We all knew it was coming, but it didn’t make the announcement any less exciting when it finally came at this years Microsoft E3 conference. John 117 and his entire story will be packaged into one amazing collection coming on the 11th November 2014.
The collection includes Halo 1, remastered Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4 all running at 1080p at 60FPS (for all you resolution snobs out there).
Halo 2 Anniversary Edition
To celebrate the tenth anniversary, Halo 2 will be getting the full remastered treatment Halo 1 received. You’ll be able to instantly switch into ‘Classic’ mode at the press of a button and most importantly of all, multiplayer will allow you to play on all 25 of the original maps on the original engine as well as 6 ‘re-imagined’ maps. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll get to play the Halo 5:Guardians beta first.
As a Halo addict who was disappointed with Halo 4, this collection is music to my ears… We’ll be bringing you hands on impressions at this years Eurogamer.
Microsoft has upped the price of its first party digital games for Xbox One. Digital download versions of Forza 5, Ryse: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3 have all seen their prices increased from the £44.99 they cost at launch to £49.99.
“Pricing for select digital content in some markets has changed since launch. Digital content pricing is subject to change and we may occasionally offer various deals or promotions. Ultimately pricing and promotions will vary by region.”
This move seems to fly in the face of a new digital world seeing as you can pick the same games up on the high street for less than £45. You would think that 100% of profit from digital downloads would go directly to Microsoft, so why wouldn’t they bring back the price of digital downloads to make more profit then they would from a retail sale?
Crystal Dynamics have announced that Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, is coming to the Xbox One & PlayStation 4 on 28th January 2014.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is the character defining action-adventure where a young and inexperienced Lara Croft transforms into a hardened survivor. This fully re-built version for PlayStation®4 system and Xbox One features an obsessively detailed Lara and a fully realized lifelike world.
Lara Croft presented in unprecedented high definition detail:
– An all new Lara model created to take advantage of the power of next-gen consoles
– TRESS FX technology that delivers realistic hair simulation and motion with every strand being physically active
– Shader and lighting reworked to showcase the raw physicality of Lara’s journey through sweat, mud, and blood materials and effects
A physical world put in motion thanks to brand new hardware architecture:
– The world has been dynamically brought to life using complex physical world simulation on trees, foliage, cloth, weather, lighting and effects
– All texture resolutions have been created at 4x resolution for maximum resolution and detail
– In-game characters, enemies and destructability have been enhanced for added depth and realism
– Subsurface scattering technology implemented to capture the most physically accurate lighting simulation and deliver a great sense of believability
– Native 1080p gameplay gives outstanding visual fidelity and showcases the beauty of Yamatai in all its high definition glory
The Definitive Edition of the award-winning action-adventure includes all of the original downloadable content, plus digital versions of the Dark Horse comic, Brady Games mini-art book and the Final Hours developer videos. Customers who pre-order will receive special art book packaging featuring never-before-seen concept art.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’ is so named as it’s exactly what we’ve custom built for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 system consoles. The new hardware let us finally express the original vision in all of its glory. This was a continued labor of love. We pulled the game apart and rebuilt it with painstaking detail to add enhanced visual storytelling but without changing the award winning tale. The end result is a cinematic living world. We can’t wait for fans and newcomers alike to experience this rebuilt epic adventure.”
Content Editor Dom prepares for the arrival of the PlayStation 4, he takes a look into the benefits and potential pitfalls of buying both new platforms.
When it comes to gaming, few periods of time are as exciting and buzz-filled as the months before the release of brand new hardware. The gloom of current generation graphics, interfaces and hardware units begins to lift as the air fills with lip-smacking anticipation.
And so, as those months whittle away to weeks and days, which one do you plump for? Do you shoot for Sony’s revitalised PlayStation 4 or do you place your fealty in the recently DRM-less Xbox One? Or, in some odd gesture of financial stability/stupidity, do you buy both?
I know of quite a few people who are choosing to pick up both Microsoft and Sony’s new consoles in November, and (if the ‘placeholder’ dates on retailers are anything to go by) and these consoles arrive in mid-November, that will be £780 in the space of a fortnight. And that’s not even counting the £40/£50 a game will cost at launch for each system.
There are, of course, some of us who are simply more financially well-endowed (whether it be by birth or damn hard work), but my concern is less about what having two brand new consoles will cost, and more with the ramifications of having two competing platforms.
Over the last seven years I’ve been lucky enough to own all three of the major platforms, and while my Wii continues to depreciate in a dusty corner, I’ve flitted between my PS3 and Xbox 360 at random intervals. Having both consoles has given my access to some of amazing console-exclusives (the Halo games and the Uncharted series to name but a few) but owning both platforms has also brought a few devils to the table.
My personal gaming tastes can be rather fickle, so I could sometimes completely ignore one system for months at a time. During the PSN hacking debacle in 2011, I lost faith in Sony’s ability to support a reliable online service and fired up my Xbox 360 again. I didn’t turn it back on for six months. Likewise, when I decided to take advantage of the mind-blowing bounties of PS Plus, I barely touched my Xbox 360 for weeks.
My point, in rather a roundabout way, is that having access to both platforms does give you the freedom to enjoy the console-exclusives of each system, but you risk leaving a £350/£430 bit of kit to fuse into the wall while you enjoy the other. Yes, it’s frustrating to not have access to certain IPs when you decide on one platform (when the next Halo arrives next year, I will be seven shades of gutted when I can’t play it at home), but that system will get all the focus and attention that warrants such an expenditure.
And despite being someone who has genuine affection for my time with the Xbox 360, I know that feeling excited for a new bit of kit (and I mean really excited, the kind of excited you get when you’re a kid and a new console is a literal portal into the future) is a rare and precious thing. So, as I trade much of my current hardware and games in for a PS4 in November (or whichever month it arrives) I will happy in the knowledge that my investment will be pumped for its worth in the years to come. The PS4 will be my portal into the unknown, the DualShock 4 my means by which to craft it. I’ve pledged my allegiance to the PlayStation 4. Sony, be a darling and nab Halo for me, too. There’s a good boy.
Used games are a hot topic at the moment and Microsoft is feeling the raft of seemingly every internet user in the world. Rumour’s are rife about the Xbox One and it’s all seeing, all hearing eye becoming the worst thing to happen to the world since Hitler.
If your screaming blue murder that you won’t be able to trade in games and buy a cheap used game any more, sit back, relax and listen to the wonderful musings of TotalBiscuit’s take on the future of used games.
While the means by which console gamers access digital content has come leaps and bounds in the last seven years, it’s still leagues behind the ease of access PC users have to digital downloads. And so it begs the question: how will the coming generation of consoles approach the tentative issue of on-demand digital content.
Steam has, since its inception, become one of the go-to places for buying ‘on-demand’ PC software. The handful of Steam Sales a year have become the virtual equivalent of survivors scrabbling for tins of beans at a petrol station, baskets filling with full-games at the price of a smartphone app. It’s not pretty – and some maybe argue such stark price cuts devalue a games long term worth – but it’s commercial and financial success is hard to fault.
And while services like Steam and Good Old Games exist as third-party platforms, they’re still giving PC users a day one access to a stream of content that grows on a daily basis. But with the next generation of consoles both sporting off-the-shelf PC components, will these ‘closed box PCs’ start to offer a similar digital service?
A shift in tactics
In recent months we’ve seen the first, and most significant, drive from Microsoft to sell the immediacy and convenience of their digital content. Xbox Live’ Arcade division has become as synonymous with the platform as the multiplayer features that drive it, but the presence of its ‘on-demand’ content has gone largely unnoticed.
And it’s not like we never knew it was there – but there’s something about paying full-price for a game that’s over two or three years old that somehow gets stuck in the craw. Do you want to pay £40 for a copy of Disney’s Bolt? When you can just go out and buy it in person for a fiver? Thankfully, this lopsided take on pricing has started to creep down of late, and Microsoft’s Xbox Live Sale has shown that ‘flash sales’ – and a more competitive approach to game sales – is clearly the way ahead.
If Microsoft can learn a thing or two from Steam, then they’d be just as wise to pick up a few tips from the direction Sony has taken with its PlayStation Plus service. Beginning life as nothing more than a few discounts and some forgettable PS Mini’s, Sony has turned their premium service into a treasure trove of content. Admittedly, the free games you can download only remain for the life of your subscription, but if you’re a Vita owner (come on, one of you has got to be?) then you’ll practically never have to buy a game for it again. If PS Plus makes a successful transition onto the PS4, it could be the perfect platform for Sony to present its digital content in the right manner.
It’s also prudent to see these price changes on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live in context. Both platforms may well be approaching the end of their reigns at the top of the console hardware food-chain, but both sport hundreds of titles across a myriad of genres. With such a significant library of media, Microsoft and Sony can afford to significantly discount such titles without fear of undercutting their own regular price structure.
Digital vs physical
The bigger question, however, is how will Microsoft and Sony approach the digital release of new titles. Microsoft’s new approach to DRM, and its registration system for players using used titles, seems to be at odds with a possible ease-of-access mantra for digital downloads for new titles. A digital download is a one-time sale, while a physical copy can, potentially, be resold ad infinitum, which in turn would generate supplementary income for Microsoft via said registration fees. Microsoft has essentially turned the pre-owned sale of its Xbox One titles into another potential cash cow.
Say, for example, BioShock Infinite was available for a direct-to-console download on the day of release (such as was the case for PC users). What percentage of users would’ve chosen to download a digital copy, rather than purchase a physical one? Having a physical copy appeals to some, but being able to cut out midnight waits in the cold or issues with delivery services could be a real game changer for how console users consume their content in the future.
A Steam-powered future?
Valve’s much rumoured, and much hyped, Steam Box remains the perpetually chaos factor in this regard. For a platform the world knows next to nothing about, Valve has created a potential generation-breaker. Yes, a ‘closed box’ console would remove the ever-evolving power of an upgradeable rig, but Valve could create a system that could match the PS4 and Microsoft’s console in terms of raw processing power.
Mix this with a download-only delivery platform that’s easy and affordable, and Sony and Microsoft has real reason to sweat. Removing the overheads of producing and shipping physical media – and the cast-iron reputation Steam has built as a delivery service – and you have a beast that could turn the console market on its head. Of course, all these elements are only speculation, but the potential access to content offered by the Steam Box is an exciting one.
The success of software like Steam, or EA’s Origin service, has had an undeniable effect on the on-demand services of the big three console manufacturers, with much of their respective on-demand titles becoming less expensive and much easier to find. And while Steam remains the realm of the overclockers, its success and its reputation speak for itself.
While Sony has been rather quiet on the issue of DRM and the PS4, the future of ‘on-demand’ content on next-gen consoles remains a starkly unclear one. While offering a digital version would allow Microsoft and Sony to directly control the pricing of their content, the dual presence of physical discs means there will always be a competitive element that undermines the whole process. The rise of digital mediums and the lingering presence of a physical one has led some manufactures to devise alternative means to generate income in medium that is ultimately there to make money.
For the now, the possibility of an all-digital future isn’t quite the assured reality we were all expecting.
This week, Infinite Robots pops a cherry that’s almost thirty years in the making: Pokémon. And the game into which we take our first tentative Poké-steps? Pokémon Diamond on the Nintendo DS. Just give us a minute though, we suddenly feel very old…
I look at my relationship with Pokémon through the same prism of logic I use for all things Warhammer 40,000. I love the books based on the dark, bullet-ridden universe of the Space Marines (and I mean love) and I’ve spent many a night playing Fire Warrior, Space Marine and the Dawn of War games; but I do not get the table-top, dice-obsessed game the whole thing is based off. And try as I might, my love for the offshoots refuses to translate to the source medium that inspired it.
Gotta catch ‘em all (and spend all your mum’s money in the process)
Back in the day when I was a wee whippersnapper, I was obsessed with Pokémon cards (and I mean obsessed). I wasn’t that bothered about the TV series (to be honest, I found it a bit irritating) and my parents refused to by me any of the games. And while I could’ve bugged my old dear Ma for Pokémon Red or Green (or Blue, or Yellow), the whole thing looked a little slow for my ‘blowing things up/kill everything with a gun’ tastes. But the cards, eff me, the cards! My OCD-driven love to collect things led me into the arms of those God-forsaken Pokémon trading cards without a moments consideration. The foil packets! The thrill of the booster packet! Apologies, I’m wandered a little off topic…
And then, just like that, the phase was over. I know some people who still love their Pokémon cards without a trace of irony, but my tastes soon turned to other things as the years flitted by.
Enter the Diamond…
Recently, I’ve been on a personal crusade to clear out my pile of shame (it’s close to empty now), in an attempt to tick off a few games and genres I’ve either missed or failed to get into. And all the while, Pokémon Diamond has sat in a lonely, dusty corner – until this weekend. It was a Bank Holiday. I was feeling frivolous with my taste, so I booted up my 3DS. I haven’t put it down since…
Pokémon does have that unbreakable ‘it’s for kids, you weirdo’ connotation, but there’s something stupidly charming about it. And for someone who hasn’t properly played a Pokémon game before, I’m not that bothered by the 2D graphics and pretty basic sound design (Pikachu doesn’t even say Pikachu though?). But there’s something painfully addictive about wandering off into the long grass to blood your Pokémon or catch some new ones.
Getting your first Experience Share so you can boost your teams stats up or winning your first Gym Badge. 20 hours into my first ever Pokémon experience and I’m hungry for more. I’m not bats**t mental for it, but I want to see my Poké-pals (can you just add the word Poké to anything?) evolve into badasses as I approach the final battle with Team Galactic.
Where do we go from here?
The real question is, how much do the different versions differ from one another? Does the Poké-formula rarely change through the generations, or will the upcoming Pokémon X & Y be significantly different to warrant a purchase. I hear that Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver are held up as being the best Poké-experience out there, but will I get a significantly new enough experience.
But as I spend hour after hour wandering the lands of Sinnoh, I’m coming to the conclusion that Pokémon doesn’t really do new. Satoshi Tajiri and his team at Game Freak perfected the optimum experience long ago, and there are still clearly a million people out there still willing to lap up the chance to catch another 100 or so new Pokémon when a new iteration arrives in Eastern and Western stores. Well, a million and one now…
If you’re in the mood for more Late to the Party, check out our experiences with GTA IV, BioShock and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. You can also check out the trailer for Pokémon X/Pokémon Y below, too.
The movies that inspired these entries might have had a better hit ratio, but some movie to games tie-ins have been so bad they’re considered a crime against God (or a deity of your choosing). But fear not gentle reader, Infinite Robots has gathered together our top five best tie-in titles to restore your faith in the cross-platform licence. And yes, Goldeneye 007 is in there. Obviously.
#5 Batman Returns (Sega Mega CD)
Remember when consoles just played games? Back in the day, when the cartridge was king and the potential of 16-bits blew our minds, the Caped Crusader entered the gaming pantheon with the 1992 tie-in to Tim Burton’s sequel Batman Returns. With multiple versions released across the then current gen of consoles, handhelds and the PC, the Sega Mega CD version was considered to be the best iteration.
Built on the gameplay principles perfected by Streets of Rage a year earlier, Batman Returns really nailed the visual atheistic that made the superhero sequel one of the best Batman movies pre-Nolan. The game also included a couple of great driving sections, and the capacity of the fledgling Mega CD format allowed for some high-quality tunes that stepped beyond the chip-tunes of other platforms.
#4 Die Hard Trilogy (PlayStation)
Released a year after the third Die Hard movie (Die Hard with a Vengeance – like you didn’t know), Die Hard Trilogy was essentially three different games in one. Developed in the UK by Probe Entertainment (who were like a good version of Eurocom), Die Hard Trilogy consisted of an over-the-shoulder shooter, a Time Crisis-style arcade shoot-em-up and a slightly clunky taxi-based racer. The PlayStation version was by far the best (the Sega Saturn version was beyond dire) and it still stands as one of that platforms best ever releases.
The level of quality did spike between the three parts, but the first section based on the original Die Hard movie is still ridiculous fun. Memorable bits include the super cheesy voice-overs (“Die, Cowboy!”, “NYPD! Hey! This isn’t even my jurisdiction!”) and a set of cheats that could make plants scream if shot or send enemies floating to heaven if you killed them. Racing to find a bomb-filled lift has never been so fun.
#3 X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
The movie may have incurred the collected wrath of the comic book and cinematic world, but the game that released alongside it pretty much inspired the exact opposite reaction. With a healing factor and near-indestructible adamantium claws, X-Men Origins: Wolverine finally captured the bezerker-filled rage of ol’ Logan.With a loose storyline that explored events in and beyond the movies narrative, the game let players leap into battle with an XP system that allowed for upgrades and extra moves that made chaining kills an endless torrent of fun.
Mr Howlett would take real-time damage, so you could slash your way around each area with your ribcage poking out (if you were that way inclined). With a number of voice-overs from the movie’s cast (including Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber), the whole experience is, by far, the best Wolverine game yet.
#2 Spider-Man 2 (PlayStation 2, Xbox, Game-Cube)
Spider-Man games, much like Batman ones, have had a history of entries ranging from the timeless to the turd-like, but the Treyarch-developed versions of Spider-Man 2 were a definite high-note for the web-slinger. While it did tie-in into the Sam Raimi-helmed sequel, the game took more cues from the comics, with a plethora of side missions and collectable content. The game also featured an open-world Manhatten to explore, which finally realised Spider-Man’s potential to web-swing around the city in 3D glory. Spider-Man 2 also proved Treyarch were a truly talented studio outside of the FPS genre.
With Hero Points (that was essentially a stripped-down XP system) and the ability to climb the highest of skyscrapers, Spider-Man 2 would offer the best web-swinging physics out there until Beenox released The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012. Spider-Man may have had the most game outings of any superhero, but Spider-Man 2 is up there with the best.
#1 Goldeneye 007 (Nintendo 64)
Goldeneye 007 in a movie tie-in list? The shock! The horror! Well, it might be the obvious choice, but Goldeneye 007 would serve as a lone highlight to the many bad James Bond games that preceded and followed it. And, being released two years late (and two years after the movie’s cinematic release), Goldeneye 007 is barely a proper tie-in, but it’s still a milestone in the FPS genre and a real saving grace for Nintendo’s 64 platform.
The increased horsepower of the Nintendo 64 allowed developer Rare to step outside their comfort zone and craft a 3D experience that perfectly encapsulated the deadly skills of 007. The introduction of silenced weapons added a new depth of stealth to the mix, but when the action got hairy, Goldeneye 007 was a high-octane and brutal as any other FPS title on the market. It also came with a gold controller (in a special edition of the console). A GOLD CONTROLLER, for Pete’s sake!
Those are just some of the best tie-in games out there, but which ones would be in your top five? Get commenting and keep it infinite!
This week’s Furian Fridays sees ever-cynical Content Editor Dom Reseigh-Lincoln take a surprisingly optimistic approach to Microsoft’s recent Xbox One reveal.
Ah, there’s nothing like the vitriolic response to something new. We humans are creatures of perpetual habit, plodding about our lives in fear of the devil named ‘change’. But change, be he red and be-horned or not, is upon us. Behold, the eighth generation of consoles cometh. Lock up your daughters.
[quote] The days of this insular cabin console fever are about to be swept away [/quote]
Perhaps we’ve simply had our PlayStation 3’s and Xbox 360’s for far too long. We’ve become over-acclimatised to the green swish of the Xbox 360 logo and the overture of the PlayStation intro. But the days of this insular cabin fever are about to be swept away, as consoles with eight-times the power of what we’re using now fast approach.
A tale of two reveals
The reactions to the separate reveals of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One could not have been any different. Sony’s official ‘reveal’ of the PlayStation 4 seemed to show a manufacturer determined to show they’d learned from the complacent cluster fuck that was the PlayStation 3, providing a powerful yet malleable platform that would appeal to both developers and consumers alike.
But there was an air of seething cynicism in the run up to Microsoft’s announcement on Tuesday. And with an hour’s presentation that focused almost entirely on the Kinect 2-driven user experience of the Xbox One, many left the reveal with something of a bitter taste on their tongues. “Where were the games?” they cried. “Where was the actual in-game footage?” they mewed. “Kinect 2? NFL? Live TV switching? Nice one Microsoft!”
My dear gaming public, have you learned nothing from the last 25 years of gaming history? As much as we hate to admit it, the gaming landscape isn’t the insular medium it once was. As soon as Sony popped a DVD drive in the PlayStation 2, it brought the games consoles out of the dark depths of its own dimension and into the blinding light of multimedia possibilities.
[quote] Yes, Steven Speilberg is going to shoot a Halo TV series in black and white, while a single red Spartan runs about symbolising something. [/quote]
The rise of online services like Xbox Live and the PlayStation network feed us constant access to new games and experiences, while streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and LoveFilm have become the new boxset; revolutionising how we consume our media. Games consoles are no longer defined by a single function, and to survive in a world of touchscreen tablets, multi-functionality and Smart TVs; manufacturers have had to ensure their consoles can offer you more than just a games platform.
It still plays games, you know
Yes, Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal was EXACTLY what we expected: lots of pretty words, lots of Kinect 2 demonstrations and a couple of middle-aged men from EA and Activision gushing about their respective cash cows. But it was simply the confirmation of the inevitable. Yes, your Xbox One console will allow you to snap between your TV signal and your game with a single command (if it works); yes, you may be able to enjoy sports broadcasts with enhanced settings; yes, Steven Speilberg is going to shoot a Halo TV series in black and white, while a single red Spartan runs about symbolising something.
But it will play your games. Just like your Xbox 360 did; just like your Xbox did. The past eight years have given rise to TV-based channels and other live-streaming services, but it’s also seen Grand Theft Auto IV, Halo 3, Batman: Arkham City, BioShock Infinite and Skyrim. Microsoft may have attempted to penetrate your cerebellum with advertising, but you’ve also experienced some of gamings most beautiful moments.
The Xbox One will be a direct descendant of the Xbox One, with a great deal more power under the hood and the potential to amazing things. Creating a pure gaming machine is a noble idea, but it’s a foolish one. We just need to look at the once great house of Nintendo to see how clinging to once powerful principles can soon poison your legacy, relegating you to a corner that’s rarely paid much attention. Having a multimedia machine will save you a great deal of hassle in the future. You’ll be able to watch TV, Blu-ray movies and whichever other media you want to consume, while having truly magnificent games a mere command away.
For those who can only see a console by its games, simply return to the basement cave you still live in at your mother’s house (that poor woman) and set your alarm clock for June 11. Then you’ll have your games. Will you be happy then? Somehow, I doubt it.