Categories
X-Box One Previews XBOX One S Previews XBOX One S Reviews XBOX One X Previews

Project Darwin: X-Box One Preview

Overlooked Battle Royale contender – or something else entirely?

Project Darwin is a Battle Royale-ish Deathmatch on Steam and Xbox One Game Preview program and free-to-play. The term Battle Royale, in my opinion, is being used solely to attempt at generating buzz for the game. In all honesty, calling it a traditional deathmatch would be far more accurate. There is really only one actual Battle Royale element at play in this title– but we will get to that in a minute.

Project Darwin takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic version of the North Canadian Rockies. In this future, the surviving remnants of humanity pit prison inmates against each other in a high tech death arena for live streaming entertainment and social experimentation.

A match in Project Darwin takes place between 10 players, but with a super fun twist: 9 of the players are gathering materials to craft weapons and upgrades, setting traps, and hunting one another. The 10th player gets to fly around in a drone and control the arena. This feature, in my opinion, is the best part of this game. I feel it really sets it apart from other Battle Royale games. The Director controls almost everything. The materials being placed randomly, they can setup their own hazards, and they control the environment as well. The match takes place in a hex-grid and instead of a closing circle of death– the player controlling The Director gets to shutdown the grids one section at a time. They can also heat them up, or even drop a tactical Nuke on a section as well. Both players and directors fight for the audiences favor, which is how you gain experience and level up, earn loot, etc. If a director bullies one player the entire match, this will displease the crowd and they will get a bad rating. So there is some safeguards to ensure that this director is “fair in their unfairness” as the game puts it.

The Players, are armed with just a bow and an axe. They can gather materials like wood and leather around the play area as well as find chests with various items in them. They can then use these things to craft better armor, increase axe damage, fire arrows, etc. The director will drop electronic components at random places in the map, these locations are broadcast to all the players and are extremely valuable as they can be used to give you special abilities like invisibility, teleportation, and ridiculous high jump. These are game changers and good way for The Director to herd players towards one another.

I’ve played it quite a bit and can honestly say it’s definitely worth checking out. I really don’t feel like it’s getting the attention it deserves. It really stands out to me in a cluster of Fortnite and PUBG clones. The art style is really pretty. Some might say it looks like Fortnite, but the Canadian wilds really give it a dark ambient sense of danger, and the mix of primitive guerilla fighting style with high tech makes it feel fresh and inventive. As someone who has put in thousands of hours on PUBG and played a bit of Fortnite. I can honestly say Project Darwin deserves some attention and I really think it’s only going to get better and more fun as it updates.

Categories
News Opinions X-Box One News

Microsoft’s Next-Gen “Family” of Devices – What Does it Mean for the Future of Console Gaming?

At E3 2018 Phil Spencer confirmed that Microsoft is already working on the next-gen Xbox. What we know now is that they are, in fact, working on TWO new Xbox devices for the next generation. One will be obviously be the regular traditional console. The other: an affordable game streaming device that promises to succeed where all the other Cloud Gaming services have failed. This is a bold claim, yes, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Microsoft. They have been heavily invested in Cloud technology for quite some time now for their business dealings outside of the gaming industry. They also have deep enough pockets to really hit this type of service in a way other companies just can’t compete with.

Not a whole lot of information is out about the traditional console. However, it should be an obvious assumption that it will be more powerful and impressive than the Xbox One X. What we do know… is quite a bit about the streaming device code named: Project Scarlett. Scarlett Cloud is boasted to be powerful enough to handle all controller input, collision detection, and image processing. These things are believed to be some of the key elements that cause latency issues with other streaming services that handle those things server-side. It will also be using their Azure network of servers that should also help with latency in multiplayer titles. Azure being their very robust and powerful Cloud Computing Service being used by a wide number of developers and projects world-wide.

Other companies have been trying to enter this market and have not provided anything extraordinary or worthwhile. Sony tried breaking into this market a while ago with PSNow and it left a lot to be desired. Even with my Google Fiber connection I was unable to properly stream with it, the latency issues were terrible and frequent. My attempt left me frustrated and extremely unsatisfied. I canceled my free trial after a week worth of attempts. With every other company struggling to deliver a stab;e and enjoyable game streaming service, Microsoft could really capitalize on this market if they succeed.

Scarlett will include a service fee similar to their other online offerings and is part of their bigger plan to make playing Xbox titles on any devices a reality, including phones, TV’s, and other smart devices in the future. Will they be the first company to fix the glaring issues with game streaming services? If so, what will this mean for the future of gaming and the Xbox directly? Only more time will tell but it will be exciting to see where this goes. What do you think? Would you purchase a streaming device? Let us know in the comments!

Categories
Nintendo Nintendo Switch Opinions

Hyped Again: All thanks to the Nintendo Switch!

Jaded, oh so jaded.

For the longest time I found myself becoming disenfranchised with gaming. Triple A titles were becoming watered down, half finished, open worlds with nothing in them, and mostly disappointing. I was no longer getting excited about new games coming out and when one did catch my eye, I would find myself being skeptical and negative. It was becoming a little depressing. I’ve been an avid gamer since the NES days, and this genuine feeling of apathy towards my favorite hobby was weighing heavily on me.

Then came the Nintendo Switch.

At first, like others, I was skeptical about it. The design caught my eye, of course, but Nintendo always has their gimmick right? I was intrigued but I didn’t hop onto the hype train because I just didn’t want another disappointment.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2018. Completely uninterested in anything coming to my Xbox or Ps4, I decide to pick up a Switch and Breath of the Wild with my tax return,  and dove right in. Needless to say,  I was utterly blown away. The seamless transition between my TV and portable play was just the tip of the iceberg. Everything the console did was fast and snappy. This was a new Legend of Zelda title that had everything it needed to be familiar and nostalgia inducing, but also so vastly different from the rest of the series that it felt new and refreshing. I was absolutely stunned. I hadn’t been this excited about a console or a game in forever. Then I picked up Mario Odyssey, and the same thing happened. Everything a Mario game needs to feel like a Mario game…and yet… so utterly different. I found myself getting excited again and it felt like coming home.

Now, I’ve always been a Nintendo fan. I have owned every Nintendo system since the NES except for the WiiU. To be honest they are really the only company that has never actually let me down. They sparked my love for gaming when I was only a 3 year old obsessing over 8-bit cartridges. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that they would pull me out of this “Next-Gen Funk” I’d succumbed to. The Switch is just downright amazing. It has a fantastic library that is only growing more and more diverse and worthwhile every week. Plus, Nintendo’s desire to bring back and encourage that old style of “Couch Multiplayer” is truly a lovely and long sought after return to my roots. The Switch is a perfect console for the younger gamers, but it really brings something back to some of us cynical old farts that we’ve really been missing.

However, as if Nintendo pulling me out of that particular hole wasn’t enough. They also pulled me out of another one. Which leads to something else I think deserves talking about.

Project Octopath Traveler

 

Now being in the older generation of gamers I have a fond attachment to turn based JRPGs. From my first Final Fantasy on the NES, to the stellar lineup of games on SNES. These games were a major part of my childhood. I remember getting sucked into those adventures for months on end. Seriously, the amount of times I’ve beaten Chrono Trigger is absolutely ridiculous. I have easily thousands upon thousands of hours on that game alone. At the end of the GameCube/PS2 era though…these kind of games really took a dip in quality in favor of more action based gameplay and a sudden lack of superb storytelling. I found myself disenfranchised with this genre more than any other.

Until I downloaded the demo for Octopath Traveler on my Switch.

This game is exactly what I want and need from Square-Enix. It truly captures that old time feeling of a good classic JRPG. From the music, to the small tidbit of story we got in the form of expertly sliced demos, and the highly addictive battle system (which was only a small taste of it) and it’s gorgeous art style. It’s a perfect call back to those fantastic games on the SNES. I found myself feeling nostalgic and entranced in something that felt so new. I hadn’t felt this way about a game in a long time. The moment it became available for pre-order I snatched up the Wayfarer’s Edition with no hesitation. I’m normally against pre-orders entirely but man…this game deserves my cash.

So to sum it all up before this gets even longer: The Nintendo Switch is the best thing to happen to gaming, particularly my generation, in a very very long time. I feel like I can safely get hyped about gaming again. With all the love for JRPGs being shown to the Switch so far with games like Lost Sphear, I Am Setsuna, and the incredible Switch exclusive that Octopath will be I am so stoked. Plus all those sweet Nintendo first party franchises in the mix. My rekindled love is all due to this wonderful little device. It has even strengthened my relationship to my PS4 and X-Box One. It’s a good time to be a gamer, especially if you’re on the Switch.

Categories
Opinions X-Box One X-Box One News XBOX One S XBOX One S News XBOX One X Xbox One X XBOX One X News

Microsoft’s E3 – A Potentially Promising Future for Xbox players!

Whether you’re an Xbox player or not, there is no doubt that Microsoft really outdid itself at E3 this year. Not only was it the largest show in their history, but they unveiled some really juicy details that should have any Xbox owner excited. I’m not referring to the 18 console launch exclusives, 15 world premiers, or any of that. I’m talking about their clear focus on creating original content in the future.

The creation of The Initiative, Microsoft’s brand new studio dedicated to creating first party titles, is big news. Based in Santa Monica and headed by Darrell Gallagher, The Initiative’s sole purpose is to make Xbox exclusives, which should be exciting to anyone who owns an Xbox as our lineup of first party games is basically a barren wasteland at the moment. The most exciting thing about this announcement is that while they are directly a Microsoft studio, they have been given the creative freedom to operate like an Indie studio. Which could mean getting some fresh and unique titles exclusively for Xbox.

As well as this new first party studio they have also acquired Playground Games, longtime development partner and team behind the Forza series, who are not only working on Forza Horizon’s 4, but have been confirmed to already be working on a brand new project. In addition, Microsoft will also be acquiring Ninja Theory, makers of Hellblade and Kung Fu Chaos. This will give them the resources and ability to make even more ambitious games on the Xbox platform. State of Decay 2 has seen over 2 million people playing, and more to come especially since it was available at launch on the Xbox Game Pass, and it sounds like Microsoft is planning on shelling out the resources to make sure that game continues to grow. Last, but surely not least, Compulsion Games. The brilliant minds behind We Happy Few, could truly benefit from Microsoft’s support and deep pockets. They have definitely shown they can make a unique and refreshing game, now imagine what they can do with the freedom to dream bigger and take risks. All of these teams developing for Microsoft is a HUGE boon for future releases, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

Also, one of the better announcements of Microsoft’s E3 presentation is the upgraded Game Pass, which will now see many big titles added such as Elder Scrolls Online, The Division, Fallout 4. As well as giving subscribers Xbox exclusives on their launch day, including games like Horizons 4 and Gears 5.

Definitely sounds like some exciting games will be coming to Xbox in the near future. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!