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Merry Christmas to Our Readers

Nintendo Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas to all of our readers around the world!

Our Nintendo Tree is once again bathing our gaming room in delightful holiday colors as the sound of gaming fills the air.  We have a lot planned for you to read over the next few days including our favorite games of the year, biggest regrets, and New Year’s resolutions as we end 2013 strong! We hope to see you all back here soon.

Best Wishes,

Keen and Graev

 

P.S. If you get anything cool be sure to let us know!

Our Holiday Buyer’s Guide

We’re a little late getting our guide up this year, but that’s because we wanted to ensure we played enough of the games we are recommending. With the launch of the Xbox One, PS4, and release of so many games for the last-generation hitting stores so close to the end of the year, it was a little overwhelming to go through all of the titles and find the best ones to recommend.

If you’re looking for a gift for the gamer in your life, or simply want to ensure you spend that Christmas cash right, we hope our guide will be of use to you. Be sure to ask us if you have any questions not addressed in our guide. Note: Some games are multiplatform but we included them for the consoles we played them on.

Click on the hardware to see our gaming recommendations.

PS4
Xbox One
wii-u
Last-gen
3ds
PC-Gaming

 

Xbox One Impressions

Xbox-One

Xbox One Dashboard

Xbox-One-DashboardThe Xbox One Dashboard is similar to the recently updated Xbox 360. There are three  main screens: The left shows stuff you can pin, the middle section is anything you have accessed recently (like a history), and the right is the Game/Music/Video store.  The dashboard right now feels somewhat bland, having just a solid black background.  We had a similar complaint with the PS4 because there doesn’t appear to be a way to customize it yet.  Finding things can be confusing because some of the options feel a little buried.

Multitasking, a new feature, is a little unclear.  If you have something going through HDMI pass-through you can play a game, then ‘snap’ TV onto the screen to watch both and play at the same time.  I don’t know what combinations can be multitasked.  For example, we’re not sure yet if you can multitask Netflix with a game.

HDMI Pass-through

We were excited to be able to connect our DISH Network through the Xbox One in order to be able to utilize the picture in picture.  We detected a slight difference in visual quality — negative or not, there was a difference.  The big negative with pass-through is that you must always have your Xbox One on when utilizing the device passing through.  That means in order to watch DISH or use the Wii or whatever is passing through, the Xbox must be on.

The pass-through for DISH worked perfectly, though.  It detected the Samsung TV we have (old model) and we were able to adjust the settings.  We told it our area code, provider, and it was able to completely control our satellite unit.  It could pause, fast forward, and manipulate our DISH just like we can with a remote.  The Xbox One utilizes Xbox branded menus for everything if you choose to use your Xbox One instead of a normal remote.

In the end, it doesn’t seem like it’s anything worthwhile enough to make the Xbox One the center of our entire entertainment experience.  If the Xbox One could be turned off, we would have kept the pass-through.

Xbox-One-Kinect

Kinect 2.0

The Kinect 2.0 is able to identify both of us quite easily, and log us into our respective Xbox Live Profiles.  The head tracking and face tracking was really quite good.  There wasn’t an ounce of calibration beyond microphone adjustment.

The voice commands seem…. ‘good’.  We can’t say great because we have already had to repeat ourselves twelve dozen times to get them to work.  Voice commands can control our DISH TV though — that was pretty cool.

We will do a more formal revue of the Kinect 2.0 when we can experience more games utilizing the features.

Xbox-One-Controller

Xbox One Controller

The new Xbox controller is heralded by Microsoft as the best controller they’ve ever made.  We’re not so sure it’s better than the Xbox 360.  The analog sticks feel a little loose and should have more resistance.  The bumper buttons are hard to press unless you click them square in the center which is hard for someone with longer fingers.  The D-Pad feels very cheap, although when in-game it does perform as they claim: Ultra-responsive.  We’re divided on the triggers.  Keen loves them, especially when you pull them quickly and feel the impact when they stop; Graev wishes they had more resistance.

Two new buttons are now on the controller: Multi-task and Menu button.  We’re not quite certain yet why the typical Start and Select buttons were removed in favor of these new options.

Xbox One Controller vs. DualShock 4 – Who wins?

  Keen Graev
  Analog Sticks pslogo pslogo
  Bumpers pslogo pslogo
  Triggers XboxLogo pslogo
  D-Pad pslogo pslogo

 

We will continue to bring you are impressions of the Xbox One and its games this coming week.

PS4 Launch Day Coverage

PS4 Hardware

The Playstation 4 released today, and we have a lot of great coverage planned for you!  Throughout the day we’ll be publishing posts with our initial impressions of the hardware, the games, and our entire first-day-experience with the PS4.  Be sure to check back throughout the day, and please feel free to ask questions.

PS4 Hardware Setup

Gone are the days of waiting in long lines at midnight.  Our PS4 was plugged in and ready to go by 9:00 am thanks to the ease of pre-ordering and stores opening early.  We picked up an extra controller as well.

Opening the box, the PS4 is smaller than we expected.  It lays flat with a nice, sleek low profile.  The power button and eject button are kind of hard to see on the front, but integrated well into the design.

The PS4 came with a very simple power cord, HDMI cable, and one controller.  The power cord is very, very simple and lacks the bulky power brick thing you’ll see on other consoles.

Once plugged in, it booted right up and the simple setup process was completed without a hitch.  Our PS4 connected to our network and the internet flawlessly.  There was a ~360 mb patch, but that was blazing fast. Start to finish the whole process took less than 20 minutes.

Dashboard

The Dashboard is better than the Cross Media Bar, though still a variation of it.  It’s fast, gets the job done, but it’s really nothing exciting.  Compared to the PS Vita, the PS4 dashboard (at least out of the box) is very boring.  We’re trying to figure out how we can customize, if at all, to make it look more fun and gaming themed.

While still in the game, calling up the dashboard is easy, but has been sluggish for us while it loads.  Holding down the PS button allows you to close open apps.  Overall, if they can speed it up and remove the lag/sluggish feeling it’ll be perfect.

PlayStation Network / Store

The store is exactly the same as the store on the PS3.  Downloading titles is very easy.  We found a few games to download for free like DC Universe Online (more to come on this!).  What’s really neat is that they download simultaneously.  That’s a nice change from the Xbox 360 being a ‘one at a time’ process.

There are already two games available for PlayStation Plus members: Resogun and Contrast.  We’re pretty sure you need PS+ to play games online.

Synching the PS Vita with the PS4

Synching the Vita and PS4 was extremely easy.  Just turn it on, enter the code, and the Vita now controls the PS4.  Playing around for a few minutes, the PS4 is now a Wii U.  There’s no delay or latency between the two devices.

We’re booting up some games!  More to come soon.

Experimenting – Excuse the Dust!

For the next few hours we will be conducting updates to our site and experimenting with design changes.  The site will be live during these updates, so if something breaks or looks totally bizarre just know that we’re working on it and should have everything stabilized soon.

If we can get the site looking good, we will keep the changes.

Keen and Graev

Update: We’ll continue working tomorrow. Working on it right now.