PS4 Remote Play on the Vita Is an Interesting Endeavor

livingroomvitaI recently was gifted both a PS4 and a PS Vita for my birthday. I am eternally grateful for both (much to the chagrin of Microsoft, who lost a long devoted customer). One of the first things I wanted to try out was the remote play feature, which allows you to play console games on your Vita.

I’d heard a bit about it before I boarded the Sony train, but I hadn’t spent much time investigating the specifics. “Why not just jump in blind?” I thought. “See what’s what.”

My initial impressions is that it’s a really cool — albeit limited — feature that holds a ton of promise. [Read more…]

Move It! Is a Challenging and Fun Little Puzzler

Move It!I’m not a huge proponent of mobile gaming, especially now that I have a dedicated handheld gaming system in my newly acquired Vita (and Minecraft). However, from time to time, I stumble upon free mobile games that actually tickle my fancy. For the most part, these are puzzle games of some sort, which I find to be the best fit for short bursts of on-the-go gaming.

Might as well challenge your brain while mindlessly staring at your smartphone, that’s what I always say.

The new kid on the block — or at least new to my block — is the free edition of a game called Move It!. It’s similar to the old tile moving games from my youth, but with a slight twist: You’re tasked with sliding different shapes around a grid while attempting to get the red square into a designated area.

It seems easy enough — and at time it can be — but there’s also an optional objective to complete each puzzle in a set number of moves. This adds a nice little challenge and some replayability.

It won’t solve world hunger or replace Tetris. But for a simple free mobile puzzle game, it’s definitely no slouch.

Grand Theft Auto V on PS4 Looks Even Better than I Hoped

gta downtownThe moment I started up Grand Theft Auto V on my new PS4, I knew I’d entered a different Los Santos. Yes, I realize it’s the same game world I hung around in on my Xbox 360, but the higher resolution and graphical prowess made it feel like a brand new city.

gta radio towerAfter porting over my online hooligan, I set out into the world. Heists were forgotten completely; all I wanted to do was drive around and look at the environment. I revisited areas I’d been to countless times before, viewing them in a glorious new light. And by the way, the lighting in this version is fucking stunning.

gta churchI spent a majority of my time taking snapmatics. If you’re familiar with my recently concluded “Grand Theft Auto V in Pictures” series, you’ll know that that’s something I love doing.

gta baazzarI couldn’t help but to grab my (in-game) phone and hit the (in-game) streets to snap a few pics as I gazed mouth agape at the sights. So I thought I would do an addendum to my now-defunct series and also highlight the marvelous, stunning achievement that Rock Star Games has pulled off.

gta los santosOne great new feature is the ability to lock the focus and adjust the zoom levels. This can lead to some interesting field of view juxtapositions, allowing for some pretty interesting results. Just look at that wall. So realistic, so very very realistic.

gta graffitiIf you like these, feel free to mosey on over to the Rock Star Social Club snapmatic page and search for my profile: JulianWhatThe. Make sure you check out my gallery as it continues to blossom.

gta flyersFor now, just enjoy the view..

gta construction

 

Minecraft on the PS Vita Is a Smaller Portion, But Just as Filling

minecraft vitaLike every other person on the face of the planet, I love Minecraft. I didn’t have the chance to play it when it originally hit PCs, but when it landed on the Xbox 360, I was hooked. The game was like nothing else I had experienced, and offered me a curious, intangible experience that fed into my lackadaisical nature and desire to wander in open vistas. [Read more…]

Remastered Skyrim and Fallout Would Be Just Swell

fallout new vegasGeekParty writer Blake Steil recently speculated about the nature of the announcements for the upcoming Bethesda panel. One of the items he touched on was the possibility — or the inevitability — of remastered versions of Skyrim and/or Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

I’m not the biggest fan of remasters, but I’d be very much okay with this development. [Read more…]

The Last Of Us: Remastered Is Absolutely Fantastic

TrafficI am someone who takes pride in being able to admit when I was wrong, so I’ll say it: I was wrong.The Last of Us: Remastered is absolutely fantastic and I was an idiot for ever proclaiming otherwise. Although I’m not so sure if I was “wrong” so much as I operating under less than ideal circumstances at the time of said proclamation.

You see, when I originally played Last of Us on the PS3, I despised it. The problem wasn’t with the game itself; I was bowled over by the incredible intro, the dialogue and setting, and even the amazing visuals. However, the combat mechanics left a sour taste in my mouth. I let that inform my opinion of the overall game without giving it a fair shake.

EllieI mostly blame the hype train, as this was one of those games lauded by both critics and game players alike. It almost felt like a righteous crusade to be one of the unbelievers. However since being gifted a PS4,(which included The Last of Us: Remastered) I decided to give it another go.

I was immediately drawn in. Aside from questionable water/puddle physics, I was floored by the gorgeous design and level of detail. When I got to the tipping point which ultimately curtailed my enjoyment the first time, I came out with even more drive to continue playing. Whatever went wrong the first time must have been a fluke.

Joel sunsetI powered through a tremendous amount of the game over the next two days, pouring over every nook and cranny in search of vital supplies, artifacts and safe combinations. I ended up taking at least 35 screenshots and even put together two (of questionable quality) videos to test that feature of the PS4.

Joel and EllieThe photo mode in the game itself, which allows the player to arrange the camera and remove the HUD in order to capture the best screenshots from various angles and heights, is a great feature.

ForestOutside of racing games, features like this aren’t often included, but they should be in every game going forward.

Even at the halfway mark, I’m very impressed with this game, and I can see now why it garnered so much praise. This is a fantastic way to start a new console relationship, and I look forward to what comes next.

Unboxing the PS4: The Thrill of a Fresh Console

Pulp Fiction SonyAs a child I loved those moments of excitement and anxiety when I was pitted against a box housing a new gaming console. Like a predator eying its prey I was poised and ready to pounce, waiting until the very last second before ripping its carcass to pieces and revealing the meat I hungered for.

Growing up in the late 80s — and throughout the 90s — it seemed like there was a constant parade of new consoles to feast upon. I was a junkie living in the land of the poppy, and the high seemed like it would never fade. Things slowed down a bit once my brother and I got our PSOne, but the great divide really began to set in after the PS2; we had that thing for ages.

When I finally got my Xbox 360, my first official solely-owned console, the feeling resurfaced and I was riding high once again. It was a fantastic time, I loved my 360 (all 3 of them) and the games I had the pleasure of playing on it. But owning it for damn near 9 years all but killed any recollection I had of that once great joy that came from unboxing a new console.

A Love Letter to My Xbox 360Until the twelfth day of the third month of the fifteenth year of the second millennium A.D. Um, I mean, March 12, 2015…

For that was the day I sat on the living room floor, heart pounding and breath abated, with a box housing a PS4. As I gazed upon the cardboard shell that was all that stood between me and the next generation of gaming greatness, I knew It was time to reclaim my glory.

The thrill of the hunt was starting to coalesce. I could practically feel the heat from the ceiling lights pounding on my hunched back like the sun over the Serengeti. The hair on my arms and head were erect in alert attentiveness detecting the trajectory of the air flowing from the central heating like the wind gusting across the plains. The drool.. Oh the drool..

I was an apex predator once again, feeling mighty hungry.

I’ve Officially Arrived at the PS4 Party

JulianAh, birthdays… A time of reflection and taking stock of one’s life. A sobering reminder that with another year under the belt, we are that much closer to shuffling off this mortal coil.

It’s also a time for unexpected gifts and getting intoxicated. [Read more…]

Powers Looks like It Could Be on Regular TV, So What’s the Point?

Powers TV show concept artLately, more and more premium video streaming websites have been getting into the original content game. Netflix has had major success with shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Hulu has done moderately well with smaller ventures like The Wrong Mans, and even Crackle has been pumping out original programming.

Now, Sony is throwing their hat into the ring with their new series Powers. Based on a comic book by Brian Michael Bendis, Powers is a live-action series set in a world where superheroes and humans coexist.

But what’s odd about Powers  isn’t its premise; it’s how it’s being released. The first three episodes are being released together, and a new episode will be released every subsequent week.

One major benefit a series like House of Cards has over shows on NBC or FX is the ability to includes harsh language, nudity, or extreme violence. But the real appeal of original streaming content is that the episodes get released in one large chunk. Viewers don’t have to sit around waiting for the next episode; they can take in the content according to their own schedule.

Since Powers is following a set release schedule, it could have just as easily have been on a network. The fact that it has nothing to do with video games is even more peculiar.

Powers

Sharlto Copely in full on Max Payne mode

Don’t get me wrong, the content looks decent enough. I enjoy Sharlto Copely in everything I’ve seen him in to date, and Eddie Izzard is also a solid actor. The story (with which I am not familiar) seems promising enough and what little I have seen looks well and fine. It strikes me as a bit of a a Heroes knock off, but it doesn’t seem too shabby.

But aside from being able to include mature language, images and scenarios, Powers has no advantages over network TV shows. Nothing about this feels like it belongs as original content on a gaming console.

Personally, I’ll be waiting until it’s all released before I enjoy it. Still, it’ll be interesting to see where this trend leads us, as this is almost certainly the first of many more original series to come. I’m curious to see what else Sony has coming down the pipes.

And speaking of pipes, perhaps Nintendo will jump on the bandwagon and release some original shows of their own.

 

Cutscenery: Far Cry 3

Vaas“Way up in the fucking skies, you thought you had your finger on the pussy trigger…”

Thus begins the epic arc of the incredibly charismatic, sadistically charming and ever volatile Vaas Montenegro. [Read more…]