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For the term "xbox elite".

PS4 Owner Jealous of the Xbox Elite Controller? Not Anymore!!!

 

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If Sony won’t step up their support of Pro Gamers to match Microsoft’s recently announced Xbox Elite Controller, then Japanese accessory manufacturer, Game Tech, will. Out now in Japan are the ‘FPS Stick Assist 4+’ and ‘FPS Target Assist 4’ for $10 each. Check the links on those for plenty of close up pictures.

The Stick Assist comes with three new analog stick caps that raise the height in varying degrees with various surface coverings. It also has a pair of L2/R2 caps that give the dainty triggers a little more weight and a rubberized grip. The Target Assist takes an ingeniously low-tech approach to the Xbox controller’s programmable stick sensitivity… it’s foam rings. You put these rings (one hard, one soft) around each analog stick and — voilà  — you’ve got a kinda-sorta sensitivity boost to your movement. If both bundles sound like they’d give you a performance enhancing boost you can seek out the ‘FPS Perfect Assist 4’ which includes the stick caps, trigger grips and foam rings for around $20.

It’s an interesting response to Microsoft’s high end controller but, man, those foam rings surely have to wear out super fast right? The stick caps and grippy triggers, that I can get into.

More details (and no macros) emerge on Xbox Elite Controller

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I admit, after the halfway point in Major Nelson’s podcast segment about the Xbox One Elite Controller, I lost interest. That’s right around the point where Xbox’s David Prien confirmed it will not support macro programmability. That was my big question about the $150 controller but it may still prove to be worth it for the sake of comfort. I’ll have to get my hands on one first to be sure.

That’s really the only bummer that came from the segment which revealed loads of tidbits about the controller. There’s talk of magnets, visiting top Xbox players in their sweaty homes, interesting uses for the swappable controller profiles and OTA updates. The talk also touches on reworked bumper buttons, the story behind the carrying case, a new use for the sync button and a surprising amount more.

If you’re as interested in the controller as I am/was it’s worth a listen. The controller segment lasts about 50 minutes and starts at the 7 minute mark. Oh, and my original post about the controller still covers most of the basics so check that out too if you need to know more.

E3 2015: All the details we have on the Xbox Elite Controller

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UPDATE: There’s no new info but if you want to see some more angles of the controller as well as its carrying case, Microsoft has a swanky page up for it.

I was going nuts yesterday looking for concrete details on that crazy new controller that Microsoft showed off. So with this press release in hand I’m just throwing this up as quick as I can in case others are looking as well. The biggest point that they didn’t mention at the show, though, is the price. $150. Ouch…. but maybe it’s justified? Check out all the junk it comes with and what all it can do.

Available October 2015 for $149.99, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller package will include:

  • Carrying case
  • Set of four paddles
  • Set of six thumbsticks: standard (two), tall (two) and domed (two)
  • Set of two D-pads: faceted and standard
  • USB cable
  • AA batteries

The Paddle Buttons
There are four slots on the back of the controller for the new paddle buttons and you can use them in any combination. You don’t need to plug in and configure all four if, for example, you just want one paddle for your right hand. The wording in the press release implies that these four paddles will execute button macros for “intricate jump, aim, and shoot combinations”. On one hand this could address the repetitive stress and fatigue problems I run into but it could also automate spamming/cheating/griefing. We’ll have to wait for more hands-on reports to see how robust this functionality is but probably don’t expect these to be supported in competitions.

The Faceted D-Pad
That new D-Pad looks like a diamond but how does it feel? The jury is still out but the press material states that the faceted pad will “enable more confident combo execution” while the traditional D-Pad provides “precise control to change weapons or call in a strike”. So the new one is… mushy? At least Microsoft continues trying new things with the D-Pad and if you hate it just swap it out for the old one.

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Trigger Locks
The soft, smooth throw of the current triggers feels great for driving a vehicle but for guns some folks find it too squishy. Now with the trigger lock switches you can stop the pull on the triggers a little shorter. Flip it back and you’ve got the standard full range of motion. I didn’t catch it in the video but the switches for the triggers are on the back of the controller so you can quickly flip from short to long throw without looking away from the screen.

Xbox Accessories App
How do you control the macros on the paddle buttons or fine tune your stick sensitivity? With the Xbox Accessories app for Xbox One and Windows 10. With the app you’ll be able to:

  • Adjust trigger min/max values
  • Adjust thumbstick sensitivities
  • Change button assignments for any of 14 inputs (ABXY, paddles, D-Pad, triggers and sticks)
  • Create up to 255 profiles unique to individual games
  • Load any 2 profiles to the controller and switch between them with the Profile switch

It’s worth repeating the press release here so it’s clear: the Elite controller will work with PCs running Windows 7 to play games but to use the Xbox Accessories app and configure the thing you’ll have to be on Windows 10. Otherwise you’ll need to do all the adjusting on the Xbox One itself which may not let you customize profiles and macros for PC games.

Worth $150 for all that? I didn’t think so at first but the paddle buttons alone may be worth the price for comfort and convenience. It would’ve been nice if the package also included the $25 USB dongle you need for Xbox controllers to work wirelessly on PC. And there’s also been no confirmation of the headset/headphone functionality on this model. So that’s all that I know about this thing without being at E3 to try it out and ask more questions. No doubt, though, we’ll get all the answers by the time these things are available in October.

Of 2015: My Year According to Xbox

 

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It remains a real head-scratcher as to how Microsoft let the sweet Ivory soap of victory pop out of their hands in the terrifying prison shower that is the Console Video Game Race. As they nearly had it back in their grasp Sony couldn’t help but stick out a foot and they’ve been careening around the grimy tile floor ever since.

I was a real Xbox fan last generation and everything had to be played on the 360. I was even a supporter of their wild ambitions for an always-on Xbox future. Even after they backpedaled I still picked up an Xbox One and was perfectly happy with it through 2014. Suddenly, though, it was PlayStation 4 that was home to the exclusives I cared about and from there it was just as slippery a ride as Microsoft’s to have Sony back in my good graces.

So when the Xbox PR machine sent me a 2015 recap I wondered what could even be on it. The full report is much longer with comparisons between me, my friends and the Xbox community but I think this sampling sums it up: I haven’t been super hot on Xbox since 2014. In fact, the game I spent the most time with was Earth Defense Force 2025, an Xbox 360 release from 2014 which is, sadly, not Xbox One backward compatible.

Given how few games I played on Xbox One I was surprised and mystified to see I racked up 423 hours on Xbox Live. I thought it was a glitch but then I finally found the culprit; Netflix. Either watching or idling while we cooked dinner, I managed to let that app run for 290 hours, more time than all the games I played on the console combined. The most active day — March 8th — reminded me that way back then I was playing through Sniper Elite 3 and using all of the Xbox One’s features. I was editing clips, posting comments and actively “Liking” my friends activities. I even Skyped with Kinect a few times.

But that’s about the time I got a PlayStation 4 in anticipation of Metal Gear Solid V and I’ve been mostly absent from Xbox One since. That explains why my most “High Value” Achievements are from 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V and 2014’s Peggle 2.

I’m not fanboying over here, I really do like Microsoft and the Xbox One. Hell, I even still like Kinect and miss its voice commands now that my Netflix watching happens on the PS4. Whenever another Xbox exclusive comes along that I’m determined to play I’ll be firing it up again… and waiting for eternal Dashboard updates to be installed.

Done Playing: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Xbox 360)

For real promo for the game's initial release

Arguably one of the more playable movie tie-ins so far, X-Men Origins: Wolverine serves as a companion piece to 2009’s Summer blockbuster flick of the same name. With scrappy Hugh Jackman and the oddly-cast Liev Schreiber in tow the game outpaces its cinematic cousin on every level; violence, running time, comic book cameos, gore, angst, blood, and convoluted plots for revenge and quadruple-crossed backstabs. Did I mention that it’s violent too?

Peculiarly M-rated next to the movie’s tame PG-13 content, Wolverine is a dead ringer for Tomonobu Itagaki’s Ninja Gaiden in both its bloodletting and its tough love. Challenging even on the easiest setting, it takes hours of perilous brawling with machete-wielding jungle mutants and gun-toting henchmen before you have access to Logan’s full complement of abilities and things start to even out. The game plays pretty standard with weak and strong attacks, a grab, power moves restricted by a Fury meter and a few dodge/counter abilities. It’s the game’s violence and speed combined with Mortal Kombat approved death-arenas that help you really feel like the classic, unstoppable Wolverine.

Once I got the hang of things I could routinely pull off a string of improvised kills almost without thinking about it. A four-hit combo sends an enemy (and Wolverine) airborne where a throw smashes them back to the ground with enough force that they bounce up. I grab them by the foot and pummel their body into the ground before doing a “rising upper” move to launch them skyward once again and then — after a slow-mo power punch — across the room and, almost magically, onto some deadly spike or into a painful contraption. All this is accompanied by the highest quality viscera; sprays of blood, dismembered limbs, floppy ragdoll physics. Logan himself is a technical triumph with layers of flesh, muscle and Adamantium-coated bones peeking through and regenerating in real-time as he takes (and avoids) damage.

As empowering as clearing out room after room of mutants, robots, and elite troopers is, the game hits some low points repeatedly. Platform jumping, ledge shimmying, and rope climbing break up the good stuff frequently. It’s no different than any other game only Logan moves so slowly in these sections that it’s hard to accept that he wouldn’t just flip out and cut a hole in a wall instead of courteously scaling up and around it. Raven also throws in more than a few puzzles and while they’re simple find-the-key or move-that-thing-to-make-a-platform diversions it seems way too level headed for Weapon X.

That other stuff is a bummer, it’s kinda boring, and sometimes you’ll jump wrong and have to climb back up but what bugs me the most is the level design.The “optimization of 3D space” was novel at first — one path eventually leading you over and around the same area later in the level — but it happens with almost every space you enter. Some “arenas” you’ll criss-cross once or twice while other spaces you’ll see repeatedly from three or four different angles. It feels cheap, like one of Activision’s fun-crushing tactics to make the most game out of the least amount of geometry. This constant criss-crossing is what adds hours onto your total play time and it’s usually the slow-going platforming/puzzle solving tedium, not the fun slicey-slicey stuff.

I’d say by about hour 7/12 that I put into the initial playthrough I was ready for it to be over. With the confusing ping-ponging from “a not too distant future” and “a mission in Africa several years earlier” finally sorted out I thought I was done. Suddenly I’m riding The Blob around a grocery store, chasing Gambit through a Louisiana casino palace, abusing half-finished Sentinels, and — WTF!? — more flashbacks to Africa?! By the time I reached the legit climax I was underwhelmed, expecting it to just keep going. When the credits started to roll it was a total shoulder-shrugger.

Once back to the title screen, however, I found myself immediately checking for un-achieved Achievements and diving back into specific Chapters. The combat is definitely the best part and the slow evolution of your abilities (and their satisfyingly violent animations) provides more reward than the guest shots or plotlines. I still haven’t seen the movie but I can’t imagine it being much more entertaining than this so if the film let you down don’t write this off just because it shares some source material; it’s another perfect long-weekend rental.