Today I received my Microsoft Xbox One Stereo Headset.
Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter
In the box
First off, very cool packaging. The box opens up to reveal the headphones in a foam wrapping, but well presented. Underneath the headphones are the Micro USB cable and the headphone adapter.
Last year, Crystal Dynamics created one of my favorite games of the year, Tomb Raider. A reboot of a franchise that I am very familiar with, since it’s initial release. The new Tomb Raider looked great, even on the aging hardware of the last console generation. And though console gamers didn’t get the fancy TressFX and high resolutions that the PC release saw, the gameplay and story showed up in a major way and Lara became fresh again, if naïve and vulnerable.
Having thoroughly enjoyed Tomb Raider last year, I wasn’t thrilled about the announcement of a new and improved “Definitive Edition” on new gen consoles. Was this just a gussied up rereleased cash-in? Was there enough here to warrant the infamous “double dip”?
A review of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood from Press Play, on Xbox One, Xbox 360
When Max comes home to find his little brother, Felix, playing (rather aggressively) with Max’s toys, Max reaches his last straw and decides to run a web search on “How to make your brother disappear!” He finds an incantation that, when recited, summons a portal and seconds later Felix is gone.
Max has a rather instantaneous change of heart and jumps in after Felix and his monster captor. This brief cutscene is all you get before jumping into Max’s beautiful adventure. The gameplay starts soon after and has you control Max in an effort to bravely acquire Felix from the evil kidnapper that has claimed him, the mustachioed Mustacho. Read more
As a gamer, it’s nice to have developers that you can count on for creating great games and content. Quite often, developers become known for a certain game series or genre. And so it becomes easy to think of DICE as “the Battlefield guys”, or Bethesda as “the action/adventure RPG guys”. Likewise, it would have been easy to think of Zen Studios as “the pinball guys”. And sure, their most notable work, at least the most prolific, has been Pinball FX and it’s spawn. But today, Zen Studios carves a new notch into its development record with 2D physics-destruction tower defense action game (it’s hard to put this one into a specific genre) CastleStorm.
CastleStorm has several modes of play including Versus multiplayer and Co-op modes. I suggest playing through the campaign first as a sort of tutorial and to unlock other modes and features.
Star Wars Pinball Review
I am not the Star Wars geek that many (most) of my friends are, but I do respect the characters and the franchise as a whole, plus I had the O.G. Star Wars bed sheets when I was a kid. My own kids use them now, so we are still a Star Wars family to a degree. When I first learned of the Star Wars Pinball tables, I got pretty excited. But now that the first pack of tables is here, is it worth your credits?
Every once in a while, a game comes along that relies heavily on religious iconography for its story telling. Usually, these games also come bundled with some degree of controversy (whether intentional or not), and they run the risk of scaring off gamers who see the use of their beloved beliefs as nothing more than mythological fantasy exploited for entertainment purposes. Party of Sin doesn’t appear to have an anti-religious agenda behind it. More likely, it seeks to marry old school platformers with the modern gaming conventions we have come to expect from action puzzlers.
There is both some good and bad to report about Party of Sin. The controls are stiff and combat is simplistic and boring. Fortunately there is a whole lot of interesting puzzle gameplay that redeems Party of Sin from the Hell it would otherwise deserve.
Zen Studios has given us a steady stream of high quality, fun, and varied pinball tables over the last couple of years. Over time, the quality of design of the tables has improved greatly, which makes the recent (re)release of these classic tables a touch bittersweet.
The Zen Classics tables originally appeared as part of Zen Pinball on the PS3, making this their first appearance on the Xbox 360. Because these tables are remakes, albeit with improved graphics and physics, they don’t quite display the quality, flair, and balance that the more recently developed tables do. On the other hand, all four tables bring a retro vibe that fans of the early 90’s pinball era should be stoked for.
Whereas the more modern styled tables typically include a 3D model of a character or two, these classic tables are more “realistic” and you really get the sense that there are physical mechanisms at work here. The included tables are:
Pinball FX2 is inarguably one of the finest Pinball simulations ever made. Both the physics and graphics engine behind the tables are very well done. It’s then up to developers Zen Studios to produce tables that utilize the FX2 engine artfully to ensure that pinball fans have a variety of themes and skill levels to choose from. These tables are released as downloadable expansions to the base game. This is a review of one of these expansions.
The Marvel license has been good to the Pinball FX franchise. Digital pinball wizards have an assortment of Marvel tables featuring some great characters and “storylines”. The story in the Marvel Civil War table unsurprisingly follows the Civil War storyline in the comics. This storyline follows the tragic incident at Stamford, Connecticut where super villain Nitro killed more than 600 people with his mutant powers.
This event causes the government to enact the Superhuman Registration Act in an effort to catalog and track superpeople worldwide. Iron Man agrees to help round up the superhumans whereas Captain America refuses, seeing it as an infringement on civil liberties. This disagreement between two prominent superheroes results in a “civil war”. Both sides of the issue rally for support of other mutants as the war gets bigger and and deadlier. Read more
Typically, when I see a brand name like Red Bull used for a game license, I roll my eyes and set my brain to dismiss. But Crashed Ice isn’t just some marketing cash in, Red Bull actually sponsors and runs the event every year. So the inclusion of Red Bull in the title of the game is actually appropriate, and short of the occasional Red Bull powerup in game, there isn’t any cheesy, forced product placement. Crashed Ice is a solid game that happens to have Red Bull cans floating high in the air at various points in each course. But to understand the game, it’s best to have a little background on the event on which it is based.
Red Bull Crashed Ice is an extreme winter sport that takes 4 dudes in ice hockey gear (sans sticks) and sends them jamming down an ice course laden with hills, jumps, dips, and curves in a race to first. I just learned all that myself, so forgive me for not being an expert. I am here to review the game, not the sport.
I am quite the He-Man fan. I enjoyed the old series as well as the new. I love the corny, sometimes self-contradicting messages at the end of the episodes. I had many of the toys as a youth. Though I must confess I only had Battle Armor Skeletor and not the original. I do however have an Orko shirt that my loving wife purchased for me knowing how much of a fan that I am. So it should come as no surprise that when “He-Man: The Most Powerful Game In The Universe” was announced, this 33 year old shell of a man became temporarily possessed by a six year old boy.
Here are the words of a 33 year old man, tempered by the thoughts of that six year old boy. Read more
Category: Game Reviews