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Hitman and Ryse: Son of Rome get added to Xbox Game Pass

Game Pass continues to improve and is surely a must-have service for any Xbox owner right now. Seven new titles have just been added to the service for August, including the awesome Hitman: Season 1. Regular visitors to TiX will know that this was my Game of the Year for 2016 and just kept improving for all of 2017 as well! Also added to the service are Ryse: Son Of Rome, Ruiner, Dead Rising 2, Dandara, The Escapists: Walking Dead and Rush: A Disney/Pixar adventure. A recent update to the Xbox One Dashboard also now gives you easy access to the Game Pass service with a tab on your home screen to jump right into the library of games.

Click on the titles below to read the TiX reviews of the new games entering Game Pass.

Hitman Season 1 – Welcome to the World of Assassination. You are Agent 47, the world’s best assassin. As an agent of the International Contract Agency (ICA), you are tasked with taking out hard-to-reach, high-profile targets in exotic locations all around the world. You’ll need to use your wits and creativity to find ways in eliminating your targets in densely detailed and intricate sandbox levels with complete freedom of approach. Where to go, when to strike, what to use, and how to kill is all up to you.

Ruiner – It‘s the brutal world of 2091. Ruiner immerses you in a cyberpunk dystopia, where you take on the role of a wired sociopath out to uncover the truth about the corrupt system and to retrieve his kidnapped brother. This brutal action shooter immerses you in Rengkok City, from its shady back-alleys to its towering corporate titans. Get ready to experience a game carved from the mold of the best cyberpunk anime.

Ryse: Son of Rome – Ave! Join the legions of ancient Rome as Marius Titus, a centurion on the rise. Sword-and-sandals meets action combat as you battle with the unique flow system, allowing you to seamlessly weave your battle between enemies. Prepare to immerse yourself in this alternate history, where the battles you fight will determine the fate of an empire.

Dead Rising 2 – The sequel to the smash hit features Chuck Greene, a motorcycle stuntman truly racing against time as he fights through hordes of zombies to keep his daughter alive. With loads of customized and constructible weapons, 2-player co-op, 4-player gladiator battles, and all DLC costumes included, players can rip through the undead horde in gory-ous 1080p at 60fps.

Dandara – Dandara is an exciting evolution to the metroidvania platformer genre. Take control of the mystical heroine Dandara as she leaps from the floor to walls to the ceiling, unhindered by gravity. Discover allies and mysteries hidden throughout as she fights to free the land of Salt from the oppression of the Eldarian Army.

The Escapists: The Walking Dead – 8-bit pixels meet biting zombies in The Escapists: The Walking Dead. The pixel art style familiar to fans of The Escapists brings the world of “The Walking Dead” to glorious un-life as you take on the role of Rick Grimes as he fights an endless horde of walkers let loose upon the world. Lead characters to safety while avoiding (and destroying) the undead.

Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure – This Xbox 360 title, newly remastered for the Xbox One, now features controller support as well as support for the Kinect Sensor. Create your avatar and jump between the worlds of Pixar films like “Up,” “Cars,” “Ratatouille,” “Toy Story,” and “The Incredibles.” The remastered version features an all-new level based on “Finding Dory.” Unlock secret areas, new characters, and more as you master more than 15 fully-voice-acted levels!

Ryse: Son of Rome Legendary Edition

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Gamemania.be have listed Ryse: Son of Rome Legendary Edition on there website here.

The game is listed at 49.98 Euros (around £39.95) and gives a release date of 5th September 2014. According to the description (once translated) Legendary Edition will include the full original Xbox One launch title along with all 4 pieces of DLC and an exclusive outfit and weapons.

Last week Crytek spoke out about how they were disappointed in the  sales of Ryse: Son of Rome, is this there latest attempt to recoup some lost profit after closing their UK Studio?

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Ryse: Son of Rome scored 70% in our review at the beginning of the year…

Ryse: Son of Rome is a well-crafted Roman Empire game that to look at is to die for! Sadly, the campaign is a bit shit and the combat system somewhat repetitive that you might get tired of – but the great news is that multiplayer is its saving grace and you can have endless hours of fun completing the many daring challenges of the Colosseum as you progress your Gladiator into an ultimate fighting machine. Ultimately, Ryse is not as good overall as I had hoped considering the E3 2013 briefing advertising it as something truly special. What was a Kinect exclusive now simply uses a handful of voice commands (thankfully) but it’s a fun game that could have been a lot better if the combat system was improved and it offered more than a six to seven hour run through.

Ryse: Son of Rome – Mar’s Chosen Pack DLC Coming February 28th

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New DLC is coming to Xbox One’s launch title Ryse: Son of Rome, developed by Microsoft Studios and Crytek, in the form of ‘Mar’s Chosen’ DLC Pack. The DLC will add new maps, a new character skin and a brand-new cooperative gameplay type called Survival Mode.

In Survival mode, there is only one objective: battle alongside a fellow gladiator against endless waves of barbarians as your health gradually drains. The only way to regain health and keep death at bay is with quick kills and brutal executions, but the longer you survive, earning more gold and experience with each wave successfully cleared, the faster your health depletes.

In addition to Survival mode, “Mars’ Chosen” Pack features five maps. Two of the maps: Firestorm and Dockyard, are specifically created for Survival Mode, and the most popular map, Courtyard, has been optimized for Survival Mode. The other two; Pyramid and Obelisk , will transport you to the distant and exotic shores of ancient Egypt in Arena Mode. Lastly, Mars’ Chosen Pack includes a new character skin: the Legionary.

Xbox Wire has also reported that from February 18th, there will be a ten day sale on Ryse : Son of Rome DLC Content leading up to the release of Mar’s Chosen, including a reduced price for the Games on Demand version of the game on Xbox Store.

Ryse: Son of Rome Xbox One Review

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Ryse: Son of Rome from Crytek and Microsoft Studios is available in retail stores now or digitally from the Xbox One Marketplace. If you fancy a trek down some old roman roads and a breath-taking view of the Colosseum in the distance as you battle your way to save the Roman Empire then you’re in luck – or alternatively you might be wondering if Ryse is really worth the money, or all it’s cracked up to be?

I found with Ryse, that I just wanted to spend as much time as I could admiring the Roman empire scenery; the exquisitely designed architecture, the way the water flows down streams and the glistening sunlight that bounces off the roof tops as you sword fight your way from town to another. Certainly one of the most stunning games to look at on the Xbox One console, and what a way it has come since first being announced as a Kinect exclusive Xbox 360 game way back in 2011. Delivering Ryse: Son of Rome as an Xbox One exclusive was a brave move and likely to ensure its sales success since Kinect on the Xbox 360 was not as popular as maybe Microsoft hoped.  What Ryse does do well is show you how far we’ve come in console gaming – the level of detail is second to none! What it doesn’t do well is combat – surprisingly!

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The story within the campaign element of Ryse: Son of Rome, follows a fearless Roman soldier named Marius Titus who (after developing and improving his fighting technique) joins the army to avenge the slaying of his family as well as fighting to save the Roman Empire. Through-out every chapter are cinematic re-creations of the Roman Empire, its people, conflicts and landscapes in extraordinary detail which I simply cannot compliment enough. The close quarters combat action plays a heavy prominence in the gameplay mechanics as does a super supply of quick time events in an effort to bring down every one of your enemies. Don’t for one minute assume the story is based on any historical real life events either as although the setting for the game is Roman with every detail as close to Roman life imaginable, Crytek have set the scene for Roman combat in an alternate timeline. Not that I am a historian, but I know it’s quite inaccurate, so if you had assumed you would be playing a little part of history – putting it bluntly you’re not!

Repetitive is the best word I could use to describe the combat within Ryse; you seem to be greeted with a great cut scene through trailing the chapters from one to another and then placed in an almost-immediate battle scenario where you wield the sword, defend with the shield and bash the X button as fast and hard as you can until the enemies drop to their knees before death kicks in. The gore is brutal and mastering every move could take you awhile as part of the process of progression is Skill Upgrades. Health, Focus, Gain and Combat can be increased through the spending of Valor or Gold which can be acquired through performance based gameplay with Gold weighing in at an expense from the Xbox marketplace if you wanted to pay to upgrade your soldier’s attributes.  Referring back to the combat itself, it is a basic set of Deflecting incoming attacks, evading an attack, Sword Attack and holding the X button down for a Heavy Sword Attack. There are additional executions to add which will boost your XP too, but in scenes with a brutal amount of enemies tactics goes all out the window – you’ll find you will keep hitting the X button and running away, going back to for another stab of the sword and rinse and repeat until all enemies have been defeated.

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I doubt I am hardly really selling Ryse: Son of Rome to you, but it’s not an awful game in the slightest, however it just isn’t as great as perhaps you would expect. The campaign is short, the combat repetitive, but its intriguing story-line and beautiful world is what keeps you in the game (albeit very linear). You would never have seen anything like it. One of the major annoyances of the game is that after death you will find yourself repeating battles from their very beginning. I know ‘save’ points can be like marmite where you either love or hate them depending upon how challenging you like your games to be, but Ryse could have done with a few more.

This impressive Roman title (as E3 2013 first suggested) that launched with the Xbox One console a mere few months ago from Crytek and Microsoft Studios is just not how I imagined. This beautifully designed campaign set in the Roman Empire brings to the forefront some heavy hard-hitting action amongst the most stunning environments. At first glance it appears to be one of the most striking launch titles for the Xbox One, yet a little further in and you realise the gameplay in the campaign is dull – Ryse is a scenic trip down a few Roman roads, a survival game where pressing the same buttons over and over rolls you through from one scene to another before it’s all over!

Multiplayer is another element to Ryse: Son of Rome, and surprisingly it offers more longevity (well to be expected) than its campaign counterpart as you take your customised Roman Gladiator to face the many challenges of the world’s most famous fighting arena, the Colosseum! You can choose from Arena, co-operative two player combat as you fight each other for glory and Gold while playing through a series of dynamic environment. Round to Round, where you team-up with a fellow Gladiator as a two player co-operative helping to face the challenges together – and finally, a daunting Solo Mode considered extra challenging as you battle the Colosseum alone!

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The Colosseum is the main multiplayer playground for all options, but the centre changes and adapts different environments depending upon Colosseum playlists. Your job is to not only keep the crowd entertained, but to finish a series of challenges that vary from killing waves of enemies, using designated traps and surviving as best as you possible can. This is a fun and challenging multiplayer that also uses the Smart-Match system so you can set the console to look for your next game whilst you still battle away on the campaign or watch a bit of TV.

Ryse: Son of Rome is a well-crafted Roman Empire game that to look at is to die for! Sadly, the campaign is a bit shit and the combat system somewhat repetitive that you might get tired of – but the great news is that multiplayer is its saving grace and you can have endless hours of fun completing the many daring challenges of the Colosseum as you progress your Gladiator into an ultimate fighting machine. Ultimately, Ryse is not as good overall as I had hoped considering the E3 2013 briefing advertising it as something truly special. What was a Kinect exclusive now simply uses a handful of voice commands (thankfully) but it’s a fun game that could have been a lot better if the combat system was improved and it offered more than a six to seven hour run through.

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Day One Content For Xbox One Digital Titles

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Image Source: WPCentral

If you, like me and thousands of others picked up your Xbox One on Day One, then you would have been entitled some to exclusive Day One content with the games your purchased. If however like many others you purchased your content digitally, then you were left out of this extra thank you from Microsoft, Publisher and Developer alike. Fear not however, WPCentral.com have reported that Xbox users have begun to receive download codes to digitally obtain the Day One content that was left out from games such as Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, and Forza Motorsport 5.

All you need to do is keep an eye on your Xbox LIVE account for messages from the official Xbox LIVE gamertag.

So happy days, just as we all began to give up hope, the powers that be come through for us. Keep checking your Xbox Live account messages. And remember, don’t panic if nothing is there yet. It will take a while for the machine to get round to everyone.

Source.

Ryse: Son of Rome – New Title Update adds Free Content

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Xbox Wire has reported that Microsoft and Crytek are enhancing the “Ryse: Son of Rome” experience with a free game update to Gladiator Mode that includes two new level events. In addition, the first add-on pack for Gladiator Mode, the Colosseum Pack, is available, adding two new character skins and two new arenas where you’ll spill your foes’ blood and grow your legacy.

Free Game Update Adds New Content to Gladiator Mode

Launching today, a free game update to “Ryse: Son of Rome” introduces the following to Gladiator mode:

  • Two New Level Events.  As you slay barbarians in the arena, two new level events will occur randomly across a variety of maps. In the first, a new enemy turret will appear and bombard your Gladiator with deadly arrows until destroyed.  In the second, Reward Statues of Roman deities will emerge from the sands and can be activated as a one-time bonus to boost your Gladiator’s Health or Focus.

Also the ‘Colosseum’ pack has been released, free if you have bought the Season Pass or as stand alone DLC:

  • Two new arenas:  Henge and Ascension. Henge tasks Gladiators with seizing an ancient forest shrine from hordes of barbarians and securing it for Rome. In Ascension, combatants must fight their way through the burning embers of Hades’ lair up to the lavish surface world.
  • Two new Gladiator skins: Commodus and Centurion. Don the opulent golden breastplate of Commodus, the twisted son of Emperor Nero, or the battle-tested armor of a Roman Centurion.

Xbox One Exclusive Showcase Hands On Event

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TiX were kindly invited to a special private showcase in London for hands on time with the Xbox One and its Launch line up and have a close up look at the titles Xbox fans will get to experience in just a few weeks on November 22nd. What follows is my first impressions with some of the titles I was able to get time with at the event.

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Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag has been well received since it’s release on October 29th and was Number 1 in the UK chart ahead of Battlefield 4 last week. Currently playing it on Xbox 360, I was keen to see what differences I could see between that and the Xbox One Version. The main difference that was immediate, was the visuals. Much sharper, crisp and colourful on screen, ACIV on Xbox One is a gorgeous game to look at. The demo allowed me to visit a port town and the level of detail on Edward’s player model on his clothing in contrast to the level of detail on the town’s buildings really stood out. The game is beautiful on Xbox 360, but on next gen Xbox One

One of the aspects to ACIV I really wanted to see on Xbox One, was when you took the action to the open seas, and for me, this is where the Xbox One version really stands out. The water effects of the sea are astounding in their detail of the waves and the colours. There were more ships on screen and after engaging 3 ships in a battle, the sound of the cannons and ships being damaged was as rewarding as it is on the 360. But then, one of the cooler moments of being at sea, which is a memorable moment, was the impending approach of a storm. At sea, storms can occur randomly but once they begin you are in for a rocky time. I could see the dark clouds and the lightening from the distance as I attempted to navigate towards the storm to experience its full fury on the Xbox One and I was not disappointed. What was new about the next gen version was the way the rain splashes on screen, for an added effect letting you know you are in the middle of a dangerous situation. Fighting with the storm winds to keep the ship on course is a breathtaking experience on either generation of Xbox but with the enhanced visuals and sound of Xbox One, it is going to be a real gaming moment for those who have been patiently waiting to play ACIV Black Flag on Xbox One, and its a wait that is going to be worth it for this game.

 

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Next up was Ryse: Son of Rome, the first true next gen title for the Xbox One. Sitting down to play the demo it was clear to see just why Ryse was selected as a launch title for the Xbox One. Visually, I have never seen such detail on player models and a game world like in Ryse. The level of visual detail on the Roman armour alone is staggering, you can see in the animation each plate of the armour move with the player movement. The animation is a mix of mo-cap movements for the combat and laser scans of the actors faces and combined you get one of the most life like onscreen player models you will find in any game.

Moving to the action, and its a familiar take on combat with a feel much like the fighting in the Batman Arkham series. A combination of three buttons, A for defensive blocking, X for stricking and Y to push your opponent away all work together to form a very fluid and intelligent fight system which can lead to large combo’s against multiple attackers. You can’t lock on to an enemy, but the AI will work out the closest enemy who is about to attack you so when you press A to block, you will turn to face the closest enemy who is leading in to attack. The Enemy AI will also reflect the types of enemy around you, with standard types supporting a heavier combat type in the same battle so learning to assess and pick out which enemy to take out first will be crucial to surviving the encounter as well as building up high number combo chains.

Do enough damage to an enemy and you will trigger the chance to carry out an execution. Executions are a quick time event where the enemy will glow a a shade of colour to correspond to which button the player must press to complete the execution, blue for X and yellow for Y. Complete the necessary button presses and the execution is even more brutal but failing to time the button presses and you will still execute the enemy  in a satisfying way but trigger the execution correctly and its a compelling side to the combat that will both encourage and reward your growing skill with the combat system.

First impressions of Ryse: Son of Rome is that it is a solid example of the power of Xbox One and next generation gaming. Visually I have not seen a game like it. The fluidity of the action sequences to cutscenes and back to the action is impressive to say the least. The combat is smooth and easy to pick up and after a few enemy encounters you will feel like a true Roman soldier defending the Empire in a true cinematic experience that is a blend of the Spartacus TV series and the film Gladiator, with the action very Spartacus and the story telling and tone very much like Gladiator. This is a perfect game to showcase gameplay on the Xbox One.

 

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Next on the showcase for me was Capcom’s Dead Rising 3. As a fan of the series I was really interested to see how the series would make the leap to next generation on Xbox One. Set ten years after the events of Dead Rising 2, the newest main character, Nick Ramos is struggling to survive the Zombie masses in the city of Los Perdidos. Right from the start of the demo it was clear just what Xbox One has brought to the series. The sheer vast number of Zombies on screen was amazing and is quite an awe inspiring sight to see on screen for the first time. The combat system remains the same and I was soon picking up traditional planks of good and a trusty handbag as I threw myself into the first crowd of Zombies.

What is new about Dead Rising 3 is the updated customisable weapon system the series is known for. In Dead Rising 2, players had to find a work bench to craft the weapons depending on which design plans had been unlocked or discovered. For Dead Rising 3, due to the main character Nick being a mechanic all weapon building can now be done on the move as long as you have the components required to build or combine the weapons, you can make it, even in the middle of a fight. Such a change to the system really opens up the combat side to the game where finding components no longer means you have to carry them around until you can find a workbench to craft that weapon.

Nick’s skills are not limited to just making WMDs to use in combat, oh no. His mechanic skills also come into play when it comes to vehicles. Dead Rising 3 allows you to combine different vehicles, like weapons as long as you have unlocked the right design, to build new deadly vehicles to use to travel around or just to go Zombie Stomping. I was able combine a Harley Davidson with a steam roller, to create something rather similar to the Brute Cycle in HALO 3. Ploughing into the nearest crowd of Zombies my screen was full of the PP Scores I was accumulating from crushing the Zombies too slow to move out of the way, and then with a quick press of X, I was blasting flames of fire as well as crushing the Zombies to a most satisfying gentle drive down the road.

It was also in the use of vehicles that Xbox One’s Kinect system came into play. Zombies will instinctively climb on your vehicle to try and pull you out to feast on you. Dead Rising has an ingenious way for the player to defend against this by the use of gesture recognition with Kinect. Simply pushing the controller forward will enable you to push any Zombie away from you and its a very satisfying feeling to see the Zombie falling off your vehicle as you continue to crush your way through the Zombies.

As I drove down the streets I saw the icon on my mini map directing me towards a safe house, which will be dotted around the city to give the player a rest bite from all the Zombie slaying.  Inside you will find a weapon locker which will contain all the weapons you have unlocked according to the plans you have unlocked as well as a clothing wardrobe which will hold any items you have discovered during gameplay. The demo showcased again with all options unlocked and the sheer volume of options to customise Nick’s appearance is staggering. From full outfits to selectable items for head, top and lower half and for feet. For me, I went for a pink cowboy boot, kilt, cowgirl top and a Blanka from Streetfighter head mask, and yes, it was quite disturbing to resume Zombie slaying in such an outfit!

Before I left the Safehouse, I did visit the weapon locker and pick up what is known as a super combo weapon. Made by combining other custom made weapons, these “suits” are very extravagant visually and so powerful as a weapon. My Choice was a Dragon style suits weapon with mask and flame thrower arm gauntlets with bladed fists. Jumping straight into battle, I was able to rain down fire on all in front of me and when in close, able to grapple enemies and go all stabby with my blades. So impressive and with so many options, it will take multiple play throughs to discover all the weapon and appearance options the game will have for the player.

Much like Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3 is a great launch title to show off the capabilities of the Xbox One, the amount of on screen content in the game world is stunning to experience and fans of Dead Rising will be in for a real treat when this launches along side the Xbox One on November 22nd.

 

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With just a few weeks till the Xbox One finally launches in the UK, this showcase was a brilliant chance for an up close look at the launch line up and it is strong. Each title shows off the strengths of Xbox One and will give an instant Next Generation gaming experience and compliment the console. I was very impressed with Ryse: Son of Rome and could easily of spent hours lost in the game. This was my first real hands on time with the Xbox One. The new controller felt good and responsive, the launch titles above are all very strong to kick start the next generation of Xbox. The next three weeks will no doubt be torture for those with pre-orders for Xbox One and its games but the wait will be worth it.

Want to say huge thanks to to the Xbox One team for inviting TiX along and was also a huge honour and priviledge to finally meet the great Graeme Boyd (@Aceybongos) and the Batgirl to his Batman Terrie Chilvers (@Cowfishdreams) doing a stella job representing the best and the brightest of the UK Xbox Community.

Ryse: Son of Rome – The Fall Episode 1 Released

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To prepare for the release of Rome: Son of Rome for Xbox One on November 22nd, Microsoft have teamed with Machinma to produce a new web series called  The Fall. Episode 1 of this live action series has been released today.

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Roman soldier Marius Titus’ story is put into motion as his world is shattered by the tragic death of his family at the hands of barbarians.