- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Giftbag Mailbag: Episode 1 - Xmas With Video Games Gift Inspiration
Wanna Stockpile This Years Gifts With Video-Game Inspiration, Then You Have Come to the Right Place
The elves have been busy this year, getting set for a Christmas that is hullabaloo with merry video-game bonanza.
For some, gift giving is the easiest thing in the world, as everything that they truly desire is already lighting up their every-day celebration for life, and these most grand of gifts, may simply be the family.
Ahhh, hullabaloo nonsense. What we want for Christmas this year, is perhaps the greatest gift of all, the commercially brilliant next-generation gaming system, whether that be the Xbox One X or the PS4 Pro, the destination is all the same.
On the Xbox One, there is the choice of either the Xbox One S, the most basic of forms for the Xbox One console, which means a sleeker design, coupled with a hard-drive that has enough storage to install those golden gem video-games that come jam-packed with multiplayer content. The storage capacity, is at a reasonable 500GB, for the Xbox One S, and if you have a wide selection of games to install on the one console, that might we suggest the Xbox One X (or, Project Scorpio), which has a total storage space of 1TB, double that of the Xbox One S.
Whereas, for the competing PlayStation 4, there is the option for the PS4 slim, which also has a total storage capacity for 500GB, or the more abundantly spectacular PS4 Pro, wielding a total storage capacity for a total of 1TB, and ultimately stands as the direct competition for the Xbox One X. Then, to sweeten the deal, the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro are both compatible with 4K resolution, so for all the tech enthusiasts out there, 4K gaming is now fully alive on the next-generation console flagships.
What else? Ahh, yes, PC gaming... in 2017. Is there still a place for PC gaming in 2017, is something that I have been asking myself now for some time. Sort of, is perhaps the only answer that I could truly provide, as even Windows, the Microsoft owned software, is somewhat lacklustre in its functioning for online gaming, as it has become clear that Microsoft are in complete support for their Xbox console brand.
Not a whole ton of modern gaming enthusiasts, who are beneath the age of 20, play video-games on their PC, and this is largely due to friend sharing, as most gamers want to play console alongside their peers. If your best bud has the PS4, and owns Call of Duty, then chances are you want to own a PS4 to share the online experiences of playing the latest Call of Duty online title.
Let's stick with Call of Duty multiplayer, as an example, as on the PC they are practically none existent due to server difficulties that have their restrictions, but this only seems to be apparent on the PC (and not on either of the next-generation consoles, in 2017). There have been numerous, no, countless occasions where there have been complaints from Call of Duty (Modern Warfare Remastered, WWII) multiplayer gamers on the PC talking of issues with connecting to matches properly, and the hacking problems that are of an olden day fashionable issue on the PC, with numerous game hacks still being a problem in Call of Duty: WWII (CoD, 2017) online.
Sledgehammer Games, the creator of Call of Duty: WWII, have shown no remorse in banning players from their multiplayer for hacking the game, and this stands as a beacon for all other online video-game creators to follow. This has been made possible through updates from Sledgehammer Games that has literally resulted in thousands of players being banned on console for 72 hours, restricting online access, and also wiping their account leaderboard stats clean, meaning they will have to start back online in a few days at level 1, zero prestige.
Point made, there is not a whole lot of online gamers active on the PC for the modern, and most popular online video-games, as most players find it is far more rewarding, and has far fewer issues by playing on the consoles. Of course. on the PC there are no fees for playing online, and as such the firewalls are far thinner, and far less monitored by games makers, and seen as a much lesser problem by games publishers when comparing this platform to the major commercial games consoles of 2017. Remember, that you pay £40 yearly on the PS4 and Xbox One to ensure proper flows of connection in online servers, 24/7, and there is a zero tolerance policy on the PS4 and Xbox One for online hackers, something that the PC gaming community do not quite have the same luxuries of.
Something to bare in mind, if this Christmas you were hoping on getting a special gaming platform gift for that someone special in your life.
Top 10 Video-Game Inspiration Gifts This Christmas
Starting the countdown, there is the near-and-dear to our hearts video-game, that at this point should come as little surprise to see within this list.
Call of Duty, 2017 - It All Starts On the Beaches of Normandy
No.10 - Call of Duty: WWII
Call of Duty, perhaps one of the most familiarised video-game franchises of all time, and the top selling video-game, year in, year out. 2017 is the return of familiarity for the Call of Duty traditionalists/purists/or whatever you want to call those who played the game franchise when it all first began in the events of World War 2.
Call of Duty: WWII is the 15th instalment for the Call of Duty franchise, and the fourth instalment in the franchise to return to the WW2 time era, and as wished, we have the 2017 return to World War 2, as we play through the single player campaign as Private Daniels, a newly recruited infantry soldier, whose platoon is the first to land on the Normandy beaches, in the US's first entry onto the beachhead battlefront. You will then, alongside your ragtag platoon, be pushing through Nazi Germany enemy territory to take back the European theatre.
Along this epic journey, you will learn a thing or two about human sacrifice in the greatest war of all time, in the events that took place during World War 2. You'll learn that the US military were the first to step out onto the battlefield in WW2 to take back France, and they were the first to successfully break through Nazi German defences, just as they were the first military force to break through German defences in World War I. There are some great lines in the narrative for Call of Duty: WWII; such as, "No sacrifice too great", which has to be the most inspirational line that I have ever heard in a video-game before.
The online is epic in Call of Duty: WWII. If you like the World War 2 story of how the US military were the first to break through Nazi German defences, and forced the Nazis back out of European soul, then you'll be overwhelmed by the emotions felt whilst playing through the single player campaign in "WWII". But, the real fun comes with the games multiplayer, as there is nothing more entertaining than relentlessly fighting enemy player teams in great War mode battles, Domination war fronts, and fighting to capture friendly and enemy tags on the battlefield in the Kill Confirmed game mode.
Plus, in Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer, the ranking up system is flawless, and a definite improvement on the system that we received for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, and as of now there is a total of ten prestige progressions, each maxed out at level 55, and after reaching prestige 10, level 55, there is then the master prestige (you'll be awarded a new prestige emblem) that maxes out at level 1000. Seriously OG, but if you need a constant reason to keep playing the games online mode, then level 1000 master prestige, that'll do it.
As far as innovation goes in "WWII" multiplayer, there is the newly added HQ social space, a place to go to lay your head back; collect some supply drops that you've earned, watch friends open their supply drops (and vice-versa), play 1v1 matches with randoms, collect new orders from the Captain, unlock some new loot from the collections tab, and why not even try out some new weapon variants/attachments over at the firing range. Plus, in HQ, you're in third-person playable mode, and with the 48 player lobby, this is quite a unique and engaging place to go to simply hang out with friends and run some in-game online errands.
In "WWII" multiplayer, the War game mode is all new, and this is perhaps its only connection to innovation within this games online features, and has some beauty qualities that are difficult to ignore. For starters, the War game mode is undoubtedly the greatest place to go to earn the maximum amount of XP per match, as Sledgehammer Games are practically giving away XP through completing the individual objectives in each Operations match, and the best part, none of your deaths are registered to your kill-to-death leaderboard stats. On the other hand, neither are your kills registered, but that seems like a fair deal, all things considered. On average, in a War game mode match, you'll earn anywhere between 10,000XP per match to 40,000XP per match, but the better half may only have been possible through a double XP event being active. Not once, have I ever been disappointed with my XP earn rate whilst playing the online War game mode, and now being a Prestige 3 (level 49), the game mode has served me well so far, perhaps accounting for half of my online games played.
Assassin's Creed is the Mainstreamers Choice for Adventure Game of the Year, 2017
No.9 - Assassin's Creed: Origins
It should seem I might have gone a little overboard with talking up the Call of Duty: WWII game content, and was merely because of its strength as a quality first-person-shooter title, having used the greatest war time era of all time, that being the events that led to a smooth victory in World War 2.
Assassin's Creed is an adventurers dream on console video-gaming, as the settings are almost always intriguing, and it has been a while since I have played a game from this franchise that I would be willing to play over the once greatest instalment in the franchise, Assassin's Creed II. Seriously, 2017's Assassin's Creed: Origins is the best that we have seen in a while, and facing off against the pharaoh's of Egypt, they have not a clue of whom they are up against.
This is perhaps the video-game that I will be playing on Christmas morning, always a treat to play an adventure title that lives up to its name.
There's Something About Hitman That We All So Truly Love - Is It His Style, His Demeanour, His Hitman Kill Skill-Sets, Or Just Maybe Its Simply Because
No.8 - Hitman (Seasonal)
Playing Hitman, is like playing Hitman ten years ago, it is always the same-old fun that appealed to franchise fans all those years ago.
Play how you like, going loud with weapons, or take your time and wear the right uniforms to trick security and highly trained killers into thinking that you are meant to be there.
The fun is blending in within Hitman, as you are the greatest assassin of the modern age, and you always get your target. Playing as Hitman is a badass experience, and for that reason alone this game simply had to make it to the list.
The seasonal approach to the game is appealing, as it means there is always something keeping the game feeling fresh. Each season, each completely new in its experiences, but it is key to be the best hitman that you can be, as each target mission depends sole upon it.
No.7 - Resident Evil: Revelations
Resident Evil is the games series of the century for horror themed gameplay, and Resident Evil: Revelations has been a blast to play, as there is something authentic about the gameplay experience that you get when you buy a Resident Evil video-game.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was also a ton of fun, but there is nothing like keeping up to date with the latest instalment, as there is always a buzz around the horror gaming community when a new Resident Evil title hits the store shelves.
No.6 - Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
The Lord of the Rings was perhaps the greatest fantasy cinematic trilogy of all time, and the games that spawned alongside these great cinematic titles were awesome, but times have moved on, and now there is the continuation of Middle-Earth video-games, that seem to have strayed from the original storytellings of J.R.R. Tolkien, and gone upon a path of their own.
This is what disappointed me when first playing Middle-Earth (the first title in the video-game series), but in time you'll get used to the new drill. Amazingly, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War retains the darker feel of Middle Earth, but also retains the feeling of good overcoming evil. Except, you'll be playing as the lead warrior, and the missions are optional in an open world environment, and you can use your dark powers to control fearsome warriors and beasts from across the lands. Overtake strongholds, and take back the lands that have been stolen by gruesome, foul evil overlords, as you go on your quest to take back all that has been exposed to the dark side.
No.5 - Unchartered: The Lost Legacy
There is no such thing as too many adventure video-games, and Unchartered is a series that has become very popular on the PlayStation 4.
Explore lands, climb, fight, and make your way through a deadly, lethal tale that may lead you to your ultimate demise.
Think of this game as a Lara Croft: Tomb Raider style adventure game, and you are on a a quest to find the truth.
No.4 - Star Wars: Battlefront II
Star Wars, a franchise that practically sells itself, and as such a fact exists, Star Wars: Battlefront II was a hit before it even received official ratings from gaming critics.
Star Wars: Battlefront II is a major hit this year (released November, 2017), and with such success comes heavy criticism, and sadly the criticism is mostly true, as the multiplayer this time around includes some shady micro-transactions prices for their loot box system (when compared to the godlike loot box/supply drop system in Sledgehammer Games Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer) it is a shamble, further bringing to light the inevitable marketing crash where loot box systems (as used in game franchises, such as the likes of Call of Duty, Destiny, and Overwatch) are being labeled as a new form of gambling. Sure, Call of Duty: WWII's multiplayer supply drop system (the same as loot boxes) make seem like angels in comparison to Battlefront II's loot box system, and this is due to the inabilities to access certain loot without having to pay a pretty penny on top of the money already laid down for the full game.
Then again, loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II can be earned organically through playing hours upon hours of the games multiplayer, and should thereby not be such a massive issue in the media, but there is definitely some shady business practices going on amongst multiplayer games franchises in 2017, and as such, there should always be investigations into their psychological effects on young peoples minds, as parents may be in for a costly ride paying double the price of a £50 retail price video-game, as their children cunningly enter in the credit card details to max out their supply drops in an online gamble to unlock those shiny new weapons, outfits and cosmetic loot items.
On a brighter, more positive note, Star Wars: Battlefront II is a great first-person-shooter game with the unique Star Wars universe setting, and there is something truly amazing about battling out for your favoured side; be it the clone troopers, rebel alliance or droid armies. A true army v. army game, and the gameplay is playable in third-person and first-person mode, and many are opting for the third-person mode because of its dominance on the multiplayer battlefield as you have a full 360 degree angle view on your surroundings.
No.3 - Fortnite: Battle Royale
Battle Royale is an all new kind of shooter gaming experience, and has been popularised by the dramatic commercial success of this games direct competition, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, a game like this one, requiring each player to spawn into a large multiplayer map that is populated by a total of 100 players, and the job is simple, kill all other players in a free-for-all rules, and be the last man/woman standing.
What makes Fortnite: Battle Royale stand out, is that this game seems far more family friendly in terms of the violence spectrum, and unlike PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (also commonly known as PUB-G), in Fortnite there is the ability to tear down building infrastructures so that a player can collect wood, and using this hardened material, the player can now make and build their own buildings/fortresses/defences, and there is all kinds of goodies placed around the large mapping space. Located randomly all across the 100 player spawned map there is weapons (all of a modern day era), health packs, repair kits, and many other cool stuff.
Sounds cool, then why not check out a traffic hot spot at the 9 million subscriber count YouTube Channel, Ali-A, who has recently uploaded a Christmas themed Fortnite video, titled: CHRISTMAS UPDATE for Fortnite: Battle Royale! (gameplay footage).
No.2 - Xbox One X
It is here, it is now, the newly launched Xbox One X.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Xbox One has proven to be a massively successful console, and only better when though of directly as being a gaming platform. Here's the facts (that tell us everything that makes the Xbox One X better than the more basic Xbox One S):
- Game in full 4K resolution ("Feel True Power", Xbox One X).
- The world's most powerful console ("With 40% More Power Than Any Other Console, Experience Immersive True 4K Gaming. Games Play Better On Xbox One X", Xbox One X)
- Play 4K Exclusives - as it turns out, there are 4K exclusive games that have been designed specifically for the Xbox One X (sorry, S users), including Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, and State of Decay 3.
- Stream in full HDR.
- Compatible with everything Xbox One.
Now, you won't feel like a blind fool, attempting to pick a number out of a hat in deciding whether or not the Xbox One X is for you, or the standard Xbox One S.
No.1 - PS4 Pro
Then, there was one, but this is the PS4 Pro at the top spot, and not the one forenamed Xbox One X, as is feels in comparison (coming from someone who owns and uses both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4) as though the PlayStation 4 is better console, and comparatively there is little in difference between the flagship Sony PS4 Pro and the Microsoft Xbox One X (also known as Project Scorpio).
Before discussing the reasoning behind the PS4 consoles rise to the top of this list, first of all, here's the PS4 Pro credentials (stuff the PS4 slim does not provide):
- PS4 Pro: The super-charged PS4: faster, more powerful and with 4K gaming.
- 4K gaming and entertainment.
- HDR: High Dynamic Range for intensely vibrant colours.
- 2X Power: Double the GPU power of the standard PS4.
- How the 4K gaming works: the PS4 Pro upscales lower resolution games to 2160p (usually the highest being 1080p), to approach 4K clarity.
- PS4 Pro offers native 4K: PS4 Pro enables select PS4 games to shine with incredible native 4K resolution.
- How does the HDR technology work on the PlayStation 4 for gaming: With an HDR TV, compatible PS4 games display a range of colours closer to the full spectrum that the human eye can see, delivering unbelievable vibrancy and lifelike details.
Need the full specs for the PS4 Pro (and trust us, they are impressive), check these out from the source, PS4 Pro specifications as listed by Sony.
That brings us back to exactly why the PS4 console is better than the Xbox One. Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, as all the specifications are practically the same, but rather, it is to do with the fundamentals of the basic consoles, being that of the Xbox One S and the PS4 Slim.
The Xbox One console has the worse controller, and this is where the cord has to pulled out, as next-generation console gaming is all about the experience with the console controller in hand. The Xbox One controller is the worst, as it still uses a battery pack... that's right, in 2017 the Xbox One still uses a battery pack by default. The enemy of the Xbox One, is rechargeable batteries, as in making the push to next-generation gaming, apparently they saw no issue with the battery pack formula for their official controllers.
Then, enters the PS4 console, with its super-smooth controller, that allows the gamer to share gameplay with friends who can complete difficult missions for you, and also enables a way for friends to try out new games without having to actually own them, as a friend that has the game can simply share the gameplay tool with them, and this is a really nice feature that the PS4 console offers, exclusively.
That is not all, as who in their weekly gameplay sessions finds that there are times when there really cannot be volume infusing, as a person is sleeping nearby and does not want to be awoken by gunfire or loud car engines as they drift around sharp corners on Call of Duty or Need for Speed. Well, the PS4 have a nifty feature to help with this (and, no, the Xbox One does not support this feature), as the PS4 controllers audio can be set from the settings menu at the dashboard to carry all mic and gameplay volume directly to the PS4 controller.
All that need be required is your standard pair of headphones (I like to use my Apple headphones, but not the lightning port ones, they will need to be your standard headphone jack port ones), and you can plug these in, and listen to your mic volume and gameplay directly from your headphones. Turn your TV volume down to zero, and you are set to play your video-game into the late hours without fear of disturbing a sleeping loved one. Sounds too good to be true. Yeah, I thought so too, but this is a very real function of the PS4 official controller, and even works as a way to make the gameplay feel more immersive. Side note: Sometimes the headphones need readjusting, as turning off the console can make them lose their connection, so the next time you use the earphones in your PS4 controller, simply take them out of the port once, and then replug them back into the controller, and that should bring the sound blasting back through your headphones. Which reminds me, you can alter the sound setting from the PS4 dashboard in the settings menu by going to the audio listing, and from here there is all of the tweaking to make everything right for you.
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