Xbox One and PlayStation 4 firmware update details (Updated)

Microsoft rolls out another new update while Sony details PS4’s firmware 2.0

Editor’s update: Sony has confirmed that the list on the PlayStation Blog is not the complete list of features that will be released in firmware 2.0 and that more features will be announced soon. 

cyberscooty-updateMicrosoft announced a new firmware update for the Xbox One available today and Sony has finally released a full feature list for the much-anticipated firmware 2.0 update for the PS4. Both companies posted information about what all is included in the updates via their respective blogs.

Over at Major Nelson’s home turf, the new Xbox One update was announced as featuring Snap updates, new friends list features and TV and video enhancements.

Sony’s blog spilled the beans on the newest update for the PS4, including the previously announced YouTube integration, Share Play, themes and a list of new features. Most notable is that Sony has finally added MP3 (and other music formats) support, though it is limited in that music must be stored on a USB device as opposed to being able to upload music to the system’s hard drive like on the PS3.

However, Sony did confirm that music can be played in the background of all games on the PS4, unlike on PS3 where it was up to the developers of each game whether or not to include this functionality.

For a list of new features on each system, take a look past the jump and for full details, visit the Major Nelson blog and the PlayStation Blog.

As always, stay tuned to Sac City Gamer for all your gaming news, information and some snarky opinions from a couple of up-and-coming gaming journalists.

Continue reading →

Driveclub impressions

Our thoughts on this ambitious new racing game, why we think some reviewers may have jumped the gun

forza-5-previewIt’s no secret that Sony and Evolution Studios’ new PlayStation 4 racer Driveclub has gotten off to a rocky start. Server issues and a delay of the highly-anticipated PlayStation Plus version have really upset consumers—both those who purchased the full game and those who were eagerly-awaiting the free version of the game.

While all of this is going on, several low-rating reviews have hit the Internet as well. The game currently has a 72 on Metacritic from professional review sites and a 5.9 from users. For the professional reviews, there are 36 positive, 17 mixed and one negative review.

The real problem I see is with the user reviews. I think many of them are written by angry gamers who either are upset that the servers aren’t working or were waiting for the free version, but since it has been delayed, these gamers are bashing a game they haven’t even played. On the user side, there are 89 positive reviews, 10 mixed and 61 negative reviews as of this posting.

Let’s take a look at what people are saying: 

The biggest trend I’m seeing is a contradiction between the comments and the score. In many of the reviews, the overall score (and even the individual score) is in the C to C- range despite the positive comments. Others criticize the game because of its visuals while saying the rest of the game is lacking.

PlayStation Lifestyle (75): “Driveclub is so visually driven that it looks like they forgot about all the other features people love about driving games.”

Perhaps the launch woes are weighing heavier on the reviewers than they should. It seems like most reviewers are giving the game harsher review scores because the game is having trouble connecting to the Internet. Don’t get it twisted, this is a full-fledged racing game. It has a single player with a career, single races, time trials and a challenge mode. It has customization, plenty of cars and plenty of tracks. And it’s online mode (when working) is amazing. Club creating, club joining, several races modes online, extensive social features. It’s all there.

I get it though, it’s hard to review a game when it isn’t fully working. After all, the game is meant to focus mostly on online social interaction, but at the same time, a lot of games launch with server issues and the game’s score should not be affected by that. Maybe reviewers should have delayed their reviews? If the game had been completely delayed and missed its launch, the reviewers would have done this, so why not wait?

Not to mention, so many of the reviewers are knocking the game for “not doing anything new”. I don’t recall a rule about every game being required to innovate. It’s a racing game; does it really need to reinvent the wheel? Oh, and what game doesn’t have a limited amount of content?

EuroGamer Spain: (70) “PS4’s first exclusive racing game offers a fresh experience, but doesn’t do anything new and has a limited amount of content.”

Then there are those reviewers who maybe just don’t like racing games in general. After playing the game for four hours, I completely disagree with this reviewer. The game is responsive and smooth and it’s a lot of fun to play.

Giant Bomb: (40) “It just isn’t much fun to play. The core act of driving a car feels off in a way that completely put me off of playing the game. Without that in place, the rest of it just falls apart. The PlayStation 4 has been without a serious racing option since launch, and Driveclub doesn’t fill that gap.”

Some users just had strange expectations. I’m not really sure what this person is on about, and why he or she expected the game to be anything like arcade racing series Project Gotham Racing (PGR) is beyond me, I just find it interesting he or she said the game feels too arcade and then went on to say he or she was expecting an arcade game.

By the way, it doesn’t feel too arcade. It’s a nice blend of simulation and arcade, but neither is too dominate. It’s a game that sim racing fans will enjoy for its depth, but that is approachable by non-racing fans because of its arcade side.

User – Odinana2005: (6)  “…I do like the night stages , also The game feels to arcade , give me the option to make it simulated , like in the Forza series , overall , I did enjoyed it , but is nothing special , This game will be forgotten within weeks. After plying it for a few hours I came expecting something similar to PGR ,”

Lastly, there are those who are just angry that the game has had so many issues at launch, so they didn’t even give the game a fair chance. No modes? There are plenty. No cars? I count quite a few. DLC? I see no DLC available for purchase right now, and while the game does have a season pass program planned, what game doesn’t these days?

User – Oberon361: (0) “Horrible incompetent start. No modes, no cars. Cut out all that then still make money on DLC. Bb Dreveslub.”

Our take:

Instead of bashing a game that, in all honestly wasn’t ready for launch, before we can completely try out all of its features, we here at Sac City Gamer are going to wait to review the game until the full array of features in the game is fully functional. As it is, I was able to get online for a three-race series. Unfortunately, the third race never happened as I was disconnected from the other players after the second race, but the races I did play were smooth and responsive – and a lot of fun.

Simply put, my first impressions of the game are that it is a blast to play and that there is enough content here to make the game worth the price of admission. The sense of speed is tremendous and the graphics are stunning.

It may not be a full-fledged, feature-packed single player experience that can compete with the likes of Forza, but you have to remember, the game was designed as an online racer first and a single player game second. Not only that, Forza has been around a long time and this is a new IP.

Our full review will be available in the next week or so, but until then I’d suggest renting the game if you’re a racing game enthusiast like me. If not, then you should probably wait for the PS Plus version to make a decision.

The bottom line is that this game should not be skipped. Don’t take the reviews too seriously (even ours when it comes out). Like with any game, play it first before passing judgment.

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

U.S. PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Games with Gold for October

Check out all the freebies you can get your grubby little hands on this month

It’s that time again. Time for another round of freebies from both Microsoft and Sony. If you’re a PlayStation Plus and/or Xbox Live subscriber, you’ll want to pay attention. Take a look at the lists below to find out which games you can donwload starting today on Xbox and Oct. 7 on PlayStation platforms.

Xbox Live Games with Gold (October 2014):

  • Battlefield Bad Company 2 – Oct. 1 – 15 (Xbox 360)
  • Darksiders II – Oct. 16 – 31 (Xbox 360)
  • Crimson Dragon (Xbox One)
  • Chariot (Xbox One)

PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection (October 2014):

Available Oct. 7 – Nov. 4.

  • Dust: An Elysian Tale (PlayStation 4)
  • Spelunky (PlayStation 4, crossbuy)
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (PlayStation 3)
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (PlayStation 3)
  • Pix the Cat (PlayStation 4, Vita)
  • Rainbow Moon (PlayStation 3, Vita)
  • DriveClub PlayStation Plus Edition (PlayStation 4) (BONUS)

PlayStation 4 gamers can also upgrade to the digital full-game version of DriveClub (check out the new live-action trailer below) for $10 off, making it $49.99.

In addition, Sony is running a deal where spending $100 in Oct. on the PlayStation Store will net you $15 back in early November. Both Microsoft and Sony, as always, have deals and sales throughout the month so be sure to check those out too.

What games will you be playing in October? Let us know in the comments and, as always, keep it locked to Sac City Gamer for everything gaming!

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

Sony to close PlayStation Home

Thousands of virtual avatars suddenly homeless

Daniel Wilson's avatar and apartment in PlayStation Home.

Daniel Wilson’s avatar and apartment in PlayStation Home.

When PlayStation Home was first announced in 2007, it promised a free-to-play virtual space for communication, friendship and fun along with areas to display trophies, ways to play custom music and videos with friends and a plethora of games and virtual spaces to promote current games. After a period of closed betas, it opened for business in late 2008 as an open beta on the PlayStation 3.

Though it never delivered on many of those promises and went through lots of growing pains, the service it evolved into is unique and impressive in its own right.

Now, six years later, Home (still in beta) is shutting down for good.

Technically it won’t close until March 31, 2015 but its worldwide demise is imminent. A Home closure in Japan and Asian territories was announced last month and now Europe and North America will also be a part of that closure, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Sony Computer Entertainment America, respectively. All three regions’ iterations of the online social hub will close on the same date.

“PlayStation Home has been serving the PS3 community since December 2008,” says a message upon starting up PlayStation Home. “During that time, tens of millions of users around the world have grown the social gaming platform into a thriving community of creative and enthusiastic gamers. We would like to thank all of our fans for their support of the PlayStation Home platform over the years.”

For now, Home users can still purchase items and enjoy the virtual worlds, games and dance moves they’ve come to love. However, as of Nov. 12, new content publishing will end and users will no longer be able to download content after Dec. 3, 2014 when the virtual stores will be closed for business.

Sony has promised free content for loyal Homies up until the end of the service. So, get in there and enjoy your apartments before the landlord kicks you to the curb next year.

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

2K Sports unveils first WWE 2K15 gameplay trailer

Check out the new look and feel of the WWE series as it makes its way to next-gen

Screen capture from trailer.

Screen capture from trailer.

It’s no secret here at Sac City Gamer that we love wrestling games.

In fact, we were heartbroken when we heard WWE 2K15 is being pushed back on next-gen consoles to a Nov. 18 release date as opposed to its original Oct. 28 release date.

And though the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game will still make it into wrestling fans’ hands on Oct. 28, having to wait three more weeks for the next-gen version is going to be torture. But we get it, development and polish takes time. As long as the game is as amazing as it looks in the trailer, we can forgive 2K for the delay.

On the other hand, 2K has been pretty tight-lipped when it comes to details about the game thus far, with only bits and pieces of information leaking out by fans who attended shows like Gamescom and GameStop’s California expo. That is aside from the partial roster reveal 2K and WWE hosted recently and some official screenshots and images released by the company.

Well, the moment we’ve all be waiting for finally arrived yesterday as IGN exclusively debuted the next-gen WWE 2K15 gameplay trailer. Weighing in at two minutes and six seconds in length and being accompanied by pure gameplay, entrances, new OMG moves and a plethora of tiny new detail reveals (like the inclusion of Rusev who was previously unannounced for the game’s roster), the trailer is pretty amazing.

Graphically the new game is on a whole other level than what we’ve seen before in a wrestling game. Gameplay looks smooth and 2K seems to be delivering on its promise of lots of new motion-captured moves, full body scans (look at those Wyatts!) and more.

Time will tell if WWE 2K15 will go down in history as one of the greatest wrestling games ever created when it drops on Oct. 28 (PS3 and Xbox 360) and Nov. 18 (PS4 and Xbox One), but for now enjoy some leg drops, dropkicks and powerbombs in the trailer below.

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

Hideo Kojima announces new PlayStation 4 Metal Gear Solid face plates

Customize your big black box with some cool MGS designs

The official Facebook page for Metal Gear Solid has revealed some Kojima-designed face plates for PlayStation 4. Not only is this a cool announcement for Metal Gear fans, but it’s the first time face plates have been revealed for Sony’s newest console. 

These replace the shiny (right) side of the console, which is the panel that covers up the system’s hard drive and can be removed in order to swap out the stock drive for a larger and/or faster drive. No word yet on pricing or a release date on these awesome new creations, but you can check out the picture below to get a sneak peak at the first PS4 face plates. 

For a how-to guide on replacing a hard drive, and now swapping a face plate, click here

Credit: Metal Gear Solid official Facebook page.

Credit: Metal Gear Solid official Facebook page.

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

Sac City Gamer to launch weekly SCG Podcast

Recaps of weekly news and events in the gaming and entertainment world from SCG’s founder

You heard that right! I’ll be launching a podcast soon. The show will be one hour-long (usually) and feature recaps of news and events from throughout the week, my feelings on the current state of the gaming industry and some other entertainment news when it pertains to video games (like news about the Last of Us movie).

I’d love to hear from the SCG readers about what topics they’d like covered each week. Details on when the podcasts will be posted and other such things will be posted soon, so stay tuned to SCG.

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

2K Games and WWE announce legendary grappler as WWE 2K15 pre-order bonus

Sting to lace up his boots in the virtual squared circle with two iterations in the new game

downloadTonight during Monday Night Raw, the news was made official as a teaser trailer announced that wrestling legend Sting will be a part of the WWE 2K15 video game as a downloadable character when gamers pre-order the newest installment in the long-running series. The trailer mentions that Sting will appear in the form of two generations, presumably 80s surfer Sting and the crow Sting from his later WCW days.

In the past, pre-order bonus characters usually became available for everyone for $0.99 after the other DLC packs came out, but with 2K at the helm now, it’s hard to say how similar their business model for the WWE games will be to that of the now defunct THQ.

In other words, there’s no guarantee that Sting will be available any other way, so be sure to get that pre-order in if you want to hit the Stinger Splash and the lock in the Scorpion Deathlock on your foes come this fall.

WWE 2K15 will debut on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 Oct. 28 in the U.S.

In the meantime, check out this awesome teaser video for the man in black, complete with an orchestra of Sting look-a-likes.

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

What if every game was a wrestling game?

Take a look at these hysterical videos and find out!

downloadAnyone who has followed SCG for a while knows I’m a huge wrestling fan, – and more importantly wrestling game fan – so when I came across this hilarious post over at GameSpot, I knew I had to share it with the SCG readers.

Below are two videos done by YouTube member TheBlueOwlPlays that feature audio clips of long-time WWE commentator Jim “JR” Ross shouting his famous lines during wrestling matches but dubbed over footage from other video games. It is absolutely hilarious! Don’t take our word for it though, check out the videos below!

There’s also a bonus video with footage of the new EA UFC game that features hysterical commentary dubbed over footage of the game’s best glitches.

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

The reason I returned my Xbox One

SCG’s founder weighs in on why the Xbox One is an underwhelming console

Xbox One, Sac City Gamer

Photo courtesy Forbes.

I recently decided I’d purchase an Xbox One, but this isn’t a story about how much I enjoyed it or even one about how epic its game library is, it’s a story about why I ultimately decided to return it to the store.

After E3 and Microsoft’s underwhelming showing (let’s be honest, all the companies had underwhelming showings) I was thinking about wanting to pick up an Xbox One and deciding in my own mind whether they sold me on the machine.

I already own a PlayStation 4 and love it. I also own a Wii U and it’s a great system because it has enjoyable single player games, but also plenty of games I can play with my wife. I also have a PS3, Xbox 360 and a Vita, so another game console is not an essential purchase for me. In fact, that’s a lot of systems for a student that works part time to dedicate time to, so each one needs to keep my attention enough to warrant a place on my entertainment center.

As I thought about how I felt about Xbox One, post-E3, I had one game floating through my mind: Sunset Overdrive. The gameplay that was shown at E3 was amazing and as a huge fan of Insomniac games, I was super hyped. I also was really enjoying the new footage of Forza Horizon. I began considering how much I’ve been dying to try out the new Forza 5. I also thought about how cool the new Crackdown looked and how I wanted to check out Dead Rising 3, despite not being a fan of the first two games.

So, I decided to make the investment in the new Kinect-less Xbox One. I picked up Forza 5 with it and headed home. I opened the box and was impressed with Microsoft’s packaging. The controller is absolutely a dream. It took everything about the previous iteration and made it that much better.

My first complaint about the One, however, is the size of the machine. I had a to clear a significant amount of space on my entertainment center to make it fit and even then it was cramping my other game systems. I live in a 500 square-foot apartment and don’t have a lot of room so space is important to me. The size of this machine is ridiculous. What’s in there? An airport?

I hooked up the system and had to wait for a lengthy update. I”m used to this by now, so that’s no big deal. I’m also one of those gamers that isn’t bothered by updates. I enjoy them, in fact. I love that publishers and console makers care about their games and systems enough to update them and fix issues.

Sac City Gamer, Xbox One, Forza

Photo courtesy Turn 10.

Once the system started up, I popped in Forza 5 and took it for a spin. I enjoyed the new rumble function of the controller, but by-and-large the game felt exactly like Forza 4. The Drivatars were a cool new feature but I didn’t notice much of a difference from AI drivers of past games. I played about 20 races and most of the Drivatar action was random and weird, like in one race where one of the other cars randomly drove off the course into a wall. It gave me a good laugh though, because above the car was the Xbox Live Gamer Tag of one of my friends.

I understand these games all feel pretty similar, but when they’re on the same system, like Forza 2 to Forza 3, that’s acceptable. I expected a bigger jump in gameplay, modes, cars, graphics, etc. and it just wasn’t there. The graphics were decent, but certainly not as good as videos and screens made them out to be. Besides, graphics only go so far, especially in a racing game where gameplay is always number one priority. The game didn’t feel different enough to warrant playing it on a next-gen system. I feel like it could have been done on the 360.

Next I played a few demos. I was disappointed with Dead Rising 3, but like I said I’ve never been a huge fan of the series so that’s to be expected. However, what really shocked me was the terrible graphics. The game looked bad. I’ve played several PS4 games and expected it to be on par with next-gen Watch Dogs, Metal Gear Solid and games like Infamous: Second Son, but it wasn’t. It looked bad. The gameplay felt nice with the new rumble function but overall I didn’t really like the game.

I played a few other demos and games: Zoo Tycoon, Powerstar Golf (which felt like nothing more than a Hot Shots Golf clone, not a bad thing, but it gave me more of the ‘nothing new’ feeling) and then I played some Killer Instinct. Now, let me explain that this was another one of the major reasons for me buying the Xbox One so it was a big let down that the game wasn’t very good. I played one fight and was not only bored with the game, but I was also extremely underwhelmed. I wanted it to be great, but it just wasn’t. Then when you take into account the pay wall for more fighters, it just didn’t seem worth it. I have a whole shelf full of fighting games and this game didn’t do anything different.

Next I played Halo: Spartan Assault and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, both of which were free on Games with Gold. Halo was a great little game and Max was interesting. However, despite them being free on Xbox One, they are both available on Xbox 360 if I really wanted to play them.

Basically, where I’m going with this is that as I played around with the system and tried out some games, I began to realize I made a mistake buying this system. It’s just so much of the same.

And to be fair, so is the PS4, but at least the PS4 is promising new titles in the series I love most like Little Big Planet, Uncharted and more. At least PS4 will have new games like Drive Club, a game that isn’t just the same ole racing game reiterated with a new number on the end of the title. At least I know as someone who enjoys Uncharted, LBP and Infamous over games like Halo, Fable and Gears of War (nothing against these series, I’ve just never enjoyed them, not even on 360) that I’ll have plenty to play in due time with the PS4.

Not to mention the UI of the Xbox One wasn’t very good. It felt very much like 360’s and had a lot of errors while I was using it. Also, the hitting the B button to go back to the previously played game function is an annoying feature that caused me to accidentally start up Forza 5 about 10 times when I wasn’t intending to do that.

It turns out that the Xbox One just isn’t for me. Not right now. Sunset Overdrive and the new Crackdown look great, but they are pretty far off. Forza 5 is a great game, albeit even if it is so similar to Forza 4. Dead Rising 3 could even be fun to kill some time with when it drops in price. And of course, the Games with Gold program will continue building up my library between now and the time that some of those other games release.

Please understand, I’m not knocking the Xbox One. I didn’t even try the TV functions or try out Snap or any of those features and I didn’t buy a Kinect so I can’t comment on those things, but overall it just felt like more of the same, the games just aren’t there right now and I ultimately decided I’d rather wait to spend the money until I can get some more enjoyment out of the system.

Still the same, if Microsoft doesn’t realize they need more than just rehashes of the same ole series to win fans back and sell Xbox Ones, their new console is going to continue to trail Sony.

At least Sony did a good job of introducing some new titles like The Order and Bloodborne, Drive Club, The Witness and more, but they too need to stop riding the coat tails of the same series they’ve made money on before. Gamers want new, unique experiences, especially when it comes to sinking money into those expensive new consoles.

The biggest problem I had with the Xbox One was that there weren’t any experiences I couldn’t have elsewhere. None. Sunset Overdrive won’t be enough to hold up the entire system. They’ll need to do better.

Maybe MS and Sony should take notes from Nintendo, they’re starting to get the idea…

Want more from Sac City Gamer? Visit us on Twitter and Facebook!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 300 other followers

%d bloggers like this: