Founder of ThisisXbox.com (owner from 2010 - 2014), now writer and reviewer with an interest in writing thriller fiction. Two addictions; Diet Coke and Call of Duty. All views expressed everywhere are my own and not that of my employer!
343 Industries and Microsoft has recently announced both Limited and Collector’s Editions of this years biggest (likely) blockbuster – Halo 5: Guardians. In addition to the newly announced packages comes a character to be introduced into the Halo story, Spartan Locke!
Launching in fall 2015 exclusively on Xbox One, Halo 5: Guardians continues the story of the Master Chief, and introduces a brand new central character to the Halo universe – Spartan Locke. Peace is shattered when colony worlds are unexpectedly attacked. And when humanity’s greatest hero goes missing, Spartan Locke is tasked with hunting the Master Chief and solving a mystery that threatens the entire galaxy.
The editions and US estimated pricing is detailed below:
Standard Edition for $59.99 – Halo 5: Guardians plus an exclusive poster, only available to those who pre-order.
Limited Edition for $99.99 – Everything in the Standard Edition plus new digital content to enhance Spartan combat and exclusive items wrapped in a uniquely designed steel book.
Limited Collector’s Edition for $249.99 – Everything in the Limited Edition as well as additional content such as a commemorative numbered statue designed by 343 Industries. More details on the design to be shared at a later date.
The Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta is still available to gamers who own Halo: The Master Chief Collection and you can read our full thoughts on that here.
Overall, I feel that Halo 5: Guardians retains the essence of why I loved Halo 2’s multiplayer – and although it may come loaded with all the mod cons of many other shooters on the market: zoomable weapons, kill cams, jet pack boosts and the ability to mantle objects, it still feels distinctively Halo – tea bagging included!
Untrained and unprepared, four Atlas employees must survive a horror unlike any other. John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, Rose McGowan, and Jon Bernthal star in Exo Zombies, coming to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC in 2015.
The first chapter of Exo Zombies is included with the Havoc DLC pack or as part of the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Season Pass. Get the Season Pass for access to four exciting DLC packs at one great price, each delivering a collection of new, thrilling multiplayer content, bonus weapons, and more.
Zombies have long been a popular part of the Call of Duty franchise since Treyarch introduced the survival based mode in Call of Duty: World at War, way back in 2008. Now almost six and a half years later the Zombies get all mod-cons and futuristic…
Activision’s behemoth first-person-shooter, Call of Duty – has taken a huge leap forward marking another change of direction for the title since Ghost’s launched with the Xbox One last year. In what started as a World War II game fast evolved in a Modern Warfare, which then led to a Black Ops operation and a covert Ghost’s mission. Now four changes later and perhaps a more natural progression from Modern Warfare is Sledgehammer Games first solo entry into the franchise with Advanced Warfare. Despite talks of a potential Modern Warfare 4, in the very early stages of Sledgehammer Games direction, Glen Schofield, (general manager and co-founder of Sledgehammer Games) confirmed to thisisxbox at Eurogamer ’14 that a more future technology driven adventure was always on the cards and the way forward following their joint effort with Infinity Ward on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. We previously had hands-on multiplayer sessions with Advanced Warfare at both Gamescom and Eurogamer this year and rate the title as the best Call of Duty in years!
It’s been no secret that thisisxbox rated the previous two Call of Duty titles in the franchise less favourable than we had hoped for, but Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare brings the franchise to life again with an action packed story driven adventure true to the Call of Duty roots with over the top plot lines and building crashes a plenty. It’s certainly no walk in the park and leaves enough surprises to raise a few eyebrows all in glorious next-gen visual quality. By that we mean a million miles apart from what Infinity Ward deemed next-gen with Ghosts, because Advanced Warfare looks and plays as you would expect a true next-gen title to gleam and shine from start to finish. All before we even get to the improved Multiplayer a little later on!
The best I can say about Advanced Warfare in terms of the campaign mode is that it really follows in the tradition of the Call of Duty greats; Modern Warfare 4 had following tanks and Ghillies in the Mist, Black Ops had all the psychological mind games and following the tank – and you guessed it, Advanced Warfare also has following a tank, shooting enemies in oncoming vehicles and a whole load of past campaign traits in a new futuristic skin. I’m not really implying that the game is a copy and paste job of all the best bits from years of Call of Duty, because it is an entirely new story centered on a whole new form of military never before experienced in any Call of Duty title. The direction of the game is more corporate setting and a war with money and power at the forefront, but everything a hardcore Call of Duty player from its very early days would definitely appreciate the return of an action, all guns blazing, storm the streets game as with Advanced Warfare where the fate of the world is on your shoulders. The first Call of Duty title to feature a main characters journey from start to end, the campaign is nothing less than epic!
Combined with both the campaign and multiplayer element is the exo-skeleton abilities; a mechanical outer body skeleton suit that delivers a host of benefits to its users. From cloaking, double-jumping, shielding, to powering up, speed running and more, the exo-skeleton is another massive leap for Call of Duty in that it now brings the game right up to date with popular uses that feature in other games. Albeit in a different form, but double jumping, cloaking and shields have long been in many past-gen titles like Halo, and already a familiar trait with Titanfall on all platforms. It’s a real positive enhancement and aids with gameplay to bring Call of Duty once more at the forefront of first-person-shooting by evolving with the gaming trends.
Multiplayer must now be the single most important aspect of Call of Duty having (what is assumed) the largest first person shooting fan base in the world with over 125 Million players across the globe! That is an almighty number of people to please, and Sledgehammer Games have done a grand job at delivering a spectacular Multiplayer to match the campaign. With thirteen multiplayer maps available before DLC packs start dropping down in 2015, the theme is very futuristic with Bio Labs, high rise parks, drone facilities, prisons and the roof tops of Greece all just some of the highly detailed maps to shake your guns at! Familiar Call of Duty playground territory is still rife with Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, Search & Destroy, Domination and Kill Confirmed as some of the popular modes from past titles make their return. New modes such as Uplink and Momentum are modernised favourites of Capture the Flag, and the old WAR mode respectively. In Uplink the aim is to carry a centralised Satellite Drone to your own teams Uplink (think basketball) and in Momentum, if you can remember WAR from Call of Duty 3, and World at War – it’s now been revived for Advanced Warfare. Momentum is a fast paced game of Capture the Flag with enemy killing sprees gaining momentum points that result in faster flag captures! If you’re not all that familiar with the game type it could easily be compared to Domination, but only one flag at a time can be captured.
Whilst it has been more than ten years since Call of Duty gamer’s battled it out online with the original Xbox console, the game needs no introduction in how to play online as the world over must be aware by now of running around a map with a weapon of choice and gaining the most kills or points. The basis of Advanced Warfare multiplayer is exactly the same as Call of Duty from its early days, but the customisation choices that can be made is welcomed step into the future. Create a Class from Black Ops (remember the Pick 10?) is back with a Pick 13 options from Primary Weapons, Secondary Weapons, their Attachments, Three Perks, Wild Cards, Score Streaks and Exo Abilities. As the Exo Skeleton Suit makes its entry into Call of Duty, so does a varied range of abilities that can be applied to your online multiplayer experience such as Shields, Cloaking, Health Stimulation, Hovering and Speed Boosting which might already be familiar from the campaign gameplay. The Exo Launcher improvements are modernised grenades and feature Frag, Stun, Semtex, EMP, Smoke and dangerously deceptive drones!
As Sledgehammer Games first original Call of Duty title, it is a complete world away from our first Call of Duty next-gen outing in Call of Duty: Ghosts in the absolute most positive way imaginable with true next-gen visuals. The whole Multiplayer experience of Advanced Warfare is every bit an enhancement, or so it feels like from Modern Warfare 3 and the game is likely to appeal more to the fans who appreciated the thrills and action of Modern Warfare games in comparison to the more suspenseful Black Ops titles.
Here’s to the future for Advanced Warfare and let’s hope a sequel doesn’t tarnish the brilliance now set in stone.
Dead Island 2 developers’ Deep Silver has announced that a Beta will be available on the Xbox One console after a period of 30 days exclusivity to the rival console Playstation 4! The only current way to guarantee access is through a copy of the Xbox360 spin-off “Escape Dead Island”, but other methods are sure to be available closer to its launch.
Dead Island 2 picks up the Dead Island and Escape Dead Island storyline several months after the events on the Banoi islands. The United States military has put the Golden State under full quarantine which, for some, is a dream come true with a promise of a fresh start. California’s newfound bloody paradise is an action-packed playground featuring the acclaimed, seamless multiplayer for up to eight players who cooperate, compete or simply coexist in a truly social, new-gen multiplayer experience.
No release date has yet been announced for the Beta, but the full game will launch in the spring of 2015.
From Turtle Rock Studios, creators of Left 4 Dead, comes Evolve, the next-generation of multiplayer shooters where four hunters face off against a single, player-controlled monster in adrenaline-pumping 4v1 matches. Play as the monster to use savage abilities and an animalistic sense to kill your human enemies, or choose one of four hunter classes (Trapper, Support, Assault and Medic) and team up to take down the beast on the planet Shear, where flora and fauna act as an adversary to man and monster alike. Level up to unlock new hunter or monster characters as well as upgrades, skins and perks. Earn your infamy on the leaderboards and become the apex predator.
Those who pre-order the award-winning Evolve from participating retailers will receive the Monster Expansion Pack, which includes the Savage Goliath skin at launch and a new playable monster available after Evolve is released.
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has two new DLC packs set for release in early 2015. Starting with the Bizarro World Pack, players will gain access to new LEGO DC Comics characters and locations, additional story-driven content, cool new items and more if you have a Season Pass. Additionally, a second and “FREE” Heroines & Villainesses Pack will also be available in the coming year!
Bizarro World Pack (Season Pass) or £2.50
Save Bizarro’s planet from evil and join the Bizarro League, clones of the Justice League, including characters such as Bizzaro and Bizarra!
Heroines & Villainesses Pack (Free to download)
Celebrate the fearless females of DC Comics with this collection of super heroines and villainesses, which allows players to wreak havoc as Raven and tear-up the ground as Terra. The pack also includes fan-favourites, such as alien princess Starfire and animal-mimic Vixen but they’ll need to be on the guard against the explosive Plastique and cold and calculating Killer Frost!
Arrow Pack (Season Pass) or £2.50
Become the Green Arrow, voiced by Stephen Amell, from the hit TV show Arrow on The CW. Explore Starling City and interact with new characters, including Slade Wilson, Roy Harper, Malcolm Merlyn and more.
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Scored 70% in our latest review:
LEGO Batman 3 is a fun game but it’s my least favourite LEGO game for a while, it’s packed full of content and fans of DC Comics will no doubt be pleased with the efforts, despite it being called LEGO Batman 3 it’s definitely more LEGO Justice League as they literally save the game from being a pretty average LEGO title.
Tencent Games and Epic’s, iOS Infinity Blade titles are heading to the Xbox One console as Infinity Blade Saga. Development is underway from Tencent who are mulling over releasing it as a Free-to-Play title sometime before February 2015, and although it could also be released on the PS4, the Xbox One is their main priority!
If you have never heard of the Infinity Blade titles, the first was the fastest-grossing app in the history of iOS upon its release late 2010 and sales grossed US$23 million by the end of 2011. The game uses an “on-rails” play style that leads the player down a linear path with one on one sword combat against a variety of Gods and Monsters. All three titles have scored rather favourably with many gaming sites (that review mobile games) scoring them 9’s and in some instances a full 10/10.
Check out the iOS trailer for Infinity Blade 3 below to get a feel for the game before the Infinity Blade Saga is relased on the Xbox Marketplace next year.
If you prefer to do your gaming on a console such as Xbox, it’s great if you can get all the games you want on the one device. But there are some games where it’s better to go elsewhere, and that’s especially true for real money games such as bingo and casino games.
Before there were real money gambling sites, it was possible to play gambling games such as bingo and casino classics like roulette, blackjack and slots on a console. But the major downside to all the different versions of these games was that you couldn’t play with real cash. And while a positive from that is that you’re not spending money to play, any win that you had would always feel pretty meaningless. After all, what’s the point of playing a game that is designed to be about real money when you can’t place real bets.
The Xbox bingo option is Bingo Party, where there are four different types of bingo game that you can play. One plus point to playing these kinds of games on an Xbox is that you can make it a multi-player experience – inviting just the people you want to play with. Bingo Party can have up to 31 players at once, so you can certainly make it a party atmosphere if you want to. And the games can be fun as there are lots of unlockable items and over 50 different winning patterns.
However, you can invite friends to play with you at online bingo sites too. Click to play online here and you’ll see that there are different rooms that you can play in, and each of those has a chat room linked to it. So if you want your friends to join you in a game of bingo, get them to join the same site as you and then message them to let them know which games you’re planning to play. You can meet up in the chat rooms and watch the progress of the game together. It may not be quite the same as playing with a group of people on Xbox, as you can’t make it an exclusive gathering.
But when you play online, that’s one of the benefits – you get to meet new people in the bingo chat rooms. To play online bingo doesn’t require any effort by the player as the matching numbers on your cards to the number calls are marked off by the software, so that leaves you free to chat or join in the side games that are organised by the chat moderator. It’s not always cash prizes that you’re playing for – sometimes you can win electrical items or other goods. While you’re chatting, there’s nothing to lose in joining some of the side games – they’re free and you may end up winning more there than in the actual bingo game you logged in to play.
As well as having the advantage of being able to play for real money on any of the bingo sites such as 32red, Tidy Bingo or 888 bingo, there’s also free money up for grabs when you join any of the main sites. At 32red, for example, there’s a £32 bonus for every £10 you put into your account as a first deposit. When bingo games only cost a penny or two to play that bonus money will buy you a lot of value entertainment. In addition, you can also play games for free on most of the bingo sites. The games schedules mix both free and paid-for games and the free ones have small cash prizes attached to them. If you’re logged in and about to play, you may as well get tickets for the free games too.
As there’s such a plethora of great bingo sites now available, all offering a wide range of games and some amazing cash jackpots to play for, why anyone would continue with games like Bingo Party on the Xbox is difficult to comprehend. Play online bingo with the experts and save the Xbox for all those great action games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Titanfall.
One of the best Summer of Arcade titles ever for the Xbox 360 in 2010, LIMBO from PlayDead Studio’s was a highly addictive and dark puzzle game that involved the constant death of a boy in search of his potentially dead sister! As a free gift to Xbox One gamers who bought the Day One edition of the console, redeem codes for the game are rolling out right now – you might want to check your inbox!
The whole game from start to finish is set in a monochrome land with perfectly detailed backdrops to give the impression of a small lost boy venturing through a big dangerous world. Further adding to eerie sinister setting is the lack of in-game music which really works more of an advantage. As you progress from one part of the land to another, the only sound you hear is your own footsteps and the effects of your current backdrop. When it’s raining, you hear the rain pour, in the forest the wind blows, in water you splash and as you trek across girders you hear the sound of clunky metal. Whilst the lack of in-game music might seem like a bore for some, it really would spoil the feel of the ambiance as each chapter is a new shade of darkness just waiting to be explored.
There doesn’t appear to be an obvious story from the onset; you are a lost boy looking to find your sister whilst experiencing mind blowing traps, puzzles and near death experiences along the way through an intelligent horror story. The moment you are immersed within this artistic masterpiece you do soon forget about looking for your sister because of your own need for survival. You will encounter other characters briefly, but they only mean you harm. Where you are and how you got there may be questions unanswered, but best not thought of. Simply enjoy the experience, the surprises, twists, turns and frustrations of the puzzles set forth on your journey. You will encounter a gruesome death time and time again in the most genius of ways.
LIMBO is certainly a game that once played you will never forget. The fun lies in trying to find your way around a world that isn’t looking out for your best interests and the puzzles at times are difficult, but add further longevity as you clamber to and fro to clear the obstacles or make your way to your next location. Early in the game the puzzles involve actions such as flicking a switch or pulling an object, but the more you progress the more complex they become and change the environment around you – for instance, the turn of a cog will turn your whole world upside down and timing is very much of the essence!
Extracts of this article contain content from my review for xboxic.com in 2010
Activision have announced that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the biggest entertainment launch of the year, beating not only all other video games, but also the biggest movies, music and books launched in 2014. This is a familiar story as has happened in the past with other previously highly anticipated editions of Call of Duty.
“Since Activision created the Call of Duty franchise in 2003, franchise revenues have exceeded $10 billion in sales worldwide, far exceeding box office receipts for such household movie franchises as Hunger Games, Transformers, Iron Man and Avengers, combined,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “Advanced Warfare is the biggest entertainment launch of 2014 in terms of revenue, surpassing all movie, music and book launches this year.”
“We poured our hearts into making Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare an epic ride and we are pleased with the performance,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Sales and engagement are up through the first week compared to last year. Season Pass sales are up, as well. The game has been very positively reviewed and the response from fans has been tremendous. We believe Advanced Warfare will be the most successful game of the year and we thank our fans for making it the biggest entertainment launch of the year.”
Activision also confirmed that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the highest-selling digital launch in console history according to Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and internal Activision estimates.
Engagement for Sledgehammer Games’ newest entry to the franchise is based on statistics from the first week after launch according to internal estimates, with gamers playing more than 370 million online matches in its first week of release and levelling up over 200 million times in Advanced Warfare online multiplayer mode.
Whilst specific sales information was not provided for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, we’re sure it sold shit-loads and no doubt Activision will reveal the millions in due course.