Tag Archives: 505 games

No Man’s Sky is headed to Xbox

No Man’s Sky is the next title to make the jump onto Xbox One. Previously only available on PlayStation, Hello Games have plodded through update after update of its space exploration game, No Man’s Sky and the next one is going to be a big one, and one that sees the game launch onto Xbox One.

“We are calling this No Man’s Sky Next because it is an important next step in a journey for No Man’s Sky, for Hello Games and for our devoted community.” said Sean Murray, founder at Hello Games. “Each update for No Man’s Sky has been more successful than the last; this was especially true of our last update Atlas Rises. It emboldens the team to push ourselves further. This journey is far from over, and it’s exciting to be working again on something you know will surprise people.”

Releasing later this year, the Xbox One version will include all previously released content. First Crash Bandicoot, then Hellblade and now, No Man’s Sky – what will jump next onto Xbox?

Boss the battlefield in Battle Islands: Commanders

Battle Islands: Commanders

505 Games keep coming out with great franchises. Battle Islands has a new stablemate as 505 announce Battle Islands: Commanders will hit the Xbox One very, very soon.

If you’ve not seen or played it before, Battle Islands: Commanders merges tower defence and collectible card-styles of gameplay. Players will be able to master the art of war in this fast-paced strategy game.

Battle Islands: Commanders allows you to face off against commanders from around the world in real-time combat, enabling you to reap the spoils of war. The game will feature an already huge and growing roster of some of the most iconic vehicles, troops and weaponry of World War 2, including your favourite tanks and fighter planes.

You can build the ultimate deck of battle units, each with their own unique skills for you to devise the most devastating attacks while also trying to defend yourself as you take part in major battles across seven theatres of war. Fight in the vast deserts of North Africa and frozen wasteland landscape of the Eastern Front. Use the environment to annihilate your opponents along the way, earn Supply Crates and unlock new units that will open up new tactical possibilities.

Form pacts to exchange units and hone your skills in friendly sparring matches. Find that perfect balance between defence and attack and apply it to your own strategies and study your team-mates’ moves to learn new tactics before the enemy troops advance on you.

Battle Islands: Commanders is set for release on the 14th of February on Xbox One. The game will be free-to-play for all Xbox Live Gold subscribers and if you’re quick, you’ll be able to grab it early as it has been made available for pre-download today.

Here’s a nice trailer to show you what you could be up to very soon indeed.

Burst your bubble in Adventure Pop

Adventure Pop

505 Games have a long and successful history of providing quality games on Xbox One. They have announced a collaboration with Tic Toc Games to bring a new take on bubble shooter games to the Xbox platform.

Adventure Pop will come to consoles in February and looks to revive the genre for new players. Offering fun and complex puzzles and real-time player-vs-player duels in a fresh and colourful environment.

Players will embark on a new journey with Penelope as she encounters feinds of all kinds in bubble shooting showdowns. Once players defeat some of these rapscallions, they may even join their crew and offer their support in battles with their unique and powerful attacks. You might fancy a break from exploring by showing off your precise aim against local or online friends in a player-vs-player duel to the bubble-popping death. Just because you’re playing friends, don’t expect the action to be necessarily friendly either.  The old feature of bubbles dropped on your side attacking your opponent and vice-versa is employed to great effect once more.

Now, what’s better than a great, fun game? How about a great, fun, free to play game? That’s right, Adventure Pop will be free to play for Xbox Live Gold members, with an offer on the Bubble Bundle Pack that will either be heavily discounted or even free, depending on the Gold Memeber promotions released. The Bubble Bundle Pack contains the Super Boost, Rainbow Bubble, Cannon Barrage, Double Score, Obstacle Swap and the Spyglass.

Adventure Pop promises to offer the player a unique story-mode in the single player campaign, full of adventure and over 100 levels of bubble-popping fun. Unlock and collect five characters the wield special powers and equip them with special booster items and abilities that will help you on your journey.

Adventure Pop has already hit the Playstation store and will be coming to Xbox One, free for Gold subscribers, on the 8th of February.

How to Survive 2 infecting a console near you.

505 Games and Eko Software have announced today that How to Survive 2, the cult Zombie Co-Op Crafting Survival game, is coming to consoles in February 2017 after a successful release on Steam back in September 2016. Sequel to the multi-million selling How to Survive, the game is set 15 years after the first game and players now find themselves trying to survive a massive Zombie infestation in Louisiana.

15 Years on and the local infection that started in Los Riscos’ archipelago has now turned into a worldwide pandemic. Everyone around the world, groups of people or lone wolves, try to survive one more day among the infected, attempting to recover a semblance of normal life. You find yourself in Louisiana and your survival chance starts by building a safe camp and becoming a skilled survivalist.

Key Features.

  • Multiplayer is here! You can invite up to 16 players to access your camp and 4 of you can play simultaneously.
  • Teamwork: all players can contribute to a bigger, better camp and can perform co-op actions and strategies.
  • New improved camera follows your character, allowing you to zoom in and out on the fly!
  • New randomized environments: from the unforgiving Mississippi Delta bayous to the abandoned streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter.
  • Create your own character: learn new and different skills to specialize as you level up and equip with scavenged and handcrafted armor, tools and weapons.
  • A new deeper crafting system will allow you to use items and materials to create hundreds of items, tools and weapons to upgrade your character and your base camp.
  • Set-up, upgrade and protect your camp as you want: choose from a wide upgradeable variety of traps, barricades, obstacle and workshops that will open different skill trees and allow you to create more materials and items.
  • Quests and infinite random raids.
  • Night & day cycle and weather conditions.

Players will have to scavenge for resources, craft tools and weapons, build base camps, and interact with the many colorful characters that populate the area. Players of the original game will discover that series favorite, Kovac, the masked stranger & author of the ever present survival guide will also be on hand to help players outlive the zombie plague.

How to Survive 2

How to Survive 2, will be coming to Xbox One in February 2017 at a price of £11.99.  Anyone who pre-orders through XBLA will get 2 free pieces of DLC content, which will unlock pets, headgear, and an upgradable weapons that your characters can equip. For further information check out the official How to Survive 2 website.

Underwater adventure ABZU coming to Xbox One

ABZU

Giant Squid love creating games that make you explore. The team behind Journey (not the band) released ABZU on PS4 and Steam on the 2nd of August and yesterday, publisher 505 Games revealed that the underwater exploration title will also be splashing onto Xbox One.

Having scooped multiple awards already for ABZU, Giant Squid have let us know that the game should be available on Xbox One at some point today. As an added incentive to fish it out of the Store, if you purchase it in the first week of Xbox release, you’ll get 15% off the regular price.

As ‘The Diver’, players will uncover their true connection to the ocean, as the world around them begins to unlock its secrets. Fluid swimming controls allow The Diver to interact with lush Kelp forests containing thousands of fish and hidden worlds, all of which await The Diver on her quest. ABZU has spent much of the past year garnering praise from fans and critics, notably for its unique narrative and submerging soundtrack.

Players can only progress along the emotional spectrum of the game as they explore and discover new things about the underwater world. The story of ABZU is a universal myth that resonates across cultures; a story that we all carry deep within our subconscious.

Swim with the fishes in ABZU, which is expected to be released digitally on Xbox One and Windows 10, on the 6th of December.

Here’s the E3 trailer from earlier this year, to give you a taste.

 

Assetto Corsa expands their garage with DLC

Assetto Corsa

It’s been a little while since I reviewed Assetto Corsa. The number of vehicles in the game from the outset is staggering and it’s an amazing simulator. Kunos Simulazoni and 505 Games have since released three new DLC vehicle packs for the petrol heads among us. Here are the details.

The Japanese Pack will introduce seven new cars in a total of twelve versions. These are spread across different classes, types and ages.

Japanese Pack:

  • Mazda MX-5 2015
  • Mazda MX-5 CUP
  • Mazda RX-7 Spirit R + tuned version
  • Toyota Supra MK IV + time attack and drift version
  • Toyota AE86 Trueno + tuned and drift verson
  • Nissan 370Z NISMO 2016
  • Nissan GT-R R34 Skyline V-Spec

The Prestige Pack appeals to tastes of those who like the finer things in life, including some high-octane powered supercars. Nine new vehicles are included in this pack.

Prestige Pack.

  • Ferrari 488 GTB
  • Audi R8 V10 Plus
  • Corvette C7 Stingray
  • Ford Mustang 2015
  • Lamborghini Gallardo SuperLeggera
  • Nissan GR-T NISMO 2014
  • Toyota GT-86
  • Audi A1 S1
  • BMW M4 Coupe

Now, the eagle-eyed among us may have noticed that there are some vehicles included in the Prestige Pack that were offered as a Pre-Order incentive. Fear not, brave Pre-Orderers, you can still obtain the rest of the Prestige content, by purchasing the Performance Upgrade Pack.

The Japanese Pack is available to download, now, for free, for all Season Pass owners, although the Prestige and Performance Upgrade Packs will not be. The Japanese Pack can also be purchased separately.

These are currently available and are priced at £5.59 or your local currency equivalent.

505 Games are looking all Bloodstained

Bloodstained

Did you ever play any of the Castlevania titles? The spiritual successor to Castlevania, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is coming to Xbox One, brought to you by former Castlevania Series Producer, Koji Igarashi and his company ArtPlay Inc. who have teamed up with 505 Games to publish the title.

Following a a more than successful Kickstarter in 2015, which raised more than $5.5m, Koji decided that they couldn’t bring Bloodstained to all platforms under their own steam. Enter the publishing might of 505 Games.

Like Castlevania before it, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night follows the ‘Metroidvania’ style of gameplay for which Igarashi has become renowned. It will also replicate the 2.5D art style that has worked so well in past. Bloodstained is in development full swing for multiple platforms, including Xbox One and 505 Games will publish it for all except mobile platforms.

505 & ArtPlay have compiled the video below, discussing the partnership and to showcase some of the gameplay and the development process involved. I have to say, from what has been shown in this short clip, it is looking very polished already.

The only massively disappointing thing about this announcement is that it’s suggested we’ll need to wait until 2018 to get our eager gaming fingers on it.

Virginia review

Virginia is a strange beast. This is by no means a slight on the game as such, as the creators themselves describe the game: “as strange and confounding as their experiences developing it”. This indie title has been years in the making, with a core concept planned from the beginning and with development aspirations escalating alongside an increase in support for the title. Best described as an adventure game, it has a lot of common elements of the ‘walking simulator’ a genre that has become more widespread and well-received in recent years.

When playing Virginia, you will experience quite a few tried and tested tropes concerning the FBI, which have been used in popular media over the decades. The story’s introductory beats are extremely simple and instantly recognisable. As a newly graduated, and as such unjaded, agent you are commissioned by the assistant director to join the Internal Affairs division. Your first case, to team up with a time served agent to investigate them while also undertaking the active investigation at hand. As such, you join up with agent Halperin, who’s office is tucked away in the basement – a la Fox Mulder – to investigate the recent disappearance of a young man from Kingdom, Virginia. Your journey to the truth is a bizarre experience for several reasons, most prevalent of which is the utilisation of ‘dream sequences’ to draw parallels between the details unveiled in the investigation and your character’s moral dilemma as she begins to empathise with her ‘target’. These sequences, some of the in game music, and the core story give a feeling of homage towards David Lynch’s seminal cult series, Twin Peaks, with several parallels that can be drawn other than the trippy dream segments: FBI attend a small, rural town to investigate an unusual case only to find that the more you scratch off the veneer of normality that is applied over the town, the darker and more unusual the world becomes. It all sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?

virginia-1

The second and most jarring aspect of this experience is the lack of dialogue. This is not a case of minimalist interactions between characters, but literally all the characters are entirely mute. Not a word is spoken during the entire time played, with only readable files, and inferred emotional and reactional characterisation to guide you on what exactly is happening at any given time. This is achieved through what I can only describe as masterful utilisation of atmosphere. The music, lighting, animation and character direction all culminate in a game that you must feel and comprehend, more than understand. It is only later in the game that you realise the true story arc that you are playing out, and by the time this occurs you have enough investment in the characters involved to understand, if not fully empathise, with their motivations and beliefs.

Graphically, there is an old school hand crafted feel to the world. The angular character models feel more at home in Cruise for a Corpse or Another World, than a modern indie title, but even without the fidelity that most would come to accept nowadays, it is impressive how much they can convey with the raising of a simple, angular eyebrow. This lack of definition does not damage the game in any way, and does not detract at any point from the story it is trying to convey.

virginia-2

Like all true walking simulators, there is a lot of navigating from point A to point B to interactive with an object, and these actions can be covered several times, but Virginia has come up with quite a quirky and unique way to reduce the leg work involved in these sections. A perfect example is the long and tedious walk from the elevators of the FBI building, through the winding basement passageways to Halperin’s office. At key sections of the walk, the character will “teleport” and skip large sections of unnecessary movement. At first, this transition can be quite jarring, but it is soon natural to be looking around at your files one second, and sitting beside your partner driving out of town the next, or to transfer from walking down a dingy corridor in a building to only find yourself transported into a glade as you continue with your investigation.  This reduces the inherent problem with walking simulators by eliminating a significant portion of the back tracking that is commonplace in these types of games.

Although there are collectable items throughout the game, the story itself truly only warrants a single playthrough, and while the short duration will not do much to dissuade those die hard completionists, there is little to convince the general gamer to return for a second burst. This is a single run title, with enough depth to enjoy in a single play through but not on multiple runs, but one that I recommend everyone experience, purely for the unique beauty inherent in the game.

Thanks to Xbox and Variable State for supporting TiX

New character trailer introduces Anne in Virginia

Virginia

Developer, Variable State have teamed up with publishing heavyweight, 505 Games to bring a new first person thriller to your gaming menu. A few snippets of information have been released on Virginia up until now, but both developer and publisher have released a new cinematic character trailer in the build-up to the game’s launch next week.

In this latest of a series of short teasers, Virginia introduces us to the main protagonist, Special Agent Anne Tarver. This is the character you will guide through the mysteries of the game as you try to solve the riddle of Virginia.

As a newly minted FBI graduate, Anne’s life is forever changed after she arrives in Kingdom. This idyllic, secluded corner of Virginia has suffered a disaster. Anne is sent to investigate her first case, the mysterious disappearance of a local boy, Lucas Fairfax. As her search progresses, it becomes apparent that sinister forces are at play. These forces will test Anne’s judgement, her morality and her very perception of what is real.

Anne isn’t alone in her investigations in Virginia, however. But her partner, veteran FBI agent Maria Halperin, has roused Anne’s suspicions. As the investigation deepens, so too does your mistrust of your fellow agent.

This new character trailer also shows off the sumptuous setting in the game. Burgess County, VA provides a striking contrast between its natural beauty and an unsettling darkness which lies beneath.

The game is looking to blur the boundaries between gaming and the cinematic world, making use of jump cuts, match cuts, dissolves and montages in a way rarely seen in games. Taking inspiration from the likes of David Lynch, Silence of the Lambs, Twin Peaks and The X-Files, Virginia is a bold experiment in interactive storytelling, offering mystery and drama on a par with the shows you’ve come to think of as cult classics.

Virginia is scheduled for a digital release on Xbox One, on the 22nd of September.

Assetto Corsa review

I’ve played racing games for as long as I’ve had a suitable platform to play them on. From Out Run to Gran Turismo, Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge to TOCA, they’ve all held a fascination and dragged out my desire to win at all costs. To call Kunos Simulazioni’s Assetto Corsa a racer is a little inaccurate. To compare it to the adrenaline rush of other racers is a touch unfair, but really, in all honesty, there’s nothing else that I can compare it to.

The first thing you should notice about Assetto Corsa is that it looks stunning. The colours are bright and vibrant and the cars themselves all have that showroom spit and polish that you come to expect from racers of today. This isn’t to say that they can’t get down and dirty on the track though and they do, but I’ll move on from this as I’ve a few issues with the damage dished out to the cars.

After a short intro, you’re presented with a simple-looking menu with three raceday options, Special Events, Career and the mysterious Drive option. In truth, its not so mysterious. This is simply the quickplay option that contains a shortcut to the main types of play modes available in the Special Events section. I’m going to put this right out there from the start, this is a simulation. If you have a full wheel and pedal setup, use it. You’ll get a much more positive and rewarding experience.

OK, so, this is a full on simulation. Let’s get that right out there. The game is not a racer in the traditional sense that Forza or the F1 franchise is. There are so many settings that you can tweak when you’ve picked a car and a track and the usual track temperature, weather, ride height, tyres, tyre pressures, fuel load and a multitude of other settings. It’s a little bit daunting at first, but if you’re patient then you can find the exact setup that will suit your driving style.

Onto the racing then. Assetto Corsa has a huge list of available cars. Mercedes, BMW, Abarth, Audi, Ferrari to name but a few, you can find a full list of available cars, here,  although some of the vehicles on release are download only and some were not available, even in the store. There are also a large number of tracks, from racer mainstays like Silverstone, Nordschleife, Brands Hatch and Spa, to lesser used tracks like Black Cat County. More info on the tracks can be found here.

Assetto Corsa

Jump into the game and the first thing that hits you is the detail of the car. They’re beautiful to behold. The tracks are also detailed to the max. The one thing that bothers me about the environment was the lack of rain in the weather options. On a track like Silverstone, its very rare that you’ll get a full race weekend without a few showers at least. Getting to grips with your vehicle is the hardest thing about the game. This in itself is one of the most disappointing aspects of the title. I know it’s a simulation, and believe me, I have to keep telling myself that as I play it, but there are aspects to Assetto Corsa that simply don’t make any sense to me.

Touch the grass at high speed and you’re very likely to slide into the gravel. Kiss one of the sausage kerbs and you can kiss goodbye to a tyre. Touch one of the AI during a race and they’re likely to be fairly unaffected, you on the other hand may find yourself spinning into the barriers. Its all just a bit unforgiving, even if it is glorious to behold. The in-race camera is also a little on the drifty side in third-person view. The racing side of Assetto Corsa feels like it’s been tacked on to what is an astonishingly technical simulation. This is a massive shame.

As a simulator, the game is fantastic. You want to get involved in the bumper to bumper action on the track though, and this is where the game is let down. The AI settings can be dropped a couple of notches but even on the easiest of these settings the computer racers are bullies. They also appear to have the ability to simply power away from your seemingly bogged down charger. You’ll need a lot of practice to get used to the way each car handles and the way the cars chop and change from event to event do not help this. The various Event modes do mix the fun up a little, although trying to get a ton of BMWs to drift round a short drift track is pretty frustrating. Something else that you might find yourself tearing your hair out at, is the Hot Lap mode.

Assetto Corsa

This mode, while fun, is massively unforgiving when it comes to the track limits. Basically, in this mode, if its tarmac, you should be OK. Have a mm of rubber on the grass or heaven forbid, flick a single gravel stone and it invalidates the lap time. Slip one corner, no matter where on the lap, and all of your hard work is scrubbed. People will say that this is true to real life, but if you think about it, it really isn’t. The frustration factor gets higher in a Race. Touch an opponent and you’ll spin with absolutely no chance of catching the pack. Mis-time your braking zone and you’ll be left eating dust. It simply doesn’t feel like a level playing field.

The car on track also doesn’t feel connected to the tarmac. The way the vehicle travels across the tarmac, to me, felt like it was floating slightly above it. As the tracks pitch and yaw the car around, while in chase camera view, it also seemed as if the car was pinned in a particular axis through the centre of the graphic. The end result makes it feel like you’re spinning something attached to a pole.

That being said, the sound that the cars make as you over-rev and slide round track corners is impressive. Each vehicle has a life-accurate engine roar and even tyre rumble and wind rush has been thought of. The in-game menu music is not too intrusive either. All-in-all not an unpleasant experience. The cars are pretty responsive to your frantic stick-twitching too. The issues I have with Assetto Corsa could be far outweighed by the sheer technical detail that Kunos have packed into the game. Sadly, for most gamers, the racing experience of games like Project CARS and Forza will have spoiled the type of racing that Assetto Corsa can currently offer.

Assetto Corsa

All in all, Assetto Corsa is a spectacular, if flawed racing simulator. The visuals and audio are both ultra-accurate. The many tracks that are available are all laser scanned for pinpoint accuracy and you have a massive array of technical settings to play around with if you so desire, to get the most from your driving style, the conditions and the track itself. There are some flaws in this though. Not nearly as much detail has been poured into the wheel-to-wheel racing. What should be the meat and drink of the game is turned into a frustrating tag along at the back of the grid thanks to some poor AI difficulty ramps and some pretty unforgiving physics. The Hot Lap and Drift modes, while fun, also verge on the level of impossible thanks to over-zealous track limits and heavy car settings. If you love racing simulators, then by all means, purchase the game, but make sure, to get the maximum enjoyment from it, that you have a decent wheel and pedal setup otherwise it’s just a frustrating grind.

Thanks to Xbox and Kunos Simulazioni for supporting TiX