Monthly Archives: September 2016

PS4 Problems and their Solutions

The PlayStation 4 is a gamer’s delight, but one that comes with its own set of bugs.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 sure is creating waves in the gaming industry. They say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, well then, there are just about 4.2 million (as of December 2013) people out there who would be willing to vouch for this amazing game console. It is not just about the numbers, Sony’s next-gen gaming console has a spec sheet that would get any gamer drooling over it.

So, is the Sony PS4 the ultimate gaming machine? Well, not just yet. Nope, we aren’t talking about opting for the offering from the rival camp. We simply mean to say that the console is currently plagued by a few issues that can make life rather miserable for the users. Chances are, if you are a PS4 user, you’ve already come across some of these issues. These may not be a deal breaker, but certainly can be quite frustrating. The good news is that most of these problems have rather simple solutions which fix them for good. You don’t need to be a techie, nor do you need to wait in endless lines to get most of these resolved. So, without further ado, here’s a look at some of the most common PS4 problems and their probable solutions.

The blue indicator light on my PS4 keeps blinking.

Probable cause: Hardware/software issues

Possible solution:

Firmware update for your TV – This would help fix any compatibility issues of the hardware and also resets the HDMI settings of the television, which affect the signal on the PS4.

Inspect the power supply – Switch off the console, and check its electrical connections. Detach the power chord, and check its connectors for faults.

Inspect the HDMI ports – Check to see if the HDMI cable has any issue. You could try changing the HDMI cable to see if it helps.

Inspect the hard drive – Switch off the console, and remove all the cables connected to it. Slide out the HDD bay cover, and ensure that the HDD is secured firmly in its bay.

The red indicator light on my PS4 keeps blinking.

Probable cause: Hardware malfunction

Possible solution:

Let the console cool down – Switch off the console for a while, and let it cool down for at least half an hour before powering it back on.

Ensure proper ventilation – Make sure to place the console in a well-ventilated area with ample space around it for the console to breathe.

There’s a problem with audio/video on the PS4.

Probable cause: Damaged HDMI cable

Possible solution:

Check the HDMI cable – Make sure that the cable is not damaged. If the connecting pins of the cable are bent, you could try and put it back in place with a pin. Be careful not to use too much force though.

Use a different HDMI cable – Swap the old cable with a new one.

My PS4 does not connect/keeps getting disconnected from the network.

Probable cause: PlayStation Network servers overloaded

Possible solution:

Try again – Wait for a while and then connect again.

Choose an alternate source – Download the firmware from an alternative source. A lot of options are listed on Sony’s support site. You can also choose to download the 1.50 firmware on a USB storage device, and install it onto the console later.

My PS4 freezes/crashes often.

Probable cause: Overheating/network issues/firmware problem

Possible solution:

Wait for a while – Wait for sometime as the console usually works fine after a while. Avoid hard resetting your PS4 as it can adversely affect the console. Check the company’s support site for a possible patch to fix the bug.

My PS4’s game disc auto ejects/does not eject.

Probable cause: Malfunctioning optical drive

Possible solution:

Make the console stand – You could try to place the PS4 vertically using a stand. This would, however, block access to some of the ports on the console.

Manually eject the disc – Resort to this only if all other methods fail. You can refer to Sony’s support site for a step-by-step guide to help you along the way.

Much like all major hardware releases, the PlayStation 4 is also faced by teething trouble. Sony is constantly working towards fixing these issues as and when they surface. Always upgrade you console’s firmware as this brings in a lot of bug fixes, speed improvements, and security patches to ensure that PS4 is running at its optimum best. The latest PlayStation is already a winner, and there is little doubt that it will go on to be amongst the best gaming consoles of all time, quashing all the problems that come along.

Best Xbox 360 RPG

The emergence of role playing video games has redefined gaming once for all. Let’s take a look at the best Xbox 360 RPG and find out what makes them stand apart from the rest!

We’ve all played role playing games sometime or the other, whether on our gaming consoles or on plain old pen and paper! Xbox brings you some intensely exciting role playing games, both single as well as multiplayer ones, which are sure to keep you glued to your remote control for long periods of time! RPGs are a great way to have fun while being involved in the plot at the same time! Also, the fact that you have the power to alter the course of the plot of most of these games means you are the master here – the game proceeds the way you want it to and not the other way round! Let us take a tour of some of the best RPG for Xbox 360 and find out what makes their claim of excellence valid!

Top Xbox 360 Role-playing Games

Check out the following top Xbox 360 role-playing games of all time and read along to find out what makes them so special. Please note that the year of released, mentioned against each game title, corresponds to the time of their release in the North American market and may slightly vary for Asian and European markets. Also, the following games are mentioned in no specific order.

Lost Odyssey (2008) – USD 41*
Set against the background of a magic industrial revolution, this game is a sure shot winner among all RPG’s till date, qualifying even as Xbox’s answer to Final Fantasy! Great graphics, amazing music and astounding dream sequences give this RPG a permanent place among the best RPG ever!

Tales of Vesperia (2008) – USD 26*
An awesome JRPG for Xbox 360, the plot of Tales of Vesperia is set against the backdrop of a fictitious planet, Terca Lumireis. The plot incorporates many strong characters such as a prominent hero figure, a mage, a healer and a fighter. This RPG comes complete with phenomenal sound effects and great dialogs, besides relevant characters and has several enjoyable combat situations and fight sequences. All in all, a worthy inclusion in any gamer’s collection!

Mass Effect 2 (2010) – USD 15*
Mass Effect 2 takes up from the year 2183, several weeks ahead of where Mass Effect 1 ended. This single-player sci-fi RPG requires the player to assume the role of Commander Shepard, the chief protagonist of the game plot, and take decisions which are for the greater good. Shepard’s character and personality totally depends upon the individual player and different players can take the plot in a different direction based upon individual decision-making pattern! A great story coupled with awesome sound and graphics makes this RPG a trailblazer of sorts as well as rank among best Xbox 360 games of all time!

Fallout 3 (2008) – USD 18*
Set against a post apocalyptic Washington D.C., parts of Virginia and Maryland, this RPG takes you to the year 2277, which is two hundred years post a world war over resources, concluding in a nuclear holocaust in 2077. The current game scenario makes it clear that the characters either stay in special vaults to escape the lethal radiations of the war-torn wasteland or perish on venturing out! The plot setting is amazing coupled with huge scope for exploration. The V.A.T.S combats are absolutely exciting and near-perfect sounds and graphics guarantee to keep you hooked for a number of hours! No wonder this one shows up as a staple in all top Xbox 360 games lists!

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006) – USD 17*
The plot for this game opens on the arrival of Uriel Septim VII, accompanied by “the Blades”, to the Imperial City prison, in a quest to flee the Mythic Dawn assassins. Oblivion is not a direct take off from where Morrowind ended but carries allusions to the events of the latter. This one’s a massive game which gives you a lot of options to explore the game topography as well as create individual characters. It also gives the player the option to play the game in either first or third person. The combat sequences are grandiose and perfectly executed and it’s absolutely thrilling to earn new weapons during the course of the fights! The quests are intriguing and exciting, which will guarantee to engage you for hours together!

Dark Souls (2011) – USD 22*
The most striking feature of this game is its duality – the plot is very basic and does not contain too many technical details while the difficulty level of the gameplay is pretty high. It is actually this combination of simple storyline and challenging gameplay that makes Dark Souls one of the most interesting role playing games ever. Clearing the hard levels by figuring out the implicit mechanics of the game makes playing it an extremely satisfying experience. If you’re a fan of the old school gaming tradition, where not every step is spoon-fed to the player(s), Dark Souls is just the game for you! Also, the audio-visual quality and effects of this game are great, giving a highly satisfying gaming experience as the player explores its vast universe.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2012) – USD 47*
The second installment starts off right from where the first part ends. Such continuity makes it easy for those who have played the first part to move ahead with the plot of the second one. As Geralt, the Witcher, proceeds on his mission to clear himself of the regicide charge, the player gets to explore the game universe, fight various monstrous entities and gain power by drinking magic potions throughout his quest. This game requires the player to take strategic decisions, as Geralt, at various points and these decisions decide the course of the game. Although the visual effects of the Xbox version doesn’t match up to those of the PC version of this game, Witcher 2 is still worth having in your collection.

Infinite Undiscovery (2008) – USD 16*
A full-on action RPG, Infinite Undiscovery hasn’t garnered the kind of attention that the others in this list have. However, that doesn’t go on to say that it is a bad game. However, it could have been a lot more gripping, in terms of plot progression and gameplay, than it actually is. The reason why I am including Infinite Undiscovery among the top 10 Xbox 360 RPGs is because it has a very interesting storyline which, albeit covering the conventional “aimless do-gooder finds a mission, kicks some serious ass on his/her way to victory” premises, has a somewhat fresh take on the way the characters shape up and step up to their roles. Since it is a role-playing game, the player needs to take decisions at key levels of the game which determine the direction it takes. The story and characters, alone, are reasons enough to give this game a try!

Star Ocean: The Last Hope (2009) – USD 14*
Awesome graphics and engaging cutscenes are the highlights of this game, along with an interesting storyline. This is a Japanese RPG and it is available in versions with English voice acting. However, the voice-over work is not stellar by any means and this, in a way, becomes a sore spot in the entire gaming experience. Apart from this, the game itself is well worth the player’s time and efforts as the plot progresses at a decent pace and the game universe offers the player a lot of action-packed moments.

Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning (2012) – USD 32*
Different players would have different degrees of inclination towards this game’s storyline – while some would find it highly entertaining and engaging, others may be put off by some bumps and seams along the flow of the narrative. However, as far as the gameplay is concerned, the incredibly pleasant audio-visual appeal of the magnificent game environment and the masterfully crafted combat sequences have been applauded unanimously by the Xbox gaming community. This game is an ambitious attempt towards raising the bar for game designing and art direction and is, as such, definitely worth having in your collection.

These are the best of the best RPGs that have ever existed in the Xbox gaming scene. Other honorable mentions include Eternal Sonata, Fable II, Blue Dragon, Resonance of Fate, Arcania: Gothic 4, Dragon Age: Origins, Two Worlds II, Infinite Undiscovery, Final Fantasy XIII, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Magna Carta 2, The Last Remnant, Bastion, Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment, Torchlight, Dungeon Siege III, Enchanted Arms and Robert Ludlum’s: The Bourne Conspiracy among others. Do check these out if you haven’t yet!

Best Real-time Strategy Games for PC

Real-time strategy are some of the most popular games in the market. The very popularity of this genre has led to several distinct games. Here are the best real-time strategy games for PC.

Real-time strategy is a hugely popular genre of PC games. Broadly speaking, it consists of the player controlling a particular community, gathering various resources, forming armies for defense and attack, and eventually reigning supreme according to the conditions of the particular game. It is one of the few genres that is actually claimed to benefit those who play it, by enhancing their decision-making skills and quick thinking.

In an age of shrinking influence of PCs, real-time strategy, or RTS games requires gamers to own a PC. While there have been several attempts to shift the world of RTS gaming away from the mouse and towards the controller, virtually all of them have been unmitigated disasters, since the particular UI of RTS games just doesn’t work with controllers. Here’s a list of the best RTS games that make owning a PC worthwhile.

Top 10 RTS Games

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

Ensemble Studio’s Age of Empires, first launched in 1997, has attained legendary status among fans of the RTS genre. The 1999 sequel, The Age of Kings (and its expansion pack, Age of Conquerors), ironed out the obvious flaws in the first edition of AoE, and its unit designs, iconic background score and voice work, and―lest we forget―cheat codes made it an irresistible package for every teen in the world (yes, yes, including yours truly). Many of these teens would still swear by this game as the one that gave rise to the gamer in them. This game was also notable for having a veritable encyclopedia about various medieval subjects, such as specific civilizations and units. Though the technical limitations of this game would probably not appeal to budding gamers, it remains a prized game for the 1990s generation.

Age of Empires III

Yes, it’s a bit unfair to include two titles from the same series, but the radically changed graphics in the third edition of AoE definitely warrant a place on its own. Whereas Age of Kings dealt with the medieval ages in general, the third AoE game, released in 2005, focused on the European colonization of the Americas. The main bonus in the new edition was the hugely improved 3D graphics. The battle scenes and, though it may seem grim and sadistic, the explosions, were a notch above anything else anybody else could deliver. Though the campaigns in this version were criticized (as they were in Age of Kings), the gameplay remains more alluring than ever.

Rise of Nations

Still one of the best exponents of the RTS genre to combine the characteristics of turn-based strategy games (such as ‘Risk’) with the tactics of military games, Rise of Nations is a gaming legend. The visuals and audio score were praised by several game reviewers, as was the gameplay. There are numerous campaigns to play, including one where you try to lead the nation of your choice to world domination. In contrast to Age of Empires, which only charted the development of human civilization from the dark ages to the medieval times, Rise of Nations lets you advance to the modern age and offers advanced units such as elite special forces and stealth bombers. An important feature of this game is that sources of all six resources are infinite; however, many consider this a drawback, since this takes away the urgent need to attack other players, unlike in Age of Empires, where the natural occurrence of each resource is limited and exhaustible. Despite this, this is one RTS game that is worth spending hours on end―I certainly do!

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

The, as yet, last RTS offering from Blizzard Entertainment’s epic Warcraft series (discounting its expansion packs), Reign of Chaos is a wildly popular and universally praised RTS game. Warcraft has always garnered praise for its gameplay, and the third title, released in 2002, keeps up with the tradition. In contrast to most other RTS games (for instance, the three games listed above), where the opening sequences are basically a race to progress through the ‘ages’, Reign of Chaos was particularly praised for its engrossing initial sequences. Minor changes to the gameplay, such as the addition of a day-night cycle, also enhanced the gaming experience. In the words of IGN, “There’s not a ton that’s new to RTS buffs out there, but it’s done well enough that you either won’t notice or won’t care”; we, at Buzzle, concur!

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

A much-anticipated and overdue follow-up to the 1998 game StarCraft, this 2010 title gained fame for the same strengths as its predecessor: Its excellently woven and told storyline and new, innovative gameplay features. It became the fastest selling RTS game of all time at the time of its release.

Command & Conquer: Generals

Another popular RTS game series, Command & Conquer: Generals presents a storyline involving the USA and China as the two global superpowers, and a Global Liberation Army intent on destroying them both. The user can play as any of the three factions. Like Rise of Nations, Command & Conquer allows you to control modern and advanced machinery such as nuclear missiles and attack helicopters.

Age of Mythology

Based on the same concept of army-building and resource management as its parent series Age of Empires, this 2002 spin-off spiced things up thanks to its emphasis on mythological storylines and figures from Greek, Nordic, and Egyptian mythologies. The gameplay is virtually the same as the first two editions of Age of Empires, but divine powers are now available to the players in the form of mythical units and the power to cause disasters, such as earthquakes and devastating meteor showers, in their enemy’s territory.

Company of Heroes

Released in 2006, this relatively modern game has gained countless admirers for its brilliant graphics. Utilizing the Essence Engine and the Havok physics engines, this game features dynamic lighting and extremely realistic battle conditions, including tanks that can drive through certain walls, and smoke that is influenced by the prevailing wind conditions! Set during the Second World War, this game allows you to control specific companies in order to gain as much territory as you can and push back the Wehrmacht.

Empire Earth

Created by Stainless Steel Studios. which was formed by the co-founder of Ensemble Studios, Rick Goodman, this 2001 RTS game is supposedly what Goodman had in mind when he designed Age of Empires. It is can be crudely described as a cross between AoE and Rise of Nations, with a gameplay similar to Age of Empire, consisting of resources that need to be gathered in order to build cities and raise armies, allied with a timeline similar to Rise of Nations, spanning several thousand years of human development from the dark ages to the ‘nano age’.

Total War: Shogun 2

The Total War series is famous for its blend of turn-based strategy and real-time tactics, and nowhere is the blend more enjoyable than the 2011 release, Shogun 2. Deviating from the recent Total War locations around Europe, this journey into the Land of the Rising Sun allows you to control one of eight factions and lead them to rule the whole of Japan.

Types of Xbox 360

This article provides information about the types of Xbox 360 gaming consoles, which have been launched since the start of the last decade. These gadgets make this brand, one of the most successful ones all over the globe.

The Microsoft Xbox 360 is the successor to the original Xbox. The different types of gaming consoles of this brand have taken the video gaming experience to a whole new level. The high standard of graphics and many associated interactive features, have made this brand very popular in the market of video game consoles, all around the world. Direct competitors of the Xbox 360 include Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii.

More than 45 million units of the Xbox 360 have been sold since its first launch in May 2005, as a successor to the Microsoft Xbox. The reason for its popularity are the vast number of video game titles that are available for the platform, and also the ability to download game demos, music videos, movie trailers, and other entertainment related content from the online store called Xbox Live Marketplace (XLBM). This is the single biggest advantage over the other rivals; the market allows the user to download and purchase numerous games, videos, and other multimedia content, which results in the user having a profound new experience in the world of gaming.

Through Xbox Live, you can create an online avatar of yourself, and play a wide variety of multiplayer games through the online medium. You can also play these games against fellow gamers from any corner of the world. The exclusivity and integration of this feature is an awesome quality that stands out over all its peers.

Xbox 360 Console Types

Every year, at the E3 presentation (Electronic Entertainment Expo), Microsoft releases some new update or development regarding different Xbox 360 types. In June 2010, at the same expo, the new Xbox 360 S was released. Today, this is the only model that is in production, and all the earlier ones have been stopped. 360 S is slimmer than the previous designs, and it also makes lesser noise, which was a major drawback of the older consoles.

The Xbox 360 Core
This was an entry-level video game console, which was launched in the last decade, and it was responsible for changing the entire scenario of gaming. This 360 series model was touted as the successor to the original Xbox device. It allowed the gamer a 1080i HDTV output, when coupled with an external HDMI cable. Pretty soon, 1080p resolution was also supported, and this console is recognizable due to the wired controller, and an external hard drive that was available with it. This device came with 512 MB of RAM and 20 GB of hard drive capacity. It also had the popular Faceplate feature. In later versions, a hard drive had to be separately purchased for this model, and high-definition features (HD) also had to be added separately. The production of this model was slowly stopped due to rising popularity of the successive revolutionary gaming consoles.

The Xbox 360 Pro
Also known as the Xbox 360 Premium, this console came with a lot of changes and new features in 2007. The biggest upgrade over earlier types of Xbox 360 was the hard drive, which was now expanded to 60 GB, over the previous 20 GB. Powered by three powerful core processors, and having a 16:9 aspect ratio, the Pro or Premium version was quite popular, and people touted it to be better than the previously launched Core model. It had almost the same features as of the Core model. A very important addition included the hybrid cable that substituted its AV counterpart. This cable showed both composite, as well as component features. The processor also saw an upgrade from the ‘Zephyr’ to the ‘Falcon’. Other improvements consisted of the wireless controllers and Xbox Live headsets, compatibility regarding the original Xbox games (the older version), and addition of the Ethernet cable. The Pro version was also sold in 2005 along with the Core version, but soon, all other models were discontinued tills stocks lasted, and only the former was left with its 60 GB hard drive upgrade.

The Xbox 360 Elite
The Elite model was also released in 2007, and it was available in a matte black finish, compared to the matte white finish of the earlier models. The hard drive was upgraded again, and it came with 120 GB space. This was further extended in 2009 to 250 GB, and this version came to be known as the Xbox 360 Super Elite. Equipped with an Xbox Live headset and a wireless controller (30 feet range), this model came with the previously seen matte white finish, and had a battery life of about 30 hours. Other features include 16:9 aspect ratio, three powerful core processors, child security in the family settings, full surround sound, etc. A lot of limited editions of Elite along with some notable games were released in the year 2009. Another major change was in the power supply to the console, which enabled it to cool down faster. In 2009, the Jasper chipset was introduced in this model, which increased its popularity. After the launch of the Xbox 360 S 250 GB version, the Elite console experienced a drastic drop in sales, followed by its complete discontinuation.

The Xbox 360 Arcade
The Arcade was released in 2007, and it was merely a continuation of the entry-level Xbox 360 Core. The difference was that there was no external hard drive, and only an internal flash memory was included, along with the famous wireless controllers. The reason for this change was that the console was much cheaper than the other models, which came with additional storage space, and hence, the gadgets could only be used for playing Xbox Live Arcade games. Equipped with a HDMI output 1.2, composite AV cable, triple-core 3.2 GHz processor, and 256 MB internal memory (upgradable to 512 MB), this model was a good option for non-hardcore gamers. It provided limited entertainment, and was basically referred to as an interim model that was launched before the subsequent feature-rich versions. When it was launched, five online arcade games were included in its pack, along with several demos and trailers. In 2010, with the launching of the Xbox 360 S version, the Arcade model suffered considerable dip in sales, and ultimately, its production stopped. This console is produced even today under the name Xbox 360 S Arcade, and is available with 4 GB internal flash memory.

The Xbox 360 S
It comes with a matte black finish, and a much slimmer design than before. Integrated Wi-Fi connectivity is another added feature, and this makes online gaming all the more fun. Other changes like additional USB ports, an integrated hard disk, one large cooling fan (compared to two smaller ones in the earlier models), touch sensitive buttons, and compatibility with Microsoft Kinect (the new motion sensing platform) are some of the features. With an integrated Valhalla motherboard and a new XCGPU (Xenon processor), this console is much faster than its previous versions with additional 30% space. There is no need for external adapters while using this design, as it comes with a TOSLINK S/PDIF audio connector, which enables the user to experience an optical audio surround feel while gaming. The requirement for a branded hard drive specifically for the new model is not present, as was the case with the previous gadget types. This gadget was available in three different variants: 4 GB, 250 GB, and 350 GB models.

The Xbox 360 E
On June 10, 2013, the latest version of Xbox 360 series was released, which showed quite some similar features to the recent Xbox One. It has the similar glossy appearance and matte finish as compared to the previous versions. The HDMI connection remains, but the multi-AV, as well as the USB ports are absent in this model. There are three subtypes of this console: 4GB, 4GB Kinect Bundle, and 250 GB. According to specifications, these subtypes only differ in case of viewing quality and external storage features. Some of the previous characteristics like touch control and power buttons, and optical audio-out, have been discontinued. Surround sound output is only possible from the HDMI connections. Some features that are retained from the previous models include infrared port, Kinect port, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, replaceable hard drive, etc. This device is said to be much quieter than the previous designs, though it is still not preferred over the immensely popular 360 S version.

All the above described Xbox console types have an interesting story behind them, and each subsequent model brought something new to the market, in the form of hardware and video game titles. In today’s world, the types of Xbox 360 consoles are synonymous with high-end gaming, and this easily is one of the most recognizable brands in the extremely lucrative and steadily growing gaming market segment.