cryptarch

The Cryptarch Got a Beatdown: More Destiny Changes Inbound

Bungie announced today upcoming changes taking effect next week in patch 1.0.2:

“The 1.0.2 patch will go live next week, and includes several changes to the Cryptarch and Engram experience.  These changes guarantee that Engrams will always decode into items at or above the quality of an engram.

Only Engrams that drop after 1.0.2 are subject to this change.
Cryptarch Changes
Cayde-6 took the Cryptarch aside and showed him a sack of doorknobs. He decoded that mystery pretty quickly.
  • Legendary Engrams will always produce Legendary or better quality items, including Materials or Exotics
  • Rare Engrams will always produce Rare or better quality items
  • Rare engrams will have an increased chance to produce Legendary quality items
Activity Changes
  • Daily Heroics, Weekly Heroics, and Vanguard: Tiger Playlist activities will include Rare and Legendary Engrams in addition to their existing rewards
Item Changes
  • Ascendant materials have been promoted to Legendary to closer associate them with the gear they are used to upgrade
  • Legendary Engram items that exist in your inventory will be demoted to Rare quality when the patch goes live, so decode them while you can. But let’s be honest–even if you don’t, we all know they were blues already…”

After yesterdays changes affecting sharding (breaking down) Legendary gear from the Queen and the sledgehammer-to-the-gut removal of the loot cave, this news is very welcome. We’ll see how it all plays out in the end. At least that Cryptarch got a black eye in all of this.

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tgsbanner

Here’s our Tokyo Game Show Roundup

Tokyo Game Show is in full swing and some pretty awesome news, videos and tidbits have already been released to the staved gaming public. Although the show isn’t over here are some of the bigger stories to come out of the land of the rising sun in the past 24 hours.

METAL GEAR SHOWS IT’S METAL HAND.

We get a look at the new Ai-Buddy system that will be put into The Phantom Pain. In a 20 minute walkthrough/demo we see the series’ newest character named “Quiet” take multiple trips around the map providing cover sniper fire to Snake while he takes out baddies. Besides the gorgeous visuals on both the new character and landscape we once again see how beautiful the Fox Engine is. I’m really excited in how they even implemented some free climbing aspects to the gameplay that is going to add some much needed verticality to the series. Take a look at the video below:

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Bloodborne Stabs It’s Way Into Our Hearts

The Dark Souls offspring is coming to PS4 soon, if you wanted a good look at how this upcoming title is going to play here is a 30 minute demo to satisfy you bloodlust. It’s kind of standard fair but you do get to see the new philosophy at work here. This game isn’t about “turtling”, you want and need to be offensive minded when playing this. Here is your sneak peek below:

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Silent Hills’ Concept Video Steals The Show

In what looks like the most amazing crap your pants trailer for a game I’ve ever seen, Silent Hills from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro we see every abomination and combination of yucky, ick filled permutations you can think of. Need a head with maggots falling out? Check. Oh just a big ass hand stalking you down a narrow hallway? Got ya. If they can match the visuals in this video they will have a game that out scares the scare champion Outlast.

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If there are any more revelations we’ll update this post to reflect that but even if these are the only things we see, I would say that the show was a success. Oh man, I can’t wait for Silent Hills……

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InFAMOUS-header

inFAMOUS First Light Review

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inFAMOUS First Light gets us back into the city of Seattle, this time with the hyper-colorful Fetch. It’s fantastic to learn her origins, but will this second dose of neon be enough to light our hearts? Watch the video for the full review.

+Beautiful and vibrant art design

+Great to see Fetch’s backstory

+Game controls wonderfully

-Some missions fall flat

-The city feels unimportant

-Challenge modes get repetitive

 

7s

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rotrx1

Rise of the Tomb Raider will be an Xbox One Timed Exclusive

Gamescom 2014 has been chock full of news announcements for Microsoft’s newest console. Their latest coup is the news that the sequel to developer Crystal Dynamics‘ 2013 hit Tomb Raider, will be Rise of the Tomb Raider and it will launch first on Xbox One during “holiday 2015″.  Just to clarify, the game will still be coming to the PS4 and PC but at a later, undetermined date. Don’t believe me? Listen to what Darrell Gallagher, Crystal Dynamics Head of Studio has to say:

Dear Tomb Raider Community,

As you may have seen, we’ve just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox. We consider all of you to be the lifeblood of Tomb Raider and the work we do at Crystal. I’d like to give you some insight into this decision, and why we feel this is the very best thing for the Tomb Raider sequel we’re creating at the studio.

Tomb Raider in 2013 was a success due in large part to your continued support. Our goal has always been to deliver something truly special with Rise of the Tomb Raider. Today’s announcement with Microsoft is one step to help us put Tomb Raider on top of action adventure gaming. Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past – we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.

This doesn’t mean that we’re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.

We know that there are probably many more questions and concerns. Please do send them to us, and we’ll answer to the best of our ability. Meanwhile we’re going all out to try and make something truly special – the most ambitious Tomb Raider game ever built.

Thanks,

Darrell Gallagher

Crystal Dynamics Head of Studios

Microsoft is really banking on exclusives being the way to gain ground in this newest generation.  Will it work? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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180 degrees

Microsoft Puts Their Feet On Eddie Murphy’s Couch

What is 51 weeks?

That’s the question in our game of Jeopardy. The answer: This is how long it took for Microsoft to confirm that they have no marketing strategy for the Xbox One and concede defeat in the next-gen console war. May 21, 2013, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One to the world. The console announced that day had already morphed from the always online device it was rumored to be prior to its announcement.  Two weeks later, at E3 2013, the messaging out of Redmond changed some more; users will be able to play preowned games and the packed-in Kinect will not be mandatory to use the console but will be included in every box. While it was not going to be mandatory it was strongly hinted that Kinect is fundamental to the Xbox One experience thus justifying it’s $499 price point, 100 dollars more than Playstation 4.

Yesterday, all of that changed…again. Yesterday, Xbox head Phil Spencer, announced that the Kinect, deemed to be an integral part of the Xbox One experience, the same Kinect that was going to completely change your experience both as a gamer and as a purveyor of living room entertainment, will be an optional peripheral starting in June. The benefit to removing the piece of tech will be a $100 decrease in the price of the console to $399. This move makes it the same price as the more technically capable PS4. In concert with this announcement was the news that the Games with Gold program will also be making the move to Microsoft’s premier console starting with Halo:Spartan Assault and Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood. Like the Playstation Plus model that it’s duplicating, games will be available to you as long as your Xbox Live Gold subscription is valid (Currently users own their GwG downloads). Additionally, non-gaming/entertainment apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus, do not require an XBL Gold subscription to use. When these announcements were made, many people across the internet rejoiced. The push for making gamers play poorly made motion controlled games is finally over.  I am not one of those people.

Yes, I realize that price is an important factor for many consumers and for many I think this pricing will make the Xbox One more attractive. One of the myriad problems I have with this move is, “What about the 5 million gamers worldwide that were excited for what a future full of voice controls could mean?”. You read that correctly, in the 5 months of recordable data, almost 5 million Xbox Ones have been sold. This is roughly 60% better than the Xbox 360, year-to-date and by far Microsoft’s most successful console launch. While  the subtraction of Kinect isn’t necessarily the death-nail for the peripheral, the fact that they haven’t announced pricing for the console bundle with it, or the price of the Kinect sold separately, doesn’t bode well.

We’re just six months into the life cycle of the console and the console is doing exceedingly well, in a vacuum. Why did Microsoft feel the need to concede failure so definitively…and so soon? What type of messaging are they sending out to the world? Can you really trust a company that succumbs to pressure from the community the way that Microsoft has so recently? What if the powers that be had been this quick to react when they released the original Xbox with only an ethernet port and not coupled with a 56K modem that was the dominant technology of the time? Multiplayer gaming would not be what it is today without Xbox Live and Xbox Live would not be what it was, and still is, without standardizing every Xbox console to work only with a broadband connection.  This provided the consumer with a quality expectation and guaranteed that developers could design an Xbox game with multiplayer in mind because every Xbox owner would have the ability to have the same high quality experience.

It’s Not All Bad….

I’m not completely negative here. There are still a few things that we don’t know. We don’t know how much the “bundled” Xbox One will cost, nor do we know the price of the Kinect sold separately. Say they release the bundled Xbox One for $449 with a digital copy of Titanfall or Forza Motorsports 5  while also moving apps to the front of the pay wall. Would that have been enough to make the Xbox One an appealing choice? Let’s also say that the Kinect sold separately is $79, does that make a bundled Xbox One at $450 with a game, more attractive than Kinect-less one at $400? Personally, I think the console priced this aggressively coupled with the Games with Gold program and the destruction of the pay wall would have been all that was needed to achieve the desire results.

If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery Sony must be absolutely blushing this week! Virtually everything that Microsoft is doing they “borrowed” from Sony. Xbox’s used game policy? Sony did it first. Xbox’s handling of app services? Sony’s. X1’s free and discounted games program? You guessed it; directly from Sony. Xbox’s new price point? Ibid. Recently it was noted that the controller light bar that has caused much consternation for Playstation 4 users was added to work with the recently announced Project Morpheus. Often were there cries to have the light toggled off or have the controller redesigned to omit them. Instead, Sony remained steadfast, and silent. They had a plan and they stuck to it. They had conviction and a vision. They’ve only recently decided to share it with us. Why couldn’t Microsoft do the same? Why couldn’t the Microsoft of today be the same company that had the foresight and fortitude to weather the storm during the launch of their initial console?

What does the exclusion of Kinect mean for developers? Will we see the game that expertly marries motion and conventional control schemes? That prospect seems less likely now. How do we differentiate these current consoles from each other? More importantly, how do we differentiate them from last gen? Yes, they’re both technically more powerful than its respective counterpart but that’s it. To me, the Kinect was the most next-gen(y) thing about this new generation.  Its applications, from a gaming and a casual prospective was the one place where you could easily see innovations taking place. Now that’s gone and all we’ve got is stuff that’s pretty but stagnant.

Microsoft’s marketing messaging has been more temperamental than the internet critics they’re trying to placate. Will there be a tangible message that consumers and early adopters can understand? I guess we’ll find out at E3.

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joomla17

Everything you need to know about tomorrow’s PS4 update 1.7

Tomorrow the long awaited 1.7 firmware update for the PS4 goes out into the wild and the lovely folks over at the PS Blog have detailed all the goodies we have coming down the pipe.

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  • Automatic Pre-download: No more waiting until after a game is released to start downloading select pre-ordered games from PlayStation Store. This new feature allows you to get to your games faster by automatically downloading select pre-ordered games up to several days in advance of the release, so that it’s ready to play as soon as the game is released on launch day. There’s also a countdown timer prior to the release of the game so you’ll know how soon your game will be available for you to start playing.
  • Option to Disable HDCP for Games: This highly requested feature will allow you to have the option to turn off HDCP for games so you can capture longer gameplay sessions directly from your HDMI output and export them elsewhere.
  • USB Export Option for Captured Gameplay: It’s now even easier to show off your heroic gaming moments and the SHAREfactory videos you create with the world using this feature to export your videos and screenshots to a USB drive. Just click on the DUALSHOCK 4 SHARE button, save your gameplay on a USB drive, and then share your proudest achievements on other social networks and other video platforms.
  • Live Broadcasting in HD and Archiving Support: We’ve increased the resolution for live broadcasts so you and your friends can watch games livestreamed in 720p HD. You can also archive your broadcasts on Twitch or Ustream and watch them again later.
  • New SHARE Options: We’ve got a number of new SHARE settings that will give you better control of what you want to share with your friends. Here is what you can look forward to:
    • Change the default gameplay recording time in the SHARE menu under Video Clip Settings.
    • Save only the video clips and screenshots you want by selecting Upload Screenshots or Upload Video Clips for each capture. Also upload video clips and screenshots during your live gameplay broadcasts.
    • Select specific Facebook audiences to share each video or screenshot with.
  • New DUALSHOCK 4 Options: New light bar settings have been added for DUALSHOCK 4, allowing you to change it to Bright, Medium or Dim in the Settings menu. The touchpad has also been updated, allowing you to navigate the on-screen keyboard using the DUALSHOCK 4 touchpad.
  • New Friends Options: It’s now easier to find Friends and send requests with the ability to search Friends-of-Friends, view Mutual Friends on another user’s profile, and accept Friend requests directly from the Friends list.
  • New Trophies Sort Option: You can now sort Trophies by rarity in the Options menu.
  • PlayStation Store Payment Support: Similar to PS3, we’re introducing Alternative Payment Methods (APMs) for PS4 for content purchased on PS Store, starting with PayPal support.
  • More PlayStation Camera Commands: More voice commands are added to PlayStation Camera, allowing you to launch the apps installed on your PS4 with the sound of your voice.
  • New PlayStation Plus Icon: For Plus members, you’ll now have the PS Plus icon appear next to your SEN ID on the login screen, home screen and other areas across the PS4 system’s sleek user interface.
  • Music Unlimited SHARE Options: With a Music Unlimited subscription, you can easily share your favorite songs with your friends by pressing the SHARE button on your DUALSHOCK 4.

Additions like options to change the brightness on the Dualshock 4’s light bar, changes to Facebook sharing and HDCP removal show that Sony’s nimbleness and commitment to listening to the fans while new unknown goodies make the system even more interesting.

Download pre-loading, HD broadcasting with archiving, Being able to the recording time in the SHARE menu and more voice commands for the PS camera make everything seemingly come together.

Lots of cool stuff in 1.7, let us know in the comments how they did after you download it.

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ps4-rhombox-cropped

Streamers And Gamers Rejoice, This PS4 Update Is For You

Today Sony announced via the PlayStation Blog that some highly sought after features will be coming to their system in the upcoming weeks. An option to turn off HDCP and others to bring higher quality streaming capability to Twitch & Ustream are on tap. The biggest and most interesting feature will be the ability to offload you captured gameplay and screenshots directly to a USB drive. As a person whose now fully on the “all-digital” download train, the ability to not bog down my hard drive is great news. It also provides a way to capture direct footage for folks who like to edit gameplay as well.

Here is the statement from the PS Blog”

This upcoming update will add a rich video editor with a simple tool to personalise your video clips, and you’ll also be able to export to and save the videos and screenshots you create by pressing the SHARE button to a USB drive. In addition, this update will add an HDCP off option for capturing gameplay via HDMI, a feature we’ve previously said would come after launch.

We recognise that some gamers want to record and share longer clips of their gameplay sessions, and we’re excited to deliver this option with PS4. There’s a lot more coming in this update as well, so stay tuned for more — there will be plenty in the update to excite everyone.

As part of a separate system software update in the future, we have been working with our partners at Twitch and Ustream, and will also be adding the ability for Twitch broadcasts to be archived – another highly requested feature among PS4 fans who are taking advantage of the SHARE button features. These broadcasts will be also provided with a higher resolution of 720p, so PS4 fans can enjoy live broadcasts with clearer images. We’ll have more to come on these updates and more in the coming weeks.

This looks like a pretty awesome counter to the Xbox One Twitch integration that came out a week or so ago and will bring both consoles a level of parity that everyone can appreciate. The one upmanship that is going on in the gaming space is only giving consumers and gamers more goodies to play with. I LOVE IT!

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majornelson

Major Nelson’s Twitch Adventure

Yesterday evening “Xbox Broadcast” was uttered for the first time for the public. Larry Hryb, Xbox Live’s Major Nelson, hosted the very first public Twitch stream from an Xbox One. The hour long broadcast of Plants Vs. Zombies multiplayer modes proved to be quite informative. There were a couple of times during the broadcast that Hryb’s voice modulated despite his robust home internet connection of 30 mbps downstream and 10 mbps upstream but to be fair, even when those modulation instances occurred, they only lasted a few seconds each time, never really disrupting the viewers enjoyment of the commentary. The visual quality was, when compared to the PS4 streaming quality, excellent. Whether the quality is indicative of what users will see when the new Twitch app launches for the Xbox One on March 11th is debatable.

Twitch viewers count

Twitch viewers count

Initializing Twitch for the first time on Xbox One will test your internet connection speed and recommend video settings. You can toggle the streaming settings higher or lower as per your preference. Broadcast audio can be handled either through the Kinect or headset (Major Nelson was using the yet to be released official Xbox One Stereo headset).  The stream did not include Hryb using the Kinect camera because he ‘was doing this from home & doesn’t have his home studio set up yet’. If it is turned on, the Kinect camera can be placed in any of the four corners of the screen.  Broadcasters can also be in a party chat while broadcasting but only the broadcasters audio can be heard by the Twitch community.

Twitch with chat snapped

Twitch with chat snapped

Animated "Off-Air" Screen

Animated “Off-Air” Screen

Some FAQs:

Q: Can you unsnap the Twitch app and still broadcast?

A: Yes. The snapped Twitch app provides the broadcaster with community chat. This can be accessed using a second screen of your choice.

Q: Is there any Smartglass integration?

A: Not as of yet.

Q: Does “Xbox Record That” work during Twitch?

A: No. Your Twitch streams are automatically archived, however.

Q: What happens when you go to the dashboard?

A: There’s an animated placeholder screen. When the broadcaster is on this screen they have temporarily stopped broadcasting.

Q: Are voice commands disabled while broadcasting?

A: No. Voice commands will work as they always do.

Major Nelson says that they plan to do some more streaming towards the end of this week. There will also be a stream next Monday from SXSW debuting gameplay of Titanfall. The Twitch experience on the Xbox One looks to be one that will really bring the community together in ways that haven’t been seen on home consoles. If you have any further questions about what we saw in the stream please ask them in the comments section below. If you’d like to see the archived stream please click here.

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deadnation

Want Next-Gen Features? “Broadcast+” Sounds Like A Start.

There have been numerous debates on the internet lately about what constitutes “next-gen”. Is it pixel count? Graphical fidelity or gameplay? Personally I’m on side of the fence that wants games to feature things that I couldn’t do in the last gen, and those features have to make my time playing it both fun and engaging.

Housemarque, makers of Super Stardust HD and most recently the smash PS4 game Resogun might have upped the ante on the dopeness meter. They are set to re-release Dead Nation on March 4th with their “Apocalypse Edition”. Boasting full 1080p HD graphics, improved textures, rendering, and effects the zombie blast-em-up gets a fresh coat of paint and some new spark plugs, but this isn’t the reason I’m excited for the game. They’ve added a feature called “Broadcast +” that will let people watching your Twitch/Ustream feed help or hinder your runs. Viewers have 30 different voting options that they can choose between, some will put more zombies in your way while others can supply you much needed ammo.

We are hoping to snag some more information about this truly next-gen feature from the folks over at Housemarque, but until then check out this new trailer or the game dropping on March 4th.

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Everything’s Coming Up Beta

It’s been a very exciting week for wannabe early adopters in the next-gen console space. The opportunity to beta test new exclusive properties from both Sony & Microsoft were announced.

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Hot on the heels of their extremely well received closed alpha test, Electronic Arts’ developer Respawn confirmed the rumor that they will be releasing a beta test for Titanfall some time before its March 11th release. The PC and Microsoft console exclusive is easily the most anticipated game for the Xbox One thus far. The news came via their website but no specifics were given as to when the beta will be released or how interested parties can sign up.

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One of the hottest and most exciting pieces of news out of this year’s Consumer Electronic Show was Sony’s announcement of their Playstation Now service. The realization of their 2012 acquisition of cloud-based server company Gaikai, Playstation Now is a subscription service that will allow users to stream games from Sony’s extensive catalog. Initially the service will be available just on the Playstation 3 and the PS4 but Sony predicts that they’ll be able to integrate Playstation Now on more than just consoles, starting with Bravia televisions but eventually branching out to other devices. Earlier this month sign-ups for the Playstation Now beta began. The first series of invites to the closed beta began trickling in this week. Invitees must have a PS3 and are recommended to have a wired internet connection of at least 5 Mbps.

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 Are you excited about either of these betas? Have you been selected to participate in the Playstation Now beta?  Excited about the Titanfall beta? Were you one of the few selected for the Titanfall alpha? Let us know in the comments!

 

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