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[Live Coverage] The Game Awards 2017

It is that time of the year again! The Oscars of gaming. The Game Awards 2017. We here at TiX are looking forward to the event, and I’ll be consuming a lot Orange Lucozade to watch and cover the event. If you are going to be watching the event live, then I encourage you to watch it via Mixer with me! It can also be found here on YouTube. Along with the awards, of which there are plenty, there will be announcements of new games. Details provided about already known titles, like Sea of Thieves, and more!

Special Award

Industry Icon – Carol Shaw

Nominees for the 2017 Game Awards are as follows:

Game of the Year
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Persona 5 (Atlus)
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corp.)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Best Game Direction
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (MachineGames / Bethesda)

Best Narrative
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Tameem Antoniades, Elizabeth Ashman-Rowe / Ninja Theory)
Horizon Zero Dawn (John Gonzalez / Ninja Theory)
NieR: Automata (Yoko Taro, Hana Kikuchi, Yoshiho Akabane / Platinum Games)
What Remains of Edith Finch (Ian Dallas / Giant Sparrow)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Jen Matthies, Tommy Tordsson Bjork / MachineGames)

Best Art Direction
Cuphead (Studio MDHR Entertainment)
Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Persona 5 (Atlus)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Best Score / Music
Cuphead (Kristofer Maddigan)
Destiny 2 (Mike Salvatori, Skye Lewin, C Paul Johnson)
NieR: Automata (Keiichi Okabe, Keigo Hoashi) 
Persona 5 (Shoji Meguro)
Super Mario Odyssey (Naoto Kubo, Shiho Fujii, Koji Kondo)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata)

Best Audio Design
Destiny 2 (Bungie)
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Best Performance
Ashly Burch, Horizon: Zero Dawn (As Aloy)
Brian Bloom, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (as BJ Blazkowicz)
Claudia Black, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (as Chloe Frazer)
Laura Bailey, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (as Nadine Ross)
Melina Juergens, Hellblade (as Senua)

Games for Impact
Bury Me, My Love (The Pixel Hunt / Figs / ARTE / Playdius)
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Deck Nine / Square Enix)
Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
Please Knock on My Door (Levall Games AB)
What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive)

Best Ongoing Game
Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
Grand Theft Auto Online (Rockstar Games)
Overwatch (Blizzard)
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG. Corp)
Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)
Warframe (Digital Extremes)

Best Independent Game
Cuphead (Studio MDHR Entertainment)
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
Pyre (Supergiant Games)
What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive)

Best Mobile Game
Fire Emblem Heroes (Intelligent Systems / Nintendo)
Hidden Folks (Adriaan de Jongh / Sylvain Tegroeg)
Monument Valley 2 (ustwo games)
Old Man’s Journey (Broken Rules)
Super Mario Run (Nintendo)

Best Handheld Game
Ever Oasis (Grezzo / Nintendo)
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (Intelligent Systems / Nintendo)
Metroid: Samus Returns (MercurySteam / Nintendo)
Monster Hunter Stories (Marvelous / Capcom / Nintendo)
Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World (Good-Feel / Nintendo)

Best VR/AR Game
Farpoint (Impulse Gear / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Lone Echo (Ready at Dawn / Oculus Studios)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom)
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Red Storm Entertainment / Ubisoft)
SUPERHOT VR (SUPERHOT Team)

Best Action Game
Cuphead (Studio MDHR Entertainment)
Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
Nioh (Team Ninja / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Prey (Arkane Studios / Bethesda)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (MachineGames / Bethesda)

Best Action/Adventure Game
Assassin’s Creed: Origins (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Best Role-Playing Game
Divinity: Original Sin II (Larian Studios)
Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix Business Division 2 / Square Enix)
NieR: Automata (Platinum Games / Square Enix)
Persona 5 (Atlus)
South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Ubisoft San Francisco / Ubisoft)

Best Fighting Game
ARMS (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Injustice 2 (NetherRealm Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Ent)
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (Capcom)
Nidhogg 2 (Messhof Games)
Tekken 7 (Bandai Namco Studios / Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Best Family Game
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft Paris + Milan / Ubisoft)
Sonic Mania (PagodaWest Games, Headcannon / Sega)
Splatoon 2 (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)

Best Strategy Game
Halo Wars 2 (Creative Assembly, 343 Industries / Microsoft Studios)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft Paris + Milan / Ubisoft)
Total War: Warhammer II (Creative Assembly / Sega)
Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games)
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen (Firaxis Games / 2K)

Best Sports/Racing Game
FIFA 18 (EA Vancouver / EA)
Forza Motorsport 7 (Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)
Gran Turismo Sport (Polyphony Digital / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
NBA 2K18 (Visual Concepts / 2K Sports)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 (PES Productions / Konami)
Project Cars 2 (Slightly Mad Studios / Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Best Multiplayer
Call of Duty: WWII (Sledgehammer Games / Activision)
Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
Fortnite (Epic Games)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corp.)
Splatoon 2 (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Most Anticipated Game
God of War (Santa Monica Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Monster Hunter World (Capcom)
Red Dead Redemption II (Rockstar Games)
The Last of Us Part II (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Trending Gamer
Andrea Rene (What’s Good Games)
Clint Lexa (“Halfcoordinated”)
Guy Beahm (“Dr. Disrespect”) 
Mike Grzesiek (“Shroud”)
Steven Spohn (AbleGamers)

Best eSports Game
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Valve)
DOTA2 (Valve)
League of Legends (Riot)
Overwatch (Blizzard)
Rocket League (Psyonix)

Best eSports Player
Lee Sang-hyeok “Faker” (SK Telecom 1, League of Legends)
Marcelo “coldzera” David (SK Gaming, Counter-Strike: GO)
Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovac (FaZe Clan, Counter-Strike: GO)
Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu (Seoul Dynasty, Overwatch)
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi (Team Liquid, DOTA 2)

Best eSports Team
Cloud 9
FaZe Clan
Lunatic-Hai
SK Telecom T1
Team Liquid

Student Game Award

Falling Sky (Jonathan Nielssen, Nikolay Savoy, Mohsen Shah / National Film & TV School)
From Light (Alejandro Grossman, Steven Li, Sherveen Uduwana / USC)
Hollowed (Erin Marek, Jerrick Flores, Charley Choucard / University of Central Florida)
Impulsion (Hugo Verger, Remi Bertrand, Maxime Lupinski / IIM)
Level Squared (Kip Brennan, Stephen Scoglio, Dane Perry Svendsen / Swinburne University)
Meaning (Hariz Yet / DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore)

Best Debut Indie Game
Cuphead (Studio MDHR Entertainment)
Golf Story (Sidebar Games)
Hollow Knight (Team Cherry)
Mr. Shifty (Team Shifty)
Slime Rancher (Monomi Park)

Chinese Fan Game Award
Honor of Kings《王者荣耀》 (Timi Studio Group)
ICEY《艾希》(FantaBlade Network)
Gumballs & Dungeons《不思议迷宫》(QcPlay Limited)
jx3 HD《剑网3》重制版 (Kingsoft Corporation)
Monument Valley 2《纪念碑谷2》(ustwo games)

NBA Live 14 Demo Comes Out Next Week

EA Sports have today announced that the 4 year hiatus of NBA Live will be ended with a demo that comes out next Friday.

In the demo, you’ll be able to take control of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks and the Golden State Warriors. Their live stats will be updates in the demo just as they will in the full game.

The NBA Live 14 demo hits the stores on Xbox One next Friday the 22nd of November.

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Final Exam Review

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Final Exam is a 2D/3D (2.5D?) side-scrolling beat ‘em up much like the classic Streets of Rage developed by Mighty Rocket Studio. I don’t really have much to say about this release. It’s kind of barebones. I mean, reviews are usually supposed to be a cavalcade of humorous anecdotes about the writer’s experience, but my experience with this game was far from noteworthy. It wasn’t even bad, I happen to think that the game is fun. It’s just not very memorable or all that interesting.

Final exam is a game with very little plot. It starts with four friends on their way to their old high-school’s alumni ball, when all of a sudden *BLAMMO*, their car crashes when they avoid the silhouette of a giant beast. The game quickly throws you into a tutorial where you learn to battle aliens with a plank of wood, a gun, and some grenades. The plot is presented in true comic-book style. As you can see, the story isn’t very engaging. Nor is it meant to be. The game is simply supposed to be a fun romp you can play with your friends.

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The combat in the game is quite well done, linear as it may be. Mashing X will initiate 3 hit combos, holding up and X will launch aliens in the air for bigger combos a la Devil May Cry, and holding down and X will smash them into the floor. There are guns in the game, you aim with the right stick and press the right trigger to fire. This is how aiming works in all side-scrollers like Serious Sam Double D XXL and Contra. This is of course before you consider upgrades that are unlockable in the game.

The characters have the same four stats. The stats are HP, Grenade Damage, Melee Damage, and Firearm Damage. Again, much like Streets of Rage, each character has different statistics for each one. Three of the characters each have a defining statistic that makes them prolific in one area, this leaves only one character being completely well-rounded. You can increase these stats by finding collectibles hidden around the levels. This means that playing for the stats is eventually useless, as you can max out each character.

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The combat in the game is quite well done, linear as it may be. Mashing X will initiate 3 hit combos, holding up and X will launch aliens in the air for bigger combos a la Devil May Cry, and holding down and X will smash them into the floor. There are guns in the game, you aim with the right stick and press the right trigger to fire. This is how aiming works in all side-scrollers like Serious Sam Double D XXL and Contra. This is of course before you consider upgrades that are unlockable in the game.

The characters have the same four stats. The stats are HP, Grenade Damage, Melee Damage, and Firearm Damage. Again, much like Streets of Rage, each character has different statistics for each one. Three of the characters each have a defining statistic that makes them prolific in one area, this leaves only one character being completely well-rounded. You can increase these stats by finding collectibles hidden around the levels. This means that playing for the stats is eventually useless, as you can max out each character.

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The skill tree is upgraded by using SP. You earn one SP by clearing a level. For the third time, very much like Streets of Rage, each character has a special move that deals great damage. You use the SP you unlock to upgrade these abilities. You can unlock other abilities such as air-dodges and better air-combos.

The levels are massive and have different tiers. The design is a lot like Castlevania, nowhere near as complicated, mind. Just like Castlevania in the way that you can move up or down different planes of the level. They throw a catch-22 into the game mechanics. You earn more CP by exploring the level and finding more pickups. However, you lose CP for taking too long on a mission. This is a mechanic that I assume is supposed to make the game replayable. Each level has different objectives to complete, such as finding a pickup or escorting missions. These aren’t intrusive or boring or anything, but I don’t really feel that they add anything to the game whatsoever.

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The game has online and local co-op. These aren’t different modes, just the campaign with your friends thrown in. I only had the opportunity to do this once for a half hour or so, but I could feel that this was how the game was supposed to be played. A half hour in co-op and I had ten times more fun than I did playing any other part of the game.  I call it co-op, but it is definitely more of a competitive game. The person with the most points at the end of each round is rewarded much more than anyone else. You also cannot see your friends’ health bars. It’s a shame that I didn’t get to play this part of the game as much before writing this review. As once again, this is what the game was made for.screenlg5

To sum up, Final Exam was a good little bit of fun. It’s not excellent by any stretch of the imagination, but it is certainly adequate. The comic-book style has been done before, but there’s a reason for that. It works, fantastically. Level design is multi-tiered but there’s really nothing to that whatsoever. It seems to be in for the sake of being in. Combat is simple but very well-done, and the game will take you a good 5-8 hours to finish. Do not buy this game if you don’t think you’ll get a chance to play the online cooperative mode, as that alone is where all the fun is.

Final Exam is a game that tries to fool you into thinking it’s more than it is. It’s a bog standard side-scrolling beat ‘em up with the illusion of mass exploration and created combos. It’s like they do these extra things, but with the bare minimum. It’s isn’t bad by any stretch of the animation, it can definitely be a spot of fun. But it most definitely isn’t all that great. For fun with friends, turn to Final Exam. If you’re an introvert, just lie down and cry instead.

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WWE 2K14 Gameplay Stream Reveals A Few Characters

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Late last night, Aubrey Sitterson and Bryan Williams of 2K Sports hosted a gameplay live stream of the upcoming WWE 2K14. It’s good to see the usual suspects didn’t go down in flames with THQ and can carry on doing the great work they do each year. This live stream was done to show the vast array of improvements that have been done to the gameplay over the last year. Let me say, improvements are plentiful.

But first, let’s get to some announcements. Yesterday WWE Superstar Darren Young bravely came out as only the third homosexual man in the world of wrestling. 2K chose this opportunity to announce his inclusion to the WWE Roster for WWE 2K14.

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This also all but guarantees his Prime Time Players tag-team partner, Titus O’Neil will have made it in the game.

As well as Darren Young, we were also treated to entrance videos for Rey Mysterio and the WWE’s Yes! man, Daniel Bryan.

In this stream, you will see brand new updated mechanics like new ‘OMG!’ moves, the lift mechanic, new drags, new reversals, new entrances, new move-sets, and updated character models. Check the stream out down below.

http://www.twitch.tv/2k/c/2762582

Don’t forget, today is the Summerslam Axxess stream that will reveal the entire 30 Years Of Wrestlemania Roster hosted by Jim Ross, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, and Damien Sandow.

Catch that at 2K’s twitch channel live at 12:30 p.m. PDT

WWE 2K14 will release on the Xbox 360 this October  29th in North America, and November 1st in the EU.

 

Sanctum 2 Review

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When Sanctum was released on Steam in 2011, it was met with mostly positive reviews. A sequel seemed most likely. So of course, unsurprisingly, in 2012 a sequel was announced for Xbox LIVE. Fast forward a year and here is Sanctum 2. Sanctum 2 is a first-person, tower defense shooter developed by Coffee Stain Studios, who are responsible for the predecessor. The Xbox 360 is a bit oversaturated with tower defense. It’s a long list comprised of Grid Defense, Trenched, Orcs Must Die, and South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defense Play, and many others. All of which are great games in their own right. Jumping into a niche genre doesn’t automatically make it a worthwhile, game however. Plain and simple, regardless of genre, it’s either a good or bad game. Read on to find out whether it’s worth your time or not.

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So what with a bevy of other tower defense games you can choose from, you might find yourself asking just why Sanctum 2 would be worth buying over any of the others. Well Sanctum 2 is also a first person shooter, and a pretty good one at that. It plays just as smoothly as the rest of the AAA titles that you might be into. Of all the shooters, it’s most reminiscent of Halo. The art style and the enemies bear a striking resemblance to the weird little creatures of the Halo universe. Like most shooters, your character is limited to a two-weapon loadout. You will unlock more as you progress through the 20 levels of the game. Most of the weapons are futuristic phaser type guns, as you might expect. All the weapons have a more explosive secondary fire option and will reload themselves if you switch to your other weapon. The enemies come at you in waves, of course and after each wave, you have the opportunity to collect resources. That’s where the tower defense comes in.

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Coffee Stain Studios hit the nail on the head with the gun-play, but what about the tower defense? Well it’s not overly innovative or fresh. But it works just like any other tower defense games. You require resources to build defensive barricades and automated sentry guns. You’ll find yourself making tough decisions as to whether you should upgrade your sentry gun, add another gun, or carry on building barricades. Mazing is certainly key as it makes your enemies take longer to get to you. But that’s where you make the strategic decisions on whether defense is the best offense, or whether going all-out John Rambo with the ammunition is the best offense. I opted for a bit of both, and it seems to work just fine. Those that are more in tune with tower defense may like to get more tactical with it, which can definitely be done. Mazing enemies into a thin tunnel is an excellent way to bottleneck the hordes and take them down with the utmost efficiency. So the core aspect of the game is solid, and works extremely well. Better than the few other tower defense games I have played, in fact.

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You can choose between four characters in the game. Each of which have their own special abilities and an arsenal of unique weaponry. Hagen Hawkins carries a shotgun, and has more health than the other characters. He is more suited to taking down the heavy opponents, and the ones that need to be eradicated before they do any major damage. The other characters have their own blend of special abilities and weapons. This means that in co-op play, every member on the squad will be of the utmost importance, and will have their own special task to carry out. This plays into the games heavy strategic style of play.

The art style on Sanctum 2 is absolutely gorgeous. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s eerily similar to that of Halo. The enemies get more and more gruesome as they come out of the woodworks. The weapons all have a sleek look about them. They look like believable weapons of the future. Hell, even the ammo that flies out looks quite pretty. I’d go as far as saying that Coffee Stain Studios have made a game that looks worthy of a full retail release. If there was a bit more depth to it, I’d say that the game should be a full retail release. It’s definitely of a higher standard than most XBLA titles.

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Sanctum 2 does have a bit of a story. Full emphasis on ‘bit’. Between missions, you’ll be met with a simple comic strip during the loading screens describing the current happenings and the reason for your mission. There is no real narrative to the story, but I get the feeling that it’s all about the gameplay. The comic strips are just a nice extra for you to have some understanding as to why this world exists. The lack of a real story becomes apparent immediately as you are thrown into a tutorial level with no explanation of why or what you’re doing.

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Overall, Sanctum 2 is a delightful and very different entry into an already rich genre. The first-person shooter aspect invigorates the game with a real fresh take on the tower defense game. The tower defense works just as it should. Any tower defense aficionados will feel right at home playing this game. Throw in a beautiful backdrop and an amazing art style. Along with a campaign that can take 20-25 hours of solid gameplay. As well as 4 player co-op, and you have a game that’s been bred for success. Sanctum 2 should be a successful outing for Coffee Stain Studios, and I look forward to seeing what they produce in future. The game should be a welcome addition to fans of tower defense, shooters, and all gamers alike.

Sanctum 2 is currently available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 1,200 Microsoft Points.

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Below Q&A with Capybara Games

Capy Games’ co-founder and creative director, Kris Piotrowski, and co-founder and president, Nathan Vella, sat down with Xbox Wire to answer some questions about their new project, including its art style, how the game ended up on Xbox One, its soundtrack and more.

You just announced your new Xbox One title “Below.” How would you describe the game?

Kris Piotrowski :
 “Below” is an adventure game which focuses on atmosphere, exploration, survival and skill-based combat. Many of the ideas in “Below” are directly inspired by roguelikes of yor, though we’re approaching every aspect of the design with a uniquely stylized perspective. “Below” features no text, no hints and no dialogue. It’s all mood, atmosphere and soul… and skill.

The game has a really unique aesthetic, particularly the scale – what’s the idea behind this?

Kris Piotrowski :
 We wanted to create a world that was rich with tiny details, and create a space that felt grand because the character was so small, and so far away. The scale also helped enforce some of the main ideas found in game: the tiny wanderer players control is highly capable, but very fragile. Their time on The Isle is short and fleeting, one false move away from permanent death. The art style and scale help evoke this feeling of loneliness and vulnerability: The wanderer feels far away from the player, and the environments feel vast and intimidating by comparison. The game scale also offers many unique gameplay advantages, but we’ll reveal more about that in the future.

How did “Below” come to be an Xbox One game, and what has it been like developing “Below” for Xbox One?

Nathan Vella:
 We had been working on “Below” for a while before even considering platform, and by the time we were ready to find the game a home we had a clear picture of what we thought would make the game special. We had already started working with Microsoft Studios on “Super TIME Force” (which hits XBLA on Xbox 360 this year), so “Below” definitely flowed from that relationship.

In the end, Xbox One really afforded us an opportunity to develop on a platform that fit exactly what we wanted to do with “Below,” in terms that really worked for us. It’s a great fit. Since then, “Xbox One” development has been very smooth – and this is really important to us, since we really want to focus as much of the team as possible on the core of the game — things like exploration, combat, and aesthetics.

For us, working with Microsoft Studio comes with some big advantages, even beyond early access to a new platform. We’ve had, and will continue to get, real support from a lot of the Xbox One teams. When you can jump into a meeting to discuss cloud features with a lead on the team in charge of those features, you know things are going to get done and they’ll get done right. The fact that they’re looking to our game to help ‘shape’ some of Xbox One features & systems is amazing, and very handy too!

Another big part of the announcement was that Jim Guthrie is doing the soundtrack. How did this come to be?

Kris Piotrowski :
 Working with Jim Guthrie and Superbrothers on “Sworcery” was one of the most rewarding collaborative experience of my life, and a great learning experience for Capy Games. As soon as we wrapped up “Sworcery,” we immediately asked Jim to help us with Below. Though Below is in no way a sequel to “Sworcery,” it does dip into some of the same pools for inspiration. And of course, creating “Sworcery” has made it a permanent part of our sensibilities. The focus on atmosphere, mood and soul is something that we’re hoping to continue and build on with “Below,” and Jim is a dang soulful fella. Plus by now, we’re all good friends and love working together.

Nathan Vella: It’s really amazing to create a new, interesting space for people to explore while listening to Jim’s beautiful music. We’re excited to be working with that crazy dude again.

Diablo III Finally Coming To Your Xbox 360 On September 3rd

Diablo III LogoIt’s the moment several people who aren’t a part of the glorious PC master race have been waiting for. One of last year’s most hotly anticipated PC titles has finally been given a release date for the Xbox 360. That’s right, ladies and gents. You can pop your retail disc into your consoles this September 3rd.  Continue reading Diablo III Finally Coming To Your Xbox 360 On September 3rd

FarCry 3: Blood Dragon Review

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You’d be hard pressed to find someone that didn’t enjoy Far Cry 3. It’s totally understandable; the game was a non-stop thrill ride that could keep you entertained for the longest time. So when Ubisoft announced Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, it was perceived as a bit of a joke. It didn’t help that the game’s announcement came on April 1st either. But we soon found out that Blood Dragon was indeed very real. We also saw that it was a satirical retro take on Far Cry 3 and 80’s action flicks. It could’ve proven to be risky, but did it work out in the end? Read on and we’ll see.

You have to understand something from the get-go. Blood Dragon is something of a joke. That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s just the least obvious follow up to the intensely serious Far Cry 3. The blend of the mass hysteria that was 80s machismo and the neon glow that has been added to the easily playable Far Cry engine seems genius for the most part and works extremely well.

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In a desolate future, the year 2007 (hilarity in itself) finds the planet being a hollow shell of itself due to the outbreak of nuclear war. An entirely new kind of super soldier known as the Cyber Commandos have been born. They are genetically altered bionic humans who are sent out to do the missions that no ordinary man can do. The Cyber Commando that you take control of is known as Sergeant Rex ‘Power’ Colt.  He descends onto an island filled with cyber soldiers that are controlled by yet another cyborg. Rex Colt will have to do everything within his power to overcome great odds and come out alive.

Blood Dragon is constantly coming at you with reminders that it is an homage to every bad action film that you had seen in the 80s and early 90s. Every piece of dialogue in the game is penned to perfection. Every line coming with a barrage of dated clichés that will slap you in the face with a fist full of nostalgia. They even secured the extremely appropriate voice acting talents of Michael Biehn, who played Corporal Dwayne Hicks in Alien and Kyle Reese in The Terminator. Every line delivered by Biehn feels like an open apology for the bland and frankly upsetting nature of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

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So we’ve set the retro tone that the game displays, let’s talk about how it handles. Precisely like Far Cry 3. Not a thing changed, each button is assigned exactly where it was with its predecessor. It feels just as smooth and easy to play as Far Cry 3 as well. Therefore, you know that this arcade game already has a head start on several others. It’s strange to say as it is essentially just a re-skin of Far Cry 3, but Blood Dragon just might be the most well-made game on the Xbox LIVE Arcade. Like Far Cry 3, there are many ways to ‘skin a cat’. You can take it stealthily, cutting alarms so that your foes cannot call reinforcements to stop you. Or you can charge in all guns blazing, taking names and kicking ass. You don’t take any damage from big drops due to your bionic legs, and you can completely breathe underwater now. But you will still need a hint of strategy to succeed in this game. Taking out alarms, marking enemies, and silently killing them is the best way to advance here.

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We’ve come all this way and we’ve not even mentioned the Blood Dragons. They are huge mechanical beasts shoot lasers from their eyes and mercilessly hunt you down. You can use them to take out your enemies though, if you’re smart enough. You can lure them to certain areas by throwing cyber hearts that you pilfer from dead enemies in your desired direction. The AI on the dragons is pretty bad, and they look a bit more like mutated T-Rex’s than dragons. But it is fun watching them tear apart and dine on enemy infantry.

The game map isn’t as big as Far Cry 3. That’s almost a given, but it is still large enough for you to have plenty of endeavours all around. There are still towers to liberate around the island. Liberating these towers will unlock extra side missions for you to waste time on.

5

The sound in the game is top-notch. As I’ve already mentioned, the acting talents of Michael Biehn are ever present and pretty damn funny. The soundtrack itself is amazing, showing off plenty of guitar riffs, power ballads, synth, with a hint of hard rock and metal. The voice acting and the score and soundtrack almost transforms you into the realm of these cheesy action flicks. Hell, the phaser guns even fire with that much heard ‘pew-pew’ noise that we’ve all heard in sci-fi films.

The game will only take you around 5 hours if you power through the story missions. Although there is quite a lot to do on the side. There are strongholds and towers for you to liberate, as well as side missions to be done.

3

In short, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a hilarious game that is damn fun to play. It has succeeded where Aliens: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever had failed. They were successful in recapturing an era and personifying it. It’s well worth playing this if you’ve never played Far Cry 3 and are just wondering what the gameplay is like. It’s a barrel of laughs and a it’ll open up a can of retro on your ass. Basically, if you like Far Cry 3 and you like to laugh, buy this game.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is currently available on the Xbox LIVE Arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points.

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