Xbox One Reveal – Koshr’s First Thoughts

Xbox One

Koshr here to wrangle up some of the Xbox announcements so far released today. So first off, Microsoft showed it off as the Xbox One. I will do my best to leave my opinions out of this post since VaderFan and I plan to do a podcast tomorrow with our opinions. I’m expecting it to get heated. On to more facts. Microsoft went on at length about entertainment features. The Xbox One will feature a snap option that allows you to watch movies TV shows and whatever else while do other tasks. They also showed using the new Kinect to browse television without a remote by simply talking to your Xbox One. Next came the hardware announcements.

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Personally, I wasn’t surprised at all by its specifications as listed above. This emulates pretty much any current PC. After the hardware they mentioned the controller.

xboxonecontroller

The controller is pretty much a redesign of the 360’s controller. A big change is that the Xbox One’s controller has a built-in battery pack that does not protrude like the 360’s. The triggers will have some form of force-feedback, or so it seemed from the way it was mentioned. After internal software and hardware Microsoft gave the stage to EA Sports to talk about their new Ignite engine. EA has four titles in the works using this engine slated for the Xbox One. Microsoft then announced Forza Motorsport 5 and Remedy’s (Max Payne, Alan Wake) new game: Quantum Break, which has a thoroughly intriguing trailer. Microsoft Studios will releasing 15 exclusives in the first year, eight of which being new IPs. Apparently there is a Xbox Entertainment Studios which will change television entertainment. This leads into them announcing a television series based on Halo that Steven Spielberg will be attached to. Microsoft will also be partnering with the NFL to feature Fantasy Football options directly on the system. Xbox one will “release around the world later this year” with more details at E3. Microsoft finished their reveal with a behind the scenes look at COD: Ghosts and announced that Microsoft will continue to get the COD dlc releases early exclusively. That finished out the official Microsoft reveal. Since the reveal aired, almost all of the major video game websites have announce more information as well as other developers. Almost every major next-gen game has come out saying that their game will be for the Xbox One including Watch Dogs(Ubisoft) and Destiny(Bungie). Wired posted my favorite Xbox One article so far here. I’ve also found articles mentioning that Microsoft is tying their Azure cloud platform into development for the system so it is possible that games that use Azure features will require an online connection.

Again, we’re planning a duo-cast for tomorrow, so keep your ears to the ground for the heated debate between me and VaderFan.

Koshr, signing out.

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1K Crew Episode 62: Nerd Crew, Move Out!

1K Crew Episode 62: Nerd Crew, Move Out!

In this cast, we brave the beginning of the summer drought with some comic talk.

Topics:

Oblivion (The Movie)

Superman and the Man of Steel movie

Justice League

Iron Man 3

Magneto

Rights to Star Wars games given to EA

What Disney is doing with their IP’s

FTL: Faster Than Light

Street Fighter puns

Halo 4

Robot Unicorn Attack 2

Samifish

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VaderFan on the Couch – Firefly

69153So, just recently I finished the entire series of the legendary cult series, Firefly. My friends talk highly about this series, and I never got the chance to get around watching it. I remember I saw the commercials that were shown on Fox when it first came out, and it made it look like a rip off of Outlaw Star and Trigun, so the appeal just never came to me, despite the fact that it’s from Joss Whedon. I’ve always wanted to watch the movie, Serenity, but after hearing that it’s a direct sequel to the series from my friends, I listened to their recommendations to watch the series first. So, I finally sat down and started watching it, and I have to say, it was an ok series.

I started watching the first two episodes, and couldn’t really get into it. The series were shot like a basic low budget series that would’ve been shown on the Sci-Fi channel. It had basic character plot and development, and the uniqueness of the world that combines the Wild West and Chinese culture is interesting. However, I couldn’t really get into it because of Nathan Fillion’s acting. He was a robot on the set, just speeding through his lines, and not showing much emotion at all. This bothered me a ton since I know Fillion is a really good actor, and great even when he’s doing stuff with Whedon. His character is Captain Mal Reynolds of the ship, Serenety, which would make him the main character for the entire series, the one that the audience supposes to relate. So if I, as an audience member, can’t really relate to him, the whole series falls down. Another thing that bothered me was Summer Glau’s character, River, whose mystery just kept dragging on, and I just wanted to see her stop being a weird child. Also the random Chinese cursing just threw me off.

I told my friends about my opinion of the first couple episodes, they were quite upset, and I got in a heated discussion with one of them who likes to keep things “kosher” with his “fists of fury”. They convinced me to watch a couple more episodes with them, and I still couldn’t seem to get into it. They told me the series does get better, so I buckled down, and continued to watch. Fillion’s acting did get better as the series progressed, so it got more bearable, but it wasn’t until episode 10 that I thought the series was actually good. We get to see more dimensions from each character, seeing them do things that we wouldn’t think they would do, and seeing more human sides to them through their tragic pasts. However, that’s the main problem. It didn’t catch me from the beginning, and I have to wait until later to actually get into the series. The fact that the episodes are 45 minutes long didn’t help either. Normally this is a series that I would like, but I just couldn’t seem to get into it. Maybe the plot and direction seemed way too basic, maybe I cared more about that than the world it’s based, and maybe that’s why everyone liked it because of the world it’s based in. Maybe everyone overhyped it too much for me.

Watching the series I can see how much they based the idea off of the legendary Western movie, Stagecoach. For those of you who don’t know, Stagecoach is what made westerns very popular, and it was the premiere of legendary John Ford and John Wayne. It made B movies great and fun to watch since it has good characters, action scenes, and a very basic plot. I could write more on the movie, but I should make the comparison. The movies and the series have a group of travelers heading to some destination, and both involved a gun for hire, prostitute, doctor, preacher, and a stagecoach driver/pilot. Both involved similar character arcs and conflicts, so in some ways, Firefly is a fan made series that pays homage to Stagecoach. Some of the episodes’ plots also pay tribute to other western classics such as A Fistful of Dollars and Magnificent Seven. However, despite seeing all this, I still had a hard time to get into the series until the last few episodes of the first and only season.

Now, with a series that I just can’t seem to get into, I’d normally be done by episode five, despite what other people recommend me. For me, there’s no reason to continue since I gave the series five opportunities to grab me, but I kept watching for one guy, Jayne played by Adam Baldwin. Whenever this guy does something, whether it’s shooting someone or talking, I just laugh in enjoyment. I keep watching just to see him do something, despite the annoyance or dislike I keep having throughout the series. He brings a sort of balance for me when watching the entire series. I guess I relate more to Jayne than anyone else in the series, more so that I believe he should get his own spinoff called Jayne’s Adventures. It has a nice ring to it. For me, he’s the saving grace of the series, and he’s the reason I think the series is an ok series, not a good or great one. So right now, I’ll finally get to see Serenity, and hopefully I’ll like it more than the series.

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VaderFan at the Movies – Pain & Gain

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We get so many Hollywood movies that are based on a true story, and a majority of them have been changed to make the movie more dramatic or entertaining. Well, it’s the opposite for this movie. The very highly, over the top, unbelievable scenes are actually true, and the more believable scenes aren’t actually true. I’ve read the journal story in The New Miami Times, and I am in shocked with how much the movie got it right. But, I’m going to talk more about the movie and not to make a comparison with what actually happen.

The movie stars Mark-E-Mark as the body-builder trainer, Daniel Lugo, who believes he deserves more in life. After a seminar to teach him how to be rich, he decides to steal money from his very rich client, Victor Kershaw, played by Tony Shalhoub. He enlists the help of coke addict turned Christian, Paul Doyle, played by The Rock, and the steroid obsessed small penis friend Adrian Doorbal, played by Anthony Mackie, or The Falcon. Of course, once you get a bunch of dumb bodybuilders together to come up with a heist, funny chaos ensues. Things always wrong in a heist movie, but this movie takes it to another level. Unlike normal heist movies where it involves a bunch of smart characters, calmly calculating their next move, this movie has just a bunch of idiots winging it as they go on. They fail to capture Victor a couple times by trying to sneak into his house, but abort after they found out he was doing the Shabbat; then try to capture him by trapping him in his BMW, but got the wrong car; and finally they just directly confront him in ninja outfits, and taser him. I didn’t spoil much, since it’s in the trailer, but just the example of the hilarity that is in this movie. And even funnier is that all that actually happen in real life. I’m not going to go into much detail on how they got all his money, but they eventually did and got caught because of stupid mistakes these guys make. One of them being is accidentally killing a guy from ‘roid rage, and leaving a toe with a dog at some guy’s mansion.

I can’t help but see this movie as some sort of dark comedy character piece, despite the fact it’s directed by Michael Bay. Daniel Lugo starts off as a charismatic character, some guy that anyone can get along with, but he has a very short temper, especially when it comes to fitness. He also has this delusion of grandeur, where he thinks it’s up to him to ruin a jerk that has a ton of money because it’s un-American to let a guy like that to be rich. Lugo also gets mad when someone just talks shit about fitness, or his pecks. Then we get Anthony Doorbal who can be viewed as a tragic character for having such a small penis, but he is unlikable because of his idiotic use of steroids and just being an all-round jerk. Then we get Paul Doyle, who is probably the most likable character of the bunch. He is trying to do good after getting out of jail, since he found Jesus, and is the most nice and friendly guy out of the bunch. He was the only guy who treated Kershaw right during his captivity. However, he is so dumb that he can be convinced to do some heinous acts, such as killing a man. Surprisingly, the actors did a really good job in playing these characters. Normally in a Michael Bay movie, actors never really gave a grade A performance, hell not even a grade B, but these actors really performed well.

This movie really works for Michael Bay. It is set in a very wacky world that is his style. His other movies tend to over fictionalize all the action segments, and he kinda over sexualize the women in his movies also. It is hard to find any sort of believability in his movies, but since this movie is based on a true story, we just got to accept everything that happens. It is a fun watch, especially when watching with friends with a great sense of humor.

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VaderFan at the Movies – Oblivion

Oblivion-Movie-Poster-Tom-Cruise

I’ll tell you right now, this movie is hard to talk about without spoiling anything at all. I’m going to try my best to talk about it, but I’m not going to promise that it will be spoiler free. This movie is another great example of a pure sci-fi film. It’s smart, beautifully shot, and tends to be vague in so many ways, that it makes the audience think. If you’re a sci-fi enthusiast and plan to watch the movie, then stop reading and go watch it. It’s really that good. This is your last warning before I ruin anything for you.

The movie stars Tom Cruise as Jack, not Reacher, who is a drone repairman in a post-apocalyptic ruined Earth. He is accompanied by Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough, who is his communications officer/lover. The movie starts off with Jack narrating the background of the world, which is that a bunch of aliens invaded Earth, we used nukes to wipe them out, thus destroying the planet, and moving all of humanity to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Jack has to repair these drones that are being destroyed by the alien remnants, since they defend these giant rigs that suck up the Earth’s water supply, and at the same time, fight the alien remnants, called Scavs. Soon, Jack finds a crashed pod that relates to a Scav beacon, where he discovers some humans, and the drones start killing them. He manages to rescue one human Julia, played by Olga Kurylenko, who seems to be in Jack’s dreams. He is then captured by the Scavs, where the Morpheus character Beech, played by the enigmatic Morgan Freeman, reveals to be the leader of these remnants, and told Jack that nothing is what it seems. From there, plot twists are revealed, and cool action scenes ensue.

I felt like the twist was a bit too predictable, since I had a feeling it was something like that just by watching the trailers. However, the journey up to it is what made it enjoyable. Jack has some sort of relation to Julia, and he tries to fight against everything he knows to find out what that connection really is. The movie also hints that there is something wrong with the situation, since the headquarters called the Tet floats around in space like some sort of emotionless angel, watching over the Earth. Then the drones give off a very scary monster aura, which made me question if man really made these machines or not. Then we get the subtle appearances of the Scavs, where they first look like robotic dogs, then turned into a Tusken Raider and Predator infusion. However, the Scavs look a lot less scary than the drones. The film messes with the audience mind by telling us that the drones are good, but the way they are shot along with the sound effects tells us something different. In a way, it asks us what you should really believe: what people tell you, or what you really see and feel. We also get the theme of the film from Stanza XXVII of “Horatius” from “Lay of Rome”, which is “To every man upon this earth, Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better, Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods.” This is the theme of the whole film, which came in full circle at the end in such a genius and brilliant way, it puts a tear into my eye.

The best way to describe the way the film is shot is beauty. Despite how ruined the Earth is, with every monument that showcase the civilization of humanity ruined and buried, there is a sense of beauty built into it. It’s like a painting that one can stare at, and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the planet. In many ways, it’s like the aliens became the second god of the earth, recreating it in a way that is similar to the beauty of nature. Another deep symbol built into the movie. The action sequences are also cool to watch, since they’re not really super fast paced or confusing. It shows everything that is going on, and it starts off slow, and eventually builds up to giant explosions. We even get a mini-video game sequence on the ship Jack pilots. Jack also runs a lot, which seems to be in Tom Cruise’s contract, since every movie that guy has been in involves him running.

The acting is a bit subpar, since each actor didn’t go all the way with it. Tom Cruise did a good job in having the audience relate to him a bit, but some of the emotional seem to fall short with him. Andrea Riseborough does a good job in making me hate her since her character is a stickler for rules, but one scene of her crying is a bit laughable. Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman, not much to argue there. Then there’s Olga Kurylenko, whose only job is to look worry and be a dramatic push to the main plot. Oh yeah, Jamie Lanaster made a short appearance as a sniper expert/scruffy-looking-man-who-hates-the-main-character guy. He even gets a cheesy 80’s action movie moment near the end, which is always something I love to see.

I have to give a lot of credit to the director, Joseph Kosinski. Not only did he co-write this movie, he also wrote the graphic novel the movie is based off of. He knew how this movie was going to be like before it even started, and he really pulls it off. The beautiful artful sceneries, the great stories, and a great direction really made this movie a pure sci-fi film. If you’re still not convinced in watching this movie, it pays great homage to many sci-fi films in the past such as Moon, Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and some of Phillip K. Dick’s stories.

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1K Crew Episode 61: Be Jewish or Be Angry

1K Crew Episode 61: Be Jewish or Be Angry

In this cast, we learn a few things about life.

Topics:

Soccer

Injustice

King Of Fighters XIII

Deadpool

Star Wars

Perspective

Slender: The Arrival

Samifish

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The Underwater Indie-cade: Risk of Rain

The Underwater Indie-cade: Risk of Rain  

I was stumbling along Kickstarter looking at games when I should be picking up games like FTL or The Bridge to play and I saw a nice little picture of a game called Risk of Rain, which had JUST started its funding campaign. Curious, I jumped in and looked at what they had to offer. “An action platformer, huh? Haven’t played one of those in quite a bit…”. I was attracted by the 8-bit cover art, the interesting title, and one of the pictures on the Kickstarter campaign webpage that had about 700 enemies or bosses or whatever. Being the gaming masochist that I am, I assumed this game to be challenging. Next thing that caught my attention– free demo. “Why not? Can’t hurt, right?”

When I started up the demo, I instantly went into controls, as I normally do with any game. To see controller support on a demo of a game that just started its Kickstarter was a good sign. It definitely brought the impression that these guys really want this game to be as accessible and fun as possible. I don’t necessarily like using the arrows on the keyboard, as I’ve gotten so used to the WASD controls from all the Counter Strike: Source and Team Fortress 2 that I’ve played that any alternative sounded barbaric to me. I hooked up my Xbox controller and started mapping. It took a bit of fussing, but I think I found the best solution. If you would like my layout or if you are having problem finding a suitable layout yourself, just leave a comment or tweet me and I’ll find a way to distribute it, as I do believe I found the best solution for an Xbox-style controller. The reason I bring up the controls first is because I instantly felt the tightness of the controls in this game. I almost couldn’t believe that this was a demo build. The game does exactly what you want and is very easy to get use to, as this is a different-ish feeling game. With four abilities and a jump, there wasn’t much to learn or keep track of, and that helped getting into the fun.

Taken a few steps back, when you hit the start game button, there is a choice of two different playing characters for the demo and three difficulties to play with. There is a nice little summary of the character’s four abilities, as each character has different moves to have different play styles. There is also a hint on how to play each character, giving you a baseline if you have no clue on what to do. Honestly, I have only played the first of the two, commando, because I wanted to get a strong feel for the game and learn how to play the game before I started the other character. Understanding how the commando played, I assume that the same will go for the miner — you need to develop a play style for the character in order to progress. I rather enjoyed this with the commando, as it can be seen that the character can be played a few different ways.  The best part is that the character select screen has about eight empty seats, which hopefully hints at the ability to play this game a substantial amount of ways.

Enough dawdling, on to the gameplay! The game gives each character four different abilities that all have different effects on the enemy. One of the abilities is a basic attack, basically your go-to move which has no cooldown. Other moves, like the Full Metal Jacket or Suppressive Fire have different properties but require a cooldown and therefore should be used sparingly or in certain situations. To top it off, there is a dodge move that will help you get out of bad situations or help you in the platforming aspect. The idea of the game– find the teleporter. Simple enough, right? However, the levels that are produced are a fair size, both vertically and horizontally. Enemies are randomly spawned throughout the level in a certain radius from where you are, ensuring there are always baddies for you to fight. The mass array for mobs is also surprising, another thing that really made this game feel complete. Everything from fat, strong hitting mobs to quick, nimble mobs are included in the game, along with mobs that are a different tier level than most of the others that increase the difficulty of the game instantly. The difference of mobs is very enjoyable, which is a great addition to the uniqueness they deliver. Also added to the list of baddies is the main level boss, which is randomly selected when the teleporter is triggered for use. Unfortunately, after the teleporter is activated, you have about ninety seconds of a mass amount of mobs of all different levels spawning around you and making your life hell as you wait for the teleporter to power up. Thankfully, once the ninety seconds is over, the spawning stops, and you must commence exterminating the stage of mobs, including the boss mob. You will spend a great amount of time trying to deal with getting rid of the mobs, but the boss will just make your life hell. Amazing fun for a game masochist such as myself.

Where the game really elevates its gameplay is the power-ups. No 8-bit action game is getting away without power-ups, and Risk of Rain have a ton of them. I have played this game for about a total of six hours now and I am fairly certain that I haven’t seen all of them. Simple power-ups such as a speed boost or increased health regeneration to crazy ideas such as making attacks explode or lighting the ground on fire as you walk by exist in the game and with fair balancing on the game, it makes the game centered around acquiring these power-ups in order to compete with the increasing strength of the mobs. This is done by either leveling up, which gives you a boost in max health and increased damage, or currency, which is acquired through killing mobs. Both currency and experience are dropped through killing mobs or opening canisters, which are randomly spawned in when the level is loaded. The money is spent on opening chests or interacting with relics(or what I assume to be relics) to acquire power-ups. These are also randomly spawned on the level template, making sure that looking for these chests are a priority in order to survive. This also adds a variance of different play styles, as the only goal given to use is to find the teleporter. Whether you decide to power up first or find the teleporter first is up to you, but both come with benefits  or consequences.  Why is this important? Because mobs get stronger as the time progresses. Even when you get to the next level, which include different mobs from the previous, they keep that same strength, making your play style also a race against the clock. Also, the beginning level is randomized, which is another way to keep you on edge.  There are other things that also add to the gameplay, such as reusable items, but I don’t believe they have been fully explored in the current build I am playing.

A small article, I wrote this thing for a few reason, with the first being to get my writing juices going. The second reason is to attract attention to this title. I do believe that this game is worth being made, and I would love if the indie community would get behind it as well. Personally, I backed this game enough to get into the closed beta after the Kickstarter is finished I am interested on where this game is headed.  I was a massive fan of Minecraft because of Mojang allowing people in on the early builds of the game to watch the game being built from the ground up. It made me feel like I directly contributed with the game, and it was an interesting experience even if it really didn’t. Nonetheless,  I would pay for an opportunity of similar proportions, and I look forward to doing the same with this game. Lastly, as a massive fan of independent games because of the unique design and strong ideas, I feel like it is my duty to be a part of the community in some sort of way, whether it be a direct line to the people on which games to check out or to merely extend my thoughts on the game and to share it with the internet or people looking for fantastic indie games like myself.

Currently, Risk of Rain is doing their Kickstarter campaign now. On the Kickstarter, I suggest reading the summary of the game, watching the video, and downloading and playing the FREE DEMO that the Hopoo guys have provided.  Make a decision on the game, and tell a friend or colleague to do the same if you enjoyed the game. If you don’t have the means to back it, the word of mouth go farther than you would expect and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Link to Kickstarter “Here

To sum up in a few words, this is a fun, exciting game that seems to be complete, minus the few bugs. I cannot wait to see the final product.

Written By Samifish. Follow him on Twitter @1KSamifish

 

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