It’s that time again. Less than a month to go until E3 2015, although it seems like we were just laughing at Microsoft yesterday. We turn our lens once again to the Big 3 and make our wishes known.
Can you believe it’s already the next generation of video games? I know I can’t! But with so many choices, how is the average consumer supposed to make a choice? We sympathize with their plight and have narrowed the field down to a mere 3 candidates and highlighted their differences, in no particular order.
As the E3 hype is winding down, the Sony praise returns to sane levels, and the dust from Microsoft’s reversal of their Xbox One DRM policy settles, we can take a step back and look objectively at the next generation of consoles. We’ve seen the two megacorporations’ offerings for several generations now, and we’ve observed issues that both companies have struggled with in the past. Neither console has been immune to public ire. From the 360’s Red Rings of Death to the PS3’s security breaches and buggy ports, it’s easy to scold both. Sony has the gaming community wrapped around their thumb in a series of brilliant PR maneuvers. PS4 preorders hilariously outnumber the Xbox One. But the PS4 can still be dead in the water in two years’ time. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat…
1. The Playstation Network
Sony has proven in the past that they don’t have it all together when it comes to online play and security. Download speeds feel like they’re orbiting a black hole, and can’t be left to their own devices in the background. Cross-game chat is nonexistent. Credit card info is dumped and leaked en masse. This happened recently, and now there’s a whole new console. Hopefully you get what you pay for, as PS+ will offer online play for a fee a la Xbox Live.
2. Third Party DRM
Sony couldn’t stop EA’s online passes, and they will continue to be powerless to do so. They bore witness to tremendously increased PS4 support following Microsoft’s disastrous policies, which will scare them silly with any luck.
3. Hardware Failure
Earlier this week, Sony released a PS3 update that bricked many systems before it was pulled. It went largely unnoticed by those unaffected because first of all, the attitude towards Sony right now is electric. You can feel a buzz whenever you mention Sony online. Secondly, Microsoft did Sony a favor by announcing their about-face policy change which hogged attention. Had Microsoft waited, this story may have been a bigger deal.
4. Hardcore Gaming Focus
In this economy, a $400 dedicated gaming machine doesn’t make sense for every household. A $400 box that plays modern games and integrates with your media…now that is something that appeals to far more households. Once the Xbox One drops in price, it’s easy to see the PS4 being overshadowed in the market.
Everyone wants the two companies to succeed and co-exist. Those that don’t still haven’t recovered from their poor childhood. Godspeed, Sony and Microsoft! Shower us with the glorious next generation of consoles!
Nintendo of America is set to release an HD remake of Gamecube classic Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker later this year. The news was well-met by fans, and not an unsurprising move. Nintendo recently released a slew of titles remade for Wii from various IPs that were updated to include motion controls. These games were also sold at a lower price point, around $40.
A recent Amazon posting by Nintendo themselves indicates that the new Wind Waker remake will command a premium price: $60. Fans of the game have undoubtedly played the original to completion many times, and this price may raise more eyebrows than revenue.
My fellow Geeks,
GeekTi.me has had a good run. Since we began, we’ve released 200 articles and tried out a variety of ideas. We’ve been graced by a classy staff of writers and contributors, without whom none of this would have been possible. And without you, dear reader, we would have no purpose! Ah, but what’s the use of sticking to the norm? The daily grind, the 24-7, it’s all for naught if we’re contented to accept “good enough”. We’re geeks, for the win, forty-two. And today I’m pleased to announce that big things are in the works for GeekTi.me. I won’t say exactly what yet because life happens and then everyone’s disappointed, but suffice it to say that there’ll be an…Explosion of awesome.
Starting soon, we’ll have a number of different programmings in place to be released on a semi-regular schedule as well as a new layout for the site. More of the quality you’ve begun to expect from the GeekTi.me name in more ways.
So to summarize: stay tuned, this will be awesome, and thank you all for a great year. Here’s to another!
Welcome to the Product Spotlight! For your consideration, we present the first reasonably-priced non-game Valve product since…ever. Tired of paying $15 for re-branded Silly Putty? Not interested in dropping $30 on a pair of Companion Cube Fuzzy Dice? (Well, okay, you are.) You’re in luck!
Presenting the Plush Turret!
Brought to us by the folks at ThinkGeek, this awesome miniature representation of the Portal turrets sports a glowing red light and a dozen or so lines of dialog. Knock it over? “I don’t hate you.” Walk in front of it? “Target acquired!” Negligent? “Are you still there?” D’awwwwwwww.
They are currently out of stock, but if you wait patient-like you can grab one of the 14.5″ bundles of joy and bullets for $30 come mid-December.
After a several-month hiatus, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve brought our forums back online. No longer shall we cower in fear at the hands of Canadian Pharmaceutical spambots!
Like video games? Of course you do! Talk with like-minded individuals here. Are you artistically-inclined? Strut your stuff right over here! Bookworms, audiophiles, comic fans, and every other imaginable subset of geek…welcome (again) to the forums!
The Elder Scrolls series has a rabid fanbase surrounding it, with many of us nerds poring over the lore and mods. (Heck, I’ve even learned some Thu’um, the language of Dragons, in anticipation.) The pre-order bonus of a premium cloth map was enticing, but like a lot of fans I held out for the inevitable Collector’s Edition. Oblivion saw a very reasonable and clever “premium” version: for an extra $10, you got a book of lore, a “making-of” DVD, and a metal coin modeled after the in-game Septim currency. Everyone rejoiced, and gamers went on in life shy $10.
Bethesda announced the Collector’s Edition of Skyrim yesterday, and boy is it a doozy. The supporting cast of this nerd-tastic marvel stars:
Created in conjunction with the IP Factory, this collector’s only statue stands 12” tall and is made of high quality PVC. Modeled from actual in-game 3D digital files, it showcases Alduin, the World Eater. He stands perched atop one the game’s many dragon walls that teach the player the lethal language of dragons.
‘The Art of Skyrim’ Official Art Book: Featuring over 200 pages of striking, full-color illustrations, sketches and models, this stunning 9 3/8” x 12 1/8” coffee table book showcases the characters, creatures, environments, and weaponry of Skyrim. With a foreword by game director Todd Howard and commentary from Bethesda Game Studios artists, readers will be guided through the game’s iconic visual style.
‘The Making of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’ DVD This documentary DVD contains exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage, including interviews with the Bethesda Game Studios team as they take you from concept to creation and provide insights into the story, gameplay, setting, legacy of the Elder Scrolls franchise, and much more.
We see the book and DVD make a welcome return, but the statue is a head-scratcher. Awesome, yes. Some might venture an “epic”, as it is Alduin, eater of worlds. The price, though, is what makes or breaks the purchase. Not to worry! I’m fully prepared to spend an extra $20-30 like a sane, albeit rabid, fan. Now, let’s see how much Bethesda wants for th—
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS.
A not-at-all exorbitant $90 extra for the Collector’s Edition. Bethesda, help me understand you. Maybe if I break down the price? Okay, it was $10 extra for the Oblivion CE, and that featured a similar DVD, smaller book, and coin. Figure on an extra $10 for the larger, full color art book. So we’re looking at $20 for the book and DVD (cloth map is available as a pre-order bonus, and therefore does not count), so that leaves us with a reasonable…
SEVENTY DOLLAR PLASTIC STATUE.
How on Earth can any sane human being not find this…well, insane? For shame, Bethesda corporate. For shame. Should you feel inclined to do humanity a grave disservice, you can order any of the three Collector’s Editions here.
The greatest game ever to have been created (no bias, clearly) will be released on November 11 of this year. Todd Howard, the main creative force behind this fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series, was kind enough to reveal more gameplay footage at this past E3. What did we see? Well…
“For us, it’s all the little things that you’re seeing here. Plants with the micro-detail, big epic things like mountains…we really deal with levels of detail,” Todd narrated while the video ran in the background. For footage being shown on the 360, it’s amazing how much the draw distance has improved since Oblivion. Nooks in mountains are clearly seen in gargantuan form and the plants are apparently self-shadowed; you can see branches stand out from each other on trees and ferns. No pop-in was visible; the plants feel like they have always been there.
Prefer to stare at your Dovahkiin butt while killing things? Bethesda has improved the third-person view and made it an actually viable option. Animations no longer look “wooden” thanks to the Havok system they use for blending. Strafing was not shown off in detail, but it appears to be more than the laughably terrible “slide on ice” we were treated to in Oblivion.
They’re big! They’re bad! A longtime staple of fantasy They feel like unique creatures, not just a larger, more powerful version of a wolf with a different skin. You’re Dragonborn and therefore more than capable of killing these baddies, but there is a very strong feeling that this might be your last battle in these larger-than-life encounters. Engaging in Shout battles with these Draconic foes looks to be some of the most epic gameplay I’ve seen thus far.
Single- and dual-equipped spells are shown with a basic healing spell being used. When both hands contain the same spell, both can be activated at once for a more powerful version of that spell. In this case, there was a spell called “Healing” that required the trigger to be held down, slowly draining Magicka rather than a larger consumption cost.
Other spells shown included a flamethrower (sustained cast) and a “Fire Bomb” that appeared to explode on contact, making for a very strong visual impact. Some lightning spells included a rune-like trap that activated when an enemy walked into its area of effect, a standard lightning “jab”, and an explosive impact when fired at the ground with both hands.
A new spell effect made its debut: Clairvoyance. Sustaining this spell highlights a path on the ground leading to your current objective. One of the more useful non-combat spells by far, and strangely it did not appear to consume any Magicka while in use.
The first apparent interface element is the compass at the top center of the screen, semi-transparent and a lot more refined than Oblivion’s gold frame. The rest of the HUD follows suit: nothing you don’t need to see is visible. When you take damage or start slinging spells, your Health and Magicka bars appear towards the bottom until they’re filled again. Hot-keyed weapons and spells are easily assigned to either hand on-the-fly, although it was not shown what buttons are used to do this. The inventory screen, rather than a gory list of stats and icons, is now a set of semitransparent overlays reminiscent of the original iPod interface. Weapons are separated from clothing items, food, and spells. Each item’s model is rendered upon highlighting it, allowing every little detail to be inspected. According to Howard, this will be the key to solving several puzzles.
Horses! You can ride horses! Without armor, sadly, but HORSES! The models are absolutely gorgeous, and riding them looks like a much more pleasant experience. They look like actual creatures, not the mechanical quarter-op kind from Oblivion.
There is still hope for Horse Armor DLC, depending on how out-of-context you wish to take Howard’s joke: “We’ll sell it later for an exorbitant fee.”
Conversing with NPCs is no longer an awkward experience. Dialog in Skyrim is done at a reasonable distance from their face to the relief of all.
Only spoken about before, the much-improved map was shown off. A far cry from Oblivion’s stock map (or even the full-color mods), Skyrim renders the world as an interactive 3D model. You can zoom and pan through the environment to your heart’s content. Interior maps were not shown, although they are likely to be 2D.
This game is going to absolutely SUCK. My time, that is.
(Updated, see bottom.)
Yesterday, the internet was abuzz with information regarding the Wii’s successor. Until Nintendo confirms it at E3 it’s all rumor and speculation, but the sheer quantity of corroborating stories from different sources to different publications at the same time lends credibility to the argument. One such recent piece of information was posted by 01net and translated by Destructoid: the Wii2 will probably have an ATI R700 series GPU.
Let’s compare the processors for a moment.
The R700 series GPU has a clock speed of 900MHz. PS3’s RSX clocks at 700MHz, and the 360’s sports 500MHz. This puts the Wii 2’s graphics at, tentatively, 30% more powerful than the PS3 and 80% greater than the 360.
The architecture is said to be similar to the 360’s three-core CPU, further specs unknown. The Wii 2 is looking as if it could hold its own against Sony and Microsoft’s next consoles.
(Editor’s Note: It has come to our attention that our method of comparing the relative power of these GPUs, their clock speed in MHz, does not consider enough other attributes. We apologize for this, although it is likely that the Wii 2 will sport a GPU comparable to its competition in order to have a chance at success.)