2013 August

August 30, 2013

Games with your Subscription: September Edition

 

Last month I started to focus on the great games you can get for free from your PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live subscriptions, we are continuing it again this month because there are some titles that really should not be over looked. Let look at Games with Gold first since there are only two titles available:

 

Games with Gold

Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (Free, normally $9.99) September 1st – 15th

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas (Games on Demand edition, Free, normally $19.99) September 16th – 30th

 

I am willing to give Magic a shot, my brother is still really active with the card game and enjoys these downloadable titles, so something else to play with family for free is always a win. No if you are not into the card game, I was at one time during the early/late 90’s, this may not be your cup of tea. I am glad that they are highlighting arcade titles, but would have been happy with them combining them with another Games on Demand title like they did last month, though free is free. Rainbow Six: Vegas is one of my favorite 360 titles and I was constantly playing the multiplayer when it was active years ago. The Terrorist Hunt (horde mode) is always a blast with friends and the great part about the main game being free is that all the DLC is still free. New maps and modes at no extra cost makes this a great deal to pick up, though the game is looking a bit dated.

 

PlayStation Plus Instant Games Collection

There is plenty here for both Vita and PS3 users. There are five titles coming to the Instant Game Collection coming next month, three of which I personally recommend. Let take a look at what you are getting:

 

PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection

Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection (Normally $26.99, Free) (PS3)

Galaga Legions DX (Normally $9.99, Free) (PS3)

ICO HD (Normally $19.99, Free) (PS3)

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (Normally $19.99, Free) (PSP, Vita)

Rayman Origins (Normally $26.99, Free) (Vita)

 

Rayman Origins, I can not recommend that game any higher. I bought it on the consoles and found the Vita version at a Sam’s Club for $4, so I have bought this game twice over and enjoy it every time. The Vita version is a great console port with the only thing holding back is the camera can be zoomed back a little two far for size of the screen you are playing on; that is my only gripe. The game is colorful, controls like dream, humorous, and above all, tons of fun. Galaga Legions DX is a fun take on the traditional Galaga formula, I bought this game when it was originally released when Namco was experimenting with their classic arcade titles. ICO HD should be downloaded and appreciated by anyone with PS+ and a PS3. The game is a classic from the PS2 era that should not be missed. The other weekend I was playing through the ICO collection and the game is beautiful in HD, though it can be a little on the short side; but this is one of those titles that puts substance and art over length. If you have the money and the chance, the other half of the ICO collection, Shadow of the Colossus is available for $19.99, so you can complete the set. Shadow of the Colossus is such a sad, yet fantastic title. As for the other two, GTA: Liberty City Stories plays like and takes place in the same city as GTA: III. If you are looking for some classic GTA action before GTA V hits on the 17th, this could be a great way to get that. Resident Evil Chronicles HD, I have heard good things about it and the Wii titles they were ported from. The are free and can’t be any worse than Resident Evil 6, so I say give them a try. They are quite different as they are rail shooters like House of the Dead or Dead Space: Extraction, versus typical survival horror. As always the list above does not represent the order the games will be released for free, check out the Official PlayStation Blog for the weekly PlayStation Store update to see when you can get your hands on the free titles.

August 29, 2013

AMBUSH! America’s Army Proving Grounds Beta Launches On Steam Today

 

Coming completely unannounced, America’s Army, a completely free to play title that’s been in ever evolving development since the original Unreal Engine 2, has put up America’s Army: Proving Grounds as a beta on Steam today. With this comes the single paragraph blurb that reads exactly:

 

Bringing the best features of the previous versions to a new America’s Army environment, America’s Army: Proving Grounds stresses small unit tactical maneuvers and training that echoes true-to-life Army scenarios. AA: PG reflects the current day Army by focusing on these smaller self-contained, full spectrum units that can carry out a variety of objectives during missions.

 

This doesn’t make the game sound exciting in the least, but the first line is what grabs my attention. To me that reads, “We know AA3 sucked so we’re completely redoing AA2 except on Unreal Engine 3!” I mean, when sf_hospital was comparable to de_dust in popularity and fun, that’s saying something, and America’s Army 2.0 was one of the top online shooters of its era. The fact that it was 100% free to play (there weren’t even microtransactions or upgrades, it was literally 100% free) was just the icing on the cake. Here’s hoping Proving Grounds can recapture some of that long missed magic since AA3 completely dropped the ball.

 

If you missed the link earlier, here it is again.

August 29, 2013

The “Official” Trailer For Grand Theft Auto v

 

This is more than likely, the last trailer for Rockstar’s opus that we will get before the games launch on September 17th. The trailer pulls the three protagonist together in epic fashion showing how each is their own personality. The send off title for this generation of consoles, this title, visually, is looking fantastic. We do know the 360 version will ship on two discs and need an install, I am thinking similar to Forza or Halo 4 in which you will need the second disc for the install, and then never use it again. The game looks like a blast to play and I can not wait to get my hands on it later next month. There have been rumors of a PC version floating around and with GTA IV having a PC release, I can see this eventually getting a PC release as well. If you were hoping for a next gen release, well you better hold your breath. GTA: San Andreas launched in late 2004 right before the launch of Xbox 360, just a year later. I have a good feeling all the time in development, there was never a next gen version being produced. Since the PlayStation 2 there has been a GTA’s to bookend a console life cycle. Recently finished up L.A. Noire and just downloaded Bully: Scholarship Edition last night (Xbox Live has it $3.74 right now which is a steal), a game a never played, but always had interest in it. Getting ready for GTA: V, I have been playing through Rockstar’s recent catalog. They are one developer that I could play their games night after night and be satisfied. As large as GTA: V is looking it maybe the only game some people play this holiday season. Enjoy the latest “Official” trailer for the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V, which will hit the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 17th.

 

August 28, 2013

Help Fund the Next Video Games Live Album!

 

Going through Kickstarter can be a risky business. We have seen games get the funding they need through this start up, and we have seen games fail to get the funding they need as well. Video Games Live, the decade running concert series, is giving a crack at Kickstarter to fund their third full length album. Video Games Live: Level 3 will be comprised of 15 to 18 tracks and including a whole list of titles that VGL has never done before. To note, this album, if funded, will be recorded in studio rather than live. They mentioned Shadow of the Colossus, I really hope they do a rendition of The Opened Way (a track which I am listening to right now on repeat). If you donate at least $5, you will receive a special 15 track compilation that will not be sold in stores or online. The album has a $250,000 goal and so far they have reached $128,000 with 15 days to go in the campaign. I am donating to this campaign. I have spent that past year or so on this site trying to highlight the incredible music this industry has produced since its inception. I have maintained support for Video Games Live and outlets like OverClocked Remix, showing how much musical creativity there is in the industry and the community. Help show your support with a simple donation, the donations start at just a $1. Information on the Kickstarter campaign can be found here and you can find out if Video Games Live is making a tour stop near you right here.

August 28, 2013

Nintendo Unveils the $129.99 2DS

 

This is not April fools, nor is it a joke by any means. Nintendo this morning announced the newest addition to its handheld line up, the 2DS. The 2DS is not aimed at the “hardcore” gaming crowd, this is being aimed at children and the more casual audience, hence its tablet like design. The 2DS will play all the 3DS games as well as the DS games, the only difference being the 3DS games will be in 2D. The upper screen which is the size of the normal 3DS’s top screen, does not display 3D images, hence the name. The handheld will still feature all the online features of the 3DS and 3DS XL, and will sport a 4 GB SD card in the box. The 2DS will still be able to be put in sleep mode via a switch in the lower right hand side, so that it can still garner street/spot pass information on the go. The biggest change outside of the 3D, is that the handheld has no hinge and will not fold, the first time for a Nintendo handheld since the Game Boy Micro. Despite this awkward announcement coming out of no where, I can see where they are going with this. 3D is typically restricted to ages 7 and above due to eye issues in smaller children. Something else to take note of is the price, $129.99. Yes it may lack some of the features of it’s bigger brethren, but the price is right in its competitors sights, those competitors being Leap Frog, Kurio, and Vtech. The 3DS does have educational software like Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone and the Brain Age series, then you have the dependability of Nintendo software and hardware dependability. It will be interesting to see this holiday season how this new iteration of the popular handheld will play out. The 2DS is due to be on sale October 10th at $129.99, right in time for Pokemon X & Y.

 

 

August 28, 2013

Wii U getting a $50 Price Cut, Fall Line Up Realigned

 

Starting on September 20th, the Wii U will be receiving a $50 price cut. This move was seen by many analyst as the PS4 and Xbox One come to the market this holiday season. The $50 price cut will be on the Deluxe bundle and the new Zelda: Wind Waker edition. The Wind Waker edition will come with the deluxe console, a voucher for a digital copy of the Hyrule Hystoria, and a copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. There fall release schedule received a revision as well, putting Super Mario 3D World ahead of Donkey Kong and some lower entry prices for certain titles. Here is the revised list:

 

The Wonderful 101 – 9/15 $59.99 (Wii U)

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD – 9/20 Digital Copy, 10/4 retail copy $49.99 (Wii U)

Super Mario 3D World – 11/22 $59.99 (Wii U)

Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze – 12/6 $49.99 (Wii U)

Pokemon X & Y 10/12 $39.99 (3DS)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – 11/22 $39.99 (3DS)

Mario Party 3DS – 11/22 $39.99 (3DS)

 

The Zelda Wii U bundle will release on on September 20th when the price drop goes into effect. This is a good move by Nintendo. The PS4 and Xbox One will be harder to get this holiday, and they need to show the value of the Wii U. I think with this price cut they may take a hit on every console sold, but I think in the long run it is for the better of the console and their bottom line. Sony cut the PS3 just over a year on the market and took a hit, but was selling more units at that lower price. I am really surprise at the lower MSRP of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, it is a AAA title from Nintendo and Retro Studios; but the lower price maybe to attract a passing parent at the shops this holiday. I am kind of upset about the Zelda Wii U, since I already own a Wii U. The same thing happened with the 3DS, bought one close to launch and then a few months later the Zelda 3DS hits stores beside Ocarina of Time 3D. Oh well, at least I have one ready to play some of these awesome titles later this year. Will the price cut help the struggling Wii U? Sound off below.

 

August 27, 2013

Killzone: Mercenary Beta Impressions

 

Handhelds and First Person Shooters normally don’t go hand in hand. Nintendo tried it with Metroid Prime: Hunters and while it worked for a while, using the touch screen as a second control method hurt your and hand and felt unnatural. The PSP had a shot at some FPS’s as well using the analog nub for movement and the four face buttons for the camera, sort of the same setup the N64 used due to the lack of a second analog stick. With this new wave of handhelds, Sony opted to have two analog sticks on the Vita’s face to mimic the controls on the home consoles. This decision would lead to games feeling like the ones we have at home with the portability and instant access that come with a handheld. There have been two FPS’s on the Vita since its launch and neither have fared rather well, Resistance and Call of Duty were both met with negative reviews and sales. Killzone is going to try and revive the genre on the handheld and if the current beta is any indication, it will wipe your palate clean and leave a great, fresh strawberry taste in your mouth. The beta was in closed format a few weeks ago, and as of last Tuesday was open to PlayStation Plus subscribers, it will be available for all today after the PlayStation Store updates. Killzone: Mercenary is by and far the best looking handheld title thus far. The image above is not a manufactured press release screen, that is one I took with my Vita during a match I played right before writing this. The game is showing off the horsepower underneath the Vita’s glossy exterior. Enough about the visuals though, the big question in the room is, does it control well? Why yes, yes it does. Having that second analog stick makes the world of difference. I feel like I am playing its bigger brothers and despite missing two shoulder buttons that are normally found on a DS3, the Vita control scheme does a great job coping. As you can see from the screen there have been a few things mapped to the touch screen for easy access. Changing a weapon or to a grenade is a simple touch away while the L and R shoulder buttons are for down site aiming and firing your weapon. There are a few controls even mapped to the touch pad on the rear of the handheld. Things like zooming with a sniper are just a pinch gesture, while running is two simple taps wile leaving your finger on the pad after the second tap. Melee’s are initiated with the Triangle button and then you are to follow the touch screen prompts to finish off your opponent. The controls feel natural and I never felt like I had to scramble and look for a button during a fire fight. There is one game mode to play on the Beta and that is Warzone (five rounds of constant changing objectives) and while I enjoy the objective based modes, the games I get into seem to go 20 minutes or longer in length. While they are good times, this is also a portable title. I can see playing a longer game mode while you are at the airport, home, or even on a long bus ride (considering you have a 3G Vita), but those who want a pick up a go there will be team deathmatch and free for all when the title launches; and the game times should be for the pick up and go player. The PlayStation store had update while I was writing this and the public beta is available for all Vita users to download and enjoy. Give the game a try and see what a console like FPS feels like on a handheld that can handle it.

August 26, 2013

I fell in love with Mass Effect 3’s Multiplayer All Over Again

 

Mass Effect 3 shouldn’t have multiplayer, and it shouldn’t work. I am a big advocate of not shoving multiplayer in titles were it does not belong. Bioshock 2 and Tomb Raider are two more recent titles that are good examples of this. They provide great single player content and have tacked on multiplayer to try and grab the attention of the crowd that has to have multiplayer in everything. When Mas Effect 3’s multiplayer was announced a couple of years ago, I remember my reaction, I didn’t want anything to do with it. The previous games had such a strong focus on the single player aspect culminating in dozens of hours of spectacular space opera content, how dare they put some half baked multiplayer in my Mass Effect, turns out it was for the better. Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer is different. You have yourself and 3 teammates taking on hordes enemies, while accomplishing objectives on various waves. Teamwork is essential, and going off on your own can cause a mission failure. Ironically, the multiplayer is nothing more than single players combat sections with friends and it works. It works so well that after 161 hours pumped into the multiplayer, and even leaving it for a few months, I am back and addicted to it more than ever. Typically it has been my youngest brother, Joe (ScrotusKilmystr), and myself undertaking missions and improving our challenges and N7 rankings late into the weekend nights. The reason I am addicted to the multiplayer versus more popular outings is the teamwork that is involved. Loving the series, the aesthetics, the tech/biotic powers, different alien races, weapons, music, the enemies, and customization is just icing to the team play cake. I am not one for numbers, Kill/Death ratios in other games annoy me, and I find it a poor way to rank anyone’s talent. I look at overall scores in ME3’s post round report to decide if my current load-out is working, where I need to put more skill points into, and what equipment I set before each match so that I can be more helpful to my teammates. I want to finish personal challenges, earn more credits so I can buy more unlock packs in the store, and earn more full extractions; the only way to do that is teamwork.

Outside of the teamwork perspective, the sheer amount of content that the multiplayer has is ridiculous, and it is all included. 5 DLC packs included new maps, re-imagined maps, weapons, enemies, difficulty settings, equipment, and multiplayer characters; but the best part it was all free. 161 hours in and I am still missing a few characters, weapons and equipment. Most publishers charge you about $6o for all the content that was added to Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. There were balancing passes made as well, making it one of the best multiplayer gaming experiences of this generation of consoles. Though support for this title ended in May, around the same time I took a break from it, there is still a strong community of player still out there. The game retails for under $20 and all the DLC is still free, so their is no excuse not to fire it up and give it a try. If you do jump in and give it a try or already play, you can check out all your stat info and unlocks right here at the N7 HQ.

August 26, 2013

Xbox Fall Update is Live: Microsoft Points Retires

 

If you sign into Xbox Live today on your 360 you will notice a system update. The update shouldn’t take you long to install, and while adding some minor changes, the biggest change you will find is the disappearance of the Microsoft Point. MS Points are retired as of today, leading the way to purchase things with your regions own currency. If you have any left over points in your account they will be switched over to real money via the points exchange rate, 80 Points equals 1 U.S. dollar. I had 120 points sitting around and now have $1.50 sitting in my account. You can still buy and redeem points cards that you bought at your local retailer or online, the points will just be exchanged for real currency. With this change, all three console manufactures have converted to real currency and all points systems have been retired. There are back end changes as well, as with a slightly new aesthetic (the greens are a bit darker and the loading circle has been changed) to put the console in line with its successor the Xbox One.

August 23, 2013

Win some Overclockers goodies with The Gamers Blog

Enter at: https://twitter.com/GamersBlogBytes

Simply retweet us and answer the following question – What are your inventive and off the wall ways to overclock your body for LAN party survival?

Competition closes Monday 26th August 2013 at midnight. Good Luck!

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