Rumor – Black Panther to Appear in Captain America 3?

 

El Mayimbe from Latino-Review has tweeted that we could well see fan favorite The Black Panther make his Big Screen debut in Captain America 3 due out May 2016 in what will no doubt be a head to head blood bath with Superman vs. Superman. While The Black Panther’s involvement is still just a rumor, to me it makes a whole lot of sense to have him there in advance of setting up the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What do you guys thinks?

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Kinect Sports Rivals Review

If you’re like me and acquired an Xbox One on launch day, you’ve probably spent the last 4 months yelling at our Xbox using the Kinect since that’s all we could use it for. Sure games like Ryse: Son of Rome have voice commands but they seemed tacked on as an after thought. However, we finally have our first Kinect game for Xbox One Kinect Sports Rivals, this is the next generation sequel to the Xbox 360 Kinect Sports games.

Navigating around the menus wasn’t designed for a controller, but you can use it if you desire too, it’s designed for hand gestures and voice. The issue I have with the voice controls is I have to say “listen” and than a keyword that’s on screen. After I do something like Listen, quick play, it will make me say listen again to perform another action. I disagree with this sequence, since the Kinect knows I just used my voice to do an action, so why make me do that again?

If you’re like me and live in a apartment or condo, you may have a hard time finding enough space to play this game. I have just about 4 feet from my TV to my sofa and don’t have the space to move my sofa in order to play and Kinect Sports Rivals is constantly telling me to move back because it can’t see my feet.

Like the previous Kinect Sports game the soundtrack features artists like Avicii, Daft Punk and Franz Ferdinand. The good music adds to the atmosphere. I really enjoyed hearing some good tunes while playing various sports.

Kinect Sports Rivals Hub is a companion app that I had to download separately (why it wasn’t included in the main game or just on smart glass I don’t know) but it’s the source for news, updates and global competition. The more you play the various sports and challenges, the more fans you’ll earn, allowing you to move from the bronze league (beginner league) to the silver, gold, platinum, diamond or master league (rivals league consists of six different leagues each containing six star divisions).

Rivals offers six different sports for you to play which include; wake racing, climbing, target shooting, soccer, tennis and bowling. The latter 3 on this list are returning from Kinect Sports and have been updated for Rivals.

Let’s start with wake racing which has the player reach out with their right hand, close it in which engages the throttle. Players than move either their right or left hand in and out depending if you need to turn right or left. If it’s a sharp turn you’ll be required to use your body to lean. Want to perform a trick? You’ll need to bend forward. This will allow you to unlock power-ups in the game like force field, speed boost or mine drop.

Rock Climbing has a player use an open hand to peg, close your fist and than repeat with the other hand which will allow you to move up the wall. You maybe required to perform the same actions to go sideways before you can go up. Can’t reach a peg? you’ll need to jump and than grab a peg to continue your climb.

Target shooting is basically move your hand and point at the target as fast as you can to hit it. If your quick enough and you can see your opponents targets shoot ’em and steal their points. Your competitor can activate a power-up that will have you dodging incoming fire but if you get hit you’ll lose points.

Soccer (it’s really called football but that’s ok), my favourite sport is back, and as you expect it’s quite simple to play. Side kick to pass, kick it with your toes to get some air under it or even try heading it into the net. It’s sounds simple but you’ve only got 20 seconds to score before the shot clock runs out. They’ve removed defending completely and I’m not sure why exactly. It kind of feels a little half ass in my opinion. Now it’s time to defend and by that I mean play goal and simply move your body to where the ball appears on screen trying to stop it.

Bowling feels the same like it did in previous Kinect Sports games. Put your hand over your head to start the game, grab a ball from either the left or right side and throw the ball like you would if you really bowling. You’ll need to move your body slightly to align with the arrows on the lane and if your feeling brave after releasing the ball move your wrist to the left or right to add spin to the ball.

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Last up is Tennis. Reach out to either side and grab a racquet, throw the ball in the  air and swing, it’s really that simple. You could also put in some back spin or top spin if you can pull it off successfully (it’s quite easy).

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Besides the issues I experienced in getting the voice commands working properly in order to navigate around the island and the issues with my feet not being seen while playing soccer, I really enjoyed Kinect Sports Rivals. Yes, my Kinect is barely 4 feet away from where I was playing but when you live in a apartment or condo you really can’t change that. Microsoft and Rare need to do a better job of that aspect. The gameplay was fun and I was constantly checking out the Rivals Hub to see how my friends were performing.

Besides the issues I experienced in getting the voice commands working properly in order to navigate around the island and the issues with my feet not being seen while playing soccer, I really enjoyed Kinect Sports Rivals. Microsoft and Rare need to do a better job of that aspect. The gameplay was fun and I was constantly checking out the Rivals Hub to see how my friends were performing.

Feed Your Console Gives Kinect Sports Rivals a 7 out of 10.

Amy Hennig Joins VisceralGames to Work on Star Wars Project

Amy Hennig who was Creative Director and Writer for the #Uncharted series before leaving Naughty Dog last month took to twitter today to announce that she would be joining Visceral Games as Creative Director on a new Star Wars project!

More information can be found here.

Titanfall A Month Later

TF-Panoramic-Overwatchofficially released on March 11th 2014 for Xbox One and PC with the Xbox 360 version coming in April. Here we are, 19 days later and the words “prepare for Titanfall” still put a smile on my face. To me, Titanfall is Call of Duty plus Rock-em Sock-em Robots or some could say it’s Pacific Rim the movie, that came out in 2013. Whatever way you slice it and dice it, it’s a new game on the Xbox One, we all wanted and needed it and it’s been a hell of a lot of fun.

Let me start of by saying I just hit level 50 and did the regeneration thing and I’ve had a ton of fun, some great moments but now I feel like now that I’ve done all that, what’s the point of going back to doing it all again? I’ve played over 50+ campaign missions and I’ve won 24 attrition matches and lost a quiet a few, but I don’t have an interest to go check out the other modes like HardPoint Domination, Capture the Flag and Pilot Hunter. I’ve played a few rounds of Last Titan Standing which is exactly as it says Titan Vs Titan and let me tell you trying to play this mode with random 12 years olds on Xbox Live wasn’t fun.

Introducing the wall running and jetpacks add’s a whole new element and strategy to the game. As a player navigating it’s way through the battlefield you need to be cautious of the high ground when getting killed. I often found my self navigating between running and jumping over the buildings as I found it allowed me to survey the battlefield to get a sense of what I was about to get myself into. I never found myself using the same route to game back into battle. Being able to use a jet pack, wall run, double jump and using the environments opens up so many different routes to get back into battle it was one of my favorite elements.

Don’t worry if you die. You will die lots, spawn very quickly and be back into the action running into pilots, grunts and spectres within seconds. Since most of this game relies on the Xbox Cloud service I was underwhelmed with how unintelligent and easy to kill the sepctres and grunts where in this game. Often, they didn’t pose much of a challenge and more often than not, found myself wondering why they were even in the level as they didn’t seem to help but where more of a hindrance to each team.

As you start playing you will unlock X, gain levels and unlock different weapons and customization options to build out your load. This encourages variety and keeps things interesting as each weapon has it’s own set of challenge levels (5 in general) that allow each player to earn additional XP to level faster. This ability also extends to the Titans themselves where you pick a base chassis of either an Atlas, Ogre or Stryder and build on your load outs from there. Do you want a canon, a railgun or a rocket launcher? These are all decisions you need to pick and experiment with in order to figure out what works best for you. Do you want an agile titan? if the answer is yes your going to go with a Stryder as it places an emphasis on speed and movement to win battles. Are you like me and like to walk into a Titan fight and just start shooting and expect to take a lot of damage in the process of downing another Titan? if that sounds like you, your most likely going to take an Orge into battle.

Once you press to initiate Tianfall and watch your Titan drop in from the sky it does nothing but put a smile on your face as it now it’s time to hop in and kill enemies. Alternatively you can set it to guard mode and have it follow you around and protect you, assist in battle and kill enemies even on it’s own in a reliable fashion. The Titans are not invincible and will die they do poses a shield that recharges like Halo but the overall armor won’t. Once your Titan dies you will have to wait upwards of two minutes unless you start killing pilots or Titans or play a burn card that accelerates the countdown timer for you. Pilot’s are equipped with anti Titan weapons and it makes for a truly interesting player vs Titan battle. Yes, pilots can beat the Titan but you will have to rely on cloaking, hiding in buildings or performing a rodeo on the Titan. What’s a Rodeo you ask? It’s when a pilot jumps on an enemy Titan, rips off a hatch and starts killing it. There are anti rodeo options available for Titan’s as well.

I wanted to share this clip which I titled ‘Run Forest Run’.

Just a reminder that Titanfall is an online only game on the Xbox One so if Xbox Live or your internet go down, so does Titanfall. I understand for some that paying $60 dollars for an online only game maybe a tough pill to swallow, but given the current lack of games to play, I would suggest doing it even if you only play 20 hours or so like I did. It was worth it. Another item to note is that when I’ve had a lot of action going on my screen the frame rate drops badly, leaving me wondering how this managed to happen.

Astro A50’s

astro-a50-wireless-headsetThe few of you that read this blog know that I am an Astro Gaming fan.  I purchased my first pair of A40’s over 4 years ago and you read my thoughts on them here and here.  Simply put the A40’s were amazing but back than hard to justify the shipping and import taxers. Let’s fast forward nearly 4 years and with a new generation of consoles I decided it was time to invest in a new pair of wireless headphones.  I happened to get a good marketing email from Astro showcasing their private store. This private store is for registered Astro owners who can buy products at discounted prices.  I had some issues initially while placing an order and it took nearly a week to get a tracking number. I had emailed customer service countless times and never get a reply and finally got an tweet explaining that they just had switched ecommerce platforms and were experiencing issues. I get that, I work in ecommerce too but that doesn’t explain away the poor service.

In typical Astro fashion the packaging and box were well crafted and that’s what you get (and expect) for a premium product that retails for $299.99 USD. Each box contains; A50 Headset with Li-Ion Battery, ASTRO Wireless 5.8 Ghz Transmitter w/ KleerNet™, Headset Stand, 1.0M USB Power Cable, 0.5M USB Charging Cable, 1.0M Optical Cable, 1.5M XBOX Live® Chat Cable, manual and quick start guide.

The set up is fairly straightforward plug in your optical cable into the mixamp. Then plug in the micro USB into the mixamp and the USB end into the console (I used an Xbox One) this gives the mixamp power. Next up was I had to hold the power button on the mixamp and headphones in order to get them to sync. Once there synced up, your ready to get gaming. Something I really liked that was on my Astro A40’s was the ability to physically remove the microphone cable when I didn’t want to use it.  With the A50’s when the microphone is in a vertical position it’s turned off and if you pull it down, it turn’s it on.

All the controls are on the headphones which will take some time getting used to. I often found myself having to take them off to remember were the buttons where. There’s a power button, master volume button, game/voice balance option and a EQ mode select. The game voice allows you to either decrease game sound and focus on chat, focus on game and decrease chat (if your using it) or keep it balanced. It’s also worth playing with the three different EQ options media, core and pro.  Media focuses on movies and music, core is designed for single player gaming and pro is designed for competitive game play.

The sound these babies feature is amazing; Dolby Digital 7.1 with clarity and performance powered by KleerNet’s strongest 5.8Ghz solution available all weighing in at just 363 grams. They’re not the lightest pair of headphones however after several multi hour gaming sessions I wasn’t bothered or noticing it. When I’ve been sitting on the sofa recently playing games like Titanfall or SouthPark, there have been several times that my girlfriend has tried to talk to me, but with these headphones on I couldn’t hear a word she said.

If your using the Astro A50’s with an Xbox One your going to need to pick up a Xbox One Stereo headset adapter which plugs into your controller and allows you to plug a cable into your A50’s and than into your controller.

One thing to note for players is to keep an eye on the Astro Gaming Firmware page.  The team is releasing updates for the mixamp and headphones and you will want to be sure to keep up to date.

Overall I couldn’t be happier with my purchase, their wireless, the sound is amazing and they work with all four of my consoles. I understand some of you maybe a bit hesitant to spend this kind of money on a pair of gaming headphones but any of you are welcome to come over, pick a game, try them on and listen. If that doesn’t convince you than I don’t know what will.