Monday, November 2, 2015

The Xbox One Windows 10 Experience Releases November 12

The Xbox One will be facing a lot of changes begins this month. With the launch of Halo 5: Guardians last Monday, Microsoft announced its launch for the Windows 10-powered new Xbox One Experience (NXOE) on Thursday, November 12. The new Windows 10 update will bring a flavored look and underpinnings to the Xbox One, along with backwards compatibility for certain Xbox 360 games.

The new preview has been available for testers for a while, but they found Microsoft's digital personal assistant, Cortana, hiding in the settings menu. It's not certain that the feature will be part of the launch in November.

Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb, Xbox Live Director of Programming, said in early October that Cortana wouldn't be part of the update. Otherwise, the official version will be available for preview testers later in 2015 before the official launch for regular users in 2016.

The Xbox has had voice-powered features for a while with the Kinect. Adding Cortana will offer helpful cross-platform integration features, like viewing reminders on an Xbox One that were made on a Windows 10 PC, Cortana for Android, or a Windows 10 smartphone. Cortana is also said to work with game-related functions like sharing video clips and forming parties.

Microsoft wants to become a unified, multi-device platform, so by adding the Xbox One into the Windows 10 family, they are closer to reaching their goal. The limit of how unified the Xbox One will be in Windows 10 is still in the air. For example, Halo 5 that just launched is exclusively made for Xbox One, meaning no support for the game exists on Windows 10 desktops.

All-in-all, more integration between Windows 10 devices and the Xbox One will be making its way to us in these upcoming months. There's also going to be a DVR for the Xbox One's TV tuner peripheral. So if you have an Xbox One, Keep checking for that update in about 2 weeks!

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Microsoft Debuts New Elite Wireless Controller For Xbox One And PC

Microsoft recently debuted the new Elite Wireless Controller for Xbox One and PC and, according to multiple reports, it's one of the most comfortable controllers ever. In terms of other controllers from Microsoft, the Elite Controller is miles ahead. In fact, if you had to pick something about this controller to complain about the only thing you would be able to come up with is the rather hefty price. That's because the Elite Wireless Controller will run you $150 in the US, £120 in the UK and $200 in Australia.

In reality, you probably don't need to spend that much money on a controller. I mean that price is over double of what a normal one costs. However, if you have that kind of money to spend then the Elite is a luxury that delivers in pretty much every way possible.

The first thing you will notice about the Elite Controller is its weight. It is noticeably heavier than the original Xbox One controller and feels more substantial and luxurious as well. Every single button on the controller offers tactile feedback and are exceptionally smooth. A matte rubberized coating embodies the almost all of the controller with grips receiving some extra texture. Essentially this controller makes it feel as if you are holding a high-end piece of equipment. This is made even more evident with the molded carrying case that you won't want to leave just lying around.

The main selling point here is the incredible amount of customization options you have with this controller. Three sets of magnetic, stainless steel analog sticks are included and can be easily swapped in and out along with two sets of concave-topped sticks (one normal height and one twice that height) and one set of domed sticks that you can mix and match to your desired preference. In addition to that, the analog ball joints are also very solid and have a nice spring to them.

There are also two D-pads included with the controller, a traditional one and a circular one that makes it a bit easier to hit diagonal directions. Like the analog sticks, both D-pads are able to be easily swapped in and out thanks to their magnetic fittings. You can even mess with the triggers too. There is a level underneath each trigger that can activate hair-trigger mode, preventing you from having to actually pull the trigger all the way for it to function.

Remapping buttons is probably one of the coolest features. The Elite Controller comes with four detachable paddles that can be programmed through a free Xbox app specifically designed for the controller. This allows you to bind commands to the back of the controller, which could make some things that much easier to accomplish. However, these back paddles will take some getting used to and it's going to feel really weird at first.

The free app for the controller allows you to program the back paddles as well as allowing you to tinker with any of the 14 digital inputs from the controller. You can store up to two different control streams that can be accessed through a switch below the Xbox Guide button. Microsoft also noted that developer-created alternate control schemes for specific games will be offered through the app in the future.

$150 is pretty expensive, which is why it is a very good thing that this controller works with Windows 10 PCs, as does the app. The controller is ready to use on your PC out of the box and will include a USB cable for connectivity. You can even use it with your PC wirelessly if you want, though you will need the Xbox Wireless Adapter for that, and that'll cost you an additional $25, £25, or AU$30.

If you're hyper competitive and you really think that this controller will give that extra edge you need online, or you simply have the money to spend, then the Elite Wireless Controller from Microsoft may be precisely what you're looking for.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

EA Announces Open Beta For Star Wars Battlefront

In April at Star Wars Celebration, Star Wars Battlefront was announced. The frequently asked question that followed was if there would be a Beta. I am happy to announce that there is.

The Star Wars Battlefront Beta will be coming at the beginning of October and will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Origin for PC. The Beta is a technical test and will feature Walker Assault on Hoth, which is a 40-player multiplayer battle between the Rebels and the Empire. Walker Assault is also giving you the option of playing as two major characters in the Star Wars universe, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

The beta will also feature a Survival Mission on Tatooine, in which you and a Rebel friend fight back waves of Imperial forces. This mode is reminiscent of other popular game modes, like Gears of War's Horde mode or Halo's Firefight, where you and a friend battle wave after wave of AI-controlled enemies.

On top of these two modes, there will be a new mode available for this Beta, called Drop Zone. There isn't a whole lot of information about Drop Zone yet but what we do know is that it will function similarly to Battlefield's Conquest mode. Two teams will fight for control and "capture vital pods and secure the battlefront" according to EA. Keep your eyes pealed on more details about this mode.

Another part of the Star Wars Battlefront Beta is the Star Wars Battlefront Companion experience and will be available during the Beta at The Star Wars Battlefront Companion experience features the card game Base Command, which lets you earn in-game Credits for Star Wars Battlefront which unlock Star Cards, weapons, and more.

The Base Command allows the Rebels and Imperials alike to check game stats and progression, customize load-outs and appearances, connect with friends, and be notified when they're playing Star Wars Battlefront. You will also be able to gather intel on their stats and progression to compare how you match up. The Star Wars Battlefront Companion will be available on November 17, after Star Wars Battlefront is released. It will be available on the web and in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

If you're a Star Wars fan and a gamer then this is definitely the beta you are looking for. The beta releases on October 8th and ends on the 12th. PC players will be able to begin the download early on October 7th due to a larger download size. The beta is available for all players everywhere, just like the Good Lord intended.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Top 5 Most Ridiculous Video Game Characters

Every so often a video game character comes along that is so outrageous, so over-the-top, and so ridiculous that you can absolutely never forget them. Even though some of the best characters are subtle, well-realized persons, those that take the extreme factor to the next level are a hell of a lot of fun. But this isn't always a bad thing. Some games have tread so carefully that their characters are boring and not fun to play. While there are many crazy characters to pick from here are 5 of the best.

Bayonetta - Bayonetta is a super-sexualized witch that was designed by Mari Shimazaki. Shimazaki was told by developers to make a modern, female witch with four wearable guns. Forget the thought of a witch in a black dress, pointy hat and green skin ready to boil children into stew. Bayonetta wears her as both clothing and as a sentient extension of her fighting abilities because everything has to be to the max with her. Backflipping through the air, shooting guns attached to her high-heels at the armies of Heaven would probably be enough, but Bayonetta 2 (yes, the made a sequel) sees the title character wearing freaking chainsaws on her feet and using them to skate through reality and the afterlife.

Sephiroth - The main villain from Final Fantasy VII is both the inspiration of thousands of online usernames (one of my personal friends included) and probably the most well-known villain from the entire Final Fantasy series. Sephiroth fell from grace as a former super-soldier who was held in high regard by his peers and wields a seven-foot katana. His flowing, silver hair is a testament to his cold heart, which is escalated by the fact that he thrusts that massive sword through the chest of one of the main characters. Sephiroth brought new meaning to evil in a very super-villain way. All he wanted was the Black Materia, which would grant him a spell that could shatter planets and, well, kill every single person.

Trubbish - There are a lot of weird Pokemon out there, but Trubbish takes the top spot. This Pokemon is made entirely out of garbage......he's literally a trash Pokemon created when a chemical reaction occurred between an abandoned trash bag and industrial waste. That is the official origin of this.....thing in the Pokedex. Seriously, guys, I can't make this up, I'm not that good. Why in the world would you want to keep a poisonous pile of trash around?

Duke Nukem - There are literally only two things Duke Nukem is capable of doing: kicking ass and chewing gum.....and he's usually always out of gum. Duke Nukem is the video game personification of every single action hero from the 80s rolled into one macho, ass-kicking, over-the-top killing machine that is always around to save the world or spend time with the ladies. His ability to carry more weapons than humanly possible, more ammo than a 747 and more cigars than the nation of Cuba makes him the man's man of over-the-top video game characters.

Trevor - Grand Theft Auto has always been known for wild and crazy characters but the most recent sequel in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, broke the crazy mold with Trevor, one of the three main playable characters. Trevor not only looks the part of a deranged, psychopathic murderer but also plays the part with brilliance. Trevor is unsettling, cold-blooded, and only capable of two emotions: anger and amusement. His trailer park tendencies come to light with the company he keeps, the drugs he sells and the ridiculous jeep he drives. Sure he may suffer from a little PTSD but there's no mistaking the fact that a guy who chops up a person and tries to stuff them down the toilet is anything but insane. The fact that Trevor takes pure, unadulterated joy in the destruction, mayhem, and murder he causes only amplifies the whole situation.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

How Windows 10 Affects Gamers

Microsoft has released what gamers will have to look forward to with the new Windows 10 upgrade, as well as details on the new Xbox App.

Microsoft discusses on the post for Xbox Wire, numerous key reasons why the new Xbox App will help improve gaming for Xbox One players that have Windows 10 devices.

"Windows 10 is kind of a big deal," states Microsoft. "With countless improvements and a ton of new features, it’s putting a whole new face on the personal computing world. But of course, what we’re most excited about are gaming features – and fortunately, Windows 10 is bringing with it a renewed focus on gaming. One of the most visible elements is the new Xbox app."

Apparently the new Xbox App will stream almost any Xbox One game to any Windows 10 tablet or PC. This includes controller support and backwards compatibility, as well as giving you the ability to remotely turn on your Xbox One from your device.

As quick and easy as a click of a button, you'll be able to edit and share recorded game clips and you'll be able to access Xbox Live's social features from your Windows 10 device. This also includes being able to set-up and join Xbox Live parties, no matter if your friends are playing an Xbox or PC game, or on a Windows 10 PC device or Xbox One.

Did I also mention that multiplayer gaming that use Xbox Live in PC games is FREE? But of course that's not all. Along with the Xbox App refresh and the functionality boosts we already know about, Windows 10 is also promising better scaling for 4K monitors, native controller support, which includes the new Xbox One Elite controller, and super-fast boot times.

If you have yet to upgrade to Windows 10 make sure you prepare you PC beforehand. There are a lot of benefits in it for Xbox One gamers, further pushing Microsoft's plan of having all-in-one entertainment functionality in your home. So if you're as big of a nerd about Halo as I am, then you should be stoked!

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

New "Head-Turning" Duke Nukem Game Teased By Gearbox

Image Source: Mojaramask
There are 2 things Duke Nukem comes to do: kick ass and chew bubblegum.....not make mediocre games. However, that last part was the unfortunate circumstances surrounding 2011's Duke Nukem Forever, which was panned by both critics and gamers alike. But, just like Duke himself, you can't keep Gearbox Software down as the company has just announced that it has begun working on a brand new Duke game that, according to developers, has the potential to "turn heads" once it's released.

According to Gearbox CEO and President Randy Pitchford, "I did not acquire the franchise so we could all experience Duke Nukem Forever. That was the toll to pay to give Duke a chance. That said, I liked that game. I got to see it from a slightly different perspective and it was marvelous to me." Pitchford also noted that the studio has "done some concept development" but stated that fans shouldn't expect this game to come soon and that Gearbox might not even be the ones who develop it. 

"Gearbox is very busy," Pitchford added. "I think the faster way is that a correct developer can become interested and we can work with them. I think it's a challenging problem. But, I'll tell you one thing. When it does happen, there's no doubt that the whole industry will turn its head and look."

Gearbox's current projects are Battleborn, a shooter for both consoles and PC that has MOBA-like features, and a third Borderlands game. There are even rumors of a new Brothers in Arms game. Pitchford didn't name any specific studios that are in talks to develop the new Duke Nukem game if the studio decides to take that route. 

But why revive Duke Nukem yet again? Well, according to Pitchford, the Duke Nukem brand is very popular with the mainstream audience, even more so than Borderlands. However, Duke Nukem Forever really only garnered a lot of attention due to its 14-year span in development purgatory. 

This isn't the first time a new Duke game (Post-Duke Nukem Forever) has been talked about. After Forever's release in 2011, Take-Two Interactive CEO teased, "You will see future Duke coming from this company."

What are your thoughts? Are you interested in seeing another Duke Nukem game or did Duke Nukem Forever make you chew your final piece of bubblegum?

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Fallout 4 Officially Revelaed

In the new trailer for Fallout 4, we finally see an end to all of the wondering sparked from endless rumors and speculation. We get a glimpse into the world of this highly anticipated title, and get to see what we will be getting ourselves into. And of course, we get to hear the famous tagline "War. War never changes" spoken by Ron Perlman.

There were reports that Fallout 4 would be taking place in The Commonwealth, which is the fictional universe's version Massachusetts. In the new trailer, these reports are confirmed. During the 3rd Fallout game, there is a side quest where you get to meet a scientist named Dr. Zimmer who comes from The Commonwealth. He says that he and his colleagues created androids that have escaped and are running loose. On top of the Massachusetts references, Zimmer also talks about The Institute, which seems to be a version of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, but far into the future.

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In The Commonwealth there is also the Railroad that runs right by the Institute with the intent of getting the androids back. The Synth Retention Bureau, a branch of police in the commonwealth, are in charge of capturing the androids that are running loose after escaping.

In 2008 we saw Fallout 3 taking place in a version of Washington DC that is totally screwed up from all of the war going on. It also has expansions that add Pittsburgh and Maryland. The follow up to it, Fallout: New Vegas was developed by Obsidian in 2010 and was obviously based on a future version of Nevada.

It has been confirmed that we will actually get to see gameplay from Fallout 4 at the E3 press conference on June 14th! Todd Howard will be returning to direct as well. Check out the reveal trailer below!

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