This site is closing

This site will close soon, probably at the end of this months billing cycle, in around 3 weeks.

The reasons:

  1. Constant hacking attempts, as many as 200 per day. They’re coming from all over the world, so a script kiddie trying to get access by using incorrect usernames. I have a firewall in place that bans them after one failed attempt, this is fast becoming a very large part of the database and .htaccess file.
  2. The site at certain times of the day can take an age to load. This is unnaceptable and throwing money at the problem won’t help.
  3. I’ve contacted several retailers and manufacturers to see if they’ll loan me a bike for a few days so I can expand the reviews to cover other models… none have called me or emailed me back.
  4. I can’t be arsed updating with new posts. There’s also little to cover if I can’t get hold of loan bikes to test and review.
  5. I might one day setup the site on my local network on a raspberry pi, and yes believe it or not, it would be faster than the current host.
  6. I’m also considering selling my bike. I am a carer for my uncle who is mentally handicapped, I get 3 days a week when I have a respite carer come in and look after him for a few hours. So of course riding is dependent on the weather and if I have other errands to run in my spare time. As things are. I don’t want to get soaked, cold and miserable during this time.

Rogue Aces – PS4 Review

Cue Deep booming voice, “In a World,” cue normal voice, flooded with World War 1 and 2 shooters, Infinite State Games releases a WW2 styled shoot ’em up harking back to the halcyion days of Capcom’s 1942, but with a much more modern (but still slightly retro feel) aesthetic and style. While 1942 was a top down scrolling shoot ’em up, Rogue Aces is up, down, left, and right all at the same time. Keep your eyes peeled!

The old school feel also massively extends to the leaderboards, be it global or just friends, you’re driven to keep besting yourself and others, but at least today it will read dazbobaby at the top and not just DAZ.

I’d initially heard about Rogue Aces, more than a couple of years ago, (Wing Kings was the working title – InfiniteStates wanted to call it something like… Rogue Squadron, but seeing as George Lucas has a lot more money than him, he renamed it Rogue Aces), I actually know Charlie (InfiniteState Games) from the Sony PlayStation forums, then he became a member of a forum I created to allow for more mature posts (mess-hall.co.uk – gone forever 🙁 ), but still gaming and playstation related. We even met in person at Eurogamer a few years ago, and while it’s not a traditional friendship, we live hundreds of miles apart, I would consider Charlie a friend. I actually thought the concept sounded promising, and even the VERY early alpha gameplay looked promising.

You might be fooled into thinking that this is a copy of Luftrausers, it’s not, though the gameplay is a tiny bit similar, and both are about arial combat and war, the similarity ends there.

What you have here is a very well rounded, incredibly fun and challenging World War 2 shoot ’em up, that includes a campaign mode, an island hopping mode called Frontline, survival mode, and Hot Potato (these are the ones I’ve unlocked so far), and even more.

  • Campaign: you have one life but 3 planes, keep going as long as you possibly can (hint theres a 100+ missions)
  • Frontline: One plane and one life, but WHEN you die, you restart from the last island you took. There’s also mission timer, you have to get to the boss island and beat the final boss in a set amount of time.
  • Hot Potato: your plane will explode in 8 seconds… get into another as soon as it does.
  • Survival: one life, one plane… survive as long as possible (hint – hot potato)

 

When you intially start playing you’ll probably concentrate on shooting down other aircraft, these will also drop the occasional booster such as faster firing, more bombs, more rockets, faster turning, more powerful guns and so on, while you stay alive you keep these, and in frontline, you keep them until you run out of time. As you progress you’ll rank up, this allows you to unlock these boosters from the get go, and you’ll need them too. I did say it was challenging, oh yeah, it’s also roguelike, meaning when you run out of lives… you start all over again, but at least the ranking up and the unlocked boosters mean you’ll get to play for longer next time.

One of the things I really like about Rogue Aces is the hilarity, I’ve spent hours and hours playing and only a handful of times did I die and restart because I was shot down… no, I keep bloody crashing. And yet I never feel frustrated like many games leave you feeling. In fact I usually end up laughing at myself for doing something stupid 😀

The Campaign is fun and highly addictive in it’s own right, but Frontline is where I’ve spent most of my time, it’s damned hard, funny and utterly brilliant.

Imagine if you will an Angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, and the demon just keeps whispering “one more game, do a little better, beat that score and best everyone else”, while the angel is saying but you’re a brain surgeon, people will die if you don’t go to work”. All I can say is people will die, and scores will be beaten.

How can I score it? I know Charlie, but I can honestly say it’s worth a punt at £9.99 (PS+ see’s a 20% discount).

But to be honest, even if I had no association with Infinite State Games, and I hadn’t been provided a code (not for review, but from a friend) I think I’d still rate it 10/10, just look for my name on the top of the leaderboards, I didn’t get there by chance.

 

 

Here’s a playlist from InfiniteStates Games, showing the intital alpha test flights and on to actual finished gameplay. This is a treat really, nobody ever gets to see the first gameplay tests up to the finished product.

A quick look at Wipeout Omega on the PSVR

When Wipeout Omega collection (Wipeout 2048, Wipeout HD and HD Fury) was launched, there was a promise to release a PSVR patch later on.

Well this week saw that patch, and what a patch, aside from downgrading the anti-aliasing to zero, the PSVR version is a like for like copy of the non-VR version.

During the making of this video, I also learned a new trick, smooth speed up/slow downs.

Enjoy

4K HDR. Is it worth the investment?

I recently purchased a 4K 10bit HDR Monitor, the Acer ET430K, and without a doubt it’s lovely in 4K. But this week saw a much needed update to VideoLan (VLC), it now finally supports 4K and 8K hardware playback, something severely lacking in previous releases, even 4K playback was tricky and I used MPC-HC for that, now VLC also supports HDR too.

When I bought the monitor I also dropped £50 on a new BDXL drive (Asus BW-16D1HT), this will let me rip UHD movies to my WD EX4100 and play them back anywhere. I was initially surprised by the file size, they’re big, but only twice the size of a bluray at 1080p, yet they contain  four times the resolution, 10 bit colour (instead of 8 bit) and for the most part improved audio with more channels and higher resolution.

So I went to my local CEX and bought some UHD movies, The Hateful Eight, The Martian, Logan, and Alien Covenant, and after watching them initially in 4K SDR or 8bit colour I was a little unimpressed, but I was using MPC-HC to play them back, MPC-HC has hardware playback but no support for HDR, and at the time VLC didn’t. My initial misgivings were found-less, once VLC 3.0 launched I immediately saw the difference that HDR gives. I will say that 4K is very nice, but to be honest, it’s the difference with HDR that you’ll immediately notice. And all I can say is WOW. It’s HDR that will sell more TV’s and monitors than 4K alone.

Here are some screenshots from these films, sadly you really won’t be able to enjoy them as they are… you’ll need a 4K HDR screen.

What is HDR? Basically HDR (High Dynamic Range) means richer colours, more contrast and brightness this gives a scene better definition without losing details like increasing brightness and contrast will. It’s one thing that’s hard to quantify, but once you’ve seen it you’ll know it.

So does 4K 10bit HDR make a real difference… OH HELL YES it does. Be warned though, there are many 4K 8bit HDR screens out there, and they use software to push this to 10bit, they are severely lacking, they cannot and never will render 10bit properly. So be warned… don’t be duped into buying an 8bit screen, insist on HDMI 2.0 (this meets the bandwidth requirements of 4K HDR @ 50hz) and you should be ok, though always check with the internet before buying.

So is it worth the investment? For gaming on the PS4 and PC, yes it’s worth the entry fee alone. As for movies? HELL YES.

Another thing to consider, if you don’t use the TV’s built-in tuner or smart services then why bother with a TV, get a monitor instead. Monitors don’t have this stuff and as a result you should get a better image from it than a similar priced TV.

2018 The best year ever for gaming?

There’s a shed load of new style survival games coming this year, not the usual find, craft, survive type games. More like The Last of Us but massively improved and updated.

First one: Death Stranding

Based on this video, I’m putting this on the top of my list right now.

 

 

And of course: The Last of Us 2

This needs no introduction at all, after all I’ve put in hundreds of hours in the single player and even more in the multiplayer. How much have you played it?

Lastly Days Gone

2018 is shaping up to be an awesome year for survival games.

Gran Turismo Sport Beta Test

If you have a Playstation 4 and some time to play a beta test, then give GT6 Sport a try 🙂

If you’d like to take part in the Closed BETA Test and work with the development team as they create Gran Turismo Sport, please click on the link at the bottom of this page and fill in the application form. (You will need to agree to certain terms of use in order to take part.)

http://www.gran-turismo.com/gb/news/00_4079128.html

The latest information regarding the PlayStation®4-exclusive title Gran Turismo Sport, scheduled for release in 2017, has been released during the PlayStation Experience show held in Anaheim, California.

The video trailer gives you a glimpse of the next generation visuals with features such as HDR, VR and wide colour space. You can also find screenshots showing the new ‘Willow Springs International Raceway: Horse Thief Mile’ track together with new cars, appearing for the first time in the series.

Admittedly Gran Turismo isn’t my favourite racer, that’s is saved for the brilliant DriveClub, but I do think GT games are definitely the most beautiful racers.