All posts by Halim Rhouila

Halim joined the thisisxbox.com team as a news writer and reviewer Dec 2012. Is a huge fan of Capcom's fighting games and is an avid gamer on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut Xbox One Review

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Strike Suit Zero is a game that was released on the PC over a year ago to some pretty stellar reviews. Fast forward to 2014 and it has had its release on current gen (I can say that now right?) consoles with some added tweaks and changes. This director’s cut of Strike Suit Zero even comes with some extra ‘Heroes of the Fleet’ DLC. But will you like the cut of its jib? Let’s find out.

Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is a space combat simulator that harkens back to old classics such as the Star Fox and Lylat Wars days of my youth. Strike Suit Zero is a game that appears to cater to my own personal nostalgic tastes. So if you’re in your mid-twenties like I am, you just might enjoy all the occasional nods to the things that made your childhood great. Things like the appearance of 90’s hottie and X-Files legend, Gillian Anderson.

Strike Suit Zero takes place in the year 2299. You play as the rambunctious go-getter of a spaceship pilot known simply as Adams. There is a civil war going on between the planet Earth and its colonies. This is a real ‘every movie ever’ kind of plot as the colonies procure a weapon that can obliterate Earth like it is nothing more than a low-level Alderaan. Therefore, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stop the oncoming assault and overcome the odds through nothing but grit and determination.

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Let’s talk about how it looks for a short moment. This is the next generation after all. We are yet to get a game that truly wows us on the Xbox One. Ryse: Son of Rome is the closest we’ve come to true next-gen graphics. Well don’t worry, SSZ is truly beautiful. Deep space has never looked so clean and gorgeous. It really gives me hope for what’s to come in some later AAA titles. The only time I’ve seen space look so beautiful in recent memory is in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek films. The visuals get a solid A+ from me.

The gameplay can be a little daunting at times. It’s a guarantee that the first time you enter your fighter will be a trying time. You can certainly tell that this was originally made for the PC as a keyboard and mouse would be welcome entities here. This is only in the beginning though, once you get used to the controls, you will be gunning down the enemy with flair in no time.

There’s not such a cavalcade of alternate weaponry to choose from. It’s mostly just different kinds of missiles that take a while to recharge. You’ve got some choice of fighters too. They’re not bog standard skins either, they look and feel different to each other. There’s one ship in particular that requires mentioning, especially if you’re a fan of Gundam Wing. That’s right, it transforms into a robot. You need to rack up a decent kill count before you’re able to do this, but it is well worth the trouble. The robot suit isn’t all there is to it though, one focuses on long-ranged weapons and the other on battering enemies up close.

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It may sound like I’m giving Strike Suit Zero a lot of praise. There is a lot to it that’s well worth giving it a go. But in the big picture of the whole thing, I’m really not a fan. There’s a reason for my negative attitude, one that could cause just a teensy bit of backlash. It’s just way too hard. It’s not ‘Dark Souls’ hard, but it’s still a pretty annoying game that intrudes on your good time. Checkpoints are spaced so hatefully throughout the missions. You’ll find yourself often having to replay missions from the start due to Strike Suit’s unforgiving nature.

There are some growing pains in the game. Every time you blow up one of the larger ships, the frame rate just about dies a thousand deaths, and I do mean every time. Pacing is a little effed up and the checkpoint system lies right on the axis of evil. These are but a few niggles about the game, but they are pretty big ones. The game looks beautiful, handles extremely well, and may make you let out a little fanboy yelp in some of its most nerdy references.

On a personal note, this is one of the hardest games I’ve ever had to review. I really don’t enjoy it, but I like it. What a horrific catch-22 this has been for me. I had to do a literal pros and cons list to come up with a score for this one. But in the end, I found that the things I liked most about the game were nothing more than pleasing aesthetics (aside from the solid control system). This is why sadly, I must give this game a…

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Titanfall Xbox One Beta Giveaway [CLOSED]

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UPDATE: DUE TO EA & MICROSOFT OPENING THE BETA FOR ALL ON THE MARKETPLACE “XBOX BING TITANFALL” THIS COMP HAS NOW BEEN CLOSED. NO POINT WINNING A CODE WHEN YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE BETA RIGHT NOW!!

By now many of you have noticed and seen posts about the thousands of people currently enjoying the Beta for the Xbox One’s upcoming console-shifter, Titanfall. But what of you who weren’t lucky enough to receive an early access code? Well you’ve got a second chance at life right here.

We have one delicious Titanfall Beta key to give away to one lucky winner among you. All you have to do is tell us what you’re favourite upcoming ‘non-Titanfall’ game is for 2014. Regardless of whether it’s on Xbox One or…that other thing. Winners will be selected at 5PM GMT tomorrow (February 16th).

Comment down below for your chance to win. For now, check out our preview video of what you’re missing.

Happy hunting.

WWE 2K15 and NBA 2K15 Confirmed For Xbox One

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Take Two President, Karl Slatoff has announced that the next in the WWE 2K and NBA 2K series’ will be released on the Xbox One. This is double the excitement for fans of the WWE games as it will enable 2K Sports to get over all the hindrances that were in place on the Xbox 360. For example, having more than six people in the ring was unachievable on the previous generation, and the roster number can certainly rise this time. Leaves more room for undercard greats like Tyson Kidd to make an appearance. It also marks 2K Sports’ first true WWE game. As WWE 2K14 was all but shipped while they were under the THQ mantle.

Speaking during the companies latest earnings call, Slatoff said, “During fiscal 2015, consumers can look forward to exciting next generation releases from our NBA 2K and WWE franchises as well as other unannounced titles that promise to raise the bar for excellence.

“Our WWE franchise has quickly proven to be a successful addition to our portfolio,” added chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick.

“Sales of WWE 2K14 have exceeded our expectations and the title is being supported with add-on content including a Season Pass featuring many of fan-favorite WWE superstars and legends.

“We believe there is a meaningful opportunity to grow this series by further leveraging 2K’s marketing power and development expertise.”

It was also revealed that Borderlands 2 is officialy 2K Games’ most successful game in their history, outselling the entirety of the Bioshock series.

As for NBA 2K15 and WWE 2K15, assuming that is what they will be called, you can expect NBA 2K15 around September, and WWE 2K15 during the 1st week of November, as is tradition.

 

Elder Scrolls Online: Imperial Edition Unboxing

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Zenimax Online Studios announced The Elder Scrolls Online: Imperial Edition last week, and today they are giving you a more in-depth look at what comes in the box.

The meat of the Imperial Edition is the nifty and scary looking Molag Bal statue. As well as the hefty 224 page guide to Tamriel. It also comes with some digital content that can only be unlocked by purchasing this edition.

Check out the unboxing down below:

The Elder Scrolls Online is coming out on the Xbox One in June 2014

Rumour Mill: Visceral’s New Battlefield Is “Police Themed”

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The EA Ghost team responsible for the excellent Need For Speed: Rivals have fallen on pretty hard times as of late. A lot of the staff are being let go due to financial troubles. However, some new information has come to light from this unpleasant news. Rumours have come from some pretty reputable sources within the company that Battlefield 5 is being developed by Visceral Games, the team behind the Dead Space franchise.

What this means is that the future of Need For Speed is up in the air. But light at the end of the tunnel as the so-called Battlefield 5, codenamed ‘Havana’ could be getting an entirely new makeover as a police themed shooter. There is not much else to fuel the fire that are these rumours, but the sources are reputable enough that this cannot be overlooked.

It should also be noted that listings for job roles such as UI Artist, VFX Artist, and Senior Environment Texture Artists for an ‘exciting new IP’ have appeared on the EA Careers page. Take from that what you will. A new Battlefield? Or something so much more?

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South Park: The Stick of Truth Brings A Holy Trinity of Trailers

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The guys and girls over at Ubisoft have today released a trio of hilarious trailers for the upcoming South Park: The Stick of Truth.

These trailers see the return of the vastly popular Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo as well as his family, among many other surprises.

Now these trailer require age verification, so you’ll have to sign in to your Youtube or Gmail accounts. Check out the trailers down below:

Those of us that have been looking forward to this game have felt the sting of many a delay. But it seems that this game has survived the untimely demise of THQ, and looks to finally be coming out. South Park: The Stick of Truth brings its lewd, rude, crude humour to the Xbox 360 on March 4th in North America and March 7th in Europe.

 

Murdered: Soul Suspect revealed for Xbox One

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Square Enix have revealed that Murdered: Soul Suspect, which was originally slated for an Xbox 360 release, is now slated to make an appearance on the Xbox One.

It is certainly an intriguing pitch. Ryan O’Connor is a detective that is out to solve his own murder in his current poltergeist-like form.

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Murdered: Soul Suspect is certainly an interesting looking IP. I personally look forward to trying it out upon its release on March 2014. Yup, next month.

Konami Release Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 Community Q&A Video

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Today at the busy Konami studios, a Q&A video filled with Q’s from the consumer community was met with A’s from the people responsible for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. The Game’s Producer and Konami Studio Head, Dave Cox bring a lot to light in this informative video. Such as the game’s setting and information about the narrative.

Check out the video down below:

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 whips its way onto an Xbox 360 near you (if you’re in North America) on February 25th, and (for the European crowd) February 28th.

 

EA Sports UFC Slams Five New Fighters Into The Fold

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EA came out today in force for fans of MMA and the UFC franchises. Five new fighters have sauntered into the foray with amazingly beautiful, photo-realistic imagery. Your new warriors are as follows:

First up is the former Heavyweight Champion, Frank Mir. Frank Mir is definitely the most well-known of today’s announced fighters. This is mostly due to his astounding mat-work and a memorable feud with current WWE superstar, Brock Lesnar. The others fighters are Jose Aldo, Ricardo Lamas, Cung Le, and Joe Lauzon. Check out all of their details down below.

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Frank Mir

  • Nickname: NA
  • Current Record: 16-8-0
  • From: Las Vegas, NV, USA
  • Fights Out Of: Las Vegas, NV, USA
  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’3” (190 cm)
  • Weight: 240 lbs (109 kg)
  • Strengths: Great Submissions, Improved Striking, Two-Time Heavyweight Champion

Stepping into the Octagon for the first time in only his third pro bout, Frank Mir has been a staple of the UFC’s Heavyweight division since 2001. After winning the Heavyweight title from Tim Sylvia in 2004, Mir was sidelined for 20 months by a near career-ending motorcycle accident. His return to the sport is recognized as one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history, with Mir managing to fight his way back to become the division’s interim champion in 2008. An impressive ground game has helped Mir secure devastating submission wins over, Sylvia, Brock Lesnar, Cheick Kongo and Minotauro Nogueira.

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Jose Aldo

  • Nickname: Junior
  • Current Record: 23-1-0
  • From: Manaus, Brazil
  • Fights Out Of: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Age: 27
  • Height: Height: 5’7” (170 cm)
  • Weight: 145 lbs (65 kg)
  • Strengths: Very Strong Ground Game, Knockout Power, Stamina

Jose Aldo became the UFC’s inaugural Featherweight champion on Nov. 20, 2010 and hasn’t let the title go since. Following his first UFC title defense against Mark Hominick, the former WEC champ hasn’t looked back, defending it five times against some of the division’s top talent, including Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar. Considered one of MMA best pound-for-pound fighters, Aldo is an adept finisher with 15 of his 23 career wins coming by way of knockout.

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Ricardo Lamas

  • Nickname: The Bully
  • Current Record: 13-2-0
  • From: Chicago, IL, USA
  • Fights Out Of: Chicago, IL, USA
  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’8” (172 cm)
  • Weight: 145 lbs (65 kg)
  • Strengths: Explosiveness, Power

Since making his professional debut in 2008, Ricardo Lamas has been hard at work cementing his status as a fighter to watch out for in the Featherweight division. After racking up a 4-2 record in the WEC, Lamas transitioned into the UFC in 2011, scoring a first-round TKO win over Matt Grice in his debut. The Bully would go on to log a Submission of the Night performance against Cub Swanson at UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos and went undefeated in his first four UFC bouts.

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Cung Le

  • Nickname: NA
  • Record: 9-2-0
  • From: Saigon, Vietnam
  • Fights Out Of: San Jose, CA, USA
  • Age: 41
  • Height: 5’10” (177 cm)
  • Weight: Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)
  • Strengths: Striking, Takedowns

A gifted striker possessing some of the most powerful kicks in his division, Cung Le stepped onto the pro MMA stage for the first time in 2006. After debuting with Strikeforce, building a record of 7-1 and briefly holding their Middleweight title, Le made the jump to the UFC in 2011 likening his contract with the company to getting his black belt in MMA. The Taekwondo black belt, most recently scored an impressive KO victory over Rich Franklin and is currently the Mentor and Chief Coach of The Ultimate Fighter: China.

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Joe Lauzon

  • Nickname: J-Lau
  • Record: 23-10-0
  • From: Brockton, MA, USA
  • Fights Out Of: Bridgewater, MA, USA
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’10” (177 cm)
  • Weight: 155 lbs (70 kg)
  • Strengths: Submissions

A true MMA veteran, Joe Lauzon has 33 professional fights to his name despite being only 29 years old. A submission specialist, Lauzon is known for his tendency to be involved in exciting bouts, win or lose, and holds the distinction of currently being tied with Anderson Silva as the all-time UFC Fight Bonus leader with 12 awards. After suffering back to back losses for the first time in his prolific career against Jim Miller and Michael Johnson, Lauzon wasted no time getting back to his winning ways, closing out 2013 with a victory over Mac Danzig.

EA Sports brings eight-sided hell to your Xbox One this Spring.

 

FIFA 14 Xbox One Review

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Tis the season for the next generation. What this means is that the Xbox faithful have an entirely new version of FIFA to dive right into. FIFA has been available on the 360 since September, but with the promise of gameplay improvements that aren’t on the previous generation, I and many others have been excited to see how things panned out. Now there are improvements to the game. But it doesn’t really change that much to be honest. Read on to find out how it all panned out.

Let’s jump straight into what matters most, the gameplay. I’ve been very vocal about the fact that I feel they may have ruined what they were getting so close to with last year’s game, even since I played FIFA 14 on the Xbox 360. The game is trying to become as real as a football sim has ever been. Not to say it’s not realistic, it’s just that some things have been thrown in that do not compliment what made FIFA 13 such a great game. For example, rubber-banding appears to exist now. Rubber-banding is a term that would only be familiar to avid fans of racing games. What it means is that when you, the player controlled driver is way out in front with no chance of ever being caught up, the game will automatically make trailing cars speed and turn outside of their capabilities to constantly make it a close race. EA Sports have adapted this to the defending. Defenders as slow as say Per Mertesacker will blister towards a player with lightning pace like Theo Walcott from out of nowhere. Essentially what I’m getting at is, if you initiate a through-ball to an extremely fast player, he will fumble his first touch slightly and do a light jog no matter how hard you hold the sprint button. Whereas the defender will Usain Bolt this newly crippled gentleman right down to the ground. It’s all in the name of balance, but if EA Sports want to go for realism, balance just doesn’t exist in football. There’s only skill, momentum, and luck. It’s still a very, very good game. I just feel that it has taken a step back from FIFA 13.

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Those are my thoughts on FIFA 14 in general. Let’s talk about what’s specifically new to the Xbox One version. The very biggest in terms of gameplay changes are the amount of players that can now challenge for a header. It’s no longer attacker vs. defender. I have even been anticipating a header and had my own CPU players nab my chance from the air for a goal (not that I’m complaining). You can even beat goalkeepers to the ball now. It has been a pet peeve of mine for years that a keeper would automatically win the battle if he went up for it. EA Sports have remedied my concerns in this aspect, and I hope it’s a feature that stays forever. When the player impact engine arrived in FIFA 12, I was very excited. Finally players would react as they should and fall over when they should. Of course it was a mess that had the Fus Ro Dah effect. It has however been perfected here. Players completely react to every collision as they should. You might wonder why I’ve highlighted this since it was apparent on the Xbox 360 version. There is absolutely no clipping whatsoever in any challenge in the game. Not one arms slips into another player’s arm. No legs sinking into the opposition player’s stomachs. It’s just perfect and is quite wonderful to watch. The game also boasts hundreds of new animations motion captured by players such as Gareth Bale and Robert Lewandowski. The only ones that I frequently see are a new long ball that is executed when you attempt to switch flanks. I have noticed some new clearances. But with the literal thousands of situations and angles that you might find yourself in, you’ll certainly see many of these animations on your journey.

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It’s strange that the absolute best improvement in this game is one that I would hear about and shun immediately. Ah hell, it’s not just the best improvement, it’s the best part of the game, period. EA Sports’ new Ignite Engine adds so much to the beautiful game that you cannot even imagine. It truly needs to be experienced to understand how amazing it really is. Ignite is an engine that claims to make the sport feel ‘alive’. Crowds are no longer pasted cardboard drones. They are living 3D people who will react to every situation with cheers and boos. The sound that it gives out is astounding, the booming roar when you score an important goal in career mode is especially gratifying. It’s not just the crowd that reacts, the players themselves do. Let me throw out a situation. You’re losing 1-0, and have just equalised to make the score 1-1 with ten minutes to go. Your players will put in the extra effort, they will run themselves ragged to get a goal. If the ball is out of play, they will sprint to take the throw-in or corner to get the ball in-play as quickly as possible. EA have even been working with Sky to configure how the camera angles should work for replays. Man is it ever beautiful. I actually find myself watching almost every replay as I hear people scream through my Kinect to skip the little scene. The cameras will highlight important players, more so in career mode than anywhere else. It will even show another replay of a goal you’ve scored way into the match, just as it would in a real game. EA’s presentation in FIFA 14 for the Xbox One is the best it ever has been, for any game, ever. Have a look at the Ignite trailer to see just how good it is.

One big question that was on everyone’s lips these past few months is will it actually look any better on the Xbox One than on the Xbox 360? In short, yes and no. If you’re expecting the players likenesses to look any more realistic, you will be left disappointed. However, with most of them now being scanned with the new Starhead technology, they look as real as they ever will. Now that it is rendered in 1080p and at 60fps, the game finally looks as it should. It’s a beautiful, glossy, ultra-realistic affair that shouldn’t be missed. I’m way more invested in the story being told on the pitch than the actual game itself. If I sign a player on career mode, I want to see that highlighted during the pre-match presentation. I want to see the close-ups of my new star as Alan Smith gives his terrible opinions on any and everything. I mean, god damn everything about the presentation of this game is so spot on it even makes me want to try out Madden and NBA Live which is certainly not my bag.

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The rest of this review will be focused on the features of the game that are already available on the Xbox 360 version. So if you’re familiar with FIFA 14 already, just skip on down to the summary. Career Mode makes a triumphant return to the foray. It’s more or less the same, except for the way transfers work. Now there’s the Global Scout Network. This is a feature that enables you to send your scouts out to certain countries and look for players with the credentials that you need. You can no longer see player ratings before you bid on them unless they are prolific stars such as Lionel Messi where everybody knows the talent that he beholds. The scouts give a prediction of the players stats and will even give an estimation of the amount you would need to bid on them to have a bid accepted. An annoying feature returns from previous years. If a player is 30 or over, it takes but one season for them to lose every bit of skill they ever had. I understand players declining in talent as they grow older, but the amount that they do in FIFA 14’s Career Mode is far too drastic and unrealistic. The way that the Ignite Engine uses the cameras to focus on players in Career Mode is particularly titillating. It will focus on players who might be making a debut, or have cased disruption in the changing rooms, or even just players that are currently in-form. It then accompanies this with a quick quip from the commentary team. This all adds to the experience and makes it feel more real.

Ultimate Team is another entry that makes a return to the FIFA franchise. Of course it would, it is the cash cow of the entire game. There are only minimal changes to this mode but they are definitely for the better. You no longer need to have matching formations for your players to have better chemistry. You can also now invite your friends to an online friendly to play their Ultimate Team squad. Why this was never implemented in the first place is beyond me. That is where the changes in the mode lie, it doesn’t require much to improve it to be honest. There is another new entry that is exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One version, however. Legends are now present in the Ultimate Team. Amazing players like Dennis Bergkamp and Gianfranco Zola are now a part of this wonderful, soul-draining game mode. I do think it was a little bit cheeky advertising the legends as such a big deal for the console exclusivity as the rarity in achieving the players is extreme. As rare as getting a Ronaldo or Messi in a pack if not more.

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To sum up, there are many improvements to the next generation iteration of FIFA 14. It’s definitely better than the previous gen version. Some of the gameplay has taken a dive from FIFA 13’s excellent play. In the words of Paula Abdul, it took two steps forward, and two steps back. This doesn’t stop it from being a top notch game, however. I think that EA Sports will have achieved the dream of having the very best ultra-realistic football game that has ever and will ever exist by FIFA 15. I definitely recommend this one to the legions of fans that follow the sport. Its value is also lowered by the fact that many hundred thousand day one editions came bundled with a free copy. So pick this one up for a price as cheap as chips. Chips in Central London that is.

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