Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Getting the most out of your Gaming Console - Tips and Tricks!

You’ve torn off the wrapping and now it sits before you; your new console is a wonder to behold.  You’ve read the reviews and you know what it can do.  All you want to do now is start playing, but hold on a minute, this is a device that has so many more facets than the previous generation; are you sure that you are really getting the most out of your console?

The Xbox One has been designed as more of a total entertainment system than the PS4, but they both have a swag of tips and tricks that can make using them a far more immersive experience.  Before you just play it, see what other things you can do with it.  For example:

Get free games for Xbox One.  The Xbox store has loads to download, and with many games in beta form, you get to try before you actually commit to spending a significant amount on it.  Some games need a gold account while others are completely free, but all of them are likely to give you a good idea of what you will be getting.

Use your smartphone as a keyboard on PS4.  Entering text strings has always been a bit laborious, even with a dedicated keyboard, but now you can pair your smartphone with your console using the same PSN ID number, you can use your phone to input text on the second screen option.  Just hit the keyboard icon and you are away.

Stream games to your PS Vita.  Inputting text is not the only thing that you can do with a paired PSN ID; you can stream whatever game is spinning on the PS4 to your PS Vita handheld console, so Destiny in the bath is a distinct possibility.

Show the world your best bits.  Xbox One has a wonderful side app that allows you to record and save the last thirty seconds of gameplay, so if you’ve just performed a full 720 double kickflip and Pop shove it, you just yell ‘Record it!’ at your One and save it to prove the fact to unbelieving friends.

Get your Save Games anywhere.  With an internet connection, you can access your save games from any Xbox One console, as all of them are saved to cloud storage.  That means that if you can access the cloud, you can also reach your save points, so pick up where you were round your friend’s house!

Share your feats online with PS4.  The Sony console has both Ustream and Twitch installed you can share your gaming adventures with friends over the internet.  The built-in share button allows you to either stream your gameplay on either of the platforms, or add straight from the PS4 camera.  Depending upon which game you are playing, connected viewers are also able to add commentary on your exploits.

Play your PS4 Games on Xbox One.  While it’s not an ideal situation, you can connect your PlayStation through your Xbox via the HDMI connector.  Not sure what advantages it brings but hell, it’s exciting!

 The new generation consoles have so much to offer in terms of connectivity and apps that it would take ages to cover them all.  Some aspects are better than others, but you can be sure that you will continue to be amazed for some time to come.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Disney Infinity 2.0 Superheroes of Choice

Charging around Manhattan with a Mjolnir firmly in my grip and lofted above, I feel I can take on anyone and anything, though the Ice Giants rumbling towards me might take a bit of a beating.  I am Thor, Norse God extraordinaire, and they are going to wish they had stayed in Asgaard.  Hang on tight; Disney Infinity has gone all Marvel Superheroes!

The current craze with Skylander-type figures continues unabated, with more companies planning similar game types, and Disney now cashing in on its previous success with Disney Infinity 2.0: MarvelSuperheroes. For those not fully up to date with this gaming trend, the figures are mounted on a supplied base and then become major figures within the game.  Swapping figures on the base also swaps them on the screen, so you can switch as you like through the storyline.  The pack comes with game discs which can be stacked under your selected figurine to add new features and abilities to the play character. The whole lot adds up to tons of fun!

While the whole Marvel set consists of Iron Man, Loki, Hulk, Falcon, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and Hawkeye, the starter kit comes only with Thor Iron Man and Black widow, with the other characters costing around £19.99 each.  The pack also comes with the Disney Infinity base on which to mount your play figures, a play set piece, two toybox game discs, and a webcode card.  The whole package adds up to hours of fun, which is expandable with new figures from the range and extra game discs. 

The game has a story mode – something to do with stopping Loki and his army of Frost Giants from levelling New York – which is only a few hour of gameplay and actually quite a weak part of the overall experience.  Where this the only means of using the Disney Infinity kit then it would get a big suck from this reviewer, but it’s not and the real genius behind the system is the Toy Box mode which allows you to construct, destroy, and reconstruct till your heart’s content.  But a little caution is needed here; while the Toy Box is a hugely fun element to the overall game, it’s also pretty complex, with options laid on options so it takes a fair bit of practice to be able to make something that not only looks good but is also fun to play.  Once you build, you can insert your players via the figure stand and create all sorts of side games and adventures.  You can get varying levels of help from the system and at the start it is well accepted as it gives you the opportunity to see what can be achieved.

Disney Infinity 2.0 is a great game but one that is a little flawed.  It has flaws in the pedestrian storyline, it had flaws in the powerful Toy Box mode in as much as it’s not as easy to use as you would hope, and it has flaws which seem to make it freeze and crash randomly.  Those are pretty big issues, but even when considering them, the whole package comes out on the plus side.  The game is hugely fun to play and with game discs adding an almost infinite number of alteration to the basic play, one that many will be playing for months to come.