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Everything posted by JFo

  1. John and Alex of Digital Foundry take a quick look at Turok 2. It's not a full-on technical analysis of the game, but it does cover their experiences with it, discusses their thoughts on its design, and looks at performance and technical details across various platforms with special emphasis on the N64 original and the newly released Switch port. Although the video doesn’t do a full-on performance analysis of each version, John does give us a quick look at the N64 version at one of its worst sections — the Triceratops ride at the beginning of The River of Souls (the second level). Frame rate dips into single digits are not uncommon here. At its worst it drops down to as low as 6fps — yes, that’s 6 frames per second. I always knew that this section was bad, but I never realized it was that bad. Also, unless you really want this game on a Nintendo platform or want to play it on-the-go, stick with the PC or Xbox One versions. They offer the best overall performance and visual quality. The Switch versions are not terrible, but they don’t stay locked to 60fps and Turok 2 can only render at 720p due to technical issues going between docked and portable modes. That said, Limited Run Games has physical releases of the two Switch ports available for preorder now through August 30. They’re $29.99 individually or $59.99 as a set.
  2. Microsoft's focus for Xbox Scarlett is more than just prettier graphics Laura Parker, writing for GameSpot: Music to my ears. In addition to providing backward compatibility for games, Spencer also says that other hardware -- particularly controllers from previous generations -- will also work on the console. This is great to hear, especially for people who may have purchased an Adaptive Controller and peripherals for it. The controller alone costs $99, and depending on your needs, the peripherals can increase the total price by several hundred dollars more. It would be a shame if those people had to throw all that away and start over just to play games on Scarlett. That said, it makes me wonder what Microsoft -- and Sony for that matter -- have in the works for their next-gen controllers. How similar will the designs be to the current models? What will be changed and/or improved? I have a list of things I'd like to see, but I think that may best be saved for its own thread.
  3. Phil Spencer is exactly who you think he is Laura Parker, writing for GameSpot: I can understand people's skepticism here. For all his affable qualities, Phil Spencer is still a high-ranking executive at one of the world's richest companies. It could very well be that all of the decisions he's made as the head of Xbox these last few years were only made to recover the market share that Microsoft lost as a result of the debacle that was the Xbox One launch -- and not because of some deeply held love of gaming or a desire to please fans. I believe that it's a little bit of both. I get the sense that Phil does genuinely loves video games. At the same time, he is the head of Xbox. It's his job to make sure the business is as successful and profitable as possible. If what's best for Xbox means that Xbox fans get things like backward compatibility, Game Pass, excellent hardware, and a library of quality first-party titles (eventually), then everyone wins. Anyway, GameSpot posted several other Spencer- and Xbox-related stories yesterday that are worth checking out. Here are links to all of them if you're interested: Phil Spencer Doesn't Believe In Your Console War The Inside Story Of The Troubled Xbox One Reveal Phil Spencer Says Cloud Gaming Is Inevitable, But Won't Replace Consoles Microsoft's Vision For Xbox Scarlett Is More Than Just Prettier Graphics Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Reflects On Microsoft's E3 2019
  4. Yeah, the combat is... weird. It hasn't given me too much trouble so far though, partly because I've decided to play this first game on Easy difficulty. Granted, I only just played through the very beginning, so it might get more difficult as I get further into it. I'm doing with this series what I did with Mass Effect -- play the first game solely for the story so that I can move on to the superior sequels, where I play on Normal difficulty.
  5. I started playing this Saturday night. I’ve been wanting to play this series — particularly The Witcher 3 — for a while now. I bought the Complete Edition of the third game on Xbox a while back, and got the second game as a freebie from Xbox Live Gold. My original plan was to just play those two games, but then I saw the first one was available on Steam for MacOS for $9.99. I decided to take the plunge and start the series from the very beginning. I wanted to get the foundation of the story by playing the first game, figuring it would help me better appreciate the stories for the sequels if I did. I’ve only played about an hour and a half so far, so I don’t have much to say about it yet. The biggest challenge for me so far has been the controls. This game doesn’t feature any controller support, so I have to use a mouse and keyboard. I can do it — I’ve played a few games on PC like that in the past — but not many. The ones I have played have mostly been first-person shooters like Half-Life 2 and Quake III: Arena, not third-person games like this. I think I am getting the hang of it though. It just takes time to get used to it all.
  6. Now available on iOS for a mere $4.99. If they add support for PS4 and/or Xbox One controllers with the release of iOS 13, this will be a no-brainer purchase.
  7. A Link Between Worlds was one of the three 3DS games my wife bought me for my birthday a few years ago, before I had even decided which 3DS model to buy. It was one of the reasons I finally broke down and bought the system so many years after its launch. As excited as I was to play it, it didn’t resonate with me nearly as much as I would have liked. It was too similar to A Link to the Past. The fact that the overworld is more or less the same made it feel like a remake rather than an entirely new game. We don’t get many top-down Zelda games, so I would prefer Nintendo give us a new place to explore rather than retread old ground. Still, I liked the fact that I could tackle dungeons in any order and wasn’t as limited in where I could go and what I could do off the bat. As much as I loved A Link to the Past, I remember being frustrated with it at the start the first time I played it because so many locations were off limits until I found the appropriate items to open the way. Once I found all the items and could explore the entire map, it was more fun, but I missed the freedom to explore anywhere I wanted right from the start like in the original NES game. And, as you mentioned, Mark, Breath of the Wild returned the series that that go-anywhere-you-want ideal in a big way a few years later. That’s why it’s probably my favorite Zelda game, and why I just spent over 125 hours playing it again on my Switch last month.
  8. Keep in mind this thread is titled, “Best games for kids,” not “Best games for middle-aged Mexicans.”
  9. And here I was thinking that Keith had had another kid! My 7 year-old has been getting more and more into games. What I’ve noticed is that when he plays, he’s not so worried about beating a level or “finishing” a game. He’s just stoked to be playing anything at all. It’s something fun to do. As as a result, the games he seems to like the most are the ones where he can just dink around and not have to worry about completing any quests or beating any opponents, live or CPU. Minecraft on Creative mode is one such game. He can just explore and build thing without any fear of being killed. Sometimes we’ll even play together with him on the Xbox and me on my iPad and horse around. Another game he really likes is Forza Horizon 4. He’s a bit of a gear head to begin with, but he also loves the fact that he can drive around anywhere on the map and not have to worry about races. He can crash into anything he wants, do crazy jumps and stunts for fun. Also, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is great because you can turn on auto-accelerate and auto-steering to help the little ones along. They still have some control over the game, but those options make it so much easier — and fun! — for them because they’re not constantly falling off the road all the time. Pro Tip: if you play this multiplayer with your kids, select the Vs. Mode and do team races on the same team. That way you can work together to earn points, and the little ones are not upset if daddy keeps winning the races. EDIT: one more option — Super Mario Odyssey in Assist Mode. This one my be a bit more advanced due to the fact that you have to navigate a 3D space and control the camera, but the assist mode does help make things a bit easier overall.
  10. And here it is! EDIT: I just finished watching the video. John calls these conversions of Doom and Doom II "mediocre" for a variety of technical issues he details in the video. Doom 3, however, is a fantastic port all around on every platform. The Xbox One X and PS4 Pro version both run at 4K60, while the base consoles run at 1080p60. Switch also runs at 1080p60 docked, but there are performance dips throughout. These dips are smoothed over in handheld mode though, were the resolution drop to 720p. I am glad I have the 360 ports of the first two games. It sounds like they still reign as the best versions of those titles.
  11. Recently, I did the $1 upgrade to Game Pass Ultimate. Last night I was playing around on my Xbox One X and went into the My Apps and Games section on the dash. It had been a while since I had been in there (I've been playing Breath of the Wild on Switch throughout the entire month of July) and noticed for the first time that a Game Pass option had been added to the sidebar. I scrolled down to it and selected the Ready to Install tab. As I scrolled down the list, I thought to myself, Oh my, look at all the games I could play right now if I wanted to. It's one thing to see a list of all the available games on a website or on your smart phone. It's another to see them right there on your console, in the dash where they can be downloaded and played with the click of a single button. That's where the value proposition of $15/month really hits home. My oldest boy immediately cited two titles that interested him: Farming Simulator 17 and Dirt 4. We didn't have enough time to install them before bedtime, but I've done it now thanks to the iOS app. I'm trying to imagine what it would have been like to have had something like this as a kid, particularly during the SNES/Genesis era when games were so expensive, and I had so little money. I honestly don't know if I would have known what to do with access to that many games. Hell, I don't think I know what to do with it now as an adult. It's crazy.
  12. All right, I've had a chance to play around with the new PS4 Pro. Rather than sampling a bunch of different games, I focused mainly on Spider-Man, which is the most recent title I played and one that made my old PS4 sound like a small vacuum cleaner. With the old PS4 Pro, the system never got too loud during normal gameplay segments, where Spidey swings through the city and fights crime. It was only during cut scenes and locations like Doctor Octavius' lab — and fuck even the loading screen — where things got bad. The fans would kick in and be loud enough to distract from the scene. Once you started swinging through the city again, the fan noise would die back down and stay at acceptable levels. When testing on the new PS4 Pro, I played through the opening mission, which bounces back and forth between gameplay and cut scenes to get a sense of how loud the system could get under load. I'm happy to report that the fan noise on the CUH-7200 series is indeed much improved over the only 7000 series PS4 Pro. Whereas before I could easily hear the fan noise during any kind of cinematic, now I really had to listen for it to hear it at all, and most of the time, the noise from the game itself masked the fan noise completely. The only time I heard the fan whirling was in Octavius' lab, where there's not much action, and things are pretty quiet. Overall, I'd say that this is a big improvement. I still don't think the PS4 Pro is quite as quiet as the Xbox One X, but it's close enough now where I don't think I'll dread playing games on it because on the noise issues.
  13. It looks like my backup restored overnight and everything is up and running now. The biggest hassle was re-installing the 2TB internal drive I've been using since my second PS4 console. I tried to re-initialize my PS4 so that I could re-install the operating system and wipe the 2TB drive clean, but I kept getting an error message saying that the update file on the external USB device would not work. I banged my head around for a while trying to figure out what was wrong. I downloaded the file directly from Sony's website and was certain it was the current version of the system software. It turns out that there are two files you can download. One is just an update file; the other is a complete system software update. I needed the latter, but had the former. I didn't realize this until I did a search for the error code and found a (thankfully short) video on YouTube explaining what to do. The trade-in process at GameStop went relatively smooth. The only hiccup came from the fact that I didn't bring an HDMI cable with the rest of the accessories. At first, they were going take $5 off the total trade-in amount to account for the cable, but when I told them I wanted to trade it in for a newer PS4 Pro, one of the clerks suggested he could take the HDMI cable out of the box for the new one and call it even. I thought that was fair, especially since I probably have the cable from my old PS4 Pro stashed away somewhere in my house. Another benefit of this trade is that they took my launch day controller from 2013. So now I have two of the newer controllers — one from the new PS4 Pro and one from the old — and that makes me very happy. For essentially the cost of two games I was able to upgrade to a new system that will hopefully be the last one I ever purchase. I may have to install an external drive sometime soon. When I did my backup the other day, I noticed that my 2TB internal drive was almost full. I deleted a few PS Plus titles I've never played but can see it filling up pretty fast again with a handful of purchases in the next year-and-a-half. I have not had a chance to test any games yet to see if the reports of the improved fan noise are true. I'd like to wait until the kids are in bed for that (otherwise they'll both want to play something). I'll report back on my findings when I do.
  14. Consider me skeptical that Bethesda is not just walking back on this because of the outcry. If no one complained about it, they wouldn't have changed a thing.
  15. FIVE DAYS LATER... I call it my "PS4 Four" because it's the fourth one I've owned. Restoring my backup as I type this. God help me.
  16. Holy fucking shit I was about to lose it until I read this.
  17. By the way, before you start playing this game, I would check out the tutorial to learn about how The Zone works. I played through most of all of Journey mode without using it because I didn’t know how to activate it. As a result, the game was much harder for me. I went back and played it again after learning how to activate and use The Zone, and it was a much more satisfying experience.
  18. Interesting video from John and Richard at Digital Foundry arguing that the PS4 Pro is the best console for gamers still using 1080p displays. I’m one of those chumps who still uses a 1080p plasma at home, so this video was right up my alley. Even though Sony and Microsoft both hyped 4K as the main selling point of both machines, the possibility of improved performance excited me more. I do enjoy my PS4 Pro, but I still use my Xbox One X more often. The combination of the improved visuals, better performance, and quieter fan make it more pleasant to use overall. That said, I did notice that GameStop has a trade-in deal for a PS4 Pro at the moment. I can get the quieter CUH-7200 “Red Dead” model for $125 if I trade in my current PS4 Pro. I’m tempted to make the exchange, but I’m not sure it’s worth it at this point. Maybe if I could find something else to trade in, it might be worth it, but $125 is a lot of money to spend for the benefit of a quieter system.
  19. There is a transfer utility that lets you transfer data and games from one 3DS to another. Once you make the transfer though, you won’t be able to play your games on your (now) wife’s 3DS.
  20. I honestly don't care at all about these two new games being added to the NES app, but having the ability to rewind in games is a nice add-on. Maybe now I can beat the original Blaster Master.
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