Chronicles – Watch Episode Fifteen Of Our Dark Souls III Death March

about X hours ago from
Chronicles – Watch Episode Fifteen Of Our Dark Souls III Death March

The Dark Souls franchise continues with a powerful third entry into the world of dark, demanding fantasy action. Join Daniel Tack, Andrew Reiner, Kyle Hilliard, and Javy Gwaltney in an epic game of "pass the sticks" as they attempt to conquer fantastic environments and towering bosses in From Software's latest ashen wasteland. Be aware that there may be spoilers as we move from episode to episode.

Will the crew finish? Will they smash controllers in frustration? Or will the team find new strength and resolve to persevere in the face of relentless and uncaring foes? Will the team go the extra mile and complete the game or go hollow as they bash against the endless tides of freakish minions? Find out on Chronicles: Dark Souls III edition.

Check out our review of Dark Souls III here.

Oculus Rift And HTC Vive Go Head-To-Head

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Oculus Rift And HTC Vive Go Head-To-Head

No matter when you were born, you can probably recall hearing about the dream of virtual reality. Whether it was the misfires of projects like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, or movies like Tron, The Lawnmower Man, or The Matrix, the promise of an engaging virtual world has been tantalizingly out of reach for decades. This spring, the two biggest competitors in the new VR marketplace finally launched retail units that deliver on some of that promise.

The cost of entry is steep for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, especially when factoring in the connected PC hardware, and the technology isn’t yet perfect. But after two of our editors spent combined hundreds of hours exploring these two new devices, we’re confident in one thing: The dream of viable virtual reality is finally a reality. This technology has the potential to expand into multiple facets of entertainment, education, and art in the coming years. Research firm SuperData forecasts VR sales to reach $40 billion dollars in revenue by 2020; if ever this burgeoning technology trend had a shot at entering the mainstream, this is the moment.

The HTC Vive Review

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Two heads may indeed be better than one. A project that neither HTC nor Valve could bring to fruition alone has found life through an intense cooperative venture, and the result is the Vive. The virtual-reality headset marks a new direction both for the successful phone company and the leader in the PC gaming sphere, and sets the two companies in opposition to the significant financial muscle of the Facebook-funded Oculus.

An accelerated design and development cycle for the Vive has led to a fascinating-but-flawed final product, and one that distinguishes itself in important ways from the Rift. The focus on room-scale virtual experiences allows for novel and compelling software, and many users will appreciate the availability of a full VR package right out of the gate, rather than the competition’s plan to roll out sensors and motion controllers as a peripheral later. That opening advantage comes with a hefty price tag, but for anyone who can’t wait to witness the full magic of moving and interacting in a virtual world, it’s a compelling choice.

The Oculus Rift Review

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I first saw Oculus Rift in June 2012, when John Carmack showed me a primitive version of Palmer Luckey's hardware running Doom 3 - and I do mean primitive. Carmack warned of all the problems with head-tracking, latency, and low resolution, but he also noted with a bit of glee that it was the best demonstration of what was possible in virtual reality to date, and he noted that many of the problems would be solved quickly considering the speed at which VR innovation was happening.

I wasn't sold at that exact moment, but I remember saying to myself that while it was flawed, there was something there. It provided a glimmer of what we would come to call "presence" - that feeling of physically being in a virtual place and time.

All those problems Carmack listed were solved rather quickly. In August 2012, Luckey launched the Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign. It quickly raised $2.4 million and ignited the imagination of gamers and game developers everywhere. The next big step for Oculus was Facebook's purchase of the company on March 25, 2014, for $2 billion in cash and stock, which immediately put VR in the world spotlight.

Taking VirZoom, The VR Exercise Bike, For A Longer Spin

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Taking VirZoom, The VR Exercise Bike, For A Longer Spin

Last December, I got a quick look at VirZoom, an exercise bike that doubles as a game controller for virtual reality headsets. I was fairly positive on the equipment and concept, but questioned its ease of use without a trained person around to get you set up, and how long the experience could remain motivating for the average individual. I received a VirZoom pre-release unit in the office and took it for an extended spin. Now, with many miles behind me, I have a clearer picture of what the product offers.

Assembling the VirZoom took little effort, just some time. Using a screwdriver and an Allen wrench, the assembly is fairly self-explanatory and as long as you have your VR headset already up and running you should be ready to kick off your exercise before long. Once the bike was assembled, I plugged the USB dongle into the PC, threw some batteries into the electronic component of the VirZoom controller, and installed the software.

The bike is sturdy and folds up for compact storage, but is pretty heavy for some people to move by themselves. While you’re using the controller, the pedals are whisper quiet even when you’re in pushing hard. If you want to ratchet up the challenge of your workout and gameplay, you can adjust the pedal tension using a dial similar to what is found on a standard stationary bike. 

Making The Most Of Elite: Dangerous In And Out Of VR With A Flight Stick And Voice Commands

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Making The Most Of Elite: Dangerous In And Out Of VR With A Flight Stick And Voice Commands

Virtual reality presents unique challenges when it comes to input. Two of the leading platforms, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, require PCs, but by necessity create issues with the typical interface device: mouse and keyboard.

This leaves us with more limited options. Gamepads work great, but they have significantly fewer buttons. Vive's wands, and later Oculus Touch, provide more tactile interaction, but they aren't right for every game.

This creates enormous opportunity for specialized control manufacturers. Our hands know how to use a steering wheel without needing to see it, for instance. Flight sticks offer the same potential for what we expect is going to be an important genre during virtual reality's early days. 

Test Chamber – An Early Run Through Mirror's Edge Catalyst

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Mirror's Edge Catalyst, the sequel to the 2008 parkour simulator, is getting ready to enter beta soon, and we took an early look at this pre-release peek.

The beta goes out to those in the Frontrunners program on April 22 and to the general public on April 23 and ends on April 26. We got a chance to get started on it a little early, and played portion of the game's opening, saw the story setup, played around with Faith's new abilities, and even get a brief look at the potential of the open world.

It was announced this morning (while we were recording this video, coincidentally) that Mirror's Edge Catalyst will be taking an extra two weeks to polish up a few things and release on June 7. For more on Mirror's Edge Catalyst, check out six improvements we hope to see.

Opinion – Star Fox Gimmicks Grounded A Once-Proud Fighter

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Opinion – Star Fox Gimmicks Grounded A Once-Proud Fighter

Star Fox holds a special place in the hearts of many due to its exciting aerial combat, colorful characters, and impressive boss battles that captivated their imaginations during gaming’s formative years. The franchise, once acclaimed for its fluid controls and branching story paths, has recently become more notorious for its failed follow-ups.

A prevailing issue for Star Fox has been attempts to implement unnecessary gimmicks. Nintendo’s unflinching insistence to innovate could be seen as the reason for the poorly-received follow-ups over the past 15 years, but looking back, the Star Fox franchise has always experimented with new technology, control schemes, and directions. The difference between success and failure lies in whether or not those new ideas add to the experience.

With the original Star Fox in 1993, Nintendo touted its use of the Super FX chip, a 3D graphics accelerator that allowed for the impressive visuals and effects of the game on the Super Nintendo. Using the chip, Star Fox defied estimations of what was possible on the system and delivered an experience that became a showpiece title for the hardware. 

Square Enix Reflects On Final Fantasy's Drive For Cutting-Edge Tech

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Final Fantasy has been around since the 8-bit era, and the series has adapted to every wave of new hardware the gaming industry has seen since. Not only has the franchise survived these transitions, but it has also used them as opportunities to take new chances in the role-playing genre. With Final Fantasy XV on the horizon – the first entry exclusively on PS4 and Xbox One – we take a look back with some of Final Fantasy’s key figures at what moving to new technology has meant for them, the individual games, and the series as a whole.

After three 8-bit entries (though only one released in North America), Final Fantasy IV was the first time Square faced the prospect of using new technology to update its approach. While the SNES certainly provided additional options, most of the improvements were steps forward on familiar fronts – it’s not like the series was moving to 3D or adding voice acting yet. “Since we were just moving from NES to SNES, it’s not like we were drastically changing,” says Takashi Tokita, Final Fantasy IV’s lead designer. “But where we were limiting ourselves previously in terms of colors or amount of story we could implement, that drastically improved. Rather than challenges, there was much more freedom that enabled us to do more.”

Chronicles – Watch Episode Fourteen Of Our Dark Souls III Death March

about X hours ago from
Chronicles – Watch Episode Fourteen Of Our Dark Souls III Death March

The Dark Souls franchise continues with a powerful third entry into the world of dark, demanding fantasy action. Join Daniel Tack, Andrew Reiner, Kyle Hilliard, and Javy Gwaltney in an epic game of "pass the sticks" as they attempt to conquer fantastic environments and towering bosses in From Software's latest ashen wasteland. Be aware that there may be spoilers as we move from episode to episode.

Will the crew finish? Will they smash controllers in frustration? Or will the team find new strength and resolve to persevere in the face of relentless and uncaring foes? Will the team go the extra mile and complete the game or go hollow as they bash against the endless tides of freakish minions? Find out on Chronicles: Dark Souls III edition.

Check out our review of Dark Souls III here.