Xbox Game Pass keeps improving its roster of games with the addition of nine new titles being added in July. Fallout 4, The Division, and The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited were just added, and joining them are Warhammer: Vermintide 2, DiRT 4, Zombie Army Trilogy, Human Fall Flat, Bomber Crew, Abzu, Shadow Complex Remastered and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
No one can deny the value of Game Pass at the present time, and with all future Xbox exclusives launching day and date on the service, it’s just going to get better!
Bethesda are back at E3 for the second time and they have landed with a bang (albeit after a slight delay on the start time). A whole host of really exciting news has come out of the conference, here’s a quick round-up for you of the highlights.
Skyrim re-mastered for current gen consoles, yes the rumours where true. Skyrim is coming back in a fully remastered version.
Two additions for Elder Scrolls Online, the first is the Dark Brotherhood DLC out this week on Tuesday (14th of June) the second is One Tamriel, a level free mode where the whole world is open to you free from level restrictions, you can party with who you like and go where you want. Coming in fall this year.
Elder Scrolls Legends – a new game, this is a strategy card game for mobile devices.
Some more dlc coming in a variety of forms. The first named Contraptions adds machinery and more workshop options. A build your own vault and Nuka world, which looked like it may be a theme park of sorts, but we will have to see.
In conjunction with the work being done on Bethesda VR Fallout 4 will be released in 2017 on the HTC vive.
Snap map update with logic options single player additions and lots more.
2 new multiplayer modes, Exodus (a 1 flag CTF style game) and Sector a multi zone capture game
Unto the evil – the first premium dlc with 3 new multiplayer maps called Offering, Cataclysm and Ritual. A new playable demon called Harvester and a new gun, as well as new taunts and armour sets.
Dishonoured 2 announced with a big gameplay reveal and a release date of November 11th 2016, special edition collectors are available with some toys and additions for the big time fan, for a short time pre-orders will also get you a copy of the first game.
A reboot of Prey, set on a spaceship with a psychologically thriller twist, a very impressive trailer was shown but not what looked like in game footage#
Quake Champions – arena shooter coming to PC
fallout shelter – new enemy battle and more content and will be available to play on PC
Loads more conferences and news to come! Can’t wait to see what else comes up
In the MMO arena, most gamers have to wait approximately a year to 18 months before any major expansion is released for their RPG of choice. Due to the unexpected delay of Elder Scrolls Online on consoles, this standard has been broken as the first in a series of DLC arranged for Elder Scrolls has been released merely six months since launch.
For those who have ventured into the shadow of the white gold tower, to represent your chosen alliance, will know that Bethesda has done something slightly different with their PVP zone. Most MMO’s place a distinct emphasis on separating player vs player and player vs environment encounters. This can make the PVP zones feel empty, even soulless. Bethesda does not subscribe to this method. Throughout Cyrodiil you will encounter npc’s as they go about their daily business, providing you with quests and chores to perform, and the environment is littered with the same caves, ruins and events that populate the rest of the world. This conveys a sense of life on the game that no other MMO currently attempts (to my knowledge).
It is with this in mind that we delve into the dlc, and take our first tentative steps into the Imperial City. With the release of this content, entry ways to the imperial sewers have opened up, (similar to your escape point in Oblivion), allowing progression into the city proper. These access points are also directly linked to the ongoing war throughout Cyrodiil, so if you find the nearby fortification occupied by an opposing force, entry to the Imperial city is barred. Should your faction hold the ground you may enter the sewers and meet with the vanguard that are pushing forward in to the territory now overrun by Molag Bal’s daedric forces.
Upon entering the Imperial City you are instantly greeted to the two new PvE dungeons reachable from the sewers. The Imperial Prison has long been overwhelmed, with gangs of prisoners ruling the roost and driving out the guards until the Daedra arrived. Now the prisoners and the common people of the Imperial City, trapped within its walls by the Daedra, are being captured and sent to the Ayleid ruins beneath the prison. Furthermore Terran Arminus, a Moth priest has requested your aid in retrieving an elder scrolls for the now overrun White Gold Tower. Both of these 4 man dungeons have their own self-contained story and two difficulty modes; normal and veteran.
Those who have hit level 50 now have up to 16 Veteran levels instead of 14, and the harder instances of these dungeons hold new high level rewards to be collected.
Both dungeons are extremely complex, containing several hours’ worth of content and new enemy types to face. Those who played Elder Scrolls IV will recognise the other game areas revealed in this expansion. The Arena, Memorial, Temple, Arboretum, Nobles and Elven districts all make a return in ESO, each with their own distinctive enemies to face and challenges to overcome. These PvP/PvE environments contain numerous new foes including the Xivkyn, a race of Daedra that has taken up residence within the confines of the city.
So far, despite putting countless hours into the new expansion I would be surprised if I have seen half of the content contained within, and the balance between PvP and PvE within the city feels naturally challenging and makes each venture into a district both unique and familiar at the same time.
With Daedric treasure vaults to be found and collected, both new dungeons, a huge new PvP area filled to the brim with PvE quests there is plenty to for every type of player to do in the heart of Cyrodiil.
Including the DLC with my review of Elder Scrolls Online neither improves nor diminishes my original view, and as such my opinion is that the original score I gave this game still stands.
Good things come to those who wait. That’s what I kept telling myself when the console version of Elder Scrolls Online was delayed shortly before the official release date in April 2014.
The wait is now over, but much has changed in the interim. Like most MMOs, frequent updates have been released for the PC version and a decision was taken by Bethesda Softworks to do away with the subscription fees, bringing ESO in line with other successful Buy to Play titles like the Guild Wars series.
This meant that we received all of these changes in the ESO Tamriel Unlimited edition that hit shelves this month.
ESO continues the tradition of every Elder Scrolls game since Morrowind; introducing you to the game imprisoned in some fashion before revealing you to be the Vestige, the one person that can stand against (insert antagonist here). This time around, it’s Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination, who through manipulation and subterfuge has torn the veil between Nirn, the realms of men and mer, and the realms of Oblivion. Further machinations from his subordinates has resulted in the fall of the emperor and set the Ten Races of Tamriel on a collision course to occupy the currently empty Ruby Throne, whereby distracting the races from the imminent threat from the Daedric Prince.
Elder Scrolls Online is no “tour de force” in terms of its graphical fidelity, especially in comparison to recent titles. Given the delay in release, and the nature and scale of the game, I didn’t expect ESO to be a Witcher 3 beater regardless, and anyone who did is obviously not aware of the different requirements needed for a persistent open world single player RPG and a persistent open world massively multiplayer online RPG. That said, for a Console based MMO, the graphics are truly surprising, and easily surpass the visuals of Neverwinter, and in my personal opinion, firmly compete with the aesthetics that Final Fantasy 14 came to deliver after its relaunch.
Sun and Moon cycles illuminate the lands of Tamriel, while dynamic weather system brings the world to life. The console version obviously lacks some of the graphical punch that a heavyweight PC can produce, and the draw distance has obviously been turned down to allow for a balance between stability and fidelity, but despite some minor character and texture popping when things get hectic, the beauty of this massive world is apparent and eminently impressive.
Those familiar with an action MMO will be instantly familiar with the action bar set up, giving you space to hold six active abilities at any time. These slots can be filled with Racial, Class, faction or weapon based skills allowing for a wide range of variation to cater to how each person wants to play. These are further increased to 12 once you hit level fifteen and you unlock a secondary weapon set that can be switched on the fly.
Add into this the “morph” skill system, which allows deviating paths for each skill as you utilise and level it up, this further increases the possibility for a more tailored and unique approach to building the character that you want to play.
During battle, enemy attacks are telegraphed with white and red representations on the enemies that indicate whether you can block or interrupt the ability, and attack range markers are displayed on the ground to allow you to evade the damage.
Much like the overarching Dragonborn / Civil War storylines from Skyrim, the ongoing struggle between each of the three factions plays directly into the multiplayer PvP facet of the game, with the central theme of the Daedric invasion giving focus and credence to the solo story of ESO.
Escaping the grasp of Morag Bal with the uninspiringly named “The Prophet”, you are returned to the realm of Nirn where upon you are tasked with aiding him in relocating and freeing the Five companions in order to face and depose Mannimarco, the traitorous lackey of Molag Bal and leader of the Necromancer‘s Cult of Worms.
Each Faction has its unique quest lines and side quests that run alongside the main solo quest, with the Fighters guild and Mage’s Guild quest lines identical for all 3 coalitions. Like its predecessors, the world is littered with locations, dungeons and quests that reward you for straying off the beaten path and the instantly recognizable Compass at the top of your screen is forever full of undiscovered destinations.
Each of these quests are fully voiced, and the scope of this undertaking is truly impressive in its own right. I have yet to encounter dialogue in over 60 hours of gameplay that sounded “phoned in”.
Once you hit level 10, you can venture into Cyrodiil and take part in the faction battles to claim the empire for your own faction. Most of the core of Cyrodiil is present, and has been separated into sextants, two zones for each faction. The Ebonheart Pact dominate the lands in the North East around Cheydinhal , the Daggerfall Covenant taking root in the North West near Chorrol and the Aldmeri Dominion holding sway in the South of the map from Skingrad to Bravil.
The ultimate goal, is to capture specific key strongholds in the warzone in order to have a member of your faction crowned emperor. To do so, you must assault enemy forces and fortifications to break their hold before reinforcing and defending the captured points.
If any of you have previously played Planetside, there are a lot of similarities and the instance in which you participate is in a constant state of flux as the tide of battle ebbs and flows.
The thing I did not know about Cyrodiil, is that it does not force you to fight other players head on if PvP is not interesting to you. Scattered throughout the area are quest npc’s, who send you to dungeons and against mobs that inhabit the world, and alongside these you also have quests that your faction can provide to aid the war effort indirectly.
As a Nightblade I focused on scouting the enemy strongholds; sneaking behind enemy lines, eliminating key npc’s in my path and avoiding players, before sending back tactical reports to reveal troop composition and strength. I can honestly say my heart was in my mouth the entire time!
I happened to stumble upon a cave on my return, and after defeating the wolves that inhabited the grotto, I made my way via Cheydinhal where the local militia asked for my aid against the imperial army that remained in the area. After killing their commanding officer and returning the militia leaders stolen heirloom, I made my way back to base and handed in my quests. Not once, during the hour I was questing in the PvP Zone away from the front lines, did I encounter an enemy player.
True to MMO tropes, ESO has its own crafting classes; Woodworking, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Alchemy, Clothier and Provisioner. As you go about your travels, killing Daedra and Cultists, rescuing peasants or uncovering lost history, you will encounter resources and chests in the wilderness. Unlike most other MMOs, you do not require a specific tool with which to harvest these resources, (except the treasure chests – you need lockpicks for those), but they are shared with everyone in the world so it is first come, first served.
Returning to town, you can then refine the materials you have gathered in order to craft your own weapons, armour, potions. Most interesting is enchanting, with a system similar to the 3 syllable dragon shout from Skyrim – you combine runes to refine your own enhancements.
Elder scrolls wouldn’t be Elder Scrolls without a plethora of goods stored in bags, crates, barrels, sacks and on corpses throughout the world, and once again taking its cue from Skyrim, the provisioner skill takes advantage of this abundance of food items to create buffs for use while adventuring.
Sadly, it’s not all rays of sunshine, as ESO still has many bugs that impact the performance and enjoyment that can be derived from the game. Busy areas of the map, and magic filled battles can cause perceivable frame rate drops that can, at higher levels, mean the difference between life and death. (Thankfully I always hold some filled soul gems for revival, just in case).
Vanishing npc’s and featureless players are more bugs that have transferred from the PC version, and although Zenimax have confirmed they are working on a patch to rectify this issue, it happened frequently enough during my 60 hours of play to know this must be impacting a large portion of the user base.
Being a seasoned MMO gamer, I personally take these issues with a pinch of salt, but those that are taking their first foray into the world of MMORPGs may not be similarly inclined, so forewarned is forearmed.
All in all, Elder Scrolls Online delivers a large swathe of the lands of Tamriel for you to explore at your leisure, with thoroughly competent MMO mechanics blended seamlessly with tried and tested elements from their legacy Elder Scrolls games.
E3 2015 is finally here. We here at This is Xbox have been teeming with excitement since, well since last E3 ended really, and we are thrilled to bring you the first round-up of the first conference.
Bethesda are the ones lucky enough to kick off this year’s event, and the pressure is on, especially as this is their very first E3 conference.
Pete Hines takes the stage, appropriately accompanied by the Skyrim theme music. The crowd cheers, Pete primes us with a montage of game footage from Bethesda properties, and now for the reveals.
First off, Marty Stratton takes to the stage to talk about Doom and show us gameplay footage of the title in action.
Utilising id Softwares’ id Tech 6 engine, Doom is looking absolutely stunning. Environments are highly detailed, the lighting is spectacular, the sounds effects have incredible bass and clarity, and the particular effects are smouldering.
The Doom experience we remember from back in the day appears to be at play here, with supremely gory and gruesome kills, including special finishing moves you can activate on injured enemies – reminiscent of Mortal Kombat fatalities – health pickups, fast paced combat, and body parts flying as you dash, jump and shoot your way through facilities on Mars and Hell.
Switching weapons in the radial activates slow motion, giving you a chance to switch without being torn apart, and we got to see the weapons in action, including: shotgun, super shotgun, assault rifle and plasma rifle.
The intense action of combating the demons of hell are punctuated by minor exploration and simple key card, hand –print puzzle solving, allowing a mild breather between encounters to catch your breath and slow your heart rate. Then we were shown the chainsaw which gruesomely tears through beasties with different animations based on how enemies try and fail to block it. Finally the single player gameplay reveal ended with a truly stunningly death animation sequence, hinting at similar ones for each time you fall to the armies of Hell.
Next the Doom multiplayer was shown off with a gameplay reveal, sporting fast, team-based arena combat reminiscent of Quake 3 Arena. However, the standout feature was Snapmap, a feature similar to the Halo series Forge mode, where you can create your own multiplayer game variations and build and edit maps. It certainly looks like an expansive and powerful tool, providing a decent facsimile of PC mod building to the Xbox One.
Finally, Doom had one last set of gameplay footage, showing off Hell in singleplayer, some different and tougher enemies, and the weapons you’ll need to deal with them, like miniguns and rocket launchers. We also saw a massive boss and the infamous BFG.
All of the footage was 1080p 60fps. What a way to kick off the conference and E3.
Next up was the Design Director from Battlecry studios to show us some more footage of Battlecry, a multiplayer, team-based action battler with a focus on melee weapons, highly reminiscent of Team Fortress.
Up next was Arkane Studios’ Harvey Smith and Raphaël Colantonio, co-creators of Dishonoured, and they revealed a pre-rendered cut scene of Dishonored 2. The focus of the teaser was on returning character, Emily, now one of the protagonists of the new adventure, as she uses sword play, crossbows, gadgets and super natural abilities to move about the city and infiltrate areas. Stem punk robots crop up as adversaries and your super natural abilities certainly seem to strike a Darkness tone, but no gameplay footage was a disappointment. What was confirmed is that the title is being worked on and it will be completable without having to kill anyone.
However, another Dishonored announcement appeared out of the blue with the reveal of Dishonoured Definitive Edition hitting Xbox One in the fall of this year with improved visuals and all DLCs.
Next a video montage of upcoming Elder Scrolls Online content hinted at what’s to come to the recently launched MMO on Xbox One. The Imperial City in ruins, the picturesque City of Orsinium, more enemies to fight, dungeons to explore, and bears mounts.
Another Elder Scrolls title was also revealed, The Elder Scrolls Legends, a strategy card game, free to play coming to PC and iPad soon.
And now came the reveal we’d all been waiting for: further details on Fallout 4, and boy was it worth the wait.
Todd Howard took to the stage and introduced gameplay footage of Fallout 4, showing the very beginning of the game which takes place before the bombs fall. Here you sculpt your face in the mirror of you house, choosing either a male or female character and pulling and pushing on the face to build the look of your character – no sliders.
Context sensitive dialogue was show off, with the protagonist initiating conversations with their partner based on the modifications you were making to their face. Bethesda Softworks recorded over a thousand popular names so you might be referred to by name throughout the adventure.
200 years after the bombs have fallen you leave the vault 111 as the sole survivor, mysteriously having not aged a day. Of course you find your old robotic butler as well as the dog featured in last week’s trailer, who can be commanded to go places and even grab items from the world.
Voice acting appears prominent from your character, suggesting a stronger emphasis on story. VATs returns and still looks awesome with its slow motion killing animations. And the visuals themselves look mind blowing, with oodles of detailed vegetation swaying in the wind, beautifully derelict buildings and superb lighting.
There’s a new Pip Boy in the game, which is rendered with your character’s wrist and hand when you look at it, showing it off as a part of you rather than a separate screen. Also you can play audio tapes with it and even play games you find on tapes.
Then came the announcement of the collector’s Edition, which will come with a Pip Boy, and in that Pip Boy you can place your phone, and of course Bethesda will be releasing an app to turn your phone into second screen experience as if you truly own a Pip Boy. Gimmicky? Yes, but as Todd himself put it “as far as stupid gimmicks go, it is the best f**king one I have ever seen. It is awesome.”
Another in-game feature shown off was the ability to rebuild structures. You can create a custom house for yourself as well as full settlements, where you plant food, build power generators, place power lines, and build defences to see off attacking raiders. This can be done on several large sites and you can even setup trade routes between them.
You can also craft, modify and upgrade weapons with the junk you find in the wasteland, with multiple options for which items you use to create parts. You can also modify your power armour.
Finally, some montage footage hints at other features, including calling in a drop ship for pickup and using its mounted machine gun on a fly by, jetpacks for your power armour, and some of the most menacing looking death claws we’ve ever seen. Indeed the adrenaline was pumping profusely at this point, and it damn near killed us to see a release date of the 10th of November this year.
And finally, to quench your Fallout thirst whilst you wait until November, a vault building game where you are the overseer controlling everything within the vault is hitting iPhone and iPad, tonight, right now. Sporting a wonderfully captivating combination of 3D and 2D visuals, with characters in 2D and environments in 3D, Fallout Shelter, is a free mobile and tablet game that looks like a terrific management title.
What a brilliant start to E3. Bethesda have certainly set the bar high and their line-up of titles looks incredible. We’ll have more conference round-ups for you as they happen, and plenty of news in between, so stick with us as E3 2015 continues.
What happens when you combine developers with resumes which include Command and Conquer, Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls, World of Warcraft, Mass Effect, Star Wars, EA Sports, and the Sims, a fully 3D, party-based action-RPG featuring a fully co-op campaign and an $850,000 KickStarter campaign? The answer is Everstar.
Unlike many Kickstarter projects, Everstar has fully developed gameplay to show to inspire confidence in the final product.
Everstar is a game about a class of teenage gladiators who will charm and surprise you, follow you into danger, face their worst nightmares, and eventually tear down the world and stand atop the rubble in victory.
Everstar is a cutting edge realtime 3D RPG for Xbox One & other Next-Gen machines.
You control a party of up to 6 characters at once
Each character’s gameplay is deeply customizable with job and kit swap systems
The full campaign can be played with online co-op – invite up to 5 friends or go it alone – your choice
Be a battlefield general in Tactics mode, or get your hands dirty on the front lines in Action mode. Both styles of play support either a keyboard/mouse (PC only) or gamepad (all platforms)
Everstar will support (at least) the Spanish, French, German, Polish, and Portuguese languages
You can think of Everstar as: Harry Potter with teenage gladiators or Dragon Age with improved gameplay and the deep NPC relationships from Persona 4.
The team includes Jeremy Townsend (Director), Anwar Bey-Taylor (Lead Character Artist), Jeremy Hentschel (Writer), Eric Marks (Audio Director), Anthony Maurice (Engineer) and Alan Stone (Engineer).
For more information on both Everstar and how you can get involved in supporting the project, head on over to their KickStarter page.
Nothing has been officially confirmed, and it is also not yet known if the listing is an error considering The Elder Scrolls Online will make its way to the shiny new Xbox One console in due course. If true, then Bethesda follows in the path of Square-Enix who are releasing what appears to be a PC quality version of Tomb Raider (basically Lara’s bouncy new hair-do) – Skyrim on Xbox One would possibly be of same or better quality than the PC edition.
If and when Bethesda confirm that Skyrim is “officially” being released on Xbox One, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Bethesda Softworks has revealed that The Elder Scrolls Online is in development for the Xbox One and will launch in Spring 2014. The Elder Scrolls Online is the latest chapter of the award-winning franchise – and will bring the legendary experience online for the first time. Players can choose their own style of play as they embark upon an epic adventure across all of Tamriel, playing alone on a heroic quest as in previous Elder Scrolls games, exploring the huge, rich world with a few select friends, or playing with hundreds of others in massive PvP battles to save the Empire.
The Elder Scrolls Online will be the first Elder Scrolls title to be played online after nearly 20 years of offering the best-selling, award-winning fantasy role-playing games for single player only. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the most recent chapter of the Elder Scrolls story. Skyrim, was released in November 2011 and enjoyed worldwide critical and commercial success. As the follow-up to the 2002 Role-Playing Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Skyrim earned hundreds of ‘Game of the Year’ awards and has already sold more than 20 million copies.
The Elder Scrolls Online, is being developed for the Xbox One by ZeniMax Online Studios – when a release date or more information is revealed, we’ll keep you updated.
Vampires and vampire hunters; a generation of kids born in the 90’s will likely associate these two things with a one Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Does Dawnguard go down the sparkly vampire route or do the bloodsuckers get redemption in Bethesda’s new DLC for the juggernaut that is Skyrim? Continue reading Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC Review→