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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

Destiny pre-order bonus 'Vanguard Armory' DLC shown in new trailer, includes early access to gear

2 comments Lydia Sung - 5:52pm (PST) Like Share

Check out the Vanguard Armory

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A new trailer from Bungie and Activision today highlights the Destiny pre-order bonus DLC, the Vanguard Armory. As an incentive for reserving the game ahead of time, the Armory essentially grants early access to some DLC weapons and armor, plus an exclusive emblem to be shown off in-game.

So what does one need to actually do to acquire the Vanguard Armor add-on? Just pre-order from a participating retailer, as these things typically go. The whole "early access" part does seem to imply that the DLC will be released later on to everyone, at least. 

For now, you can see a trailer showing off the content. Bear in mind, this is just a pre-order incentive, so reserving any version of Destiny will work. Still, the special Ghost Edition does look really nice.

Something else to consider is the beta access you get for pre-ordering. Bear in mind the beta will begin this week for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, on July 23, and was released earlier this month for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

 
 

Dance Central Spotlight takes the stage Sep. 2, $9.99 with 10 songs exclusively on Xbox One

7 comments Rory Young - 10:26am (PST) Like Share

Perfect for those like myself who only dance alone in the dark

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Dance Central should be well known among Xbox owners these days. Harmonix alone has created a justification for the Kinect technology that Microsoft has pushed as hugely important peripheral for their consoles. Starting September 2 Dance Central will be making the leap to the Xbox One, sadly too late to help Microsoft continue to justify bundling the Kinect 2.0 with the console. It's too bad, because yet again with Dance Central Spotlight Harmonix looks to have created another game based entirely around actual real-life body movements. I think they call it dancing.

With Dance Central Spotlight Harmonix will be trying something new. Oh, the gameplay will still be just like fans of the franchise will recall. The difference will be in pricing and how gamers can pick the title up. See, Dance Central Spotlight will be a digital-only release that costs a mere $9.99. It's clear that Harmonix is hoping to get as many gamers in the through the front door without requiring a huge expense. Dancing is for everyone, and now it's super cheap too.

That $9.99 digital release will come packaged with 10 songs for players to dance to. Not exactly a full-price title's library of music, but for $9.99... to get a full product and 10 hit song? That's a pretty great deal. I wouldn't be surprised if Harmonix is taking a hit on development costs with that price, just in the hope of people buying DLC down the line.

Here are the 10 songs that will be packaged in with the $9.99 digital release of Dance Central Spotlight:

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  • Avicii –  "Wake Me Up" 
  • Cher Lloyd – "I Wish"
  • David Guetta ft. Sia "Titanium"
  • Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz – "Talk Dirty"
  • Kid Ink ft. Chris Brown – "Show Me"
  • Lorde – “Royals”
  • OneRepublic – "Counting Stars"
  • Pharrell Williams – "Happy" 
  • Rihanna – “Diamonds”
  • will.i.am ft. Justin Bieber – "#thatPOWER"

Beyond that, more than 50 additional songs will be available on the Dance Central Spotlight "Music Store" on release date. Pricing for individual songs has yet to be announced. 

Dance Central Spotlight will be available starting September 2 as a digital-only release for the cost of $9.99, exclusively on Xbox One. The game will include the 10 songs listed above and then further music can be bought at DLC through the game's music store. Looking for a great reason to keep your Kinect on Xbox One? This is it.

 
 

Tour new Titanfall DLC map 'Export' with new screenshots, coming soon with Frontier's Edge

1 comments Lydia Sung - 2:38pm (PST) Like Share

The fight for the Frontier continues...

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Screenshots for upcoming Titanfall DLC map "Export" have arisen, even while the Frontier's Edge pack is still without a release date. As one of three maps in the upcoming DLC, Export is a large Militia settlement that's been turned into a warzone, where the IMC and Frontier forces fight for dominance.

Based on the official description, Export is actually conveniently located next to Dig Site, which would explain the similarities between the two settings. They relied on each other, back when one was still a functioning mine and the other still operated as a thriving trade hub. Everything was presumably rainbows and unicorns until the IMC showed up.

Here is the official description for Export:

Export:
The nearby mines fueled this large Militia settlement, an important exporting hub built on the side of a mountain that recalls the gold rush boom-towns from centuries earlier. Overshadowed by a massive armature that controls an offshore lock system for marine transport, Export caters to close-quarter, house-to-house combat for ground troops.

Pilots use this to their advantage by using quick wall-hops on the close structures to gain speed and height, then engage enemies from the low rooftops. Titans can lock down sections of the town by leveraging natural choke points, and often fight up a steep incline that leads to a commanding view of the town below.

Check out some more screenshots below. The third map in Frontier's Edge, Haven, will likely be revealed in-depth next week. Titanfall is currently available on PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360.



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Warframe's Update 14 goes live, Mirage Warframe just the start of Digital Extremes' largest update yet

5 comments Rory Young - 1:12pm (PST) Like (2) Share

The amount of content in Update 14 is no mirage

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Warframe's success is both well deserved and yet surprising too. While the PC release of the game is certainly well-received, the fact that Warframe was one of, if not the first free-to-play title on PlayStation 4 certainly helped elevate to free-to-play shooter to another level entirely. As a result of their success with Warframe, Digital Extremes can continue to produce a bevy of great free content. Today marks the release of Update 14, Warframe's largest update yet.

The most striking difference in Warframe will be most felt by players who won't even realize a change has been made -- new players. A new quest has been created to introduce players to the game and guide them through their first steps with their Warframe of choice. The new player experience will be compounded with a reimagined user interface and menus. These reworks will create a new class of Warframe players who have started the game with an entirely new experience compared to veterans.

Veterans and newbies alike will enjoy the user interface and menus rework, but that's not where the boons stop. All players will also now have their own personal spacecraft to make their own. The Liset, as it's called, can even be upgraded with various components and systems to make it a core part of every player's journey in Warframe (complete the quest "Vor's Prize" to gain access to spacecraft customization).

That's only scratching the surface of the Warframe Update 14 content. From here, things start to get out of hand:

  • Kubrow Pet - A new quest lets players collect a Kubrow egg, which they can bring back to their ship to raise. Depending on how the Kubrow is cared for it can become effective in combat in various different ways.
  • Mirage Warframe - This new Warframe excels at illusion and deception, summoning clones, creating traps, and using light and darkness in the environment to enhance her abilities.
  • Replayable Quests - A selection of replayable quests with unlockable difficulties will now be available (opens after the completion of the "Vor's Prize" quest).
  • Dark Sectors Multiplayer - Replacing the Solar Rails PvP mode, Dark Sectors is an objective-based team multiplayer match featuring up to four players against four players. 
  • Akzani, Silva and Aegis Weapons - Two new weapons are now available. The Azkani is the Mirage Warframe's preferred weapon, a set of dual pistoals that are fast firing. The Silva and Aegis weapon feature a sword and shield for melee players that like to get into the fight and stay there.
  • Additional Game Mode - Hive Sabotage, Exterminate and Survival game modes have been added due to the Infested overtaking Eris.

To summarize, while there's a bunch of new content designed to help new players get used to Warframe, there's even more content being added just for veterans to continue their adventures in. Weapons, a new Warframe, more quests, and plenty of game modes and even multiplayer. Update 14 has something for every kind of player.

Warframe is now available on PlayStation 4 and PC. It's free-to-play, so if third-person shooters set in sci-fi settings with insense melee and ranged action are your thing... who am I kidding? Warframe should be everyone's thing.

 
 

FIFA 15's latest trailer showcases the emotion and intensity of top flight Ligue 1

8 comments Matt Newbould - 11:50am (PST) Like Share

Might more emotion mean seeing Suarez cry?

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Now that the World Cup is over and with not long to go until the start of numerous domestic football leagues, EA Sports has decided it is time attention was turned back towards upcoming title FIFA 15. Today they released the second gameplay trailer for their annual football title. This time around the video focuses specifically on a renewed focus of emotion and intensity split between two in-game areas: the on-pitch action and the crowd itself.

All 22 players on the pitch will be connected throughout the match via an emotional intelligence feature, EA Sports' most advertised addition in FIFA 15. That means each player will possess a different attitude and feeling towards another depending on in-game events. For instance, an opponent repeatedly fouling or tackling too hard may cause a reaction from the player on the receiving end. That leaves me to wonder about all kinds of scenarios involving tackling Real Madrid defender Pepe. This system isn’t just contained to opponents, however, as teammates persistently fluffing chances may draw the ire of their fellow players, just as those doing well will receive encouragement.

The attempt to ramp up the intensity of a FIFA match doesn’t just stop at the players on the pitch. The atmosphere of the crowd in the stands has also been boosted. Now each crowd within a different region, league or club, should be distinguishable from elsewhere. This is achieved through the chants, cheers and even specific activities unique to certain clubs. A perfect example is Poznan Celebration performed by fans of Manchester City and Lech Poznan, which may even be picked up on by the commentators during their narration of matches.

FIFA 15 will be releasing September 23 in North America, September 25 in Europe and September 26 for the UK on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Nintendo 3DS and even PS Vita. Unfortunately, not all versions will have access to the Ultimate Team Legends feature, as this is once again an Xbox exclusive. It’s a huge shame to see a company limiting the exposure of certain features on their game like this, but it’s not an unexpected move considering it's EA. 

 
 

Goblin assassin and thief, 'Styx: Master of Shadows' has a summer story trailer to share

1 comments Rory Young - 10:53am (PST) Like Share

Someone tell Styx he needs to brood more and look sultry

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From Cyanide, the same studio behind Of Orcs and Men, comes a  game that aims to do Thief better than Thief. Introducing Styx: Master of Shadows, which is both his name and the title of his game. Styx is a goblin, obviously, but more than that he's a master thief as well as an assassin. His small stature allows him to sneak  and crawl into assorted places that Garret's large frame never would. Also, his barf is poison. Check out Styx's summer story trailer, released just this morning.

Styx: Master of Shadows is one of those games that slipped past my attention, and likely the attentions of many other gamers as well. Publisher Focus Home Entertainment does well for one of the "small guys," but with small studios and unknown IPs it's a bit like fighting against the tide. Still, Styx is a game following in the footsteps of another big release of the year, it looks very solid visually, and it adds a lot of fun mechanics. Plus, you have to support a game that casts a goblin as its protagonist. You just have to.

The other piece of the pie, story, may be Styx's weak point. Despite the trailer and its tendency to throw around fancy concepts like the world tree, amber, the myth of goblins and so on, I have no idea what's going on in this game. Who is Styx, what is he fighting for, and why should I care? What is this labyrinthine castle and why does it all look the same? I think Focus Home Interactive have a lot of work establishing what this game is, beyond something aping Thief.

Styx: Master of Shadows is slated for launch in September for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.



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June NPD Number Crunch: Hardware sales grow 106 percent as PS4 continues outselling Xbox One

5 comments Leo Chan - 4:27pm (PST) Like Share

Watch Dogs, Mario Kart 8 also keep holding the checkered flag high

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The NPD Group's monthly report card for U.S. retail sales is in, and June 2014 was looking good with sales up 24 percent year-over-year. Total sales at retail rang in at around $736.4 million USD, with console hardware sales up a whopping 106 percent to $292.7 million. So much for momentum slowing down for the PS4 and Xbox One even months after launch.

While we can imagine the new, lower pricing for the Xbox One (which brings it in line with the PS4) played its part in spurring hardware sales to the impressive level reported, Microsoft's console still couldn't dethrone Sony's PS4 which by NPD's reckoning remained the bestselling home console for last month. NPD analyst Liam Callahan confirms that sales for both platforms combined were 80 percent higher than their predecessors.

Monthly software sales dropped slightly by 3 percent year-over-year to $286.8 million on account of a lack of performing software following the launch of Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 back in May. Both titles maintained their lead over all other titles at retail last month; Nintendo confirms that 470,000 copies of Mario Kart 8 sold last month (digital and physical combined), which certainly suggests that sales for Watch Dogs are just as impressive. It's worth noting that Watch Dogs' sales factored multiple platforms, so Mario Kart 8 would actually be the top-selling title for June on a single platform.

New releases like EA Sports UFC and Tomodachi Life also made a decent accounting for themselves. FIFA 14 also makes a fine comeback to the software top ten, no doubt thanks to World Cup 2014 fever.

June 2014 Top Ten Software Sales
  Game Publisher Platform Release
1. Watch Dogs Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 05/2014
2. Mario Kart 8 Nintendo Wii U 05/2014
3. Minecraft Microsoft Game Studios / Sony Computer Entertainment Xbox 360 / PS3 05/2014
4. EA Sports UFC Electronic Arts PS4 / Xbox One 06/2014
5. FIFA 14 Electronic Arts PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 / Vita 09/2013
6. NBA 2K14 2K Games PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2013
7. Wolfenstein: The New Order Bethesda Softworks PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 05/2014
8. Call of Duty: Ghosts Activision PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / PC 11/2013
9. Tomodachi Life Nintendo 3DS 06/2014
10. Grand Theft Auto V Take 2 Interactive PS3 / Xbox 360 09/2013
 
 

Microsoft closing Xbox video programming studio as part of 18,000 layoff restructuring

7 comments Rory Young - 1:50pm (PST) Like Share

No announcements regarding changes to in-development games

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Microsoft announced today their planned restructuring that will lead to as many or more than 18,000 layoffs. While the breadth of the layoffs is quite obviously wide, it's unclear how the restructuring will directly effect the Xbox division of the company. One Xbox studio, however, has already reportedly been slated for closure. Xbox Entertainment Studios, started in 2012 to produce gaming-related video programming, and its 200 employees will soon no longer be a part of Microsoft.

IGN is reporting that Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, has confirmed the studio's closure himself:

"As part of the planned reduction to our overall workforce announced today and in light of our organization’s mission, we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox. One such plan is that, in the coming months, we expect to close Xbox Entertainment Studios."

Oddly enough,  Spencer confirmed that several Xbox Entertainment Studios executives will be staying on with Microsoft despite the studio's closure. This includes Nancy Tellem, the studio's President, who will be retained and "remain committed to to original programming already in production." Both Halo TV, Steven Spielberg's production, and Halo: Nightfall will continue development.

Few of the studio's productions every had the opportunity to come to life. Their documentary regarding the great gaming crash of 1983 was certainly the most notable project, in which the company dug up a portion of the desert in search of buried E.T. cartridges. Other productions included bringing the Call of Duty Championship, Miss Teen USA and the VGX awards to Xbox Live. What other projects lay in store will likely never come to light.

The only other mention of how the restructuring will effect Xbox was Spencer stating that, "we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox." That is to say, that he said very little on the subject. Expect to know more as soon as we do.

Our thoughts go out to all Microsoft employees affected by today's announced layoffs. Let's hope each will be back working on a project they're passionate about before long.

 
 

The Walking Dead: Season 2's fourth episode, 'Amid the Ruins,' available starting July 22

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

If you aren't caught up, then stay far away

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Telltale Games is very, very busy. They've just wrapped up The Wolf Among Us with one heck of a season finale, they're hard at work on Tales from the Borderlands on top of early work for Game of Thrones, and now here they are preparing to release the penultimate episode of their flagship adventure game's second season. Starting July 22 The Walking Dead: Season 2's fourth episode, Amid the Ruins, will be released. How does Telltale still have the energy to even wake up in the morning?

Let's all be honest here. Everything we could say about The Walking Dead up to this point would be a huge spoiler. This game is all about stuff happening and mentioning even one of those happenings would be unfair to the rest of those happenings. Many of those happenings are even directly referenced in the trailer for Amid the Ruins. That means that if you're not caught up on The Walking Dead, don't even be here, yo. Go and play the game already!

Amid Ruins, The Walking Dead: Season 2's fourth episode, will release on PC world-wide and PlayStation 3, PS Vita in North America starting July 22. On July 23 the episode will be released on Xbox 360 and on the PlayStation platforms in Europe. Finally, it will be available on iOS on July 24. The stand-alone episode will cost $4.99, though it can also be acquired via the full-season pass.

 
 

Dark Souls 2: The Lost Crowns Trilogy screenshots tour the ruins of Shulva, Sanctum City, in first DLC

4 comments Lydia Sung - 11:28am (PST) Like Share

Face the Sunken King and claim his crown

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Dark Souls 2: The Lost Crowns Trilogy begins next week with Crown of the Sunken King, the first in a three-part DLC that pits our Chosen Undead against many more ways to die, from elaborate traps to the three kings that hold their coveted crowns. In anticipation of these all new ways to die, From Software and Bandai Namco have released new screenshots spotlighting Shulva, in Sanctum City. This is where the mostly-silent hero's newest adventure kicks off.

To reach the Sunken King, you'll be venturing deep underground, where the fight for your life begins anew against the deadly new denizens that await, in what is apparently considered "one of the more difficult levels developed by From Software."

Sounds promising, right? The screenshots tease some seriously incredible looking areas, with some amazing vertical environments designed to disorient the player. If you'd rather not hoof it alone, the new Summoning Room in Crown of the Sunken King actually allows players who don't own The Lost Crowns Trilogy to enter your game for certain areas. Pretty nice buddy system they've got going here.

Crown of the Sunken King will be out July 22 for Xbox 360 and PC, then on July 23 for PlayStation 3. The next two parts of The Lost Crowns Trilogy, Crown of the Old Iron King and Crown of the Ivory King, will be released in August and September, respectively.



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