Video Game News And Resources
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In this issue, I'll be featuring a recent price drop on the Xbox One console and the release of the much anticipated game, Watchdogs from Ubisoft.
So pull up a chair and relax with a nice cuppa, then read on to find out more.
Photo credit: Paper Boy (cropped) by Olle Svenson
Xbox One Price Drop - May 2014
Ever since their release, many people have been trying to make up their minds about which "next generation" console to get - Microsoft's Xbox One or Sony's Playstation 4.
The Xbox One (or Xbone, as some gamers are now calling it) is more expensive, but includes the Kinect motion controller and has lots of non-gaming multi-media capabilities.
The Playstation eschews some of the extra bells and whistles of the Xbox, but is cheaper and on paper at least, has more raw gaming power packed into its belly than its competitor.
So far, Sony has been winning the battle, outselling Xbox by a comfortable margin.
Fighting back, Microsoft has taken some steps to try to make their mark in the industry and in consumers' hearts.
Here's the price drop - with not quite so many bells and whistles...
Xbox as it was meant to be ??
- Step 1 is to make a price drop on the machine to try to match Sony's behemoth.
However, this also comes at the loss of the Kinect.
You can still buy it separately, but this is a big concession from Microsoft, who were previously sticking to their guns on Kinect being a requirement for next generation gaming.
- Step 2 is to free up some of the internet functionality for both Xbox One and 360 owners.
Xbox Live Silver (free) members will gain access to streaming movies and music, plus the Bing search engine, without having to pay the Xbox Live Gold subscription (charges may still apply for some services, such as Netflix).
This will appear via a system update sometime in June.
- If you ask me, step 2 is long overdue for the Xbox, since many of these services are available on TVs and elsewhere for free - a point I discussed previously over on my blog.
Is the jury still out?
We'll have to wait and see.
Watch Out For Watchdogs - New Release
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you will know that Watchdogs, the new open world techno-thriller from Ubisoft was released on 27th May.
In this game, you play as a hacker who cruises around a futuristic Chicago, attempting to bring about his version of justice.
Putting You In Control
The central concept (conceipt?) is that everything can be hacked, with an innovative mechanic that allows you to "jump" from camera to camera to stake out locations, let off explosives and unlock doors, all from a place of cover or even sitting in your car.
In between missions, you can stroll around the city and check the records, criminal or otherwise, of everyone you meet on the street - and then hack into their bank accounts to bolster your funds...
The game began development long before the Snowden revelations were unleashed on an unsuspecting public, yet its central theme of government monitoring couldn't be more up to date.
Ironic or scarily prescient?
Marketing Out Of Control
The Ubisoft marketing machine has been in overdrive for well over 2 years for this title with many promises made about it being a real "next generation" offering.
On release, they have provoked much criticism from fans, many of whom are unhappy with the graphics, which don't appear to match up to what was shown in previews in the E3 consumer electronics show.
- It's not that they are saying the graphics look bad (they look pretty good in every Screenshot I have seen), just that expectations have not been met.
I am very good at avoiding the hype for games and movies, so I am curious to see what all the fuss is about.
I suspect that Watchdogs will be up to par with other Ubisoft games: it may or may not be revolutionary, but it will have high production values, probably a ridiculous storyline and most likely will be fun!
Watchdogs is available on PC, Xbox One and 360, Playstation 4 and 3.
You can download the game directly to your PC these days.
Just be aware that there are usually DRM (Digital Rights Management) hoops you have to jump through in order to actually play it.
The Next Gen platform versions will apparently have more people populating this virtual Chicago.
Note that a couple of the multiplayer modes are missing on the PS3 and 360.
Aside from the graphics not being quite as good, it is otherwise the same game though.
Watchdogs platform quiz
What platform will you be playing Watchdogs on?
Here are some of my favourite sites for games from around the net.
- Metacritic - Video Game Reviews, Articles, Trailers and more
Metacritic offers aggregates game reviews from all over the web and gives each game an average score from all the other scores it has been given. It can be really useful to see how a game does with the critics and see whether the game buying public a
GameSpot is a great source for news and reviews on pretty much any game on any system. I tend to find them a little bit harsh in the scores they give games when compared to other websites, but mostly agree with what the review actually says. They're
- GameFAQs - Video Game Cheats, Reviews, FAQs, Message Boards, and More
From the website: "Founded in 1995, GameFAQs has over 40,000 video game FAQs, Guides and Walkthroughs, over 250,000 cheat codes, and over 100,000 reviews, all submitted by our users to help you." Ever get stuck on a game and want to know how to get p
Are you excited - or nonplussed - by the Xbox price drop?
Do you think it's too little, too late, or do you think Microsoft will come storming forward after a slow start?
Will Watchdogs be a genuine Next Generation experience or will it just be another good, but not great, open world game?