Showing posts with label destiny. Show all posts
Showing posts with label destiny. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Next-gen Xbox Series launches without Halo

The next-gen of video game consoles began with the launch of Microsoft's Xbox Series X and S without the brand's flagship, Halo, today. This isn't the first time Master Chief has been missing in action (MIA). Halo 5 wasn't released day-one on Xbox One.

Halo Infinite has been delayed, amid controversy and merciless memes, until 2021 at the earliest. Sony's PlayStation 5 (PS5) launches with Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales in the US this Thursday. However, this hasn't dampened demand for the Xbox Series X and S over the holiday season.

The launch of new PlayStation and Xbox consoles is a welcome respite during the second coronavirus lockdown. So, it's understandable that fellow gamers are eager for something that will bring festive joy in a year that has taken its toll on everyone's mental health.

Retailers GAME and John Lewis had Series X and S stock online this morning but sold out. And friends are reporting, on social media, that Amazon pre-orders have been delayed. Although I originally pre-ordered both next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft, I decided to cancel and bump up the spec of a new iMac (the machine I'm typing this on).

My PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One X have life left in them for the foreseeable future.

I'll be getting Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales for PS4 and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the gift that keeps on giving with EA Play and Destiny 2: Beyond Light from Halo's original developer, Bungie. Also, Apple TV+ is now available.

Have you received your Xbox Series X or S and what video games will you play first? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Microsoft buys Bethesda, begins next-gen pre-orders

It's the autumn equinox, heralding my favourite season of all, in the northern hemisphere and Microsoft began pre-orders for Series X and S (affiliate link) with selected retailers this morning.

Having successfully pre-ordered a PlayStation 5 (PS5), I was ambivalent about a Series X on day-one (currently own an Xbox One X) until yesterday's surprise announcement Microsoft had bought Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion dollars, eclipsing Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm. The latest acquisition brings Xbox Game Studios first-party total to 23 developers working on current and next-gen titles.

"As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Bethesda has a storied history with Xbox beginning with The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. This will further bolster Game Pass, which was already a great value with the addition of EA Play later this year - I can't wait to play The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu expansion. Doom, Wolfenstein, The Elder Scrolls and Fallout will now become Xbox Game Studios franchises.

“This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans," said Robert Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax, in a statement. "We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together."

What impact (if any) this has on the future of multi-platform releases and PS5 timed-exclusives remains to be seen. Microsoft was previously linked with buying Warner Bros. Interactive from AT&T and there were fervent denials regarding approaching Bungie. In related news. From today Destiny 2 joins Game Pass and major expansion Beyond Light will be playable from launch on 10th November.

Unlike the chaos of PS5 pre-orders, Series X and S was a relatively leisurely experience in comparison. The Redmond-based company had announced global pre-orders would begin at 8:00AM local time.

My Alexa alarm woke me early and, as I drank my first cup of tea of the day serenaded by a robin in the garden, I was able to order a Series X via the Amazon app with ease. However, some sites crashed including Xbox All Access partners Game and Smyths Toys. Both retailers stopped taking online orders and urged customers to order in-store. This may not be an option for everyone due to coronavirus and the threat of a second wave this winter.

The Verge and IGN have reported a surge in Xbox One X sales. Microsoft's confusing nomenclature may mean some gamers could be left disappointed when they realise it's not a Series X under the Christmas tree this holiday season.

Microsoft's purchase of ZeniMax Media doesn't mark the end of the company's acquisition trail. Rumours suggest Sega, the Japanese publisher famous for ending Nintendo's dominance during the 16-bit console era, is next. Only a few months ago there were suggestions of a Sega-branded Series X and S being released in the territory. The stunning Shock Blue wireless controller has only added to the speculation ahead of Xbox at Tokyo Game Show 2020.

Did you try pre-ordering an Xbox Series X or S? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Beyond Light on Game Pass

Amidst all the hullabaloo surrounding Halo Infinite and that bold brute. During July's Xbox Games Showcase it was all too easy to overlook Bungie's surprise announcement that current and future Destiny 2 content will be included on Game Pass from this September. Especially as Bungie and Microsoft were estranged bedfellows after a parting of ways following years of critical and commercial success with the Halo franchise.

Longtime readers may recall I was a huge fan of the original Destiny in 2014 and embraced the notion of a decade-spanning story. However, the release of Destiny 2 marred the experience to the point where I stopped playing, entirely, within weeks. More slog than compelling sci-fi space opera and it was deserted of players.

When Bungie broke free of Activision and Destiny 2 went free-to-play, I briefly revisited the looter shooter but it failed to rekindle my enthusiasm. Foolishly, I'd overlooked cross-save and created a new Titan (the original Titan remained trapped in PSN purgatory, her story unfinished).

The Game Pass announcement spurred this lapsed Guardian out of retirement and last evening imported his female Titan - via the wonder of cross-save - from the original Destiny on PS4, to be greeted by a story so far sequence that resonated more powerfully than expected.

An absence of 2-3 years made the heart grow fonder and suddenly I was reunited with old friends; struck at how much I'd missed the banter with Ghost (filling the gaping void left by one of gaming's most beloved characters, Halo's Cortana). After completing the opening story mission for Shadowkeep and a few live events. Shoot me to the moon! It's fun again, Guardians!

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Beyond Light has been delayed until November. However, there'll be plenty of content when Destiny 2's current expansions arrive on Game Pass. This should give new and lapsed Guardians (myself included) time to level up in readiness for exploring the frozen wastes of Europa.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

The future of Destiny 2

Yesterday Bungie outlined the future roadmap for Destiny 2. The online sci-fi shooter will continue until at least 2022 with three major expansions announced.

The Beyond Light expansion is released on 22nd September and focuses on the frozen moon of Europa. This expansion will be followed by The Witch Queen in 2021 and then Lightfall in 2022. The expansions are coming to PS5 (supports cross-play with PS4) and Xbox One X. There are currently no plans for Destiny 3 in the wake of Bungie breaking ties with publisher Activision.

Longtime readers may recall I was a huge fan of the original Destiny in 2014 and embraced the notion of a decade-spanning story. However, the release of Destiny 2 marred the experience to the point where I stopped playing, entirely, within weeks. When the game went free-to-play, I briefly revisited the title but it failed to rekindle my enthusiasm.

Are you excited for the Destiny 2 expansion Beyond Light or is CD Projekt's Cyberpunk 2077 more your thing this September? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Destiny 2 reboots the franchise this September

Bungie's Destiny promised more than it delivered upon launch in September 2014. A so-so story was overshadowed by fun Fireteam adventures with friends on PSN and Peter Dinklage's infamous Ghost. Dinklage was ultimately replaced by Nolan North best known for playing Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series.

Subsequently, Destiny has evolved with expansion packs, but I stopped playing after completing the original campaign and never went back.

Earlier this week Bungie released a teaser trailer for Destiny 2 featuring Cayde-6 (Nathan Fillion) and it was comedy gold. Could this be the sequel fans are looking for?

On Thursday Bungie released a full trailer and announced the release date for the upcoming sequel. 8th September on PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One and PC. As before, PlayStation owners have access to exclusive content before anyone else. Time-limited exclusivity remains a point of contention within the gaming industry. I think it's a mistake across all platforms, but that's business for you.

Bungie won't be revealing any gameplay footage until 18th May. E3 will only be weeks away and presumably the developer will appear on the PlayStation stage.

There are several editions of Destiny 2 available for pre-order and I've already pulled the trigger. Because Beta.

Are you looking forward to Destiny 2 and the promise of a more story focussed adventure? Does it matter that loot won't carry over from the original game? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The quest to find Game of the Year

Tauriel, an Elf Mage, begins an epic quest...

2014 has, for the most part, been notable for video game re-releases on PS4 and Xbox One!

There were no clear contenders for Game of the Year (GotY) as in previous years, which has included Dishonored, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider. Instead, the media was fixated on the PS4's seemingly insurmountable sales lead on Xbox One and the latter's price drop. Where were the compelling next gen games coming from?

PlayStation exclusive The Last of Us Remastered and GTA V for PS4 and Xbox One could be considered worthy of, permanent, pride of place on a bookshelf in their next gen incarnations. And may garner GotY for a second year running from gaming enthusiasts and critics alike.

Bungie's overblown blockbuster Destiny fell short of the studio's greatest achievements: Halo and Marathon. Offering shallow, but addictive, fun in the form of Fireteams. A week doesn't pass by when I don't play an Heroic Strike mission. Only to see teammates and myself strewn, hapless, across the desolate dunes of Mars.

Delays have lead to an overcrowded November, which includes the annual Call of Duty. However, I may have discovered my GotY: Dragon Age: Inquisition. In short, a compelling blend of Mass Effect meets Skyrim. I invested an hour customising my character, Tauriel (pictured at the start), before embarking on the 100 hour or more quest.

Honourable mention: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which meshed Assassin's Creed with stablemate Batman: Arkham.

What say you, fellow gamer?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Destiny Beta brings Bungie's brilliance to the fore

The Destiny Beta coincided with my dad's 72nd birthday and topped off a wonderful day! Once the 10GB download had finished that is.

Last month I got to play the Destiny Alpha and couldn't stop thinking how beautiful the game looked. Clearly developer Bungie has tweaked the graphical fidelity for the Beta build and it's even more gorgeous to look at with exceptional detail and contrast. Lavish visuals underpinned by a sumptuous soundtrack that compares favourably with Halo, Mass Effect and TRON: Legacy.

This feels and plays like a finished game. Seriously. The Beta literally thrusts the player into the beginning of the main campaign and sets up its enigmatic premise, which I won't spoil for readers who wish to wait for the final release this September.

Ride a Sparrow and recreate the Speeder Bike chase from Return of the Jedi!

Peter Dinklage's Ghost no longer breaks suspension of disbelief and his performance is as assured as Game of Thrones.

The Destiny Beta has impressed me so much I've cancelled most (if not all) of my pre-orders during the upcoming holiday season and can't wait to unbox the Limited Edition on day-one! Only August's The Last of Us Remastered and Bungie's Halo: The Master Chief Collection have survived the cull.

Bungie's latest may also be its greatest. Now it's simply a matter of waiting, impatiently, for September...

Have you played the Beta? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Bungie's beautifully bleak Destiny

During this year's PlayStation press conference at E3, PS4 owners were given the opportunity to sign up for Destiny First Look Alpha before next month's beta. On Thursday I received an invite code and dutifully downloaded the 6.7GB Alpha from PSN. Midnight passed by in a flurry of visual virtuosity...

With an alleged budget of $500 million dollars the weight of expectation weighs oh-so-heavily on this new IP. However, developer Bungie and publisher Activision may have a killer app to rival Halo and Call of Duty franchises!

Initial impressions are positive and the game only crashed once! Destiny looks beautiful, Killzone: Shadow Fall beautiful, and evokes Bungie's earlier opuses: Halo and Marathon. There's a Mass Effect and Phantasy Star Online vibe, which compelled me to create a human character in homage to Miranda Lawson. Incidentally, actress Yvonne Strahovski is deftly holding her own in 24: Live Another Day.

Is it me or is Peter Dinklage's Ghost bereft of emotion? The beloved Game of Thrones actor is no match for Cortana or EDI and at times he sounds sardonic, which may or may not be his intention. Just hear him say "It can't be... It's the hive!", without sniggering. Bill Nighy seems to be having more fun.

The Alpha is a teaser of what to expect this September. I played story mode, without so much as a tutorial or context, with several other PSN friends and random players joined in on the action too. Friendly fire is not a good tactic, in the midst of an epic battle, and I wasn't the one firing! Looting is addictive and brings Borderlands to the table amidst the Halo and Mass Effect design cues.

Looking forward to Destiny? Let me know in the comments below.