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:
You know that Wii U system update that is supposed to speed up the console by a pretty big margin this summer? Well, in yet another misstep for Nintendo's latest home console, that update will not be arriving until the fall. Specifically, Wii U owners will be waiting until sometime "between the end of September and the beginning of October." There will still be a system update, but it will be a much less significant patch that simply addresses small stability issues and the standby download feature. The speed update was first announced in January, but we guess it isn't much of a surprise that Wii U owners are stuck waiting. Again.
Read More | Nintendo
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
Microsoft has announced that it will reveal the next Xbox on May 21st at an event to take place at the Xbox campus in Redmond. Gamers have been patiently waiting for an announcement from Microsoft on the next Xbox (codenamed Durango,) especially after Sony announced the Playstation 4 at an event in February. The company says that the event will "mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV, and entertainment." Aside from inviting select press to be on hand, the event will also be broadcast as it happens on Xbox LIVE for all to see. It'll also be broadcast on SPike TV for those who are in the US or Canada.
Don't expect all the info on the next Xbox to be revealed on the 21st, though. Microsoft says that they'll wait about three weeks before announcing the full line-up of games, which it'll do at E3. There's a lot riding on the next Xbox, which follows up the current generations most successful console, the Xbox 360.
Read More | Major Nelson
Sony is set to reveal the PlayStation 4 in less than three weeks, on February 20th. According to The Wall Street Journal, not only will we get a look at the PS4 and a rundown of all the new features, which include "more social gaming aspects" and "changes in how users interact with the machine," but gamers can expect to be able to pick up the new PlayStation later this year.
As for the console itself, not much is known--what we do know is that it will likely be powered by an AMD CPU and GPU, which could prove difficult for PS3 backwards compatibility, since the PS3 is powered by Sony's Cell processor. Additionally, although Sony considered shipping the PlayStation 4 without an optical drive, the Blu-ray drive will still be present, because the company believes that games are too big, and broadband not yet fast enough, to rely on hard drive storage and digital downloads.
We'll have all the info for you on the 20th!
Read More | WSJ
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