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6:23 PM on 10.14.2013

The Dilemma: PS4 or Xbox One? PT. 1

Hey everyone, it has been a long time since I’ve blogged on here, mostly because life just got in the way with college starting up, along with a new job, I’ve been overwhelmed as of late. I’ve been thinking about everything that has happened this year in the gaming community, and it has been such a big year. So I’d just like to make a comparative blog that will be posted in two parts concerning which console, in my own opinion, is the best decision for myself. So please enjoy and feel free to post comments and questions. As always I strive to be as non-biased as possible! I will go more in-depth on specific games in later posts, and can’t wait to start posting more frequently again!

The year is nearing its end with only a few months left. It has been a year of anticipation, while we watched the big companies of Microsoft and Sony flex their muscles trying to gain footing on both the casual gaming front as well as the hardcore front. Not only have they been hard at work but so have many of the developers in creating games for this new generation of systems. We have seen a lot of innovation being introduced as well as some new impressive looking I.P. (Intellectual Property) such as Watch DogsDestinyTitanfall, and so much more. While we look on hungry for all the innovations we have seen, most of us can't wait to get our hands on all the new games, but unfortunately most of us will have to choose between Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, which is a difficult task, even when knowing all the facts. I'll be observing the latest press conferences, game reveals, and events to determine which of the two systems I’ve decided with, and possibly help you through your own "console" dilemma.

Early in the year we began with both reveals of the consoles. This was both Sony’s and Microsoft’s chance to “come out swinging”, but neither side delivered as strongly as we would have hoped. The first was Sony with the PS4 “reveal” which was filled with many teasing graphic designs, features, and Sony’s plan for the PS4. The only thing Sony didn't do was, “reveal” the physical look of the console itself. However they did show off the controller and the specifications of the controller. As well as showing graphics demo, showing off the graphical power of the machine that, unfortunately, we couldn't see. It wasn't an overall weak reveal compared to some past ones, however it wasn't strong either, just average.

This had setup Microsoft for a strong reveal, if they could just perform it right. They didn’t. Possibly one of the worst reveals I have ever seen. The reveal began fairly strong, showing up Sony by actually “revealing” the console itself. Then they began talking of the hardware and many of the features going to be included with the system, such as the Kinect 2.0 and how multitasking with games, movies, music, TV, etc. would become easy. However what the reveal after that contained was pointless reiteration of how with "TV this" and "TV that" would make the new Xbox One even greater. They made it sound like a big cable box, as opposed to a gaming console, almost like they had lost site for their main audience like myself, the hardcore gamer. They continued talking about how the TV was going to be implemented into the system, but there was hardly a mention of a game. They also began to talk about their plans by implementing new policies, what many began to call anti-consumer policies against “used-games” and imposing DRM on all owners of an Xbox One, which means, without an internet connection, the console would not work for your games, period. If the console couldn't check in with "Papa Microsoft" to get the green light to play games once every 24 hours, you simply wouldn't be able to play any of your games, that you paid generally sixty bucks or in some cases more to own and play whenever you wished. Oh, they did mention Call of Duty: Ghosts, but that is hardly a saving grace.

The Reveal Edge: Sony  

After the reveals, developers, publishers, and fans all began to get ready for the next big event, E3. This is possibly the biggest event all year and where everyone has to bring their “A” game. I found myself lucky enough to have connections and get myself through the doors this year. The energy, the excitement, all of it indescribable. To be able to attend in a year with the new generation of consoles and games about to begin, I couldn't have cherished this event more.

The first press conference to attend was Microsoft’s(Didn't see it, check out this quick recap here!) This was their chance to bring it back, to make all the wrong in the reveal right again. They did start off the show with a bang by revealing some of the games to us, one of the more notable ones was Ryse: Son of Rome, as well as Forza Motorsport 5. They realized at least one of their mistakes previously, that the focus of a gaming console, are the games. Many of them were great games, including Titanfall which won a ton of awards at E3, a record breaking score with over 60 awards. However it is also available for PC, which makes the Xbox One have no greater appeal for myself. Also we found out the price of the console itself would be starting at $499, which is a high price, even though they are including the Kinect 2.0 in every box. Unfortunately the only exclusive available that even mildly interested me was Forza, and that is not much of a saving grace. Not to mention Microsoft avoided mentioning the elephant in the room, which was the “anti-consumer” policies such as not being able to share your games traditionally, but by having them binded to your Xbox Live account. Microsoft was obviously going to continue backing them at this point, despite the massive backlash they were receiving from the gaming community. (Just to point out, these polices have been revoked, earning the console the name of the "Xbox 180".)

Unfortunately for Don Mattrick(Pictured Above), this interview created even more negative P.R. for Microsoft at the time.

Sony’s conference was the last of the day(check out the recap here), and the event was truly impressive, lots of pretty lights and effects, but more importantly, they delivered on the execution, and we finally were able to see the physical console, along with many awesome upcoming game teasers. Among those Watch DogsTransistor, and Destiny are on top of my list as far as the games are concerned. Also Sony showed amazing dedication to indie developers, with over ten exclusive indie games first on PS4. Also keeping their self-publishing policy from the PS3 and moving it onto the PS4 shows their efforts at making it easy for developers to get their games out there. Also, taking advantage of Microsoft’s bad public relations because of the controversial policies they were implementing, Sony just straight out said, “We support used game companies and we look down upon DRM based systems”, which was just a slap in Microsoft’s face. Then to put the cherry on top, the price tag of the PS4 was $399. A staggering hundred dollars less than the Xbox One, make the PS4 much more appealing. And what came to light most recently is Sony will be taking a $60 loss at that price tag as well for production, but have no intention on increasing the price of the product.

Sony released this video below during E3 as well, taking complete advantage of Microsoft's vulnerability.

E3 Conference Edge:  Sony

There was much more to E3 besides the conferences of course though.
Comparing the specifications now have been revealed to us during that event showed that the PS4 will have slightly better hardware than the Xbox One. The biggest difference is in the ram with the PS4 having DDR5 as opposed to DDR3. This is a small, but still rather significant difference between the two consoles as things will run smoother on the PS4. But it isn't all about what is inside the machine but also how you control it.  After getting my own hands on the games and the controllers, feeling them in my hand,the PS4 controller felt the most solid and the controls were smooth. Now, the Xbox 360 controller was a great gamepad, possible one of the best, but the Xbox One controller just didn't live up to the original. I’d even say it felt cheap, it was too light; it didn't have that weight I look for in a controller. The PS4 controller on the other hand, felt perfect and smooth in my hand, and it had a weight to it, that appealed to me. I find that controllers are a very personal choice and comes down to the user, but for myself the PS4’s controller takes the cake. 

Hardware/E3 Edge:  Sony

This marks the end of pt. 1, and I'll be posting pt. 2 sometime in the upcoming week. Feel free to post comments and ask questions or clarifications on certain topics! I'll be going over the GamesCom conferences as well as covering some more of the exclusive game announcements for each system. Hope everyone has a good week, and as always, thanks for reading!   read

5:19 PM on 06.13.2013

Dark Souls & Dark Souls II - Review & What to Expect in the Future

Big topic for myself this week at E3 was waiting on the "Dark Souls II" presentation that was shown today at 2:00 pm PST on GameSpot's live feed and I figured now was the perfect time to give my feed back upon "Dark Souls" and the upcoming sequel, "Dark Souls II".

I recently beat Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on PC and let me just say initially, fantastic experience. I have loved adventure games for a long time and desired a challenge and that is exactly what Dark Souls delivered in excess. Now I'd like to say I have beaten Demon's Soul's as well and enjoyed that experience and even believe some portions of that game were more difficult than "Dark Souls". But the point is, I have experience in these games and their form of storytelling/lore.

One thing I found absolutely captivating about Dark Souls is the subtle form the story was told in and you had to work out how the world came to be with the Undead, and the death of the dragons. Then there were the specific NPC stories that you could piece together slowly if you searched for the lore, such as Seath the Scaleless dragon, and how he had been performing experiments on his fellow dragons, betraying them for his own immortality. Even Siegmeyer of Catarina and the story behind him and his daughter is in depth but still leaving mysteries which may never be revealed to us.

It was that form and desire for knowledge of the world that made the world so desiring to explore and discover the truths in the shadows. That's why in an interview with Edge and director Tomohiro Shibuya on Dark Souls II, and it was troubling when he said,

"I will follow the same concept as Dark Souls, but there were a lot of hidden story elements that some players may not have caught before, and I’m hoping to make some of that a little bit more clear or directly expressed to the player as well – not just in the story, but messaging. A lot of elements were very subtle in Dark Souls, and that was something that was characteristic to Dark Souls. But I personally am the sort of person who likes to be more direct instead of subtle, so I think that part of me will [result in] a difference [for] players when they pick up Dark Souls II. It will be more straightforward and more understandable.”

Now it may be nothing to worry about, but I don't want the core of the Dark Souls that I know to change, and there is also quite a worry about whether or not it will be as difficult compared to Dark Souls when they say things like "It will be more straightforward and more understandable", but they have promised that it will still be as unforgiving as the previous installments and all we can do is hope.

Now with the new footage and discussion at E3 today with GameSpot  which you can check out by clicking here, and clicking on "watch" under Dark Souls II. It is finally confirmed that there will be customization of your character which was another worry concerning fans when watching the initial trailer where there happened to be a woman talking to the main character, possibly hinting towards a main protagonist in the story. But it was great to see in the game play footage a couple of new and different armor/weapon sets.

They definitely seem to support a better version of dual handing blades which will be fantastic and quiet useful especially with the new torch mechanic they are implementing, where you won't be able to use a shield all the time. Also the combat seemed familiar to what we know and expect but it seemed a bit quicker paced and involved facing more enemies than usual compared to Dark Souls.

I still have high hopes for Dark Souls II and plan on purchasing it for PC when it comes out this coming year, they said around March 2014. And with luck I'll be enjoying getting beaten to death again and again in this new sequel. Thanks for your time and if you have some other comments to give or questions you'd like me to answer please feel free to comment and give your own opinions on this subject.

Oh, and check out the E3 trailer for Dark Souls 2 below!


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