Feature List Archive

21

Opinion: Clementine is ruining The Walking Dead Season 2

Warning: This post contains spoilers from both seasons of The Walking Dead

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The first season of The Walking Dead was phenomenal. It provided one of the strongest narratives in video game history, full of memorable characters and emotionally charged moments. All around the world players instantly latched onto the harrowing and heartwarming tale of Lee and Clementine. The bleak world and tough choices made the game stick with you days after you played an episode. The overwhelmingly positive reception put Telltale on the map, moving them from a company that made niche adventure games to one that can handle some of today’s biggest franchises. The Walking Dead was a success in so many ways, meaning an eventual sequel was a given.

Despite standing on the shoulders of its amazing first season, The Walking Dead Season 2 is not living up to that potential. I loved every aspect of Season 1, which is why I’m disappointed I can’t find Season 2 nearly as captivating. So far, three episodes have released, and like last season they’ve all received critical praise. Unlike last season, I’m not feeling the hype; the story’s not engaging, the characters are underutilized, and the format’s becoming stale. The game’s saving grace is Clementine, but even that may be a problem.

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2

XBLA Fans is looking to grow its staff

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The past year has been a really weird transition year for us. If you are familiar with our site and with Xbox indie games in general, you probably know there hasn’t been a ton to write about these past 12 or so months. There have been some fantastic games released, but the quantity of titles that previously existed under the XBLA brand drastically diminished during the transition from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One. The great news for fans of all things indie on Xbox platforms is that this looks to be changing. E3 brought fantastic games to the spotlight. It was great to see a ton of indies get some love (and as always see Phil Spencer rep a few of his shirts).

As such, we actually have more games to review and cover than we have people able to cover them. This is an awesome problem for us, as it means we get to open things up and give new writers a chance to move on with their goals. We know that we have been and continue to be a fantastic starting position within the industry for dozens of talented writers. Just recently, our own Brandin Tyrrel transitioned over to IGN. We love seeing that and would love to work with you to help you improve and gain experience as a writer. In general, this is not a paid position, though we have helped some editors with monthly stipends when it was clear the amount of time they were investing merited it.

As of now we are looking for the following:

News Editor: Your job will consist of writing news and helping to maintain quality control across all news posted on the site. You will work closely with Managing Editor Nick Santangelo and myself to prioritize stories and seek original news and angles for stories. We expect a larger time commitment from our editorial staff, but we are incredibly flexible. Nick and I would love to chat with you personally and see if this would be a fit for you. Please note that for this position some demonstrable previous experience will be expected.

Staff Writer: This is more or less our catchall position. We will expect at least two posts from you a week (obviously we are flexible around finals and with vacation time). Precise work will depend on rotating needs, but expect the obvious: news, features and reviews. Expectations are higher here than on contributors as we are trying to help push you to be prolific enough to move forward with your career aspirations.

Contributor: If you are doing this entirely for fun, and just want to help when you can, we are still willing to talk to you and see if their is a role that makes sense. Maybe a weekly feature or something or the occasional review when we need help.

General Requirements:

You will need to be comfortable interviewing developers and asking questions, and must be 18 or older, as we use real names for our writers. Beyond that requirement, we can teach the rest. The position is entirely voluntary, but it provides you with a great resume builder. Feel free to talk to our team about what it’s like working at XBLA Fans; we think they’ll give it a pretty great recommendation. For these general writing positions you can live anywhere in the world, all you need is writing ability and an Xbox One.

If any of these positions interests you, please send an email with a resume and writing sample to John@XBLAFans.com. If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments or include them with your application email.

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Get to know the ID@Xbox games of E3: Part V

ID@Xbox E3 2014

At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of many games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Following is a look at the fifth set of those games.


Spectra

Spectra, by Gateway Interactive, is something akin to a cross between F-Zero and Audiosurf. The composer behind Super Hexagon, Chipzel, returns with a driving chiptune soundtrack that should make fans of speed feel right at home with this challenging procedural racer.

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Get to know the ID@Xbox games of E3 2014: Part IV

ID@Xbox E3 2014

At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of a lot of games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Following is a look at the fourth set of those games.


Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest

Microsoft describes Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest as “one of the most stylistically gorgeous games we’ve seen on Xbox One so far. Even though the young console doesn’t have much competition in that realm yet, it’s a fair statement to make. The Metroidvania title looked absolutely gorgeous racking up a lot of time in the limelight during Microsoft’s E3 media briefing. Moon Studios was busy quietly working away on the side-scroller for four years prior to its public debut last week. The playable E3 demo received mostly favorable reports from the show floor, but we’ll have to wait until the fall to find out how things come together in the final release.

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Get to know the ID@Xbox games of E3 2014: Part III

ID@Xbox E3 2014

At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of a lot of games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Following is a look at the third set of seven of those games.


Hellraid

Hellraid spellcasting

Known best for the Dead Island and Call of Juarez series, Techland is currently working on the Chrome Engine 6-powered dark fantasy action title Hellraid for Xbox One as well as PC and PlayStation 4. Hellraid, which is set in a world that has been invaded by the forces of — wait for it — hell, was first announced in 2013 and originally envisioned as a Dead Island mode. It will have both single-player and two, three and four-player co-op options that give players melee, magic and ranged combat abilities for use in dispatching invading demon scum. Techland is promising diverse fighting styles for the game’s various weapons, which naturally includes the ability to crush skulls with hammers. If you’re not the skull-crushing type, then perhaps the game’s various crossbows or spells will be more your style.

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Get to know the ID@Xbox games of E3 2014: Part II

Phil Spencer Microsoft E3 2014

At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of a lot of games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Below is a look at the second set of seven of those games.


Earthlock: Festival of Magic

Earthlock Screen Shot

Earthlock features a world divided between those that prefer magic and those that prefer technology. In this turn-based RPG from Snowcastle Games, you will play as Amon who is trying to prevent a war from starting in his home planet Umbra. In your quest to save your planet you’ll encounter various terrains including oceans, deserts, and snow-buried lands. Throughout your journey you will try and obtain more allies to join your quest, solve environmental puzzles, and harvest seeds to grow your own ammo.

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Get to know the ID@Xbox games of E3 2014: Part I

Xbox E3 Media Briefing

At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of a lot of games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Below is a look at the first seven of those games.


Another World 20th Anniversary Edition

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Previously known in the United States as Out of This World, Another World might recall the original Prince of Persia — both titles were animated in similar fashion, using rotoscoping to create more precise animations than were previously possible in the early 1990s. This 20th Anniversary Edition, developed by The Digital Lounge, looks to be more historical preservation than remaster, which shouldn’t stop modern gamers from getting a taste of the old world by looking at this forgotten gem.

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9

Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planeswalkers is the one you’ve been wanting

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As the digital compliment to the largest trading card game on the planet, Magic – Duels of the Planeswalkers has arguably been the most accessible entry point in the intricate, often intimidating world of Magic: The Gathering.  Since its quick dominance of Xbox Live Arcade in 2009, the franchise has returned year after year, always touting new features, storylines and game modes as the annualized gateway into the scene. This year’s entry, Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planeswalkers, is finally delivering on something fans have been after since the beginning, the chance to battle with your personally customized deck across the planes.

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Invisible Inc. preview: Reading ahead

Invisible Inc. KOed Guard

Even when they’re right in front of your face, you can’t see words written in invisible ink without “decoding” them. It’s appropriate then that you can’t see what’s right in front of your face in Klei Entertainment’s Invisible Inc. without first performing what amounts to in-game decoding work.

The game’s PAX East demo places the player in a room of some evil corporation or another’s building. In the room is a pair of controllable secret agents who are equipped with skills and equipment to furtively navigate their way past guards and turrets and to the top of the building. We don’t get to see what’s at the top, but Klei explains that at the top of buildings will be the culmination of “multifaceted” objectives. Several floors must be accessed and information and/or keycards obtained along the way before ultimately cracking a computer core or something of the sort.

“The main objective of each floor is to get to the next floor,” says Klei’s Matthew Marteinsson, “but there will be some objectives that you can complete along the way. And there’s different things you can find, like documentation for your player. We give a bonus for exploring the whole floor. You get more credits the more you explore, you get credits for not having killed anybody. So those sort of things that you can…do if you want to do.”

Klei wants players to explore the buildings they enter as much as possible. To do that, we’ll have to get out of that room we started in. Invisible Inc. is turn-based, and each room’s floor consists of tile grids. Moving agents across tiles costs movement points, of which naturally come in limited supply per turn. Once I’ve moved the agents as far as I can towards the room’s exit door the unseen enemy takes its turn, scurrying about performing unseen actions in the surrounding blacked-out rooms. Well, not entirely unseen. The game shows dotted lines and arrows indicating where the bad guys are moving in the darkness.

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Project Totem preview: Bringing totems together while tearing friendships apart

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It is the first day of PAX East, and XBLA Fans is at our third appointment of the day. It’s with the Danish developer Press Play, which, just a couple hours before our meeting, announced its next contribution to Xbox, Project Totem. Little is known about the game, except that it’s a platformer involving totem poles. Arriving at the booth, I see two mini totem pieces moving along a world made up primarily of two colors corresponding to the totem pieces. Watching it, I think to myself, “Well, this looks simple enough.” But as it goes with most things in life that appear simple, reality is an entirely different scenario. Within minutes of sitting down to play the demo I was both equally addicted and frustrated.

Playing solo was challenging, but I had all the control. Enter co-op mode. Are you and a friend/loved one looking for that next classic two-player game that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside like that fat plumber and his green-clad brother used to? Great, you should probably look elsewhere then. Project Totem‘s co-op mode requires a level of communication rarely found in games, which means it could make or break your friendships. You and your partner may realize that you make a great team and work well together — or you may end up never speaking to each other again, with one of you left with a bloody nose from the impact of the other’s Xbox controller.

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