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Microsoft vs. Sony: strategy over specs

microsoft vs sony strategy over specs

I often forget the endless frustration of going against the grain of consumer technology. Mobile phones, laptops, gaming consoles – it wasn’t until relatively recently that most kinds of tech have made sizable gains in usability and features that most of us take for granted.

These days, improvement seems to come as iteration for those products which are most important in our lives.

And it would seem as though console gaming, thanks to the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, has all but gotten to a place of “pretty dang good”. Microsoft and Sony, instead of pulling ahead purely on specs, seem to have arrived at a fork in the road of strategy.

Each, thanks to decades of trial and error, has doubled down on vision and made their respective platforms a place to settle in.

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Fallout 76 is the pinnacle of atmospheric design

Fallout 76 capitol

Half baked and thoroughly puzzling – I like many others was confused by the initial release of Fallout 76. From the outside looking in it seemed to run the gamut of all issues associated with a GaaS title released a tad too soon. Unsurprisingly, it received a mountain of backlash.

Over time, my curiosity in what Bethesda Games Studios had developed started to overtake Fallout 76’s initial blunder. Recently, nearly 3 years after its release, I decided to take the plunge. Part of me wanted to see if things had remained truly horrendous and the other part of me wondered if a steady stream of updates had brought Fallout 76 to the surface.

What I’ve found after 20 some odd hours of playtime is that while it certainly lacks qualities found in traditional Fallout games, its level of atmosphere is far and away above anything I would have expected. Fallout 76’s rendition of West Virginia might even be one of my favorite examples of open world atmosphere.

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Halo Infinite’s campaign looks modern in the best way possible

halo infinite you're safe now

Halo has always had a certain flavor to the hype behind it. Most notable for me was the run up to Halo 3. Bungie enveloped my teenage mind with visions of expansive sci-fi settings and the ways in which I’d get lost in its multiplayer. Halo 3’s marketing was simply something to be felt. In many ways, it was also the peak of the Halo hype machine.

Each release of Halo has left its mark on my gaming career, but it’s also become murkier ever since the release of Halo Reach. I had my fill of over 100 hours with Bungie’s last hoorah, but 343’s entries never truly got their hooks in me. I didn’t feel the connection with my gut that earlier titles provided. Punctuated by the latest release of Halo Infinite’s campaign overview, this lapse in loyalty seems to finally be coming to an end. For the first time in years, it feels fantastic to be invested in the Halo franchise.

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Xbox Series X|S basics: what to know about the WiFi

For all of the advantages of Ethernet, sometimes WiFi is a must in the world of console gaming.

I’ve been solely using WiFi ever since picking up my Series X and despite the odd hiccup it’s been more than serviceable.

The built in WiFi card offers everything I could need. Better yet, I haven’t found my connection to Xbox live to be throttled.

What can you expect from the Xbox Series X|S WiFi performance?

As it turns out, almost everything you could need streaming, online gaming, and downloading the latest titles.

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Awe at every turn (Skyrim Special Edition wallpapers)

All screenshots were captured in 4K on an Xbox Series X. This is the vanilla version of Skyrim Special Edition with no mods. To download a screenshot as a wallpaper, click the image in the gallery below and open it in a new tab. From here you can save the wallpaper locally to your computer or phone.

Virtual photography has a way of shining a light on the intricacies of games. And what game better than Skyrim Special Edition to go on a hunt for shots. Since upgrading to the Series X, it’s been one of my favorite games to eye up in a new way (especially with its performance boosts).

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Xbox Series X|S performance boosts are a clean slate for gaming

xbox boost mode

The authenticity and fidelity of Red Dead Redemption 2 blew me away on the PS4. I had never experienced anything quite like it. Interwoven systems, emergent gameplay, idyllic landscapes – it felt like next-generation gaming had come a little early. But going back to it now, after buying an Xbox Series X, puts into perspective something that was sorely lacking at times on the PS4 and Xbox One – performance.

Microsoft’s newest console has been an utter treat in this department. Games new and old are performant and look incredible. This standard was touched on with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, but not nearly to the extent that the Xbox Series X|S have cleaned up performance.

Not all games have gotten the next-gen treatment. But by and large I’ve never had as great of a time diving into a back catalog as I have with my Xbox Series X. New titles have only upped the ante of performance and visuals.

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Half the fun of Halo Infinite has been community driven

halo infinite broken halo

A lot of people have been comparing Halo Infinite to Halo 3, and in a lot of ways I agree. Its array of equipment and sandbox at large make it something of a virtual playground. I can’t help but feel it’s just right in its dance between modern and old.

Halo Infinite is simply fun, and a lot of it seems to be coming from the community. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been wrapped up in the excitement for a Halo game. And the cheers for Infinite are palpable. Old fans, new fans – it seems like most were blindsided by the most recent beta in the best way possible.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 is undeniably authentic (screenshots)

Red Dead Redemption powerlines valley

Where Skyrim brings fantastical mood, Red Dead Redemption 2 delivers a true to life, organic open world. Nearly two years since release, RDR2’s lived in setting is still yet to be matched.

And much like Bethesda’s pension for creating immersive worlds, it’s unlikely Rockstar will be topped for a long time. I beat the story for RDR2 over a year ago, but it’s still a game I come back to time and time again for its rich systems and authentic natural setting. As someone who loves hiking, Red Dead Redemption 2 is about as good as it gets.

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Halo Infinite is neither too old or too modern

halo infinite bazaar

A problem that I ran into with 343’s Halo releases was the issue of identity crisis. Too much modernization and borrowing from other titles while stripping away the feel of past Halo’s.

Halo Infinite marks an important turning point for 343, and for the most part, they’ve nailed Halo’s return to form if the latest round of beta’s are any indication. I’ve found Infinite to feel fresh while retaining a lot of the identity that made Bungie-era Halo games so great.

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Always cozy, never dull (Skyrim Special Edition screenshots)

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Special Edition ethereal god rays

Even after all these years, Skyrim never fails to disappoint in its pension for landscape views, atmosphere, and need to be played. The screenshots below were taken just outside of Whiterun and Dragonsreach. Although you’ll find a cozy atmosphere in many places of Skyrim, these zones are particularly inviting.

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