I was at the Xbox One reveal yesterday morning and overall I found it pretty disappointing. I feel like I wasn’t the target demographic for the presentation. I like to watch TV but what I like more is playing video games. I don’t care about sports games and EA has taught me over the years not to believe any of their pre-release bullshot videos. I also hate the Kinect. Every time I try to use it for playing a game or navigating the Xbox, the result is unreliable and frustrating. I like Call of Duty but their high resolution, motion captured dog and hyper intelligent fish didn’t get me too excited. The box itself looks cool in a retro sort of way and I dig the new controller but I need to see some games. I guess that will have to wait until E3.
There is a Microsoft product that I do love though and that’s my Surface Pro. I use it for drawing comics when I’m not at the office, for playing games, and just as my general purpose computer. You can see in today’s strip I’m playing Sanctum 2 on it and I’m sure some people will think that’s some sort of paid product placement. I want to assure you that’s not something we do here at PA. You can’t actually buy that from us. The best you can do is give us something and hope we like it enough to integrate it into our lives. That’s exactly what happened with the Surface Pro. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what games I play on it and I thought I’d put together a little list.
The Windows 8 store has a few good titles. From there I have games like 4 Elements 2, Galactic Reign, Pinball FX 2, and Adera. Most of the games I play come from Steam though. Some of them like Poker Night 2, and Civ 5 actually work great with the touch controls. Most of the time I plug an Xbox controller in though and I play games like Monaco, Mini Motor Racing, and Loadout. Finally there are a few games that still need a mouse and Keyboard. I’m playing Prime World Defenders, Leviathan Warships and the Card Hunter beta this way. All these games run great but I will say that Sanctum 2 gets pretty choppy when you have big waves with lots of enemies rolling through.
(I use an app called Pin Steam to pin all my Steam games to the start screen and Obly Tile to create custom tiles)
The game I’m playing the most though is Duel of Champions. This is another game that works great with just touch controls. It’s a free to play CCG set in the Might and Magic universe and no joke I am 100% hooked on this shit. I play it every single day and I’m ashamed to say how much money I’ve dropped on it even though it’s “Free”.
That’s just the gaming I’m doing on my Surface Pro. It’s also my mobile drawing studio. It runs Manga Studio beautifully, and with the latest Wacom drivers Photoshop finally supports the pressure sensitivity although i still prefer drawing in Manga Studio or Sketchbook Pro. I’ve drawn comic strips on it while on airplanes, sitting on my deck, on stage at PAX and on the couch watching TV. No question, it is the perfect mobile digital drawing hardware. If anyone from MS is reading this I do have one suggestion though. Let me map the volume up and down buttons so I can set them to things like undo, brush scaling or pan.
I realize that I’m sort of a special case. A tablet that is great for art and games is really like the perfect storm for me. People have asked if MS is paying me for all this Surface publicity and the answer is no, but they sure as shit should be.