Tag Archives: 4K

Super Lucky’s Tale review

A lot is asked of modern 3D platformers, largely because the giants of the genre have perfected so many of the mechanics of these terrific adventure games. Bright and welcoming visuals and audio, intuitive and clever level design, likeable characters, tight and responsive controls, and a 3D camera that’s quick and easy to manoeuvre yourself but dynamic enough to follow you and twist and turn at the right moments. Super Lucky’s Tale only really gets some of these elements right, but despite the odd blunder with those it struggles with, it’s still an excellent 3D platformer.

You take control of an adorable fox, on a quest to defeat a family of fiendish felines as they mean to take control of an all-powerful book and take over the world. It provides enough of a narrative drive to push the experience forwards but it certainly lacks the chops to enthral you. Fortunately, it can take a back seat, offering the occasional opportunity for a gag from one of the cats or a tip from your sister in regards to mechanics. It’s the joy of platforming and collecting that truly keeps you coming back.

However, the joy of the platforming is frequently threatened by the aforementioned blunders with the mechanics. It can occasionally feel a little sluggish moving Lucky around, particularly when jumping. Additionally, the camera isn’t free moving and turns in fixed degrees. This can make some areas a little tricky to see and manoeuvre within. Fortunately, the areas you’re exploring are on the small side. Indeed, Super Lucky’s Tale provides themed hub worlds, with doors leading to small self-contained levels. It’s a smart design that helps mark your progress and makes the camera control less frustrating. Moreover, levels take on one of two forms: a 3D environment to explore or a 2D level to scroll through. There’s also variety beyond that, with levels offering different mini-quests, some triggered by denizens of each level and some automatic, such as fetching objects for characters or auto scrolling levels forcing you to react accordingly. It’s pleasantly varied.

We also encountered some performance issues when running on an Xbox One S. Switching to the Xbox One X, however, cleared that issue up completely and granted jaw droopingly crisp visuals to boot. This, however, did introduce a more novel problem: a sense of overwhelming. Super Lucky’s Tale is utterly crammed full of objects, flora and fauna, all beautifully animated and sporting vibrant colours. It makes each frame remarkably busy, offering such a huge array of things you can interact with it can be a bit too much to comprehend. Largely, these are in fact just decoration or destroyable objects hiding trinkets, the rest is superfluous but gorgeous, and a plausible reason for the frame rate issues on the older Xbox hardware. You do eventually get used to it, and despite it being initially overwhelming it’s a marvellous reaction to have to a game’s visual design.

At the core of the experience is collecting four-leafed clovers from each level, unlocking boss fights and defeating the gang of cats. Each level challenges you to find four clovers, each requiring different criteria to be completed. It’s a little on the obtuse side, initially, offering little clue as to how precisely to unlock each clover, but some trial and error soon fixes that. Even the controls are a bit of a mystery at first, with some of Lucky’s moves not explained at all. Indeed, Super Lucky’s Tale fails to fully explain its mechanics and world to you and it can be a little frustrating as you figure it all out on your own, but once it does all click, there’s no denying how much fun the experience is.

The collectathon compulsion is strong here, and completionists will find each missed clover tormenting. Moreover, the boss fights are locked behind collecting a certain number of clovers, pretty high amounts in fact, providing plenty of encouragement to replay levels and conquer their challenges. It makes what is essentially quite a short adventure a much longer one, but it doesn’t fall into the trap of padding so much as it feels like an experience designed around thorough, systematic level completion. It’s a design that forces a more linear progression than what’s typically found in the genre, which helps greatly with your quest to indeed complete the adventure one hundred percent. It’s a design quirk that won’t work for everyone, but for those looking for a 3D platformer with a stricter structure, it’s ideal.

Thanks to Xbox and Playful for supporting TiX

Bungie announces 4K/HDR support for Destiny 2 on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro

Its all excitement here at TiX Towers, with nearly all of the writing staff getting delivery of brand spanking new Xbox One X consoles this week! Some had to wait a bit longer than others but all is now good with the world!

And, the game which we have all been playing loads of this past few months is Destiny 2, so we could hardly contain our excitement today when Bungie have announced what their plans are for the new Xbox console, and the PS4 Pro.

In their normal weekly update “This Week at Bungie” – hosted at www.bungie.net – they announced that “On December 5, along with the launch of Curse of Osiris and Season Two, we’ll be deploying an update to Destiny 2 that will deliver stunning gameplay with high dynamic range (HDR) lighting to these new consoles.  You’ll also see adaptive 4K resolution on the PlayStation 4 Pro and 4K on the Xbox One X.”

So, great news for all you Guardians out there – not long to wait until our eyeballs will be melted in Destiny 2!

We have already covered the news of what Curse of Osiris will bring to Destiny 2, and I for one am really looking forward to it, as I am nearly at that magical 305 with my Titan.

Hitman Patient Zero New Content Revealed – Xbox One X Enhanced

YESSSSSSS! My GOTY 2016 has some new content coming! But it will not be free for those of us who have already purchased the complete season one, although it will be free in the soon to be released Game Of The Year edition. Well, my verdict on that is “Who Cares?”. As we know, IO Interactive became independent after Square Enix ditched them, and if this means the purchase price of the new content allows that studio to continue then great!

The main announcement was that of the Game of The Year edition which not only includes the new patient Zero mission but loads and loads of extra goodness. Full details after the video!

HITMAN – Game of the Year Edition will be released digitally on November 7th 2017 for PS4, Xbox One and PC!
Here’s a full rundown of what’s included:

  • HITMAN The Complete First Season – This is everything that we created for HITMAN Season One. All seven locations, all bonus missions, all of the Challenge Packs, Escalation Contracts, Featured Contracts and more than 700 challenges! We’re talking more than 100 hours of gameplay and a game that we’re continuing to improve. See below for more of that.
  • New: ‘Patient Zero’ Campaign – After the routine elimination of a target, a contingency plan to unleash a global pandemic is triggered and Agent 47 must race against the clock to prevent a virus from spreading. This four-mission campaign spans different locations in the game, each one re-worked from the original settings with new gameplay opportunities, disguises, characters, challenges, gameplay mechanics, AI behaviour and HUD elements. Bangkok, Sapienza, Colorado and Hokkaido look and feel completely different with a new time of day and new custom music created by the composer for Season One, Niels Bye Nielsen.
  • New: Clown Suit and themed weapon – Corky the Clown is back! This fan-favourite from Blood Money returns in HITMAN and his red wig, colourful socks and giant shoes look better than ever! Not only does the clown suit look great, but it’s the only way to carry his signature weapon without attracting attention. ‘A New Bat’ will trigger custom sound and visual effects every time it is used.
  • New: Raven Suit and themed weapon – Where tactical meets practical and stylish, you’ll find the Raven Suit. This is the perfect choice for Agent 47’s sniper operations. The Raven Suit is black and charcoal with the finest gloves and pockets for every tool. The Sieger 300 Ghost is a unique ICA variant of the Sieger 300 and the all-black rifle perfectly matches the Raven Suit for high-precision, high-damage long-range engagements. It’s got a supressor, an extended scope with four levels of zoom and the Marksman perk, which allows you to improve your aim and slow time.
  • New: Cowboy Suit and themed weapon – The Cowboy suit is steel blue on patriotic white and comes complete with a beautiful set of albino alligator boots, sunglasses and a cowboy hat as pure as Colorado snow. Naturally, the belt buckle is the size of your fist. Accompanying this suit is The Striker; a magnum pistol that packs one hell of a punch. Not only does it have increased damage at all ranges, it also knocks back targets and has piercing rounds.
  • New: 3 themed Escalation Contracts – There’s more! We’ve created a new Escalation Contract for each new weapon/suit combination. You’ll be dressing in each new suit and using each new weapon as you complete Escalation Contracts with some brand new complications based on some new gameplay mechanics. We’ve themed these new features with each suit to make for some unique experiences. Each Escalation comes with a new starting location unique to that Contract and all of the Escalations are made up of 3-stages, so expect the challenge to ramp up quickly- one of the Escalations reaches 7 targets, something we’ve never done before in this game. Completing each Escalation Contract will unlock the corresponding weapon to be used in all locations across the entire game, which means that Clown Only, Striker Only runs are now possible and we can’t wait to see them!

Also, on November 7th the Xbox One X version of the game will be available to run in native 4K and at a higher framerate. More details will be released soon.

And finally, starting in November, we will re-activate Elusive Targets. If you missed any Elusive Targets the first time around, or if you are new to HITMAN, this is your chance to experience these intense time-limited targets. All of the suit unlocks are back in play for both new and existing players to complete their collection. If you’ve already completed or failed an Elusive Target, you won’t be able to play that specific contract again; your record for that contract will stand and cannot be altered. Re-activated ET’s will still be time-limited and the first one will be re-activated shortly after the release of our Game of the Year Edition on November 7th.

 

Be Prepared for Xbox One X on your Xbox NOW!

With the launch of the new dashboard you too can be ready for the Xbox One X when it launches on November 7th.

First of all, I would strongly advise the use of an external USB hard-drive. It will be the quickest way to transfer your games to the new machine. If not, Xbox have detailed the network transfer method for you.

There is now an option within the settings of the new dashboard to start downloading the 4K texture packs before the X arrives. Simply do the below!

  • Goto Settings, System, Backup and Transfer
  • Then click the options box that says “Download 4K Game Content”

Voila! It’s that simples!

There is a way you can check to see whether these have been downloaded as part of an update.

Simply select the game in “My Games and Apps” and press LB, RB, Menu and View simultaneously. This will bring up a text screen with all manner of info on it. Look for where it says “Assets Installed” and you should see reference to “Scorpio” or “X” next to it.

You can also select games in the “My Games and Apps” section to filter by Xbox One X enhanced games. We are still in the early days of these 4K updates rolling out, so be patient as good things come to those who wait!

F1 2017 will perform better on Xbox One X

Today I was very lucky to interview Codemasters Creative Director Lee Mather, and asked him about his thoughts on the performance of F1 2017 on the Xbox One X.

Lee stated that “The Xbox One X version has already been publicly shown at E3 earlier this year, and what weve been able to achieve is awesome. The Xbox One version is running at 1080p 60fps which it wasn’t on F1 2016, there is HDR support on Xbox One S and Xbox One X, and we have checkerboard 4K 60fps on the X with improved visuals on things like shadowing, mirrors and reflections on the car. We have really been able to capitalise on the increase in performance of the Xbox One X and get closer to a PC experience”.

Keep watching This Is Xbox for more from our interview with Lee, plus we will have a video of the first 15 minutes of the career mode and the review itself coming before the release date of August 25th.

A new trailer has also been released with new gameplay footage of what you can expect to be doing in F1 2017. I also had a hands-on today play test and its looking mighty fine indeed! There are a bunch of new features in this years iteration, which are below!

MASSIVELY EXPANDED CAREER:
Players can make history as they hone their skills and develop their car over multiple seasons in the Career. First they create their driver by selecting from a range of avatars, including female drivers for the first time, helmet design (including community created versions), race number and then the team they want to begin their career with. The Research & Development system is heavily expanded, with 115 upgrades now available, while the player also has to manage their engine and gearbox. Earn resource points by taking part in new Practice Programmes including ‘Fuel Management’ and ‘Race Pace’. The classic cars also take centre stage in the enhanced career mode as players are invited to race them in the new Invitational events.

NEW ‘CHAMPIONSHIPS’ MODE AND GAMEPLAY TYPES:
Championship mode allows players to experience unique race events following different rules and structures from the official Championship in both modern and classic cars. For example, the Classic Street Series sees you race the iconic cars around the six streets circuits on the calendar.

NEW CLASSIC F1 CARS:
Get behind the wheel of 12* iconic F1 cars from the history of the sport. The classic cars are also integrated into the career mode, and can be raced in both Single Class and Multi Class Races. Players can race the following cars:
1995 Ferrari 412 T2
2002 Ferrari F2002
2004 Ferrari F2004
2007 Ferrari F2007
1988 McLaren MP4/4* – (DLC car in F1 2017 Special Edition)
1991 McLaren MP4/6
1998 McLaren MP4-13
2008 McLaren MP4 -23
1992 Williams FW14B
1996 Williams FW18
2006 Renault R26
2010 Red Bull Racing RB6

ALTERNATIVE TRACK LAYOUTS:
As well as the 20 official 2017 circuits, there are four additional shortened track layouts in the game for the first time: Britain, Bahrain, USA and Japan. Players can also race the stunning Monaco circuit at night.

ENHANCED MULTIPLAYER:
Race either the modern or classic cars online with a full grid of 20 players in both public and private sessions. The game now offers two dedicated “spectator” spots as well as improved multiplayer matchmaking, new online stats and levelling system, and all multiplayer session types.

 

Xbox One S review

Microsoft had a thrilling E3 press conference earlier this year, bookended with two of its newest hardware offerings—the first of which was positioned as a sleek, 4K-friendly redesign of its 2013 console. Introduced as ‘Xbox One S’ (a throwback to its slimmer, much older cousin), it builds upon the original Xbox One in a number of important areas the original system was lacking. Ultimately, Xbox One S feels like a refinement of the original 2013 vision and paves a new path for the future of Xbox.

Xbox One S console

The New Design

The reimagining starts right away with the packaging. Clean, uncluttered, and simple, revealing a striking, minimalist console design that channels some of the key motifs of its predecessor. Gone is the bulky VCR-like exterior, replaced with an incredibly light, compact, and unassuming white object with precision-drilled ventilation holes, resting on an inconspicuous black plastic base. Similarly removed are the original console’s capacitive buttons—that’s right, the Xbox One is now officially cat proof.

Overall, this new design feels like a statement of purity and simplicity, exhibited perhaps most prominently by the lack of an external power supply. Despite this, the console runs unbelievably silent and cool to the touch—even more so than the original. This adds a new degree of portability for the console, which is great for people who travel a lot with their games consoles.

Microsoft’s new design approach extends to the new controller, now in ‘robot white’. With subtle texturised plastic grips on the underside, it’s light, balanced, and precise to hold—certainly their best standard controller yet. There are other hardware changes, too, with the USB-port on the side now moving to the front, along with the controller sync button, and the new infrared (IR) blaster to control your TV in lieu of Kinect.

Xbox One S controller

Inside The Box

Back in 2013, on the cusp of the 4K revolution, Microsoft revealed that Xbox One would serve as a 4K-capable console—but unfortunately never actually delivered. Today however, Xbox One S is one of the most comprehensive 4K and HDR set-top-boxes released to date. The system has native support for 4K Blu-ray, along with 4K entertainment apps such as Netflix, and HDR support for games.

Let’s get this out of the way… 4K Blu-rays look absolutely jaw-dropping on Xbox One S. Despite a few initial HDMI handshake issues, the visual performance here is absolutely stunning. We tested Deadpool in UHD, one of a handful of native 4K productions available today. The level of detail and realism is incredible, with an even more superfluous degree of pixel-precision beyond HD, so much so that 1080p now looks positively pedestrian to the eye. Whilst visual performance is fantastic, audio formats are still relatively limited, with support only for Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, and 5.1 and 7.1 PCM—there’s no support for Dolby Atmos or DTS-X here.

As you’ve probably heard, Xbox One S also adds support for HDR, or ‘High Dynamic Range’. This extends the standard 8-bit colour depth you’d usually see on TV, in movies, and games, to 10-bit. That means more colours, more gradations between colours, and ultimately a more vibrant, accurate, and striking image. This effect is perhaps most noticeable in areas of darkness and brightness, e.g. shadows and skies. Areas are more detailed and textured, as opposed to a flood of black or white.

Deadpool in 4K HDR
Deadpool in 4K HDR

Currently, you can experience HDR content on Xbox One S through 4K Blu-rays and Netflix—and soon, you’ll be able to experience them in games too, including Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, albeit at an upscaled frame buffer. It’s also worth noting that whilst Amazon Prime Video has 4K HDR content in its library, it is not currently viewable on Xbox One S. Similarly, Xbox One S doesn’t include content support for Dolby Vision, an alternative HDR compression system that incorporates 36 bits per pixel (12-bit), so bear this in mind when picking up a 4K TV.

It’s clear that Xbox One S is an incredibly powerful machine for 4K media, both on disc and streaming. With so much support built-in, it’s incredibly disappointing to discover, however, that there is no support for 4K passthrough on the HDMI-in port. 4K broadcast TV is just starting to kick off here in the UK, with Sky airing their first live football match in full UHD just this weekend. As OneGuide on Xbox One S is still limited to 1080p, Sky Q users won’t be able to watch any 4K content through their Xbox One S. It’s unclear whether this is a hardware or software limitation at this stage but for those who use their Xbox for most of their media consumption—and not just games—this is sure to come as a disappointment. On a similar note, parts of the Xbox One OS don’t run at native 4K, so don’t expect a razor-sharp user interface across the board.

Deadpool in 8-bit HD
Deadpool in 8-bit HD

Xbox One S has a few other subtle improvements up its sleeve. Aside from its new design and its added support for 4K media, the system includes a number of internal improvements, resulting in a console that feels fast and fluid, in comparison with its 2013 predecessor.

In terms of storage, Xbox One S currently ships in a 2TB variant which, as ever, is expandable through its USB 3.0 ports on the front and the back. The hard drive is a standard 5400RPM disk—not the hybrid drive found in the Xbox One Elite Console, so external storage is still your best bet for fast performance. Only 1.6TB of the console’s internal storage is available to the user, however. This is due to the way storage is calculated and displayed on Windows, leaving around 200GB to the OS itself.

Xbox One S Review Featured Image

Wrap-up

Xbox One S is without question the best Xbox yet, with refinements and improvements across the board—4K media support, a fantastic new design, and a more responsive OS all bring the Xbox platform up to speed. Alongside Microsoft’s regular software updates, it feels a lot more like a modern console.

There is, of course, a humongous elephant in the room here. At the end of this year’s E3 press conference, Microsoft revealed Project Scorpio: its next generation Xbox One. Still part of the Xbox One family and ecosystem, Scorpio is positioned as a fully 4K-native console for games and media.

As a result, Xbox One S feels incredibly transitional with its offering of 4K media playback and HD-resolution HDR gaming, pulling back the curtain on what Scorpio will be able to do. Unfortunately, it also feels like it’s leaving some of the Xbox One’s greatest features behind. HDMI passthrough into OneGuide, once a core element of Xbox One, hasn’t been upgraded to support 4K, and Kinect is no longer a native component of the platform either, now requiring a bulky, convoluted adapter sold separately from the main console.

Caffeine gets new 4K screenshots

Featured Image - Caffeine

Back in March I wrote about how during GDC 2015 it was announced Caffeine was coming to Xbox One. Now during the chaos that is E3 it seems Dylan Browne, the one man team behind this first person psychological horror, is ready to share some new 4K screenshots with us all.

Check out all the new 4K screenshots over on the games website here.

“Caffeine is a quirky horror adventure game with environmental puzzles. Set in the near future, the entire population of Earth is vigorously addicted to coffee. Massive space stations built by the biggest corporations roam the stars mining minerals to create a synthetic caffeine. You awaken aboard one of these caffeine mining stations alone. Before long you realize that you are a young boy with no memory of what has transpired on this seemingly empty space station. Naturally you set out to explore the depths of the huge structure to figure out what exactly is going on.”

Caffeine is currently in development using Unreal Engine 4 and has been set for a 2015 release.

And just in case you missed it here is the latest trailer promising to keep you awake at night…