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Let’s Play the First Hour of inFAMOUS Second Son November 25, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Maniac plays through the first hour of the PS4 exclusive inFAMOUS Second Son with full video commentary.

Make sure to watch the video in 720p HD for best quality.

inFAMOUS Second Son is out now exclusively on Playstation 4.

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Things to Know Before Holiday Shopping for Electronics and Video Games November 25, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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With Thanksgiving upon us, the Holiday shopping season is at hand.  Undoubtedly video games and other electronic items are going to be at the top of most people’s wish lists, as three new gaming consoles have been gaining a lot of ground and releasing some amazing new games over the past year.

If you plan to pick up any of these new gaming consoles there are a few things you might need to know before purchasing them.  At the simplest, this information will inform you in advance of some minor inconveniences you may have with your new equipment, but there are some major issues that can prevent you from using your new purchases if you’re not aware of them.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

  • You must own an HDMI equipped HDTV to use the PS4 or Xbox One.  Neither console will work on SDTVs or HDTVs without HDMI ports.
  • The Wii U will work on older SD and EDTVs, but you will need to use a custom cable that isn’t included with the Wii U to connect it to legacy TVs.  You can get analog cables from Nintendo’s Parts and Supplies website, or use your Wii’s video cables instead if you already own one.
  • You must have a home with high speed internet to activate the Xbox One and install the latest system software.  The Xbox One will not function unless activated.
  • The Xbox One and PS4 can only play any games designed specifically for them to play, and there are no plans to bring legacy support for retail titles to either console.
  • The Wii U can play Wii games, and if you already have a Wii, you can transfer all of the save files and downloaded content from your Nintendo Wii to a brand new Wii U.  However, you will need a home network with a high-speed internet connection and a digital camera’s SD card with at least 512MB of storage to do a transfer.
  • All the modern gaming consoles come with HDMI cables, you will not need to buy extra cables if you just plan to plug your HDTV.  In fact, I recommend using the included cables as they are guaranteed to work well with the console.  Some third party cables can bring audible pops or temporary blank screens during gameplay.
  • You must pay for a PlayStation Plus membership to play online PS4 multiplayer titles. The price is $50US for one year.
  • You must pay for an Xbox Live Gold membership to play online Xbox One and Xbox 360 multiplayer games. The price is $60US for one year.
  • Destiny requires an online connection to play.
  • If you want to buy a PlayStation TV and don’t have a PlayStation Vita, there are a lot of PlayStation Vita games, including several killer apps for the system, which are still incompatible with the PlayStation TV.  Do not pick up a PlayStation TV if you plan to play a game like Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Silent Hill: Book of Memories on it.  Right now only the PlayStation Vita handheld can play those games.  Here’s a link to the official list of compatible games.
  • If you plan to play Blu-Ray Discs or CDs on an Xbox One, you need to download the apps that allow you to do so from the Xbox Store.  Don’t worry, they don’t cost anything to download, but they will need to be downloaded.
  • You must update the PS4’s Firmware to play Blu-Ray Discs, but a high speed internet connection is not required.  You can download the firmware to a USB drive and update the PS4 that way.  You can download the latest firmware update here.
  • If you have an older legacy surround sound amplifier (like a 5.1 system that does not have HDMI inputs), you still can use the PS4, Apple TV, and Xbox One on it to get full surround sound, but you must buy an optical cable and use your amp’s optical port.
  • A lot of new consoles, in particular the Xbox One and Wii U will actually come bundled with full versions of new games.  However, in some cases, these free bundled games will need to be downloaded from the internet, which will require a high-speed internet connection to redeem your game.
  • If you plan to pick up a Wii U or any Nintendo product, check out Club Nintendo to earn awesome rewards for your purchases.
  • Wii U consoles typically do not come with Nintendo Wiimotes or Nunchucks unless otherwise marked that they do.  You will need those controllers if you plan to play legacy Wii titles on your Wii U.

Bonnie Ross Responds to Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s Issues November 25, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Since Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched, it has been plagued by several issues especially wait times during online matchmaking. While the recent content update and server side maintenance have improved the online issues since the game launched, players are still experiencing problems.

Bonnie Ross, one of the head honchos of the Microsoft Halo Team, has actually posted a comprehensive article detailing the current state of the game as well as their future plans to fix the games.

You can read the entire article here but there are two or three really important points. The first is that 343’s priority right now is to fix the game and that will require for them to continue to deliver content updates as well as server patches on their end. Another content update is in testing right now and Microsoft plans to release it later this week.

The other important thing that Bonnie Ross mentioned is compensation to players who have had to deal with the game’s issues since launch. Right now all priority on 343 has been to stabilize the game, she said that after the game is finished they will discuss how they will reward their customers for dealing with the game’s launch issues.

Me, I just want the achievements I earned on day one to finally unlock.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is out now for the Xbox One.

Batman: Arkham Knight Ace Chemicals Trailer Part 1 November 24, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Game developer Rocksteady Studios have had a huge winning streak with the Batman: Arkham Asylum series. Considered to be some of the best superhero video games ever made when they were released, Batman: Arkham Asylum has seen one prequel and one sequel launch over the past few years. But Rocksteady’s story is not over and it has all been building up to this, Batman: Arkham Knight.

We haven’t seen very much from the game since E3 2014, but today the guys at Rocksteady released this gameplay trailer of a single game mission which they promise is just the first part of a longer video. Take a look at what Batman will be able to do when he is able to send in his car.

The next part will be released on December 1st.

Batman: Arkham Knight is coming June 2015 to the Xbox One and PS4.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Cinema Trailer November 23, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a game trailer previewed at my local cinema, but I can’t think of a game franchise more worthy of that honor than Final Fantasy.  The entire franchise has based itself on its cinematic presentation since the 32-bit era, and boasts some of the best music in the history of video games.  With the HD version of Final Fantasy Type-0 just a few months away from release, what better time to bring a trailer worthy of being displayed on the big screen?  Don’t worry, while it will be shown to a wide audience, Square Enix has stated that this trailer was made specifically for the fans.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is coming March 2015 to the Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Podcast November 22, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Podcasts, Site Videos.
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The podcast returns!  This week, inspired by the amazing work of Bioware and Lucasarts, Maniac produced an unscripted podcast about the Knights of the Old Republic franchise.  This is a franchise many have considered an apology for the prequel trilogy, as the first game in the series alone has been considered by many gamers to be the best Star Wars video game of all time.

Like with most of our podcasts, we’re going to talk about the franchise’s history, our experiences with it, and where we think the franchise is headed next.  Enjoy!

If you’re interested in checking out Tony Goldmark’s work including his reviews of the Star Tours rides, you can check out his Blip.TV page here.

If you want to check out SF Debris and his ten part review of the first Knights of the Old Republic game, you can check out his Blip.TV page here.

Super Smash Bros for Wii U Unboxing November 21, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Since its release on the Nintendo 64, the Super Smash Bros franchise has always been a staple of Nintendo’s hardware alongside other franchises like Mario Kart and Mario Party. Now the game is out on the Wii U and it is poised to be the Wii U’s newest killer app.

On the morning of its release, Maniac takes a look at what is in the game’s box for all of you.

Super Smash Bros is out now for Wii U.

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Animated Trailer November 20, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Just in time for the midnight launch of the the third generation Pokémon remakes Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Pokémon Omega Ruby, The Pokémon Company have released this animated trailer. The trailer provides more than just a glimpse into the Pokémon world, new players will get a good look at all of the new Mega Evolved Pokémon that are going to be offered in this game.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire is coming November 21st, 2014 to the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Matchmaking Content Update Coming Today November 20, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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A major system update which is planned to fix issues with Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer matchmaking service will launch later today for Xbox One players.  The update was supposed to be released yesterday, but the game’s developer delayed the patch a day to add a lot more than just fixes to matchmaking, and because of those extra fixes have delayed the update’s launch to later today.

Here is the complete patch log for the third Halo: The Master Chief Collection content update.  You can read the official report here.

Matchmaking

  • Made a number of updates to how matchmaking progress is communicated to the player. With this update, you’ll see better, more frequent and more informative status updates throughout the matchmaking flow – so “Players Found” for example, will be displayed to let players know where they are in the matchmaking process instead of simply wondering if it’s going to connect.
  • The improved matchmaking flow is as follows:
    • Searching
    • Searching for more players
    • Players found
    • Finalizing matchmaking process
    • Connecting session
  • Made an update to ensure that parties stick together when returning from the post-game carnage report
  • Prevented the ability for players “kick” other players from matchmaking games
  • Made an update to ensure that the Roster correctly displays the “searching” UI rather than “My Game Session” while searching for players
  • Removed the possibility to boost ranking through a custom games exploit
  • Made an update to ensure that players cannot get stuck in the matchmaking screen during map voting
  • Made an update to ensure that the “Connecting to your game” message no longer incorrectly displays in the lower right of the screen during gameplay
  • Made an update to the “team creation” phase that allows players to be grouped by team
  • Made an update to prevent players from seeing the “connection failed” dialogue if disconnected during the map voting screen
  • Improved roster / matchmaking lobby stability
  • Made improvements to the accuracy and stability of the “Game Session Details” UI
  • Improved version compatibility

UI

  • Improved emblem and nameplate behavior to ensure that they do not reset to default (especially after game sessions)
  • Corrected career stats that did not update uniformly across different profiles in multiple titles
  • Improved Forge map display names in Theater
  • Corrected various medal inconsistencies across titles

Campaign

  • Made updates to the attainability of various achievements, including “Goat Roped,” “Monopolized,” “You’re Joking,” and “Devastating.”
  • Improved Halo: CE career stat tracking
  • Resolved scoring and time HUD reset and display issues
  • Made an update to ensure that rival emblems are displayed correctly

Halo: CE

  • Improved consistency and reliability of shot registration
  • Improved headshot hitboxes
  • Fixed an issue where respawning players could momentarily appear at their death location
  • Made an update to ensure that the match ends when the entire opposing team quits
  • Improved fall damage consistency (specifically in regards to uneven surfaces)
  • Improved Halo: CE menu and loading screen stability
  • Improved consistency with multikill rewards
  • Made an update to improve post-game carnage report accuracy for Halo: CE FFA games
  • Updated default language settings

Halo 2

  • Made an update to ensure that the team color shown in pre-game lobby matches in-game
  • Improved a variety of networking issues to allow for improved consistency between host and clients in peer to peer matches
  • Improved a variety of networking issues to allow for improved gameplay consistency
  • Made an update to service tag functionality, allowing for service tags to appear for all players
  • Improved the post-game carnage report to correctly display team color
  • Made an update to ensure that the match ends when the entire opposing team quits
  • Improved “original” medal icon functionality in split-screen
  • Improved host migration functionality
  • Corrected “headshot” stat tracking
  • Addressed a crash that occurred with the Scarab skull
  • Addressed art errors that occurred on the opening cinematics for “Uprising” and “High Charity”

Halo 2 Anniversary

  • Made an update to prevent players from gaining achievements in Forge
  • Improved Forge item display names
  • Resolved text overlapping issues
  • Improved split screen stability
  • Made an update to resolve the notorious “-1th” scoreboard text
  • Improved lobby functionality to address players not being able to reconnect to the party leader after completing a match
  • Improved host migration functionality
  • Corrected vehicle and weapon thumbnails in the “Tools of destruction” table in the post-game carnage report
  • Addressed a dedicated server issue that caused gameplay physics issues on Stonetown
  • Improved split-screen party functionality to ensure that players are not directed to a broken lobby screen after completing a game session
  • Improved Forge mode stability
  • Made an update to King of the Hill scoring to prevent multiple hills from counting down at the same time
  • Improved Shrine objective spawn points
  • Improved King of the Hill and Ninjanaut mode stability
  • Addressed an issue where controller vibration could persist during the pause menu
  • Improved Race mode respawn zones

343 Industries have promised that more content updates are on the way, and this looks to be just the tip of the iceburg.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is out now exclusively on Xbox One.

UPDATE: The patch is out now.

Final Fantasy XV Walkthrough and Tech Demo November 20, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Tonight, Square Enix did a bit of an information dump on something that a lot of JRPG fans have been looking forward to for the past few years, the next numbered title in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy XV.  Based on the original design for the highly anticipated but never released title Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Final Fantasy XV is being built from the ground up to take advantage of the powerful next generation consoles.

I’m sure there are a lot of people out there wondering just what this game’s engine is capable of.  Here’s a look at the technology behind the game.

Anyone else having Alan Wake flashbacks?  The terrain technology they’re using looks to be very similar to Remedy’s technology for Alan Wake.  Those tools were built from the ground up to be for an open world game, and from the looks of it, that’s exactly what the Final Fantasy XV engine will be capable of.

If a simple tech demo isn’t enough for you don’t worry, I have more.  Here is a ten minute walkthrough of the gameplay.  There’s not really much action in the video, but it does give a good look at the world the players will be exploring set to a beautiful score.  I don’t know if anyone heard it, but there was a distinct set of notes from a classic Final Fantasy theme at the very end of the video.

It looks like this game will allow you to have four character adventure parties during quests.  I always thought that three person groups were the typical party size in modern JPRGs (Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy XIII for example), but I know Final Fantasy games in the past have allowed it.

Square Enix cannot stress enough that this content is subject to change in the final version of the game.

Final Fantasy XV is coming to the Xbox One and Playstation 4.

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