Category Archives: Operatore

Oculus Rift – The true next generation of Gaming.

Virtual reality is always depicted as some crazy futuristic shit, and Virtual reality has been tried here and there, the results tending to be permeated with failure, an amalgam of both hopes and then, inevitably, sorrow. Perhaps we simply lacked the technology to  truly  pull off Virtual Reality, and for the most part, we probably do still lack the technology to really thrust a player into a wholly organic virtual world of sights, smells and feeling. But, we can still get pretty damn close, at least on a visual aspect of the puzzle.

The earliest form of Virtual Reality was called an ‘Sensorama’, way back when in the 1950’s and finally built in 1962. This theater could replicate smells and touch, and of course sights and sounds. It was a ridiculously clunky piece of machinery, but relatively cheap at the time, rolling in at just over $1,000,000. Supposedly, the outlandish device actually worked. But the creator lacked the funds to really market it to a wider crowd, thus it remained a prototype, and Virtual Reality was once again left to pick up the pieces and start again.sensorama_11

Though, the Sensorama was primarily a movie-based medium, probably wouldn’t have been too hard to grab a controller while hooked up to the monster. But the past, is well, passed. The Military seemed to fancy VR technology, though, and even as far back as the Sensorama, and today, they still heavily utilize Virtual Reality simulations in order to more properly train troops and specialists for their duties.

Notably, just because of how spooky it looks, in 1968, one of the first Virtual Reality ‘Goggles’ were brought into existence, but it’s obvious that they’ve since faded into obscurity. Dubbed the ‘Sword of Damocles’, it was very primitive, and really wasn’t able do much. You could see wire-framed rooms, perhaps simple shapes, and all you could do to interact was look around, it featured head tracking, but the thing was so clunky it really seemed to be an antithesis of VR ‘Goggles’. It was never sold, or marketed. Perhaps it merely existed to test the limits of what man could pull into a VR world at the time.

the-sword-of-damocles
Honestly, it seemed like we on a good path back in the 60’s when it came to Virtual reality, but interest certainly wavered over the following decades. Said interest would slowly pop up in a small manner when gaming started to get its footing in our world.

The Stuntmaster, iGlasses, and of course, the notorious Virtual Boy were some notable outings in the long awaited journey to accomplish a true VR system of gaming, they all fell short for one reason or another, a primary reason being that they were just essentially screens hooked up to your face, with no real depth of field to trick you into thinking you’re in another world. Oh, and no, iGlasses are not made by Apple, at least they were not back in the 90’s.

SONY DSCWell, obviously this is a Stuntmaster. From its name alone I am to surmise it is a Master of Stunts.

iglassesSVGAPro…And these of course, are the iGlasses, notice a lack of half-eaten apples, as well a lack of the color white.
largeScrew you virtual boy, nobody likes you. Oh by the way, that’s the virtual boy. But I didn’t need to tell you that.

But, we’re to be talking about the Oculus Rift, and why I certainly have high hopes for this device. Despite a rather unfortunate track record, I really do feel like the Oculus Rift is going to be the first successful venture into Virtual Reality, both financially and functionally. Why? Well the short answer is because it’s completely bad ass currently, and is only set to improve upon its full release.

In the short time I did get to use one, I found myself quickly immersed into it, despite the games available being rather sub-par, I did essentially test out those available exclusively to the system, games made to utilize the strengths of the head-tracking. Primarily I test out horror games, and these horror games were pretty unfortunate, if not for the oculus rift they wouldn’t have been rather scary — That’s a compliment by the way, towards the Rift.

Games these days, when it comes to horror have to rely on pop-up scares, and it’s not that they HAVE to rely on them, it’s just atmosphere and capable sound design are far harder to pull off than having some monster jump up out and closet. Being an avid horror game fan, I personally have found myself wholly disappointed as of late with ‘Horror’, maybe that’s because the survival aspect of horror has changed roles to action. Survival and item management bring tension, and actually make the foes terrifying to encounter, even if these foes are standing in plain sight, and don’t feel the need to sit behind a corner while giggling.

Oculus rift brings heavy hope to me that I’ll actually find copious enjoyment in horror games, and that’s really enough for me to merit a purchase. Sure, consoles are all banking on pushing out graphical capabilities and truckloads of non-gaming features to the fray, but adding the ability to watch TV, or check out the latest advertisements does nothing for gameplay, it doesn’t advance gameplay, it doesn’t change the way you play, in fact it actually detracts from the gameplay experience in some ways.

Since Oculus Rift is a PC-based device graphics won’t be an issue since PC games already sport above-average graphics compared to their console brethren. But graphics aren’t everything when it comes to gaming, that used to be the truth, but these days many claim ‘graphics don’t make a game better’, then turn around and complain about 720 resolution or shoddy shadows and other nonsense that does not detract from a game’s experience. The notion that graphics don’t matter is a  contractive  point many gamers bring up, even though they seem not to believe it.

Oculus Rift is actually a tangible step forward in gaming. The Xbox 360 and PS3 were also tangible steps forward in gaming, as they were the first High Definition consoles, and no, PC is not a console. The Xbox One and PS4 do not bring anything new to the table aside from more motion controls, which is by now a dead horse, as well more graphical power, graphics, graphics, graphics. Oculus Rift however is the next step in gaming, and it’s actually a rather simple idea, motion tracking.  Remember that immersion was, at one point a huge deal when it came to gaming, and immersion has slowly detracted over time, with some exceptions. Though Immersion was the result of hardware that had no choice but to bank on such things, so now that you can throw explosions and backflips left and right, who needs immersion?

Head Tracking may seem like a simple thing, mundane even. But you’re wearing goggles here, they obscure your vision, you can’t look off to your side and see your cat looking up at you with a bewildered expression.  No, you’ll look off to your side and see whatever the hell’s in the game. It’s an experience one can’t quite understand until they try it first-hand.

Initially, one expects there to be a rather small market of games to choose from when the Oculus drops, most of these will be made specifically for the Oculus, so their quality is iffy at best, and they will rely on the novelty of their device. PC Games will probably end up getting player-made mods to tailor them to Oculus’ technology. For all we know Oculus will fade into obscurity like so many other VR-based mediums, but Oculus certainly has the potential to change gaming in a way that will push it forwards.

Free-roaming games like Morrowind certainly would benefit from Oculus, and horror games will get an extra spook factor from it. The only real flaw of the Oculus is that it’s not designed for any game that’s not first-person, and playing a third-person game or otherwise on it would defeat the purpose and break the immersion of the experience. Though, one will see in time whether that is the case, it seems like it will be. With an overabundance of first person shooters these days, that won’t really be a huge problem at least.

Oculus-Rift
Here’s hoping the Oculus rift defies expectations, even in the infant stages of the Next Generation of consoles. Pushing gaming forwards is never a bad thing. Let’s hope Oculus doesn’t push it back.

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Playstation 4’s rough start. Bricked Consoles, Errors and Glitches.

PS3 Controller
Oh. You’re a naughty, naughty girl, PS4. Shame on you, but ah well, we’ve come to expect this sort of thing, after that whole Red Ring of Death fiasco, yes? You’d think though, after that who Red Ring of Death incident, Sony and Microsoft both would have been EXTRA careful this upcoming generation to make sure the consoles they’ve released actually, y’know.. Worked.

First and foremost, it would seem there’s rather weird problems with some PS4’s HDMI ports, where a piece of metal in the ports seems to block the cord from actually going in, as well, downloading the update for the system, that’s totally there day one, seems to just completely break some people’s units all together. Sony says it’s isolated and shit, but, IGN and a few other major gaming companies have experienced these problems in particular. Probably a little more common than Sony would lead us to believe.

Now, bricked consoles because of updates, and faulty ports are one thing. But some consoles are reportedly just.. dead, out of the box, dead. This would mean that Sony didn’t actually even test these things before they shipped them, OTHERWISE they would have realized. Oh, shit, look, these consoles over here don’t even turn on, we’d better not try to sell these to people. But no, that wasn’t the case.

Some minor problems persist, seems some consoles are missing half of their rubber feet, so, buyers are provided with a console that wobbles around like some drunk  com padre, but hey, you can totally stick pieces of paper under it to balance it. Or, you know, Sony could make sure the damn console had all its feet. Also, aside from the shoe-less PS4’s, some experience graphics card failures, causing their screens to flicker and the screen to basically just black-screen.

I suppose nowadays we expect this sort of thing from consoles. In the past, we didn’t, all we had to do was worry about dropping a decent amount of money on a console, and it would work. Widespread problems like the Ring of Death weren’t the case back in the days of the NES, or Playstation, and that was back when gaming wasn’t nearly as profitable as it is today. Of course, more complicated consoles certainly give more room for errors, so I suppose these instances can be forgiven somewhat, but at the same time, quality control should also be expected from such a big company.

Let’s just hope this isn’t a sign of things to come, and let’s hope these cases are really only one in a million instances. Though it’s a safe bet to just avoid picking up a Playstation 4 until it seems like bricked consoles and the like are no longer an issue. As well, we’ll have to be somewhat weary of the Xbox One, considering both consoles had very similar specs, and similar parts within them.

Until then, game on, if you can.

– Florida Gamers

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Filed under Bugs & Faulty Hardware, Operatore, Playstation 4, Xbox One

A look at: The Next Generation of Gaming.

Every so few years, ‘The Next Gen” consoles roll out. Be it back in the classic Nintendo era of the NES, and SNES, Next Gen consoles have come time and time again, only to eventually run their course, and now the next generation of consoles looms before us, bringing both hope and dismay along with them. This next conflict of consoles is a rather interesting one, arguably the Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii were the first consoles to really hit mainstream markets, and gradually over time it would show that these consoles grew from catering to their usual brew of gamers, to this new, fresh crowd of faces. The PS2, Xbox and Gamecube era of consoles were still largely catering to the old crowd of gamers, those that’ve ate up gaming since they were old enough to wiggle their thumbs in a productive manner. But now, now we have consoles that are completely aware of the larger mainstream market that has adequately dulled gaming in some aspects. This is largely proven by the launch titles the consoles offer.

Xbox One: Launch Titles

Let’s start with Xbox One’s launch titles in particular. Assassins Creed, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Fifa, NBA and Madden. The sports titles cater to a crowd that mainly games just for sports games, which would explain why said genre of game is made year in and year out. Assassins Creed has proven to be a success, and really only hit its peak after the second game in the series. But, no matter how the quality has dipped since then, it sells, it sells well. Call of Duty and Battlefield are both adequate choices to launch your system with, as gaming seems to be more or less about shooting things in a perspective of the first person. These are all obvious picks for launch titles, and they’re not horrible, more or less they’re financially stable choices that will undoubtedly sell plenty of consoles to those who only game for competitive FPS outings.

There’s a plethora of Kinect-based games coming with the Xbox One, or sold separately,  I’d assume it would be wise to include a free Kinect game or two with the console, to try and encourage customers to at least try out their always on camera that looms in the distance. A couple racers help to diversify the collection, as well a couple fighters, Killer Instinct being the more advertised of the two. Dead Rising 3 also stands in this collection, which seems more or less to retain the spirit of the game, albeit much more brown and realistic than normal. But hey, realism is great, that’s why we play games. Ryse seems to be the game most heavily toted by Microsoft, for some reason, as the game aspect of it is questionable at best. But gamers have been heftily dumbed down, or perhaps games have been dumbed down so that the less capable can actually beat them. All-in-all, the Xbox one does have a diverse launch library, which is obviously missing any semblances of RPG’s, but hey, RPG’s are a thing of the past. Not enough explosions or bullets, or boobies. Well, okay, RPG’s do have boobies, JRPG’s especially.

The biggest.. concern about all these launch titles, is that, well. This is the next generation, not one really seems to scream next generation. Even the lackluster titles of last gen still had a significant difference in graphics to the consoles that preceded them, this time around? The differences are barely noticeable, and worse yet, games such as Call of Duty had to reduce their resolutions just to make the game playable on the consoles. Let’s just hope that isn’t a sign of things to come, and let’s hope the Xbox One hasn’t already been tapped out in terms of its potential.

Playstaion 4: Launch Titles

The PS4 generally has a very similar lineup to the Xbox One, with some exceptions, which is a bit concerning, the differences between these consoles seems to be turning gray, it’s tough to really spot the differences unless you’re looking very closely. Knack and DC Universe Online are two launch titles in particular the Xbox One does not have, as well Blacklight: Retribution and Killzone Shadow Fall seem to be not only exclusive to the console, but are to be available at launch. This gives the PS4 a distinctive edge when it comes to those gamers who only fancy competitive shooters. But, of course, Titanfall is indeed a titan in this genre, and the PS4 will be lacking that.

It would seem, to much dismay that the PS4 is also lacking any RPG’s, aside from DC Universe Online. Perhaps RPG’s are merely becoming an extinct breed, what with Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy Versus becoming action games now, as apposed to true blue RPG’s, sometimes it’s hard not to be spiteful of the run and gun gamers that are causing a lack in certain genre’s of gaming. Gaming shouldn’t be a one-sided ordeal, gaming IS a medium that allows for any sort of adventure, any sort of experience. If things continue as is, gaming will just exist for pointing your gun at things, and riddling them with holes. That is not a preferable result.

Console Specs

Now, as far as the specs go for these two consoles. They’re very similar, and each have their ups and downs. Xbox One, however is taking a gamble on Cloud processing for some of their games, and is giving quite a chunk of their system’s overall power to their dashboard alone. Gambles can either pay off or not, and time will tell whether or not this gamble in particular will. But if Grand Theft Auto online is any indication of what to expect, what with their month long series of errors, server crashes and data deletions, then it is understandable if one is just a tad weary of Xbox One’s decision to utilize the cloud.

The Xbox One has a slightly more powerful CPU than the PS4, in terms of the CPU Frequency, which is about .15 higher than the PS4. The GPU roughly meanders more in the PS4’s favor though, with Xbox One’s clock speed being slightly higher. However, the PS4’s GPU has almost double the amount of shader’s than the Xbox One’s, as well the Memory Bandwidth in the PS4’s GPU is just about three times as powerful as the Xbox One’s.

Unto Ram, the PS4 and Xbox One have about even amounts of RAM, however the PS4’s ram is nearly twice as fast as the Xbox One’s, but the Xbox One dedicates a bit more of its ram to its games than the PS4 does. Really though, it seems to be fairly even between the two in this portion, though PS4’s superior GPU could certainly ensure that in the long run, it could produce more technically and graphically impressive titles. Considering the PS4 is cheaper than the Xbox One by about a hundred dollars, and arguably more powerful, it certainly does have the edge to the informed, though the uninformed might think the lower price means the console is inferior in quality.

Xbox One: Exclusives

  • Below
  • Crimson Dragon
  • D4
  • Dead Rising 3
  • Fable Legends
  • The Fighter Within
  • Forza Motorsport 3
  • Killer Instinct
  • Kinect Sport Rivals
  • Powerstar Golf
  • Quantum Break
  • Ryse: Son of Rome
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Titanfall

Below is your run of the mill ‘artistic’ 2D Indie game, but said types of games have ended being rather impressive at times, otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing them as often as we do. Crimson Dragon is essentially Panzer Dragoon, as it’s an on rails shooter, featuring a dragon, and it’s also made by Yukio Futatsugi, creator of Panzer Dragoon and, well, of course, PHANTOM DUST. So, I’ll admit, I’m rather hoping it sells amazingly, so that perhaps maybe I could get a sequel to a game I certainly hold with high praise.

Forza is solid, I doubt it’s going to be technically inferior to the other outings, racing isn’t exactly my forte, but I do enjoy Forza very passively. Now, D4 is interesting, it’s a murder mystery game, which I’m assuming is a big fan of The Walking Dead, as it shares a similar look, is episodic-based, and I’m guessing it’s very dialog and choice heavy. But, if it’s anywhere near as good as the mentioned game, I’m all game for it.

Dead Rising 3, is Dead Rising 3. Honestly I think any gamer knows what to expect from it, it’s going to be a guilty pleasure, run around in a dress, mowing zombies down, it’ll be incredibly enjoyable for a period of time, and then, well, like the previous two games, gamers will end up tiring of that particular zombie outing.

The fighter within, Kinect sport rivals and Ryse are all Kinect-based games. Kinect had a very poor showing on the Xbox 360, and not really one game worked perfectly with the motion system, aside from Dance Central of course, but even that had its hitches. I, and I’m sure many expect nothing but trouble from Kinect-Based games. But this rides entirely on Microsoft’s improvements on the Kinect system itself.

Quantum break.. well.. uh.. I don’t honestly think I’ll be able to get over the soap opera real life cut-scenes the game features.  It just seems very awkward in this day and age of gaming. These types of video were utilized way back in the early days of CD-based games, why now, in this generation are we falling back to that medium, I have no clue. But hey, you never know, stranger things have happened and maybe Quantum Break will end up the next Metal Gear Solid or some other prominent franchise.

Sunset overdrive, now, this game does ooze style, but really not much is known of it. Certainly one of the more interesting titles the Xbox One has to offer, seemingly a co-op based shooter, most likely of a third-person perspective. It could really go either way with this one, time will tell, certainly.

Playstation 4: Exclusives

  • Deep Down
  • Driveclub
  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • Galak-Z: The Dimensional
  • Infamous Second Son
  • Killzone Shadow Fall
  • Knack
  • N++
  • The Order: 1886
  • The Playroom
  • Resogun
  • Rime
  • Shadow of the Beast

Deep down is certainly the most interesting exclusive on either platform in my opinion.  An Action RPG, in the same vein as Dark Souls. Featuring Co-op play, randomized dungeons and perhaps even a bit of a Sci-Fi sprinkling to its rather medieval looking surface.  Capcom has proven they know how to make a good Action RPG with Dragon’s Dogma, and I personally will be rather giddy if Deep Downs ends up being some bastard child of Dark Souls and Dragon’s Dogma.

Everybody goes to the Rapture, is a game made by the same people who made Dear Esther, which was a rather boring, slow, short game, which seems odd that it would merit a legitimate next gen title. If Dear Esther is any indication of Everybody goes to the Rapture’s experience, it’s going to involve a lot of walking, narration and a very linear path from point A to point B.

Killzone, and Infamous are both new installments of said series, Infamous now featuring a flame-based super hero/villain, which should certainly change things up on a gameplay perspective of things, Killzone, is Killzone, both games should be rather solid entries, as their previous installments were rather solid themselves. Killzone has a tendency of bleeding out a lot of graphical potential from consoles, be it the PS2, PS3 and hopefully the PS4. It’ll be interesting to see if Killzone really pushes some boundaries on a graphical level.

The Order, 1886, seems to really have an interesting concept to it. The Knights of the Round, who use guns and swords and futuristic weaponry, are to battle Chimera, half-breeds of species. It’s a third person shooter, but hey, the concept alone is enough to garner interest. It will all inevitably come down to its gameplay, though, as it is a third person shooter.

The last game that seemed to interest me as far as exclusives go, is Shadow of the Beast, which is a remake of the 1989 Amiga game, called, well, Shadow of the Beast. Not much is known currently, but one does find it interesting they’d decide upon a rather obscure retro title to remake.

All in All

This Next Generation should be an interesting one. Though, considering both the PS4 and Xbox One were planning on putting DRM on their games, it’s not unwise to be rather weary of both Microsoft and Sony, but, the DRM practices have been temporarily nulled, with Microsoft receiving a massive amount of backlash for it, Sony receiving praise. There is no doubt we’ll all have to keep our eyes open for unfair business practices in this generation of gaming, unlike the last, where on-disk DLC and DRM were sort of scattered events, it’s to be expected that they’ll be much more common nowadays.

As of currently, Next Gen has yet to truly show that it’s certainly a next generation experience. But this is mostly due to an overabundance of ‘more of the same’, Racers, Sports games, FPS’s, you name it. Graphically, it’s not as huge of a leap as it was with the NES vs SNES, or PS1 vs PS2, or, even the Xbox vs Xbox 360. But it takes time to unlock the potential of a console, the question that looms is how much potential really exists in these two consoles.

Gameplay, certainly is more important than graphics. Even if there is no huge leap in visuals, one has to ride hope on there being substantial advances in gameplay on a technical level. Currently, Final Fantasy Versus has really shown to be one of the biggest gameplay advancements we’ve seen in this new generation, but a question still looms as to if that gameplay will stand to be as strong as it looks.

Time will tell, this next generation still has plenty left.

– Florida Gamers

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Filed under Fighting Games, game reviews, Operatore, Playstation 4, Xbox One