Archive for Previews

XCOM 2 CONSOLE | XBOX ONE PREVIEW

With XCOM 2 launching this week on Xbox One and Playstation 4, the main question on everyone’s mind is; how does it run compared to the pc counterpart?

Oddly enough, Firaxis never released any gameplay footage of the console versions before launch which already raises a few red flags, however from what I’ve seen it’s not all that bad. Compared to the PC version, the game basically looks the same if not a bit better but my PC can only handle it at medium setting so from my perspective it did look better on Xbox One. Although looking at how to game performs on a high end system, the PC does look slightly sharper.

The game runs at 30FPS but I’ve seen a few dips and pop-ins, nothing too distracting though.  Loading times are more or less equal to what I had on the PC version but keep in mind that I do not have the most powerful rig out there. You still have your odd animation glitches which are unique to XCOM but the game doesn’t perform nearly as bad as the PC version did when it launched back in February.

Bringing a strategy game over to console, you always have that question of how a mouse and keyboard configuration will work on the console system but rest assured that playing with a controller feels smooth and easy. In fact, I prefer to use the controller so I wonder why Firaxis haven’t brought out controller support for the PC version?

It is important to note though that if you want the full XCOM 2 experience, in other words all of its DLC, then you’d be better off purchasing the Digital Deluxe Edition on the Playstation or Xbox store as the disk version of the game does not include any DLC. You can purchase the DLC separately though but it’s cheaper to purchase it as a bundle.

Overall they have done a fantastic job porting the game over to consoles but it will be interesting to see how the game holds up during later mission which becomes more cluttered with enemies and debris.

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Halo Wars 2 – Quick Preview

With the dust settling over the E3 madness this week, there was a lot to indulge but one game during Microsoft’s conference that stood out to me was Halo Wars 2. Frank here, the Red Tie Guy and for those of you that have followed my channel for a while should know that I’m a RTS fantastic with Xcom being my favourite turn based RTS.

When MS announced Halo Wars 2 back at Gamescom 2015, it was practically a no brainer that I would instantly fall in love with the sequel. Halo Wars was originally released back in 2009 as an Xbox 360 exclusive which became a classic amongst console RTS’s as there weren’t many real time strategy games on consoles however, it wasn’t the deepest title from a strategy players point of view.

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Developed by Ensemble Studios, they set out to create a real time strategy game for consoles but sadly the studio closed down not too long after the release of the first Halo Wars. Since then the developers behind the Total War series, Creative Assembly has picked up the franchise and they’re trying to expand its reach. With the Open Beta being Live on Xbox One right now until June the 20th, I jumped right in to try it out for myself and I wasn’t disappointed.

The content there is to experience is a bit limited though allowing you to choose Captain Cutter from the UNSC or Atriox from the Banished. Domination is the first mode available which is essentially a sandbox where opposing player build their bases, assemble their troops and focus on capturing as much of the map as possible. The second mode is Deathmath, available today until the 20th of June which is a classic RTS mode where all players just battle it out to the death.

Halo Wars 2 is set to release exclusively on Xbox One and PC on the 21st of February 2017, making it a part of the Xbox Play Anywhere listing where you purchase it on one platform but play it on both. There will be two editions of Halo Wars 2 released. The regular version and the Ultimate Edition which comes packed with a Season Pass as well as a definitive Edition of Halo Wars, allowing PC players to experience the original Halo Wars as well.

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Your Destiny Awaits

Destiny is good. Destiny is really good. From it’s incredible visual touches to it’s spectacular gameplay, Bungie created one of the most immerse experiences ever.

No matter if you know Bungie from their years in Halo or if you’re a new player, this is one game you’ll definitely spend countless hours on.

During my hours I spent in the Alpha version, which was running smoothly on the PS4, I was teased with a Level 3 Story mission, Level 6 Strike mission, an endless supply of side quests and I got a taste of “The Crucible” – Destiny’s prodigious PvP multiplayer. They also enabled me to visit The Tower – similar to a town – where you can upgrade armor, interact with other player, visit shopkeepers and much more.

The more time I spent playing Destiny, the less I wanted the Alpha to end. The only hiccups I had during this well-polished Alpha version, was disconnection issues. Mostly due to the fact that internet connections in South Africa isn’t the most stable but on a 4mb line, it ran smoothly.

Upon starting up, I was presented with the character creation screen where you are given the choice between the Titan (essentially a tank class), the Hunter (mostly ranged) and the Warlock. For all intents and purposes, I chose the Warlock as my main character and began my first quest in Destiny.

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Albeit my first and only story mission, for the Alpha at least, was brief, I had the opportunity to test out my abilities, ride my “space bike”, kill a Wizard (which is a semi-boss) and dance as the timer counted down until my mission ended.

Moving along to the Devil’s Lair, is where Destiny was at it’s best. Teaming up with two random player, our Strike mission started with what ended up being an hour long encounter. It was quickly revealed why this mission should be tackled as a team. Our fight began with a massive Spider Tank – to a large extent a raid boss – which had a one-shot-kill cannon attached to the back. To make matters worse, we were attacked by waves of insect-like Fallen from the side.

After a grueling 10-15 minutes, the final blow was given and the Spider Tank collapsed. With tears of joy and excitement all around, sun setting in the distance, dance emotes to celebrate our victory (press right on the D-pad), we came to realization that it wasn’t the final battle.

Our toughest challenge came with an unforeseen foe – Sepiks Prime. A silver floating orb, aggressively shooting plasma blasts at us, with the ability to teleport. Our battle wasn’t on an open field, as it was with the Spider Tank, but more cornered off, making it much harder to find cover.

When I wasn’t slaying Fallen or attempting Strike missions, I was socializing at the Tower. At a quick glance, you’ll get a Mass Effect vibe from it but that is due to the camera moving to a third person perspective, revealing your character in all it’s glory. Here player have a chance to dance, wave at each other and party up before attempting new missions.

Player can also trade with AI shopkeepers, buy new gear using Glimmer – the currency used that carries over to all your other characters – identify unknown item and follow up on Bounties. There is also a Vault, where you can store gear which can be accessed across all of your characters.

Destiny constantly brings the environment to life. Whether it is respawning enemies in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a chore or by seamlessly introducing random player to each other. In one situation, I was exploring an area and a Patrol event randomly began. My Ghost – which is a small cube-like device, voiced by Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage – scanned a small ship which has crash landed.

While scanning the wreckage, I had to protect it for about 4 minutes from waves of Fallen. During that event, two other players ran across the hill, assisting me with the mission. Once the event was completed, we waved and parted our separate ways as the game continued normally. This dynamic, is the moments that makes Destiny unique.

During my hours in the world of Destiny, I had barely touched weapon upgrades, The Crucible arena (6v6 PVP combat) and the well implemented character customization which give you a choice of 3 races, male or female, with a variety of face and hear styles.

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Bungie promised us not only a game but an experience. It’s clear now what that vision was and how well they succeeded. If this is what they gave us in the Alpha, then I cannot contain my excitement for the Beta which begins on July 17th on Playstation platforms and Xbox platforms to follow soon after.

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