Xbox Wire has just announced which games we’ll be getting as part of Games With Gold for May.
May brings Defense Grid 2, a tower defense title from Hidden Path Entertainment & 505 Games – followed by Costume Quest 2 from Double Fine Productions and Majesco. On the Xbox 360, Xbox Live Gold members start the month with Codemasters’ racer GRID 2, followed by EA’s ever-popular puzzle classic: Peggle.
As usual, all games are available only for a limited time, as part of the ongoing Games with Gold program, so sign up now to get in on the action!
HUGE Congratulations to Paul Jones! You have won the full prize bundle as detailed below. Please contact me; kris[at]thisisxbox.com with your preferred UK delivery address.
To everyone who entered and shared the competition, thank you. Please stay with us into 2014 as we continue to bring you Xbox One news, reviews, features and competitions. Thanks again – The ThisisXbox Team. 🙂
Here at TiX we are lucky enough to have fantastic readers as well as writers, we have great relationships with publishers and developers alike. To celebrate a fantastic year in Xbox gaming, we have a massive giveaway for you to get involved. We have one big grand prize valued over £300 for you to win to help make your Christmas and New Year that much better. So, what’s up for grabs I hear you cry? Well take a look at this…
Xbox LIVE Arcade Titles:
Xbox 360 Games:
Grand Theft Auto 5
Saints Row IV
Lost Planet 3
Killer is Dead
We’ll also be throwing in the following PC Games to the prize pot:
Recovery Search & Destroy
Police Force 2
Disaster Response Unit
And the following items gathered during 2013 from events and launch packs:
A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones Paperback book from San Diego ComicCon 2013)
Farm Collection 4D puzzle
007 Limited Edition Cocktail Shaker
Fancy all of this in time for Christmas? Well it’s really simple, we want to know what game our readers enjoyed the most over the past 12 months so reply below with your ‘Xbox Game of the Year 2013‘. This can be either an Xbox 360 or Xbox One title.
For a second entry you’ll need to tweet the following message and include your Twitter name in your post below.
Today sees the launch of the Super Modified Pack, new downloadable content for GRID 2 available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 400 MS Points. To mark the news, Codemasters has released a new video showing cars from the Super Modified Pack in action at the world famous Brands Hatch circuit. The trailer features the cars competing in the game’s Time Attack mode as shown above.
The Super Modified Pack includes four rare editions of cars available to race in GRID 2’s single player, split-screen and multiplayer modes. Each new vehicle has been modified to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of the car by some of the world’s leading tuning specialists to compete in time attack events, and deliver a unique racing experience across GRID 2’s game modes.
The Super Modified Pack includes:
Auto Gallery Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) – this iconic edition of the Skyline develops a huge 890hp at 8100 RPM from its 2.8 litre turbo-charged engine.
Tomei Cusco Subaru Impreza WRX STI – the industry leading Aerodynamics kit from Voltex combines with a 4WD system to deliver huge amounts of grip and precision.
Mazda RX-7 PANSPEED – this record breaking car’s new engine is positioned deep inside the bay for a low centre of mass and perfect weight distribution.
5ZIGEN Honda Civic Super Modified – this lightening quick front-engine, front-wheel-drive racer is the ultimate turbo-charged example of the classic Honda Civic.
Since GRID 2’s launch, players have completed over 50 million overtakes, entered nearly 19 Million events and travelled 150 million miles – enough to travel around the world 6000 times or travel to Mars!
Codemasters who (based out of Birmingham) are the sole remaining truly independent British publisher, and with this comes with a certain expectation from UK gamers. Predominantly we want games that will appeal to us; the local audience. However as DiRT proved and now GRID 2, this is the last thing that Codemasters seem to be keeping fresh in their mind. It’s quite apparent by the lack of UK based career races that this title has been aimed at where the money is…. The United States of America and the Asian markets. If it wasn’t for the fact Codemasters still create enjoyable games you might find us more upset.
As a somewhat spiritual successor to the TOCA Touring Car series, the game finds itself sat in between Gran Turismo and PGR (Project Gotham Racing) in terms of what you can expect. It’s not quite a simulation title, but then it’s definitely not an arcade game either. It’s a 5 year late sequel that blends game mechanics and modes together in way that leaves us feeling a little confused about the intent. Oh… and it includes a ‘story line’. They are trying to fill a very narrow niche market, but Codemasters feel they have cracked it, and I agree.
One of the major new features for GRID 2 is the ‘TrueFeel’ handling. This does exactly what it sounds like by ensuring it looks and feels like you’re driving a real car while simplifying the experience just enough to make sure it’s fun for less experienced players – although removing the driver aids (as seen in previous titles) seems an odd move given that goal. Ensuring that this doesn’t raise the entry barrier too high for newcomers and first time players; GRID 2 has retained the Flashback rewind feature that has now become a standard feature in a good deal of race games, not just from Codemasters. Flashback allows you to remind the action by a few seconds and rectifying those little mistakes made. You can change the amount of Flashbacks available or switch them off entirely.
There are some race types and features missing from GRID 2; team mates and Derby races for example, however GRID 2 still features an eccentrically random collection of different motorsports, race types, and locations – with an equally wide-ranging collection of cars from across the last four decades. Although this feels like a lack of focus on one era, this was a purposeful development decision from Codemasters and does become one of GRID 2’s main appeals. Checkpoint races in ‘70s muscle cars rubbing shoulders with drift challenges, duels, time trials, and circuit races – all taking part in a variety of real-world cities, stadia, and closed-road events combine together to give GRID 2 a great variety of game modes ensuring boredom doesn’t set in too quickly.
So I mentioned earlier on that there is a story line to GRID 2… unfortunately this is something Codemasters are still convinced they need to include; a plot to explain everything happening. But even this doesn’t work the way it should and there are massive gaps in the players learning curve to understanding just what is happening. Whilst there is no ‘team building’ in GRID 2 as the career is structured around competing against different race clubs with the goal of bringing them into the World Series Racing (WSR); the way the player is rewarded is unclear. The main way to unlock new cars and events is by winning fans – a process that the game fails to explain properly in terms of how you’re actually rewarded for a race. And it seems to be at completely random intervals you are told to pick a new car, without the explanation of what club it will be used for etc. Even specific in-game rewards and penalties can be confusing, and whether you get away with cutting corners seems to be largely random. Hitting an opponent never is though: they always get the worst of it whether it seems to be your fault or not.
Whilst the variety of modes available is excellent and storyline aspect annoying, both are overshadowed by just how good the graphics are. Codemasters never seem to get the full acclaim they rightly deserve for their visuals, but both the scenery and the cars themselves are easily within the top-tier of the genre. The landscapes in particular are presented with a good deal more showmanship than either Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport. We are at the end of current gen titles with a few more weeks before the Xbox One and PS4 are released, but Codemasters have done a fantastic job with squeezing the last bit of performance out of our current gen consoles.
There is a 1 major graphical/presentation issue however, and oh boy has it been complained about. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and online forums have all been awash with complaints. There is no cockpit view. Apart from the drain on a console’s horsepower there doesn’t seem to be any satisfying explanation for this and the only replacement that comes close to resolving IT is a bonnet view. Not exactly what some of the diehard fans were looking for.
So here we are, we’ve been playing the game for 1 week now and suddenly it’s apparent that once the ‘excitement of the new’ fades away, we aren’t actually left with as much as we initially thought. There is the concept of LiveRoutes, which creates randomised layouts by connecting together separate pieces of a course, but although this ensures even more variety randomisation rarely satisfies in any type of game – and least of all a racer where one of the primary pleasures is getting the top time on a hand-crafted course. LiveRoutes kills off the ability to learn a route inside and out enabling that record breaking time and for a few race simulation gamers I know, this could be a problem… Benjos I am looking at you!
It’s been 5 years since the original GRID, that is 5 years of planning and brain-storming, design concept, creation, beta and bug testing and more. But for a game that’s been five years in the making GRID 2 is frustratingly inconsistent, and lacks the genuine innovation that marked out the original. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable or a well-polished, graphically pleasing title – it just feels lacking in certain areas. So to make sure you get my point… it’s a great all-round racer with modes and features to please and entertain pretty much every kind of petrol head, it just feels there may have been too many sacrifices made in pursuit of the big bucks.
So here we are, the part of my MCM Expo coverage that talks about everything gaming – exclusive to ThisisXbox. If you want to read what I thought of the day in general then head over to my personal blog and read all about it here.
So without further ado let’s talk video games.
Firstly I need to apologise to you and to myself… as I attended MCM on Saturday 25th, I missed ‘Commander Shepard Uncovered with Mark Meer’ on the Games Stage. GUTTED doesn’t begin to tell you how I feel about this, but what I can tell you is he was an absolute gent during the whole weekend. Reports are coming in of him spending longer than planned signing autographs, discussing Dungeons & Dragons and mingling with his fans. Mark Meer is most definitely a fan favourite and didn’t disappoint anyone over the course of the event.
Although not Xbox related I did take an hour out of my morning to make a quick stop and visit the MCM ESports Theatre and watch the first Semi Final of their League of Legends Tournament. Sponsored by Madcatz and in conjunction with Backdrop Gaming (DDR:UK), the arena was packed with ESports and MOBA fans. Never being a massive ESports fan myself but always curious about the ever growing popularity and celebrity status of some of the stars, this was truly an eye opening experience. The fans are passionate and the players unbelievably skilled. Unfortunately for me, the fans I was sat near were unskilled in the art of personal hygiene and although greatly enjoying the action on screen there was only so much body odour I could endure… so I made a quick exit for fresh air only an hour in to the action.
Let’s talk about the crazy red and black clad anti-superhero also known as Deadpool. Yeah that’s right, MCM Expo attendees got to get hands on with Activision’s soon to be released title and oh boy it was fun and also a WORLD EXCLUSIVE! I won’t give much away now as ThisisXbox will have a review for you closer to release date (28th June), but nothing is done lightly in Deadpool and everything is taken to the extreme including driving rocket powered bicycles which is enormously good fun!
Anyone that knows anything about me will know that Resident Evil is one of the original reasons I am completely Zombie mad. I have fond memories of sitting up all night with my cousin @CasperMcGrew playing Resident Evil 1 and giggling to cover up our own fear. ‘What! What is this?’ – Five points to whoever can tell me who said this and when. Anyway, Capcom were on hand during the event to showcase (along with some other titles) Resident Evil: Revelations. Set between 4 and 5, Revelations focuses on and follows Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield; BSAA Founders. I’m not going to lie to you, I didn’t get much time with Revelations as the queues forming behind were huge and tempers looked to be running short, but it looked polished and detailed. The controls were intuitive and responsive and I felt completely home taking out some T Virus scum. Keep an eye on the site over the following week or two for my full review of Revelations.
Whilst attempting to send a tweet out to @KittyKat1988_ a car loving, FPS fan and twitter nut, I remembered the biggest title I was looking forward to playing before I review it is GRID 2; the 5 year later sequel to Race Driver: GRID from racing game powerhouse Codemasters. How do I sum up what I played? The AI is actually intelligent, the cars feel much more real than any I’ve ever experienced in a game and it looks and sounds magnificent. If you have been following our GRID 2 coverage in the lead up to its release you will know just how excited I am about this game – multiply that by 10… no 100, and that’s how I felt after getting hands on. I can see some late nights with beer, pizza and my buddy Ben coming up soon when I finally get my hands on this game.
Lost Planet 3 was also on the show floor with many attendees stuck to the controller, frozen in joy. Lost Planet 3 is in fact a series prequel and takes a look at E.D.N III when it was more of a frontier planet. Spark Unlimited (Developer) and Capcom have promised more focus, more approachable gameplay and more chills. I ran out of time to play Lost Planet 3, but did manage to catch the last 5 minutes of live gameplay footage on the Game Stage. Take yourself over to Twitch.tv and catch up for yourself and let me know what you think.
Other games on the show floor included (in no particular order) Dofus (Windows/MAC), Dynasty Warriors 3 (Xbox360, PS3), Luigi’s Mansion (3DS), Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS/WiiU), Utimate Ninja Storm 3 (Xbox360/PS3), the incredible looking Tales of Xillia (PS3), Wakfu (Windows/Mac), One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PS3), a title we recently reviewed; Persona 4 Arena (Xbox360/PS3), Tekken Card Tournament (PC, iOS, Mobile), Mario Kart 7 (3DS), a game I cannot wait to play when it arrives on the door step; Metro: Last Light (Xbox360/PS3/PC), soon to be released; Remember Me (Xbox360/PS3/PC) and Project X Zone (3DS). A handful of these I managed to get a couple minutes of game time with, but very limited. Remember Me looks fantastic and I wish Tales of Xillia was out for the Xbox360 because it would definitely be on my buy list.
The last thing I have to share with you is Splinter Cell Blacklist. I had almost forgot I had a seat reserved for me on the Games Stage, so at 15:58 I dashed through the crowd to take my place 2 rows from the front to watch a live stealth demo with commentary from Ubisoft Art Director Scott Lee. Instead of talking about it, head here to watch the full demo with commentary – watch it as I did and enjoy!
And there you have it, my games coverage albeit short and sweet of what was on offer at MCM Expo. This was very much just a warm up in preparation for EuroGamer later this year for some people, but I hope I have given you a glimpse of what was on offer and maybe even convinced you to head down (or up (or over the channel)) to London next year for MCM Expo 2014.
Making us even more excited for the release of GRID2, Codemasters today revealed another new feature; LiveRoutes, which will feature exclusively in GRID 2.
Offering millions of route possibilities, LiveRoutes comes into play for specific events in the game’s city environments – Paris, Barcelona, Chicago, Miami and Dubai. Junctions on LiveRoutes circuits can switch the track up to six different ways, as LiveRoutes randomly selects a route through the city.
LiveRoutes is the new challenge event that we’re most proud of in GRID 2. It’s as fresh to racing games as Flashback was when we introduced it as a mechanic in the original GRID.
said Clive Moody, Senior Executive Producer for GRID 2 at Codemasters.
In a LiveRoutes event, you don’t know what’s coming next and it turns each race into a test of your racecraft, car handling and reactions on circuits that cannot be learnt. In both career mode and online, LiveRoutes offers near limitless possibilities in every race and it’s a great leveller, even for the most experienced racing game players.
So there have it, LiveRoutes sounds like a great new features. The new LiveRoutes video (below) shows how the road changes ahead dynamically on different play-throughs, creating new routes through GRID 2’s Paris Street Racing environment. Let us know your thoughts below.
Today Codemasters released an extended multiplayer GRID 2 gameplay trailer showcasing new locations, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and features such as vehicle customisation from the game’s online mode.
The multiplayer video gives us a first view of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Circuit in-game, the iconic venue which is the world’s largest sporting spectator facility and has been the spiritual home of American motorsport for over a century.
The trailer also reveals the game’s livery editor in action, which features up to six billion different design combinations so we the player can stamp our own identity online. Game modes including Checkpoint racing in Paris and street racing in Chicago are shown alongside RaceNet’s extensive suite of social features in the video.
GRID 2 is out on May 21st so keep your eyes peeled for a review from TiX soon!
Whether players want to dive into a quick race online or in two-player split-screen, specialise in their favourite event or become one of the best cross-discipline racers in the world, GRID 2 offers a multiplayer experience that revolves around the gamer’s play style and choices. GRID 2‘s wide-range of game modes can be played online with up to 12 players, including custom races based on player preferences and choosing from pre-defined playlists to jump straight into the action. Players can modify their cars with upgrades and make their mark on the grid by customising their car with a simple yet powerful livery editor which offers up to 6 billion different combinations. New anti-griefing technology includes player grouping, so gamers who like to trade paint will be brought together online whilst clean racers are more likely to find similar drivers in their online sessions.
Codemasters has today unleashed at full speed the first full-length GRID 2 gameplay trailer to set your heartbeats racing this valentines day! The video reveals how a new world of competitive motorsport comes alive with stylish cinematic’s, stunning locations and beautifully rendered cars.
The gameplay video below reveals a flavour of GRID 2’s unique racing experience and unveils a selection of the game’s beautifully realised locations, including Paris, Barcelona, Chicago, California and the Red Bull Ring. The Road Racing locations are represented as cars including the BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution, Ford Mustang Mach 1 and Chevrolet Camaro Z28 RS SS 1970 racing head-to-head on the California Coast. Track Racing is shown at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, where the Ariel Atom 3, BAC Mono and KTM X-Bow R go flat out around this historic circuit. Street Racing, meanwhile, is shown in Paris, as marques including the McLaren MP4-12C, Mercedes Benz SL 65 AMG and Corvette Z06 Centennial Edition tear around the Arc de Triumph. Hot hatches including the Alfa Romeo Giuletta and Ford Focus ST race into the night in Barcelona and stunning cars including the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 Nismo Z Tune, Pagani Huayra, Koenigsegg Agera R and more charge through Chicago.
GRID 2 aims to set new standards for a racing multiplayer experience with an entirely distinct and extensive gameplay component and unique progression system. Deep customisation options and integration with RaceNet – the online community portal for Codemasters Racing games which tracks player’s races, rewards and rivals – will offer further immersion and connectivity in GRID 2’s new world of motorsport
GRID 2, the long-awaited sequel to the BAFTA-award winning, critically acclaimed Race Driver: GRID, will race into retail on 31st May 2013.
Codemasters has today announced via a press release that GRID 2 will race into UK retail stores on May 31st. The game will ship on both Standard and Special Edition, with the latter featuring extra content, redeemable via download on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.