Tag Archives: xbox

Prey: Mooncrash review

Prey: Mooncrash is a very clever and highly enjoyable melding of first-person shooting and exploration with Rogue-like death and replay. It manages to create an entirely fresh experience in the Prey universe. Moreover, it’s fantastically compelling.

You are tasked with entering a simulation and reliving the desperate escape of five individuals that are trapped on the lunar base with Typhon enemies. Much like the core game, the Typhon come in a variety of forms, including the Mimics which morph into different objects to deceive and scare the hell out of you, and bi-pedal forms known as Phantoms. Some additional, new forms are also present in Mooncrash, including a tentacle spewing egg and a terrifically named ‘moon shark’. Dealing with these enemies, either through combat with whatever weaponry you manage to find – melee and projectile – or through environmental hazard manipulation, sneaking, or your very own Typhon abilities and skills provided by implants, is the order of the day.

Indeed, there’s a wealth of options as to how you choose to engage, or avoid, conflict, and the same can be said for progressing through the moon base. Multiple paths are available with different obstacles to traverse, whether these are locked doors requiring pass cards, hacking skills, passwords gained by reading notes and emails or the computer terminals, let alone the environmental hazards and enemies. However, a big change with Mooncrash over the core game are the five characters you control.

To begin with you’re limited to a single character, but as you play his unique escape attempt you gradually unlock the additional characters. This can occur when you discover their corpse for the first time, or by achieving the specific story objective for a character. These objectives are present for each character and revolves around one of the five available escape methods, such as using the escape pod, flying out on a shuttle, etc. Meanwhile, additional objectives are also available for each character, should you feel the need to put yourself in great danger and uncover more of the plot.

With the Rogue-like addition of skills carrying over even after death, and the environment maintaining a persistent state for each cycle, after a dozen or so attempts you’ll have the whole cast ready to go, allowing you to use the abilities of different characters to help pave the way for the others. The ultimate goal is the have a perfect run; where all five characters manage to escape during a single, unbroken cycle. However, achieving this is anything but simple.

Determining which characters can do what is largely a case of trial and error and is discovered simply by using them. However, understanding the base layout and what activates what, takes some exploration, and the more you explore the more dangerous it becomes. This isn’t only because of the random spawning of enemies for each cycle but also because of an imposed time limit. The simulation technology you’re using is unstable, and the longer you remain in it, the more unstable it becomes. This instability is measured in levels, and as each level is reached, new enemies spawn and become more aggressive. It’s a clever mechanic that adds urgency and threat with an effective randomness; it’s Rogue-like at its best.

And indeed, it’s these Rogue-like elements that make this such an interesting experience. Items and enemies surprise you with different spawn locations each cycle, the environment also changes throwing unforeseeable obstacles at you, all the while your cast of characters are gradually getting stronger, your knowledge of the base is increasing, and those five escape plans and their order begin to reveal themselves. Pair this with Prey’s environmental storytelling, intense combat and terrifying enemies, and you’ve got a tremendously unique and engaging package.

Prey’s core mechanics of exploration, limited ammo and health, and horror would make figuring out how to achieve each characters’ escape frustrating due to the amount of times it causes your demise, but due to the Rogue-like qualities of skill retention and a semi-persistent environment, it makes this a unique and entertaining experience that’s hard to put down.

Thanks to Bethesda for supporting TiX

Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn review

The original Shaq Fu received mostly positive reviews at launch, but as time passed it gained the notoriety of being terrible, one of the worst games ever made in fact. Certainly, a sequel or reimagining didn’t seem likely, but after a successful Indiegogo campaign here we have Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn, and what a pleasant surprise it is.

Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn ditches the original Mortal Kombat style tournament fighting setup for a side-scrolling beat ‘em up one instead, and it’s a great fit. Playing as Shaquille O’Neil (Shaq) you fight your way through six locations beating the life out of the many anthropomorphised demons that mean to stop you, before engaging a more varied and grotesque demon boss at the end of each one.

Combat is wonderfully simple and smooth, with a normal attack doing the majority of the work, a heavier shield-breaking attack, a dodge, a dash, and a powerful limited use attack rounding off the compliment of moves. Each one is gradually taught to you as they become necessary; it’s an intuitive move-set that proves fast, effective and fun.

Enemies are varied enough to encourage you to think about what move best suits a situation and which threats are best taken out first, but it’s still a fairly mindless brawler, to its credit that is. Instead you can focus on just how satisfying it is to beat up these enemies, seeing the occasional goon fly towards the screen and crack it, and watch bemused when Shaq randomly unleashes an exaggerated attack involving high kicks and body slamming. It’s silly, over-the-top fun.

The over-the-top-ness continues with the presentation, with crisp, bright cartoon visuals bringing the levels and characters to life, and some excellent caricature design for the enemies. The is especially shown off during the animated storytelling sequences between levels, where the characterisation is brought to life with excellent animation and wonderful transformations as the demons turn from human to demon form. Furthermore, a funny script that’s well acted does its part to make this reimagining feel thoroughly modern.

Indeed, there’s a story to follow as well, and while it begins only as a means to drive you forwards, it soon becomes intriguing, amusing and immersive. Demons hiding as celebrities, Shaq’s peculiar mentor and friends, all help to create a funny adventure and include the occasional fourth-wall breaking jokes. It all feels a bit Deadpool starring Shaq.

Unfortunately, despite the adventure only taking a few hours to complete, the combat scenarios do get repetitive. The odd special transformation for Shaq, a cactus suit and a mech suit, help with variety, as do the occasional environmental hazard, but the majority of play is spent fighting waves of enemies and gradually moving to the right. Additionally, we did run in to a couple of bugs during one boss fight, which was frustrating.

Once the short story is concluded there’s very little to entice you back. A lack of multiplayer is a crying shame and feels like it might have been the silver bullet to keep Shaq Fu interesting after completion, but alas. Instead there’s a Shaq-o-pedia to look up information on enemies and the like, as well as additional difficulty levels, but otherwise nothing to temp you.

Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn certainly provides a fun and amusing single player beat ‘em up experience. The lack of multiplayer, lack of variety, and overall shortness hurt it a little but there’s no denying how enjoyable it is the first time playing through.

Thanks to Wired Productions for supporting TiX

Immortal Redneck review

Immortal Redneck doesn’t require a massive long drawn out review, basically because it’s not a massive game with lots of elements to it. What is essentially a roguelike FPS dungeon crawler Immortal Redneck is set in ancient Egypt and you play a mummified Redneck on a mission to try and make it to the top of the pyramid. Not much of why you end up like that is explained but it doesn’t really matter to be honest because there is not that much depth to the game either. That being said, the whole point of the game is to look for answers inside the pyramid but again, it’s not really that important.

Your job is to enter the pyramid and make your way floor by floor to the top, when you enter a room the door is locked and you have to face multiple enemies and destroy them to move on, however, they become more dangerous and more and more concentrated making your journey that little bit harder. You have three weapons to choose from and each are suited to their own speciality but you have to be very careful because if you die you’re back to square one, no matter how far up the pyramid you get to and you have to face a newly generated pyramid.

Exploration is key to each floor and this can be quite time-consuming but if you want to make it to the top it’s worth spending that little extra time looking around for items that may help you in the long run. Each floor has different enemy types ranging from little annoying frogs to big bounding beasts that take a couple of shotgun blasts to put down. Each enemy could drop something such as health or ammo to help you on your way. The enemies don’t mess around though and make you their primary target leaving sections of the game quite challenging and very addictive. Don’t expect this to be a walk in the park because it’s not.

After a few levels, you will encounter a boss that makes for a refreshing change to the gameplay, you have to use tactics and strategy on some bosses but most are engaging if not a slightly repetitive but still, the challenge makes the boss fights very enjoyable indeed. Choosing your weapon on a boss fight is important and there are loads of weapons available. You have machine guns, shotguns, RPG’s and all sorts of different weapons that give you the upper hand on the enemy. Every now and then a scroll will drop that could give you an attribute, a sort of buff, but this could go either way and be bad as well as good.

There are also different gods that you can choose from depending how you like to play and each comes with a passive skill as well as a special ability such as healing or damage. Each time you die – and depending on how far you made it before – you get the opportunity to use points to upgrade certain aspects of your god to give them the edge on your next attempt. Immortal Redneck is extremely addictive and pulls you into just have one more game. You can last ages or just a few minutes on the pyramid but all is down to you and how careful you want to play.

With the controls being generic FPS, the game is very easy to pick up and start crawling through each stage. For such a small and basic game to have such a replay factor is a massive accomplishment for developers Crema games. The levels are big enough to explore but not too big to get lost and become frustrated by. The sound won’t win any awards but it does what it should and provides the game with character.

Like I said, not too much to say for such a small game but overall Immortal Redneck is definitely worth a play, whilst the visuals are basic and won’t take your breath away the playability makes up for that and gets you hooked as you make your way to the top of the pyramids. I am yet to make it to the second pyramid but that being said I’m not giving up and I’m leaving Immortal Redneck in proud place on my installed games list. Well Done Crema.

Rob’s Bangers

Last week on Rob’s Bangers we looked at two tracks that were inspired by games that were really set in space. This week we are crashing back down to earth a little bit, the past week and the upcoming week see’s landing of the Xbox One X, Assasins Creed, Wolfenstien 2 and Call of duty WWII all landing causing a bit of hysteria umongst us all.

There is no better track to choose that pretty much sums how we are all feeling at the moment than Muse – Hysteria. This song brings a nice touch of melody along with riffs that beg to be played with your finest air guitar. The lyrics “I want it now, I want it now” fit perfectly as we all embark on the journey into a new gen of console.

The second track however brings us back to reality a little bit, with every sense of excitement and drama we need to take a step back and evaluate a little. Orbital – Belfast will do just that, set it off and just sit back breath in for 4 seconds and out for 5, and relax.

After a suggestion from yourselves this week I have added Breaking Benjamin and their Halo 2 anthem, Blow me Away. Perfect suggestion so keep them coming. For now though enjoy this weeks selection.

Playstation to have largest ever presence at EGX

PlayStation will have a large presence at EGX 2017 as it returns to the event with its biggest ever stand.

Attendees will have the opportunity to get hands-on with several of the platform holder’s first party titles including Gran Turismo Sport and Bravo Team, as well as several PlayStationVR games and big name titles from the likes of Activision, EA and Warner Bros. PlayStation 4 Pro hardware will be available to try giving visitors the chance to experience dynamic 4K gaming. More game announcements will follow on what other games will be playable from Playstation.

This adds to the announcement that Xbox will also have a large presence showing Sea Of Thieves and Forza Motorsport 7 amongst others.

The Rezzed and Leftfield collection, showing the best of the Indie scene will also be present, and for details of the multitude of games that are playable can be seen here – https://www.egx.net/egx/2017/show-floor

Xbox is getting a new Dashboard

It’s just been announced that the Xbox Dashboard is getting an overhaul.

Even more exciting, if you are part of the Xbox Insiders Program and in the Alpha ring, you’ll get to experience it very soon.

This release is the next major update for gaming on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and is designed to make the Xbox gaming experience more fun, personalized, and social than ever.

Based on fan feedback, Xbox want to give us the ability to customize Home the way we want. This new experience on Xbox One will gamers more choice and delivers fun faster. Updates to Home, Guide and Community are available today, with updates to Avatars, Game Hubs, Profiles and more coming in the Autumn. Windows 10 PCs will also receive updates to the Game bar and Gaming settings menu.

Check out the video below for more info and head over to Xbox Wire for more details about the update.

Fortnite review

I’m definitely one who gets sucked into the hype, but for some reason, Fortnite passed me by until a week or so before release. I watched one trailer on YouTube and I was hooked. However, on the face of it the game seemed pretty straight forward, but when I finally got to play it I quickly learned that Fortnite has some depth to it, in fact so much depth I don’t even think I’ve scratched the surface yet.

Fortnite has so many layers to it you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t address them all. I am also finding it quite hard to define exactly what type of game Fortnite is. To give you an overview it’s an action RPG, grind fest, builder, loot fest management game. Just to give you a brief snapshot of what is actually going on, loads of storms have hit the earth and turned mankind into the walking dead. The zombies look a little like twisted versions of the ones from Plants Vs Zombies but there are different types, some bigger and some with special abilities. You play a commander whose task it is to gather resources, survivors, and weapons in order to survive the apocalypse.

The main aim of the game is to defend a point on a map from hordes of zombies, or Husks as they are called. The overall aim doesn’t change and a lot of the time it’s rinse and repeat. You start each mission with time to gather your resources. You swing a massive pick axe, hitting objects to break them down into resources that you need to build your fortress and create ammunition. Pretty much everything on each stage is destructible so you’re never really short of stuff, but it does get old quite quickly and it is very time-consuming. It’s a necessary evil, no resources then you can’t do anything but turn up and be a nuisance to your team.

Once you’ve gathered enough and found the main objective then it’s up to you and your team to defend it by building a stronghold that will prevent the husks from attacking and destroying it. Building is brilliant and extremely simple. With a touch of the B button you can quickly switch to build mode, select the item type you need, either wall, floor, stairs or roof, and away you go. You can edit each piece and quickly select a pattern to suit what type of piece you need to create your masterpiece. I love how easy the building element works, it’s straight forward and not complicated at all. On the odd occasion, you can build a radar when you find it on each map, following the pattern is easy and straight forward so bravo to Epic for making it that way, I think it could have been so much more difficult if they wanted it to be.

Once you’ve got bored of gathering (or a team mate has) and you have activated the thingymajig then the horde begins its onslaught. Zombies are spawned from within a storm and typically attack from one direction at a time, with the number of zombies increasing, and adding additional types, as the mission progresses. The combat is very nicely executed and your arsenal ranges from small arms to large machine guns and melee weapons. You can also use a special ability. I played the ninja so I was a dab hand with a sword and had an airstrike as my backup when things got busy, but the cooldown for such devastation comes at a price and can only be used once every three minutes. The third person angle provides a good point of view of what is incoming and very rarely are there any nasty surprises. Ammunition for your weapons can be made on the fly, which I think is a brilliant touch, however, that’s only if you have the resources to make it!

Throughout each mission you’re awarded medals for combat and resource gathering, this will help towards the end game loot chest that you’ll get for completing the mission. Speaking of loot, Fortnite has tonnes of the stuff! In fact, and I never thought I’d say this, I think it has too much! This is a matter of opinion, though, and I know of some folk who think there isn’t enough. As well as the end of mission reward chest loot, there are also Llamas…..don’t ask, because I have no idea why they chose Llamas. The Llamas are basically a pinata that you smash and it drops additional loot, such as new characters, experience, weapons, etc. On rare occassions, your Llama won’t break and it automatically upgrades to the next tier of Llama making the loot inside more desirable.

Of course, with Fortnite allegedly going free-to-play next year they need to make money somewhere, so you can buy coins and spend them on Llamas if you so wish. I did find that loot was plentiful but this had the opposite effect I expected. For me, it became boring getting the loot and wondering what to do with it all. You get schematics for new weapons, survivors, XP boosts, traps, followers and coins but all this does is give you the exclamation mark in each subject to let you know something new has arrived, then you spend ages getting rid of them and not really knowing what you’re supposed to do with all this stuff. If I was to slate Fortnite for something it would the fact you get far too much far too quickly and for some this could lead to frustration and a sense of being overwhelmed by what’s happening. Eventually Fortnite reveals the use of all these unlocks you’ve been collecting, but it takes hours upon hours before everything is fully explained. A nice touch to all the loot, though, is a collectors book where you place an item into a section relating to the loot type, this takes it out of your inventory and into the book. I did get a sense of nostalgia doing it and it kind of reminded me of when I collected Back to the Future stickers all those years ago. I’m determined to fill the book that’s for sure.

One thing that is important to understand is that Fortnite is still in development, regardless of who paid what for it and the amount of money people are spending on micro transactions, the game is not finished and there are a few niggly little bits that could be ironed out. One annoying thing is a glitchy match making systems making the game freeze whenever a random joins your session. I often thought my Xbox had frozen and sometimes it took ages before it resolved itself. These things will be ironed out by the time it goes free-to-play, I’m sure of it, and by then it will be up to you to buy new characters, chests and bloody Llamas to keep the game afloat. With any game like this, there are always updates and improvements making the experience better and that’s reassuring to know.

Once the annoying stuff has been addressed and fixed Fortnite stands to be an amazing game. Fortnite’s appealing gameplay and claws that keep dragging you back for more aren’t easy to shift. Epic could have done a better job in explaining different features such as squads etc. but on the whole, if you’re not bothered by a game,s side objectives then you can pretty much jump into Fortnite and smash your way around a mission or two.

The cartoon like graphics make the game very light hearted, it wouldn’t have the same feeling if the environments were more serious and sinister with proper motion captured characters and detailed graphics. The voice acting and sound is on point and Fortnite is generally a happy and upbeat game that’s easy to look at and listen to.

Like I said right at the start Fortnite has more layers than a show piece wedding cake, to tell you them all would take ages and I’ll be honest I don’t fully understand them all yet either, I mean I haven’t even mentioned the massive skill tree’s yet have I?….I’ll leave that there for now. As gamers, we ask for games with depth and Fortnite has it. I was excited for Fortnite from one trailer and the game hasn’t disappointed me, although at times the resource gathering and management can get very old but the combat and quirkiness of the game quickly make up for it. I feel that my multiple hours though is certainly not enough to get a full grasp of what’s on offer and I’ll definitely be diving in for months to come, so feel free to join me. To check out some gameplay and this review watch the video below.

Thanks to Epic Games and Xbox for supporting TiX

9 new titles heading to Xbox

9 new titles are heading to the Xbox next week, we have listed them below, will you be picking any up? Let us know in the comments.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun – August 1

In this mix of stealth and real-time tactics, a new Shogun has taken power and enforced a nationwide peace across Japan. To help, he recruits five specialists with extraordinary skills in assassination, sabotage, and espionage — but are they willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of peace?

The Long Dark – August 1

An exploration-survival game that will challenge players to think for themselves as they explore an expansive frozen wilderness in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster. There’s only you, the cold, and all the threats Mother Nature can throw at you. Can you survive The Long Dark?

Slime Rancher – August 1 (Console Launch Exclusive / Games with Gold)

A chaotic adventure where you can explore a vast, alien frontier to build and customize a space ranch and avoid the perilous avalanche of a thousand wiggling, jiggling slimes! But there’s money to be made in slime science. Careful though; it’s a risky business when jetpacks are your tools.

Tacoma – August 2 (Console Launch Exclusive)

Tacoma is a narrative-driven adventure set aboard a high-tech space station in the year 2088. Explore every detail of how the station’s crew lived and worked, finding clues that add up to a gripping story of trust, fear, and resolve in the face of disaster.

Demetrios – The Big Cynical Adventure – August 2

A quirky adventure game packed with tons of humor! Bjorn Thonen, a slob of an antique dealer living in Paris, is robbed one night after coming home drunk. Forced to conduct his own investigation with the help of his neighbor Sandra, he ends up involved in a murky, mysterious affair.

Mr. Shifty – August 4

In this top-down action game, you play as Mr. Shifty who uses his powers of “shifting” through objects to break into the world’s most secure facility. Phase through bullets and master lightning-fast takedowns in a new game from the team at tinyBuild and Team Shifty.

Race Arcade – August 4

In this big, tiny racing game, Race Arcade has you speeding across more than 100 tracks in a top-down racing game that harkens back to the retro arcade racers from years ago.

The Way – August 4

Experience an adventure inspired by old school classics like Another World, Heart of Darkness and Flashback as you journey to another planet to discover its secrets in the hopes of bringing your loved one back to life.

Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator – August 4

Happen to remember that silly PC game that parted lovers, destroyed families and turned friends into enemies? No? Well, here’s its console incarnation! The parrot is back from the dead bringing countless new insults for your disposal.

TiX Podcast S1E3 Game on Trial

Welcome to the new This is Xbox Podcast.

Join Damien Ashley and Adrian Garlike for a new episode of the This is Xbox Podcast.

In this episode Damien and Adrian put the high street retailer Game on trial, discussing their business practices, their relevance and what the future may hold for the retailer.

https://soundcloud.com/thisisxboxpodcast/tix-podcast-s1e3-game-on-trial

Podcast music by Bangmaid
Produced by James Gill
www.mixcloud.com/bangmaid