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Found 287 results

  1. Review: Rime

    Rime begins with stormy seas, a red scrap of cloth buffeted by the wind whipping through the air, and a young boy washed up on the shores of an island covered in the ruins of a once mighty civilization. Without a word, players assume control of this child and help him to move through this world full of spirits, magic, and ancient technology. In fact, Rime contains not one line of dialogue – Tequila Works communicate their entire narrative through breathtaking visuals and an absolutely astounding score by David Garcia Diaz. Bright colors swirl across the landscape making everything feel alive and vibrant. The use of these popping colors make it all the more potent when the adventure inevitably descends into darkness and mystery. Majestic soundscapes weave an element of vanished magic into the game, as if the music itself was always grasping to reclaim just a little more of the lost glory the island’s ruined spires. The world of Rime is one that has been afflicted by something terrible. Something so destructive that it has shattered the very fabric of the world. This loss permeates every facet of the adventure. Weeping statues and grasping, shade-filled halls lay in the world’s forgotten corners. For every bright, shining moment in the sun, there is one in which the shadows envelop the red-caped protagonist. That ever-present conflict between light and dark? That escalating tension and deepening mystery? Those are the building blocks of every great adventure. The entire presentation readily draws comparisons to the work of Studio Ghibli, a similarity noted in other reviews of Rime. While I think the observation surprisingly apt for the audio-visual elements, Ghibli tends to make their work aimed squarely at children – Rime takes aim at an older crowd. While it can certainly be enjoyed by younger gamers, the themes and payoff will affect more seasoned players on a deeper level. The seemingly overplayed narrative carries an edge that cuts to the bone with loss and love. <a data-cke-saved-href="http://music.greybox.com/album/rime-deluxe-soundtrack" href="http://music.greybox.com/album/rime-deluxe-soundtrack">RiME (Deluxe Soundtrack) by David García Díaz</a> Each step of Rime’s journey presents an obstacle to be overcome, puzzles to be solved, or enemies to defeat. However, Rime isn’t about any one of those aspects on their own. There are some platforming sections, but it isn’t a platformer. Problems beg for solutions, but Rime isn’t a puzzle game. While sometimes enemies do make an appearance, few would ever describe Rime as a game about combat. Instead, Rime places its focus squarely on maintaining a sense of adventure and subtle storytelling. That emphasis on adventure smooths the gameplay experience. Few will need to grab a strategy guide or watch a walkthrough in order to find the solution to a puzzle. The platforming demands little in the way of reflexes. Combat is about as far from hack and slash as one can get; it’s more of a larger, faster puzzle than anything else. One might wonder how Rime manages to remain compelling with its gameplay when enjoyment doesn’t come from reflexive skill. The narrative hook of learning what happened to the island and our protagonist pulls the player relentlessly forward. Lacking any dialogue to explain the situation or internal monologue to learn what kind of a person the protagonist might be, all we learn about him is from what we can see during gameplay – how he chooses to interact with the world. Perhaps most informative interaction comes from the child’s ability to shout, which causes different interactions with objects throughout the world. Sometimes that shout is a call; other times it becomes a humming sing-song of a half remembered song; and as danger mounts it becomes a whimper. That one interaction can show our protagonist cry, laugh, and grieve. But through all those emotions, he continues to move through the world on his journey, leaving much up to the player’s interpretation. Rime certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. A relatively focused playthrough can make it from beginning to end in about four hours. Tequila Works doesn’t reuse puzzles – though occasionally similar puzzles reappear as character-building moments. The short length works in Rime’s favor and lends itself to multiple playthroughs. Players who love to scour every inch of their game worlds will find a nice challenge in discovering all the knickknacks hidden away (which all serve a narrative purpose as well). There are certain tropes that fledgling story writers are taught to avoid at all costs: Never open a scene with an alarm clock going off; do not include a gunshot followed by a cut to black; and never ever end with the dreaded phrase, “it was all a dream.” The overuse of these storytelling devices drill them into the public consciousness and rendering them clichés. However – and this is one of storytelling’s biggest secrets - a story can use a cliché, provided that it works. For example, a house full of alarm clocks fills the opening of Back to the Future and that works because the movie revolves around our human relationship with time. The film makes appropriate use of the device in a refreshing way - it’s played as a joke that reinforces the central premise of the film - turning it from a cliché back into a trope, and tropes are just tools in a storyteller’s toolbox. In a gaming landscape filled to bursting with indies, many might take a look at Rime and imagine it to be the latest in a long line of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw dubbed Small Child, Scary World (SCSW) games. Limbo, Ico, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Braid, these games all take similar forms and tackle themes of being alone in an unknowable world that threatens danger at every turn. The storytelling trope of SCSW has certainly proven to be effective, but its overuse threatens to plunge into cliché territory. And while Rime certainly does fit into the same category, it turns the very concept on its head in a way that works beautifully. Conclusion: Some people might have certain expectations as to what Rime will be – Set those expectations aside and to go into it blind. While Rime certainly might seem to have the trappings of indie gaming tropes that are coming closer to cliché, Tequila Works subverts those expectations in a masterful fashion. 2017 has been a fantastic year for video games – so many quality titles, both big and small, have released. It is a testament to Rime’s quality that it stands as the best thing I have played so far amid the AAA giants that have flexed their gaming muscle over the past several months. It conjures up a mythical adventure that sweeps players up in its majesty. Rime expertly plays with emotion like a master pianist would compose a captivating solo. Rime ends on a haunting final note that doesn’t deliver the empowering resolution many might desire, but it leaves the player with something much better: A powerful artistic statement about how beautiful and terrible and lovely and difficult life can be – and how we can all recover from the worst tragedies and find peace. Rime is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC - a Switch version is scheduled to release later this year
  2. Feature: Review: Rime

    Rime begins with stormy seas, a red scrap of cloth buffeted by the wind whipping through the air, and a young boy washed up on the shores of an island covered in the ruins of a once mighty civilization. Without a word, players assume control of this child and help him to move through this world full of spirits, magic, and ancient technology. In fact, Rime contains not one line of dialogue – Tequila Works communicate their entire narrative through breathtaking visuals and an absolutely astounding score by David Garcia Diaz. Bright colors swirl across the landscape making everything feel alive and vibrant. The use of these popping colors make it all the more potent when the adventure inevitably descends into darkness and mystery. Majestic soundscapes weave an element of vanished magic into the game, as if the music itself was always grasping to reclaim just a little more of the lost glory the island’s ruined spires. The world of Rime is one that has been afflicted by something terrible. Something so destructive that it has shattered the very fabric of the world. This loss permeates every facet of the adventure. Weeping statues and grasping, shade-filled halls lay in the world’s forgotten corners. For every bright, shining moment in the sun, there is one in which the shadows envelop the red-caped protagonist. That ever-present conflict between light and dark? That escalating tension and deepening mystery? Those are the building blocks of every great adventure. The entire presentation readily draws comparisons to the work of Studio Ghibli, a similarity noted in other reviews of Rime. While I think the observation surprisingly apt for the audio-visual elements, Ghibli tends to make their work aimed squarely at children – Rime takes aim at an older crowd. While it can certainly be enjoyed by younger gamers, the themes and payoff will affect more seasoned players on a deeper level. The seemingly overplayed narrative carries an edge that cuts to the bone with loss and love. <a data-cke-saved-href="http://music.greybox.com/album/rime-deluxe-soundtrack" href="http://music.greybox.com/album/rime-deluxe-soundtrack">RiME (Deluxe Soundtrack) by David García Díaz</a> Each step of Rime’s journey presents an obstacle to be overcome, puzzles to be solved, or enemies to defeat. However, Rime isn’t about any one of those aspects on their own. There are some platforming sections, but it isn’t a platformer. Problems beg for solutions, but Rime isn’t a puzzle game. While sometimes enemies do make an appearance, few would ever describe Rime as a game about combat. Instead, Rime places its focus squarely on maintaining a sense of adventure and subtle storytelling. That emphasis on adventure smooths the gameplay experience. Few will need to grab a strategy guide or watch a walkthrough in order to find the solution to a puzzle. The platforming demands little in the way of reflexes. Combat is about as far from hack and slash as one can get; it’s more of a larger, faster puzzle than anything else. One might wonder how Rime manages to remain compelling with its gameplay when enjoyment doesn’t come from reflexive skill. The narrative hook of learning what happened to the island and our protagonist pulls the player relentlessly forward. Lacking any dialogue to explain the situation or internal monologue to learn what kind of a person the protagonist might be, all we learn about him is from what we can see during gameplay – how he chooses to interact with the world. Perhaps most informative interaction comes from the child’s ability to shout, which causes different interactions with objects throughout the world. Sometimes that shout is a call; other times it becomes a humming sing-song of a half remembered song; and as danger mounts it becomes a whimper. That one interaction can show our protagonist cry, laugh, and grieve. But through all those emotions, he continues to move through the world on his journey, leaving much up to the player’s interpretation. Rime certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. A relatively focused playthrough can make it from beginning to end in about four hours. Tequila Works doesn’t reuse puzzles – though occasionally similar puzzles reappear as character-building moments. The short length works in Rime’s favor and lends itself to multiple playthroughs. Players who love to scour every inch of their game worlds will find a nice challenge in discovering all the knickknacks hidden away (which all serve a narrative purpose as well). There are certain tropes that fledgling story writers are taught to avoid at all costs: Never open a scene with an alarm clock going off; do not include a gunshot followed by a cut to black; and never ever end with the dreaded phrase, “it was all a dream.” The overuse of these storytelling devices drill them into the public consciousness and rendering them clichés. However – and this is one of storytelling’s biggest secrets - a story can use a cliché, provided that it works. For example, a house full of alarm clocks fills the opening of Back to the Future and that works because the movie revolves around our human relationship with time. The film makes appropriate use of the device in a refreshing way - it’s played as a joke that reinforces the central premise of the film - turning it from a cliché back into a trope, and tropes are just tools in a storyteller’s toolbox. In a gaming landscape filled to bursting with indies, many might take a look at Rime and imagine it to be the latest in a long line of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw dubbed Small Child, Scary World (SCSW) games. Limbo, Ico, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Braid, these games all take similar forms and tackle themes of being alone in an unknowable world that threatens danger at every turn. The storytelling trope of SCSW has certainly proven to be effective, but its overuse threatens to plunge into cliché territory. And while Rime certainly does fit into the same category, it turns the very concept on its head in a way that works beautifully. Conclusion: Some people might have certain expectations as to what Rime will be – Set those expectations aside and to go into it blind. While Rime certainly might seem to have the trappings of indie gaming tropes that are coming closer to cliché, Tequila Works subverts those expectations in a masterful fashion. 2017 has been a fantastic year for video games – so many quality titles, both big and small, have released. It is a testament to Rime’s quality that it stands as the best thing I have played so far amid the AAA giants that have flexed their gaming muscle over the past several months. It conjures up a mythical adventure that sweeps players up in its majesty. Rime expertly plays with emotion like a master pianist would compose a captivating solo. Rime ends on a haunting final note that doesn’t deliver the empowering resolution many might desire, but it leaves the player with something much better: A powerful artistic statement about how beautiful and terrible and lovely and difficult life can be – and how we can all recover from the worst tragedies and find peace. Rime is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC - a Switch version is scheduled to release later this year View full article
  3. I’ve had my Nintendo Switch for just over a month now, but it’s already my preferred way to play video games. As a father, I have very little time to relax once everyone goes to sleep, so I often have to choose between playing video games and just vegging out and watching Netflix or YouTube. With my Switch, I don’t have to choose, I can do both. I’ve also gotten some use out of the system’s built-in portable co-op, playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with my nephews and, more recently, playing Death Squared with my wife – in bed, nonetheless. Death Squared released earlier this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, but like so many other independent games, it feels most at home on the Switch. The puzzle game tasks players with moving two or four different-colored robot cubes across grid-based levels from point A to point B. In single-player mode, each joystick on the Joy-Cons controls a different robot (two at a time). Things can get a bit tricky when you have to move both robots at the same time. However, in co-op, with the Joy-Cons detached, each player can naturally control a separate robot independently. It’s simple and intuitive to just pick up and play the game – in a way that only really works on the Switch. Death Squared never over complicates things on the gameplay front. The only input you need to know is how to move the joystick. That’s it. The rest is a matter of learning the various traps and mechanics that are layered on top of that simple premise of getting each robot to point B without dying. The game feels right at home among easy-to-learn but difficult to master Nintendo games like Mario Kart 8 and Arms. As the name implies, Death Squared uses death to teach players how the game works – which isn’t always to its benefit. Each new puzzle layers new challenges onto the formula, oftentimes without warning. For example, you only learn about the spikes that pop up from the floor and kill your robot at the very moment they kill your robot. Playing in co-op, dying repeatedly due to your partner’s impatience, incompetence, or mischievousness can be a good time. But in single-player, the trial and error gameplay can feel unfair and quickly becomes maddening as you gingerly try to navigate around each level while the game’s characters – a man named David and his A.I. overseer – mock your poor performance. It’s all much more enjoyable while playing co-op and can become pretty addictive once it sinks its hooks in you. With each level lasting no longer than a few minutes, once my wife and I got into a groove, we didn’t want to stop playing. With each new conundrum, we became better at coordinating and anticipating the game’s dastardly traps. My wife, who rarely plays games, ended up getting sucked into the clever puzzles and every time I suggested we quit, she would plead for just one more level. While a lot of credit goes to SMG Studio for designing the most enjoyable co-op puzzle game I’ve played since Portal 2, I can almost guarantee that my wife would’ve balked at the idea of playing Death Squared on PlayStation 4. The difference comes down to simplicity. Despite the controls being essentially the same across platforms, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons present a far less intimidating form factor than the sixteen different buttons on the Dual Shock 4. It’s not that my wife is a simpleton (in fact, she’s much smarter than I am), it’s just that she isn’t as fluent in the language of video games. Neither are most people outside of the gaming bubble that we often find ourselves in. My three-year-old daughter never showed an interest in actually playing video games until I brought home my Switch. Now she can actually finish a race in Mario Kart 8. She hasn’t beaten me yet, but I look forward to the day when she does. So, even though the game is relatively friction-less for newcomers, some frustration rears its head through odd design decisions and technical quibbles. Each of the game’s test rooms (read: levels) are designed as floating constructs in some seemingly dark, vast warehouse. None of the test rooms have walls, so you’ll often just fall off the side of the structure and die when all you were trying to do was navigate in a straight line, especially in single-player when you’re often controlling both cubes at the same time, similar to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. So many times, I knew what I needed to do, but actually executing it was not as easy as it should’ve been. This makes simply going through the steps of completing a puzzle more frustrating than it needs to be. This is especially compounded by the fact that the game doesn’t consistently auto-save. Too often, I would load an old save only to find that I had to start a couple of levels back from where I had last stopped. And when simply moving around the environment can be treacherous, that problem isn’t as minor as it would otherwise be. Despite some of its minor issues, I’m still having a blast with Death Squared, and I think my wife is too. We haven’t made it through all of the game’s 80 plus levels (which is why you shouldn’t consider this to be a full review), but we have every intention of going back and seeing what new predicaments we can solve for those adorable little cubes. I can sincerely say, this is a game I’d much rather play on my Switch over any other system - and the list of games I can say that about is rapidly growing in number. A game as simple and accessible as Death Squared just makes more sense on Switch, but the fact that it’s also a smaller indie title that released to very little fanfare on other systems doesn’t hurt either. With less competition, now is the perfect time for games like this to find an audience. Death Squared benefits from being a kid friendly pick-up-and-play game on a kid friendly, mobile console. Though it isn’t a perfect game, it deserves to be seen and played by more people, and I’m glad it might have that chance on Nintendo’s nifty young console. View full article
  4. I’ve had my Nintendo Switch for just over a month now, but it’s already my preferred way to play video games. As a father, I have very little time to relax once everyone goes to sleep, so I often have to choose between playing video games and just vegging out and watching Netflix or YouTube. With my Switch, I don’t have to choose, I can do both. I’ve also gotten some use out of the system’s built-in portable co-op, playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with my nephews and, more recently, playing Death Squared with my wife – in bed, nonetheless. Death Squared released earlier this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, but like so many other independent games, it feels most at home on the Switch. The puzzle game tasks players with moving two or four different-colored robot cubes across grid-based levels from point A to point B. In single-player mode, each joystick on the Joy-Cons controls a different robot (two at a time). Things can get a bit tricky when you have to move both robots at the same time. However, in co-op, with the Joy-Cons detached, each player can naturally control a separate robot independently. It’s simple and intuitive to just pick up and play the game – in a way that only really works on the Switch. Death Squared never over complicates things on the gameplay front. The only input you need to know is how to move the joystick. That’s it. The rest is a matter of learning the various traps and mechanics that are layered on top of that simple premise of getting each robot to point B without dying. The game feels right at home among easy-to-learn but difficult to master Nintendo games like Mario Kart 8 and Arms. As the name implies, Death Squared uses death to teach players how the game works – which isn’t always to its benefit. Each new puzzle layers new challenges onto the formula, oftentimes without warning. For example, you only learn about the spikes that pop up from the floor and kill your robot at the very moment they kill your robot. Playing in co-op, dying repeatedly due to your partner’s impatience, incompetence, or mischievousness can be a good time. But in single-player, the trial and error gameplay can feel unfair and quickly becomes maddening as you gingerly try to navigate around each level while the game’s characters – a man named David and his A.I. overseer – mock your poor performance. It’s all much more enjoyable while playing co-op and can become pretty addictive once it sinks its hooks in you. With each level lasting no longer than a few minutes, once my wife and I got into a groove, we didn’t want to stop playing. With each new conundrum, we became better at coordinating and anticipating the game’s dastardly traps. My wife, who rarely plays games, ended up getting sucked into the clever puzzles and every time I suggested we quit, she would plead for just one more level. While a lot of credit goes to SMG Studio for designing the most enjoyable co-op puzzle game I’ve played since Portal 2, I can almost guarantee that my wife would’ve balked at the idea of playing Death Squared on PlayStation 4. The difference comes down to simplicity. Despite the controls being essentially the same across platforms, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons present a far less intimidating form factor than the sixteen different buttons on the Dual Shock 4. It’s not that my wife is a simpleton (in fact, she’s much smarter than I am), it’s just that she isn’t as fluent in the language of video games. Neither are most people outside of the gaming bubble that we often find ourselves in. My three-year-old daughter never showed an interest in actually playing video games until I brought home my Switch. Now she can actually finish a race in Mario Kart 8. She hasn’t beaten me yet, but I look forward to the day when she does. So, even though the game is relatively friction-less for newcomers, some frustration rears its head through odd design decisions and technical quibbles. Each of the game’s test rooms (read: levels) are designed as floating constructs in some seemingly dark, vast warehouse. None of the test rooms have walls, so you’ll often just fall off the side of the structure and die when all you were trying to do was navigate in a straight line, especially in single-player when you’re often controlling both cubes at the same time, similar to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. So many times, I knew what I needed to do, but actually executing it was not as easy as it should’ve been. This makes simply going through the steps of completing a puzzle more frustrating than it needs to be. This is especially compounded by the fact that the game doesn’t consistently auto-save. Too often, I would load an old save only to find that I had to start a couple of levels back from where I had last stopped. And when simply moving around the environment can be treacherous, that problem isn’t as minor as it would otherwise be. Despite some of its minor issues, I’m still having a blast with Death Squared, and I think my wife is too. We haven’t made it through all of the game’s 80 plus levels (which is why you shouldn’t consider this to be a full review), but we have every intention of going back and seeing what new predicaments we can solve for those adorable little cubes. I can sincerely say, this is a game I’d much rather play on my Switch over any other system - and the list of games I can say that about is rapidly growing in number. A game as simple and accessible as Death Squared just makes more sense on Switch, but the fact that it’s also a smaller indie title that released to very little fanfare on other systems doesn’t hurt either. With less competition, now is the perfect time for games like this to find an audience. Death Squared benefits from being a kid friendly pick-up-and-play game on a kid friendly, mobile console. Though it isn’t a perfect game, it deserves to be seen and played by more people, and I’m glad it might have that chance on Nintendo’s nifty young console.
  5. Since 2013, Path of Exile has treated fans of action role-playing with a steady stream of content at the entry price of free-ninety-free. Developer Grinding Gear Games is giving its followers even more to love with the free-to-play title’s sixth and largest expansion to date: The Fall of Oriath. In addition to beefing up the PC version, the expansion, along with the entire Path of Exile experience, debuts on Xbox One later this year. After having an opportunity to take a look at the new content, here are some of the things fans can expect. I spent some time with a slice of the Xbox One version of the game, giving me the chance to test drive the remapped gamepad controls. I had previously only dabbled with the PC version of Path of Exile, and my inexperience with mouse and keyboard controls hindered my enjoyment. The reworked console controls were a welcome change for players like myself. Combat, item usage, and navigating the tweaked UI felt like I was coming home to a comfortable bed with that gamepad in hand. The Fall of Oriath’s story centers around the return of the gods of Wraeclast, who seek to reclaim their hold on the world. These gods serve as the adversaries players will face off against. One arduous bout I tackled was against a seemingly human foe who revealed himself to be a towering, radiant deity midway through our battle. Boasting a rapidly regenerating shield, scores of minions, and bullet hell-style projectile wave attacks, it was an overwhelming and challenging encounter. I witnessed another battle against the sea god, the Brine King, who drained the surrounding ocean to unleash pirate ghosts and water elementals against his targets. You read that right: Pirate. Ghosts. The Fall of Oriath features 24 bosses of this caliber with which players must contend. While Path of Exile’s original campaign runs roughly 20 hours, Grinding Gear promises The Fall of Oriath to run 40-50 hours across six new acts. The designer I spoke with stated, “Basically, the idea there is that for a retail game this would probably be a sequel, but for free-to-play you don't really do sequels. So we're just adding a lot of content to the base game.” That content includes a bevy of new skill gems and unique items, the specifics of which Grinding Gears plans to reveal in the near future. Additionally, The Fall of Oriath introduces Pantheon, a system that lets players harness the abilities of the gods they battle. A new league event is also slated to begin roughly around the launch of the new content. Leagues are special events that occur every three months and shake up the game rules, such as increasing the attack speed of all enemies. The Fall of Oriath closed beta features all existing content plus Acts 5 through 7. The expansion arrives in full on PC this month. Xbox One players get their chance to lose countless hours surviving Path of Exile’s dark and compelling world when it hits Microsoft’s console this fall. View full article
  6. Since 2013, Path of Exile has treated fans of action role-playing with a steady stream of content at the entry price of free-ninety-free. Developer Grinding Gear Games is giving its followers even more to love with the free-to-play title’s sixth and largest expansion to date: The Fall of Oriath. In addition to beefing up the PC version, the expansion, along with the entire Path of Exile experience, debuts on Xbox One later this year. After having an opportunity to take a look at the new content, here are some of the things fans can expect. I spent some time with a slice of the Xbox One version of the game, giving me the chance to test drive the remapped gamepad controls. I had previously only dabbled with the PC version of Path of Exile, and my inexperience with mouse and keyboard controls hindered my enjoyment. The reworked console controls were a welcome change for players like myself. Combat, item usage, and navigating the tweaked UI felt like I was coming home to a comfortable bed with that gamepad in hand. The Fall of Oriath’s story centers around the return of the gods of Wraeclast, who seek to reclaim their hold on the world. These gods serve as the adversaries players will face off against. One arduous bout I tackled was against a seemingly human foe who revealed himself to be a towering, radiant deity midway through our battle. Boasting a rapidly regenerating shield, scores of minions, and bullet hell-style projectile wave attacks, it was an overwhelming and challenging encounter. I witnessed another battle against the sea god, the Brine King, who drained the surrounding ocean to unleash pirate ghosts and water elementals against his targets. You read that right: Pirate. Ghosts. The Fall of Oriath features 24 bosses of this caliber with which players must contend. While Path of Exile’s original campaign runs roughly 20 hours, Grinding Gear promises The Fall of Oriath to run 40-50 hours across six new acts. The designer I spoke with stated, “Basically, the idea there is that for a retail game this would probably be a sequel, but for free-to-play you don't really do sequels. So we're just adding a lot of content to the base game.” That content includes a bevy of new skill gems and unique items, the specifics of which Grinding Gears plans to reveal in the near future. Additionally, The Fall of Oriath introduces Pantheon, a system that lets players harness the abilities of the gods they battle. A new league event is also slated to begin roughly around the launch of the new content. Leagues are special events that occur every three months and shake up the game rules, such as increasing the attack speed of all enemies. The Fall of Oriath closed beta features all existing content plus Acts 5 through 7. The expansion arrives in full on PC this month. Xbox One players get their chance to lose countless hours surviving Path of Exile’s dark and compelling world when it hits Microsoft’s console this fall.
  7. The Xbox Digital Sale gives its players the chance at their own summer sale. From June 30 to July 10, AAA and indie titles will be up to 70% off (or 80% for Xbox Live Gold members). In general, Gold members will save 10% more. There are over 300 games in the sale and span both the Xbox One and 360. Included are DLC as well as deluxe editions for games. Some of the deals for the Xbox One include: Mass Effect: Andromeda - 40/50% off For Honor - 30/40% off Rocket League - 30/40% off The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - 30/40% off Far Cry 4 - 50/60% off The Division - 50/60% off Fallout 4 - 35/45% off Final Fantasy XV - 30/40% off See all of the deals here. Anything on sale that catches your eye?
  8. If you've got the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Ghosts laying around and haven't felt like upgrading to the Xbox One version of the game, Microsoft has you covered. Infinity Ward's middling 2013 shooter is playable now on Xbox One via backward compatibility. Ghosts marks the sixth Call of Duty title to become backward compatible. It joins Call of Duty 2 and 3, World at War, and Black Ops I and II. The latest entry in the series, Call of Duty: WWII, launches November 3. Check out the game's E3 multiplayer trailer here. You can also read about how Microsoft is making original Xbox games playable on Xbox One. View full article
  9. If you've got the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Ghosts laying around and haven't felt like upgrading to the Xbox One version of the game, Microsoft has you covered. Infinity Ward's middling 2013 shooter is playable now on Xbox One via backward compatibility. Ghosts marks the sixth Call of Duty title to become backward compatible. It joins Call of Duty 2 and 3, World at War, and Black Ops I and II. The latest entry in the series, Call of Duty: WWII, launches November 3. Check out the game's E3 multiplayer trailer here. You can also read about how Microsoft is making original Xbox games playable on Xbox One.
  10. Xbox Game Pass launched June 1 (May 24 for Early Access) and utilizes the digital subscription model to offer unlimited access to One and Backward compatible 360 games for $9.99 a month. Game Pass is similar to Netflix in that it will add games as well as take them away from the list periodically, and the July crop was just announced. On July 1, the first update will occur and will add in seven titles. Dead Island Definitive Edition is first on the list and followed by Resident Evil 6. The other games include racing game F1 2015, post-apocalyptic indie survivor The Flame in the Flood, platformer Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, retro platformer Bard's Gold, and Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, a top-down stealth/heist game. Alongside these titles, there will be a discount on Payday 2 add-ons to celebrate the release of Payday 2’s Most Wanted DLC bundle. Are you subscribed to Xbox Game Pass? What do you think of its games so far? View full article
  11. Xbox Game Pass launched June 1 (May 24 for Early Access) and utilizes the digital subscription model to offer unlimited access to One and Backward compatible 360 games for $9.99 a month. Game Pass is similar to Netflix in that it will add games as well as take them away from the list periodically, and the July crop was just announced. On July 1, the first update will occur and will add in seven titles. Dead Island Definitive Edition is first on the list and followed by Resident Evil 6. The other games include racing game F1 2015, post-apocalyptic indie survivor The Flame in the Flood, platformer Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, retro platformer Bard's Gold, and Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, a top-down stealth/heist game. Alongside these titles, there will be a discount on Payday 2 add-ons to celebrate the release of Payday 2’s Most Wanted DLC bundle. Are you subscribed to Xbox Game Pass? What do you think of its games so far?
  12. July is nearly here and for Xbox gamers that means a new lineup of free games. As always, there are two Xbox One games and two 360 titles with the latter being added to the backward compatible list. The July Free Games with Gold are an interesting lot and range from indie multiplayer to a third person shooter. Adventure platformer Grow Up will be available for download during the entirety of July. It initially released in 2016 under Ubisoft and is the sequel to 2015's Grow Home. From July 1 to 15, Xbox 360 title Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is up for download. The game is also a sequel and was developed by IO Interactive (the Hitman series). During the second half of the month (July 16 - August 15) Runbow and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game will be downloadable for players. Runbow is a multiplayer racing game that plays with its title through a unique color mechanic. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean first released in 2011 and is a more adorable retelling of the series' first four movies. June Game With Gold Watch Dogs is still free from now until July 15.
  13. July is nearly here and for Xbox gamers that means a new lineup of free games. As always, there are two Xbox One games and two 360 titles with the latter being added to the backward compatible list. The July Free Games with Gold are an interesting lot and range from indie multiplayer to a third person shooter. Adventure platformer Grow Up will be available for download during the entirety of July. It initially released in 2016 under Ubisoft and is the sequel to 2015's Grow Home. From July 1 to 15, Xbox 360 title Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is up for download. The game is also a sequel and was developed by IO Interactive (the Hitman series). During the second half of the month (July 16 - August 15) Runbow and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game will be downloadable for players. Runbow is a multiplayer racing game that plays with its title through a unique color mechanic. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean first released in 2011 and is a more adorable retelling of the series' first four movies. June Game With Gold Watch Dogs is still free from now until July 15. View full article
  14. On August 29th, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners can experience the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate, Pillars of Eternity. Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition will include all released patches and DLC. Players will be able to play both the base game as well as the two-part expansion The White March. Obsidian has updated the game for controller play including a revamped, TV-friendly user interface and menus. Check out the trailer for the Complete Edition below. Did you miss out on Pillars of Eternity on PC? Let us know if you'll pick up the console version in the comments below. View full article
  15. On August 29th, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners can experience the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate, Pillars of Eternity. Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition will include all released patches and DLC. Players will be able to play both the base game as well as the two-part expansion The White March. Obsidian has updated the game for controller play including a revamped, TV-friendly user interface and menus. Check out the trailer for the Complete Edition below. Did you miss out on Pillars of Eternity on PC? Let us know if you'll pick up the console version in the comments below.
  16. The Xbox Digital Sale gives its players the chance at their own summer sale. From June 30 to July 10, AAA and indie titles will be up to 70% off (or 80% for Xbox Live Gold members). In general, Gold members will save 10% more. There are over 300 games in the sale and span both the Xbox One and 360. Included are DLC as well as deluxe editions for games. Some of the deals for the Xbox One include: Mass Effect: Andromeda - 40/50% off For Honor - 30/40% off Rocket League - 30/40% off The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - 30/40% off Far Cry 4 - 50/60% off The Division - 50/60% off Fallout 4 - 35/45% off Final Fantasy XV - 30/40% off See all of the deals here. Anything on sale that catches your eye? View full article
  17. After setting the record straight on the future of the company earlier this month, developer Io-Interactive announced June 20 that the beginning of Hitman would be free to play on all platforms. The move appears to be a celebration on securing the rights to the company's signature series. "I'm proud to announce that our first hello as an independent studio is to invite all gamers to play the beginning of Hitman for free," Hakan Abrak, CEO of Io-Interactive, said in a press release. Io-Interactive had been dropped by former owner Square Enix citing "extraordinary loss" as their reasoning for letting go of the team. With that news, it was uncertain where Io-interactive would head and whether or not they would be able to retain control over the Hitman IP. The Danish studio seems to be recovering, securing a buyout from Square Enix and retaining Hitman. The ICA facility, including all the content released for the area, is free to download now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. What do you think the future holds for Agent 47? Will you be playing the beginning of Hitman for the first time now that it is free? View full article
  18. After setting the record straight on the future of the company earlier this month, developer Io-Interactive announced June 20 that the beginning of Hitman would be free to play on all platforms. The move appears to be a celebration on securing the rights to the company's signature series. "I'm proud to announce that our first hello as an independent studio is to invite all gamers to play the beginning of Hitman for free," Hakan Abrak, CEO of Io-Interactive, said in a press release. Io-Interactive had been dropped by former owner Square Enix citing "extraordinary loss" as their reasoning for letting go of the team. With that news, it was uncertain where Io-interactive would head and whether or not they would be able to retain control over the Hitman IP. The Danish studio seems to be recovering, securing a buyout from Square Enix and retaining Hitman. The ICA facility, including all the content released for the area, is free to download now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. What do you think the future holds for Agent 47? Will you be playing the beginning of Hitman for the first time now that it is free?
  19. Developer Rare hopes that its shared-world pirate epic Sea of Thieves will let players enjoyably live out their swashbuckling fantasies alongside friends. A lengthy look at the title during Microsoft's E3 media briefing gave aspiring pirates a substantial look at moment-to-moment gameplay. Players can dive underwater to uncover sunken treasure, disembark on tropical islands riddled with secret pathways and loot, and even battle musket-toting skeletons determined to send players to Davey Jones' locker. My favorite part of the demo occurs near the end. After an intense naval battle with a rival ship (also controlled by real-life players), the player hops into a cannon, fires himself aboard the enemy ship, and clears out the crew single-handedly. Eat your heart out, Jack Sparrow. Sea of Thieves sails to retail in early 2018. Like other first-party titles, the game is Xbox One X enhanced and Play Anywhere. View full article
  20. Developer Rare hopes that its shared-world pirate epic Sea of Thieves will let players enjoyably live out their swashbuckling fantasies alongside friends. A lengthy look at the title during Microsoft's E3 media briefing gave aspiring pirates a substantial look at moment-to-moment gameplay. Players can dive underwater to uncover sunken treasure, disembark on tropical islands riddled with secret pathways and loot, and even battle musket-toting skeletons determined to send players to Davey Jones' locker. My favorite part of the demo occurs near the end. After an intense naval battle with a rival ship (also controlled by real-life players), the player hops into a cannon, fires himself aboard the enemy ship, and clears out the crew single-handedly. Eat your heart out, Jack Sparrow. Sea of Thieves sails to retail in early 2018. Like other first-party titles, the game is Xbox One X enhanced and Play Anywhere.
  21. Microsoft kicked off its E3 media briefing with the final unveiling of its highly touted Project Scorpio console. Christened Xbox One X, the "world's most powerful console" hits store shelves November 7 and runs for $499. In addition to reviewing the technical specifications Microsoft has spent months hyping (6 teraflops of GPU, 326GB/s memory, 12 GB of GDDR5 memory), the console's form factor was shown for the first time. Resembling an Xbox One S in design, the unit is also the smallest Xbox Microsoft has ever assembled. Xbox One X supports native 4K gaming, demonstrated with stunning demos of games such as Forza 7. Microsoft detailed the list of titles that will receive free 4K updates later this year: Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Minecraft, Killer Instinct, and Forza Horizon 3. Xbox One X "enhancements" will allow better performance for standard Xbox One titles, such as improved load times and improved visuals for 1080p displays. Microsoft promised enhancements for existing and future titles, but only specified the following: Final Fantasy XV, Rocket League, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. All previous Xbox accessories, controllers, and games will work with the Xbox One X, Microsoft confirmed. From early photos released from E3, it looks as if there's no plugin for a Kinect, but reports suggest that functionality will be added in later via a dongle. What do you think of the Xbox One X? Are the features and price point enough to justify and upgrade from your existing Xbox One? View full article
  22. Microsoft kicked off its E3 media briefing with the final unveiling of its highly touted Project Scorpio console. Christened Xbox One X, the "world's most powerful console" hits store shelves November 7 and runs for $499. In addition to reviewing the technical specifications Microsoft has spent months hyping (6 teraflops of GPU, 326GB/s memory, 12 GB of GDDR5 memory), the console's form factor was shown for the first time. Resembling an Xbox One S in design, the unit is also the smallest Xbox Microsoft has ever assembled. Xbox One X supports native 4K gaming, demonstrated with stunning demos of games such as Forza 7. Microsoft detailed the list of titles that will receive free 4K updates later this year: Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Minecraft, Killer Instinct, and Forza Horizon 3. Xbox One X "enhancements" will allow better performance for standard Xbox One titles, such as improved load times and improved visuals for 1080p displays. Microsoft promised enhancements for existing and future titles, but only specified the following: Final Fantasy XV, Rocket League, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. All previous Xbox accessories, controllers, and games will work with the Xbox One X, Microsoft confirmed. From early photos released from E3, it looks as if there's no plugin for a Kinect, but reports suggest that functionality will be added in later via a dongle. What do you think of the Xbox One X? Are the features and price point enough to justify and upgrade from your existing Xbox One?
  23. If the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 isn't enough to satisfy your appetite for cyberpunk goodness, the folks at Odd Tales have you covered. Their stylish game The Last Night melds the dingy yet high-tech future aesthetic of Ridley Scott with an attractive pixel art presentation. The Last Night began as a flash game assembled in six days for a game jam competition and has expanded into a full-fledged project. The brief trailer below shows off a blend of action, platforming, and stealth mechanics. The Last Night arrives in 2018 for Xbox One, PC, and Mac. View full article
  24. If the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 isn't enough to satisfy your appetite for cyberpunk goodness, the folks at Odd Tales have you covered. Their stylish game The Last Night melds the dingy yet high-tech future aesthetic of Ridley Scott with an attractive pixel art presentation. The Last Night began as a flash game assembled in six days for a game jam competition and has expanded into a full-fledged project. The brief trailer below shows off a blend of action, platforming, and stealth mechanics. The Last Night arrives in 2018 for Xbox One, PC, and Mac.
  25. By far one of the strangest and most intriguing titles to debut at the Xbox Media Briefing Sunday was The Artful Escape. The game stars Francis Vendetti, a rock prodigy and the apparent nephew of a celebrated musician who embarks on a "psychedelic, multidimensional adventure to inspire his stage persona." Developer Beethoven & Dinosuar describe their debut title as "an action, adventure, exploration, narrative driven, musical-laser-light-battle kind of game." After watching the bizarre yet alluring trailer, that sounds about right. The Artful Escape is "coming soon" to Xbox One and PC. View full article