New Releases

August 15, 2014

Warlords of Draenor: Launch Date Revealed

Image Source: Battle.net

It only seemed like yesterday that Warlords of Draenor was revealed at BlizzCon 2013 and now we have a launch date for this new expansion which was announced at gamescom 2014 in Cologne, the world’s largest games convention. Get ready because the new expansion will be available to play as of November 13 2014 with a new level cap of 100; new talents, dungeons and raids; flexible scaling for raids and much more. If you are at gamescom this week, be sure to stop by the biggest Blizzard booth to date in Hall 7.1 (B051) and check out Blizzard’s latest offerings: Warlords of Draenor and Heroes of the Storm on PC, Hearthstone on PC and iPad, and Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition on PS4.

On Thursday at gamescom Blizzard unveiled both the Warlords of Draenor opening cinematic and the first instalment of a new animated lore mini-series, Lords of War, in a live-stream event. I know how impressive Blizzard’s cinematics are on the big screen, so if I’m feeling the awesome power of the Draenor storyline here in the UK, the atmosphere would have been electric at the Koelnmesse on Thursday – check out both of these below. Lore buffs can also get their teeth into the new lore mini-series over the weeks ahead at www.worldofwarcraft.com where Blizzard will release more episodes following ‘Lords of War: Part 1 — Kargath Bladefist’, perhaps generating more questions than answers, but a must see for Warcraft fans.

Don’t forget that you can pre-order Warlords of Draenor now to prepare for the November 13 launch, with that level 90 boost to get you right into the heart of the action. And if you upgrade to the Digital Deluxe edition and enhance your adventures in Draenor with epic in-game items including the Dread Raven mount, StarCraft II portraits of Grommash Hellscream and Blackhand and a Diablo III Warsong Pennant.

Also in the news, Blizzard CM, Kaivax, reveals that “over the next few weeks, we’ll be testing a pre-expansion patch that will bring players to the brink of great peril, as the Iron Horde begins to aggressively gain a foothold on Azeroth. As part of this patch, players will encounter fierce new opponents and get their first chance to experience a number of updates we’re making to the game. In addition to changes to the skills and abilities for every class, this patch will introduce brand new features such as 20-player Mythic-difficulty Siege of Orgrimmar, as well as systems adjustments including stat squish and diminishing returns on crowd control”. Be prepared to see an advance party of Orcs coming through the Dark Portal and making their way to Blackrock Mountain. For a short time there will be a specially re-vamped five-player version of Upper Blackrock Spire sets the stage for the coming counterstrike against the Iron Horde.

For the Horde or Alliance, it’s time for our forces to unite and push back the Iron Horde before Azeroth falls.

Archive Warlords of Draenor stories:

BlizzCon 2013: Warlords of Draenor Revealed
Pre-Purchase Warlords of Draenor Now and get a Level 90 Character Boost
WoW Lore Series: Draenor

December 4, 2013

Starbound Beta Launches With Awesome Trailer

I have been following the development of Starbound, the newest game from Chucklefish, for what seems like an eternity.Starbound has oft been called a “spiritual successor” to Terraria, but this is a misnomer. Terraria and Starbound share an artist and basic gameplay premise, and that is pretty much where the similarities end. Today marks the launch of the first stage of the open beta. You can buy the game on Steam for 15 dollars and get started as soon as the download completes. Check out the trailer below and stay tuned from updates from me as the beta progresses.

December 1, 2013

My Week with the Xbox One

So I wasn’t really planning on getting either of the new systems on Launch day, however I walked into my local Target during my lunch break on launch day and they had just stocked 3 Xbox One’s on the shelf that happened to come in. So staring at the big green boxes I told the clerk “you’d better give me one…”  so for the last week I’ve been playing with Microsoft’s latest addition to the new next gen. console race.

 

Now, I’m not writing this as a review or a comparison to Sony’s PS4 because simply put it’s your money and you should get as much information as you can before you shell out your hard earned cash on either of these high ticket consoles. So I thought I’d just share with you my experience with the XB1 so maybe it’ll help you decide to or not to buy it.

 

First thing to know is that there are two versions of the XB1 Offered to buy however, unless you had a pre-sale or are willing to throw about $1000+ dollars (American) into the Day One edition on ebay you more than likely won’t find it for sale and out side of the box being black, Day One being stenciled on the controller and an achievement you unlock there really is no reason to obsess over the day one edition so the Plain Jane XB1 will do you just fine. 

 

When I say “Plain Jane” I meant it, the box is green and has a handle and that’s about it nothing flashy other than a few pictures of the XB1 and the dashboard. Opening the box up revels the XB1 in all it’s plastic wrapped greatness and Setting it up is pretty standard, queue the monkey. Upon powering it up you of course have to update the system which clocks in just over 500megs (the PS4 had the same thing clocking in at around 300megs so I hear). Then you set all your preferences with the system, dashboard and how you will use the Kinects. When you finish you are welcomed with a video that shows you around the system which is handy because (at least for me) there’s a learning curve to navigate around being that the XB1 is pretty much running windows 8.

The XB1 is, I have to say, a brick and not as coolly stylish as the PS4 looks to be, but we aren’t going for form here we’re going for function and the XB1 has several ports options to allow you it plug in your cable box and allow you to run SPIDF to you receiver and add surround sound to your gaming ( I can’t I live in an apartment  so the neighbors would get cranky if I boomed my games). It also has some USB ports so you can use charge n play and other devices with the XB1.

 

The XB1 controller is slightly different from the 360s (which I thought was a great controller). The new controller now has rumble packs in the triggers which honestly I haven’t even noticed yet. The repositioned start and back buttons are ok I guess but the one thing I do like is the redesigned Dpad, it works really well and hasn’t mis-commanded for me yet.

 

The Kinects I haven’t really played with outside of voice commands that work well enough until there is too much ambient noise, then I found myself screaming at my XB1 to get it to work. One thing to remember is if you move the Kinects at all you have to recalibrate it to function properly. One cool feature of the Kinects is the ability to use it to party chat instead of the crappy headset that included with the system

 

If you have an Xbox Live account during setup it will be imported to your new system so you can retain your friends list weather they have an Xbox 360 or an XB1 however you cannot party up and chat with friends on the 360 and visa versa but the new friends feed will keep you up to date on what everyone on your list is doing and if they are an XB1 owner then you will also get achievement updates, and video clip uploads that you can watch. When your account imports you also retain your achievement progress and reputation ranking and according to Microsoft your rep will certainly affect the type of people you play with in an effort to curb trolls, and belligerents that can ruin gaming for everyone.

 

As I said before navigating does have a little bit of a learning curve and gone is the handy Xbox “blades” when you hit the home button. There are 3 major options on the dashboard including PINS, HOME, and STORE. The PINS group is a location for all the games and apps that you that you have “pinned” to the dashboard for ease of access and is pretty handy for anything you use a lot. The HOME group and the primary screen displayed when you turn on your XB1 and it contains your friends info, and what you’ve accessed recently, the Snap feature and the “My Games and apps” which the location for all apps and games you have installed and downloaded. The final group is STORE and contains options for downloading paid and free content, add-ons, movies and apps and yes you have to download everything in the way of apps because pretty much there isn’t anything preloaded.

 

When I bought the XB1 I also bought two games as well: Battlefield 4 and Dead Rising 3. First thing I noticed is that each game had to be (at least partially) installed which kills the happiness of just throwing in my game disc and jumping right into a new gaming experience. But I guess with the amount of data that the new gen of games will contain, installing it will help with it running better off the hard drive much like a PC.

 

Battlefield 4 had an interesting feature where it loaded the campaign and multiplayer components at the same time (the campaign was literally 20% of the install) so when the single player component was finished I could play it while the rest of the game installed, cool. When the full game was installed I could jump into the multiplayer game which sadly is riddled with bugs and lag issues as well as being kicked back to the dashboard, but that is a games issue and Dice, so I’ve read, is releasing a patch soon to help rectify the problems that plague this game. I do have BF4 for the PC as well and although my rig isn’t the most powerful it can run the game at medium settings fairly well and seeing the XB1 and PC graphics side by side the XB1 does hold it’s own and at least (for now) can graphically hold it’s own against it’s PC cousins.

 

Dead Rising 3 also had to be installed to the hard drive and judging by the amount of action that happens on the screen at one time while playing it is a needed draw back. The game looks pretty good (Battlefield looked so much better) and can literally have thousands on zombies on screen at one time for your zombie killing pleasure. This game is looks to be a good litmus test for the computing power of the XB1 due to the amount of individual AI onscreen at once and how they interact with you and the environment.

 

The apps I’ve downloaded all have a new look. Netflix for one is certainly much easier to navigate and uses the screen space a little better. The same can be said for Amazon Instant and I do like the layout of both of the apps much better than the 360s. You Tube more resembles how the smart TV app looks and functions the same. The other apps I’ve installed are interesting like Skydrive, which allows you to access files that you uploaded from your xb1 and PC, Xbox Video which is Live’s streaming service and a Blu Ray app that does a good job of playing my Blu Ray movies.

 

The one app the I thought was pretty interesting was Upload Studio which is an app that allows you to edit and upload videos to the Skydrive and it also allows you to upload videos for others to watch much like Halo’s theater mode check out the video I made with clips of me playing Battlefield 4:

 

 

Some of the other features of the XB1 are pretty slick like the integration of my cable TV into the system that allows me to navigate cable TV much like a smart TV using the controller and Kinects to change channels and start movies. But, I have a smart TV that has voice functions already so this seems redundant to me for now, although the ability to use one HDMI connection for 2 devices is pretty handy because I already had four HDMI devices plugged into my TV and I didn’t want to have to unplug anything to use the XB1.

 

 

Some of the things I liked:

The HDMI pass through is handy

The cable TV integration is really cool (but in my case redundant)

Love the fixed Dpad on the controller

Being able to pin apps and games to the dashboard for easy access

Graphics look really vibrant and crisp and, in my opinion, can be compared to the PC

Switching from games to apps to live TV and back is pretty seamless

Redesigned apps for Netflix and Amazon Instant are great

No notifications while watching movies or TV unless you are messaged

 

Things I don’t like:

If I use the cable pass though the XB1 must be powered on

The XB1 doesn’t shut down due to inactivity even though it’s setup to do so mainly do to live TV being watched

Party system doesn’t work well and if you try to turn on chat while in BF4 it fails 100% not sure who is at fault here but it needs patched for sure

The dashboard lacks some zest, it’s very utility oriented

The loss of the dashboard blades that could be have been handy at times

 

 

The Bottem line:

The Xbox One is an innovative system that is trying to take steps into integrating all our entertainment choices into one hub. Some feel that this will leave the true gamers behind, I feel that’s not the case being a gamer and a technophile the marriage of multiple entertainment choices is welcome and I hope Microsoft will continue to hone the interface until it’s perfected.

 

 Ultimately my final decision to purchase wasn’t that I thought the release day game line up was great (the XB1 and PS4 exclusives are ok to say the least) but that the exclusives games to come are so much more interesting to me and a there’s HALO series coming!!! Yes the XB1 is a cool system, but do you want all the bells and whistles that it has to offer? Only you can answer that!! Hope this article helped you make a decision. Leave a comment if you like and let us know your thoughts and please try to keep the trolling to a minimum. 

November 14, 2013

The Humble Store Opens!

humble

If you are anything like me, you have fallen in love with the indie gaming movement over the past few years. For me, it started with Minecraft. Before then I paid little to no attention to independent studios and their releases save for the occasional Behemoth project (Alien Hominid being a favorite of mine). But once Minecraft came out, I started paying attention. Now I can’t get enough. I buy up five dollar games like I want to be broke (contrary to popular belief, I don’t). Enter the Humble Indie Bundles.

A couple years back Humble Bundle started offering cheap deals for quality games while offering the option to send a percentage of the purchase price to a given charity.

“Lo!” I said, “I can pay a small amount of money for a bunch of games AND practice my armchair activism? What’s not to like?” *

And now, Humble Bundle has a new place to buy independent games. They have opened their own site to sell those games, and are offering awesome deals there (which are separate from steam).Check it out here and see what deals you can find.

Just on the first day alpha access for Prison Architect was only eight dollars, and Don’t Starve was ten. At this very moment one of my favorite games, Psychonauts, is on sale for just two bucks This website is going to be dangerous.

*I’m just kidding about the armchair activism, Humble Charity Bundle has done great things. Don’t be mad.

September 9, 2013

Sony Japan: New Vita Slim and PlayStation Vita t.v.

 

Last night Sony Japan held a press event to announce several things including the launch of the PlayStation 4 in Japan. If you are in Japan, you can get your hands on the PlayStation 4 on February 22nd, 2014. For waiting that long, three months after the European and North American launch, you do score a free digital copy of Knack. The console will run ¥39,980 or$401. Also from last night was the announcement for the Vita Slim, which will launch in Japan on October 10th. There are slight weight and thickness reductions, but the biggest differences is the switch from the OLED screen to a normal LCD and the battery life has increased by an hour. It is a curious question why they dropped the OLED, which gave the handheld beautiful color and resolution over its competition and went with the cheaper LED, which will not produce the same resolution or color depth. The added battery life could be a result of the screen swapping, though the Slim will launch at $199, the same price the OLED display Vita is sitting at. Two added bonuses to the slim’s credit, it comes with 1GB of on board memory, so a memory card is not required out of the box, and it comes in a variety of colors. There is no word on if this slimmer version of the Vita will hit internationally, it is just in Japan at the moment. Personally, I would rather ditch the extra hour of battery for the OLED screen. When I power up my Vita, I still can’t get over how great the screen looks. I don’t think I would trade that and the clarity, for an hour more of battery life.

 

One the heals of the Vita Slim, Sony announced PlayStation Vita T.V., a small standalone device that will do a multitude of things. The device includes a port for Vita games, a Vita Memory card slot, and HDMI port. The PS Vita T.V. will be able to play certain Vita games (ones that don’t require a touch screen/touch pad), digital PSP and PS1 titles; the device will also use services such as Hulu and the like for video streaming capabilities. The Vita T.V. will be able to pair with a DualShock 3 for your game playing needs. The PS Vita T.V. will also stream PS4 titles from a PS4 to a T.V. that is not in the same room, doing much what the Wii U does with its Gamepad. The PS Vita T.V. will launch in Japan on November 14th, and will retail for ¥9,480 or $95. There will be a bundle that will have the Vita T.V., an 8GB memory card, and a Dualshock 3 for ¥14,280 or $143. There is no sign of an international release, I have a feeling that there will be. I think Sony is waiting to see what the PS4 install base will look like after the holiday and what the recent price cut to Vita does for sales. I also expect them to go after other digital streams as well, such as Netflix, for a U.S. or European release. The Vita T.V., if it hits our shores could put devices like Roku and Apple T.V. in a world of hurt, as well as Android powered consoles like the Ouya. If cable stations start to have subscription services on devices and I can get NHL Center Ice and NFL Sunday ticket on this device, I will never own a cable box again. What is your opinion? Would you like this device outside of Japan? I know I would.

 

* Images credit – The Verge

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 20, 2013

Saints Row IV Is Kind Of Totally Out!

 

If you head to Steam’s frontpage right now, there’s a 50% chance you’ll get this massive image plastered over the top half of the screen, and that’s okay. It’s just letting you know that the fourth title in the most excellent Saints Row series is finally available for purchase. Considering it’s a fully fledged sequel spun off of planned DLC for the third game, it’s an impressive accomplishment that reviewers with preview copies have been singing the game’s praises for the past two weeks. Thanks to a midnight launch last night, I can definitely say that the opening 30-45 minutes are well worthy of that praise, and it only looks like it’ll go up from there. If you’re interested in buying this hilarious open-world game that’s last iteration put GTA IV to shame by remembering to be fun, you can grab it on Steam right here, or at other online retailers for the PC version. For the console versions, anywhere you would normally buy such a game will have them, but the PC has been reported to have much better performance overall.

April 30, 2013

Something To Get Wet Aboat – Leviathan: Warships On Sail Now

You may or may not have seen the trailer a couple weeks back where Leviathan: Warships decided to slow down its trailer in an advertising market designed to put in as much as possible into a two minute video. Here’s that one:

 

 

 

So, now that you’ve seen that, here’s the release trailer from today, featuring more of the same, which is about as desirable as free ice cream (unless you’re lactose intolerant, in which case please comment for a more appropriate simile for your digestive needs). Here IT is:

 

 

 

Now, with that out of the way, the real information is that you can buy Leviathan: Warships now. And, after seeing those trailers, you probably want to out of a deep feeling of longing you can’t quite explain, save for the fact that no other video game has made you feel so deep-down satisfied prior. You can purchase it here on Steam, or here on a stunningly wide array of other digital distribution platforms. The tablet version will be made a-sail-able on May 2, for all of you captains on the go.

 

Not mentioned in the trailer is a moderately neat ability to take your save from the computer to the tablet or vice versa, which is fairly neat on a technical / why-are-they-only-now-doing-this level if not the most endearing feature.

April 24, 2013

PlayStation Store Update: Evil Sales and a Sword of Destiny

 

There is plenty of Resident Evil games on sale as the Spring Sale goes into another week. There are plenty of full games available for download including this weeks releases of Star Trek ($54.99), Dead Island: Riptide ($49.99), and Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen ($39.99). Other titles hitting in downloadable form are Soul Calibur V ($19.99) and Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII ($19.99). Fire Pro Wrestling Returns is your PS2 classic for this week and will run you the typical $9.99. PlayStation Plus members get another free PSP title to use on their Vita’s, Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny is available for your Instant Game Collection. A few new titles hit the PSN for the PS3 and Vita and one of them includes Cross-Buy. The indie platformer Thomas Was Alone is your Cross-Buy title that will run you $9.99 and is available for both platforms. A new Guilty Gear comes to the Vita in the form of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R. The 2-D fighter can be snagged for $14.99. There are plenty of sales to go around as more PSP titles drop in price and the Resident Evil franchise sales takes a hold of the Spring Sale. Here is a list of the Resident Evil titles available in the Spring Sale:

 

 

  • Resident Evil: Director’s Cut – PSone Game (now: $4.99)
  • Resident Evil 2 – PSone Game (now: $2.99)
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – PSone Game (now: $2.99)
  • Resident Evil 4 – PS3 Game (now: $13.99)
  • Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition – PS3 Game (now: $20.99)
  • Resident Evil 5 Costume Pack 1 – PS3 Add-On (now: $0.99)
  • Resident Evil 5 Costume Pack 2 – PS3 Add-On (now: $0.99)
  • Resident Evil 5 Desperate Escape – PS3 Add-On (now: $3.49)
  • Resident Evil 5 Lost in Nightmares – PS3 Add-On (now: $3.49)
  • Resident Evil 5 Untold Stories Bundle – PS3 Add-On (now: $8.49)
  • Resident Evil 5 Versus Mode – PS3 Add-On (now: $3.49)
  • Resident Evil 6 – PS3 Game (now: $20.99)
  • Resident Evil 6 High Seas Fortress – PS3 Add-On (now: $0.49)
  • Resident Evil 6 Rail Yard – PS3 Add-On (now: $0.49)
  • Resident Evil 6 The Catacombs – PS3 Add-On (now: $0.49)
  • Resident Evil 6 Onslaught Game Mode – PS3 Add-On (now: $2.49)
  • Resident Evil 6 Predator Game Mode – PS3 Add-On (now: $2.49)
  • Resident Evil 6 Stage Map Pack A – PS3 Add-On (now: $0.99)
  • Resident Evil 6 Stage Map Pack B – PS3 Add-On (now: $0.99)
  • Resident Evil 6 Survivors Game Mode – PS3 Add-On (now: $2.49)
  • Resident Evil Code Veronica X HD – PS3 Game (now: $13.99)
  • Resident Evil The Darkside Chronicles – PS3 Game (now: $10.49)
  • Resident Evil The Umbrella Chronicles – PS3 Game (now: $10.49)
  • Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City – PS3 Game (now: $27.99)
  • Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Echo Six Expansion 1 – PS3 Add-On (now: $6.99)
  • Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Echo Six Expansion 2 – PS3 Add-On (now: $6.99)
  • Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City USS Wolfpack Uniforms– PS3 Add-On (now: $1.99)
  • Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Weapon Stash – PS3 Add-On (now: $3.49)

 

Personally I would go for the classics. Resident Evil 1-3 are at a great price, just over $10 for all three, and they will play on my shiny new Vita. I bought Code Veronica when it was on sale during the Xbox New Years sale and the HD version is great. RE 5 and 6 are questionable purchases, I really haven’t enjoyed one since 4. Resident Evil 2 is still by far my favorite and the version on the PSN is the dual shock version that featured “rookie” mode and the”extreme battle” mini game. For $2.99 and you can play it on the PS3 or on the go with the Vita, that maybe the best deal of the bunch. For everything I covered and much more check out the official PlayStation Blog.

April 4, 2013

eShop Update: The First New Toki Tori in over a Decade

 

It had been a while Two Tribes. It have been just over a decade since we last saw a Toki Tori title and it was on the Gameboy Color. Today Toki Tori 2 hits the Wii U eShop giving you a good reason to boot up the console and dust off the eShop. I still have my youngest brothers original copy of Toki Tori, a great underrated puzzle/platformer. If you can’t track down a GBC copy of the game, there is the WiiWare version that you can also download to your Wii U via the Wii menu. Toki Tori 2 is the big release this week, thought the 3DS gets the original Castlevania on its Virtual Console. Escape Vektor is the 3DS game that is on special this week, you can nab Escape Vektor for $4.99. If you picked up Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity there is new DLC this week, as for Fire Emblem: Awakening as well. Coming off last week, I just picked up Mega Man 3 and HarmoKnight on the 3DS and would recommend both. My 3DS is quickly becoming a treasure trove of Mega Man titles, and HarmoKnight has the same trappings as Runner2, but with some great Pokemon themed levels. For details on everything, head over to official Nintendo page.