One on one combat still rules Starcraft II, but there is more of an emphasis on the use of artificial intelligence via the game engine for the major battles. While you may have experienced a small taste of it before in earlier versions, the extent of the AI use and dynamic strategy it is capable of can easily catch you off guard. Don’t underestimate how creative computer intelligence can be when it wants to win. On the battlefields you may meet hordes of AI controlled Zergs, Protoss and Terrans. These are all species from the original game world of Starcraft and they have undergone some radical transformations that appear in this expansion game. These aren’t the same units that you met in The Brood, there have been quite a few changes to their ability and how they function. The battlefields that make use of AI control are more challenging than ever before, thanks to the upgrade to the game engine as well.
Hive Mind vs Psionic Connections
The Zergs share a hive mind, and the Protoss have a psionic connection. They are similar, but not the same. Understanding the difference between the two will be essential to staying one step ahead of them. The hive mind works as a kind of collective unconscious, which means that wherever the Queen or Ultralisk goes, the rest will follow. With a psionic connection, it is a shared awareness and not directive that occurs. That means that in order to take advantage of the Protoss you have to create a reason for them to gather.
What is your best strategy?
Hive mind, and even the psionic connection shared by the Protoss can be worked to your advantage. The goal with them is to direct by distraction. If you can create enough of a disturbance or threat you can direct the group where you want them. Dealing with AI controlled Terrans is going to require profoundly different tactics. For starters, they aren’t connected; in fact you can’t even rely on them to stay in the same battle groups – but that is where your advantage comes into play. They are resource destroyers and can be broken apart by setting up claim fields. Once there are seeded claim fields then the Terran battle groups will most likely splinter and attach each other and not your team.
Starcraft II features a revised mapping editor that you can use to your advantage. It can provide you with an extreme resource if you load in one of the maps that are now for sale in the Starcraft II store. When you are facing an AI controlled battlefield you have to be able to strategize by keeping a big picture focus, as well as handling local battles. While a lot of the combat in Starcraft II remains one on one, there is a heavier emphasis on the larger AI battles that come in the upper levels.
The huge next gen console, Playstation 4 (PS4), doesn’t fool around. This isn’t meant to be a total replacement for your entertainment system or Internet devices; this is meant to be the powerhouse gaming platform you just happen to have tucked away for your own personal pleasure. Sony has stripped away the excess and added in new configurations to support faster and harder game play. The new games that are set to be released are going to be putting all of that to the test. This is one of the reasons that in all the re-engineering of the PS4 the tower design has remained, it is the best way to make sure that the core temperatures are managed correctly during hours of play.
The PS4 backs up its customized single chip processor with 8 gigabytes of GDDR RAM and a fixed hard drive. The graphics and audio, which are of great importance to gamers is run through the AMD Radeon Core Next Engine. All of this also allows for the machine to carry real time VOIP delivery to a far better extent than Sony has been able to offer before.
What Can you Connect To?
PS4 has made a move to accommodate more types of connections to screen hosting devices than Sony has ever put out in a PlayStation console before. Not only are there the standard AUX I/O plugs but there is also allowance for 10BASE –T, 100Base-TX and 1000Base T Ethernet systems. This is in addition to the newer ports to accommodate HDMI connections to big screen TVs and projection devices; as well as a special port for digital optical output. If you don’t want to go with a wired connection, there is also now Bluetooth connectivity. You don’t always have to connect into the multi-player network either; the PS4 also comes with a settings option to provide for standalone play.
What are the Accessories You Need?
Sony cleaned out the accessories catalog with the PS4. They did away with supporting all the shaking, rattling and rolling controllers from 3rd party vendors that took up valuable hardware power. Instead, you get a top of the line wireless controller that is made for the system itself. There are also special tower stands and they aren’t about making the PS4 look good in your living room, these tower stands are a part of the core cooling design system that the PS4 needs to operate at full speed. Add into this two or three options for high quality audio and VOIP enabled noise cancelling headphones and you have everything you need to play your games without the world interfering with you at all.
One accessory that is still kept separate, but is available from Sony for the PS4 is the camera platform. This allows you to take in game screen shots and record play to save or export for sharing, or to review your progress later. It is considered an “add-on” which is why it isn’t built in. Most players would rather stay in the moment then stop and take a picture of it.
Bungie, the developers of Destiny beta, are allowing anyone who owns an XboX One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, and Playstation 3 play today at 4PM PDT. The only requirement having an Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus subscription. Bungie originally required interested gamers to obtain a beta code to play, but now it is offered for free. Simply logon to your console after 4PM and take a look at the store or dashboard for the beta download link.
The beta will end on Sunday evening, so this is a good way for players to try Destiny before the beta closes. One important thing to note is that the game will run on 720p on the Xbox One during beta, but will have the full 1080p when the game is fully developed.
Bungie offered the Iron Banner event last weekend and extra goodies like an exclusive emblem to use in-game. If you don’t know what the Iron Banner mode is, its a fun and competitive list where you can earn extra items like the emblem. There will for sure be more Iron Banner events and you can check out the schedule at IGN.