimate Team has been improved in my opinion too, normally I’m not one to play MUT due to the microtransaction hell that is required to win, but the game gives you players and its not as hard to gain coins like it normally is, I’m still not a massive fan on MUT, but, it has got my attention this time.

Finally, the little things have been made easy! Audibles and hurry up offences are much easier to perform. The matchup advantage bar is a great feature to help those who don’t know all the players and want to play quickly. Practice/training mode is very good and gives new players a great understanding of how to play the game and what various concepts mean.

Madden 15 is well worth the money, the improvements make the game much more fun to play! For the first time since I started playing Madden games (Madden 09), I feel like they have finally made a big step in game improvements and not just minor graphics and old features re-imagined. Good job EA sports, go for 2 on the run!

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Previous Blog: White Games Consoles

 

White PS4 and Xbox One

Playstation and Microsoft are releasing white versions of their most recent consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One respectively. The greatest question with this is… why? Some people will trade in their original consoles just to have something different.

A white PS4 or Xbox One will perform exactly the same as their black counterparts, its just the illusion of something new that makes people want to exchange. My other point of interest on this topic is that I never really look at my console, it stays on a shelf beneath the TV and with the previous Generation the Xbox 360 was originally white and then a black version was made.

Granted the white does look very sleek, but that’s all it does for itself, the white versions are a way for Playstation and Microsoft to charge the most they can for a longer period of time! And too many people fall into the trap every time it happens! (The xbox 360 Elite was a step up for storage though!)

A white controller I will say is quite cool but it can get very VERY dirty. If you are the type of person that gives their controller a wipe over every couple of days then a white controller can work for you. If you leave it, it will quickly turn a horrible colour and generally look pretty ugly.

White is generally quite stylish at this moment in time, the 2010’s have been the decade of the white cars so far, so maybe white consoles could make a big splash too. However, it really doesn’t matter what your console looks like, the performance is the same, don’t waste your money unless you use your console as decoration!

 

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Previous Blog: October Games With Gold

October Games with Gold

Microsoft has revealed next month’s three free titles for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, including one of my favourite multiplayer games of the previous generation of consoles.

Xbox One owners will be able to download Chariot, a brand new [email protected] indie platformer with local co-op. Together, you can play as a princess and her fiance, guiding a coffin through 25 levels, an interesting sounding game that will be free through all of October. Any Co-op game is a great addition to any collection!

From October 1-15, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is the game with golf for Xbox 360. One of my favourite games of the previous generation, Bad Company 2 had the best maps of all the Battlefield games and is better than BF 3 and 4, that’s right, its that good!

In the second half of the month, from October 16-31, Xbox 360 owners can grab Darksiders II for free. From the now-defunct Vigil Games, Darksiders II takes aspects from other games from the likes of God of War and The Legend of Zelda, and implements them into a huge open world.

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Previous Blog: Xbox One vs PS4

Xbox One or PS4?

Almost one year after release, and a lot of people still cannot decide which console they should buy, an Xbox One or PS4. At £350 ($430), purchasing a console is a large investment for the majority of people, so getting it right is important. My main key on getting an Xbox One first is that my friends were all getting one as well. Playing games with friends online is much more fun in my opinion and at the very least, they are normally available to talk to whilst playing different games. If you aren’t an online player then I would look into the offline features and games that each console offers, Xbox One was designed to be played online, the offlines features of minimal, you can only play games really. The PS4 isn’t as online needy, but the features dwindle when offline too, but the PS4 does win with how it works offline. Games games games! Which console offers the better games? Xbox One or PS4… Well this one is highly opinionated! Lets look at the flagship games of each console. Xbox One has its leading game of Halo and the up and coming Sunset overdrive, there is also talk of Gears of War and Crackdown getting revivals in the future. PS4 has The Last of Us, Gran Turismo and inFamous. I feel that the best way to view the consoles is by looking at the exclusives, most other games will run exactly the same on both consoles, so if you can’t decide then look at the exclusives and choose your Console through the exclusives.

The feel of the controller is a big thing in my opinion. Up till the PS4, the Playstation controllers were nether good for my hands, they always caused cramp, I never got a good feel from the thumbsticks and the R & L bumpers were never to my taste. The PS4 controller is a massive improvement. The Xbox One controller builds on the Xbox 360, making general improvements on all aspects except the bumpers, these take some time to get used to! These are the biggest aspects for reasons to choose either console. Both are great and will serve you well, however you will want to play with your friends, play games you like and feel comfortable playing, tick those boxes and you have a winner!

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Previous Blog: Destiny after Rank 20

Destiny after Level 20

I have been grinding my way through Destiny since release, once the main story has been completed the game can become a bit stale, but what should you do when you hit level 20, what is life in Destiny after level 20?

The way to level up in Destiny after level 20 is to get light in your armour. You can see how much light is in each set of armour by looking in the area where strength, intellect and discipline stats are. I fully recommend you sacrifice some defence for light, the levelling up will come quick when you start.

Well, the best way to make progress is do strikes and PvP and complete bounties to gain vanguard marks and reputation as well as crucible marks and reputation. Doing this will also bring you access to buy legendary gear from sellers in the Tower, a great way to get light armour. At the end of games you can get random rewards, every de-coherent engram is a chance to get more light so keep an eye out for these, particularly for random drops in strikes.

You should also look at playing the weekly and daily strikes, these normally carry the best rewards but do carry some difficulty multipliers. Unfortunately levelling up becomes a frustrating grind, you end up hoping for better items and 98% of the time you get complete crap that isn’t worth it, or you get a legendary item that is for a different class if you are very unlucky.

I would say the best way to get items is through strikes as you have a chance of getting extra engram drops. Apart from this you must keep grinding the game… sorry to say that. Apart from this though, keep an eye on your strange coins and try to find Xur at some point.

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Previous Blog: Gaming Season

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

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