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Found 168 results

  1. until
    It's here! The official Extra Life 2015 Game Day! To celebrate we will be hosting an event in NYC at the brand new Microsoft Flagship Store on 5th Avenue! We will be streaming here: http://www.twitch.tv/extralifenyc A lot of the details are still being figured out, but we're planning on having a stream on the Guild Twitch page with various games and streamers throughout the event. We're also going to most likely have some demos of Halo 5 running, along with other games (tabletop and otherwise) going for people to partake in. There will be some snacks, and hopefully a "photo booth" area! To get in you will be required to show you've raised at least $100 on your Extra Life page, otherwise you'll be asked for a $10 donation at the door. If you'd like to help with the organizing of this big event, please email info@extralifenyc.com or MMcKenna.extralifenyc@gmail.com If you're planning on attending, please RSVP to this calendar event! See you there! Microsoft on Fifth Avenue and 53rd St. 677 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10022 (212) 824-3100
  2. until
    The brand new Flagship Microsoft Store in NYC is opening just in time for the release of Halo 5! Check out more information about the new store here: Microsoft on Fifth Ave. and 53rd St. Microsoft on Fifth Avenue and 53rd St. 677 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10022 (212) 824-3100 This is definitely going to be a HUGE event, and Microsoft will have a bunch of prizes and giveaways for their event. The game will be on demo the whole evening along with a tournament and a few other surprises!Of course, we'll be there focusing on getting people signed up for Extra Life and having them attend our big Game Day event, less than two weeks later on November 7th. If you're available to attend and help recruit new Extra Lifers, please RSVP below. Thanks!
  3. until
    Folks we need a presence at this upcoming launch. We've been Invited out to Natick, Prudential and Salem shops so far for the Midnight release. Details forthcoming, however in the past arrival around 9-930. Event will start around 10 PM and go til just after midnight.
  4. until
    Folks we need a presence at this upcoming launch. We've been Invited out to Natick and Prudential shops so far for the Midnight release. Details forthcoming, however in the past arrival around 9-930. Event will start around 10 PM and go til just after midnight.
  5. until
    Folks we need a presence at this upcoming launch. We've been Invited out to Natick and Prudential shops so far for the Midnight release. Details forthcoming, however in the past arrival around 9-930. Event will start around 10 PM and go til just after midnight.
  6. Alright Folks, September's Meeting is scheduled 9/2 7 PM. Please go tot the calendar event below and RSVP to be on the list attend. We changed venues to Microsoft N.E.R.D., a block away from our normal meeting spot. Still accessible vis MBTA Red Line Kendall Station. Sept Guild Meeting Calendar Event
  7. until
    Hey folks change of Venue this month. We'll be meeting at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center. This is only 1 block away from our normal meeting spot and can still be accessed via Red Line/Kendall T Stop. Actual start 7 PM 6 PM-7 PM Early arrival/social hour
  8. Folks, Looks like our local stores are starting to gear up for the end of the year push and gaming season. Wait, what? It's always gaming season you say? It's true, but for a retail aspect, nothing hits harder like the push to Christmas for game and console sales. With that being said our local stores are starting the planning of Midnight Launches again. So stay tuned for dates and volunteer efforts coming. Obviously a big one for them coming up is Halo 5. So we should start to expect to plan for having a presence at the Natick, Prudential and posibly Burlington stores for that date. (10/27) Other possible titles/dates: Guitar Hero Live (10/20) Lego Dimensions (9/27) NBA Live (9/29) Rock Band 4 (10/6) Rainbow Six Siege (10/13) FIFA 16 (9/22) COD Black Ops 3 (11/6) Star Wars Battlefront (11/17) Fallout 4 (11/10) So stand by and look out for the calendar and posts for dates/events/volunteers.
  9. Microsoft held a two-hour press conference today centered around Windows 10 and what they envision for the future of the operating system. Also, they announced holograms. Holo-freakin'-grams. As you might imagine, two hours of a corporation revealing new software and hardware is a lot to parse through. Here are the highlights as relate to the gaming world: Windows 10 will include a Game DVR function for Windows games, modeled after the Xbox One's DVR capabilities. While third-party software already exists to provide that same functionality, this service will be free and possibly run more efficiently than what's currently available. Designed to offer more opportunities to game developers, the upcoming DirectX 12 consumes half the power of DirectX 11 and offers improved performance on existing hardware. This extend to mobile devices, which will now be able to run more intensive programs without trouble. Windows 10 PCs and Xbox Ones will be able to play with each other online via cross-play functionality. Xbox One owners will be able to stream their games to any Windows 10 device in their home. Microsoft unveiled their hologram initiative: HoloLens. The HoloLens is a head-mounted computer with a variety of sensors that allows it to "see" what its user sees and overlay digital data via the built-in HUD. It includes a third processor built specifically to help it interpret holographic space. The pres conference included a live demonstration of the HoloLens and how it can be used to design digital objects. They announced that HoloLens currently runs Skype, Minecraft, and will be used as early as July for scientists working with the Mars rover. Honestly, that is a lot of really cool information, but it comes with so many questions. Will game DVR functionality be as curtailed as it is on Xbox One? What are the limits to game streaming? Will players be able to stream Destiny to their PCs from their Xbox Ones? Will cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 PC be universal or a feature of some games, but not others? Obviously, HoloLens is the most intriguing, but a with most new technology, it is best to treat it with a grain of salt before it has had a chance to prove itself. As cool as the concept of the device is, remember the troubles people have had with Kinect for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. This could be a revolutionary step forward in computing, or it could be remembered as one of those goofy gizmos that never really got off the ground. In the meantime... HOLOGRAMS! AWESOME! You can watch the full press event here.
  10. Microsoft held a two-hour press conference today centered around Windows 10 and what they envision for the future of the operating system. Also, they announced holograms. Holo-freakin'-grams. As you might imagine, two hours of a corporation revealing new software and hardware is a lot to parse through. Here are the highlights as relate to the gaming world: Windows 10 will include a Game DVR function for Windows games, modeled after the Xbox One's DVR capabilities. While third-party software already exists to provide that same functionality, this service will be free and possibly run more efficiently than what's currently available. Designed to offer more opportunities to game developers, the upcoming DirectX 12 consumes half the power of DirectX 11 and offers improved performance on existing hardware. This extend to mobile devices, which will now be able to run more intensive programs without trouble. Windows 10 PCs and Xbox Ones will be able to play with each other online via cross-play functionality. Xbox One owners will be able to stream their games to any Windows 10 device in their home. Microsoft unveiled their hologram initiative: HoloLens. The HoloLens is a head-mounted computer with a variety of sensors that allows it to "see" what its user sees and overlay digital data via the built-in HUD. It includes a third processor built specifically to help it interpret holographic space. The pres conference included a live demonstration of the HoloLens and how it can be used to design digital objects. They announced that HoloLens currently runs Skype, Minecraft, and will be used as early as July for scientists working with the Mars rover. Honestly, that is a lot of really cool information, but it comes with so many questions. Will game DVR functionality be as curtailed as it is on Xbox One? What are the limits to game streaming? Will players be able to stream Destiny to their PCs from their Xbox Ones? Will cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 PC be universal or a feature of some games, but not others? Obviously, HoloLens is the most intriguing, but a with most new technology, it is best to treat it with a grain of salt before it has had a chance to prove itself. As cool as the concept of the device is, remember the troubles people have had with Kinect for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. This could be a revolutionary step forward in computing, or it could be remembered as one of those goofy gizmos that never really got off the ground. In the meantime... HOLOGRAMS! AWESOME! You can watch the full press event here. View full article
  11. In a new LinkedIn job posting noticed by DualShockers, Microsoft is looking for a software engineer to help make the Xbox One "the most secure and trustworthy consumer computing devices in the world." The posting paints the position rather cheerfully: Are you passionate about consumer Devices and Security? Enjoy your Xbox for Entertainment and Gaming? Would you like to build a device so secure, that it is a nightmare for the most skilled hackers, yet a delight for all our customers? Have you ever found yourself thinking about how to protect a game or app running on the Xbox console or prevent anyone from cheating when playing online? If so, then we might have a very good opportunity for you! Applicants are expected to hold a BA or MS in computer science as well as six years of experience in software design and development. Cyberspace is becoming a more tenuous place for gaming as more people learn how to carry out basic DDOS attacks and more advanced hacking maneuvers. Good to see that Microsoft is at least trying to hire people to do something about it.
  12. In a new LinkedIn job posting noticed by DualShockers, Microsoft is looking for a software engineer to help make the Xbox One "the most secure and trustworthy consumer computing devices in the world." The posting paints the position rather cheerfully: Are you passionate about consumer Devices and Security? Enjoy your Xbox for Entertainment and Gaming? Would you like to build a device so secure, that it is a nightmare for the most skilled hackers, yet a delight for all our customers? Have you ever found yourself thinking about how to protect a game or app running on the Xbox console or prevent anyone from cheating when playing online? If so, then we might have a very good opportunity for you! Applicants are expected to hold a BA or MS in computer science as well as six years of experience in software design and development. Cyberspace is becoming a more tenuous place for gaming as more people learn how to carry out basic DDOS attacks and more advanced hacking maneuvers. Good to see that Microsoft is at least trying to hire people to do something about it. View full article
  13. From November 2 through January 3, 2015, customers will be able to purchase Xbox One consoles for $50 off their normal price. The discount applies to any Xbox One purchase even bundles that include games as well as the console. Affected by this promotional price drop will be several high-profile releases bundled with the console including: Sunset Overdrive, Assassin's Creed: Unity, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. There are actually two bundles that include Assassin's Creed: Unity. The $350 one includes the console, Assassin's Creed: Unity and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Another one retailing at $450 comprised of the console, both Assassin's Creed titles, Kinect, and Dance Central Spotlight. The $350 Sunset Overdrive bundle's Xbox One is a limited edition white model with matching controller, as well as, of course, Sunset Overdrive. Bundled with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is perhaps the most impressive Xbox One console. For $450, players can get their hands on a custom painted console and controller with 1 terabyte of storage space and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition with a bevy of DLC. The promotion will be available at most retailers.
  14. From November 2 through January 3, 2015, customers will be able to purchase Xbox One consoles for $50 off their normal price. The discount applies to any Xbox One purchase even bundles that include games as well as the console. Affected by this promotional price drop will be several high-profile releases bundled with the console including: Sunset Overdrive, Assassin's Creed: Unity, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. There are actually two bundles that include Assassin's Creed: Unity. The $350 one includes the console, Assassin's Creed: Unity and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Another one retailing at $450 comprised of the console, both Assassin's Creed titles, Kinect, and Dance Central Spotlight. The $350 Sunset Overdrive bundle's Xbox One is a limited edition white model with matching controller, as well as, of course, Sunset Overdrive. Bundled with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is perhaps the most impressive Xbox One console. For $450, players can get their hands on a custom painted console and controller with 1 terabyte of storage space and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition with a bevy of DLC. The promotion will be available at most retailers. View full article
  15. New footage of Halo 2's classic Zanzibar multiplayer map has surfaced online along with a new batch of screenshots. Vehicles! Explosions! Guns! Nostalgia! The multiplayer gameplay video of The Master Chief Collection has it all. Check out the screenshots over on the Extra Life Facebook page. View full article
  16. New footage of Halo 2's classic Zanzibar multiplayer map has surfaced online along with a new batch of screenshots. Vehicles! Explosions! Guns! Nostalgia! The multiplayer gameplay video of The Master Chief Collection has it all. Check out the screenshots over on the Extra Life Facebook page.
  17. While rumors have been spreading through the industry since early last week, today Mojang confirmed that they are indeed in the middle of being bought by Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion. That's billion. With a B. For some perspective on that rather large number, Microsoft values Mojang at 62% of what Disney paid to acquire the entire Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm. That's more than Oculus VR was worth to Facebook and almost three times what Twitch, the fourth highest ranked website in the US for peak internet traffic, was purchased for by Amazon. What does this mean for Minecraft? For starters, it doesn't seem like the versions that are currently available will be going away anytime soon. According to Mojang's Owen Hill: There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future. We’re extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together. Owen can't speak for Sony or Apple, but it seems for now that Microsoft has no intention of locking those versions of Minecraft away. Minecraft itself is going to remain the same. It will receive periodic updates and slowly continue to develop over time. It is uncertain whether the same people will continue to work on Minecraft going forward, but as of right now it is confirmed that the founders of Mojang, Carl Manneh, Markus "Notch" Persson, and Jakob Porsér, are leaving to pursue their interests elsewhere. Thus far, Notch has released a statement about leaving Mojang and Minecraft, which you can read here. His goodbye post boils down to a few key details. First, Notch doesn't view himself as a game developer; he develops games because he loves to code and play around with game concepts. Second, he doesn't want to be an abstract concept that people hate and the target of hateful comments. As he says in his message, "I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter. [...] I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them." Finally, he gave a deeply heartfelt thank you to everyone that supports Minecraft. In his post, he also mentions watching the video This Is Phil Fish as something influential in his decision to sell Mojang. &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c" data-mce-href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c"&amp;amp;amp;gt;0x10c by C418&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt; Musician C418, creator of the Minecraft soundtrack, posted the music he made for Notch's 0x10c For anyone who might still be worried about Minecraft or the future of Mojang or its employees, let me end with a quote from Owen Hill, "It's going to be good, though. Everything is going to be OK. <3" View full article
  18. While rumors have been spreading through the industry since early last week, today Mojang confirmed that they are indeed in the middle of being bought by Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion. That's billion. With a B. For some perspective on that rather large number, Microsoft values Mojang at 62% of what Disney paid to acquire the entire Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm. That's more than Oculus VR was worth to Facebook and almost three times what Twitch, the fourth highest ranked website in the US for peak internet traffic, was purchased for by Amazon. What does this mean for Minecraft? For starters, it doesn't seem like the versions that are currently available will be going away anytime soon. According to Mojang's Owen Hill: There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future. We’re extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together. Owen can't speak for Sony or Apple, but it seems for now that Microsoft has no intention of locking those versions of Minecraft away. Minecraft itself is going to remain the same. It will receive periodic updates and slowly continue to develop over time. It is uncertain whether the same people will continue to work on Minecraft going forward, but as of right now it is confirmed that the founders of Mojang, Carl Manneh, Markus "Notch" Persson, and Jakob Porsér, are leaving to pursue their interests elsewhere. Thus far, Notch has released a statement about leaving Mojang and Minecraft, which you can read here. His goodbye post boils down to a few key details. First, Notch doesn't view himself as a game developer; he develops games because he loves to code and play around with game concepts. Second, he doesn't want to be an abstract concept that people hate and the target of hateful comments. As he says in his message, "I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter. [...] I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them." Finally, he gave a deeply heartfelt thank you to everyone that supports Minecraft. In his post, he also mentions watching the video This Is Phil Fish as something influential in his decision to sell Mojang. &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c" data-mce-href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c"&amp;amp;amp;gt;0x10c by C418&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt; Musician C418, creator of the Minecraft soundtrack, posted the music he made for Notch's 0x10c For anyone who might still be worried about Minecraft or the future of Mojang or its employees, let me end with a quote from Owen Hill, "It's going to be good, though. Everything is going to be OK. <3"
  19. Over the past few days I had the opportunity to take a break from reviewing the incredibly long PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin (68 hours in with the end still not in sight!) by suiting up as one of humanity’s last Guardians. After three focused days with the beta, I can say with confidence that Bungie has put what it learned from years developing Halo and successfully read the gaming landscape to create an FPS title that will stand the test of time. The Destiny beta was previewed on PlayStation 4. How does one describe Destiny? Destiny seems like a hodgepodge of various elements copped from other famous science-fiction games, movies, and books that were then rolled up into one package, streamlined, and then given some of the characteristics of an MMO (I thought about putting in the dictionary definition of destiny here instead, but decided that would be too obvious). The physics of the movement is very Halo-esque, giving the player a sensation of great power and fluidity, while eschewing the frantic pacing of titles like Call of Duty or Titanfall. Meanwhile the gunplay is heavily influenced by Borderlands. The aesthetics and setting have Star Wars influences written all over along them (imagine that the Deathstar was sentient, good, and didn’t blow up planets and you basically have the premise for Destiny). Finally, the story is a mix of Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End both of which were written by Arthur C. Clarke. And here is the thing: All of those disparate elements come together feeling new and fresh, which is a real achievement! I walked away from my weekend with Destiny having enjoyed myself and feeling optimistic about the game’s future. However, I don’t think it is enough to tell you that I had this positive reaction to Destiny, instead I’m going to attempt to explain why. One of the main attractions of Destiny is how it empowers players. It goes about this in a variety of ways, but first and foremost, it conveys power through movement and terrain traversal. As usual for an FPS, players can toggle between normal running and sprinting, the pace of which is not frenetically fast, but instead instils a feeling of accuracy and control. It is a small touch, but it works. Jumping represents a major contributor to the empowerment of movement in Destiny. At first it seems like a more toned-down version of Halo’s high, floaty jumps, but upon reaching level three or four, players unlock the double jump and it changes everything. In my mind, Titanfall was the first FPS that truly embraced the notion of verticality and freedom of movement. I played Titanfall and felt like I was seeing what the new trend in multiplayer would be; Bungie, much like Respawn, realized that it needed to get away from the landlocked mentality of last-gen’s shooters. I won’t say that Bungie looked at Titanfall and tried to emulate it; Destiny has clearly been in development for years, too long to make such a fundamental change to its entire structure and gameplay dynamics. Destiny and Titanfall both happened to hit on the idea that giving players more options in how they move makes the game a great deal more fun and allows for a more flowing feel to the entire affair. Oh, and the speeder bikes that you can summon almost anywhere control very well and lend the maps a sense of scope while finally allowing you to see what it would be like to ride one of the speeders from Return of the Jedi. Those are pretty sweet. Beyond movement, Destiny takes a running leap (har har) right out of the gate in regards to progression. Completing missions and killing enemies grants experience that adds up over time to level characters. Over the course of the first few missions players level up frequently, about a level per story mission, and find new equipment everywhere. Each level rewards players with a new ability, a variation of one of their existing abilities, an upgrade for core power, or a boost to base stats. New equipment comes in the familiar rarity color coding made omnipresent by Diablo (now go ahead and tell me that Diablo wasn’t the first game to start this sort of color scheme, Diablo was the first I could recall), though the best equipment typically drops in the form of schematics that must be decoded. Uncommon or rare weapons also gain experience the more they are used and can be upgraded once they’ve been used enough in battle. All of this comes together to give players a real sense of escalating power. Now, I can’t speak as to how this will continue on in the full version of Destiny, since the beta caps progress at level 8, but I’d imagine that, similar to other MMOs, the pace of power growth will slow dramatically during the mid to late game compared to the early sections. And make no mistake, Destiny is an MMO despite the marketing of it as being a “shared world.” Destiny takes many design decisions found in a typical MMO and applies them to a first-person shooter in a remarkably deft manner. The elements are there, from random events, to raids (called Strikes), to sidequests that branch off from the main story missions, to seeing the numbers indicating damage dealt pop up with ever successful shot to an enemy. At any given time I could see three or four other Guardians pursuing side missions or participating in random events, but social interaction never felt forced on me or like it took me out of the experience. The strange part is that this all comes together very well. I have my gripes with the Borderlands series, but being able to team up with friends and shoot your way through a campaign was undeniably fun. Destiny captures the essence of that co-op experience and applies it on a wider scale. In fact, the gameplay really does remind me of Borderlands, albeit with more mobility, except that Destiny manages to both make the gameplay its own and appropriately tone the entire affair. That tone is what will make Destiny such a success. Undoubtedly many kids under the age of 17 got their hands on the M rated Borderlands and Borderlands 2, but think of how many more copies Borderlands would have been able to sell with a T rating from the ESRB. On June 26 the ESRB announced that Destiny will be rated T, which widens the audience quite a bit. Combine that with the Star Wars vibe that the title exudes, the sweeping scope, the gameplay which can be enjoyed with friends, and the lack of a subscription fee (ignoring, for a second, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live), and to me that seems like something that will be astronomically big. It will be innocuous enough to get by most parents while still appealing to the youth demographic and it will be interesting and edgy enough to pull in the older crowds. Now, from all those glowing statements about what Destiny does right, you might be thinking that this is the most perfect game to have ever existed or that I am a goon paid for by Bungie. Neither of those assumptions are correct for there are a number of areas in Destiny that fell short. Many people have pointed to Peter Dinklage’s voice acting performance as something that detracts significantly from their experience. I would never presume to try and invalidate the feelings that other people have, because gut reactions to things can never be “wrong” in any quantitative sense. However, I do think that this is a case of people signaling out a surface-level, lackluster element and pinning their frustrations on it. While Peter Dinklage at times certainly gives a phoned-in performance* (which could very well detract from some players in-game experience, it just didn’t significantly alter my own), the main problem with Destiny isn’t that the performances aren’t as nuanced and deep as they could be; the main problem is that Destiny’s narrative doesn’t know how to begin its story. I don’t want to be overly critical here because Destiny is still months from release and could very well have some of the beginning story elements locked away. However, the product on display in the beta is clunky. It is never sure of how much or when it should dole out information. My character awakens to the line, “you’ve been dead for a long time,” and immediately, without any questions asked, the game placed me into the action. Now, this is a good way to grab a player’s attention, but it comes with a number of questions that demand answers after that action is concluded. Those answers never came. I was whisked away to the last human city, Tower, where I was given general background information about the state of the world and my character’s place in it, but those don’t satisfactorily answer why or how my character was brought back from the dead. There are lots of logic things that can be overlooked in the name of drama, but it was really irritating to me to hear my character speak and somehow fail to ask how he was brought back from the dead. That’s kind of a big deal. If technology is advanced enough to bring people back from the dead after “a long time” how is humanity in bad shape? This serves as a great example of one of my biggest complaints regarding Destiny, because there are numerous times when important details about the world seemed to go unexplained or ignored. Players are simply told to accept the quirks of the various races and events in Destiny’s story without enough context to make sense of it all. The previous paragraph was a minor complaint. That might seem odd, but the story of Destiny is such a secondary (possibly tertiary) concern that it won’t be something that affects most players experience with the game, because the refinement of Destiny’s gameplay trumps most of the minor quibbles it has, story or otherwise. One of those nitpicks goes to the AI, which seem to encounter invisible walls from time to time that can be used to pick off enemies or manipulate them into doing stupid things like running out of cover for no reason. Melee enemies in particular seem to be hit on the head with dumb. Jumping to a high elevation causes them to mill around helplessly like lost puppies. If I had to pick one more smallish complaint, it would be that the sidequests scattered throughout the exploration mode are largely uninteresting and seem to exist mostly out of obligation. Despite the annoyances and the narrative concerns, the heart of the matter is that Destiny is fun. The diversity of inspirations works to make the journey through a devastated Earth and beyond seem new instead of rehashed. It is visually exciting and delivers moments of tense action, comradery, and a sense of adventure. All other concerns aside, the bottom line is that Destiny is such an enjoyable experience that trumps almost any other criticism you could level at it. Destiny releases September 9 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. * Regarding Peter Dinklage: Here’s the thing, folks, Peter Dinklage is a very talented actor. He has a real flair for the dramatic and is capable of turning an audience to putty in his hands through his tone of voice. While it is true that the end result of his voice acting in Destiny sounds less than stellar, we don’t know why he sounds that way. Making a video game is a highly collaborative process. It could be that he found the lines too ridiculous to say seriously; it could be that he just didn’t care; it could be that Dinklage acts best when physically present on a set (to my knowledge, he has only ever done voice work for one other property and that was for Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012); but it could also be that the people directing him didn’t know how to get what they wanted or they made the call that what they recorded was an acceptable final product. It is important to remember that Peter Dinklage doesn’t have the final say on what goes into Destiny and that others are making the call that those lines were read appropriately. Finally, in Destiny, Dinklage voices a robot and, to me, he sounds very robot-like and detached in-game, which could contribute to why some of his lines sound so lifeless. He’s undeniably a great actor, capable of compelling work (Here is a brilliant scene from Game of Thrones Season 4, spoiler warning and all that), but for that talent to shine it require people in a number of other capacities to recognize what the game needs and bring it out of Dinklage.
  20. Over the past few days I had the opportunity to take a break from reviewing the incredibly long PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin (68 hours in with the end still not in sight!) by suiting up as one of humanity’s last Guardians. After three focused days with the beta, I can say with confidence that Bungie has put what it learned from years developing Halo and successfully read the gaming landscape to create an FPS title that will stand the test of time. The Destiny beta was previewed on PlayStation 4. How does one describe Destiny? Destiny seems like a hodgepodge of various elements copped from other famous science-fiction games, movies, and books that were then rolled up into one package, streamlined, and then given some of the characteristics of an MMO (I thought about putting in the dictionary definition of destiny here instead, but decided that would be too obvious). The physics of the movement is very Halo-esque, giving the player a sensation of great power and fluidity, while eschewing the frantic pacing of titles like Call of Duty or Titanfall. Meanwhile the gunplay is heavily influenced by Borderlands. The aesthetics and setting have Star Wars influences written all over along them (imagine that the Deathstar was sentient, good, and didn’t blow up planets and you basically have the premise for Destiny). Finally, the story is a mix of Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End both of which were written by Arthur C. Clarke. And here is the thing: All of those disparate elements come together feeling new and fresh, which is a real achievement! I walked away from my weekend with Destiny having enjoyed myself and feeling optimistic about the game’s future. However, I don’t think it is enough to tell you that I had this positive reaction to Destiny, instead I’m going to attempt to explain why. One of the main attractions of Destiny is how it empowers players. It goes about this in a variety of ways, but first and foremost, it conveys power through movement and terrain traversal. As usual for an FPS, players can toggle between normal running and sprinting, the pace of which is not frenetically fast, but instead instils a feeling of accuracy and control. It is a small touch, but it works. Jumping represents a major contributor to the empowerment of movement in Destiny. At first it seems like a more toned-down version of Halo’s high, floaty jumps, but upon reaching level three or four, players unlock the double jump and it changes everything. In my mind, Titanfall was the first FPS that truly embraced the notion of verticality and freedom of movement. I played Titanfall and felt like I was seeing what the new trend in multiplayer would be; Bungie, much like Respawn, realized that it needed to get away from the landlocked mentality of last-gen’s shooters. I won’t say that Bungie looked at Titanfall and tried to emulate it; Destiny has clearly been in development for years, too long to make such a fundamental change to its entire structure and gameplay dynamics. Destiny and Titanfall both happened to hit on the idea that giving players more options in how they move makes the game a great deal more fun and allows for a more flowing feel to the entire affair. Oh, and the speeder bikes that you can summon almost anywhere control very well and lend the maps a sense of scope while finally allowing you to see what it would be like to ride one of the speeders from Return of the Jedi. Those are pretty sweet. Beyond movement, Destiny takes a running leap (har har) right out of the gate in regards to progression. Completing missions and killing enemies grants experience that adds up over time to level characters. Over the course of the first few missions players level up frequently, about a level per story mission, and find new equipment everywhere. Each level rewards players with a new ability, a variation of one of their existing abilities, an upgrade for core power, or a boost to base stats. New equipment comes in the familiar rarity color coding made omnipresent by Diablo (now go ahead and tell me that Diablo wasn’t the first game to start this sort of color scheme, Diablo was the first I could recall), though the best equipment typically drops in the form of schematics that must be decoded. Uncommon or rare weapons also gain experience the more they are used and can be upgraded once they’ve been used enough in battle. All of this comes together to give players a real sense of escalating power. Now, I can’t speak as to how this will continue on in the full version of Destiny, since the beta caps progress at level 8, but I’d imagine that, similar to other MMOs, the pace of power growth will slow dramatically during the mid to late game compared to the early sections. And make no mistake, Destiny is an MMO despite the marketing of it as being a “shared world.” Destiny takes many design decisions found in a typical MMO and applies them to a first-person shooter in a remarkably deft manner. The elements are there, from random events, to raids (called Strikes), to sidequests that branch off from the main story missions, to seeing the numbers indicating damage dealt pop up with ever successful shot to an enemy. At any given time I could see three or four other Guardians pursuing side missions or participating in random events, but social interaction never felt forced on me or like it took me out of the experience. The strange part is that this all comes together very well. I have my gripes with the Borderlands series, but being able to team up with friends and shoot your way through a campaign was undeniably fun. Destiny captures the essence of that co-op experience and applies it on a wider scale. In fact, the gameplay really does remind me of Borderlands, albeit with more mobility, except that Destiny manages to both make the gameplay its own and appropriately tone the entire affair. That tone is what will make Destiny such a success. Undoubtedly many kids under the age of 17 got their hands on the M rated Borderlands and Borderlands 2, but think of how many more copies Borderlands would have been able to sell with a T rating from the ESRB. On June 26 the ESRB announced that Destiny will be rated T, which widens the audience quite a bit. Combine that with the Star Wars vibe that the title exudes, the sweeping scope, the gameplay which can be enjoyed with friends, and the lack of a subscription fee (ignoring, for a second, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live), and to me that seems like something that will be astronomically big. It will be innocuous enough to get by most parents while still appealing to the youth demographic and it will be interesting and edgy enough to pull in the older crowds. Now, from all those glowing statements about what Destiny does right, you might be thinking that this is the most perfect game to have ever existed or that I am a goon paid for by Bungie. Neither of those assumptions are correct for there are a number of areas in Destiny that fell short. Many people have pointed to Peter Dinklage’s voice acting performance as something that detracts significantly from their experience. I would never presume to try and invalidate the feelings that other people have, because gut reactions to things can never be “wrong” in any quantitative sense. However, I do think that this is a case of people signaling out a surface-level, lackluster element and pinning their frustrations on it. While Peter Dinklage at times certainly gives a phoned-in performance* (which could very well detract from some players in-game experience, it just didn’t significantly alter my own), the main problem with Destiny isn’t that the performances aren’t as nuanced and deep as they could be; the main problem is that Destiny’s narrative doesn’t know how to begin its story. I don’t want to be overly critical here because Destiny is still months from release and could very well have some of the beginning story elements locked away. However, the product on display in the beta is clunky. It is never sure of how much or when it should dole out information. My character awakens to the line, “you’ve been dead for a long time,” and immediately, without any questions asked, the game placed me into the action. Now, this is a good way to grab a player’s attention, but it comes with a number of questions that demand answers after that action is concluded. Those answers never came. I was whisked away to the last human city, Tower, where I was given general background information about the state of the world and my character’s place in it, but those don’t satisfactorily answer why or how my character was brought back from the dead. There are lots of logic things that can be overlooked in the name of drama, but it was really irritating to me to hear my character speak and somehow fail to ask how he was brought back from the dead. That’s kind of a big deal. If technology is advanced enough to bring people back from the dead after “a long time” how is humanity in bad shape? This serves as a great example of one of my biggest complaints regarding Destiny, because there are numerous times when important details about the world seemed to go unexplained or ignored. Players are simply told to accept the quirks of the various races and events in Destiny’s story without enough context to make sense of it all. The previous paragraph was a minor complaint. That might seem odd, but the story of Destiny is such a secondary (possibly tertiary) concern that it won’t be something that affects most players experience with the game, because the refinement of Destiny’s gameplay trumps most of the minor quibbles it has, story or otherwise. One of those nitpicks goes to the AI, which seem to encounter invisible walls from time to time that can be used to pick off enemies or manipulate them into doing stupid things like running out of cover for no reason. Melee enemies in particular seem to be hit on the head with dumb. Jumping to a high elevation causes them to mill around helplessly like lost puppies. If I had to pick one more smallish complaint, it would be that the sidequests scattered throughout the exploration mode are largely uninteresting and seem to exist mostly out of obligation. Despite the annoyances and the narrative concerns, the heart of the matter is that Destiny is fun. The diversity of inspirations works to make the journey through a devastated Earth and beyond seem new instead of rehashed. It is visually exciting and delivers moments of tense action, comradery, and a sense of adventure. All other concerns aside, the bottom line is that Destiny is such an enjoyable experience that trumps almost any other criticism you could level at it. Destiny releases September 9 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. * Regarding Peter Dinklage: Here’s the thing, folks, Peter Dinklage is a very talented actor. He has a real flair for the dramatic and is capable of turning an audience to putty in his hands through his tone of voice. While it is true that the end result of his voice acting in Destiny sounds less than stellar, we don’t know why he sounds that way. Making a video game is a highly collaborative process. It could be that he found the lines too ridiculous to say seriously; it could be that he just didn’t care; it could be that Dinklage acts best when physically present on a set (to my knowledge, he has only ever done voice work for one other property and that was for Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012); but it could also be that the people directing him didn’t know how to get what they wanted or they made the call that what they recorded was an acceptable final product. It is important to remember that Peter Dinklage doesn’t have the final say on what goes into Destiny and that others are making the call that those lines were read appropriately. Finally, in Destiny, Dinklage voices a robot and, to me, he sounds very robot-like and detached in-game, which could contribute to why some of his lines sound so lifeless. He’s undeniably a great actor, capable of compelling work (Here is a brilliant scene from Game of Thrones Season 4, spoiler warning and all that), but for that talent to shine it require people in a number of other capacities to recognize what the game needs and bring it out of Dinklage. View full article
  21. Taking a lesson from last year, when Sony publicly mocked their DRM restrictions and announced a console that was $100 cheaper, Microsoft’s press conference was one designed to be as safe as possible. I say safe because how much more secure can you get than by opening with the next installment in the one of the most successful video game franchises of all time? We saw a gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, where guys with cool sci-fi gadgets do things that we’ve seen guys in first-person shooters do hundreds of times before. It probably won’t be the video game equivalent of Shakespeare, but I know I’m at the very least intrigued to see how multiplayer incorporates all of the cool near-future technology showcased in the trailers and demos. Again, all DLC for Advanced Warfare will be available on Microsoft consoles. Next up, Turn 10 Studios took the stage to announce that Xbox One exclusive Forza Horizon 2 will release on September 30. Also, the new Nürburgring track will be made available this month for owners of Forza Motorsport 5. The track has been recreated down to subcentimeter levels of fidelity. Evolve made its own appearance with a new gameplay trailer focusing on the classes and introducing a new type of monster. Xbox One owners will have first dibs on both the Evolve beta and Evolve’s DLC. Just behind Call of Duty, the next safest bet in the industry is a new Assassin’s Creed game. Which is just what Ubisoft showed off at Microsoft’s press conference with Assassin’s Creed Unity. The title will be exclusive to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and will feature 4-player co-op. If the idea of sneaking and assassinating in the midst of the French Revolution with three other friends gets you excited, this might be the perfect game for you. As someone who has little interest in the Call of Duties and Assassin’s Creeds of the world, I wasn’t feeling particularly compelled or excited about the games so far, but the newest trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition made me do a double-take. I’m getting more excited than I probably should be for this game, but I can’t help having faith in BioWare and in the potential that the Dragon Age franchise has always shown. Once more, it seems that Xbox users will be getting some exclusive access to “premium content.” There are no details as of yet what will be contained in that DLC. Sunset Overdrive had a stellar appearance with many winks and knowing nods to the audience in a scripted sequence lampooning traditional shooters. This was followed by a live gameplay demonstration that was well-executed and impressive. Then there was a goofy teaser for a Dead Rising 3 DLC pack that I am not going to write out because it is long and purposefully obnoxious. Harmonix briefly took the stage to discuss how Disney Fantasia and Dance Central Spotlight are coming to consoles this fall and were then quickly ushered off the stage so that Microsoft could divulge some more information on Fable Legends. I haven’t played it, but my reaction to Fable Legends was one of complete and utter boredom. The game has a few interesting ideas (a group of players take on the role of heroes while another player becomes the villainous mastermind who attempts to thwart their progress), but those ideas seem to be piled under layers of uninspired fantasy. Then there was the obligatory, “Project Spark is still a thing, guys! Remember how cool that concept was!?” The trailer was fine; it looked great. However, I’ve played a bit of the game and it is hard to muster much enthusiasm for a great game creation kit that is mired in overpriced microtransactions. *Warning, what follows is riddled with sadness* Another trailer followed Project Spark, this one for a small indie game titled Ori and the Blind Forest. Will it be one of this year’s indie gems? Possibly. Will it make me cry if I play it? No …sniff… *muffled sob* One of the biggest announcements of the press conference was that on November 11, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will release. The collection contains Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 on one disc with everything unlocked. Custom playlists will combine the great moments from all four games into one epic smorgasbord. Halo 2 is also receiving the full anniversary treatment that Halo: Combat Evolved received for Halo Anniversary Edition. The original version of Halo 2 will be included alongside the revamped version. In addition to all of that, the original multiplayer that fans fought so hard to protect will be brought back. For multiplayer, every map ever released will be available in 1080p and run at 60fps on dedicated servers. Over 100 maps. That’s a lot of maps. The collection will also include Halo Nightfall, a live action prelude to Halo 5: Guardians. Speaking of Halo 5, purchasing Halo: The Master Chief Collection also nets you access to the Halo 5 beta in December. All previous games Microsoft had talked about up until this point will be released by the end of the year. The second half of the show focused on games coming in 2015 and beyond. Most of the releases talked about were indies (and there is nothing wrong with that, just not a ton of information on the individual games). Then there was the surprise reveal of Rise of the Tomb Raider, a sequel to the Tomb Raider reboot. We see Lara getting some much needed therapy after the traumatic events of the previous game and then raiding some tombs. Ahhhh, nostalgia! There were a few other moments after that, like the announcement of the Phantom Dust reboot, some hilariously scripted gameplay from The Division, and the reveal of Crackdown 3, but what got me most excited was the Xbox One exclusive from Platinum Games titled Scalebound. It looks goofy, different, has giant monsters, and the ideas on display seem like they would be a lot of fun in the hands of the developer who brought us Vanquish and Bayonetta. Honorable indie mentions: That’s it from Microsoft. On the whole, this conference was much better than last year, which is a win for the company, but I can’t help but feel that this was one of the safest press conferences in the five years I’ve watched the show. What do you think? Awesome? Just right? Meh?
  22. Taking a lesson from last year, when Sony publicly mocked their DRM restrictions and announced a console that was $100 cheaper, Microsoft’s press conference was one designed to be as safe as possible. I say safe because how much more secure can you get than by opening with the next installment in the one of the most successful video game franchises of all time? We saw a gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, where guys with cool sci-fi gadgets do things that we’ve seen guys in first-person shooters do hundreds of times before. It probably won’t be the video game equivalent of Shakespeare, but I know I’m at the very least intrigued to see how multiplayer incorporates all of the cool near-future technology showcased in the trailers and demos. Again, all DLC for Advanced Warfare will be available on Microsoft consoles. Next up, Turn 10 Studios took the stage to announce that Xbox One exclusive Forza Horizon 2 will release on September 30. Also, the new Nürburgring track will be made available this month for owners of Forza Motorsport 5. The track has been recreated down to subcentimeter levels of fidelity. Evolve made its own appearance with a new gameplay trailer focusing on the classes and introducing a new type of monster. Xbox One owners will have first dibs on both the Evolve beta and Evolve’s DLC. Just behind Call of Duty, the next safest bet in the industry is a new Assassin’s Creed game. Which is just what Ubisoft showed off at Microsoft’s press conference with Assassin’s Creed Unity. The title will be exclusive to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and will feature 4-player co-op. If the idea of sneaking and assassinating in the midst of the French Revolution with three other friends gets you excited, this might be the perfect game for you. As someone who has little interest in the Call of Duties and Assassin’s Creeds of the world, I wasn’t feeling particularly compelled or excited about the games so far, but the newest trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition made me do a double-take. I’m getting more excited than I probably should be for this game, but I can’t help having faith in BioWare and in the potential that the Dragon Age franchise has always shown. Once more, it seems that Xbox users will be getting some exclusive access to “premium content.” There are no details as of yet what will be contained in that DLC. Sunset Overdrive had a stellar appearance with many winks and knowing nods to the audience in a scripted sequence lampooning traditional shooters. This was followed by a live gameplay demonstration that was well-executed and impressive. Then there was a goofy teaser for a Dead Rising 3 DLC pack that I am not going to write out because it is long and purposefully obnoxious. Harmonix briefly took the stage to discuss how Disney Fantasia and Dance Central Spotlight are coming to consoles this fall and were then quickly ushered off the stage so that Microsoft could divulge some more information on Fable Legends. I haven’t played it, but my reaction to Fable Legends was one of complete and utter boredom. The game has a few interesting ideas (a group of players take on the role of heroes while another player becomes the villainous mastermind who attempts to thwart their progress), but those ideas seem to be piled under layers of uninspired fantasy. Then there was the obligatory, “Project Spark is still a thing, guys! Remember how cool that concept was!?” The trailer was fine; it looked great. However, I’ve played a bit of the game and it is hard to muster much enthusiasm for a great game creation kit that is mired in overpriced microtransactions. *Warning, what follows is riddled with sadness* Another trailer followed Project Spark, this one for a small indie game titled Ori and the Blind Forest. Will it be one of this year’s indie gems? Possibly. Will it make me cry if I play it? No …sniff… *muffled sob* One of the biggest announcements of the press conference was that on November 11, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will release. The collection contains Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 on one disc with everything unlocked. Custom playlists will combine the great moments from all four games into one epic smorgasbord. Halo 2 is also receiving the full anniversary treatment that Halo: Combat Evolved received for Halo Anniversary Edition. The original version of Halo 2 will be included alongside the revamped version. In addition to all of that, the original multiplayer that fans fought so hard to protect will be brought back. For multiplayer, every map ever released will be available in 1080p and run at 60fps on dedicated servers. Over 100 maps. That’s a lot of maps. The collection will also include Halo Nightfall, a live action prelude to Halo 5: Guardians. Speaking of Halo 5, purchasing Halo: The Master Chief Collection also nets you access to the Halo 5 beta in December. All previous games Microsoft had talked about up until this point will be released by the end of the year. The second half of the show focused on games coming in 2015 and beyond. Most of the releases talked about were indies (and there is nothing wrong with that, just not a ton of information on the individual games). Then there was the surprise reveal of Rise of the Tomb Raider, a sequel to the Tomb Raider reboot. We see Lara getting some much needed therapy after the traumatic events of the previous game and then raiding some tombs. Ahhhh, nostalgia! There were a few other moments after that, like the announcement of the Phantom Dust reboot, some hilariously scripted gameplay from The Division, and the reveal of Crackdown 3, but what got me most excited was the Xbox One exclusive from Platinum Games titled Scalebound. It looks goofy, different, has giant monsters, and the ideas on display seem like they would be a lot of fun in the hands of the developer who brought us Vanquish and Bayonetta. Honorable indie mentions: That’s it from Microsoft. On the whole, this conference was much better than last year, which is a win for the company, but I can’t help but feel that this was one of the safest press conferences in the five years I’ve watched the show. What do you think? Awesome? Just right? Meh? View full article
  23. After the brief cinematic shown last year, many speculated when we might expect to see Halo 5. Today we have our answer. In a press release that went out this morning, Halo developer 343 Industries' general manager Bonnie Ross talked about the future of Halo, the need to construct the next franchise entry around the hardware of the Xbox One, and the expanded scope of the series: In the tradition of every Halo game since its debut in 2001, it is a massive and exciting project. Halo 5: Guardians is a bigger effort than Halo 4. That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what's now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we've invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One's hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen. It’s a game that will hopefully demonstrate the talent, learnings and abilities of the 343 Industries team. A game that will incorporate the things we learned from Halo 4 about technology, aesthetics, performance and scale – and perhaps more importantly, understanding and embracing a community of gamers who love what lies at the heart of this game, and the limitless potential of the Halo universe. Halo 5: Guardians will release fall 2015 as an Xbox One exclusive. More information will be forthcoming on June 9 when Microsoft holds its pre-E3 press conference.
  24. After the brief cinematic shown last year, many speculated when we might expect to see Halo 5. Today we have our answer. In a press release that went out this morning, Halo developer 343 Industries' general manager Bonnie Ross talked about the future of Halo, the need to construct the next franchise entry around the hardware of the Xbox One, and the expanded scope of the series: In the tradition of every Halo game since its debut in 2001, it is a massive and exciting project. Halo 5: Guardians is a bigger effort than Halo 4. That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what's now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we've invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One's hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen. It’s a game that will hopefully demonstrate the talent, learnings and abilities of the 343 Industries team. A game that will incorporate the things we learned from Halo 4 about technology, aesthetics, performance and scale – and perhaps more importantly, understanding and embracing a community of gamers who love what lies at the heart of this game, and the limitless potential of the Halo universe. Halo 5: Guardians will release fall 2015 as an Xbox One exclusive. More information will be forthcoming on June 9 when Microsoft holds its pre-E3 press conference. View full article
  25. After the brief cinematic shown last year, many speculated when we might expect to see Halo 5. Today we have our answer. In a press release that went out this morning, Halo developer 343 Industries' general manager Bonnie Ross talked about the future of Halo, the need to construct the next franchise entry around the hardware of the Xbox One, and the expanded scope of the series: In the tradition of every Halo game since its debut in 2001, it is a massive and exciting project. Halo 5: Guardians is a bigger effort than Halo 4. That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what's now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we've invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One's hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen. It’s a game that will hopefully demonstrate the talent, learnings and abilities of the 343 Industries team. A game that will incorporate the things we learned from Halo 4 about technology, aesthetics, performance and scale – and perhaps more importantly, understanding and embracing a community of gamers who love what lies at the heart of this game, and the limitless potential of the Halo universe. Halo 5: Guardians will release fall 2015 as an Xbox One exclusive. More information will be forthcoming on June 9 when Microsoft holds its pre-E3 press conference. View full article
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