Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, a role-playing game released for mobile platforms last fall, initially struck me as a game I could skip without a second thought. It had the appearance of a cheap cash-in meant to capitalize on the launch of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Although I'm not generally not the sort of person to write off a game for being free-to-play (some of my favorite games don't cost a dime to start playing), there's something about the combination of that business model, mobile, and a major franchise that made me assume it was not worth so much as a download.
I was wrong.
Somehow, 10 years have already passed since the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas--arguably the most innovative game in the series. To coincide with the recent anniversary, Rockstar re-released the game on Xbox 360, replacing the Games on Demand version with a slightly improved version. And while the game itself remains an enjoyable experience, this may not be the best way of revisiting it.
I find myself occasionally in the mood to play one of the classic GTA III-era games (GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas), which are among my all-time favorite games. I typically ignore this compulsion or simply spend a few minutes with the iPhone version of GTA III; I get my small dose of nostalgia but invariably stop playing because, despite Rockstar's best efforts, these are not games that work well on a touchscreen.
An improved re-release of San Andreas was exciting news for me--while a release on Xbox One or PS4 would have been ideal, a cheap Xbox 360 version with improved graphics, better draw distance, and achievements sounds like a great way to revisit the game.
There were any number of reasons to be excited for Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, which launched earlier this week. For myself and many others, it was the Nemesis system--which promises unique enemies and emergent gameplay--that was the most exciting aspect of all. And while it's certainly an intriguing feature, I can't help but feel I've been missing out on it for basically being too good at the game.
Until reviews started to hit the web, I was very cautious in being optimistic about Monolith's first-ever Lord of the Rings game. For being such a major franchise, quality games based on it have been few and far between--something that's especially surprising considering its renewed popularity following the release of Peter Jackson's movies. Once I heard the almost-unanimous praise from the reviewers I trust, I was onboard. I was ready to finally play a LotR game that was a genuinely good game, not another passable one that I accepted because it happened to make use of one of my favorite franchises.
Bungie has just announced a stellar deal for Destiny buyers--if you pick up the digital version of Destiny for the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, you get to download the next-gen digital version for Xbox One or Playstation 4 for free. That's two copies of Destiny for the price of one.
The deal applies to all Destiny content, too, so if you buy the Guardian edition of the game, or the Expansion Pass on Xbox 360 or PS3, you'll also get that same content on Xbox One or PS4 as well.
To be clear, those who take advantage of the promotion get to keep and use both versions of Destiny. The downloads will be tied to the same Xbox Live or PSN account, and as a result, you'll have to choose one ecosystem (Xbox or Playstation) for both copies of the game--you can't get it for PS3 and then get the Xbox One version, or vice versa. This is a great deal for those who still have an older console in a spare room and want to have Destiny playable on both.
If the above doesn't apply to you, you can still get a free copy of Destiny (or any other Xbox One game) this week!
Read More | Destiny Digital Upgrade
This year, E3 had one of those showing that only happens once every 8-10 years. E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is the biggest video game conference in the world, and it's where game publishers show off what they're working on. E3 2014 was unique because it was the first one after the release of two major consoles--the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Developers got to show for the first time full portfolios dedicated to the new hardware, and it was glorious. There was a lot to see during both the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation media briefings, and Nintendo surprised many with game announcements of its own. I figured I'd whittle things down and share the ten games I was most excited about, in no particular order.
The summer months can bring drought conditions in many areas across the world, but as any hardcore gamer will tell you, the gaming industry suffers the same condition each year. It's even tougher in years like 2014, where two major consoles just launched and early adopters are clamoring for new software for their pricey investments.
While I can't do anything about the lack of new games that are set to drop this summer, I can certainly help you get through it. Over the next two months, right before summer hits, we are going to see a few high profile games released that we think will dull the summer gaming blues. Some are old favorites, while a couple are brand new IP that look to offer unique gaming experiences. Here's my list of the five games to pick up this summer, in order of release date:
As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft has decided to do an about-face, now offering the Xbox One without Kinect for $399. The move continues Microsoft's seemingly cowardly backtracking trend that it's been doing with the Xbox One for about a year now. While many see this simply as a price drop and a way to get the Xbox One without an accessory that they may now want, for all intents and purposes, this kills Kinect dead. Right where it stands.
Allow me to explain. When the original Kinect launched for the Xbox 360, there was a lot of hype and excitement surrounding its release. For the first time, you could use your body as the controller for a new type of gaming experience. It was cool, and about as novel as the original Wii. It was a toy and a gimmick, and soon many folks stopped playing Kinect games, and none really took off at retail. However, Microsoft was getting good data and feedback for what we realized the "real" Kinect would be. The one that launched with the next Microsoft console.
Nintendo has announced the Super Smash Bros. is coming to the Nintendo 3DS this summer, and Wii U later this winter. Both versions will heavily promote online play with friends through Nintendo's Miiverse, as well as through random matches with other players.
Nintendo also says it will monitor the behavior of online players, and will punish those who are a hindrance to others, including those who leave matches early, bully others, cheat, etc. Skill-based matchmaking will also be incorporated to keep things fair and fun.
The Nintendo 3DS version in particular will feature a new mode called Smash Run where up to four players get five minutes to team up and beat up enemies in exchange for power-ups. After five minutes is up, those power-ups are put into play, as the players engage in a battle against each other.
No specific release dates were given for either version of the game, but we'll likely get that information in a couple of months at E3.
Many popular movies have been adapted into LEGO video games, and the video below aims to show what it would look like if Breaking Bad were given the LEGO game treatment. In the four-and-a-half minute parody, we get a look at the great-looking LEGO versions of Walter White, his sidekick Jesse Pinkman, Skylar, Hank, and all the other characters from the show. And yes. You can cook meth. Blue, LEGO meth.
This matches up nicely with the Bathing Bad blue bath salts, no?
Check the video after the break, just be warned, there are spoilers if you're behind on the series.
Windows super-fan Paul Thurrott, who has a good track record for internal Microsoft rumors, is sharing information that he has heard as it pertains to the launch window and pricing of the new Xbox (which we are assuming will be called Xbox Reveal or Infinity, but is codenamed Durango.) First, the next Xbox will launch in early November 2013, and will cost $499 out of the gate. Alternatively, you'll be able to pay $299 for the console if you also pay a $10 monthly subscription fee.
If this is true, then we imagine that this is where all of the hoopla over an "always-on" console is coming from. If you choose to go the subscription route, then your Xbox will likely need to be connected to the Internet in order to make sure the subscription is active. Piggybacking on that thought, maybe if you stop paying (or if you can't get the Xbox online,) then the Xbox will simply not let you play games until you are paid up or reconnect it to Xbox Live.
Other information shared include that the new console will ship with a Blu-ray drive, and will run on a modified version of Windows 8. We will have all the news as it happens when Microsoft unveils the next Xbox on May 21.
Read More | Windows IT Pro
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