Metro Redux Confirmed for Xbox One

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Just as I was about to write about a rumour that Metro Redux, an enhanced collection of Metro titles is said to be heading for Xbox One from 4A Games; I spotted that the developers’ have now confirmed its existence.

“Metro Redux. You may have heard of it… even though you probably shouldn’t have!” is quoted on the games official blog, “We could issue a ‘We do not comment on rumour and speculation’ statement and pretend this never happened. They’re pretty boring to read. They’re also pretty boring to write.”

So the developers continued with a confirmation that Metro Redux is real and will be properly announced around E3 2014. The original leak which you can find just by a quick search shows some outdated material and some quickly thrown together logo’s for the cover to confirm it contains Metro 2033, Metro Last Light and extra DLC content.

When more information comes to light, we’ll be sure to share it – for now though, try to think of Metro Last Light in all its glory on Xbox One, the new home for PC ports!

Via EntertheMetro

April’s Games With Gold Announced: Hitman: Absolution and Deadlight

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April’s set of free games for Xbox Live Gold Members will be Hitman: Absolution and Deadlight.

  
Starting Tuesday (April 1st) Hitman: Absolution (Normally US $19.99) will be free for Xbox Live Gold members through April 15th.

Then on April 16th, Xbox Live Gold Members can download Deadlight (Normally US $14.99) for free through April 30th.

Phil Spencer Announced as New Head of Xbox Division

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Microsoft has today announced that Phil Spencer, will now be leading the Xbox, Xbox Live, and creative teams including Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios going forward.

Speaking with Xbox Wire, the Xbox Official News Site, Spencer posted a letter to the Xbox community entitled ‘A New Day at Xbox’. After confirming the announcement, Phil went on to say to the Xbox Community:

The growth of the Xbox community, with over 80 million Xbox owners around the world, is built on the foundation of exclusive franchises, new and original IP and the world’s most popular cross-platform games. Games and gamers have always been at the core of Xbox and the core of my work—and gaming will be our core as we take Xbox forward. 

This past year has been a growth experience both for me and for the entire Xbox team.  We’ve taken feedback, made our products better and renewed our focus on what is most important, our customer.  Our mission is to build a world-class team, work hard to meet the high expectations of a passionate fan base, create the best games and entertainment and drive technical innovation. As we continue forward, this renewed focus and mission will be a foundational part of how I lead the Xbox program.

You will hear much more as we head into E3, but we are at the beginning of an incredible new chapter for Xbox and I can’t wait for the days and years ahead.  This is going to be fun.

Phil
@XboxP3 (Phil Spencer’s Twitter handle)

CoD: Ghosts 2nd DLC ‘Devastation’ Out Thursday

Devastation is the second DLC Pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts. Devastation brings four small to medium-sized Multiplayer maps: Ruins, Behemoth, Collision, and Unearthed, which is a re-imagined version of Dome, the fan-favorite map from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Devastation also includes the “Ripper,” a brand new tactical 2-in-1 weapon with the unique ability to switch from SMG to AR and back on the fly, in the middle of combat.

The Extinction saga picks up with Episode 2: Mayday. Following the events of Nightfall, players board an abandoned research vessel, in search of answers. Players will face two new alien foes – Seeders, and the 100ft tall “Kraken.” This exciting new chapter comes packed with new weapon mods and paths to explore.

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Not only that, but the Trailer has a nice surprise at the end and introduces another Hollywood legend into the mix as The Predator comes to Call of Duty and yes, it is playable!

Devastation arrives first, exclusively on Xbox Live on April 3rd

THIEF Review

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Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. In case you’ve never heard of the series, they are stealth video games in which the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. The story within the latest reboot is set several hundreds of years after the events of the original series in the same universe. Clues to the backstory are hidden among documents, plaques, and letters. Don’t be confused, this particular titles protagonist is also called Garrett.

I’ve been a fan of the Thief series since 1998 when Thief: The Dark Project was released by Looking Glass Studios. The games contain a hidden a joy, sneaking into a building and tracking down your target loot whether a painting, vase, piece of jewellery or a letter. The Thief games have always made shadows your friend, and in many ways they were a pioneer when it came to experimenting with lighting in games. As a player, you use the shadows to hide from the guards and as such, hoping they don’t see you. The series from the start has always been about stealth and not confrontation, and this is no different in Eidos Montreal’s take on the game.

So, you the player take the role of Garrett, a master thief who has been hired to steal the Primal Stone. On route to the Primal Stone’s locations, you run into Erin, a female thief of whom Garrett is already acquainted, and discover that stealing the stone is a two person job. Once you reach the location of the stone not all goes to plan and things turn sour leading to the death of Erin. This is the opening mission, and it’s a good one. Throughout it you’ll given very easy to follow and understand tutorials, helping you to understand how the game mechanics work. It’s just the basics, additional mechanics will be introduced later in the game as they unlock. Once this mission is over, you’ll need to steer Garrett to his hideout, the clock tower, and there the game then truly begins.

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Thief is set in an epic fantasy world, fully imagined with no detail left out. It takes fantasy as we know it, blends it with a touch of classic Victorian England and finally adds a dash of some steampunk industrial revolution.  The City is dark and compact which makes traversing the roofs fairly easy and fun, making you feel like an actual thief. Garrett’s handler, Basso, sends the master thief out to steal various objects around the city. At this point Garrett can make his way to the mission point in the city any way he wants or you can go your own way for a while, break into a random house to steal some trinkets – just be careful to make sure the watch isn’t around. Once you make it to the starting point of each mission, they’ll be a brief cut scene and then it’s down to business. This is formula throughout the game.

Of course, being a Master Thief means more than just being great at climbing rooftops, picking locks and knowing how to hide amongst the shadows. A thief needs tools and Garrett has many tools at his disposal to use while sneaking around. You’ll have tools for making distractions, putting out light sources, stunning guards, etc. Aside from his hands, he can use items like his bow with water arrows to put out light sources from a distance, or rope arrows to help him climb. His blackjack is used to knock out guards; the claw is used to hook onto ledges and help pull him up out of range of guards or just to grab those hard to reach ledges. As you progress through the game stealing a variety of common items, these will automatically be turned into gold, this is then used to upgrade or buy new tools. Mission items and unique loot will be stored in the Clock Tower.

Games like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid make sneaking around seem fun, but sneaking around in Thief feels satisfying and with it an immense sense of achievement. There’s nothing like the high that comes with sneaking up on a guard as he’s on his rounds, relieving him of his wallet, keys or whatever else happens to be in his pockets and then fading back into the shadows as silently as you came. If you’ve managed to negotiate your way round a particularly tricky level with some well-placed guards, the sense of achievement and satisfaction from avoiding them using all the tools in your arsenal is great.

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When guards think they see you an eye appears over their heads, the eye slowly fills up as long as you are in their field of view. Once it fills, the guard has seen you and he alerts other guards around him. Once guards are alerted, you can run and try to hide, or fight the guards. Combat in Thief is extremely clumsy and difficult control. Garrett is a Master Thief, not a Master Swordsman. If you engage and fight the guards, try to separate them, more than one at a time will prove tricky. Complete a mission without raising the guard’s suspicions, or engaging in any combat and you’ll be rewarded richly.

One of the tools that Garrett has in his arsenal will help with this; empty bottles. They can be found in the environment and then thrown to distract guards. Pairs will split up to search creating opportunities to slip past them. Be warned, if you try this trick too many times, they’ll be alerted to your presence and call in reinforcements. You can only carry one empty bottle at a time, use it wisely and plan your route.

Any RPG or fantasy title needs a good back story and intertwining side missions and story arcs. A nice touch within Thief is the well placed notes, journals and letters that help keep the player up to speed. They aren’t overly long and detailed, just enough to push the story along at a good pace whilst introducing players to the history and lore of the Thief universe. Other notes can be used to find loot. For example, early in the game players come across a note written by a voyeur detailing where a safe in a house is. Within the safe is a good amount of gold. You’ll also overhear conversations detailing the locations of valuables in the city. For instance, guards outside a jewellery store discussing their rotation patterns etc. To get the most out of Thief, you’ll need to use your eyes and ears in a way many common games don’t require.

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Talking of using your ears, I stumbled across a couple of irritating bugs in the audio. For example during the prologue it is raining when players are trying to make their way to the clock tower. When ducking out of the rain, such as breaking into a jeweller’s store to relieve them of a few trinkets and jewels, the noise of the rain gets dulled just like it should. The annoyance comes from if there is a window open there is no gradual increase in the sound of the rain the closer you get to the window. The sound of the rain is either there or not depending on how close to the window you are. Similarly, when eavesdropping outside a window, the conversation happening on the other side of the glass is heard clear as day, even across the street. This can become off putting when you are making your way through a residential building, but the guards from outside, across the street, can be heard as if they were stood just around the corridors bend. Here’s to hoping an update or future DLC will put this right.

The music in Thief works well and adds to an already tense atmosphere. When spotted, music starts playing to create a sense of urgency to get out of sight and hide. A stealth game like this should be quiet with no music unless spotted, as a thief’s ears are one of his best assets. Thief does this well.

Overall Thief is an enjoyable experience that deserves to be played and explored if you are a fan of stealth games. Trying to figure out a creative way past the guards can be very fun and satisfying, and replaying missions to find all of the collectibles can be quite challenging and rewarding.

Thank you to Xbox for providing the review code

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Square-Enix Trademarks Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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Square Enix Europe has filed a word trademark for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided under the computer software, video-game software and online computer games services. This is an obvious assumption the next title in the Deus Ex series will be Mankind Divided with online multiplayer functionality.

The trademark was spotted by eagle-eyed NeoGaf members and can be viewed in more detail on the OHIM website although nothing specific about the game or it’s story can be sourced from the information given. If you cast your memory back to October 2013 – you may recall that Deus Ex Universe was announced and confirmed for Xbox One by Studio Head David Anfossi:

For now, I hope you are excited about the future of this game that we love so much. Deus Ex is coming to next-gen, it’s early so don’t expect to hear much more from us just yet, but I wanted you to know.

It would seem likely that Mankind Divided fits into the Universe and I wouldn’t expect a lot more information about the game just yet. With E3 2014 now just a mere few months away (I know where has the time gone?) I would start thinking about the reveal around May/June this year.

Via NeoGaf

Alien: Isolation Available from October 7

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SEGA has announced that Alien: Isolation, will be available from October 7th, 2014. Developed by Creative Assembly, the game will be available on Xbox One and Xbox 360 as well as other platforms. Earlier this year the game title slipped out on the Xbox LIVE game store with a host of images.

“We couldn’t be happier to finally announce a date for Alien: Isolation,” said Alistair Hope, Creative Lead at Creative Assembly. “The reaction we have seen so far has been simply incredible, from the screams and shrieks to the cold sweats and racing hearts. It’s the Alien game that we’ve always wanted to play and we can’t wait to let everyone get their hands on it this fall.”

Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game capturing the fear and tension evoked by Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic film. Players find themselves in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger as an unpredictable, ruthless Xenomorph is stalking and killing deep in the shadows. Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission, but to simply stay alive.

Alien: Isolation will be available from October 7th, 2014, for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows PC.

Latest Titanfall Update Purposely Increases Matchmaking Waiting Times

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Respawn Entertainment has issued notice that an update is rolling out across the servers that will change how you are matched with Teams in Titanfall. The game is said to have a skill system behind the scenes which is not shown to players, data within this is used to match players to one another. Posting the information via their official blog, the following was sure to be an improvement to matchmaking.

1. Searching for teammates and opponents will now sometimes take more time to look for players that are a good skill level match, rather than purely prioritizing speed over quality. This will give us more time to build better teams and create closer games that are worth staying in for a longer period of time.

2. Rather than playing against the same opponents over and over, the game will periodically split the teams apart and search for new opponents for each team. This means if one team is dominating, we will update the skill for all of the players and then find each team a better suited match for the next round. Did you lose to a really great team? We’ll make them disappear and replace them with a new opposing team – and they will have no idea that you just got your butts kicked. This should end some of the frustration with playing for extended periods when you’re having an off night.

Changes are available immediately in a new “Improved Matchmaking (Beta)” playlist that you can try right now under “Play Classic MP”. This may expand into the other playlists after they watch the behavior and tweak things until they’re happy with it.

The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow Hardback Review

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Martin Robinson, an award winning journalist and features editor for Eurogamer is back with another entertaining and insightful hardback having previously published ‘Halo: The Art of Building Worlds’ and ‘The Art of Deadspace’ through Titan Books – his latest release is ‘The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow’, and it coincided with the retail availability of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 .

The Art of Castlevania Lords of shadow will take readers on a journey into the art production of both the original Lords of Shadow and the sequel, Lords of Shadow 2. Featuring a stunning display of concept art with detailed creator commentary through-out you will have a comprehensive insight into the fantasy world and the minds of the creators behind the popular Konami franchise. The book offers and exclusive look at Gabriel Belmont, the evolution of a legend and how Hideo Kojima helped influence the final design model during Lords of Shadow’s inception to reflect the tragedy that consumed Gabriel’s heart and the emotion that informed his story. As the main protagonist, within the art book it also details the struggles that the design team faced as they aimed to recreate one of the biggest characters for the rebooted franchise taking him from an initially planned barbarian figure to a dark and disturbing Dracula with a sombre disposition.

Further reading will inform you into the thoughts of the well-known Scottish actor, Robert Carlyle who takes on the voice acting of Gabriel and Dracula and how he even helped change the direction of the first ever trailer for Lords of Shadow. If you are a fan of the Castlevania franchise, then The Art of Castlevania will be quite an enlightening read, it may be an ‘art’ book but it’s not all just about the pictures!

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There are around thirty pages alone depicting the majority of the Belmont Family and striking art designs of Alucard, who is featured through-out Castlevania’s history, but in Lords of shadow his story was rewritten. Alucard is the inverse of Dracula, he is what becomes of Trevor Belmont and is possessed by the light within to pursue the monstrosity his father has turned into. The Belmont dynasty is shown through both images and text as well as touching on the game, Mirror of Fate, which is part of the Lords of Shadow story released on the Xbox Live Arcade. Following the details of the Belmonts, the book goes further into the imagining of the allies and antagonists within Lords of Shadows. To keep you informed if you haven’t played any of the games – the Lords of Shadows are a collection of Knights whose goal is to purge the land of evil, but eventually they end up becoming part of the evil itself.

From the re-imagining of Carmilla who appeared in the 1987 Castlevania II: Simons Quest to the lack of availability of actor Ian McKellan for Zobek’s voice which then in turn led to the casting Sir Patrick Stewart instead;  so much information is covered in the book that you’ll be a Castlevania Lords of Shadow mastermind in no time!  The later sections of The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow keep you up to speed on how the locations and environments were designed to be grand and part of the fairy-tale wilderness picture postcard settings the developers had in mind from the on-set.  The whole artbook depicts a mythical journey and how rich and detailed the design team had to be to re-write the Castlevania history. This book demonstrates the diversity, detail and attention paid to ensuring the spectacular sights are every bit as dark and psychological as per the momentum of Lords of Shadow, building upon the foundation set by the first title and continuing the trends in the latest release, Lords of Shadow 2.

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The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow is a stunning collection of the art featured in the hit Konami Lords of Shadow franchise and is well presented, documented and a fantastic insight into how everything shapes together to become the dark, horror theme setting that you play in the videogame. The book would make an ideal gift for any Castlevania gaming fan or a superb purchase if you’re looking to expand your collection of gaming memorabilia.

You can search to buy this book online or visit Titan Books website directly via this link.

Enemy Front – First Gameplay Trailer

Shoot, snipe or sneak past Nazi forces as American war correspondent Robert Hawkins as he teams up with resistance fighters opposing the Nazi regime.  Players can meticulously plan out their route, picking off enemy soldiers with pinpoint accuracy from a distance, disable and dispatch troops through sabotage, or go in guns blazing.  Open-ended levels allow for multiple styles of play for any type of gamer.  Built with CryEngine 3, Enemy Front gives players breathtaking visuals and spectacular set pieces and destructible environments to interact with as through iconic World War II resistance operations including the Warsaw Uprising.

Available June 13, 2014 for Xbox 360