Features Archive


What we are playing: June 24

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to. 

Perry Jackson - Played through Max Payne 3 and boy, did that game get better reviews than it should. Not that it’s bad, it just has bad pacing issues and Max is super clunky in cover. That being said, the narrative is still rad even if it’s pretty noir-cheese sometimes. Other than that, the Humble Indie Bundle keeps on giving still. Playing through Super Meat Boy with an SNES controller is kind of the best, sorry 360 controller.

Matt Liparota - As summer continues, I find myself revisiting games I haven’t played for a while – I dove back into Skyrim earlier this afternoon, a game I haven’t played too much of because I foolishly bought it during the glut of good games early in the year. I also played a bit of Max Payne 3, a game I’m enjoying well enough but can’t seem to get into enough to marathon through to the end. Late in the week I also dusted off my 3DS to take a crack at some of the post-game content in Pokemon White. Looking forward into next week, I’m excited for the Amazing Spider-Man game – though I’ll probably hold off on picking it up, both to creep on reviews and to wait until I’ve seen the movie when it hits next month (what with it being a sequel and all).

Steve Melton – Stepping away from Trials Evo and Joy Ride Turbo to start another play-through of Mass Effect 3 in preparation for the Extended Cut DLC that comes out on Tuesday.

Todd Schlickbernd – I’ve been playing almost nothing but Magic: the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 for a week. After the review and the guide I’m exhausted on Magic, but I genuinely enjoyed every part of it. The puzzle challenges were an absolute beast to complete! I’ve been re-leveling in Borderlands after losing my save file a year ago, I figure I’ll want that completed game save for the new game. Other than that, no more racing games on XBLA for a while developers, I’m good for a while. Except Rush. I could go for another Rush.

Ross Adams – Been slowly making my way through Diablo III: Standard Edition, for how simple it is the combat is really satisfying, especially with the Monk. Also been playing some Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Dark Void, both of which I grabbed in the Games on Demand sale. They’re…well they’re just about worth the four quid I paid, I’ll say that.

James Heiger I played a fair amount of Marvel Pinball: The Avengers Chronicles. It really is a fantastic package. It has been pretty quiet this week otherwise.

Nick Santangelo – I didn’t get too much gaming in this week, but I did make time for my usual dosage of Halo Reach multiplayer.

Nathan Bowring – A slow week for gaming for me. I played a little Minecraft and inched ever closer to reaching Field Marshal rank in Halo Reach.

Shawn Saris - When I haven’t been raging at Starcraft 2 or Diablo III, I have been playing LEGO Batman 2. I love the Lego games and this one is no different. Now that each character has a voice, it just adds to the fun.


And now you, good reader, what have you been busying yourself with? Looking forward to anything special?


Magic: the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 – Challenges Guide

Welcome to our Challenges & Encounters guide, two of the key returning features in Magic 2013! This page is for the Challenges, Encounters can be found here. As they were in the past, these puzzles require you to solve intricate victory solutions from abysmal situations. Most of these puzzles require you to win during that one turn, making this a very small, difficult piece of Magic strategy. Since these are puzzles, however, we can solve them the exact same way every time! As such, each solution will be in step by step format, so you can’t possibly miss a beat.

Important: We strongly advise you either view every step before trying these, or you stop the timer after each move, as some steps are between individual card plays rather than entire turn phases.

Again, there are 10 Encounters to go along with the 10 challenges, so if you want solutions or help with those, head on over to the Encounters guide page. Read the rest of this entry »


Straw Poll Wednesday: Which year had the best Summer of Arcade promotion?

What year had the best Summer of Arcade?

  • 2009 (36%, 102 Votes)
  • 2008 (21%, 59 Votes)
  • 2011 (19%, 53 Votes)
  • 2010 (17%, 48 Votes)
  • 2012 (7%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 282

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  • Bionic Commando Rearmed, Braid, Castle Crashers, Galaga Legions, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2


  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, Shadow Complex, ‘Splosion Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, Trials HD


  • Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, LIMBO, Monday Night Combat


  • Bastion, From Dust, Fruit Ninja Kinect, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Toy Soldiers: Cold War


  • Deadlight, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Hybrid, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, Wreckateer

Best of XBLA at E3 2012

Every year, E3 seems more hectic than the last. We spent five hectic days getting our eyes and hands on every XBLA game possible and we’ve picked out eighteen games that stood out from the crowd. Here is the run-down on the very best XBLA titles from E3 2012. Read the rest of this entry »


E3 jetpacks-on preview: Hybrid

It’s natural to have questions when playing a game for the first time. Questions like, “So this is Gears of War with jetpacks, right?” for instance. Or perhaps, “Is that guy shooting at me from the ceiling?” Maybe even, “What’s that sou — oh god, is that a cybernetic assassin?!” Gamers who partook in the beta for 5th Cell’s Hybrid already know the answers to those questions. For the uninitiated: no, yes, a cybernetic assassin and see: previous answer.

When a studio that is known and loved for creating a specific type of game — those in the Drawn to Life and Scribblenauts vein, in this case — announces it’s taking that brave leap of faith from the comforts of its nest to attempt a flight towards previously uncharted territory, there can be some trepidation among gamers, perhaps some skepticism, even. Take just one look at 5th Cell’s Summer of Arcade third-person shooter and it’s plain that it is one such departure. Five matches in a noisy convention hall (seriously, Activision, did Black Ops II have to be that loud?) is a sample size too small to categorically abandon all concerns over whether or not the studio has the chops to pull this thing off. However, it is large enough to glean that Hybrid has all the makings of the next XBLA shooter that will keep gamers up until the wee hours of the morning on many occasions. Now might be a good time to start banking up that sick leave at work.

Read the rest of this entry »

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XBLAFancast Episode 66 – Unequip your socks

Bit of a low key show this week, not much in the way of news or big releases coming off of the E3 blow-out. We still manage fit in over an hour of XBLA talk though, with a few tangents.

Please subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes. We appreciate it! Check us out on twitter (@XBLAFans) where you can win codes for games, give us feedback or just ask a question. We are also now on Stitcher, so you can stream the show on your smartphone, give it a go!

Big thanks to Chris Green for the awesome theme music, be sure to check out his site BlurredEdge and why not follow him on twitter too @BlurredEdge.


RSS | MP3 | iTunes Read the rest of this entry »


E3 Hands-on: Double Dragon Neon is a vibrant mix of old and new

When I told Pete Rosky, Assistant Product Manager at Majesco and curator of my Double Dragon Neon demo, that I had never played a Double Dragon game he said “Great! I’ll tell you as little about the game as possible then.” Confused and incredulous, I asked why. “I’ve never gotten to do this presentation with someone who hasn’t played a Double Dragon game before, it’s a whole new perspective.” Knowing then what I know now, I would have understood that Double Dragon Neon is an “old soul” of a brawler, living a life in the present with a staunch respect for the past.

Apparently, Double Dragon is kind of a big deal amongst brawler fans, so excuse me for those of you that I’ve offended by having not played the game. If it makes you feel better, I played this one and liked it. Double Dragon Neon is slow paced (which isn’t a bad thing, mind you) and all the character models are huge and for all the brawlers I’ve played this felt different. It’s a brawler that feels old, but looks new. I marveled at the eye-popping visuals and smooth animations, but the gameplay was nothing like the brawlers of today (because apparently it’s like the brawlers of yesteryear).

Just like Majesco did for my demo, prepare for a preview from a different perspective. Read the rest of this entry »


Trials Tuesday: Week of June 19

We’re back! After a week off we’re coming back with some more must-have tracks to add to your collection. We’ve got two great Trials HD remakes plus two tracks that look and feel like they were made by RedLynx. We’re also looking for feedback, so be sure and hit the jump to let us know your thoughts.

To download these tracks by entering Track Central, selecting Get Tracks, then pressing X to search. Enter the gamertag below to find the track. Be aware that the search is case sensitive. A big thanks to the Trials Evolution community for the borrowed videos. Hit the jump to see this week’s picks.

Read the rest of this entry »


Minecraft Mondays: Eco-friendly Edition

Props to XMaloX for recreating our logo in-game

Welcome to our second edition of Minecraft Monday! Each Monday for the foreseeable future, we will be showcasing a community member’s world. If you are interested in being featured, please email Shawn@xblafans.com. If you’re new to the world of Minecraft, check our our introductory guide here and find out what over 2 Million Xbox Live players are going on about.

We’ll leave it to our video guru Shawn “MrTheVestman” Saris to introduce this weeks very environmentally friendly world. Read the rest of this entry »


E3 Preview: So seven strangers walk into The Cave…

The “point and click” adventure game genre simply refuses to die. Ron Gilbert, creative mastermind behind Monkey Island, leads Double Fine‘s upcoming console-bound return to adventure games, The Cave. Gilbert isn’t redesigning the wheel here (though I wouldn’t put it past him) but The Cave definitely has everything for the contemporary adventure game fan.

The Cave is an adventure game of the 2D platform and puzzle variety wherein you guide three characters along a journey through a mysterious, question-answering cave. Seven characters — amongst them a Hillbilly, Knight, Scientist, Monk, Time Traveler, Adventurer and a set of creepy Twin children — each find themselves with a deep desire which they believe the cave can satisfy. Though they have an overt motive for venturing into the cave, Gilbert says there’s something deeper going on in The Cave. Read the rest of this entry »

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