Deus Ex Mankind Divided new trailer

Umm, I’ll just leave this here, shall I? I watched it a few times, I must admit. I’m hyped for this game. HYPED!

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is out on PC, Xbox One and PS 4 on August 23 and you’ll be able to buy just the game itself (that’ll do me nicely) or two boxed versions. The Day-One edition which features an extra in-game mission (this sort of thing pisses me, to be honest: Why not give the level to everyone who paid for the game??),  Covert agent packs which contains a compilation of in-game items, including various weapons, re-skins, and upgrades, a digital copy of the original soundtrack (this would be most excellent as it is being done by the most excellent Michael McCann) and digital copies of a mini artbook, novella and comic book.

Then there’s the collectors edition (I bought the Batman Arkham Knight Collectors edition and after that, I’ve decided I’ll never buy a collectors edition again. I just don’t think they’re generally worth the money you pay) which comes with all the Day-One edition content, a 9-inch Adam Jensen figurine, a black and gold prism-shaped box, a 48-page art book and a steelbook.

Fallout 4: Welcome to the Wasteland, my friend

Fallout-4I’m only about 11 hours into Fallout 4 but it’s grown on me more than I expected it to.

What I’m saying is that I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did: It has some things I don’t like, it’s buggy and at one point the narrative didn’t sync with what I’d done earlier  but I’m enjoying it. I’ve taken on Super Mutants at a Brotherhood of Steel armoury, traded gun fire with synthetic humans in a hideout and see strange two-headed cows carrying supplies. The Wasteland is a strange, strange world. It’s set in what’s left of Boston.

I didn’t like Fallout 3 that much. In fact, I don’t remember playing much of it at all. It didn’t help that I had no idea how the VATS system worked or how deeply involved the RPG side could get. I gave up. I don’t regret that. It didn’t grab me so there was no point playing it.

Fallout 4 seems different, though. It seems lot more accessible than F3, but maybe that’s just because I’m more open-minded about the series now and am taking time to play it. I don’t have the time to sink 72 bajillion hours into it, neglect my family and be chained to my PC (I”m playing on PC) all hours  – I have a job to go to – but I’m playing an hour or so each night, so I guess you say I’m hooked.

I’ve met some interesting people along the way and I’ve tinkered around a little with the base building, too, and yeah, it’s fun. Actually, it could be the most engaging part of Fallout 4, even if Bethesda hasn’t really told people how to get the most out of it.

I built a rather shitty little hut in Sanctuary that had mismatching roof panels and gaps between the walls but the game let me hook a generator up to it and some lights. For some reason, I plonked a computer terminal outside it.  I should have taken a screenshot [note to self: Take some screenshots]

I don’t like the fact that it doesn’t take long for my character’s pockets/backpack/inventory to be full: The game constantly telling me I can’t run because of it and it’s buggy at times. During one mission, after I got into an elevator, my AI companion suddenly appeared beside me after the doors had closed. Then I managed to push him through the side of the elevator just by nudging him. I know people know Bethesda games are buggy, I hear people saying that all the time but is that acceptable? Should we accept the game in that state?

Fallout4_PrestonI know Fallout 4 is a huge game – hours and hours and hours long – but Bethesda just seem to get a Get out Jail Free card sometimes for the buggy nature of its games just because of the sheer scope and magnitude of them. People are saying Fallout 4 is Game of the Year material. I don’t know yet. If you’d asked me six hours into my play through, I would have said “Nope, it’s not Game of the Year for me”. Now, I’m not so sure. I’ve played a handful of really good games this year so I’m not picking that one yet.

I’m going to keep plugging away at Fallout 4. I want to explore more of the Wasteland, scavenge more useless stuff, and take out Super Mutants in my Power Armour. I want to meet more interesting characters like Nick Valentine.

Oh, yeah, about the Power Armour. You find it quite early in the game (I’m sure that’s not a spoiler), which I think kind of takes away the mystique of the whole thing. Someone told me that it took hours in Fallout 3 before you were even ready to use the Power Armour. In Fallout 4, your almost handed it on a plate during an early mission. Yes, the Power Armour is cool (until you run out of power core juice) but come on, Bethesda, let people work a little harder to get it, huh? I like the fact that you can customise your armour at special workstations and craft weapon mods and stuff. That’s really cool.

ScreenShot0Oh, hey, wait: I’ve just found a screen shot I took of me wearing Power Armour. I’m in the sky. On an airship owned by the Brotherhood of Steel.

So the long story short, so far, is that I’m liking Fallout 4. Whether I’ll still be enamoured in another 10 hours time, I’m not sure. I’ll keep you posted.

Homeworld Remastered Let’s Play: Part two

OK, here’s my second video of me playing an early mission of Homeworld Remastered (no commentary).

The mission takes place in the Great Wastelands where we meet an alien race called the Bentusi who give us weapons technology to use on enemies. The final task of the mission is to destroy an enemy carrier before it jumps to hyperspace: I fail. Seems like I need to have more bombers and interceptors and have them attack the heck out of that thing.

Enjoy.

Watch The Witcher 3 running on my Geforce 660Ti

OK, so I last night I used nVidia’s Shadowplay video capturing software to record just under 10 minutes of game play from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I just wanted to show you how the game looked on what is considered the minimum specced GPU for the game.

As I said yesterday, I’m running the game on what I  consider to be an ageing GPU: A Geforce GTX660Ti but it seems to handle the game OK.

Every thing is set to medium and I have locked the frame rate to 30FPS so I can ensure a consistent  experience. Things look nicer on medium settings than on low, especially the grass and other foliage. It’s just a pretty game, to be honest.

Sadly, I forgot to activate the FPS counter while I was playing so can’t see what the  frame rates were doing but everything seemed smooth and very much playable. There was no combat so I can’t see what happens during heavy combat but if I get the chance over the next day or so (work commitments dependent) I’ll record some more footage with the FPS counter running.

Any questions, post a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks for watching.

Well, well, my Geforce GTX can make The Witcher 3 look good!

While my PS4 copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hasn’t materialised yet (it was mailed out on May 15, apparently), I was lucky enough to get a PC code from the game’s distributor in Australasia (clearly my annoying him with emails worked).

I’m nowhere near a review yet – nor impressions – but I thought I’d post some screen shots taken using Fraps. My PC is has the CPU grunt – it’s running an Intel i7 – but only meets the minimum for GPU: An nVidia Geforce 660Ti.

I was expecting it to struggle but, frankly, it hasn’t, posting frame rates in the high 50s on low settings and the mid to high 40 frames per second on medium settings. Imagine what a more recent GPU will do!

In the meantime, feast on these images (low graphics settings) and I’ll post more impressions as the days follow.

TheWItcher3geralt TheWitcher3horseback Thewitcher3mountains

DragonAge Inquisition: A game that steals time from me – but I’m not complaining

DragonAge Inquisition: Action RPG that is great fun.

DragonAge Inquisition: Action RPG that is great fun.

I’ve been meaning to write something about DragonAge Inquisition since, well, I first started playing it a couple of weeks and 25 hours ago, but every time I sat down, fingers poised over my keyboard, I was instead drawn to the DAI desktop icon, which I promptly clicked and started playing the game.

I think that action in itself says a great deal about what I think about Bioware’s latest action-RPG: That’s it’s good enough to distract me from writing some thoughts about it.

I’ve always liked Bioware’s games – and I didn’t even rage at the ending of Mass Effect 3 – but after playing the first two DragonAge games I wasn’t sure I’d be interested in the third in the series. I didn’t get as deeply involved in DA as I did ME but after a handful of hours with DAI, I was hooked.

dai_review10Inquisition is an action RPG  where the player controls a character of your own making, depending on the class you choose. I chose a mage and if I have one regret about things it’s that I rushed through the character creation menus a little too quickly, getting a rather generic character. If I have one piece of advice, it’s spend a bit of time getting your character just right: You’ll be playing him or her for dozens of hours so you want to be happy.

The game opens with your character appearing from a green rift in time, just one of many that has opened up along DAI’s game world. As you gain the trust of those around you, you’ll face off against demons, templars … and dragons, if you’re brave enough.

While the first few hours of DAI are fairly pedestrian, stick with it as after a while the game opens up and becomes truly stunning, especially once you reach the Storm Coast and recruit tough guy Iron Bull. Don’t rush from the opening Hinterlands, though: Take your time and explore, close fade rifts, do jobs for farmers, collect magical shards. Just take your time.

DA Inquisition is also a game where you can actually spend hours just doing side missions for the people of Thedas before you even tackle the main story missions. That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s a good way to build up your party’s skills as some of the demons and monsters can be quite tough.

It’s also amazing what you’ll stumble across as you explore the land. I came across a giant fighting a dragon while exploring the Storm Coast.  I get too close but I climbed a nearby hill and just watched the incredible feat. The first time I stumbled across a dragon my party was underpowered so was wiped out pretty quickly.

sep_2_-_quiversDA Inquisition’s combat can be as complex or as easy as you want thanks to the game letting you pause mid-battle to survey your surroundings and issue orders to your three squad mates. It’s a nice option but most of the time I just blasted foes in real-time with spells from my staff.

I’ve ready a few people have had problems with DAI – I’m playing it on PC – and have experienced once crash to desktop and a DX Diaglog error when I start a few missions using the war room. It’s apparently an Origin issue, so I’ll keep investigating.

Would I recommend DragonAge Inquisition? Wholeheartedly yes. It’s an amazing game that has set the bar high, as well as issued a challenge to CD Projekt Red’s now-delayed-again The Witcher 3 for the crown of best action RPG.

We’ll have to wait until May to see how The Witcher 3 stacks up.

Thanks to the team at EA Australia for the PC code that was used for this review

Why don’t I play more PC games? Because I can’t afford to upgrade all the time

These days I’m generally a console gamer (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) but sometimes I’ll play games on my what would these days be considered dinosaur PC (Intel Core Duo CPU @ 2.13Ghz , nVidia Geforce 8600 graphics card and 2Gb of ram) by today’s standards.

I’m playing a PC game at the moment: Batman Arkham City. I loved it on Xbox 360 so jumped at the chance when I was offered a review code to download it from Steam.

Almost 24 hours later the 16Gb download was complete (yes, my broadband really did take that long) and I clicked play, eager to see how it played on PC  – and was prompt for the game’s CD key, which meant I had exit the game to head back into Steam and copy the CD key) . I also had to log-into Games for Windows Live, which also required a copy of the CD key, as well as aan update, which it downloaded and installed – and then just when I thought I was ready to play, I had to request a new password for my GFWL account as it had been so long since I’ve used it that I had forgotten my password and couldn’t log in.

With all that behind me I launched the game, tweaked some of the settings (I’m running it in DirectX 9 as the Geforce 8600, which is below the recommended specifications for the game, doesn’t support DirectX 11, which is what Batman Arkham City is touting). then got stuck in. Not surprisingly, the game stutters from time to time, most noticeably when there’s a lot of foes on-screen but sometimes pauses for a few seconds, usually as I’m  just about to glide kick one of Joker’s hench men into next week.

It goes without saying that I’m also not using the Physix capabilities that the game has – that would slow things down to a slideshow,  (in fact, I might just try it, for a joke, and see what the frame rate plummets to).

The game still looks great, though  – this is on a PC, after all – but all the hassles with Games for Windows Live and recommended systems specifications needed to get the game looking its best is partly the reason why I play my games on a console. I can hear all the PC purists starting to complain about my preference for console gaming but seriously, I can slap an Xbox game into my 360 console – or a friends 360 console – and know that it’s going to work straight out of the box (unless there’s an update required for it, of course – but then they don’t normally take long to download and install). My Xbox isn’t going to ask me to type in a CD key twice then promptly crash back to the desktop/menu because I had my tongue in the wrong position or something.

Also I don’t have the luxury of some powerhouse computer kindly supplied by [insert computer maker’s brand name here] that will run the game at maximum settings and some blisteringly fast frame rate. In my mind, reviewing a game on some sort of top-end computer that has all the fruit isn’t being fair to consumers: how many joe public gamers have the money to buy top-end computers with the latest and greatest components? Maybe it’s more than I realise, though, and I’m talking through a hole in my head …

But these days, I prefer console gaming because of the convenience – and that I don’t have to constantly spend money upgrading the hardware. Yes there’s a trade off with consoles: less system memory and pared down graphics performance compared to a PC but imagine the nightmare PC games must be for developers to make:  how is a developer realistically expected to anticipate all the potential hardware configurations in existence then make sure that the game works on all of them. It just seems a near impossible task.

It goes without saying that PC games definitely look better on PC (mostly and if you have a graphics card that can handle all the graphical bells and whistles that developers use to showcase PC games) but I can live with that for the convenience of knowing my copy of Batman Arkham City on Xbox 360 will also play on my brother’s Xbox 360 without any problems. I was also put off PC games a while back after Ubisoft’s clunky DRM on Assassin’s Creed 2 which required a persistent internet connection to play it. I took the game back when I realised that: it meant I couldn’t play it on a laptop when I was out-of-town, which sort of defeated the purpose of me buying it, really

I’m going to stick with Batman Arkham City on PC: it plays fine and looks good, but the experience  has just confirmed for me how much I personally prefer console gaming at the moment. Who knows, things may change  …