The Rise of the Machine or 4 Months with my XBOX

Originally posted 2017-01-17 12:00:12.

So it has been 4 months since I picked up my shiny new Xbox One. Whilst it is my prized possession it is not the Holy Grail or Utopia any more. I have become used to it’s little habits and have several games installed. I would still recommend it unless your need to own the latest and best is the overriding factor. With new offerings from Sony and Microsoft pending it may pay you to wait. For me these will be machines to push VR. That is, to my mind, a gimmick. Look at the Kinect. The Xbox One doesn’t even have native support for something MS pushed as the greatest thing to hit consoles ever. I can’t see myself shutting my head in a tight band with screens. It would also make you look extremely silly thrashing around on the sofa (Or worse still the bus!!!). Maybe it will take off but most see gaming as a social activity and wouldn’t want to be shut away in a world of their own. I think MS see Project Scorpio as a PC killer.

It is also worrying that they are launching two machines in a year. That might mean that the ONE will be for gamers who like a disc drive for second hand games while Scorpio will hail the age of Downloaded games and streamed video only. If the Scorpio has no built in drive it would herald the end of the second hand market. Even the Xbox One has fewer disc based games compared to the 360. Compare the shelves in the second hand games store. There are hundreds for 360 but only a few shelves for the ONE. Also no one seems to have produced the killer game for the ONE (As with Halo and COD on the 360.) Most are compilations and re-masters or new editions of fairly tired franchises.

On this subject I treated myself to AC Syndicate before Christmas and have played it a fair bit. There was a pop-up shop set up locally when it was released and I got a look at it then but it has to be said that playing it was a different situation. Melee feels clunky, Free running a chore and even the trademark ‘Leap of Faith’ has slightly different controls. When you  are used to L stick-right trigger and A you fail more often than not. The animation, as with Unity, makes you wonder if  you have actually done it there is such a lag.

The missions are complicated and attempting some missions requires knowledge of history to understand why you are doing them. It is still an OK game but not the fantastic immersive experience I had pictured. Maybe I expected too much.

I also bought Battlefield One but have only played the beginning of the first  mission. I have seen enough to know that some of the graphics which were part of the advertising videos are in fact part of the (Paid for!!!!) DLC packages but it seems OK. It is a trifle dismal. World War 1 was a war which few survived but this is a game. When you are assured from the outset that you WILL die and the opening scene is a compilation of several soldiers crossing a war ravaged field of mud and being cut down often, it does make you feel hopeless about progressing further. Again it seems that the graphics are great, gameplay good but if you bought the hype you will not get everything that was promised. It all felt like Dark Souls but you expect that to be dismal. Having said that WW1 as your subject was always going to be difficult to pull off.

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The surprise winner from the games I have bought was Witcher 3. It is huge. In terms of value for money it gets 10/10. As with any game featuring Melee and magical combat, initially a short Grandma armed with a knitting needle and a book of herbal remedies can beat you. You soon get over this by XP, armour and weapons. There are quests. There are quests within quests. There are quests which are affected by other quests. There are people whose lives are altered by your decisions. Witcher contracts, lots of Witcher contracts. There are extended hunts for various armour sets. There is a lot of comedy and some sexual scenes and there is gore by the bucket so not for under 18’s. There are people as you race around who make humorous remarks. Generally all human life is here.

I have exhausted most of the game and have moved on to the endgame. This is my only complaint. You get a warning when you pass the point of no return and you begin to get the feeling the end is very linear, while in fact there are other opportunities for even more quests. Added to this the Bosses you must fight are nearly indestructible near the end. I have the feeling that I will be stuck on this for ages but I have plenty of other stuff to play.

I can’t emphasize enough how massive this game is. They say there are a 100+ hours if you just play it through. If you explore there is a lot more.

I have also just downloaded this…….

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See you all later…..