Games With Gold – January Lineup Announced – Sleeping Dogs and Lara Croft

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The next set of free games for Xbox Live Gold Members in January will be Sleeping Dogs and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.

Starting Wednesday January 1st, Sleeping Dogs will be free for Xbox Live Gold members through January 15th . Then on January 16th, Xbox Live Gold Members can download Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light for free.

The Games with Gold promotion gives Xbox LIVE Gold Members 2 free games to keep each month. A new title will be available the 1st and 16th of each month.

Tomb Raider: Fan Film

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Croft is a Short Film created by a group of friends with a passion for film making. Independently produced their goal was to make a short film that would entertain and showcase their talents and have fun doing it.

A woman will risk everything to save a young girl held hostage in the mountains by a group of mercenaries.

Inspired by the Tomb Raider video games among others, the creators also say they’ve been inspired by some of the great action movies from the 80’s.

You can watch the 20 minute movie below and learn more about the team behind the fan film on their Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/croftmovie.

Dying Light – Christmas Carol Live Action Short

From the team that brought us Dead Island (and its dead-on-arrival sequel) comes Dying Light, a next-generation zombie action game set in an urban open world. In Dying Light, zombies’ aggressiveness escalates at night.

Slow, apathetic, and easily visible, the infected are not much of a threat in daylight. A skilled courier, sure of their parkour skills and smart enough not to engage in combat with too many enemies, can effortlessly avoid larger groups of the infected or escape beyond their reach. But this relatively safe state of affairs is turned upside down as the sun sets!

At night, it is you who is at a disadvantage. Without daylight, the senses of the infected become more acute while their thirst for human flesh skyrockets. They run, jump, and climb, so there is really no place where you are safe anymore. They grow in strength, which means fighting them is not even an option. Those of them who were too afraid of light to come out during the day now swarm the city hunting for you. Still, there is something even worse lurking in the shadows…

Dying Light will launch for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2014

Battlefield 4 Xbox One Review

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Battlefield 4 is available to buy now on both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Thisisxbox previously reviewed EA’s latest entry in the blockbuster Battlefield franchise for the Xbox 360 which has an identical campaign story – and if you haven’t spotted it previously, we also covered the accompanying hardback titled: The Art of Battlefield 4, which will open your eyes to the artists viewpoint of the game using concepts and visual designs.

As Thisisxbox’s Sean McCarthy covered, the Single player campaign begins with a prologue mission that sees the player’s character known as Recker, appearing trapped in a vehicle under water with fellow squad members Irish, Pac and Dunn. Handed a pistol by Dunn (the squad leader who is trapped) the player must shoot out the window to enable the squad to swim to safety. With Irish protesting you must take aim at the window, and then following an onscreen RT prompt you fire and shatter the glass trigging a flashback to the first mission.

Successfully completing the prologue mission will set up the story which is told over the next six missions. Following an assassination attempt on Chinese president Jin Jie, Admiral Chang wants to use it to blame the US and trigger a War knowing that Russia will support Chang. As marshall law takes over China, you and fellow squad members Pac and Irish, forming Tombstone, are sent into Shanghai to rescue Chinese VIPs to help prevent the war.

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Set in Baku, Azerbaijan, the opening mission following the prologue plays out the events which lead to being in the car underwater. In a nice introduction to the playing style of Battlefield 4, you are introduced to the rest of your squad as you must all escape Russian forces trying to prevent you from escaping with important intel. What strikes you is the size of the world in which the missions take place. Starting off inside an old school with no ammo, you are soon in an open fire fight across open land as you fight your way to the extraction point. The action is fast with up close battles and long range combat to keep you on your toes. Nice set-pieces will see helicopters play a part both in support as the player can spot enemy soldiers as well as call in the helicopter to take them out, but also the enemy will send in their gunship’s which dramatically changes the dynamic of the mission in a well choreographed and visually impressive set piece.

Now, seven missions all in all may not sound like much, but each level can take up to 20 or more minutes to complete and each will feature changing gameplay styles from FPS to vehicle use. The story is very mature with twists and turns and is a solid campaign experience. The campaign itself may be somewhat shorter than previous Battlefield titles, but the level of detail and high intensity fire fights across a varied amount of external and internal environments doesn’t make you feel as though you need more. It’s a great balance to make the story play as though it wasn’t unnecessarily stretched, but you’ve encountered enough action packed scenes through each chapter to get a decent feeling of completion. As the longevity of the most popular first-person-shooters is all about Multiplayer – Battlefield 4 doesn’t disappoint there either offering up a range of new gameplay modes across some truly stunning, next-gen highly detailed maps (ten before extra DLC) to keep you shooting away for many months to come.

Although the campaign was great, albeit a little shorter than what you’re used to from first person shooters it was an enjoyable, memorable experience that does offer re-playability if you’re wanting to hunt out all the collectibles. You do not really buy Battlefield just for the campaign do you?

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Moving on to the Multiplayer, Soldier classes – Assault, Recon, Engineer and Support, make their welcomed return where playing as each will once again earn you experience points to further unlock gadgets, weapons and extra weapon attachments. Classes do ensure that team work is supported due to each class having their relevant support in the match to aid other players whether you like it or not, and compared to previous titles, classes in Battlefield 4 now have more variation. Engineer’s for instance offer up more aggressive forms of anti-vehicle usage where as Support class has much more offensive weapons than before. The Recon class has the much needed mobility boost to allow for better movement with better re-balanced sniper rifles to support your team from behind enemy lines – and finally Assault allows you to be the main lead run and gunner whilst doubling up as a Medic to aid downed team mates.

All classes can be applied to all of the game play modes which are listed below:

  • Conquest – Classic Battlefield match type; Large Scale warfare with infantry and vehicle use, aim to capture and hold objectives.
  • Team Deathmatch – No Vehicles and close quarters combat.
  • Obliteration – Medium Scale warfare; Both teams fight over possession of a bomb which they need to detonate enemy objectives.
  • Rush – Medium scale warefare; Attackers Vs Defenders match type, with defending team protecting two objectives.
  • Squad Deathmatch – 4 squads do battle in close quarters combat, most kills win.
  • Domination – Close quarters combat, no vehicles; aim to capture and hold objectives.
  • Defuse – Close Quarters combat; no redeploy option, no vehicles. Multiple quick rounds for Attackers Vs Defenders with one bomb and two objectives

Battlelog plays a prominent part in Battlefield 4 with a small menu bar visible in the top right screen at all times. This allows you to view your current Rank, compare with your friends, view your Soldier and check out the Leaderboards. You can also compete with your friends in new Battlelog Missions where you can create a mission by selecting an objective, such as most kills or Dog Tags taken in a round – then invite up to four friends to compete with you. The winner will be the player with the highest score after all attempts have been used or a set time runs out. Creating a mission in Battlelog is very simplistic and if you’re into competing with friends, you can have a lot of fun with this – or waste so much time trying!

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If you are familiar with Battlefield’s Multiplayer style, then you will feel comfortable handling the games menus from creating a soldier and styling your weaponry – this hasn’t evolved much from the very first Battlefield: Bad Company style. Everything about Battlefield 4 on Xbox One offers up more polish and finesse even in the Multplayer Maps. There are ten all in all from the onset before any extra DLC is purchased, but each varies for close quarters team deathmatch to the larger scale environments for Conquest. Whilst they aren’t all perfect for each game type as you will find some maps just fit certain game types better, they are all still visually stunning at least giving you something beautiful to look as whilst downed by a Sniper (yet again!)

Where as the Xbox 360 edition of Battlefield 4 was described as “visually dull” compared to previous Battlefield games; on Xbox One, Battlefield 4 without any question of doubt is the best looking first person shooter even over Call of Duty: Ghosts. I found that as I walked through the campaign missions my eyes were wanting to take in all the breathtaking scenery and intricate detail that made some chapters appear photo-realistic. Everything from the graffiti on the walls, to the demolished skyscrapers looked every bit as striking, making this the best Battlefield game visually on a console. I’ll be honest in saying I have never seen Battlefield on a top-spec PC, and it may be obvious that for next-gen it will be the most stunning visually, but it was better than I had anticipated. Massive improvements to the lighting, textures, detail, resolution that hosts a party to your eyes as you wonder down a war torn path that has never, ever looked this good!

Battlefield 4 on Xbox One is a visual leap more than anything else. If you have recently acquired an Xbox One console and previously had the game on Xbox 360 – the upgrade to Xbox One is more than worth it. A highly recommended game for Xbox One first person shooting fans.

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TiX Game of the Year – Readers Choice

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During our HUGE Christmas Give-away we asked you to tell us your Game of the Year 2013. We had an absolutely outstanding response to the competition; the votes are in and counted and in reverse order here are the top 5 games as voted for by you.

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Number 5 – LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Released in November 2013  this is an action-adventure video game developed by TT Games and is published by Warner Bros. The game features gameplay similar to other Lego titles, such as Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, alternating between various action-adventure sequences and puzzle-solving scenarios.

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Number 4 – FIFA 14

FIFA 14 was developed by EA Canada and published by Electronics Arts. It was released in late September 2013 for Xbox 360. It was later given away bundled with Xbox One’s on launch.

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Number 3 – Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a 2013 historical action-adventure open world video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the sixth major instalment in the Assassin’s Creed series, a sequel to 2012’s Assassin’s Creed III’s modern story and a prequel to its historical storyline.   It was released worldwide for Xbox 360 on October 29 and on the 22nd November on Xbox One here in the EU.

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Number 2 – Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Although released in late 2012, Black Ops came in second with 12% of the votes. Call of Duty: Black Ops II was developed by Treyarch and published by Activision (Square Enix for Japan). It was released on November 13 for Xbox 360.

and finally…

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Number 1 – Grand Theft Auto 5

Absolutely no surprise what-so-ever was GTA 5 taking the top spot with 29% of the votes. Grand Theft Auto V is an open world, action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 17 September 2013. It is the fifteenth title in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the first main entry since Grand Theft Auto IV in 2008.  Grand Theft Auto V was one of the (if not the) most highly anticipated game of 2013.

And here’s the full breakdown of games voted for and their position in our Readers Choice Game of the Year 2013.

Tix Results

The Art of Battlefield 4 Review

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Battlefield 4 has had its fair share of hiccups on both Xbox One and Xbox 360 since launch requiring a number of patches to correct the issues, (which is currently in-progress) but undeniably one of the key features that impress in Battlefield 4, are the striking visuals that hit you face on as soon as you start playing the game from the onset. To give you an understanding of the art direction and how this beautiful visual quality was developed from concept to reality – The Art of Battlefield 4, is available to buy now from Titan Books, and if you’re a fan of Battlefield, this really is a must have addition to accompany the game itself. You might not be a fan of books, or perhaps ever considered buying an art book before – but for the games that you love and enjoy, these art books do not only look great, but it showcases the work of the artists as well as give you some history on your favourite games.

Battlefield has been around for over a decade now, and after many years in the hands of DICE (previously known as Digital Illusions) they finally released a book full of concepts and explain how the first Battlefield game was based on the old PC title Codename Eagle, set to be more evolved and a bigger ambitious project. Thanks to that ambition and a dedicated team it paid off, and Battlefield 1942 was born; a title backed by EA that was way overdue in development time and was a do-or-die project for DICE at that time. Today, Battlefield is the closest competitor to Activision’s Call of Duty (the biggest FPS in the world) and is one of the biggest properties in entertainment for EA Games which started out as a dream from a small group of friends in a cramped Stockholm apartment! It is detail and history like this that you may never know of or thought of, but art books aren’t just stuffed full of pictures. You more often find that interesting details during the development stages are included to as well as things which did not quite make the final cut.

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The buildings and cities within Battlefield seem to get bigger and better with each game that is released and evolving architecture has been a part of Battlefield since Bad Company as the Art of Battlefield 4 defines the significant advancements in Battlefield 4. Detailing how whole office blocks and skyscrapers can come tumbling down, how the towns are built up like toy sets prepared in anticipation for the player to run through them knocking down buildings as they go. Although described in more detail through the Dam City chapter of the book, throughout you very much get a feel for how the artists consider the player in every detail. It’s not just about shaping a beautiful game it is also about what the player is expecting to see and how they are expecting even the minor details of a war torn city to appear.

The Art of Battlefield 4 is best described as the ultimate gallery of the latest game in the Battlefield series using sketches, concept art and behind the scenes commentary from the artists to bring to life each mission which is illustrated in astonishing detail. The book will take you in glorious detail down the dark, twisting alleys of Shanghai to snow covered peaks and colossal dams with the games’ art shown in all stages of production including how buildings are destroyed and re-built. Chapters are broken down into geographical areas of Battlefield 4, Characters and Multiplayer. What it does showcase is that if there’s a theme to Battlefield 4, it is that things go very wrong, very quickly and as both a reader and gamer you witness the technical vision and dramatics from the viewpoint of the artists.

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You can read our review of Battlefield 4 which scored an impressive 80% here:

Battlefield 4 is a great FPS title which has made a welcome return to offering a solid Multiplayer experience but also giving a memorable Single Player campaign that will have you replaying the mission to get those missing collectibles and is a challenge for experience FPS players. Visually impressive with amazing audio, Battlefield 4 ticks a lot of boxes as an FPS fan and with Xbox One enhancing this experience even more with greater numbers of players online and more refined visuals…

The Art of Battlefield 4 is available to buy now from TitanBooks via this direct link, and would make a great addition to your gaming memorabilia or to gain deeper insight into the development of Battlefield 4 itself. As always, hardcover art books make great gifts for gamers, but The Art of Battlefield 4 is a definite must-have book for any Battlefield fan!

Thanks to TitanBooks for providing thisisxbox.com with The Art of Battlefield 4.

Merry Christmas from ThisisXbox.com

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I would like to wish all readers of ThisisXbox.com a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, as well give a shout out to the writers and contributors behind-the-scenes (so to speak) who have kept the cogs running for another year – Kristian Wingfield-Bennett, Halim Rhoulia, Sean T McCarthy, Chris Gardner, Diogo Miguel – and those few others who know who they are that remain hidden in the background.

Thank you to all the PR companies, Xbox UK and their associated PR Teams who keep ThisisXbox.com topped up with review content on a regular basis. It has been a big year for Xbox and ThisisXbox.com will continue to “keep at it” for many more years to come.

I would also like to say congratulations to all those who unwrapped their Xbox One consoles today – welcome to a spectacular piece of technology which already has an amazing line-up of launch games. You can read some of our reviews here that include: Assassin’s Creed 4, Call of Duty Ghosts, Need for Speed and more. 2014 will continue to be another exciting year with a collection of new titles and experiences including Titanfall, Kinect Sports Rivals, Project Spark, D4, Dragon Age Inquisition, The Witcher 3 and The Division!

On a final note, as you are soon to start tucking into your turkey and spuds – a friend of mine from work Omid (CL11PZ) has decided to ditch the PlayStation 4 and will soon bag himself an Xbox One console…

…Three Cheers for Omid !!

Xbox Store – Countdown to 2014 Sale Week 2 – Popcap Games and The Wolf Among Us Ep 1 Free

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Week 2 of the ‘Countdown to 2014’ sale on the Xbox Store has kicked off today with a large list of reductions to celebrate with additional items discounted which will last until December 31st.

To begin with, today’s deal is Popcap games at a reduced price for today only:

        

Content Title Content Type Discount %
Peggle Arcade 90%
Peggle Nights Arcade Add-on 80%
Zuma’s Revenge Arcade 90%
Plants vs. Zombies Arcade 90%
Feeding Frenzy Arcade 80%
Feeding Frenzy 2 Arcade 90%

As well as the deal today, more items have been added which will remain reduced between now and December 31st, listing some of the most popular titles on the Xbox Store in 2013. The best offer is that Xbox Store is currently giving away ‘The Wolf Among Us’ by Telltale games, first episode absolutely FREE !

        

Content Title Content Type Discount %
The Wolf Among Us  Arcade FREE
Diablo III Games on Demand 33%
Grand Theft Auto V Games on Demand 33%
NCAA Football 14 Games on Demand 75%
Madden NFL 25 Games on Demand 50%
Bully Games on Demand 75%
SSX Games on Demand 75%
Civilization Revolution Games on Demand 75%
Kane & Lynch Dead Men Games on Demand 75%
Turbo Super Stunt Squad Games on Demand 50%
Hitman Absolution Games on Demand 60%
Fight Night Champion Games on Demand 75%
Midnight Club LA Games on Demand 75%
Mini Ninjas Games on Demand 75%
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Arcade 50%
Flashback Arcade 67%
Charlie Murder Arcade 67%
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Arcade 67%
Counter-Strike: GO Arcade 67%
Gotham City Impostors Arcade 75%
I Am Alive Arcade 75%
Deadlight Arcade 75%
Frogger Arcade 50%
DuckTales: Remastered Arcade 50%
Foul Play  Arcade 50%
Orc Attack Arcade 50%

Xbox Store – Countdown to 2014 Sale – Deal 7 – Sports

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The next deal in the Xbox Store ‘Countdown to 2014’ Sale has gone live and today you can find the theme is Sports Games. These reductions are only available for one day before being replaced by the next deal.

      

Content Title Content Type Discount %
NBA Jam: On Fire Edition Arcade 75%
NFL Blitz Arcade 75%
FIFA Street 3 Games on Demand 75%
3 on 3 NHL Arcade 75%

#XBOXART Celebrates 10 Years of Gaming

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To celebrate 10 beautiful years of Xbox gaming, the Xbox Team have commissioned an exhibition of artwork celebrating Xbox’s rich catalogue of genre-defining titles. several game-loving artists have come together to create seven pieces of original art that Microsoft are called “a gift from the fans for the fans” Over on the official #XboxArt page you can browse the gallery; select your favourites, download and share the selection of images.

Xbox are also giving you the opportunity to win the only printed framed copy of each of these exclusive works of art. To enter and to view all the commissioned images – click this direct link. You will be prompted to enter your Xbox Live gamertag after selecting which Artwork you wish to be drawn for. You must be an Xbox LIVE member whose account, at the time of entry and up to the closing date of January 8th, has not been suspended or terminated. If you do not have a free Xbox LIVE account or Gold Subscription you will need to create one.

Feel free to check out hashtag #XboxArt on twitter for opportunities on other prize draws from the Xbox Community.

Samples of artwork below:

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