Max Parker (The Game Guy)

Max Parker (The Game Guy)

The fondest memories from the Xbox 360 era

Thursday, 21 April 2016 11:00

 

 

The Xbox 360 is dead, long live the Xbox 360

 

3b4f6cf518788e4e96805e4fdf32a284-970-80

 

Microsoft made the somber announcement that they will be officially discontinuing production of the Xbox 360. To say it had a good run is an understatement. It had one of the longest lives in the history of home gaming consoles. The 360 reached the virtually unobtainable ten year mark before the powers that be brought down the ax.

 

This shouldn’t be a time of sadness. It should be a time of remembrance. The original Xbox put Microsoft on the map for home game consoles. The Xbox 360 changed the game with an impressive suite of online media offerings. It was more than a console. It evolved into a complete entertainment device. Fans of the PS4 have the Xbox 360 to thank for some of the console features that we take for granted like party chat and friend interaction.

 

The Xbox 360 did much more than just play apps like Netflix and Hulu. It had games; lots of games. Some of those games revolutionized the action genre like “Gears of War” and “Mass Effect.”

 

So let’s look back on the last ten years at some of the best memories from the Xbox 360 generation.

Join the conversation:

 

Dark Souls 3 Cover

 

The “Dark Souls” series has become synonymous with one thing: punishing difficulty. But the series isn’t just for masochists who crave a more difficult brand of video game. “Dark Souls 3” has a comparable difficulty to its predecessors, sure, but the experience is much more than a rigorous loop of trial and error.

 

The “Dark Souls” experience is about discovery, progression and success that grants a sense of satisfaction that is severely lacking in much of the adventure genre. “Dark Souls 3” impeccably improves on the structure of the original “Dark Souls” and “Dark Souls 2” all while managing to make the experience more accessible to newcomers.

Join the conversation:

'EA UFC 2' review - champ in training

Wednesday, 16 March 2016 11:46

EAUFCcoverIt’s not easy to defend EA’s first attempt at the UFC series that released two years ago. “EA UFC” was the publisher’s second attempt at an MMA game (remember “EA MMA”?) and the first with UFC branding. “EA UFC 2” is EA Canada’s second chance to bring glory back to the combat sports game genre.

Join the conversation:

TheDivisionCoverIt’s been a turbulent road leading to the release of “Tom Clancy’s The Division.” It survived numerous delays that pushed its original release date from 2014 to March 7 of this year. The open world, third-person shooter is finally in the hands of fans, and the extra time spent developing the project seems to have been for the better.

Join the conversation:

Rocket League is one of the most popular games of last year for more than one reason. It's not only becasue its highly competitive gameplay appeals to such a wide audience. It's also because developers Psyonix continue to support the game with fan-friendly updates and content. The most recent content addition is set to arrive on March 8 in the form of the new Batmobile from "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justince."

Join the conversation:

Rocket League is one of the most popular games of last year for more than one reason. It's not only becasue its highly competitive gameplay appeals to such a wide audience. It's also because developers Psyonix continue to support the game with fan-friendly updates and content. The most recent content addition is set to arrive on March 8 in the form of the new Batmobile from "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justince."

Join the conversation:

'Far Cry Primal' Review - Into the wild

Monday, 22 February 2016 12:58

FarCryCoverThe “Far Cry” series was the perfect candidate for a change of scenery. While “Far Cry 3” and “4” were excellent games in their own right, it would’ve been difficult for Ubisoft Montreal to go back to that same well for a third time. While those two games focused on rural exploration in modern times. “Far Cry Primal” takes away guns and explosives and replaces them with a primitive bow, spear and mighty tiger at your side.


“Primal” is set in a land called Oros during 10,000 B.C. It’s a dangerous time when taking one step away from your camp puts you on the menu for many of forest’s apex predators. Don’t worry about the rival tribes; worry about tigers, bears and badgers. The forest is angry place.  

Join the conversation:

SFVCoverThere are only a few video games that transcend their medium to be recognized by the mainstream. Non-gamers know what the “Street Fighter” series is, along with “Super Mario Bros.,” “Pac-Man” and “Mortal Kombat.” “Street Fighter” has come a long way from two player format in arcades. The newest game in the series “Street Fighter V” (“SFV”) is an example of that progress.

 

It’s a big deal for the series when a new numbered “Street Fighter” is released. There have been well over a dozen “Street Fighter” games throughout the series 29-year history, but adding a new number to the title signifies the next step in the game’s evolution. “SFV” advances the series thanks to new core fighting mechanics, but doesn’t quite reach the rest of the fighting genre when it comes to additional features.

 

The last series release “Ultra Street Fighter IV” had a daunting roster of 44 playable characters. “SFV” tightens up with a more focused roster of just 16 characters. More doesn’t always mean better. Having 16 characters strikes a good balance between having enough variety and not being too intimidating to newcomers. There are four brand new characters, while 12 of them have appeared in previous “Street Fighter” games. The roster will grow in the coming months with downloadable content.

 

The four new characters that have been added need a backstory. Fortunately, the game adds Story Mode that tells a small bit of their story. While other fighting games have had a Story Mode, this is a first for the “Street Fighter” series. The last installment of “Mortal Kombat” had fully animated cutscenes in its story mode, but “SFV” has dialog over still images. The quality of those images isn’t much better than concept art, giving its Story Mode the feeling that it was rushed to meet a deadline.

 

Each character has his or her own narrative within the Story Mode. Each of these sections only lasts between five and ten minutes. While a mode like this has become essential for fighting games, “SFV’s” implementation could have used some added work.

 

SFV4

 

The series has always put gameplay above story, which is the case in “SFV.” The game changes enough to warrant a new numbered game in the series, but doesn’t over complicate the formula to scare off novices. Each character has a unique ability called V-Skill that are triggered the same way across the roster. Characters’ special moves have been simplified so that button commands are similar from fighter to fighter. These adjustments make the series inviting again whereas the learning curve in previous games was too steep to attract new players.

 

Charge characters like Vega and Bison have been completely retooled. Many players like me have always gravitated toward characters with quarter and half circle turns over charge characters. Completely changing the way characters who used to be charge characters made me willing to give them a try. Making characters more accessible is positive and meaningful change for the “Street Fighter” series.

 

SFV5

 

The bare-boned Story Mode is a reflection of the lack of features packed into the game’s current form. There is no spectator mode, and lobbies can only be created for two friends. The in-game currency called Fight Money can be earned, but only when connected to “SFV” online servers. The store in which to spend that Fight Money isn’t even available yet, and will be added via free update in March. Fight Money will eventually be used toward buying cosmetic changes to stages and characters. Challenges that have become a fighting game mainstay will also be added in next month’s update. The game would have benefited if it were delayed until all of its features could have been included.

 

Like “Street Fighter IV” before it, “SFV” will be an ever changing game over the next couple years thanks to downloadable updates, new fighters and added functionality. The core fighting mechanics of the game are an excellent base to start from, but “SFV” could use some additional features to elevate it to the current crop of fighting games.

 

8 out of 10

 

 

Join the conversation:

'Rocket League' for Xbox One - Review

Thursday, 18 February 2016 11:56

 

RocketLeagueCover“Rocket League” was the best game of 2015. How could a game from an indie studio that is essentially soccer with rocket-powered cars beat the likes of “The Witcher 3” and “Metal Gear Solid V”? If you’re an Xbox One owner, you’re about to find out.

Join the conversation:

'Firewatch' review

Friday, 12 February 2016 09:54

 

Firewatchcover“Firewatch” grabbed headlines when it was announced at Sony’s E3 2015 press event. It was a mysterious first-person game that seemed to have an emphasis on exploration. No one was sure about what “Firewatch” was during that first impression, but it had our attention.

 

That trailer came with plenty of questions. What type of game was this independant title from Campo Santo going to be? As it turns out, it’s about interpersonal relationships. The game’s first minutes tell a gut-wrenching tale of life, love, disease and abandonment, but the story fails to bring closure to any of these themes and veers into entirely new territory.

Join the conversation:

Page 1 of 64