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Microsoft Consoles Articles

Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Xbox 360 Review
Relic takes a break from RTS to bring us Space Marine, and shows us what it means to be one of the God-Emperor's Finest.

Mirror's Edge Review
An exclusive in-depth look at DICE's much anticipated first-person parkour action game.

Turtle Beach Ear Force X2 Review
The headphone market is a hot one for gamers these days, the latest hardware can often offer incredible abilities but at the same time conflict with existing hardware.

XBOX Do It Yourself Guide
The Microsoft XBOX console for many new owners happens to be a reliable system that can go for quite an abusive period. For owners of launch systems and first year systems though this console has proven to be quite troublesome to be the least with the dreaded Thompson Drive. Since this is one of the most common complaints I'm going to run through cleaning proceedure and teardown to remove the old laser assembly and install a new one. Before we go into that I'm required to state the following.

Microsoft Consoles News

Yooka-Laylee crosses $1,000,000 and will come to PS4, X1, Wii U, now eyeing an orchestral score

5 comments Rory Young - 4:35pm (PST) Like (1) Share

$1.3 million raised and 43 days left in the campaign

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We've only just been introduced to Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic Games' 3D platforming Kickstarter project, and already we can't wait to hear more about what's coming next. The good news is that the Kickstarter is doing wonderfully, now over three days into the campaign and having raised over $1.3 million. The bad news is that the game still isn't going to be released any time earlier than October 2016. What does that mean for us? Well, we'll just have to value what bit of information Playtonic can share in the interim.

What we do know is that as of the million dollar checkpoint, Yooka-Laylee is confirmed to be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U the same day as it's released on PC platforms. There was never really a chance that Yooka-Laylee wouldn't be coming to consoles, as the goal was crossed within near 24 hours of the projects launch. Nevertheless, I'm sure it's a comfort to everyone who dropped $15 for the console version of the game over the $10 for the PC version.

Since the $1,000,000 stretch goal has been met, Playtonic saw fit to add a few more to the mix. Two of the three additional stretch goals have since been passed. These include a special "Nintendo 64 Shader Mode" and a Playtonic Let's Play! with developer commentary. The third one is something worth being a little more excited about, I think. If (when) Yooka-Laylee hits $1.5 million the game will get an orchestral score. The orchestra hasn't been announced yet, but there's no doubt bringing in quality like that will shadow anything they'd had planned previously for the game's soundtrack.

It's not clear whether Playtonic has any plans for further stretch goals. The comment below their $1.5 million goal is that further funds will go towards polishing the game. I have a lot of respect for the team aiming towards keeping their initial scope for Yooka-Laylee. It means they can keep their team size as big as they'd like without contracting out too much work. It means they can still meet their initial release window, which is a rarity for Kickstarter projects. Mostly to me, it means they took this project seriously before starting their Kickstarter. They knew what they wanted to make and even all  this money they're raking in won't change that. As one might expect from a team of veterans like we're seeing on Yooka-Laylee.

Yooka-Laylee is planned for release in October of 2016, though that's absolutely just a tentative release date. When it does arrive, it will be coming to PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U all on the same day -- digital only, of course. Expect more information on Yooka-Laylee as Playtonic provides it, because I know I'm excited to share as much about it as I can. At the very least, expect an update when the Kickstarter campaign ends in 43 more days.

 

 
 

Project CARS launch is May 7, but its launch trailer is available now

3 comments Rory Young - 9:18am (PST) Like (1) Share

So much CAR action that it couldn't be contained with caps-lock off

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In preparation for the game's release on May 7, Slightly Mad Studios has released a Project CARS launch trailer as well as some final details for the game. That is, they're aiming for one last surge of hype before the game goes life. That shouldn't be too difficult, because fans of driving games will have hopefully heard of Project CARS, seeing as the game has been around since 2011. Well, that and that it's pretty freakin' awesome.

Accompanying the trailer is a sort of round-up of features and interesting details about Project CARS that I'm sure are meant for marketing purposes, but are still just straight up impressive on top of it all:

  • The largest track roster of any recent racing game with 110+ unique locations
  • A wide variety of motorsports including GT, Touring, Le Mans Prototypes, Karts, and modern Open Wheel and 80+ cars available at launch
  • Dynamic weather, pit stops, and pit strategy creation
  • Dynamic time of day and endurance races including the Le Mans 24H
  • World-class graphics running at 60 fps with up to 45 drivers onscreen
  • Next-gen physics running at 600 fps and deep telemetry & tuning features
  • Competitive multiplayer for up to 16 players and the ability to create public, private and friend-based lobbies with ‘Join In Progress’
  • Asynchronous Time Trial with downloadable ghosts
  • Regularly-scheduled community events
  • Social connectivity with photo and replay modes powered by The Driver Network
  • Support for 30+ wheels, community apps, and virtual reality via Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus
  • Continual updates and further content after launch

Note that you get all of this in the box -- none of it comes in a Season Pass. There isn't a Season Pass at all. It's just one studio and its crowd-funded game doing its best to be a product worth buying once and nothing more. Bless their hearts.

Project CARS will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and of course on PC starting May 7. Reports are going out already that it may already be out in the wild as retailers ship it early, or at least the Limited Edition of the game. Slightly Mad Studios is actually the one retweeting the news, which I think says a lot about how excited they are to have their fans finally playing their completed game.

 
 

Mortal Kombat X's Jason Voorhees in motion, available May 5

3 comments Rory Young - 8:33am (PST) Like Share

Available to purchase in a half-dozen ways via DLC

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Tomorrow will see the release of Mortal Kombat X's first chunk of DLC including playable character Jason Voorhees, or maybe Jason Voorhees will you first. The Friday the 13th slasher star will be the first of four currently announced playable DLC characters, each a part of the $29.99 Kombat Pack season pass thing. Except now that we're approaching the DLC's launch, it appears there are more pricing options available.

Jason Voorhees' launch tomorrow will be accompanied by the fittingly named Horror Pack DLC, a set of three skins -- Vampiress Mileena, Kraken Reptile and Pharaoh Ermac. The Kombat Pack mentioned earlier includes all of this DLC, as well as three more similar releases in the future. However, for those who dislike Season Pass purchases and pre-orders, you can buy just Jason or just the Horror pack standalone.

Just Jason will cost $4.99 and just the Horror Pack will cost $3.99. There's also the option of getting them bundled together for $7.99. For those interested only in the DLC characters and could care less for the skins, this pricing update means you can get all four of them for $4.99 each and a total of less than $20. Compared to the $30 Kombat Pack, that's a bit more savings. Of course, being forced to pay a third of the price of the full game for just a handful of DLC characters is mind-boggling in the first place, but that's just how these things go, aren't they?

Watch Jason Voorhees in motion, or at least some of his brutal Fatalities, in a trailer released just for the occasion. Jason and the Horror Pack skin DLC will both be available starting tomorrow for download. Mortal Kombat X is otherwise available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

 
 

Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter funded instantly, Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor from ex-Rare veterans

16 comments Rory Young - 2:29pm (PST) Like (1) Share (2)

We're talking as authentically Banjo as you can get without bear and bird

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When Playtonics was formed by a crew of ex-Rare developers with more than 100+ years of experience in the company, expectations were immediately high. When they announced that their first game, Yooka-Laylee, would be the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie that fans have demanded for years, expectations grew even higher. When Yooka-Laylee's Kickstarter went live and reached its £175,000 goal in hours, let's just say no one's very surprised.

Yooka-Laylee has been funded, and with 46 days left in its funding window, it's looking to have millions in dollars still coming down the pipeline. Just a few hours later, the project is already sitting near £500,000. While fans may not have been surprised, Playtonics certainly were. They've only set stretch goals up to a million dollars, but I'm guessing they best start brainstorming some awesome extra stretch goals.

What is Yooka-Laylee though? Well, Yooka is a gecko and Laylee is bat! Together they're able to run and fly/glide around like a certain bear/bird team most are more  familiar with. Together they'll adventure through five different unique lands -- colorful, vivid lands from a team of artists who built the worlds of Viva Pinata and the modern Donkey Kong Country titles. They'll hunt for "Pagies," a golden currency used to unlock further areas in the game. The Banjo-Kazoo-iness is overwhelming.

Just the idea of an N64-era puzzle platformer being made with modern ideas, modern technology and a team of developers with hugely valuable experience, fills me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Mario's great, don't get me wrong, but it is what it is - an unchanging franchise that hasn't progressed past its initial Mario 64 release. Regressed, even. This is a genre that gamers love and that has been hugely devalued by publishers and developers. Just one game might change that. A Yooka-Laylee with so much support could usher in a new ear for the genre, in the same way Broken Age did for adventure games.

46 days remain in Yooka-Laylee's Kickstarter campaign. If they've raised over £500,000 (yes, the campaign raised another £100,000 while I was writing this article). $10 of funding will pick up a PC digital code at the game's launch. Console codes (console support will be added at $1,000,000 of funding) will need a contribution of $15. Bumping that up another $5-10 will also provide a demo to be made available later.

 
 

Dead Island 2 delayed into 2016, taking the sequel to the 'next level'

3 comments Rory Young - 1:04pm (PST) Like Share

At least they were mature enough to actually use the word "delay"

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Another high-profile game has been struck with the delay bug. Our stacked 2015 is slowly leaking AAA releases as they settle into release windows where they can find room to breath -- and profit. Dead Island 2, originally planned for release in spring 2015, has been pushed all the way back into 2016. A hearty delay, for sure, but Yager and Deep Silver believe it will give them the time needed to "level up" the sequel.

The best part of this delay, cynically, is that Deep Silver was willing to actually call it a delay. So many delays these days get passed over like a publisher or developer decided to go for a picnic and didn't keep track of the time. It's not a delay, it's a romantic segue into a game's bright future. However, while calling a delay a delay is certainly respectable, Deep Silver is still mum on the causes. I guess we can't set out expectations too high.

"We have been looking at the game long and hard, and we have decided we didn’t reach that goal we set out to achieve quite yet. This is why we have decided to delay Dead Island 2 to 2016.

Right now we are focusing purely on development, and we will have more info to share at a later stage."

Then followed the apologies, the promise of a stronger, better game. Everything one has to say when you're delaying a game. I'm not faulting them for it, just nothing that  this is a pretty status quo delay as far as these things go.

Best of luck to Yager and Deep Silver with their extra year of development. I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that we all expect big things from Dead Island 2. Big zombies, mostly. Big booms, too. Big things.

 
 

Destiny: House of Wolves brings 'Trials of Osiris' Crucible event, where 3v3 PVP gets more intense

3 comments Lydia Sung - 7:38pm (PST) Like Share

The Dark Below DLC maps will also become free

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Today, Bungie introduced the Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves' Crucible event, Trials of Osiris, a whole new take on the game's PVP. While many Guardians no doubt find the Crucible daunting as all hell, the devs clearly recognized that the PVP faithful might be craving a bigger challenge by now. That brings us to this new weekly Elimination style event, where participants will find their teamwork and skill tested.

Trials of Osiris will come with the launch of House of Wolves in May, and follows a weekly schedule that begins every Friday at 10:00 AM Pacific and ends following the weekend upon weekly reset. During this time, Trials will only be taking place on a set map, though that map changes up each week.

Hopeful Guardians must enter with their own Fireteams as well, as Trials of Osiris will not support matchmaking for single-players. In terms of matching teams against one another, this will take into account players' connections.

To participate in the event, players will need to pick up a Trials Passage from Brother Vance, a new NPC found in the Reef, for 100 glimmer. This passage is essentially a scorecard that keeps track of your progress during the Trials and will actually be revoked if you lose three times. Each match entails five rounds, so you'll need to win or lose five rounds to apply a victory or loss your passage. Losing three matches ends in this passage being removed, and you'll need to buy another one from Vance if you want to participate again. Similarly, if you're not happy with how your early rounds are going, you can pick up another passage to start over.

The max number of wins for each passage is nine matches, though winning eight is enough to get you Gold tier rewards. Leaving a game will also remove this ticket.

Rounds within the Trials follow a 3v3 Elimination format. There are no revives during these rounds, but you can revive fallen players like in Skirmish. If the round somehow exceeds the two-minute time limit, a "sudden death" scenario is triggered, where a capture point appears at the center of the map and whoever reaches it first will win -- regardless of how many players are still alive on either side. Some buffs for the Trials can also be bought using Passage Coins, which are earned by doing the Daily Crucible bounties.

General PVP Changes

Note that although Vance offers some new items for Trials participants, these items can also be earned as drops. House of Wolves will also be introducing 12 new Legendary items to the entire Crucible loot table.

During the Trials of Osiris event, Crucible Marks and Crucible Reputation gains will be increased by 100 from every source, not just the Trials. Your performance in matches will now be factored into what rewards you get after each game as well. So thank goodness for that.

The new Etheric Light resource used for upgrading Exotics can soon be earned through PVP as well during the Iron Banner event. Hitting Rank 3 and Rank 5 during the Iron Banner will reward an Etheric Light each time.

Previous DLC maps introduced with Expansion I: The Dark Below will be made available to everyone once House of Wolves is released.

For more details, this morning's Destiny livestream can be viewed below. Expansion II: House of Wolves will be out May 19 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.


Watch live video from Bungie on Twitch
 
 

Microsoft's Games With Gold adds CastleStorm: Definitive Edition to Xbox One in May

0 comments Rory Young - 2:35pm (PST) Like Share

Don't worry, PoolNation FX is still available in May...

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Another month and another, erm, game for Xbox One with Microsoft's Games With Gold service. After a special anniversary edition of Games With Gold in April which saw not one, but two new titles coming to Xbox One in the same month, Microsoft's gone back to the old standard of just one. Meanwhile Xbox 360 will pick up another two classic titles. Seems like publishers are more than willing to give out their best titles on the 360 now that the platform is starting to fade.

The more the benefit for those who still have their Xbox 360's set up, right?

Xbox One

  • CastleStorm: Definitive Edition
  • PoolNation FX (continued from April)

Xbox 360

  • Mafia II
  • F1 2013

Not exactly pushing people's expectations this month, is Microsoft. Then again, Microsoft doesn't seem to proper care about anyone's expectations for the Games With Gold service at this point, do they? At first, it was worth considering Microsoft slowly building a service competitive with the quality titles being released on PlayStation Plus, but now that seems clearly untrue.

That's not to say that these games aren't solid. Both CastleStorm and Mafia II are very well regarded titles, and PoolNation and F1 are assuredly prominent in their niches. One just assume that Microsoft isn't very keen on gettting out there and snagging the best-of-the-best for the Games With Gold service.

Multiplayer is rad though, so there we go.

Categories: Microsoft Consoles
 
 

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's GOTY Edition arrives May 5 for PC, PS4, and X1, costs $49.99

0 comments Rory Young - 12:24pm (PST) Like Share

From launch to Game of the Year in only six months -- record timing

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Here we are, six months after Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's launch and well after the final bit of DLC has been released for the action adventure game. Everybody knows what that means, right? We are dealing with Warner Bros. publishing here. Today WB and Monolith announcecd the Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition, packaging the base game and its Season Pass DLC contents into one box -- the final, final version of the game.

At launch Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ran for $59.99 on console platforms, while $49.99 on PC. The Season Pass of DLC for the game added on another $24.99, which itself is a discount on the DLC sold separately. The Game of the Year Edition of the game will cut off at least 33% of that cost (on full retail pricing, at least), offering a package of everything for $49.99 total on PC, PS4 and X1. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the GOTY Edition will be coming to PS3 and 360 for the forseeable future.

For those who aren't familiar with tthe Season Pass content, the DLC release for Shadow of Mordor, here's what will come in the box:

  • Story Packs: The Lord of The Hunt and The Bright Lord
  • Skins: The Dark Ranger, Captain of the Watch, Lord of the Hunt, The Bright Lord, Power of Shadow and Lithariel Skins
  • Runes: Hidden Blade, Deadly Archer, Flame of Anor, Rising Storm, Orc Slayer, Defiant to the End, Elven Grace, Ascendant, One with Nature
  • Missions: Guardians of the Flaming Eye, The Berserks and The Skull Crushers Warband Missions
  • Challenge Modes: Test of Power, Test of Speed, Test of Wisdom, Endless Challenge, Test of the Wild, Test of the Ring, Test of Defiance Challenge Modes
  • Additional Features: Photo Mode

I like how they added that Photo Mode bit on there, even though it was a free update and not premium DLC.

We've all been through this process before and how it can feel rather crappy for early investors in a game. Pay up front for less of a game, or wait six months and pay for the full game at a cheaper price. Plus there's the whole issue of charging for a Season Pass when only a small portion of it is content of significant value -- the story packs. Then the rest is filled with small bits of content that aren't really worth the cost of admission, but folk paid for a Season Pass so it's too late to get your money back.

The whole retail launch with a season pass and then a Game of the Year Edition six months later process is frustrating to deal with. The increasing efficiency with which publishers are putting out products in this formula is even more frustrating to deal with. That instead of changing things, we're growing more cofortable with incomplete games at launch and expensive and lacking post-launch Season Passes. At least now the base game without the DLC will drop in price. 

Pick up Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's Game of the Year Edition for PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One starting May 5 for the cost of $49.99 across all platforms. It's a great game, detaching the experience itself from all of the business, marketing and packaging shenanigans. Sometimes it's tough to remember that's the most important thing.

 
 

Halo 5: Guardians teaser image completes with Spartan Locke's Red Team, rivaling Master Chief

4 comments Lydia Sung - 2:07pm (PST) Like Share

Watch out, Blue Team

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Another Halo 5: Guardians teaser came out today in the form of Red Team, the final piece in 343 Industries' latest "Hunt the Truth" puzzle. Following yesterday's Blue Team reveal, featuring Master Chief and his squad, today we get a closer look at Locke's Red Team.

A few days ago, Microsoft and 343i released an incomplete wallpaper of Master Chief and Locke facing one another. The sleuths over at Reddit were quick to piece at least part of the image together, thus revealing Master Chief's Blue Team: John-117, Kelly-087, Linda-058, and Frederic-104.

Dedicated Halo fans might recognize the names from several novels, as well as the Forward Unto Dawn live-action series. Their rivals in Halo 5 will be Red Team (also known as Fireteam Crimson) lead by Spartan Locke, who appears to be hunting Chief for unclear reasons. Both squads complete the wallpaper.

Crimson has also been mentioned in expanded universe material, though right now it's unclear whether the team members previously serving under Locke will be returning. Note the difference in their armor, as well.

Halo 5: Guardians will be out for Xbox One on October 27.



Click here to see more images
 
 

Just Cause 3's gameplay debut trailer is filled with John Woo action, explosions and shenanigans

3 comments Rory Young - 2:02pm (PST) Like Share

Explosions on motorcycles! Explosions on jets! Explosions in helicopters!

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What does everyone want from Just Cause 3? Like, really, really want? Because everyone can say they'd love an improved story and more complex gameplay systems to added better depth to the overall experience, but is that what they really want? I have a feeling that Avalanche Studios gets what fans really need from Just Cause 3. I'm talking about action -- bigger, flashier, more ridiculous action than ever before. Check out today's gameplay debut trailer, all the proof fans need.

How peaceful the trailer begins, our hero Rico Rodriquez flying gently through the sky with a beautiful skyscape behind him. It' rather serene, and portrays a type of game that's more aware of atmosphere than Just Cause 2 ever hinted at. Boom, boom, boom, Rico takes over a jet fighter mid-air, and queue the John Woo montage of our hero positively blowing the hell out of the island of Medici.

Mini-guns, attack helicopters, machine guns and so many explosions. Oh yes, Avalanche knows exactly what they're doing. They're creating an action-movie playground with bigger, flashier and more ridiculous action than Just Cause 2. And man, they're making it look better than ever along the way. You guys saw that sunflower field, right? Them were some pretty sunflowers.

Just Cause 3 is planned for release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One later this year.

 
 
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