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The Xbox games of 2014: Part III
3 years ago

The Xbox games of 2014: Part III

Gamesof2014_Day3

We're late, and it seems that's become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren't doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January's releases, but now it's time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.



Minecraft: Xbox One Edition


Developer: 4J Studios, Mojang and Microsoft Studios

As was announced at Microsoft's E3 2013 presentation, 4J Studios will be bringing its open-world block-building game to the Xbox One. The 360 edition of Minecraft was a huge success and 4J is looking to build off of that success by bringing a "bigger" world to players. The Xbox One edition promises to deliver on the power of next-gen gaming by giving players more of what they want. Maps, Adventures, multiplayer features and console specific enhancements will all be improved and larger in scale on the Xbox One than they were on the Xbox 360. Minecraft: Xbox One Edition will be released sometime in the month of March of 2014.

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The Xbox games of 2014: Part II
3 years ago

The Xbox games of 2014: Part II

Gamesof2014_Day2_1.1

We're late, and it seems that's become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren't doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January's releases, but now it's time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.



Constant C


Developer: International Games

Set aboard a doomed space station in which the flow of time has stopped, Constant C has you playing as a rescue robot navigating the paused wreckage to save the station and its survivors. Constant C is a 2D-platformer boasting gorgeous soft blues and reds on a jet-black background. As the rescue robot, you will manipulate time and space to overcome the puzzles and challenges you're pitted against. The time manipulation is based on your touch; whatever you touch returns the object to the flow of time, such as blocks paused in mid-fall. The gravity manipulation consists of tilting the 2D screen in 90-degree rotations. Both abilities will be crucial to traversing the 100+ mind-blowing stages. Met with favorable reviews on PC, Constant C is now on its way to XBLA this spring.

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The Xbox Games of 2014: Part I
3 years ago

The Xbox Games of 2014: Part I

Xbox Games of 2014: Part I

We’re late, and it seems that’s become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren’t doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January’s releases, but now it’s time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.



Below


Developer: Capy Games

Developer Capy Games is hard at work on two games for this year, including the Xbox One exclusive Below. Announced during Microsoft's E3 2013 press conference, the game centers on a adventurer who lands on the shore of a mysterious island. The game's major focus is exploration; your character is but a tiny portion of the screen to show the full scale of the island. There's plenty of island to see, and the randomly generated environment will ensure every adventure will be unique. Making it through the island will not be a walk in the park: the "roguelike-like" combat and permanent death will make survival difficult, but Capy promises to play fair. Only those who can brave the game's toughest challenges will find the game's hidden secrets and discover what lies below.

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XBLA's Most Wanted: Iron Man 3
3 years ago

XBLA's Most Wanted: Iron Man 3

iron_man_3_coverGames tied to movies have a history of being terrible. They often have rushed development cycles, and most are so tightly linked to the movie that it's impossible for the developer to have any sort of real freedom during their creation. Sure, sometimes we get an instant classic, and once or twice we've been blessed with a genre changer like Spider-Man 2. But let's be honest, it's a rare thing when one actually lives up to player expectations.  Developers like High Moon Studios can't even take their amazing work on the Transformers: Cybertron games and translate that into a good movie title.

Given all this it's not surprising that publishers are looking for ways to continue to cash in without breaking their development budget. We've seen attempts to bring games to Xbox LIVE Arcade, most with poor results. Games like R.I.P.D. and The Expendables 2 are ho-hum on their best day. But smart movie studios have gone mobile. Android and iOS developing giant Gameloft, who were initially known for their console clones N.O.V.A. (Halo) and Modern Combat (Call of Duty), have struck gaming gold with movie tie-ins. By breaking down gameplay to core ingredients they've seen success with both Despicable Me 2: Minion Rush and Iron Man 3: The Official Game. Both may be "just" endless runners, yet somehow both are also en..dless fun. And we think Iron Man 3 could be just as fun on the 360.

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XBLA Fans 2013 Game of the Year awards
3 years ago

XBLA Fans 2013 Game of the Year awards

Game of the Year Awards 2013

The year 2013 has come and gone, and you know what that means: XBLA Fans dropped the ball on getting our Game of the Year awards out during the same calendar year the games released. Apologies for our tardiness, but we're here today to make it up to you with our awards for the very best XBLA games to release in 2013.

After eight long and (mostly) wonderful years on the market, the Xbox 360 saw the beginning of its end in 2013 when its successor, the Xbox One, launched in November. Of course, Microsoft's last-gen console and Xbox Live Arcade platform weren't about to go quietly into that good night. No, major releases continued throughout the year for Xbox 360 XBLA, and that trend looks to continue well into 2014 and possibly even beyond. That meant that picking out the best of the best XBLA games released last year was every bit as difficult for us as it's been any other year. Games like Charlie Murder and Skulls of the Shogun were strong competitors that just missed landing on our list of 2013's best.

But enough about the games that didn't make the cut. Let's get down to what you came here for: the best XBLA games of 2013. Read on for XBLA Fans' picks and let us know what your favorites were and which 2014 game you think will be worthy of being named Game of the Year at the end of next December.

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Has Microsoft done enough to lure indie developers to the Xbox One?
3 years ago

Has Microsoft done enough to lure indie developers to the Xbox One?

versus-consolesAny time a new game console is revealed, the spotlight is invariably turned toward the biggest and loudest AAA-caliber games that will accompany the console at launch and beyond. Last month’s release of the Xbox One was no exception. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Dead Rising 3, and Battlefield 4 have taken top billing in conversations about Microsoft’s new console. However, we shouldn't forget the many great indie developers that have helped to make the Xbox Live Marketplace the veritable treasure trove it’s become.

A strong precedent

The last console generation, the Xbox 360, was home to some truly great indie games, including Cthulhu Saves the World, Escape Goat, Braid> and Limbo. These aren’t necessarily Xbox exclusives, but the fact that they call the Xbox 360 home has been an encouraging sign that Microsoft will continue courting indie game developers on the Xbox One. Even so, public opinion seems to favor Sony’s PlayStation 4 as the best console for indie developers. Given that, what can Microsoft do to win back the love of indies? It may already be on the right track.

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Friday Top Five: Worst XBLA movie-licensed games
3 years ago

Friday Top Five: Worst XBLA movie-licensed games

XBLAFans Top_5

Most movie-licensed games are a special kind of terrible, but every once in a while you’ll find a gem that salvages the crummy image they've cultivated for themselves. That’s not the case here. At best, these are thinly veiled advertisements for summer blockbusters; at worst, they’re gaming’s equivalent of Happy Meal toys – cheaply assembled from hunks of material lying around to capitalize on the fervor of whatever the target demographic is smitten with at the moment. And like those little plastic tchotchkes, if you want the thrill of playing with a relic of your new favorite license, you’re going to have to eat some junk.

It's been a long time coming, but we've finally whittled down a surprisingly robust list of big-screen bombs. We're counting down the top five worst Xbox Live Arcade movie tie-ins (in no particular order).

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The rise of Xbox One’s paymium games
3 years ago

The rise of Xbox One’s paymium games

xbox-one

In years past, it was relatively easy to produce a quality video game on a modest budget. In more recent years, however, the cost has risen astronomically, due in no small part to the advancement of technologies and the larger teams required to produce AAA-quality games. As a result, it’s easy to get caught up in sales numbers and “units shipped” and not realize that many games struggle to break even. As the cost of production goes up, so does the cost of the games.

The most expensive game of all time, in terms of production costs, is Star Wars: The Old Republic, with a budget of $200 million. The title is PC-only, which makes it even harder for publisher EA to recoup that expense.

The recently released Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) comes in second place with a budget of $137 million. GTA V was released on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but even with multiple platforms, making back that budget could be a tall order if there wasn't so much excitement and hype for the game.

Where are we going with this?

The methods used to pass on that cost to gamers have been particularly annoying to gamers at the start of this latest video game generation. “Micro-transaction” has become a four-letter word.

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Does Kinect justify the Xbox One’s $500 price tag?
3 years ago

Does Kinect justify the Xbox One’s $500 price tag?

xbox_one_kinect

There has been a veritable whirlwind of excitement, controversy and anticipation surrounding the release of Microsoft’s latest video game console since it was unveiled back in May. Microsoft has had to backpedal on unpopular policies regarding digital rights management and limitations placed on used games, but the electric feeling that surrounds every console launch has truly never wavered.

Despite some of the unpopular choices made by Microsoft, the Xbox One remains at its core not only a capable gaming machine, but also an all-around entertainment hub. The real question, then, is how to justify its $500 price tag: a $100 premium over the PS4.

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Letter from the Editor: Future of XBLA Fans looks bright

By  •  Features

Now that the craziness from the launch of two exciting consoles in the course of two weeks has finally abated, I wanted to take the time to let our …
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