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1. Quickie: Impressions June 2014
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Topic: Xbox/Xbox Games

The new items published under this topic are as follows.

 Aug 11, 2014 - 07:02 PM - by Michael
Notes from the Destiny beta
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Xbox/Xbox Games So there was the Destiny beta a couple weekends ago... I've been letting it sit and digest a bit.

Honestly, my initial reaction is that the game wants to be too much. It wants to be Halo, it wants to be an MMORPG, it wants to be a Co-Op story, it wants to be an epic story... it wants to be a lot. Even with a packed world, so packed they crashed servers on the Xbox360 side and even with dedicated friends joining me, it actually felt quite... alone in the world. Like all the other people playing weren't really playing with me so much as alongside me. When they helped in a fight or two, it was cool; when they ran along right past the fight, it sometimes was annoying... when I was trying to meet kill requirements for some of the procedurally generated missions, it was annoying.

The "special event" drops every now and again? Also cool, but not very meaningful.

The weaponry and special powers? Honestly, if anything, they feel a little bit uninventive. One class gets a ground slam, one a kamehameha type grenade bomb, one a set of nasty gun blasts... the rest of their abilities didn't seem to change or be any different for beans. Maybe it's different at higher levels, but for low level play, one class is as good as - and functionally interchangeable with no change in playstyle required to substitute for - another.

They've got a month left. We'll see if Bungie can make it count.

 Jun 06, 2013 - 05:56 PM - by Michael
Microsoft commits Xbox Suicide
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Xbox/Xbox Games Really no other way to explain this...

“With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies."


Microsoft added "because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection, developers can create massive, persistent worlds that evolve even when you’re not playing."

Mistake #1: assuming every customer has a broadband connection. Mistake #2: pretty much everything else. I predict brand suicide for the Xbox at this point.

 Apr 02, 2013 - 04:35 PM - by Michael
Tis no small thing to see a Keeper...
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Xbox/Xbox Games Thief. This could be interesting.


 Jun 21, 2012 - 04:54 PM - by Michael
Steel Mistake
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Xbox/Xbox Games There's a vid over at Kotaku about just how bad the controls for Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor really are.

I can't add anything to it. I really just can't. Save yourself some time, watch the video and understand the issues involved.

 May 11, 2011 - 07:29 AM - by Michael
Quickie Review: Borderlands GOTY
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Xbox/Xbox Games Time for a Quickie Review.

A short while back, Gamestop tossed out a bone to gamers: Borderlands GOTY edition (with all 4 DLC packs) for $20.

So, I bit. Why not. It was one of those games that had slipped past me earlier on, mostly because it was essentially an MMORPG-style game that was 99% designed for multiplayer and there were plenty of other interesting games available.

Now, I've played it. Make no mistake: the developers did a bang-up job with this one. Humor all over the place, explosions, very interesting graphic style. The "Hi, you have a voice in your head" method of narration and keeping the player vaguely on-task is a nice touch.

Of course, it's not without its quirks. While Borderlands is "playable" as a solo experience, it's not very much fun. Running around, shooting stuff that looks like it walked out of Cthulhu's doghouse, shooting humans, grabbing what drops, selling it off... see, it really does just feel like an MMORPG.

Once you get a couple of players together, it's a much more rewarding experience. Working as teams, it's a lot easier to take things down, a lot easier to coordinate fire and match weapons up.

Are there downsides? You bet. The chief annoyance is trying to remember whose character is lowest level; if they're not hosting the game, then their missions aren't getting flagged complete in the game's bizarrely programmed system. Why they didn't program the game to automatically default to the lowest player's missions and/or offer an override, I'm not sure. Welcome to the land of "weird developer questions."

Other than that - Dying isn't the problem it would seem. Sure, you'll lose some cash being restored at the last save point, but the enemies you've killed pretty much stay dead (at least, boss-related enemies). On one of the early bosses, I was actually able to exploit the system, shooting him from outside the fight zone after being restored to avoid taking a large amount of damage. It worked, and I'm not proud of it, but hey, I lived and he didn't.

Am I going to keep playing? Every now and then, when I can get a buddy onto Xbox Live for an hour or three. It's good on that front, though I can't imagine an all-night session; after a while, sadly, the missions start to get repetitive.

So - final score? 4 of 5. It's good, but not "My god, gotta have it, gotta play it all the time" good.

 Apr 05, 2011 - 07:28 AM - by Michael
XB Live game rankings suspect
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Xbox/Xbox Games Over at GameMarx, accusations that Microsoft isn't doing enough to keep the game rankings system working correctly. Seems certain developers found ways to game the system:

The XBLIG dashboard lists, including the top downloads, top rated, and new releases, equal significant sales revenue for developers. Being on the first screen of any of these lists equate to more sales than a favorable review by a well know site like Kotaku. It is also the face of XBLIG to many gamers. If these lists are full of the quick cash grab apps released on the service, gamers will get the false impression XBLIG is nothing but $1 gimmicks and not real games. That these lists can be manipulated is quite disturbing, as is Microsoft's total silence on the issue.
By the end of the article, they admit that they don't have completely hard evidence. Still, I agree that the pattern of a previously well regarded game suddenly being blasted by 1-star ratings is consistent with something fishy.

 Mar 03, 2011 - 07:40 AM - by Michael
Call of Duty Black Ops Demo
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Xbox/Xbox Games If you haven't tried out Call of Duty: Black Ops yet, your chance is here - Activision have at last put up a free demo on the Xbox Live marketplace and PSN.

Santa Monica, CA - March 2, 2011 - The thrilling mission from Call of Duty?: Black Ops, WMD,is now available worldwide for download as a single player demo on Xbox LIVE? Marketplace for the Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and on PlayStation?Network.

Revered as one of the most gripping levels in the blockbuster title that shattered entertainment records, WMD is a heart-pounding experience that takes players deep behind enemy lines as an elite Black Ops operative engaged in covert warfare, classified operations and explosive conflict. Players defy death every step of the way as they infiltrate Soviet airspace in the SR-71, the most advanced, high-altitude, long range strategic aircraft imaginable. Deep behind enemy lines, players will engage in intense combat in the harshest of conditions, and scale a formidable, hidden enemy base perched atop a snow-filled mountain range.

 Mar 03, 2011 - 07:19 AM - by Michael
Cheap Pac-Man
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Xbox/Xbox Games Namco has a bit of news: they've got Pac-Man DX on sale for 400 points this week on Xbox Live.

Cheap games are good.

As part of Microsoft?s ?Deal of the Week? promotion, PAC-MAN? Championship Edition DX is now available for half price (400 Microsoft Points) on Xbox LIVE? Arcade for the Xbox 360? video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Originally released in November 2010 for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation?Network for the PlayStation?3 computer entertainment system, PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX twists the beloved PAC-MAN gameplay into one of the most frantic, addicting and satisfying experiences of the year.

PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX builds upon the successful gameplay found in 2007?s PAC-MAN? Championship Edition with more mazes and modes than ever before. New to the series are the multitudes of sleeping ghosts that infest each maze. As PAC-MAN runs past these ghosts, they become angry and chase him until he finds a Power Pellet. If a ghost gets too close, a slowdown effect will begin giving the player an extra vital second to figure out the best course of action. If the ghost train becomes too much to handle, players can set off a bomb which sends all active ghosts back to the center of each maze. Score as many points as possible in Score Attack, Time Trial and Ghost Combo modes and rise to the top of the online leaderboards.

 Nov 05, 2010 - 08:11 AM - by Michael
Kinect Dissected
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Xbox/Xbox Games There's a great dissection of the Kinect bar over at IFixit:

Step 10
We've finally found the Kinect's eyes.

Two cameras and an IR projector.

Left: (IR CMOS) Microsoft / X853750001 / VCA379C7130

Center: (Color CMOS) VNA38209015

Right: (IR Projector) OG12 / 0956 / D306 / JG05A

This picture is of the device upside down, so these labels are swapped from what you would see looking at the Kinect.

These are not tiny, cell-phone cameras? they're closer to the camera you might find in a webcam, with large lenses and autofocus.

We can't independently confirm the resolution of the cameras yet, but Microsoft claims that the infrared cam is 320x240 and the RGB cam is 640x480
Go check it out if you're a hardware nerd. Seriously. They did a GREAT job taking this apart.

 Sep 28, 2010 - 12:31 PM - by Michael
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Out
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Xbox/Xbox Games Activision's just gotten Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock out to shelves:
Santa Monica, CA ? September 28, 2010 ? Join the quest to save rock, as Activision Publishing, Inc.?s (Nasdaq: ATVI) highly-anticipated Guitar Hero?: Warriors of Rock hits store shelves nationwide today. Featuring the largest on-disc set-list ever in a Guitar Hero? game, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock?s furious finger-fretting rock music collection is headlined by some of the largest bands in rock and includes original tracks, re-records and bands making their Guitar Hero debut. With the all-new, rock inspired guitar controller, gamers will embark on an epic journey from the halls of punk music to the lava fields of rock treachery in the first ever Guitar Hero story-driven Quest Mode narrated by KISS front man Gene Simmons. Additionally, challenge hungry achievement junkies will find the game?s all-new Quickplay+ up to par as they strive to master the 13 star challenges packed into every one of the 90+ on-disc songs as well as every song in their Guitar Hero music library. Heightening the rock experience, the first album from Soundgarden in over 10 years, Telephantasm, will be bundled with one million Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock launch units.

?Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock delivers the ultimate rock fantasy ? from the all-new guitar controller, the epic Quest Mode and the incredible soundtrack, this game gives fans what they love and expect from Guitar Hero,? said David Haddad, Chief Operating Officer, Guitar Hero. ?The innovative features and rewards combined with the biggest Guitar Hero on-disc set list ever, make Warriors of Rock the best Guitar Hero experience to date.?

With over 550 downloadable and importable songs available at launch, the Guitar Hero music library provides gamers with hundreds of hours of additional, upgraded content that utilize all of the new features from Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Additionally, Soundgarden and Guitar Hero fans alike can purchase the full Telephantasm album as downloadable content playable in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock starting today.

In Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, join with friends on an epic journey to save rock. Featuring an impressive 90+ track set list and a host of all-new gameplay features, living room legends and their friends can strum, drum and wail in the most immersive music videogame experience to date. Delivering a rock music collection that focuses on guitar shredding hits from bands such as Black Sabbath, Slipknot and Megadeth and larger-than-life band anthems from Queen, Muse and KISS, players can unleash more rewards and unlockable content than ever before in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock?s Quest Mode and Quickplay+. Virtual rock stars can also deliver the ultimate smack talk to opponents with the built-in Hero Feed, which brings bragging rights to the game by allowing players to challenge and track their friends? accomplishments, whether the friend is online or offline. Returning this year, the critically acclaimed Party Play allows gamers to jump in and out of gameplay seamlessly while challenge mode invites up to four players local and eight players online to compete in a series of gameplay competitions to prove who rules the stage.


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