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Rivals of Aether preview: Super smash bits
2 years ago

Rivals of Aether preview: Super smash bits

Pressing an Xbox controller's Y button to jump sounds crazy, and indeed it felt like as much during XBLA Fans' E3 demo with Rivals of Aether. But there is a method to developer Dan Fornace's madness here, Read More

Beyond Eyes preview: Head games
2 years ago

Beyond Eyes preview: Head games

If you're reading this, you don't understand. You can't understand. I can't either, of course. I'm not blind. Beyond Eyes' Rae is, and that must make life terrifying and confusing, doubly so when the game takes her outside of the familiar confines of her home.

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Shape of the World preview: A walk in the park
2 years ago

Shape of the World preview: A walk in the park

What do you do for relaxation when you spend five days a week designing bloodshed and carnage? You bring balance to your life by spending your free time creating a peaceful, stress-free trip through nature.

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Swordy preview: A swinging good time
2 years ago

Swordy preview: A swinging good time

Some games are grand adventures. Others are a thinking man's puzzlers. Others still are character-driven narratives. And then there are those games that ask you to stab the crap out of other gamers until their avatars are dead, then do it some more when they respawn. Swordy is the latter.

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The Solus Project preview: Unreal aspirations
2 years ago

The Solus Project preview: Unreal aspirations

"We want people to look at it and say, 'OK, that’s something Activision could make,'" Grip Games CEO and co-founder Jakub Mikyska says of The Solus Project following a hands-on session with the game at E3.

It's a lofty goal, and I'm not entirely sure it's one the teams at Grip Games and co-developer Teotl Studios are pulling off. But The Solus Project certainly does not appear as an indie game. So while you're unlikely to mistake it for something with the visual fidelity of Destiny or the next Call of Duty, the Unreal Engine 4-powered game at least looks like it's slipped into that somewhat barren in-between category. The Solus Project's graphics make it look like a AA game. It's something more technically impressive than what gamers are used to getting at ID@Xbox price points, but you're unlikely to mistake it for the next Activision blockbuster.

The demo opens with us taking control of an astronaut stranded on a grassy beach with a rocky outcrop to one side and a body of water to the other. Straight forward it is, then. Mikyska tells me that players can pick up things in the environment, so I immediately try to grab every plant I see, but most aren't pick-ups. Eventually I do come across some plants that can be picked up along with water, health packs, a flashlight and other goodies.

Intelligently managing and holding onto items will be important, since you'll need resources to prevent dying of exposure, thirst or starvation. Your inventory will of course be limited to prevent stocking up on too many resources to easily overcome the game's challenges.

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Cuphead preview: Like a boss
2 years ago

Cuphead preview: Like a boss

In video games, boss fights usually come at the end of levels, acts, chapters, etc. You work your way through a series of smaller challenges, baddies or puzzles to earn the right to face off against a boss and, should you emerge victorious, move on to the next section of the game. That was the custom established decades ago, and it's largely stuck ever since.

Not so in Cuphead, StudioMDHR's debut old-time cartoons-inspired shooter. Cuphead has an overworld that you can wander around in and select where to go next, but your what you're selecting from are boss fights, not levels. Yesterday at E3 XBLA Fans went hands-on with one of those boss fights — and died. Repeatedly. But damn if doing so wasn't fun.

After selecting what looked like a rocking little music hall on the overworld, I was thrown into a boss fight with a pair of giant frogs with another random player at my side. Hurting the frogs was easy enough: keep holding down the shooting button and take aim at the one frog or the other. The overgrown amphibians soak up tons of fire coming from your characters' index finger and thumb as they form the shape of a gun and spew forth a barrage of pew, pew, pews.

The bosses, of course, don't just take this abuse laying down. One shoots ice balls at differing heights, requiring you to alternate between leaping over them and going prone to duck them, while the other spits out flaming bees that you can shoot out of the air. Once you inflict enough damage during this stage of the fight, one of the frogs rolls toward you before going into a new pattern.

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Xbox 360 backwards compatibility coming to Xbox One
2 years ago

Xbox 360 backwards compatibility coming to Xbox One

Today at Microsoft's annual pre-E3 press conference, Xbox head Phil Spencer took the stage to announce that Xbox 360 backwards compatibility was coming to the Xbox One.

Similarly to the Xbox 360's backwards compatibility feature with the original Xbox, only certain Xbox 360 titles will be available when the program launches, which is right now for Xbox preview program members. Xbox One owners at large will get access to the feature starting this holiday.

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Smite preview part 2: The do's and don'ts
2 years ago

Smite preview part 2: The do's and don'ts

Smite Ice Attack on Xbox One

Days 3-7

Now that I’ve finally unlocked Conquest mode in Smite, I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon, regardless of the other modes that I’m sure I will be unlocked in the near future. Conquest is a tried and true MOBA map, and it feels great running around it from one point to another, and the controls are great and customizable to the point where there’s something for everybody. As a result, everything simply flows together and just work. I was curious how Hi-Rez would solve the problem of not being able to move the camera off the controlled immortal, as can be done in other MOBAs. The studio worked around this by giving all allies and enemies in vision a faint outline with a health bar on the field, making them easy to see. The only crucial thing to take away from what I just said is that everything works how one would expect on a PC, which is all anyone is really asking for.

Anyway, remember how I pretty much only played Ymir in Arena? Well, by day three I had discovered playing Ymir in the support position, and I fell in love with him all over again. The little bit of skill I had built up on Ymir from Arena definitely gave me a leg up over players trying new champions. I'm fortunate to have discovered an immortal that I can thoroughly enjoy so early on. I was setting up kill after kill for the carry, a support’s job, and being able to actively see a player snowball their advantage into something massive is a beautiful sight to behold. But after close to a week of playing Conquest, I've begun to notice some trends in most players that are easily fixable and would improve everyone's play. Granted, some of the following do's and don'ts apply to more than just Smite, but that doesn't lessen their value here in the slightest.

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