Tag Archives: PlayStation4

Dark Souls 3 + Invasions = New Controller

angry-gamerOk, I’m not usually one of those types of gamers that rage and rant about silly things like this, but recently I’ve been playing a lot of Dark Souls 3 and enough is enough. I just had to chime in about this topic. Remember, I’m not insulting anyone here or trying to tarnish the Souls name. I’m just bringing up an issue that I have with Dark Souls 3. There is no need to take offense, here. This is just one man’s opinion.

A Bit of Background

I have been a BIG fan of the Souls franchise from the very beginning. I have put so many hours into each successive title, that I have lost count of my total play time. By my best estimate, I have probably put in upwards of 700 hours across the entire series, but that is only an estimate. With that much time in both the solo and co-op modes, I feel as though I have paid my dues and I can legitimately complain about this issue. My main (and so far, only) point of contention here, is with the co-op/PvP/Invasion system that has been a hallmark of the entire series. This is where I start to complain.

Of course, Dark Souls 3 is a fun game; challenging and vexing, but ultimately rewarding. The stunning visuals, the beautiful music, the rich world, and the beautifully convoluted storytelling make this game one to keep and eye on. It is pretty obvious that Dark Souls 3 takes a few points from Bloodborne, but that is not a problem. Bloodborne was a fantastic game! For me, it had an almost perfect balance of speed and agility, with a great co-op and single player experience. The world was eerily dark and foreboding, plus, I was rarely invaded and that was fine by me. These two titles are so similar in speed, music, ambiance and visuals, players will feel right at home in either world. So, after that glowing comparison what on earth could make me angry about Dark Souls 3? Well, let’s find out…..

Rant Time

What the hell is up with the invasions in Dark Souls 3? I am so sick and tired of being invaded! One after another, after another. Sometimes two at the same time! All I want to do is summon my friends and play through an area, but instead of having my buddies come into the game, I get a host of trolling try-hards, looking to kill me and gain rewards! I absolutely hate invasions!

Now, there are only a few outcomes to these types of situations….either the invader kills me, the environment kills me or I kill the invader. Seems simple right? Well, keep in mind that what usually happens is while I’m fighting the first invading phantom, I’m suddenly invaded by another one. Now it’s two against one and I’m already lagging. I’m basically dead. I could try and run back to the bonfire and pull some helpful phantoms, but depending on where I might be in that level, that can be suicide. It is a hopeless and frustrating situation!

You may wonder why I care? Well, because this has NEVER happened to me in ANY of the other Souls games. Usually, I would go through a level, relatively unscathed, discover secrets, fight bosses and have ample opportunity to summon friends for a cooperatively amazing time. Not in Dark Souls 3, oh no! Instead, I have to put up with a host of connection errors that makes summoning friendly phantoms take forever and while I’m waiting I have to contend with multiple invasions. And my God, if I have used the Dried Finger item, it becomes a terrifying madhouse of bloodthirsty invaders. It is ridiculous! What is even worse is that this cycle can go on and on and on, in almost every area of the game. If you are kindled and lingering by a bonfire, you can expect invasions. It drives me nuts! The levels of frustration that I have experienced in Dark Souls 3 pales in comparison to any of the other games, but not in a good way.

Even if I didn’t intend on summoning my friends, I feel like the frequency of invasions impedes the natural progression of the game. It is already very difficult to get anywhere in a level, try adding an almost nonstop flow of Black Phantoms. One step forward, two steps back!

YES, I know invasions are the name of the game in the Souls series and if I don’t like it, I should just play in the offline mode. Well, that is what I did, in fact I stopped playing the game altogether. I got burned out. You might say Dark Souls 3 simply broke me. It also highlighted the futility of the whole endeavor. Why should I beat my head against the wall, trying desperately to progress in a punishingly difficult game, when I repeatedly loose progress, due to invading phantoms? I decided that I shouldn’t. I’m done with online…..

Will I ever play this game again? Maybe, but it won’t be anytime soon and it will NOT be in online mode. I really wish that FROM Software would stop making online invasions such an integral part of this series. Let’s say I wanted to be invaded, I should be able to choose that as an option. If I just want to game with my friends, I should be able to turn off player invasions. Look at Bloodborne, if you didn’t want to hassle with invasions, just kill the Sinister Bell Women. With her dead you never had to worry about invasions in that area. I loved that option! It allowed me to focus on really enjoying the world, the environments and the co-op interactions. I desperately wish that that it was an option in Dark Souls 3. Maybe then, I wouldn’t have broken another controller and I wouldn’t have quit the game entierly.

~GB

Getting Ready for Souls

DARKSOUL_facebook_miniSouls Anyone?

OH MAN, OH MAN, OH MAN! Finally Dark Souls 3 will hit shelves tomorrow (or tonight for all you digital edition and Game Stop pre-order people) and I am very, VERY excited to get into this game. I can’t wait to craft a new character, tryout the new weapon arts and explore this dark and foreboding world of Dark Souls 3. Having pre-ordered the digital edition, I can hardly wait for 9pm tonight when I can start to immerse myself in the chaos and brutality of DkS3. Long live the Souls series!

Now, yes, it is true…. I have been rather quiet on the topic of DkS3. Trust me, that has not been an easy thing to do. Even though I am a HUGE Souls fan, I have been purposely staying away from the majority of DkS3 news. This is mainly so I don’t spoil anything for myself. I want to go into DkS3 with a clean, fresh slate. I truly want all of my reactions and explorations to be raw and unfiltered. I want to be surprised by DkS3.

But, just because I’ve kept a low profile, that doesn’t mean that I have been living under a rock for these past few months. I HAVE heard about a few things that I am excited to see in DkS3.  For example, the news of the new weapon arts system sounds very interesting. It has the potential to make weapon combos more interesting with lots of added variety. I would love to run with a viable sword and dagger build or maybe an Estoc and rapier. There are a lot of weapons to choose from and it will be so much fun trying different ones out.

I have heard that Magic has been revamped. Gone is the standalone Hex line of  spells. This time around they have been merged into both the Magic and Miracle spell trees. This sounds a lot more like Demon’s Souls and I have heard that spells have unlimited uses. We will have to see how that pans out, if it is true.

Also, it appears to me that game play in DkS3 is faster and more focused on agility rather than the slow, more deliberate motions we saw in the previous Souls games, especially DkS2. From the little that I have allowed myself to watch, the game’s speed looks like a cross between Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne with a touch of DkS tossed in. I really like the sound of all of that.

My plan for the game is simple, play DkS3 with an open mind, explore every corner of the world and try to read as much of the lore as I can. I want to get a good idea of what this world is all about and how the prequels fit into the overall story arch. After I have the hang of the game, the controls and the new weapon arts system, I want to go for that sweet, sweet Platinum Trophy. I’ve  earned all of the other Platinums, why not this one too?

Also, I want to experience co-op. It was co-op that made me a fan of the previous games and I hope that it will hold up here as well. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good solo adventure too, but I really enjoy playing with friends. In fact, I plan on teaming up with a few friends and streaming parts of our initial playthough. If all goes according to plan, our fearless leader mjm180wr should post it on our joint YouTube channel the 3GB. It won’t be much, but it should be fun.

Overall, I’m pretty jazzed for this new entry into the Souls lineup. Of course, I have my worries such as is co-op going to work well like it did in Demon’s Souls? Is PvP going to be as annoying, frustrating and jarring as it has been in the past titles? Is this game going to stress cooperation or will it be more of a solo experience? Will there be excessive lag? How easily will I be able to call on friends for help? I don’t know, but I’m holding back any final judgments until AFTER I have some hours under my belt. Either way, it should be an interesting experience and I’ll post something more substantial at a later time.

Now, let’s play some Souls!

~GB

PlayStaion 4 – My Impressions

My thoughts on the PS4

By now, I’m sure most of you have had the opportunity to check out the latest game videos, reviews and editorials on the newest entry into Sony’s PlayStation line up, the PS4. Perhaps some of you have even had the chance to play this “Next Gen” console. I know most of my online PSN friends have been playing theirs almost none stop, since it’s release and even I have had a chance to test it out. Since the PS4 has been out now for a few months, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my opinions on this black, sexy, eraser shaped beast. So, here we go!

The Look

First, let’s talk about the overall look of the console. Like its “Fat” PS3 predecessor, the PS4 is a good looking addition to any entertainment center. I really love the gloss black finish! I was extremely disappointing when Sony unveiled the later incarnations of the PS3. I just didn’t like the looks of the slim versions, mainly due to their lack of any glossy black sheen. Luckily, the PS4 has a good healthy amount of that smooth ebony finish and that is alright by me.

Size wise, the PS4 is about the same size as the PS3 Slim, but far more angular. It really does resemble an old school eraser with it’s prominently sloped front edge. I’m not complaining about the look, mind-you, it just warrants a mention.

Performance

Now, I know that we have just entered into the beginning of this gaming generation and we have yet to really put the PS4 to the test, but already I can tell that the PS4 is a pretty powerful little system. Based on my extensive use of the PS3, the PS4 is quite a bit faster. It opens my games, the XMB and the PSN Store way faster than the PS3, it loads and syncs my trophies in seconds, rather than minutes and it boots up very rapidly. It can also multitask, something that the PS3 could not do very well. You can play a game, download something off the PSN Store, update an existing game, all while chatting with a party over the new XMB chat feature. That’s pretty nifty. We wont have any games that will REALLY put the PS4 to the test until February, but I like what I have seen so far.

Graphics

As we should all expect, the PS4’s graphics are VERY nice. Textures are noticeably cleaner, there is a big improvement in draw-distance, lighting effects and partial effects and running at a native 1080p makes things sharper and smooths out the details. I am overall very pleased.

However in my opinion, it is still difficult to see any DRASTIC or GIGANTIC improvements over the PS3, because all we have to compare, are games that were designed to be multi-platform releases. Games like Call of Duty: Ghosts or Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag were all designed to work on as many systems as possible, so these games must have all been designed with respect to the lower performing PS3 and Xbox360.  It just seems to me that the creators must have had to hold back, in order to narrow the gap between the current gen and the next gen. When we start seeing the huge PS4 exclusive games, I think then we will have far better graphical benchmarks.

The Controller

One of the most obvious changes to Sony’s PlayStation line up is the new controller. I will admit, at first I was on the fence about the new look. I thought, “why mess with the classic design?” But, after a good deal of gaming time, it has grown on me a bit more.

I will say, it is pretty comfortable to hold, not that the PS3 controllers weren’t either. It generally feels very nice and fits well in my hands. The buttons are also improved. The R2 and L2 buttons are larger and feel like they have a greater range of motion, the D-Pad feels a lot better and the touch pad is a nice addition as well. Also, I like the option to plug a headset into the controller, even though I use a USB headset and mic, it is still a nice touch.

However, I do have a few issues with the new design. First off, I don’t like how small the R1and L1 buttons are. They just seem undersized to me. Plus, my R1 button sticks, so that is VERY annoying. Also, my thumbs tend to slip off the Thumb Sticks way to much. I’ve never had that issue with the older PS3 controllers, its just with the PS4. The touch pad is cool, but it takes up a huge spot on the controller face, pushing the Options and Share buttons off to either side. Both of these buttons are recessed flush into the controller (for obvious reasons of course), but they are tiny. This makes them difficult to hit, even when you are actually trying to push one of them. Not really any deal breakers here, just slight grievances.

Problems and Issues

In terms of errors, issues and problems with the system, there are of course a few. What launch edition system wouldn’t have had a few issues. Some issues range from the more annoying like sticky controller buttons, to the downright horrible like no video signal or hard drive failure. I have been lucky and have only experienced a sticky R1 trigger button on my controller. I’m not sure what causes this, but I intend to figure it out. Everything else has been pretty smooth and without issue. (Keep your fingers crossed that it remains so.)

I do have one friend that has had to send his PS4 back to Sony due to a Hard Drive issue, but he tells me that it has been a decently pleasant experience. I guess the technicians at Sony did spend a good amount of time working with him and trying to trouble shoot his issues. Even so, it is unfortunate that he has had any problem what so ever.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I like my PS4 and I haven’t had any real issues that would sour my love for Sony or for the PlayStation. Recently, I have been using my PS3 more than my my PS4, playing games like Dragon’s Dogma, Grand Theft Auto 5 and Grand Turismo 6, but I am confident that as soon as more games are released for PS4, I’ll be migrating more and more to the new console. Until then, let’s hope that my PS3 holds strong.~GB