Destiny, Far Cry 4, Gaming, Gears of War, Kinect, Xbox, XBox One

Pop Goes the Weasel

Old Saint Nick was a sweetheart this year. He left a shiny new Xbox One under my tree, so I am guessing I have been an extremely good girl this year. ūüôā¬† The holiday season was a busy one, as usual, so while the¬†XBOne and I haven’t been properly introduced as of yet, we have fooled around a bit. The console itself is bigger than the 360. It reminds me a little of the original Xbox. Just more sleek. The dashboard is similar enough to what I’m used to that I had no problems navigating it and neither will anyone who may have purchased Xbox One as their first gaming system. It did come with a Kinect¬†which I have not tried out yet. I’m sure I will not be disappointed when the time comes. I am told by others that the Kinect will allow for voice control over the system as well as hand comands, Skype and of course, one is necessary for the truly interactive¬†physicality¬†of Kinect games, such as Just Dance, Xbox Fitness or The Fighter Within.

The first game that I plugged into my new console was Far Cry 4. I was a huge player of its predecessor so my expectations were high and I am happy to say that I am not disappointed. Ubisoft has once again delivered a beautiful game with colorful characters, an interesting storyline and loads & loads of stuff to do. Straight from the opening scene, the excitement and adventure is rich and intriguing. I know that this game will be in my tray for quite a while and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys shooters.

The next game that I tried on the¬†XBOne was Destiny¬† I know, I know, you have heard me bitch about this game and as I have explained, I’m still spinning it on 360. Mostly for the multiplayer value. Just so happens, my cousin also moved on to the next-gen console at Christmas and he made sure to provide me with a copy of Destiny so we could take this journey together. Games for the XBOne must be installed and this does take a little time. Next I had trouble connecting to Destiny servers but who doesn’t these days? Even Dinklebot looses signal in the Ocean of Storms story mission. Between Bungie’s Zoo (baboon, elk, rabbit, kingfisher, sheep, weasel, Marion Berry, etc.)¬†& asshole hackers, I had a difficult time getting this version of Destiny to load. When I finally did get to play…wow! The graphics “pop” and are much more pristine than in the 360 version. All of my Destiny 360 content moved over to the new console effortlessly and even the DLC, The Dark Below downloaded without me having to repurchase the season pass. This I was thrilled about! It saves me money and it makes it easy to bounce between platforms depending on my mood and who I’m playing with. That being said, I would not mind spending more time on the XBOne version, if I could ever get to the servers. Eight out of ten times when I try to play Destiny on¬† XBOne, I can’t, even though I have done an uninstall/reinstall. Thank my lucky stars I have Far Cry to fall back on during these times.

Even though I have plenty of new “shinys” to explore, examine and experience (all of which you will be hearing about in the near future), tonight, my friends and are going old school. We are spinning my first love, Gears of War 2 as well as a little Gears 3, just to get the party star-ted. ūüôā Yes! It’s¬†officially game night ’round here and I for one cannot wait to be back in the arms of Marcus Fenix as¬†his frag-taggin’, two-piecing, cog-lovin’, death-defying, killing machine, femme fatale!! It’s going to be a BLAST!

See ya’ll on the box! Stay warm & stay real!

Peace

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Gaming, Xbox

Destiny ~ Dinklebots, Space Turtles & The Quest for Exotica

“They blow up planets & moons just for being in their way” ~ Little Light

After an extended hiatus, I am back to discuss Bungie’s latest and greatest, Destiny. Seriously, is there anyone on the planet not talking about and playing¬†this¬† amazing MMO? Yes, I actually used amazing and MMO in the same sentence. My how times are a-changing!

When I first put this game in the tray of my Xbox, I was totally skeptical about the amount of enjoyment I personally would derive from a massive online multiplayer. I usually don’t dig this type of platform for reasons I have explained previously. Too, the masses seemed to be overly stoked about the release of this game. Rumors of the development budget seemed so inflated that I suspected the potential for disappointment was enormous. I was wrong.

From the first scene, I was blown away by the beauty. Graphics have come a long way since the days of PacMan and Sonic the Hedgehog. There are lots of examples of amazingly aesthetic games to come down the pike in the last several years, no doubt. But…breathtaking! That is the only way to describe the world that Bungie has created

For anyone who hasn’t yet experience it yet, let me give you a quick synopsis. Destiny is a 1st person shooter. The game begins with a Ghost reviving you to life as a Guardian, for you have been found worthy to help win the fight against¬† invading and destructive¬†forces that are at war throughout the universe. Planets such as Venus and Mars have become inhabitable & as the story usually goes, society crumbles. It is up to you and others who have been recruited to bring order to the universe once again.

Tower is the only sanctuary to be found for a Guardian. It is the social hub of the Destiny world. Here you will find Vanguards for your chosen class (Titan, Hunter or Warlock) ¬†and race. (Human, Awoken or Exo) The Vanguards will supply you with class based items, for a price, of course. Also you will find the Postmaster who gives you messages containing rewards periodically. The Cryptarch is also here. He give you cash (glimmer) for finding encoded items and will decipher engrams that you may pick up during gameplay. Usually these will become armor or weapons. There is also a Gunsmith ( which I find to be totally useless for the most part) a bounty board, where you can pick up bounties to complete for marks and reputation either as a Vanguard, Dead Orbit, Future War Cult, New Monarchy¬† the Crucible or the Queen. The latter I am told is a limited time event, which may come back into play at some point. At the date of this writing, the queen’s bounties and wrath are still accessible. Marks are used to purchase weapons and armor from said factions. There are others to be found on Tower, such as a Shipwright and¬†Voice¬†of the Traveler, etc. Tower is also where the Guardians hang out in their down time. Avatars can dance, point or wave to each other and most do so without prejudice, in trees, off rails and sometimes on tables or atop the beloved post office. The term “getting served” has now entered my vocabulary & I must say there is something to be said about the comradery found in “busting a move” with randoms.

The foes you come up against come in some unique shapes and sizes. The Fallen, The Hive, The Vex and The Cabal. All present their own type of hell for those who oppose them. My arch enemies are definitely the Hobgoblins, a robotic demon with a devilish tail. Something about the image of this creature and the sounds that they make invade the part of my brain that invokes terror and I play with a kill on sight mentality when it comes to these Vex warriors. Cabal are my favorite characters to go up against. They are 800 lb. space turtles, who are totally militarized and wear awesome jet boots which allow them to jump amazing distances with grace. They make excellent headshot targets.

Throughout the game, be sure to look for and collect dead ghosts, chests, and items such as Spirit Bloom and Relic Iron. Some of these are necessary for upgrades and achievements and you never know what kind of lovely loot may be inside a found chest, especially a golden one.

The modes of this game is one of the features I love most. Story mode or Patrolling can be done alone or with up to 3, Strikes are done with fireteams of 3 (buddies or randoms) and Crucible is totally live warfare. I have not tried Crucible mode yet. Getting my ass whooped by others who have weapons and armor that I have no access to and that is much better that anything I can hope to own anytime soon is not my idea of a good time. I generally prefer a level playing field where victory or defeat is determined by skill not gear. In all fairness though, I am told that level advantages have been turned off on some modes of live gameplay. I personally have not experienced this and truly have no plans to do so in the very near future. Although my regs are determined to drag me kicking and screaming if they must to the carnage called Crucible. That being said, I LOVE this game! The addiction level is definitely high. Bungie did a great and amazing job with this one. There is something for every type of gamer to be found in Destiny. For this alone, I give it 5 stars or thumbs up or whatever term one would use to say Yes! I recommend this game!

On a side note: no matter how close to perfection there are always some things that one would choose to tweak if possible. My list would include changing the color of the names of randoms. Currently, teammates are pale green and randoms are pale blue.¬†I am an “artist” with a trained eye for color and still I find myself following some random around during a mission because the colors are too similar for distinction. Bungie should make teammates color something from the other side of the spectrum such as yellow or orange. Also, there are time when I wish I could give teammates gear. I understand that the inability to do so helps hold the integrity of the game and I respect that, but I have so far received 5 exotic gear drops that were not for my class. ( I am currently playing an Awoken Hunter with a Gunslinger subclass) I have no choice but to dismantle or bank these items for characters I may or may not create in the future. And lastly, if I could, I would make the engrams that drop actually hold gear in the color of the engram dropped. Green is uncommon, blue is rare, purple is legendary and gold is exotic. It is extremely disappointing to pick up a purple engram only to have it decoded into a blue or green weapon or piece of armor. This is a within game issue, having nothing to do with the player or how the game is being played, and in my opinion is an epic fail in an otherwise exceptional game.¬† These are all small issues and aggravations that in no way detract from the exhilaration of all things Destiny. If you haven’t yet picked up your copy, I recommend doing so immediately. You will not be disappointed.

I will leave you today with a silly list of terms and nicknames that my crew and I have come up with during gameplay. We all tend to do this & it does make “slaughter” more entertaining and in game communication more precise, at least to us.

1. Dinklebot ~ The term of endearment we use to address our Ghost, the ever-present, pocket-sized bot that accompanies and guides you thorough out the game. We also refer to him as Little Light.

2. Space turtles ~ the name we have given the Cabal simply because they invoke images of he beloved Ninja Turtle and they fly with the grace of a Ringling Brothers trapeze act.

3. George Foremans ~ the nickname we have given to Fallen Shanks. They look like flying George Foreman grills, waffle irons or toasters. You choose.

Reminder: When you pick up the game or if you already have, don’t forget to register at Bungie.net. Not only can you show off your character and achievements, but you can also hook up with other Guardians, find out more about the history and story of the game through collected Grimore cards, form a clan and keep up with all things Destiny.

Happy hunting! And may all your loot drops be EXOTIC!

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