Saturday, August 27th, 2016
Current Time 2:27:47am

Local Entertainment

Xbox kicked off their Press Briefing with a video announcing the Xbox One S (in slang terms Xbox 1.5); coming soon this August and already available for pre-order on Xbox.com, to resounding applause from the audience.

The One S comes in 40% smaller in size than the current Xbox One and returns to a white case and touts internal power supply...no more large external power bricks, plus will support 4k. The 4k is a nice feature, but not a huge selling point for me since 4k has simply not taken off. Just look at the massive price drop on 4k TVs. But with a reasonable MSRP of $299 I am sure it will sell well.

However, the folks at parent company Microsoft must think we all make Bill Gates type money, because they concluded the presentaion by annoucning the next generation of Xbox is slated to hit the shelves Holiday Season 2017.

Codenamed Project Scorpio, the presentation did not show much in way of design, but outlined a host of specifications to rvial any cuurent PC gaming rig. Beyond the super-specs, the focus seems to be on VR support for Project Scorpio, which made the lack of any mention of the Microsoft HoloLens kind of suspicious. No price point was mentioned either.

Speaking of PC gaming, the Play Anywhere initiative was announced where when a player purchases a title for Xbox One it will be available to them on PC via Windows 10 at no additional cost.

There was again talk of cross-network compatability; but only for certain titles. In layman's terms, meaning Xbox gamers being able to play PlayStation gamers. Not, a huge issue for me, but some in the community feel a need for this. 

More of the emphasis seemed to be a return of Xbox / Windows 10 exclusives with the most notable announcement being Gears of War 4; among a host of titles. Gears of War 4 will be available October 11th this year.

The new platform feature called Arena is intriguing, as Xbox will be enerting the realm of structured gaming tournaments. It will be interesting to see where Xbox takes competitive gaming; especailly with the significant enroads ESL has made and the reported financially struggling MLG being acquired by Activision.

In all it was a solid presentation and showed Xbox's continued commiment to its fan base.

You can watch the presentation in its entirety at  Xbox.com

 Xavier S H reviews the Xbox One version of Coffin Dodgers. A review code was provided for this report.

Xavier S H reviews the Xbox One version of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. A review code was provided for this report.

Xavier S H reviews the Xbox One version of The Jackbox Party Pack 2015. A review code was provided for this report.

Xavier S H reviews the Xbox One version of Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition. A review code was provided for this report.

Age of Decadence Review - PC
Developer: Iron Tower Studio  Genre: RPG

by: Luke Horn - 10/30/15

So you want to be a hero? Think again – heroes end up dead – at least in this game. The Age of Decadence is set in a Romanesque world where the moral and ethical fabric has deteriorated and one is forced to become the Byronic hero. It doesn't take one long to realize you have to make hard choices because the wrong ones will quickly put you in a pool of your own blood. You can't save everyone and you definitely can't be the valiant heavenly hero.

As a character, you are cast into a deadly world where society has fallen apart after a long era of war and destruction. There are several backgrounds to choose from which directly affect your character's ties and influences in society. However, you are not stuck to certain skill and attribute trees based on your choice. This was a positive aspect of the game. A negative aspect of the game was the lack of character physical customization. You are given few choices on appearance – given today's capability to do so, this was disappointing.

Your character starts with little to his name and must quickly find ways to advance. My beginning choices centered on deception and assassination as I chose to play a thief, which fit nicely into such a dark and violent world. The combat system is turn based and works well with the hard core RPG world the game is depicting. You may choose to fight often or simply roleplay your way through many situations. I found myself using deception and charisma as staples to my survival. This allowed me to avoid being killed in combat – because in this game death is always just around the corner. The skill tree is robust and provides a rich gaming experience. It melds nicely with the game and allows the player to enhance his/her abilities without undermining the strategy one must use in order to succeed. There are around 23 skills to choose from and the way you can use them varies. When you add this to the detailed crafting and alchemy focus, it gives the player a well-rounded game to play.

The world that has been created is vast and complicated. The combat system is turn based and is far from a simple 'Hulk smash' style. Each combat you enter into needs to be well thought out and strategy must be used. During each round of combat you receive action points and you need to spend them wisely in order to come out alive. Do not approach this in a hack-and-slash manner or you will end up meeting your god sooner than you like.

One of the draws of the game is its complex dialogue and choices your character can make. This really gives the player a unique experience. You may play it multiple times and the gaming experience stays fresh.

There are some disappointing aspects to the game. The graphics are lackluster and provide little excitement to the game. As gaming is such a visual experience, I wanted more from this side of the world. I want beautiful landscape and haunting battle scenes. The movement is often more complicated than it needs to be. I constantly found myself trying to reorient my views and center things on my character. It slowed the gameplay down a good bit for me.

However, this game provides hardcore RPG players with a plethora of options and its choices are complex and do not disappoint when it comes to the roleplaying aspect. It has a post-modern feel in the non-linear format that it uses and challenges one to think before they act – which is refreshing. The graphics left me unsatisfied from a visual aspect. However, the designers had other things in mind when they created this game. The wit and cleverness of the game allows one to easily forget the graphics. At its core, The Age of Decadence is more a Shakespearian play in the park than a Hollywood depiction of Beowulf. It is a buy for me. 8 out of 10. A review code was provided for this review.

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