A gamer vacationing with limited internet

So I’m 3 days into my 21 days of leave I’m spending back home in Pennsylvania and it’s been nice so far, except in one area: internet. My dad has Hughe’s Net satellite internet since he lives in the middle of nowhere and while it may be faster than dialup I’d hardly consider it usable as a gamer. Sure it’s fine for basic tasks, but there’s a 10gb monthly data limit that makes doing many things impossible. No Netflix streaming. YouTube videos are slow to load anyway, so I doubt Netflix would be enjoyable to use.

Now I know you may be thinking ‘hey you’re on vacation, get off the internet!’ but I’m just home visiting family. If I were on vacation I’d be in Florida or Seattle. Besides most of my friends and family are at work during the week, so it’s not like I could hang out with them anyway. My girlfriend is flying out from Boise on Friday and she’ll be here for a week so that’s when we’ll be going sightseeing in D.C., NYC, Baltimore, etc. since it’ll be her first time on the East Coast.

Anyway. I tried playing Call of Duty Ghosts over Hughes Net and there’s about a 3 second delay between input and response due to the nature of satellite internet, making it entirely unplayable. I’m able to play Forza’s career mode without issue on this connection at least. It has no issue populating my races with drivatars and updating leaderboards, etc.

I was able to connect using my iPhone 5’s mobile hotspot which did make Call of Duty play smoothly over an LTE connection. I used about 400mb of my 5gb data plan after a couple of hours which isn’t ideal, but I think it’ll do for the rest of this week at least. I’m probably going to have to go to a friend’s house to download the March 11 system update that coincide’s with Titanfall’s release (and with any luck Titanfall will probably have a day one update).

Anywho, just figured I’d stop in and update on my trip so far. Winter Storm Titan turned out to be a dud here in southern Pennsylvania as it only dropped about two inches of snow as opposed to the 8″ and up that was predicted. Now I’m just hoping it warms up enough before Vanessa gets out here so we can enjoy some decent weather in D.C. and New York.

I also picked up Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare but haven’t gotten to play a whole lot yet. I tried playing Garden Ops over HughesNet and managed to create a game but couldn’t connect with any other people so I only survived one round. I played a few split screen games with my brother which was nice, but we got disconnected from the EA servers a few times which terminated the game. It’s also worth nothing that both players are required to have an Xbox Live Gold account even though you’re playing on the same Xbox. This is weird because no other game on Xbox One has this requirement, only one Xbox Live Gold account is required on the console.

I’m off to make another cup of coffee. See you soon!

Xbox Live is kinda down on Xbox One right now

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 7.40.18 PM

So I was trying to get into some Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer a little while ago but I kept getting an error saying to go to callofduty.com/ghosts/status. I went there and everything said it was up and running. I decided to go ahead and play some Forza 5 in the meantime and noticed that I wasn’t getting any drivatars in my race, they were all AI drivers (you can tell because they all have first initials and last names, ex: B.Smith). It turns out that Xbox Live is having some issues with the ‘social and gaming’ services for Xbox One users.

Everything else is up and running, I’m able to do most of the stuff you can do on Xbox Live, I’m just having issues connecting with friends and getting into online games at the moment. If you’re experiencing the same issues be sure to check out Xbox.com/status for updates.

Hopefully it’s back up soon!

5 days with an Xbox One

IMG_3195

 

A look at the new headset controls. I like it!

So I’ve had my Xbox One for about five days and so far it’s been more amazing than I could’ve imagined. I’m in love with voice controls. It’s so easy to swap between apps or games without even picking up a controller. If I get a message I simply say “Xbox go to messages” and in less than 2 seconds I’m seeing my messages. I say “Xbox Go to Dead Rising 3” and I’m back in the game. The quick resume feature is also blowing my mind. I don’t even have to save a game, I just turn the Xbox off and when I turn it back on at a later time I can jump right back into whatever game I was playing at the exact same spot without any loading screens or title screens. Pretty awesome!

I’m loving the entire Xbox One experience. I’ve been watching TV on it via DISH Network and it works seamlessly. The other day I snapped TV and watched Modern Marvels while playing Call of Duty Ghosts. It was great because I could listen to the program as I played and if something piqued my interest I could glance up at the top right corner and see what was going on. Also I’d watch while waiting to respawn or while matches were loading.

 

IMG_3198

 

History Channel and Call of Duty

I’m also loving the whole Xbox ecosystem more than ever. The Xbox Music app is pretty awesome. The menus and the way it displays artist pictures as you’re listening is very pleasant. I’ve enjoyed using it as I’ve done things around the house and most likely will remain a subscriber for $9.99/mo. Would it be nice if they threw in Xbox Music for free for Gold subscribers? Sure, but with music royalty fees I can’t see anyway they’d be able to do that. Spotify is a similar service and is also $9.99 a month for the full featured version.

I rented a movie using Xbox Video last night and it was quick and easy. It was actually quicker to rent a movie using the Xbox than it would’ve been via DISH On Demand or Amazon Instant Video. The quality was great and I got a few achievements in the process (app achievements are all worth 0 points so far, but will show up in your achievement list and feed as being accomplished).

Playing with friends is as easy as ever and I enjoy the party system / app. I played a bit of Call of Duty Extinction with my buddy last night and it was a great time.

I’m also loving the Xbox DVR and Upload Studio features. I’ve made quite a few videos and uploaded them to SkyDrive with ease. If you want to share these videos on Facebook or YouTube you simply logon to your SkyDrive account and you can download the .MP4 file to do with as you please. I’ll be sharing some of my videos soon, but right now I’m at Starbucks so I won’t upload them all here. I’ve been uploading them to Facebook for now but will put a few up on YouTube to share here.

I played about an hour of Dead Rising 3 last night and it’s an absolute blast. One of the most fun experiences I’ve had in awhile. Creating weapon combos and wreaking havoc on HUNDREDS of on screen zombies is a constant rush. It’s also fun to hop in a car or a steamroller and flatten zombies by the dozen.

One thing to note, the games require huge updates! Forza 5 required a 9GB update right off the bat and Dead Rising 3 required a 13GB update! The good news is that once the update is about a quarter of the way done you can start playing the game.

IMG_3230

 

IMG_3231

I still have yet to play RYSE but will probably play some today if I can pull myself away from Dead Rising 3 and Call of Duty Ghosts. If you’d like to play a game, add or follow me on Xbox Live. My gamertag is Darth Gumballs.

I’ll post some gameplay videos when I have the chance, until then have a good day!

New owner of an Xbox One!

So I’ve been sick for the last week and haven’t been around here much. Sorry for that. I saw The LEGO Movie and loved it, but other than that not much has happened.

IMG_3187

Today, however, I did purchase an Xbox One! I’m officially in the current gen! That said, two of the three games I purchased today I’ve already played on PS3. I picked up Forza 5 (incredibly excited to play it!), Madden 25 and Call of Duty Ghosts. I’m hoping the current gen of those games will be an enjoyable improvement over the PS3 versions I’ve played.

IMG_3188

I’ve always been an Xbox guy, but decided to try out the PS3 last year for something different. In the end I went with the Xbox One as my next gen / now current gen console choice for several reasons. I love the Xbox interface first of all. It’s sleek, easy to use and getting together with friends to play games is most enjoyable on Xbox Live. Also, a lot of people I want to play games with are Xbox gamers so that makes the choice even easier. The games are also a factor. I’ve enjoyed no game as much as I’ve enjoyed games in the Forza series (sorry, Gran Turismo just can’t compare) and I can’t wait to enjoy Forza 5. I also love my Xbox Live avatar, and believe it or not, I like the Kinect. I’m excited to play around with Skype and app snapping once my Xbox finishes the initial update (153mb to go!). 

Anyway, I’m going to go play around with my new toy. I’ll have more to say as I get some hands on experience and feel a bit better.

IMG_3192 IMG_3191