Forza Horizon 2…

I am a lot more excited for the release of the new Forza title than I thought I’d be. Ive recently been seeing more and more gameplay videos online and each one of them grabbed my attention more than the one before. I was a big fan of the Test Drive games, unlike quite a few people, because of it attention to detail with the vehicles, but with complete free-roam and huge open landscapes to explore with all different types of cars. I am also a fan of the utter amazing detail in the vehicles of Forza Motorsport 5, so you can imagine how I feel about Forza Horizon 2. Admittedly, I haven’t played the first title of Forza Horizon, but for good reason. I was a huge fan of Forza Motorsport from the second title, and I didn’t want to ruin my experience of the game by playing a spin-off that made it into a gimmick. Luckily the first game got a lot of good attention, but I always felt Forza could do better with the idea of a free-roam. This game seems to be ticking all of the right boxes for myself, hence I am very happy to see it coming to the next-gen consoles.

Resident Evil is Scary Again?!

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If anyone has followed along with the Resident Evil or ‘Biohazard’ franchise, then you will know that early releases of the game were a new type of scary, and that it used its scariness to entertain the audiences. Unfortunately, it has lately become a dying horror, as the late releases haven’t been living up to the Resident Evil reputation. The article linked below is on WIRED.com and has more info.

http://www.wired.com/2014/09/resident-evil-revelations-2/#x

Destiny Review (Xbox One)

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This is a review about a few aspects of my experience while playing the new highly anticipated game, Destiny, on Xbox One. First I would like to talk about the character element of the game. There is not one single protagonist as such, but you are the main character of your game experience. To further explain, you are helping to fight a larger cause than just one protagonist could accomplish, or so the storyline foretells. Whereas you do defeat the main enemy cause alone, or with a couple of your friends. The game gives a great player customisation, it is not so complex that you end up getting bored or confused, but with a nice variety so that you input your own personal ‘flare’ on the gameplay. You play as a ‘Guardian’, and you are one of many, but every Guardian has his or her own ‘Ghost’. Not to give away to many spoilers, but a Ghost is appointed by ‘The Traveller’- a huge spherical, mechanical ball in the sky. There are a few AI controlled characters, but they do not have much affect on the story, or any background whatsoever, although you do end up interacting with them quite a bit for story progression. I do not feel like they made a mistake with the way the player was not controlling one sole protagonist, as for the online gameplay experience they have opted to go with suited it very well.
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The environments on this game are very well thought out, although I have to say, because they were planets in our own solar system, there was not too much ‘innovation’ here. Even though the developers didn’t completely create the environments from their imagination, the attention to detail was admirable. For example, on Mars the footprints were soft and rounded, because of the sandy environment, but on Earths Moon the footprints were quite detailed due to the lack of winds and the type of ground material. Obviously there were structures that were placed on these planets, but although they seemed like they fitted in very well with the storyline, they felt a little unoriginal. I can’t completely fault them for this as they still made it very enjoyable to see because of the amount of sheer detail in the models. There is a ‘base’ where you always come back to on Earth called ‘The Last City’, the developers crafted this very well and put a lot of work into making the detail next-gen, especially with the foliage. Overall, the environments just feel ‘right’, it is hard to completely innovate a futuristic landscape, as there has already been so many, but Destiny did a great job at making sure it did not feel repetitive. I sometimes just finding myself looking around at the model and texture detail, especially on the wearable objects (armour, weapons, etc).
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At first I had a little bit of difficulty with the arrangement of the controls, this is because they are a bit of a mix between the original ‘Halo’ franchise controls and normal first-person shooter controls. Quite quickly I adjusted and found that the button placement was very functional for myself. Destiny does allow for customisation of the controls, quite a bit at that, but one thing they didn’t do which I though would put everyones mind at ease completely, is allow for individual custom button binding. I can see why they might not have allowed this, due to the fact that the online multiplayer may be compromised, but the PC gaming community have been allowing this for quite some time now, so I think it would only be wise to allow this on consoles. Overall I do like the default setup for Destiny on Xbox One, but I can imagine that it won’t be optimal for everyone and it could discourage people from playing the game.
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For a quick summary I would just like to say that I am pleased with the game and the way it has turned out, but I think the fact that it was hyped up so much, like a lot of games nowadays, the experience gets a little dumbed down. I understand completely that it is for advertisement purposes, but there is no feeling like getting an unpopular game and it turning out to be outstanding.
The link below is Matt Kamen’s in full in-depth review of Destiny on Wired.

Yosemite Beta Review.

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This is just a short review on Apple’s new version of Mac OS X, 10.10. As some of you may or may not know, only one million people were able to have access to the Yosemite Beta. Luckily for myself, I was one of those one million. I have been testing various parts of the new-to-be-released version 10.10, and have only come across a few minor problems that I can fault the software for. To begin with, I will talk a little bit about the cons I have come across while using/testing the software, as anybody can expect, Yosemite is overall a little ‘glitchy’, and sometimes applications just crash. Although this can be frustrating, it is not very often at all, and I’m almost certain those kinks will be worked out before the release, hence the early release beta.

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Another one of the problems I have came across is the new Family Account Sharing. I was quite excited to see this feature in the new release of OS X and iOS 8, as it will be a huge convenience for myself and my other half, for iTunes purchases and other factors. Unfortunately, in the iCloud preferences, where you set this feature up, it would not allow me to invite anyone to my ‘Family Sharing’. I understand why it may not work due to the fact that this feature is only in beta, and making it usable may be unstable on earlier platforms, but it is just a shame that a big feature like this can’t be enjoyed by the public yet.
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One last minor problem I had with a couple of different applications and scenarios, is that I would get a strange intermittent flashing in some cases, usually after clicking/opening a certain feature. For example, in Notification Center, when the ‘social’ widget is in your sidebar, and you click on any of the buttons (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or Messages), you would get this strange flashing below the text box every time, without fail. Like I said this is very minor and doesn’t stop you from using any feature, it is just persistent and a little annoying.
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Now lets just give the new software a little credit. Yosemite follows the same type of aesthetics as Mountain Lion, clean, simple and yet very pleasing to the eye. For example, they have now incorporated a lot of translucency, like in iOS 7 and 8, which makes the experience of using it a lot more intuitive and enjoyable. I seemed to realise how much the translucency effected the experience when I was browsing the web in Safari. It sounds quite petty, but it still makes me smile to this day watching videos or images scroll through the top translucent bar.
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I have made full use of the new feature ‘Dark menu bar and dock’, It’s such a simple new feature, but believe it or not, just having the option to have a light or dark ‘feel’ to the desktop makes a lot of difference. Overall, Yosemite seems to have outdone itself, the amount of new features this software brings to the table is simple, yet astounding. The way they have made the continuity between iOS and Mac OS X seamless. The first time I took a phone call on Yosemite, it was completely unexpected, yet I just accepted it without even thinking. I believe that is what makes Yosemite and it’s continuity so admirable to me, the fact that things just ‘work’ the way you think they should, and this is what Apple try to do with all of their user experiences. I know that is quite subjective, but I think that is an important quality to have in a piece of software.
I did say that this was going to be a short review and I will link a more in-depth review below, I just wanted to share my feelings on the Yosemite Beta.

I have such high hopes for Halo: Master Chief Collection, I can’t wait!

I have loved the Halo franchise for as long as I can remember, and to see this remastering of all the games that I grew up with, it’s safe to say, I’m hopeful. PAX 2014 showed just how amazing it may well be when it is released to the actual public. Here’s one of a few videos on what was shown. Enjoy!

The link below will let you read more into it!

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/08/30/pax-2014-halo-master-chief-collections-lockout-is-better-than-you-remember-it