Category: Features

Backwards Compatibility 104: My top picks and most wanted

The list for all 104 games is on Major Nelson’s website if you want to give it a gander.

It’s a reasonable list but there isn’t a whole lot there overall for me, I was hoping for a few more AAA titles but I think the most interesting titles on the list are definitely Gears of War Judgment, South Park: The Stick of Truth and Bioshock Infinite (the latter due post-launch sometime soon) because of when they released, titles at the end of the generation do the most with the hardware available and if Microsoft can get these AAA titles working well then it will be a great sign for other titles coming in the coming months.

I really hope Microsoft are forthcoming with the list so we know what to expect and let us try some of them in preview too, that would be nice.

Here are the games I’m looking forward to playing the most:

Alien Hominid HD

The Behemoth were a hugely successful developer on XBLA and Alien Hominid was their first release on the platform in February 2007, another one of those titles I overlooked (probably because it was too hard…) but now I can re-write that wrong. Their other games Castle Crashers (also remastered natively on Xbox One) and Battleblock Theatre are part of the first backwards compatibility list too.

AH (more…)

News Roundup: PS4 price-drops, Kojima, Halo 5, Sherlock Holmes + more

Sony have announced various PS4 price drops:

  • Now $349 in USA
  • €349 in Europe
  • £299 in UK
  • Other region equivalent drops too

Its taken a long time to come around due to the great sales of the console but a price drop has finally happened for the PS4 around the release time of the Uncharted Collection and ready to combat any boost in sales Halo 5 Guardians will give Xbox One.

A $/€50 drop was to be expected for me, I don’t think dropping the price by $100 made any sense at all, whilst I have no “concern” over Sony’s finances they are obviously making a lot of money on the PS4 as it is and I think their interest will be on keeping the money coming in from their hardware as well as software and not focusing specifically on software sales. (more…)

Job Listing: Ruffian Games new IP and more Halo work, PC related?



Ruffian Games are the creators of Crackdown 2 which released in 2010 along many contract workings for Microsoft and are known to be developing Hollowpoint for PS4 and PC with Paradox Interactive as well as new things based a new job listing and blog post on their website.

The blog post [from September 2015] is very clear on their future, they want to make games that they own and have control over and as part of that are working on a new prototype with a team they are assembling and recruiting for! The game is using with Unreal Engine 4, it also seems like we might find out what exactly this game is in the not to distant future. There is also an image attached to the post which looks like the guy from Team Fortress 2 in an alternate universe:




Crimsonland Review (Xbox One)

RulezPlay Screenshot 2015-10-09 22-17-52

Crimson land is a top down dual-stick shooter from developer 10tons Ltd who more recently released Sparkle Unleashed however Crimsonland was the first game they developed back in 2003 and this version is based on the 2014 remaster released across Steam, Playstation 3, 4, Vita, iOS and Windows Phone!

It’s a game about a guy and his guns, thirty different guns with lots of variety to suit players and situations as well as and fifty-five perks which are used to aid you as well and can turn a situation on its head very handily when things get tricky as well as a variety of power ups. You use a vast array of weaponry to blast through all manner of enemies including spiders, aliens and lizards which is very fun and satisfying if you like the genre.



Twisted Pixel Goes Independent


A couple of week ago [September 30th] news broke that Microsoft first-party studio Twisted Pixel were returning to their roots as an independent developer and leaving the ownership of Microsoft.

Twisted Pixel are based in Austin, Texas and were formed in 2006, since then they have had all 6 of their games published by Microsoft across Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox One and PC starting with The Maw then moving to the Splosion Man franchise, Comic Jumper, The Gunstringer for Kinect and finally their last release in November 2013 (February 2014 on XBLA and PC) Lococycle, they were purchased in October 2011 after the release of Gunstringer.

Here is the full press release they issues to announce the split, there are a few interesting things about this that have sparked my curiosity.

“The companies formalized their relationship in 2011 when Microsoft acquired the studio in a “minimally integrated” arrangement, a feature that kept the door cracked open for the development announced today.”


Xbox One Bundlemania is running wild

Microsoft have announced their holiday bundles this week, a big range featuring a bunch of different titles at different price points, here’s a rundown of my thoughts on each:

Tomb Raider Bundle [Xbox Wire]

  • Black 1tb hard drive console
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider Definitive Edition digital codes
  • Releasing November 3rd for $399
  • Microsoft Store and Best Buy exclusive in USA, sold in all other markets where Xbox One is sold except for UK and China

This is an expected bundle given the timed-exclusivity on the game however I was surprised by a few things: the first one being it was the 1tb bundle at $399 as opposed to a $349 bundle, I really thought this would be their big holiday bundle, not being sold in the UK – a region that loves the franchise and finally it’s a Best Buy/Microsoft Store exclusive in the US which seems strangely limiting to me.


I like the inclusion of both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider Definitive Edition though, thats a good move as its out a week before the game and people can play Definitive Edition whilst they wait for the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider. (more…)

News roundup: October GwG, COD, Hitman + more [27th September]

October Games With Gold on Xbox 360/Xbox One:

  • Xbox One: Valiant Hearts/The Walking Dead Season 1
  • Xbox 360: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes/The Walking Dead Season 1

I recently wrote an article about how Games With Gold had improved, September was a great month for the service that I think generally people were pleased about, I’m not sure October had the same response.

All of the games offered are very good games, there is no question about that in my mind objectively or really subjectively from my opinion, I’ve played The Walking Dead, Metal Gear Solid and have Valiant Hearts in my PS4 backlog from when it was on PS+ but that said, I think repeating games like this is disappointing.



Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain already launched, so putting Ground Zeroes on there a month later seems a bit superfluous, the Xbox One version was a GwG title in August too. Valiant Hearts was a PS+ title so for me personally it doesn’t do much but it’s supposedly a very good game and I don’t really have an issue with that. (more…)

Games With Gold: A Great Improvement


Games With Gold was a program born as a response to Sony’s “Instant Game Collection” for PS+ which formed the basis of their paid subscription plan, after an initial period of other titles including PS1 classics it started giving away PS3 games and has built its success around that idea but it took Microsoft a long while to add their own similar service to Xbox Live Gold.

I’m a believer still that despite how the different subscription services have converged to offer the same/similar features that the backbone for each of them are still built off their original foundations: Xbox Live Gold still aims at providing online multiplayer and the best experience for that whilst PS+ aims to offer the best service for providing games to their subscriptions, with online multiplayer being used to get more subscribers.

I don’t want to spend all my time here comparing the services as that’s not my point, more stating what I believe they both set out to do and how Microsoft have improved the Games With Gold service.

GwG August (more…)

News Roundup: NPDs, XBLIG and Knoxville [12th September]


August 2015 NPDs

  • Playstation 4 wins the hardware battle, Xbox One up 26% Year-on-Year
  • Madden 16 takes #1 spot, Gears Ultimate Edition #3, Rare Replay #6, Until Dawn #7
  • Most games selling better on PS4
  • 7 million Amiibos sold

Not a surprise to me that Sony won the hardware race again, despite the TV + Xbox One sales combo the PS4 seems like an unstoppable train that MS need more than unfortunately a great (and cheap) collection plus a remaster to beat, not that Sony had a great month in terms of releases but Until Dawn is a title that has surprised many people.



Weekly News Roundup: Bundles, Borderlands and Release Dates [5th September]

Something new I’m going to do to be a bit more on the ball about commenting on news where something isn’t significant enough for me to want to write a few hundred words on it, I won’t comment on everything as that will be pointless but I’ll try to focus on the more relevant ones:

New Xbox One/Playstation 4 bundles & accessories

  • Xbox One Elite Bundle
    • 1tb console with solid state hybrid drive
    • Elite controller
    • Releasing November 3rd for $499
  • Playstation 4 Uncharted Collection Bundle
    • 500gb 1200 model (Better power efficiency, better on/off buttons)
    • Digital code for Uncharted 1-3 on PS4
    • Releasing October 9th for $399
  • Xbox One Lunar White Controller
    • White controller with gold d-pad and triggers
    • GameStop exclusive releasing late September for $64.99


MS Gamescom 2015 Predictions Review



Following the conclusion of Gamescom 2015 its time to review my predictions for the show, it wasn’t just about the conference so anything else Xbox showed or announced at the Daily Shows or some other capacity will be including in this. Generally I think I did pretty well really:

  • Quantum Break = March 2016 release date, Alan Wake Remastered pre-order bonus available in 2015
    • April release date. No Alan Wake Remastered
  • Scalebound has 4 player co-op, Spring 2016 release date
    • 4 player co-op, holiday 16
  • Crackdown gameplay demo, cloud tech destruction detailed, Holiday 2016
    • Yep, yep and nope, the game is scheduled for Summer 2016
  • Halo 5 LE console, Fifa 16, Tomb Raider and Fallout 4 bundles
    • Halo 5 and Fifa 16 bundles
  • New Halo 5 trailer featuring Master Chief + TR, Forza 6 trailers
    • Trailers for all, although not a Master Chief one
  • Brand new Halo game announced, not made by 343 Industries, begins in 2016
    • Halo Wars 2 made by Creative Assembly, 2016
  • Halo Spartan Strike (finally) announced for Xbox consoles
    • Nope
  • Halo MCC PC port announced
    • Nope


Mini-Reviews #3: Screamride, Kalimba, Rayman Legends

Screamride (Xbox One)


Developed by Frontier developments who made Xbox One launch title Zoo Tycoon, Screamride is a fun game about rollercoasters, riding them, building them and destroying them with impressive physics and destruction mechanics I had a lot of fun with.

The campaign has 3 modes to it: screamrider, destruction and builder with different goals on each level with 6 “series” each of which have multiple levels within them for each gameplay type. I feel like it suffered a bit between being a premium digital title and low-cost retail game but whatever it was it’s certainly fun. (more…)

Lift London: Now working on Hololens


Lift London have been a bit of a mystery since they were first opened back in 2012, originally making games for touch devices and had another “interesting” idea planned if they could land it (Per Phil Spencer’s twitter), then they listed consoles on their twitter feed and website before a merger and some layoffs with another London-based Microsoft Studio Soho Productions [Upload Studio]. 3 years since their inception and we still don’t appear to be officially any closer to finding out what they’ve been up to.

Still got this note on their website

Still got this note on their website

Their website which changed its domain to Lift.London doesn’t appear to have been updated recently, since the last facelift anyway. There are some characters kicking around their website which fall in-line with the pictures of achievements for “Eden Falls” which they were developing for Windows Phone 8 at one point, they might still be but to be honest we have no idea at this point.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 17.50.05

Floating around on their website

These are the achievements that surfaced on the very good website a while ago, as you can see the art/characters are the same, so either someone is great at photoshop or they’re real.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 18.01.32

Its also worth noting the website hasn’t been updated in a while seeing as on the “About Us” page it still like Mike Rouse who left the studio in March 2015 to form his own independent studio RedSix Interactive.

Lift London been radio silent for a long while and it seems we may now have somewhat of an answer as to why.

I was alerted to the possibility of Lift London working on Hololens after a more recent event where one of their (now ex-)staffers tweeted out this: (more…)

Gears of War 4 E3 Demo thoughts


At E3 2015 Microsoft and The Coalition lifted the lid on Gears of War 4 with a live gameplay demo by studio head Rod Fergusson.

The important take out for me was moving away from their traditional teaser trailers to announce games with and do a gameplay demo on-stage which I think was good move. People told Microsoft they wanted less CGI trailers after Crackdown, Scalebound and Phantom Dust at last years E3 so they showed gameplay and then people complain about what they see when it’s quite early, hilarious.

Black Tusk Studios as they were known when they took over the Gears of War franchise back in January 2014 have worked hard on the game and at E3 represented 17 months worth of development time (if the demo was finished in June) and if it launches in November 2016, it will have another 17 months left in development, so whichever way you look at it we’re pretty much dead on the halfway stage in development, The Coalition have also been working with Splash Damage on Gears of War Ultimate Edition which launches next month. (more…)

Ratings Boards #4: More games coming to Xbox One

Round 4 of my compilation of newest games rated by PEGI (EU), USK (Germany) and ESRB (US)

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2


“Legend foretold it. Prophecies predicted it. Chosen ones chose to believe in it. Now the adventure saga continues. A sequel is coming. Join Wilbur, Ivo, Nate and Critter in another classic point-and-click adventure in the wicked world of Aventásia. Help them fulfill their destiny. A destiny as yet unwritten.”

  • Developer/Publisher: King Art Games/Nordic Games
  • Rated: PEGI
  • Visit: Website – Steam