My New Video Games Console

1 03 2017

My PS3 (and GameCube)

From a very young age, I have enjoyed playing Video Games; it’s something I consider a strong hobby of mine and is something I like to do to enjoy and in more recent memory, to allow myself to mellow out after a hard time. I enjoy playing games by myself and with friends and family and over my lifetime I have played on a number of games consoles from the Sega Mega Drive, to the PlayStation 3; and have fond memories of playing games like RollerCoaster Tycoon and more recently Dishonored. I like video games but recently however, playing video games has been something of a struggle for me. The reason for this is that though while I still continue to enjoy them; currently I cannot really play anything that comes out as new as I am not really able to play them:

  • My Laptop is relatively under powered and can only play games with simple graphics.
  • I do have a more powerful PC, but it’s out of wireless signal range and I am unable to install anything onto it.
  • The GameCube is still working well, but nothing gets made for it anymore.
  • The Wii is ok, but right now is only worthwhile for playing with other people; not by myself.
  • The 3DS is fun, but there’s not really much out that I genuinely want to play on it.
  • The PS3 is able to play a lot of games, but as the console is now out of date, I cannot play anything new on it.

My gaming experience at the moment is still somewhat fun, but as new stuff comes out; without a valid platform to play on, I am getting ever more behind with releases and it is just getting me down.

dishonored-2

Fortunately though, I have been thinking a lot about this issue however. I have looked into a new PC, but realize that in terms of getting one it may be best to leave it. It will be a hard struggle, but it does allow me the opportunity to consider when one day I have the money to spend on a new machine, plus my own place to sort out how/where I would like one placing, I can then have a good go at building/buying a dream machine. In the meantime however, I have decided to buy a new home video games console. Something that I could own in which when new games are released that I want to play, I can just simply buy them and play them. Buying a new console is actually a rather fun experience, as the prospect of doing so simply gets me excited even when there are still a few days away before I actually get my hands on it. It’s like when someone on Gold Rush gets a new wash plant; these great big machines that get the gold out of the dirt, it’s a big moment, and right now, getting my new console, setting it up and playing on it; it’s like I am buying my own wash plant. But which Wash Plant should I buy though, that’s the real question?

There are several major home consoles on the market currently such as the Xbox One and the PS4. Choosing which one to buy is a hard process, as machines do cost quite a bit of money and as I don’t earn all that much at the moment, I need to be sure and positive that what I buy is definitely what I want right now. There is no reason why I could not have more than one, but like I said it costs money, and so right here and right now is what is more important, as if it comes to a time where I would like another to play on one, that bridge can be crossed when we come to it.

horizon-zero-dawn

Choosing which one was always going to be tricky, but I instantly knew that I did not want an Xbox. I have never really been a fan of it, I once thought about getting a Xbox 360, but as the PS3 had games on it that I wanted to play more than there were on the 360; I went with the PS3. The Xbox machine to me as always looked more like a glorified set-top box than a games console. I am buying the machine to play games on it, not to have access to other features which should not be the main feature of a video games console. This way of thinking though should not necessarily be the only reason to base your decision on. As a video games console is designed to play video games primarily (much like a wash plant is designed to retrieve gold, not necessarily to watch TV on it), you should make sure that the console is capable of playing the video games that you want to play. So choosing the PS4 over the Xbox One was a done deal as the PS4 has a list of games on it that include Horizon Zero Dawn and (eventually) Detroit: Become Human as well as other games I really want to play too like Dishonored 2. The Xbox One does not really carry anything that really jumps to my mind. So from reading that you must think I will soon be purchasing a brand new PS4 right? Wrong!

You see, those two are not the only major home consoles available for purchase right now. Back in October, another video game console was revealed to the public after over a year of speculation as to what it would be: the console formerly known as the NX was revealed by its creators Nintendo to be called the Switch. From the moment I first watched the trailer, I was really interested in the new console. I have been a fan of Nintendo for years, and have owned a few of their consoles, so a first reveal of a new console was always going to be exciting, but looking at some of the features of the Switch made it more of a contender than simply who was making it. One thing that I have grown tired of with other video games consoles is that of online multiplayer. My experience of online multiplayer has been harsh with very few fun memories. Some happy gaming memories do include Mario Kart Wii, Bomberman Blast, ModNation Racers and of course MAG, but overall my enjoyment of online console gaming has been mostly negative, even when playing games like Modern Warfare 2. What I do enjoy though is playing with family and friends, something which I have been able to do online on Steam with my brother, but also round a TV screen too having played games on the Wii. With a new home console; I would much rather prefer to play with family and friends round a TV screen, rather than play with anyone (not including family and friends), which has the potential to lead to a bad experience; although on the other hand could also lead to a positive experience. Given though that I knew what I wanted first and foremost, I went with that. The Switch spoke to me with its use of having one controller being split between two people, meaning that as soon as I get it, I don’t need to buy another controller, as I will already have one. Playing round a TV and not necessarily online can also lead to fond memories and experiences. I remember fondly playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl with a group of friends in Middlesbrough one December and really enjoying the player interaction as well as the fun of them being in the room, providing a core social interaction. Playing games online with just me in the room does not provide the same experience.

MAG Title

When it came to making the actual decision though, it really came down to games. I have pretty much been hanging around with this decision for a while with not being able to make a sound decision, until I realized that the Switch has more games on it that I want to play either soon or right now than on the PS3. While Horizon Zero Dawn was just about to be released, there was very much of anything else on the PS4 that I was actually desperate to play; the only one in question being Dishonored 2; while the Switch looks set to have a good range of games available soon, including some good-looking multiplayer in the form of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at the end of April. Upon this realization, I made my choice, and within a couple of days I pre-ordered myself a Switch.

It’s a bit nerve-wracking ordering a new console when it has not been released yet, but also exciting too. I am really looking forward to getting my new Switch and trying it out. I don’t know what it’s going to be like or is going to do, but I am genuinely excited about getting a new games console. This does not necessarily prohibit me from getting a new PC or PS4 in the future; but it does mean that for now when something does gets released for the Switch I can at least play it and won’t have to worry about whether or not I will be able to play it or not. So like how a new Wash Plant works better at retrieving Gold, my new Switch I am sure will work well at providing me with lots of new and lasting enjoyment.

nintendo-switch

GENEPOOL (I may have gone overboard with the wash plant references).

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I Miss MAG

29 07 2015

MAG (Zipper Interactive - 2010)

MAG is a game I have mentioned on this blog on numerous occasions. It was a game produced by Zipper Interactive for the PS3 that was entirely multiplayer, meaning that there was no real single player mode……….apart from a little tutorial. The idea behind MAG (Massive Action Game) was to have one giant multiplayer battleground where up to 256 players, split into two teams and fight each other. At the time of release it was both revolutionary, but also risky as no-one could see a game with so many players working. Well, when it did work, it was a really enjoyable game.

MAG1

Out of all the games I have had on my PS3, I think it was the one I was most committed towards. From the first day I got it, to almost every day since then, I was playing on it. I was fighting in giant battles with players in my chosen faction against another faction. I was shooting enemy players, healing my teammates and securing objectives. While I wasn’t the best player in the game, I was doing well at it enough to enjoy it. If my PS3 had a time calculation thing on it (like games on Steam where it shows how many hours you have played games for), MAG, even to this day might still be my most played game on the console.

MAG Factions

The Faction I originally chose was Raven. I liked the futuristic, technological look of them, and I played the game right through to I think level 60, where players could then change the faction as Veteran, to which I did to become a fighter for Valor. As the game progressed I levelled up through several varying ranks and even got promoted to Team Commander, where I could lead a squad of 8 men including myself. As the game went on I also upgraded my character and received new weapons and skills. It was a game I liked as it gave me reason to continue, plus I enjoyed it so much, despite the fact that I probably died more times than killed people, but I don’t think I was too bad. The levels were good too, while most of the time it was restricted to just a few maps and objectives, some of these were large and varied enough to keep me interested. When new expansions came out I purchased them too, even if the demand for those levels eventually just dried up. On top of that, it had vehicles, paratroopers, guns galore, and a terrific soundtrack, plus an opening video. It’s E3 trailer from 2008 was pretty sweet too, and was the reason why I wanted to play it.

But eventually, it just began to die out. Levels began to get harder to get into, it was hard to fight on missions you wanted to as it relied on other people wanting to play them too. Then eventually, it’s time came, as the servers were announced to be shut down. I quickly traded in my copy somewhere, just so I didn’t have a dead useless weight in my collection that couldn’t be played again.

MAG4

It’s true; I really do miss this game. I could only play it downstairs as that was where the best internet connection was to play it. I enjoyed it more than multiplayer on Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 2, as MAG had things to strive for, while CODMW2 just didn’t for me. It has left me with some terrific memories, but sadly is not the same as playing it. I will just have to find something else to play instead, and wait until another game like it, maybe, one day (hopefully) comes along.

MAG

GENEPOOL (maybe if a new Frontlines game is made, it could be the multiplayer for that?)





I Have Finally Bought Crysis

7 01 2015

Crysis (Crytek - 2007)

Back in 2007, I was watching Gamer.TV and for several episodes over the span of the year, they mentioned an upcoming game called Crysis. I was very much interested in the game. I liked the look of it, the graphic power on display, pretty much; every time they mentioned it on the show I had my eyes glued to the set. I very much wanted to play this game, a lot; but there was a problem. Due to what looked like extremely high-powered graphics, I was very unsure if my PC would play it. Due to this issue, I held off buying it. As the years ticked by, the game had an expansion and 2 sequels released, and so far I had yet to play it. I still wanted to, but was still unsure if my PC would play it, and while the sequels were released on consoles, I still wanted to play the first game first.

Crysis 2 (Crytek - 2011)

Then, I discovered that Crysis 1 had been released on the PS3; and as I looked through PlayStation Store, I found it and wanted to get it and play it. That was about 2 years ago. The thing is I needed to remember it and have enough money for it. I usually have my purchases all lined up ahead. I pretty much have it down as projects, what am I going to get next. So this held me back some more from finally playing Crysis. This past December though, I finally decided to get it in January. Well seeing as it was Christmas I needed to concentrate on gift buying for people, but I pushed myself to get it in January. I also had some luck as the price of the game was reduced from £15 (give or take) to £5 (give or take). I waited until a bit after New Year to see if the recent outage would sort itself out, I then went online, went through the minefield of needing to figure out how to change my billing details and then finally bought Crysis, seven or so years since it was originally released. So far, I have yet to play it.

PS3 Logo

When I bought it I thought instead of downloading it there and then I thought I would wait till a day this week, to put the PS3 in the dining room where the Wi-Fi box is located and get a stronger sequel. I have had many issues in the past with downloading things onto my PS3. When I see a sign saying the game or machine or program requires an update I usually get a bit depressed. More recent updates have been relatively quick and easy and done within 5 or 10 minutes; however over the years since buying the console I have had to download updates so big that in some cases they took many hours until they were completed. What annoyed me more than that though was when games were first released and on day one required an update. These were pretty rare and the only two I can remember were MAG and Far Cry 3.

MAG Title

More than likely, I will get round to downloading Crysis within the next few weeks, but probably only really when I can actively leave the console for a few hours to do so, like a whole afternoon. Once I do that I can finally get round to playing it, which given by past experience should be sometime around 2017.

GENEPOOL

 





MAG

19 08 2013

MAG Title

Back in 2008, at Sony‘s E3 Press conference, they revealed something amazing. Well they had to in the end. For me the best part of E3 is Nintendo‘s Press conference, but if you had seen how much of a disaster that was, I had to look towards other companies to give me something interesting. So the spot light turned on Sony. Sony revealed a Game trailer that looked absolutely Amazing. It showed huge amounts of Action on a battlefield sized epic. It was an upcoming First Person Shooter game called MAG which stood for Massive Action Game. About a year later I finally got round to buying the PS3 that I had planned on buying for a long while and was all set for the release of MAG. In January 2010 the game was finally released.

So what is MAG? MAG is a multiplayer game developed by Zipper Interactive who are best known for producing the successful SOCOM series for the PlayStation Brand. The game had no single player at all and was all focused on Multiplayer. The multiplayer that it offered though was a first. up to that point most console games available that had online multiplayer features could support up to about 32 players. The number was slightly larger though on PC thanks to Frontlines: Fuel of War which had up to 64 Players. MAG on the other hand could support up to 256 Players. This meant that the game could offer large battles between players.

MAG2

So if it is a multiplayer game only, what kind of story could the game offer? The game offered a little back story of PMC’s (Private Military Contractors) being used to wage wars between countries, three of them in total.

“The game begins in 2025. As time passes, maintaining a full-scale military becomes a burden. In a globalized world, the only security threat is from small-scale rogue organizations against whom large forces are useless, and the fuel needed to supply increasingly mechanized armies becomes more costly. As a result, most nations’ armies decrease to the size necessary to defend against a “national emergency.” Furthermore, under the “Millennium Accord”, no nation’s military is permitted to leave its own borders, officially creating world peace. In their place rise Private Military Corporations. They have two advantages: first, they compete, lowering their cost, and second, they are allowed to work for anyone, anywhere. In an unregulated global economy, the companies soon compete by less than honest means. After enough mergers, bargains and buy-outs, however, the remaining PMCs decide to put their weapons to full use. The original attacks follow a simple plan: neutralize a competitor’s soldiers, lowering supply to cause them to charge more and, ultimately, go out of business. The Shadow War, as it is called, grows in secret until the conflict moves into full swing, with the PMCs securing their own interests and violently fighting for contracts”. – Wikipedia

The three factions that could be played were:

  • Raven – A European PMC whose weapons and kit were very much the State of the Art faction of the Game.
  • S.V.E.R. – A Russian PMC whose look and weapons were like that of Rebels and guerrilla style tactics.
  • Valor – An American style PMC styled a lot like the SAS and Royal Marines.

MAG Factions

Any doubts before the Game’s Launch? The only thing I was personally worried about was the strength of the internet connectivity of the game’s multiplayer. This was the main thought for many people who thought the game would lag a lot and freeze. This idea was helped thanks to a test of the game at the 2009 Eurogamer Expo in Leeds where some of the machines were not working properly, however the game was still in its BETA version. However one thing in support of the game surfaced just before the release of the game stating that the first multiplayer game for the PS2 was produced by Zipper Interactive and so their knowledge on the subject would help, also it would be likely that a very buggy game would not have been released in the first place.

Zipper Interactive

So what was it like when the game was released? When I picked it up I had to go through a couple of updates before I was ready to play. when the main intro came up, it was brilliant and this was followed by a great menu screen with some music that made me think of Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64. The game also had a Tutorial as well to help you get started but after that I was straight in to my first matches. The game offered many different types of Game matches to play but you had to work up to and unlock them as you went on. You did this by gaining experience in matches and going up in the in-game ranks. this also depended on which army you decided to go with, I went with Raven. The first games I could play were Suppression and Sabotage. Suppression was between 64 players, 32 players from one faction and 32 from another. it was a straight death match style game, first to run out of reinforcements wins. Sabotage was more about claiming and defending objectives. 32 Players from one team defend objectives from 32 from another team. As the game progressed I unlocked more and more matches like Acquisition which involved 128 players split in two defending prototype vehicles from the other team. Then there was Domination which involved 256 Players split in two. One team defending objectives while the other attacks.

Is it all about Guns? No, not at all, the game’s setting and battlefields also included other things to do other than shoot people. By securing objectives in battle you got extra points, healing team members, repairing structures, destroying vehicles, repairing vehicles, all sorts really. Throughout the game you also had the chance to lead squads, platoons and the whole company in battle. This was achieved by the rankings achieved in the game depending on how well you did after you unlock the leader ability. As a leader (depending on what rank of leader) you could give objectives to team members as well as use abilities such as Mortars and Recon vehicles and set up blockades, increase rate of deployment for your team and many other things too.

MAG1

How did the game advance after initial release? After initial release things went ok, new updates every now and again. as you progressed you unlocked new abilities and weapons too. it was not until the game had some new modes that things got a little better. Interdiction was very much a vehicle orientated mode where squads would have their own vehicle to drive. The mode had 128 players split in two each trying to capture three points on the map. Escalation was then released which became the only map where all 3 factions were present. 96 Players split in three trying to gain locations on a map to gain the final one.

MAG3

So What happened? After a while it became harder and harder to play the game. Not based on any level of difficulty but in the form of playing it. While at release there were some buggy issues and disconnecting problems which lost your in-game progress these eventually settled. But after the escalation release modes like Escalation and Interdiction were almost impossible to play as no one else wanted to play them. While the developers would later allow all levels to be played by all factions as some were only playable if a certain faction was present, it did not really help things and as time went on and new games came out. MAG, while still fun would be left in the dust. Once a stable of my time on the PS3, it now gathers dust before I trade it in. The sooner the better too as it has been announced the servers will close in January 2014 therefore making the game unplayable.

MAG4

Does it have a Legacy? While many people who played the game may not think so, the game was revolutionary in its own right and in many cases a fail needs to come before a success. I hope that the main idea of MAG will one day resurface and Large Battles of an epic scale become a main stay but some improvement such as some kind of story or in-game rounds over a period of months, gaining territory here and there to declare a winner and more points would be nice. This kind of idea in my mind would best suit future first person shooter games like the Battlefield series or a new Frontlines, or maybe even something from Guerrilla Games perhaps.

GG

Any final thoughts? While the game may not have been the success many thought it could be, I really enjoyed this game and while it may be coming to an actual end, there is a possibility of something to potentially look forward too.

MAG

GENEPOOL








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