Pumped BMX + review

We haven’t had a decent BMX game on the Xbox One, until now that is. Thanks to Curve Digital you can now get your hands on Pummped BMX +.

Originally built for mobile devices, the game has made it over to console and it’s a pretty successful port. The premise of the game is simple, to get your BMX across the different levels while performing tricks to fulfil different sets of challenges. The controls are pretty straightforward, holding down A will start you rider, timing the release of the button will give them a boost of air allowing you to pull off tricks using a combination of the bumpers and and right stick. Combining these tricks with grinds, manuals and wheelies will increase your multiplier. Timing is crucial, especially if you want to get anywhere in the game, lots of levels having higher areas reach in order to conplete the levels. Pressing A at the highest point of your jump will force the rider down giving you more momentum for the next jump.

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What seems like a simple game had me hooked, a couple of hours had passed and I was playing away quite happily; it’s frustrating, but keeps making you come back much like trials did. With no multiplayer available, even local there will come a time when you won’t be as eager to go back to the game. Each level has a set of challenges across three difficulties and with 500 in total there is plenty to take on as a single player. Graphically the game has Rayman/Max: Curse of the brotherhood feel to it, it’s quite cartoony and brightly coloured, but most importantly it runs smoothly, you can also customise your riders outfits if you wish, although it has no affect on the game.. The music is pretty forgettable but clearly components the game. It’s also fun watching you character come undone, though he seems to be enjoying it all a bit too much, as he is constantly smiling!

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Pumped BMX+ is entertaining enough, essentially though it’s a well made port (probably the best one so far) from mobile to console, Trials fans will enjoy the engineless experience as will players looking for a cheap, fun title. The lack of multiplayer isn’t a big problem but it is a shame there aren’t any leaderboards to give you bragging rights over your friends. Coming in at under £10 I’d ay you are getting value for money, but I can see how this game isn’t for everyone.

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Party chat now allows 12 people

In the next few hours Microsoft is rolling out 12-person Party Chat on Xbox One and the Xbox App for Windows 10.

Rather cleverly there will be no system update as it all happens on Microsoft’s end.

New features are coming to the New Xbox One Experience Preview today, too. Here’s what’s you’ll be getting:

  • Party text chat adds more communication options. In the New Xbox One Experience, text chat joins voice chat as a way to communicate with your friends. At the bottom of the ‘Your Party’ page, you will see a button to ‘Show text chat.’ This will let you participate in the conversation. Party text chat will also come to the Beta Xbox App for Windows 10.
  • A streamlined Game DVR experience. We have combined the functionality of the Game DVR snap app and the former Upload app into one easy-to-use app called Game DVR. In full screen mode, you can use this app to view your game clips and screenshot captures. When snapped, you can use Game DVR to start or stop recordings.
  • New animated avatars. They are back and better than ever. You showed us that you are passionate about Avatars with many requests on Xbox Feedback. The new avatars will be animated on your profile and will start showing up in other new places in the new experience. If you prefer a gamerpic, you can easily switch your image.
  • Updated menu for quick access to common actions. The menu button on your controller lets you pin an app or game to Home, launch a recently played game, or quit an app or game with just the touch of a button.
  • Access new settings in the Guide. Adding to settings already included in the guide, like adjusting the headset volume, you can now turn your console off or restart your console directly from the Guide.

Telltale Games goes Back to the Future

Released back in December 2010, Telltale Games’ Back to the Future is finally set to release on Xbox One.

Its release comes on year of the film’s 30th anniversary, the game itself is set six months after the events of the third film with Marty going back to 1931 after the DeLorean returns to Hill Valley without a driver.

The game features updated voice work, exclusive content and will release in North America on October 13th and in Europe on October 16th.

Destiny: The Taken King review – part two

Welcome to part two of our review of the epic new expansion to Destiny, The Taken King. If you somehow stumbled upon this before reading part one, I highly recommend reading it here, before you continue.

All done? Great… In this segment of the review, I will be covering the new levelling system, how to get your light level up, and some additional tips and tricks to help you along the way.

Those of you who played the original Destiny, will know the struggle of levelling to 20 with XP, then waiting and praying that RNG (random number generator) would gift you something that would take you closer to that elusive level cap for each expansion. This changed slightly when the House of Wolves expansion released, where obtaining armour cores from the Prison of Elders would allow you to buy maximum light level armour. Many Guardians would find that they would be stuck in the situation of being “forever 29” (level cap was 30), regardless of how many times they would enter the Vault of Glass, high light level items would just not drop. This was also the same with The Dark Below expansion, and Crota’s End, resulting in many “forever 31” (level cap was 32) Guardians.

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With The Taken King, things have changed in relation to actual level and light level, as these are now separate entities. Levels 1-40 are now built up via earning XP, much like a traditional RPG, and light level is based on the weapons and armour you equip. Light level is now taken as an average of the attack and defence levels of your items, for example I currently have a light level of 291, which is an average of my weapons with attack levels of 285, 298, and 284, and my armour with defence levels of 293, 297, 295, and 296. Along with weapons and armour, your Ghost, Class item, and a new Artefact item will also give you additional defence values, helping you on your way to maximum light level.

Along with giving additional defence values, Ghosts, Class items, and Artefacts have their own perks which can boost your intellect, discipline, and strength values, as well as grant bonus perks. For example, one of the Ghosts I have has a perk which makes it easier to spot the Earth planetary material, or allows me to pick up more of the same material. It also grants additional glimmer (one of the many in-game currencies) when killing Fallen enemies. Class items can increase the speed of which a weapon will upgrade, and give a buff to reputation for either Crucible or Vanguard, depending on origins of the Class item (you can purchase these from either the Vanguard or Crucible mentors).

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Of course, many activities are blocked until you reach a required light level, or just below, so how the hell do you get there? As explained above, light level is tied in with the weapons or armour you have equipped, and these items can be acquired in a multitude of ways, either as activity awards, or through decrypting engrams.

Engrams are special pick ups, which drop when killing enemies. When you are low level, in both XP and light, these start as white (common) items, going up through green (uncommon), blue (rare), legendary (purple), and yellow (exotic). Before The Taken King, all high level items would be either legendary, or exotic, resulting in the destruction of lesser items due to their commonality and inability to boost your light level. In The Taken King, it is now possible to gain additional light by obtaining rare items of a higher value compared to a legendary, or even an exotic. So, the question now is, why should I bother with legendaries if my rare items are of a higher value? This brings me onto a new levelling mechanic called Infusion.

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Infusion allows you to combine a more powerful item, with a less powerful item of the same type, but this is saved only for legendary and exotic items. For example, say you have gauntlets which are of a legendary or exotic quality, but you have gauntlets of a higher power but they’re rare, you can sacrifice the item of higher value to level up the item of lower value. But why, you ask, should I worry about infusion if the rare item gets me to a higher light level? Legendary items offer more perks to the wearer, and therefore are worth keeping and infusing into, to gain those additional perks as well as the increase in light. It could be the difference between having rare boots at light level 275, which offer a faster reload speed, or legendary boots at 270 which offer a faster reload speed, and the ability to hold more ammo. Infusing the rare boots into the legendary boots will result in a light level boost to that item, approximately 80% of the item being infused, and will also allow you to keep those additional perks. It sounds complicated, I know, but it is a fantastic way to ensure that rare items are still relevant once you hit the higher light levels later on.

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So, you’re gaining light level with your drops, but it appears to have plateaued, now what? I did notice that once you start to get into the 280s light level, it started to become harder to reach those higher levels. This is understandable, as I’m sure Bungie doesn’t want everyone to hit the maximum level within two weeks of the launch of The Taken King, however there are a few tips and tricks to keep your light levels climbing.

  • When decrypting engrams at the Cryptarch, ensure that you are wearing the highest power items you can, across armour, weapons, Class item, Artefact, and Ghost. More often than not, the decrypted item will be of a higher light level. However, this becomes less true once you hit 290.
  • Make sure to check each item after decryption, as it could be a higher level. If it is, pop it on before decrypting the next item. Rinse and repeat until all engrams have been decrypted.
  • Factions now have a bigger part to play, and with the new ability to boost your rank with them via Motes of Light, Weapon Parts, Armour Materials, Heavy and Special ammo synths, it is a great way to obtain higher level gear. You also have the chance to receive faction-specific items, such as shaders, ships, weapons and armour. Once again, make sure you have your highest level items equipped before ranking up.
  • The Court of Oryx is a quick and often simple way to get loot. The tier one runs usually take less than two minutes, and the person who initiated the encounter will often receive the best loot. So make sure to visit court as often as possible, even if you don’t have a rune to activate it.
  • Kill everything. You never know when a rare or even legendary engram may pop out of a downed enemy, so make sure to clear the room before moving on.
  • Xur is now selling a new item called Three of Coins, which gives the player a slightly higher chance of obtaining an exotic engram from boss-level enemies. They come in packs of 5, for 7 Strange Coins (I told you there was a multitude of currencies in Destiny now), so make sure to pick up a few when Xur returns on Friday. Ensure you pop one of these before you face up against a strike boss, for example, to increase your chances. However, be aware that these do not currently work on the Psion Flayers strike, or where there are more than one boss-level enemy.
  • Once you hit the 290s, as painful as it may be, drop your level to the 280s before decrypting engrams. Personally I have had a few instances where the engrams have decrypted into 295+ level items, which superseded anything I had equipped. This may just be a luck thing, but I’m not taking my chances.

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The King’s Fall raid has a recommended light level of 290, so follow the above steps, and you should be able to give it a go soon enough, but be aware that you can access the raid with a light level in the 280s, but it’s going to be extremely tough for you.

Personally, I feel that levelling now makes much more sense than it did before. It also relies much less on RNG to get you to the higher light levels, but still requires a lot of work to get there. It feels much less “grindy” than it did before, especially as all of the above can be done whilst completing quests, strikes, crucible, patrol, everything.

The Taken King is proving to be much much more than just another expansion. As I said in my previous instalment, Bungie have listened to the player-base and have made changes to an already solid, if a little flat, shooter and made it much more of the MMORPGFPS they set out to create.

Part three of my review, focusing on the new strikes and Crucible modes will be here in the next few days, so make sure to keep checking back.

Seattle Sounders to wear Halo 5 kits this weekend

Sounders FC and Xbox have unveiled brand new Halo 5: Guardians themed jerseys that the club is wearing for Sunday’s match vs. the LA Galaxy on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field (6:30 p.m. PT ).  In coordination with Xbox, Sunday’s match and the preceding week will feature a bunch of Halo 5: Guardians-inspired festivities, including appearances from Master Chief, Agent Locke, and the iconic Warthog, as well as giveaways at the stadium on match day.

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The initiative marks the first time an MLS club has altered its jerseys for any match mid-season, as well as the first time Sounders FC has worn anything other than Rave Green jerseys for an MLS regular season home fixture. The new Halo 5: Guardians-inspired jerseys utilize Sounders FC’s Pitch Black third kits. During warmups, Sounders FC players are also wearing limited edition pre-match training tops, custom-made with Sounders FC and Halo 5: Guardians branding. Sunday’s match is the only opportunity that fans have to buy this one-of-a-kind jersey, as a limited supply of 200 are available for purchase at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.

Twenty thousand fans at CenturyLink Field on Sunday are set to receive Halo 5: Guardians and Sounders FC commemorative t-shirts that are being staged throughout the stadium. Those at the stadium on Sunday also have the chance to see Halo 5: Guardians come to life, as a life-sized Halo Warthog vehicle will be part of the celebration, and characters the Master Chief and Agent Locke will be on-site for fans to take pictures and interact with throughout Sunday’s match. Additionally, a scavenger hunt is taking place at halftime – where the Master Chief and Agent Locke will be planted within CenturyLink Field concourses, encouraging fans to find them for the opportunity to win a Sounders FC / Halo 5 Guardians kit.

I’m desperate for one of these, but with only 200 available it looks like I’ll be missing out!

Project Spark ends it’s free-to-play model

Project Spark will abandon its free-to-play model from 5th October.

User will no longer need to buy items in the game, all items will be made free. No further paid-for content will be released either.

Any purchases made since 28th July will automatically be refunded. Any purchases made before that date will not.

Microsoft explained:

Unfortunately, we can only honor refund for purchases made since July 28, 2015. If you spent money before that date, know that you helped support something that will continue to live for your enjoyment and that of many new audiences. We appreciate the investments of everyone in our community.

Any remaining in-game credit will be converted into funds for your Microsoft account balance.
Physical copies of the game will also be refunded, as Microsoft will detect the redemption of your product key from the box.

Other changes to the game include a boost in the maximum terrain limit and maximum prop limit plus a final dump of 200+ new assets including a dragon, goblin warlord, bog biome and a set of new primitive building blocks.

Bandai Namco announce their Burning Blood

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Famed Japanese developers Spike Chunsoft Co Ltd are teaming up with Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe to announce the next battle in the One Piece series.

One Piece: Burning Blood will promise to bring the wacky, rich One Piece universe for the first time to Xbox One. It will offer fast-paced gameplay with a never-seen-before elements such as Logia Devil Fruits and “Haki” throwing massive special moves.

If you’ve not seen the One Piece universe before, it’s an Anime tie-in with a Japanese manga series. This series follows the adventures of Monkey D, Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates. Luffy explores the ocean in search of the world’s ultimate treasure, the “One Piece”, in order to become the next Pirate King.

Herve Hoerdt, VP Marketing & Digital at Bandai Namco;

Meeting our fans on public and private events is a good way to get feedback on our games and see what the expectations are. One Piece: Burning Blood is the perfect example of us creating a game impeccably in–line with fans’ desires. The long awaited pure fighting-game based on the One Piece universe is here! To add to that, we are quite happy to release the game on multiple platforms, especially on a Microsoft console, since it’s the first time ever for a One Piece game.

One Piece: Burning Blood is slated for a 2016 release and is looking bonkers.

New Xbox One bundles kick off with Rise of the Tomb Raider

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There’s some new Xbox One console bundles headed to retail to tempt you over to XO and Major Nelson has lifted the lid on Monday’s reveal – The Rise of the Tomb Raider bundle, which includes:

  • 1TB hard drive
  • Digital copy of Rise of the Tomb Raider and Tactical Survival Kit Content Pack
  • Digital copy of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

A new Xbox One bundle will be revealed every day this week.

Master Chief falls in the latest TV spot

According to this live action report, the Master Chief has fallen in combat and died, and although there will be no special ceremony, the people of earth are being urged to strive forward together to continue the fight.

How’s that for some ONI propaganda? The TV spot aired last night during Sunday Night Football – make what you will of it!

https://youtu.be/SENJV2_XuLM

Overruled! Review

Are you in need of a 2D four-player brawler which challenges players to complete a variety of games against each other in order to score points? Then Overruled! Is going to be right up your street.

This neat little title allows 4 players locally or online to take part in fast paced matches which in which the rules you play to can change in an instant thanks to the collect able cards that players can use during the game. The cards can do anything from changing the game type to halving the points you can earn – It’s a brilliant dynamic that can help you gain an advantage over your opponents. Playing the right card at the right time could mean difference between a sweet victory or a bitter defeat.

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The controls are very simple, with buttons for jumping, punching or shooting, the game is very responsive, though newer players might struggle with the pace of the game at first. Once you do get used to the pace you’ll have a great time with the game.

If you are lucky enough to have four controllers then this is a perfect game to play with friends, there will be guaranteed laughs and no doubt a fair few arguments as the leader will change hands fairly often. You can play Overruled! Online, but there isn’t many people to play online currently and the fact you can’t add AI opponents to fill any gaps means there won’t be many matches getting played.

Thankfully the game doesn’t rely on multiplayer matches as it comes with a challenge mode for single players too. Currently there are 54 missions to take on, but it quickly begins to feel repetitive, if you only have a spare 10 mins it’s a great way to bash a couple of games out. Time wise it won’t take you very long to compete the challenges but the achievement hunters will keep going back to mop up the points.

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The art style of Overruled! isn’t going to win any awards but it does suit the game really well, the game runs very smoothly even when all four players are bouncing round the screen trying to outdo each other. Similarly, the music isn’t brilliant but the voiceover guy making all of the in game announcements is pretty cool.

I love the different characters you can play as. Each one is a toy and when you are selecting then they show up in their packaging, some of them are a bit, well odd, but they are pretty small once they are in the matches so you notice just enough detail to know who you are playing as.

Coming in at £9.99, Overruled! is a neat brawler for playing with your mates on the sofa with a couple of beers, it doesn’t take too much brain power to play and there are some beats customisation options for matches that allow you to adjust the time each match lasts, how long the rounds within the match last and how points are scored. Achievement hunters will have a long slog to get all 1000 points but that’s more to do with time than difficulty.

Thanks to Xbox and Team17 for their support.

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https://youtu.be/ymgMz79YzIo