Destiny 2 Reviews: Release Day Impressions Roundup

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Destiny 2 has officially launched, and soon it will be available worldwide. Full reviews won’t arrive just yet, but reviews-in-progress have started to pop up around the internet based on a recent three-day event in Seattle.

The much-anticipated sequel doesn’t radically shake up the Destiny formula, instead opting primarily to refine and improve the core of the first game. You can see our breakdown of Destiny 2’s five biggest changes for a basic idea of what to expect.

Below, you’ll find a collection of various critics’ impressions of the game so far. In GameSpot’s Destiny 2 review in progress, Kallie Plagge calls the story a “clear improvement over Destiny’s much-maligned storytelling,” adding that “Destiny 2 builds on the original in smart ways that make me excited to keep playing.” We’ve also more recently published a Destiny 2 review diarythat offers more of Kallie’s thoughts now that the game is live.

  • Game: Destiny 2
  • Developer / Publisher: Bungie / Activision
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release: September 6 (PS4/Xbox One), October 24 (PC)
  • Price: US $60 / £50 / AU $100

GameSpot

“Of course, all of this still feels like Destiny. The new social space, the Farm, is functionally the same as the Tower in the original. Finding loot and switching out your old gear still takes up a significant portion of your time. Enemies have been tweaked, but they’re not wildly different, either. That’s not necessarily bad, but it also makes me wonder if I’ll see Destiny 2 as a sequel, rather than a half-step forward, the longer I play and the more I grind and repeat.” — Kallie Plagge [Full review in progress]

“Though I’ve only replayed things I’ve already done, I’m still excited about Destiny 2. I can’t wait to find my next exotic weapon, but I’m also looking forward to completing more Adventure missions and learning more about the world. My next step is to finish the story, reach level 20, and run some Strikes, so check back soon for more impressions.” — Kallie Plagge [Destiny 2 review diary]

Polygon

“At the very least, what I’ve played of Destiny 2 is an incredibly promising start. In plain English, it feels like Destiny without all the bulls***. It seems like the sequel Bungie needed to make–not a fundamentally different experience, but improved enough over its predecessor to reel veterans back in and attract people who skipped the original Destiny. Now we have to see how it holds up.” — Samit Sarkar [Full review in progress]

IGN

“My initial impressions leave me with more questions than answers. Is the story going to stay engaging through the end? Are the great drops going to get stingier at higher levels? Am I going to get bored exploring the new destinations? We’ll have to answer those hanging questions later, but based on what I’ve experienced so far, Destiny 2 hasn’t disappointed my high expectations as a fan of the original. There have been deliberate steps to improve the moment-to-moment experience, be it something as simple as bringing up the next task with the press of a button or by keeping you constantly climbing the Light ladder without realizing it with enticing dynamic events. That’s all on top of a story the team at Bungie knew they had to get right after the convoluted mess of the first game which forced you to read Grimoire cards on a website to experience the original story. So far it seems as though they’ve succeeded.” — Destin Legarie [Full review in progress]

Rolling Stone

“However, what’s remarkable about the structure of Destiny 2–aside from it having a real central plot–is that it achieves what the first Destiny tried but ultimately failed to do: it gives the player freedom. Yes, there’s some linearity to the Red War missions and the order in which the destinations are introduced–but you can spend the bulk of your time wherever you’re most comfortable, where you find combat encounters most fulfilling, or where the rewards on offer are most appealing to you.” — Alex Kane [Full impressions]

Ars Technica

“I am not at an ideal state to issue anything resembling a verdict. But I at least feel safe declaring this: I entered the event perturbed that I would play so much Destiny 2 and not get to transfer that progress to the final, retail version. Now, I am anxious to dive back in and try again. I want to flex the muscles of an entirely different class. I want to devote far more attention to so much in-mission dialogue and exposition. Above all else, I want to group up with some friends and see how the ‘always a battle around every corner’ sensation feels when I have some persistent fireteam members at my side.” — Sam Machkovech [Full pre-review]

DualShockers

“So far, Destiny 2 has improved upon the original Destiny in every way. There’s a Pierce Brosnan-impersonating sniper who serves as your faction representative for the European Dead Zone. There’s new enemy types, including staff-wielding Fallen Wretches and caped-flaming-crossbow-wielding Hive Knights. There are cutscenes where The Speaker, who never really had much to say, is actually a savage and disses Ghaul in rap-battle proportions during cutscenes. When I sat down to play this game I had one mission for Bungie: prove to me that Destiny 2 isn’t just another expansion. Thankfully, it turns out that Destiny 2 has listened to the fans and has taken a look in the mirror: the product is one that I–so far–thoroughly enjoy.” — Noah Buttner [Full review impressions]

[“Source-gamespot”]

Micromax Selfie 2 With Front Flash Launched in India: Price, Specifications, Features

Micromax Selfie 2 With Front Flash Launched in India: Price, Specifications, Features

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Micromax Selfie 2 will only be available offline
  • The smartphone will be available from August 1
  • The Selfie 2 smartphone is priced at Rs 9,999

After listing it quietly on the company website last week, Micromax on Monday launched its Selfie 2 smartphone in India officially. As you already know, the big highlight of the Micromax Selfie 2 is its front camera setup, its latest Android software, and the fingerprint scanner support at the back. The smartphone is priced in the country at Rs. 9,999 and will be made available in all major retail stores from August 1.

Coming to the aesthetics, the Micromax Selfie 2 at its price point offers a sleek metallic body with no home button in the front, and volume and power keys on the left edge. The fingerprint scanner, as mentioned, is seen residing at the back right beneath the rear camera sensor. The speaker grille is also sitting at the back on the bottom.

Micromax Selfie 2 price, offers

As mentioned, the Micromax Selfie 2 is priced at Rs. 9,999 and will be available via offline retailers from August 1. There’s also a 100-day replacement guarantee scheme, where Micromax promises to replace the smartphone if there is any damage. The company will replace the device with a similar or equivalent priced unit within 100 days of activation of the unit. The company notes that this includes the one-year warranty period. A similar offer was launched for a few of its feature phones earlier this month as well.

Micromax Selfie 2 specifications

As for specifications, the Micromax Selfie 2 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, bringing all the latest features like multi-window view, reply in notification panel, enhanced doze mode, and much more. The Micromax Selfie 2 dual-SIM device features a 5.2-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display with 2.5D curved glass protection. It is powered by the 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 SoC paired with 3GB of DDR3 RAM. Inbuilt storage is at 32GB, and the smartphone additionally offers expandable storage through a microSD card slot (up to 64GB).

Talking about the main feature, the front camera has an 8-megapixel Sony IM135 sensor with a soft flash and f/2.0 aperture. It supports real-time bokeh effect, has a wide angle lens, and sports features like face beauty mode and one touch shot. At the rear, there is a 13-megapixel sensor with LED flash support, f/2.0 aperture, and it supports features like auto scene detection, super pixel, and panorama. There’s also the introduction of Gallery 4.0 which uses image and facial recognition technologies to allow users to search for photos in the gallery by recognising a person’s face.

The Micromax Selfie 2 packs a 3000mAh battery to keep the lights on, and is rated to offer 250 hours of standby time, 11 hours of talk time, and 22 hours of music playback. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi support.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Micromax Selfie 2

Micromax Selfie 2

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

5.20-inch

Processor

1.3GHz quad-core

Front Camera

8-megapixel

Resolution

720×1280 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Android 7.0

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery Capacity

3000mAh

Also See
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    Rs. 5,440
  • Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 (Black, 8GB)
    Rs. 5,744
  • Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 (Black, 8GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 6,100

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Google’s cord cutter app YouTube TV reaches 2 million downloads

Approximately 2 million people have installed the YouTube TV app, Google’s live TV service aimed at a younger generation of cord cutters, as well as those who never signed up for traditional pay TV in the first place. That download figure comes from app store analytics firms Sensor Tower and App Annie, which both also noted that installs are evenly split between iOS and Android devices.

Of course, 2 million downloads doesn’t necessarily translate into subscribers — many users may have simply installed the app out of curiosity; others could be on free trials that never convert to paid subscriptions.

Still, it’s a number that should give YouTube TV competitors — in particular, telco rivals — pause. YouTube TV is the youngest arrival in the over-the-top live TV space, and it’s growing rapidly.

Sensor Tower said that YouTube TV added about 700,000 new installs of its app since its announcement last week that it was entering several new U.S. markets, tripling its footprint.

Yes, that’s right — YouTube TV has 2 million installs and isn’t even available across all of the U.S. at this point.

That’s a promising start for a newcomer in this race, even if many of those are still trial customers.

That’s not to say YouTube TV is without serious competition.

This April, YouTube TV entered a crowded market, where numerous services compete to deliver live TV to consumers over the internet. Before YouTube TV arrived, Dish’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and AT&T’s DirecTV Now were battling for cord cutters’ attention. Following the launch of YouTube TV, Hulu rolled out its own Live TV service. And this week, Comcast said its Xfinity Instant TV service could hit the U.S. before the end of the year.

The live TV rivals

Dish’s Sling TV live TV service has been around the longest, allowing it to move quickly into new areas — as it recently did with pay-per-view. Its service has more than 2 million subscribers, according to comScore’s latest report, released last month.

AT&T, meanwhile, can push DirecTV Now on its wireless customers by offering deals, and Sony can market Vue to its millions of PlayStation users. But Vue and DirecTV Now combined only have 1.1 million subscribers, says comScore. (Separately, AT&T announced this week DirecTV Now was nearing half a million subscribers.)

Then there’s Hulu, whose brand is well-known to consumers who think of it as a place to watch the broadcast and cable TV shows Netflix doesn’t offer. Hulu can upsell live TV to its existing customers. While the company doesn’t release subscriber figures, it said in May it had 47 million total unique viewers. (comScore didn’t release numbers for Hulu, YouTube TV or FuboTV.)

YouTube TV’s advantages

For the telcos, in particular, the streaming market is a tough business. As AT&T and Dish’s earnings have revealed, these newer internet TV services aren’t able to onboard customers fast enough to offset the losses from those dropping residential pay TV subscriptions.

For instance, AT&T in its most recent quarter lost a record number of traditional TV subscribers, and while DirecTV Now “helped” offset those losses, it couldn’t close the gap.

But for YouTube, there’s no legacy TV biz to shore up. It can move into the space freely, without worrying much about the slim margins of its low-cost $35 per month subscription offering. And its margins could be very slim, indeed. One analyst had estimated that $29 per month of affiliate fees would eat up the $35 subscription, before regional sports networks came in, adding $4 to $5 more.

Or, in other words, YouTube TV would be an ad-supported business.

Good thing for YouTube, then, that its user base grew up watching ads alongside their videos.

Though an optional YouTube Red subscription can remove those ads across regular YouTube, the mere existence of ads on YouTube TV — (and they’re everywhere — live, on-demand, DVR, etc.) — won’t necessarily be a deal breaker for the live TV service’s subscribers.

YouTube also has the benefit of selling TV to an existing and massive user base. The company announced in June it had grown to 1.5 billion logged-in monthly viewers. (YouTube doesn’t break out its U.S. monthly viewer numbers, but eMarketer says 185.9 million.)

Plus, YouTube TV has original content of its own, catering to its young viewers. Its 37 original programs, which are included with both YouTube TV and the ad-free paid subscription, YouTube Red, have now generated nearly 250 million views.

Also worth noting, YouTube itself appeals to the next generation of “TV” viewers — the kids who know their favorite YouTube stars better than they do Hollywood A-listers.

YouTube doesn’t have to convince these kids to cut the cord in favor of YouTube — they never planned to buy the cord in the first place.

Sensor Tower’s figures for YouTube TV — 2 million downloads, 50/50 split — were also confirmed by App Annie, which added that if time spent in the YouTube Kids app is any indication, then YouTube TV should do well among streaming apps for user engagement. YouTube TV may be in its infancy, but its download levels show significant traction, App Annie said.

YouTube Kids launched in 2015 and now ranks No. 7 by total time spent among Entertainment apps, as of June 2017 on Android phones in the U.S., behind giants like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

Meanwhile, YouTube itself is No. 3 out of overall apps for time spent on Android phones in the U.S. — or nearly 17 times the average total time spent of the next three highest ranking video streaming apps, said App Annie.

Reached for comment, YouTube declined to confirm the new download numbers.

[“Source-techcrunch”]

Mi Max 2 Launched, Xiaomi Sale, Jio’s Data Claim, Nokia 8 Leaks, and More: Your 360 Daily

Mi Max 2 Launched, Xiaomi Sale, Jio's Data Claim, Nokia 8 Leaks, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2 costs Rs. 16,999 in India
  • Nokia 8, leaked via images, expected to launch July 31
  • Reliance Jio claims to be biggest mobile data network in the world

Xiaomi launched its 6.44-inch Mi Max 2 in India on Tuesday carrying a price tag of Rs. 16,999. The highlights of the smartphone include a 5,300mAh battery, 12-megapixel f/2.2 rear camera with Sony’s IMX386 sensor, and 4GB of RAM. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 runs MIUI 8 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, accompanied by a full-HD 2.5D curved glass screen that’s powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC, and Adreno 506 GPU. In addition to the 12-megapixel sensor on the back, there’s a 5-megapixel f/2.0 front camera. Internal storage on the Mi Max 2 is 64GB, which is expandable via microSD card.

Xiaomi’s newest smartphone will be available first on July 20 at 12pm via Mi.com and Mi Home stores. Check out details of further sale dates of Xiaomi Mi Max 2. Reliance Jio has launch offers for the phone, which provides 10GB additional data on every recharge of Rs. 309 for a total of 10 recharges.

July 20 will also mark Xiaomi’s three-year anniversary in India, and it announced a two-day sale during the Mi Max 2 launch. The hard to buy Redmi 4 and Redmi Note 4 will be in stock during the anniversary sale, alongside new power banks and discounts on accessories. Xiaomi is also bringing back the Re. 1 flash sale, which will be offered on Redmi 4A, Wi-Fi Repeater 2, and the 10000mAh Mi Power Bank 2.

At the Mi Max 2 launch event, Xiaomi also talked about expanding the number of Mi Home stores across India, with two new outlets opening in Bengaluru later this month. First on Saturday, July 22, one will open in LIDO Mall, and the second in Orion Mall on the following Saturday, July 29.

Meanwhile in China, Xiaomi will launch the Mi 5X – a variant of the Mi 5 – on July 26, as per a teaser posted on its Weibo account. The phone is expected to have MIUI 9 running atop Android Nougat. In terms of hardware, per leaks, you can expect the Xiaomi Mi 5X to sport a 5.5-inch full-HD display, Snapdragon 625 SoC, and 4GB RAM. It’s expected to cost around CNY 1,999 (about Rs. 19,000).

Nokia 8 shows up in all its glory
The Nokia 8 has shown up in leaked press renders, which gives us the first good look at the premium device ahead of its launch on July 31. Expected to cost EUR 589 (about Rs. 43,400), the Nokia 8 is seen to have a vertical dual rear camera setup courtesy of HMD Global’s partnership with Carl Zeiss for optics. Beyond that, the phone is tipped to have a 5.3-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 835, 4/6GB RAM, and 64GB internal storage. Check out the leaked images of the Nokia 8.

Reliance Jio claims it’s the biggest mobile data network in the world
Reliance Jio is now the largest mobile data network in the world, carrying 15 percent of world traffic, the company’s President Devices Sunil Dutt claimed at Xiaomi’s event in New Delhi on Tuesday. Dutt added that Jio is the only exabyte network in the world, and it commands 85 percent of India’s mobile data consumption needs. He also brought up the previously mentioned statistic of data consumed per month, which has apparently gone up from 0.2 billion gigabytes to 1.2 billion gigabytes, with Jio contributing heavily to the rise.

Amazon and Flipkart host laptop sales
With college semesters in full swing, Amazon India and Flipkart are both hosting Back to College sales, providing deals, exchange offers, and No Cost EMI options on a variety of laptops. Amazon has seen fit to categorise laptops by student majors, such as Humanities, Engineering, MBA, and so forth. The cheapest option is Lenovo’s 15.6-inch Ideapad at Rs. 18,990. You can get Rs. 10,000 off on exchanging an old laptop, and two-year warranty for Rs. 1,499.

On Flipkart, the sale will run from July 18-20. You can get the 6th-gen Core i3-equipped HP Imprint for Rs. 35,964, and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 has 3-5 percent off. You can get up to Rs. 7,000 on exchange offer with the Imprint, and up to Rs. 20,000 on some gaming laptops.

iPhone 8 power button might house Touch ID, coming in November?
Apple might put Touch ID on the power button with iPhone 8, according to a new report. Owing to that implementation, which was revealed from a design file provided to a case-maker, the power button will apparently be slightly larger on the tenth-anniversary iPhone. The renders also add fuel to the vertical dual rear camera setup fire, along with the removal of the Home button from the front.

A second report reiterates the delay in the phone’s release, owing to the protracted development schedule. Apparently the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, featuring minor upgrades to last year’s phones, will ship as usual, the iPhone 8 – which is expected to be more expensive – won’t be available until November.

Google Allo brings message reactions to its platform
A new update for Google Allo has added support for message reactions, with a heart emoji being your only option for now. That means the next time you wish to agree with someone, or send your love, you won’t have to head into the keyboard’s emoji drawer. There’s no word on when the new feature will be available to iOS users.

Huawei takes on Fitbit with Band 2 and Band 2 Pro
Huawei unveiled two new fitness trackers on Tuesday – the Band 2 and Band 2 Pro – which look a lot like the Fitbit Charge 2, right down to the dual-tone finish of the metallic centre. But unlike their Fitbit counterpart, the Huawei wearables are waterproof, and the Band 2 Pro has built-in GPS. Two additional features include Firstbeat – which helps assess VO2 max – and Breathing Coach, which is like Fitbit’s Relax and Apple Watch’s Breathe. Compatible with Android 4.4 or later, and iOS 8.0 or above, the Huawei Band 2 and Band 2 Pro will be available in Blue, Black, and Red band colours, though they have no release date or pricing info yet.

Flipkart reportedly ups Snapdeal acquisition offer by $100-150 million
After Snapdeal rejected Flipkart’s $800-850 million initial bid earlier in July, the latter is back with an upgraded buyout offer between $900-950 million, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The revised offer includes Snapdeal’s marketplace and solutions provider Unicommerce, but excludes logistics arm Vulcan Express, and digital payments firm Freecharge. Infibeam has apparently made a proposal for acquiring Snapdeal as well, and the company is expected to reach a decision in the next 10 days.

Remix OS is no more, as Jide switches lanes
The Android-based Remix OS has been discontinued after its maker Jide decided to switch priorities from consumer to enterprise markets. In a post on its website, the company said that it sees “huge potential” with businesses, and it has decided to focus solely on that going forward. This also affects the all-in-one entertainment device Remix IO, which went up on Kickstarter last year. Jide said that it’d start refunding pre-orders from August 15.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]