GamesRadar - Xbox 360 Features, 30 Jan 2015 18:16:34 -0800RadioRadar podcast 124: Attack of the Roberts, 30 Jan 2015 18:16:34 -0800 enemy archetypes that are way cooler than zombies <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>If I see <i>one more</i> game that pits you against a horde of zombies, I'm going to scream. And with the way things are going, it'll be less than a week before I've shredded my vocal cords down to tissue-paper thinness with my constant shrieks of anguish. So often, developers seem content to fall back on such a limited subset of cliched enemies - mainly things like zombies, robots, super-soldiers, aliens, or hellspawn. And with so much oversaturation of these popular baddie archetypes, all those demons, extraterrestrials, and undead now feel about as menacing as an elderly Wal-Mart greeter. <p>It's time we got some more variety, don't you think? Pitting the player against an unfamiliar kind of opposition can be a risk, but when it pays off, the results are memorable at worst and ingenious at best. So whaddya say, game devs: why not give these underused antagonist themes a try? Maybe one day, they'll have been reused so many times that zombies could - miracle of miracles - actually feel fresh again. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Cthulhu may be H.P. Lovecraft's <a href="" target="new">most iconic creation</a> - but that dude had so much more to give in the 'deeply disturbing imagery' department. Take the human-fish hybrids that populate the fictional town of Innsmouth. This breed of bad guy is essentially a two-for-one deal: they start out as increasingly disfigured cultists, eventually degrading into full-on aquatic mutants. How are they created, you ask? Simple: generations of ungodly breeding between mankind and ancient, underwater creatures called Deep Ones! <p>Something about that transition from physically repulsive villager to bipedal sushi monster makes them so much more terrifying than your average supernatural aberration. Imagine walking in on a disheveled figure huddled in a corner, who spins around as you draw near to reveal bulging, glassy eyes, webbed hands, and gills forming from the oily creases in their neck fat. I'd take that over yet another reanimated, bloody-mouthed corpse any day! <p><b>The current gold standard:</b> Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Sure, plenty of video game heroes can recount stories of how they single-handedly foiled an alien invasion, or killed the Devil himself in his own lair. But how many can claim that they were attacked by a sentient sign post? Or got jumped by a Scalding Coffee Cup that burned their flesh with psionic fire powers? I imagine that being suddenly assaulted by an everyday object is at once hilarious and terrifying. Wouldn't it just be so silly if a fire hydrant developed the urge to kill you? And can you imagine the pain of a nozzle cap, propelled by a jetstream of high-pressure water, slamming directly into your skull? <p>If I walked around a game world only to be accosted by random bits of scenery, I'd probably laugh at the absurdity of it all. But if done correctly, that kind of uncertainty could make every environment feel like it's out to get you. Is that gas station pump looking at me funny? Did those paintings just move? And how did that charred, smoking corpse end up next to an ordinary looking electric guitar? <p><b>The current gold standard:</b> Earthbound</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>You've got to be at least a little crazy to don tights and a snazzy mask, oil yourself up, then jump from the tops of tall posts onto another person's body. So what happens when you take that kind of eccentric individual and give them assault rifles and rocket launchers? Fun. Insane, anarchic, highly explosive fun. Luchadores earn their reputations based on showmanship and impressive stunts, so only the finest gun tricks and snazzy trickshots will suffice. Plus, they're always able to tag in a buddy if the fight's not going their way, forcing you to adapt to uneven odds. <p>If nothing else, the vibrant, eye-catching attire of the average luchadore can add a splash of color to even the dingiest environment. And while making enemies with these masked wrestlers is incredibly hazardous to your health, luchadores are very honorable opponents (provided they're not heels). If you can impress them with your fighting spirit, you just might make an ally out of your adversary. <p><b>The current gold standard:</b> Saints Row: The Third</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>As any introspective shooter fan will tell you, even the noblest of video game heroes can be classified as a mass murderer (yes, I'm talking about <i>you</i>, Nathan Drake). It sometimes makes you wonder if that gun-wielding guard had a family, or those squealing Grunts you just plasma-sliced developed brotherly bonds during their years of basic training. But what if you could slaughter all those virtual villains completely guilt-free? After all, it's much tougher to feel remorseful when the guy you're strangling to death is a murderous psychopath with a flair for the sadistic. He practically had it coming! <p>Which feels more righteous to you: gunning down a misguided insurgent in a third-world country, or ending the carnage of a convicted killer by taking his life before even more are lost? I'd go with the latter, personally. And if these particularly nasty criminals like to outfit themselves in freakish outfits, so much the better! People who wear bloodstained masks 24/7 or tattoo the word 'KILL' all over their bodies typically don't have much luck in polite society, anyway. <p><b>The current gold standard:</b> Manhunt</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Fighting against sickness is a concept that's rarely touched on in games, usually reserved for the occasional poison debuff, <a href="" target="new">malaria infection</a>, or the insurmountably heavy subject matter of an <a href="" target="new">indie game</a>. But it's so much easier to battle something when you can put a face to it and call it your sworn enemy. You know those <a href="" target="new">Giant Microbes</a> plushies that are all the rage with hip, science-conscious collectors these days? Why not take some inspiration from those designs and make an entire action game of the microscopic battles that rages in all of our bodies? <p>Enemy designs could either go full cutesy, like the impish Viruses of Dr. Mario, terrifying and abstract, like the twisted aberrations of The Evil Within, or just true to life (have you <i>seen</i> <a href=" target="new">spirochaetes</a>?). It certainly makes more sense that there'd be waves upon waves of infectious, replicating germs attacking you, rather than grunts who are all too willing to throw themselves in front of your crosshairs, or zombie hordes that seem to outnumber the pre-outbreak population. <p><b>The current gold standard:</b> Dr. Mario</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Here's the opposite side of the sickness coin: afflictions that take place not in our organs, but in our minds. Our innermost fears, insecurities, and emotional anguish can be the basis for some truly inspired enemy designs - yet so few games try to tackle the idea of giving physical form to psychological suffering. When the player is given the freedom to make their own associations for what could possibly explain the atrocity that's standing in front of them, the game world feels that much more rich and alive. <p>When you know that your own mental projections are the basis for all the horrors you encounter, it's a brilliant invitation to deconstruct the character you're playing as. When done right, this type of enemy can tell you so much more about your protagonist than a canned cutscene or audio log ever could. 'Show, don't tell', they always say - and showing the player <a href="" target="new">a look into the main character's subconscious</a> is so much more disturbing than just another scary, gory monster. <p><b>The current gold standard:</b> Silent Hill 2</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Trying to turn precious, huggable critters into primary antagonists typically hasn't done so hot in the past - just look at Naughty Bear or Fur Fighters. But robots and cyborg super-soldiers are so passe. Why not follow in the footsteps of Dr. Robotnik and simply combine the two? It's utterly diabolical - take piglets, baby chicks, squirrels, and all manner of adorable animal, then stuff them into the heart of a metal monstrosity to act as a living power source. These so called 'Badniks' create quite the dilemma: would you risk harming the innocent creatures imprisoned in these mechanized terrors? How do you fight the unwilling enemies that you're actively trying to save? <p>Of course, Sonic games let you off the hook, clearly showing each animal being freed and happily bouncing off the screen whenever you reduce a Badnik to scrap metal. But what if another game didn't make the choice so easy? I don't know if I could bring myself to dismantle a metal-toothed piranha if it meant crushing the baby duckling inside. <p><b>The current gold standard:</b> Sonic the Hedgehog 2</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Of all the suggestions on this list, this is the one I'm rooting for the hardest. Twisted theme parks and dark carnivals crop up all throughout the gaming kingdom, and evil clowns have some pretty good representation as their requisite enemies. But mascots-turned-psychopaths are so woefully scarce, given how much they have to offer as menacing villains. That blank, unblinking stare; a smile so wide as to be painful; the exaggerated, grimy features of something not quite human but too disheveled to be a cartoon. Somewhere behind that unfeeling foam mask is a tormented, demented individual - but you'd never know it just by looking at them. <p>Mascots gone mad are disturbing in much the same way as clowns: their unflinchingly happy image is meant to delight children, but to see their true, flawed selves would shatter the illusion. So they buy into the persona of the costume they've now accepted as their new body, suppressing their own hardships and misery as they struggle to remain true to the character. Eventually, something deep within their psyche is going to snap. If that kind of tortured existence doesn't make for a compelling villain, I don't know what will. <p><b>The current gold standard:</b> Dead Rising 2</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Oh, and there will always be a place in my heart for more virtual, bloodthirsty sharks (like the frightening ones in Depth, pictured above). I'm curious: which enemy types do you think are criminally underused in gaming? Can you think of something so radically unique that no game has ever attempted it before? Give a holler in the comments section below! <p><b><i>And if I were you, I'd read these hand-picked articles next: <a href="" target="new">12 ways your favorite game characters will actually die</a> and <a href="" target="new">The most ludicrously impractical fighting game weapons</a>.</p></b></i></caption> </div> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:00:00 -0800 brings the telekinetic smackdown in Mortal Kombat X <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>It's always nice to see a familiar face - something that Netherrealm Studios is keenly aware of judging by the <a href="" target="new">Mortal Kombat X</a> roster. The newest character to be announced for MK's tenth outing is Ermac, the green-eyed bundle of souls who just loves picking fools up and slamming them down (with his <i>mind</i>). <p>Ermac was revealed on a recent <a href="" target="_blank">livestream</a> hosted by developer NetherRealm. Based on the footage shown, it seems many of his iconic moves will be making a come back, including his teleportation- and telekinetic-based attacks. And just like the other MKX warriors, Ermac will have three fighting variants to choose from. These variants can either enhance his projectiles, telekinetic attacks, or give Ermac the ability of flight. To find out who else has made the cut, <b>read on to find out who else is in the Mortal Kombat X roster</b> before its release this April.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>These guys and gals will definitely be in Mortal Kombat X.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>This red-clad ninja might not be as iconic as Sub-Zero or Scorpion, but it's hard not to love Ermac for his ability to lift up opponents and slam them into the ground with nothing more than the power of his mind. Rather than fighting as an individual like the other Kombatants, Ermac is actually an amalgamation of lost souls channeled into one host body, which explains all his supernatural, Sith-like powers of telekinesis and powerful blasts of green energy.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Reptile has always lived in the shadow of the other Mortal Kombat fighters, but he recently got his very own trailer for Mortal Kombat X. Originally a hybrid of Sub-Zero and Scorpion’s fighting styles, Reptile can vomit acid, camouflage himself, and fire a green energy ball - all of which he demonstrated in the trailer. He also has a pretty nasty throw involving his long, prehensile tongue, something he never used <i>enough</i> in older games. It remains to be seen what Reptile's three variant styles will be, but we'll be sure to add that information here when it becomes available.</p> </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Kitana is the Princess of Edenia, and - despite her appearance - is 10,000 years old. She was at first loyal to her stepfather, Shao Kahn, but later made an enemy of him upon leaving Edenia. Kitana also holds something of a romance with Liu Kang, even after his murder. She attacks using her steel fans, slicing foes by throwing them across the stage. She’s just as deadly without them too, opting for sharp punches and flying kicks when her fans are at rest. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Liu Kang's maybe-cousin is best known for his giant razor-rimmed hat, which he can toss around like a boomerang or use to bisect his foes (preferably from the groin up). In Mortal Kombat X, it looks like he'll be grated even more space control thanks to his sharp-rimmed headgear. Kung Lao also fights on the side of good, preferring pacifism to aggression - though you'd never know it from watching him in action. Like Liu Kang, Kung Lao is trained in the ways of Shaolin and hails from the White Lotus Society.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>You might remember this stark-white, Kratos-looking sorcerer from such games as Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, but he actually originated in the <i>Defenders of the Realm</i> animated series. Being a master of the dark arts, Quan Chi's three movesets show off his necromancy powers in full effect. There's Warlock, which opens up portals for extra avenues of attack, Summoner, where Quan Chi calls a freakin' Netherrealm Bat to fight as his side, and Sorcerer, which allows space control through buff/debuff fields. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Hmm, something about this young lady that feels oddly familiar... Yes, Cassie Cage appears to be the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, two of the few survivors of the last Mortal Kombat. And Cassie plays like a combination of those two veterans, with Sonya's agility and propensity for firearms mixed in Johnny Cage's pompous swagger. She also inherited Johnny's love of hitting people in the groin, as she is equipped with multiple hits below the belt. In fact, her X-Ray Move involving ruptured testicles might be the queasiest attack in the game.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Raiden's back, baby! If you didn't know, this almighty God of Thunder is responsible for keeping all of Earthrealm safe from the forces of evil. He acts as a guiding light for the other Kombatants who wish to see Shao Kahn dethroned, sometimes stepping into the ring against lesser mortals to get the job done. As a god, Raiden controls the powers of electricity, able to teleport, fly short distances, and set up lightning traps around the stage. In MKX, he might have the most grisly Fatality yet: charging his dazed enemy with such a surge of energy that their eyes pop out of their heads, electric-chair style.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>This character’s surname would suggest a relationship to Shao Kahn, and Kotal certainly fights with an intensity similar to Shao’s. Though Kotal is much more reminiscent of an Aztec god, particularly with his enjoyment of bloodletting and devouring hearts. Several of Kotal’s moves involves drinking blood for power, whether his own or his enemy’s. His love of gore is at its height during his Fatality, as he cuts out his opponent’s heart in a ceremonial style, then pours the blood all over his face. To each their own, huh?</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>If Scorpion were to write a memoir, it'd probably be titled "To Hell and Back Again." That's because this yellow-clad ninja was murdered by Sub-Zero, banishing Scorpion to the Netherrealm (the MK universe's equivalent to Hades) where he became a vengeful specter. Think of Scorpion as the archetypal anti-hero; he's not outright evil, but he has no qualms with killing anyone who gets in his way.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption>Yeah, Goro's in the game. Well, technically, he's a four-armed pre-order bonus, but whatever. This walking advert for Maximuscle has been in Mortal Kombat since the beginning, and is seen by some as a bit of a cheat character. Given the savage nature of other confirmed characters, and the bloody creativity they show in some of their movesets, we imagine Goro will finally be on a level-footing. We'd bet every penny we own on his finishing moves involving him physically ripping enemies to pieces with his massive arms. Something for the whole family to enjoy, then... </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Who here saw <i>Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome</i> and wished that the Master Blaster character was in a fighting game? Because that pretty much sums up Ferra and Torr, two characters that play as one. Torr is the massive bruiser that can steamroll right over you, while Ferra will often dive into the fray with some quick, precise stabs. They’re a really fun combo, but what brought this pair together? Hopefully we’ll find out everything in the story mode. Oh, and don't worry: Ferra isn't a child, just a really, really tiny woman.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Of all the new characters, D’Vorah might be the one most at home in Netherrealm’s previous game, Injustice. This fierce woman is an odd human/insect hybrid that can command hordes of wasps and larva to do her bidding. And under that cloak of hers are sets of wings and devastating pincers used to stab kombatants in their most vulnerable places. But where does she hale from? Could she be the leader of some previously unseen insect kingdom in Outworld?</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>The yin to Scorpion's yang, Sub-Zero is a skilled assassin who hails from the Lin Kuei clan of ninjas. Sub-Zero is actually the persona of two different warriors: Bi-Han, who is killed by Scorpion in the first Mortal Kombat tournament, and his younger brother Kuai Liang, who took up the Sub-Zero mantle and swore vengeance on Scorpion. Sub-Zero wields the power of ice, able to freeze his opponents solid or create patches of frost at will.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>These characters are likely to be included in MKX's roster, but there's no official word from NetherRealm Studios as of yet.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Here's the everyman hero of MK--an incorruptible warrior with the power to shoot fireballs from his hands and kick through the air as if gravity doesn't exist. Sound like any other fighting game frontman you've heard of? Liu Kang is a little like the Shaolin version of Goku, in that he's saved his world countless times and come back from the dead even more frequently. The evil sorcerer Shang Tsung is Liu Kang's primary adversary.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>When you die after a life of cold-blooded assassinations, do you rest in peace? No--you come back as a shadowy phantom eager to do even more killing. Noob Saibot is actually the reincarnation of the original Sub-Zero, his soul now fully corrupted after decades of torment in the Netherrealm. His Ghost Ball attack can totally disable the opponent's attacks, and he's just as adept at teleporting strikes as Scorpion. And for you trivia fans out there, yes, his name is backwards reference to MK's co-creators Ed Boon and John Tobias.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Originally a clone of Kitana, Mileena holds a grudge against her blue-clothed counterpart. Created by Shang Tsung, she wants nothing more than to rid the realm of Edenia of its princess. She hides a hideous mouth of fangs under her facial garb, which she uses to tear the flesh from her enemies after leaping onto their necks. Other attacks include teleporting kicks and a tuck-and-roll. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Given that Mortal Kombat X will be coming to new-gen, this is an incredible opportunity to show off the power of PS4 and Xbox One with this obese drunkard. His belly-jiggling physics could be more disturbing than ever, and upgraded particle effects would let you actually <i>see</i> the chunks of last night's dinner in Bo Rai Cho's projectile vomit attack. Not to mention...OK, in all seriousness, we hope to never see this oaf in another Mortal Kombat game again.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Those are the fighters we hope make it into Mortal Kombat X--and in the coming months, we're sure to find out more about the game's roster. Do you have any favorites you want to see in MKX? Tell us about it in the comments below! <p><b><i>And if you're looking for more, check out the full <a href="" target="new">Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS roster</a>.</p></b></i></caption> </div> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:34:10 -0800 manuals are dead, but I’m sure going to miss them, 29 Jan 2015 13:00:34 -0800 Tournament is a Pokemon battle unlike anything you&#39;ve seen <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Pokken Tournament, which has so far only been announced for Japanese arcades, is a Pokemon-only fighting game from the house of Tekken, Gundam Extreme Vs., and all those Naruto fighters. Similar to those games, Pokken is a 3D fighter, combining close-range melee combat, projectiles, and what appears to be some character customization as well. </p><p> So far, only a handful of characters (and videos) have been released, but even from those small snippets there is still a lot to be unpacked. Obviously, the most exciting inclusions are the characters, six of which have been shown thus far. If you want to find out who they are, <b>read on and find out who's in Pokken Tournament</b>. I've also included a few suggestions of my own who I think would make interesting additions to the roster.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>It should come as no surprise that fan-favorite Lucario, the aura Pokemon, has been announced as one of the first Pokemon to join the Pokken lineup. Having already been featured in the Super Smash Bros. series, Lucario can be seen using some of the same attacks in the footage released thus far - including its iconic aura sphere projectile. Lucario's mega evolution has also been shown.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Machamp doesn't have the wide-spread of love of Lucario or Pikachu, but as one of the original fighting-type Pokemon, it deserves a slot on the roster. Personally, I believe Machamp's inclusion was largely because the developers wanted an attack that looks like <a href="" target="_blank">this</a>, which it totally has. Machamp also has a spinning lariat similar to Zangief's from the Street Fighter series, however it does not appear to have any projectile attacks.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>While images of Blaziken in Pokken have been floating around the internet, there does not appear to by an footage of its fighting style just yet. However, one could speculate that, given the stance Blaziken takes after its mega evolution, this Pokemon could easily be fitted with a Muay Thai fighting style. Plus, developer Namco Bandai has experience in this field with its Tekken series, specifically the fighter Bruce Irvin.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Suicune, the first legendary shown in Pokken, is a long-range, projectile heavy fighter. In one especially devastating match again Machamp, Suicune successfuly keeps the close-range brawler at bay by filling the screen with all manner of energy beams and shockwave attacks. And while it does appear to have <i>some</i> melee attacks involving its two, rippon-esque tails, these attacks appear to be more of a last resort.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Similar to Suicune, Gardevoir is also a long-range fighter who relies primarily on projectile attacks. And of the Pokemon shown thus far, Gardevoir is the only one labeled in-game as a 'technique' fighter (the others being either 'power' or 'standard' fighters). This would imply it's one of the more difficult Pokemon to use. Based on the footage shown so far, Gardevoir's go-to attack is an air projectile that splits into several different homing missiles.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>It just wouldn't (and likely <i>couldn't</i>) be a Pokemon game without Pikachu. Fresh off its latest stint in the Super Smash Bros. circuit, Pikachu now finds itself facing down a new roster of challengers in Pokken. Its fighting style combines several long-range, lighting-based projectiles with some high-speed dash attacks to help it zip around the arena. No word yet, however, on whether or not all those cosplay options will be available.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>So far, the Pokken roster has been comprised of (mostly) bipedal, humanoid Pokemon. Here are some potential Pokken candidates who would break that mold while offering interesting fighting styles for players.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Ditto would force mirror matches, meaning it would transform itself into whatever Pokemon your opponent is playing. In addition, I think it's safe to assume Pokken will have <i>some sort</i> of character customization, be it custom attacks, custom stats, a leveling system, or all three. Ditto could copy those under-the-hood changes as well, and let players test-drive custom characters from other players. This could provide valuable insight into new strategies and tactics player may not have thought of on their own.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Vespidquen would be an interesting inclusion because of its ability to command lesser swarms of Combees. In the Pokemon games, it can command her minions to either protect it, attack its enemies, or even heal it. This would be a fun mechanic to play with in a fighting game, giving Vespidquen three different 'modes' to switch between (attack, defend, heal). The Combees could provide a simple, passive buff (+10% attack in attack mode) or be controlled independently of the queen as a secondary character.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>You want to talk creative challenges? Try making Arbok into a fighting game character. It's got no arms and legs, only a creepy snake body and a creepier Cobra-like face. Even so, I think there's still some fun to be had in designing its slinking, slithering movements. Arbok could coil around its opponents and spit up acidic projectiles from afar. And don't forget about those deadly fangs. And thanks to the TV series, Arbok is one of the more recognizable Pokemon, especially in the under-appreciated Poison-type category.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>There aren't a lot of great candidates when it comes to Flying-type Pokemon. Swellow? Braviary? Talonflame? Actually, Talonflame <i>would</i> be pretty sweet, but not as sweet as the mack daddy of them all, Ho-oh. I'd put Ho-oh right up there with Suicune as one of the more majestic-looking legendaries, and the fact that it's a flier gives Ho-oh an interesting way to move around the battlefield. Couple that with the fire typing, and this Pokemon has a very aggressive pool of attacks to choose from in a fight.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>In the Pokemon games, Aegislash can switch between can switch between offensive and defensive stances. This mechanic would obviously translate easily into the realm of fighting games. In its attack stance, Aegislash would be a quick and nimble brawler that's in your face all the time. When it switches to its defensive stance, Aegislash then becomes a distance fighter who fires projectiles from its shield. Two stances, two fighting styles, one interesting Pokemon to play.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Starmie basically looks like a giant throwing star, so its transition into the realm of fighting games should be an easy one. It would spin and bounce and basically zip all over the place, all while damaging opponents on contact. This could be complemented with some tricky psionic attacks that could disrupt your opponent and open it up to another spiky barrage.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Alright, that's enough character speculation out of me. What do you all think? Who would you like to see join the Pokken lineup? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below, and keep an eye on this page for all the latest Pokken character announcements. </p> <b><i>There's plenty more Pokemon fun to be had on GR+. Check out <a href="" target="_blank">The most disturbing Pokemon of all time</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Top 7... Weirdest theories about the Pokemon universe</a>.</b></i></p></caption> </div> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:00:01 -0800 ways your favorite game characters will actually die <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Video game characters can live through just about anything. Actually, what I mean to say is that video game characters can <i>die</i> through just about anything, but they'll always come back. Doesn't matter if they're shot up, torn to pieces, or even plummet into a bottomless pit, they'll reappear within seconds to take another crack at their objective. There's one important caveat, though: they still die <i>sometimes</i>, usually when it's the end of a trilogy (or it's time for a reboot). <p>So the only conclusion I can draw here is that video game characters will only die under <i>very specific circumstances</i>. These almost never come up throughout the course of a game, so naturally they almost never die. What exactly are these fatal circumstances for your favorite characters? Well, I'm glad you asked, because I happen to have assembled a slide deck for just this occasion...</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>This one's obvious. Just because Snake's managed to outlast some half-dozen armed uprisings, a gaggle of super-powerful military robots, and a virus that was genetically engineered to kill his clone doesn't mean he can sneak by the third-leading cause of death in the world. That's right, the legendary soldier will be felled by <a href="" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease</a>. Why not lung cancer? I'm thinking all those nanomachines in his blood probably know how to seek and destroy malignant tumors, given his frequent exposure to radioactive weaponry. Nope, thanks to his pack-a-day habit, he'll just cough his way into oblivion.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Compare Cloud Strife's outfit in Final Fantasy 7 to his outfit in Advent Children. Go ahead, I'll wait. Did you spot the difference? Aside from dropping that radical bolted shoulder plate, I mean. Yep - <i>no more weightlifting belt</i>. Shinra was smart enough to make a lifting belt part of the standard SOLDIER uniform. After all, if you're going to have your elite paramilitary force swinging around swords that weigh <i>literally hundreds</i> of pounds, you'd better look after their lower backs. But it looks like Cloud got cocky after he struck out on his own. I give it five years before his vertebrae explode like popcorn kernels and he drops dead.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>We don't know much about sexually transmitted diseases from before the Renaissance, since medicine wasn't really a big deal back then. So I can't say with certainty which STDs the Spartan warrior Kratos would be most likely to contract thousands of years ago. I'll go with the safe answer and postulate <i>all of those available at the time</i>. Kratos can't go half an hour without ending up in bed with a handful of comely ladies, and I have no reason to assume that his many lovers are any more selective about their partners than he is. So assuming Kratos survives his perpetually uncertain fate, he'll still drop dead of the ancient Grecian equivalent of syphilis.... after his junk shrivels up and falls off.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Despite saving both Hyrule and Termina, no one else would ever sing of Link's most heroic exploits. That's the problem with grand quests to set timelines back in order - if you do your job right, you're the only one who knows you did it. So Link wanders around feeling unfulfilled. As he gets older, he takes to picking fights in taverns to prove his skill in combat. Forgetful from drinking, he doesn't remember to stock up on fairies. He loses his last fight to a mean-looking goron and comes back a few hundred years later as the Hero's Shade, where he can at least pass his knowledge on to a new hero in green (and warn him to stay off the booze).</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>There are so many ways Amanda Ripley can die in Alien Isolation! It's a veritable buffet of fatality. She could be shot to death by a crazed scavenger, kicked to death by an android, or even have her noggin punctured by the alien's inner jaws, to name a few options. But don't worry, because I guarantee you she's going to be A-OK for <i> at least</i> the next forty years. How can I be so sure when I myself haven't actually finished Alien Isolation yet? According to the director's cut of <i>Aliens</i>, Amanda is slated to die of cancer at the age of 66. Duh.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Nothing can kill Max Payne. It's a sentiment that many of his enemies have marveled about at one time or another, but it's not true. Despite his miraculous ability to shrug off the massive bleeding and organ failure endemic to <i>being shot hundreds of times</i>, he still has one big weakness: a crippling addiction to painkillers. And yeah, he's built up so much of a resistance to the drugs over time that his body can handle enough to put down an elephant. But when he starts approaching his golden years, and the usual aches and pains of aging are amplified by ten lifetimes worth of grievous injury, he's guaranteed to go a pill too far.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Whenever one of the Kongs gets taken out, they know they can count on their partner to come along and free them from the next conveniently placed DK Barrel. You can tell this particular scheme was conceived by Donkey Kong. The brutish ape turns barrels into splinters just for kicks - so obviously it wouldn't take too long to escape from one if nobody was around to free him. But what about Diddy Kong, just as an example? Diddy has chimp strength, not gorilla strength. Leave him in a product of fine cooperage for a week or so and, well, at least you already have the coffin sorted.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Nathan Drake is near-indestructible, but he does have a certain weakness for one woman: Elena Fisher. So it's a good thing she's a pinnacle of loyalty, tenacity, and patience, always ready to help him whenever he needs it... which is a lot of the time. But even Elena's saintly patience has to break down some time. As you can see from the existence of Uncharted 4, Drake just can't stay out of the adventuring game, and he just can't stop dragging Elena into it. She knows he'll never actually die on his dangerous adventures. So there's only one way to break the cycle of bullshit: sneak up behind him while he's making breakfast and <i>break his neck</i>. He'd want to go out that way.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>You know how sharks will supposedly die if they stop moving? It's not entirely true, since most species can use suction to get oxygen to their gills when they slow down. But Sonic the Hedgehog isn't one of those species - heck, he isn't a shark at all! It's easy enough to diagnose Sonic's breathing difficulties just by looking at his shiny black nose. No nostrils, see? And the way his mouth is stuck in a permanent smirk off to one side of his face means he needs to keep running super-fast to force enough life-giving breath down his misshapen airway. That little foot-tap of his isn't attitude, it's a <i>desperate plea for help</i>.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>The Master Chief is unbeatable in a firefight, but it's not all skill on his part. He owes his life to his MJOLNIR powered armor suit, and, more specifically, to its regenerating shield system. It's absorbed enough firepower to scorch a small country (let's say Finland), but it always <i>fwooshes</i> back on after taking a few seconds to recharge. At least, it always does before the batteries run out. Seriously, it's a miracle it hasn't happened already, considering how much power that thing must chew up. One of these days he'll forget to plug it in before he goes to bed, and that'll be the end of John-117.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Jill Valentine's seen some shit. Regular zombies, super-zombies engineered solely to destroy her, creepy parasites in cryo-stasis; she's dealt with them all admirably. Some day she'll get to leave all the battles behind. But they'll never leave her. It's only a matter of time before some poor sleepwalker sets her into a PTSD-induced flashback, only for her to regain lucidity as she's standing over his kerosene-soaked corpse. Her lawyer will try to get her off on an insanity plea, but her reputation as a "Master of Unlocking" will be enough for the prosecution to establish a criminal history. She'll spend the rest of her life wandering around, looking for the right key to open her cell door.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Normally I'd feel bad for revealing all of these heroes' weaknesses, but to be honest, they've encountered so much pain in their action-packed lives that they probably feel downright <i>deprived</i> of the sweet release of death by now. You know of any other surefire ways to make a character croak? Let's hear it in the comments! <p><b><i>Do you thirst for ever more death and destruction? Are you OK? Alright, then why not try the <a href="" target="_blank">Top 7 doomed characters who are definitely going to die</a> and <a href="">nine healing items that would totally kill you in real life</i></b>.</caption> </div> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:00:00 -0800 out GR+&#39;s newest show: First To Five!, 29 Jan 2015 10:04:46 -0800 Games with Gold titles are free right now? <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><i>Updated with February's free Games with Gold additions.</i> <p>Microsoft is giving away more <a href="" target="_blank">free games</a>. That is, as long as you're quick enough to snatch them up while they're available. Xbox's Games with Gold program hands out free downloadable copies of games in the Xbox 360 and Xbox One libraries, but if you miss out, you're not going to see those games for free anytime soon. <p>No one likes to miss out on free stuff, and that's why we've put together this list (that we will continually update) with all of the <a href="" target="_blank">upcoming Xbox One games</a>, 360 games, and currently available titles on Games with Gold - and all the ones you missed. So, without further nonsense, here are the free Games with Gold titles you can get right now and in the near future.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> February <p>#IDARB (you've gotta say the whole thing) is an eSport waiting to happen, with the emphasis on "e". Two teams go head-to-head in up to eight-player matches, leaping around an arena as they try to drive the ball into a goal. Sounds simple, but that's just so it can build <i>sheer mayhem</i> on top - including pixel-by-pixel character creation, massive score multipliers for good teamwork, and "hashbombs" that let Twitch broadcast viewers splash a pixelated Rick Astley over the action, among other oddities.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> February 1 to 15 <p>Inventive, clever, and heartbreaking, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was one of the grandest surprises ever to hit Xbox 360. Controlling each brother with their respective thumbstick and shoulder buttons can be a bit overwhelming at first, but you'll feel like some kind of two-brained genius when you work past its clever puzzles and dangerous encounters. And the story which weaves it all together is so heartfelt, even if you can't understand what anybody's saying.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> February 16 to 28 <p>You can change the course of a war with a single bullet. You can also change the course of a person's nervous system with a single bullet, as Sniper Elite V2 sadistically celebrates. Seriously, if you thought Mortal Kombat's X-Ray moves were gratuitous, the X-Ray kill cam's anatomical assault will take you to a new realm of sympathy winces. But hey, if you have to bounce a bullet around anybody's cranium, it might as well be a Nazi warmonger.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> January <p>Dark Dreams Don't Die (D4, get it?) is another quirky adventure title from developer Swery65 -- the creative mind behind the now cult classic Deadly Premonition. D4 keeps the same sort of tone as <i>Twin Peaks</i>-based mystery. You play as a private investigator David Young who is trying to uncover the mystery surrounding his wife's murder. David lost his memory over the ordeal, but as he progresses through the investigation he is somehow given him the power to go back in time to uncover clues and prevent the murder. Looking for a quirky and entertaining mystery to solve? D4 is where it's at.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> January 1 to 15 <p>Okay, you aren't necessarily getting as much game as you might expect with MX vs. ATV, being that much of the content is in DLC expansions. But the game does offer ups some pretty decent racing mechanics giving you independent control of your rider and vehicle with both two-wheeled dirt bikes and the quad ATVs. With a dozen tracks and plenty of bikes and quads to earn, MX vs. ATV is definitely worth a shot.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available: </b>January 16 to 31 <p>This is your chance to catch up on the adventures of the White Wolf before the The Witcher 3 launches later this year. The Witcher 2 continues the story of the amnesiac Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, as he embarks on a quest to clear his name of regicide. Not a crime that you'd want to be accused of. Geralt will have to explore the monster-infested world to uncover the truth, all the while encountering colorful characters and deciding their fate. Make no mistake. This isn't the story of a hero. Geralt would just a soon slit a throat as he would save a kitten.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> December</p> <p>Need a little more competitive couch multiplayer in your life? Well, look no further. Worms: Battlegrounds allows players to blow each other to smithereens in turn-based artillery strategy, as one of the quirky and adorable worms. But don't let their looks fool you. These little guys are armed to the teeth. You can pick up rocket launchers, grenades, and baseball bats to beat down and vaporize the competition. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> December</p> <p>This game may have been overshadowed by some more popular point-and-click adventures like A Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, and everything else TellTale is putting out these days, but if you're in the mood for a classic mystery adventure, give The Raven a shot. The animations might be a little stiff, and the puzzles a bit elementary, but there are few games out there that satisfy the urge to pull out a pipe, analyse clues, and catch the criminal behind a daring caper. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><b>Available:</b> November <p>Games like Volgarr The Viking harken back to more than 20 years ago--when games were stupidly difficult and that's the way we liked it, dagnabbit. This mash-up of Castlevania, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, and Metroid will punish you with one hit kills and difficult platforming, but each step forward feels like a triumph in the tough but fair adventure. Already a hit on PC, this taxing downloadable debuts on Games With Gold, meaning every Xbox One owner needs to add it to their collection. Now get off my lawn!</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><b>Available:</b> November 1 - 15 <p>I try not to get bitter about things, but Viva Pinata's lack of success is a real downer. This paper animal husbandry simulator lets people of all ages know the fun of making paper mache animals, and it's filled with the type of cheeky humor Rare is known for. Viva Pinata works on so many more levels than its colorful leads you to believe, and now that the 2008 sequel will be free on 360, it's high time people discovered what they're missing. Once you've bred your first Pretztail, you'll never go back.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><b>Available:</b> November 16 - 30 <p>Volition is now tied to the chaotic wackiness of Saints Row, but the developer also made one of the most addictingly destructible games of all time. Guerrilla sends players' asses to Mars, rebooting the shooter series as an open world revolution on the fourth planet from the sun. Nearly everything in the world can be destroyed, from the largest buildings to the smallest vehicle, making for endlessly rewarding mayhem. Any GTA-inspired game can give a "kill that guy" mission, but only Red Faction lets you do it by knocking over the three story building he lives in.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><b>Available:</b> October <p>Tired of not knowing whether or not you want to get the next unknown indie release? Well, Chariot makes it easy. At launch, this co-op platformer is free on Xbox One. The king has died and it's up to his daughter to find a suitable sepulcre to lay her father's body to rest. Except the king's spirit is really picky and forces the princess and her (co-op partner) fiance to traverse dangerous, puzzle-laden environments to find the perfect resting place. Sound interesting? Now's the time to give it a shot.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><b>Available:</b> October 1 - 15 <p>Bad Company 2 is considered one of the high points of the much loved Battlefield series. The single player campaign is totally worth a play through with quirky characters, fantastic set pieces, and expansive levels to explore, but the real bread and butter is the multiplayer. You get all of the Battlefield trappings, including massive war zones, customizable soldier classes, and vehicular mayhem. Oh, and snipers get mortar strikes. How I miss the mortar strikes...</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><b>Available:</b> Octoper 16 - 31 <p>Holy crap! If you haven't played Darksiders 2, there are no excuses now. The sequel to the original God of War / Zelda clone mash up puts you behind the mask of the most powerful horseman of the apocalypse, Death. This time, the game takes a turn away from the Zelda-inspired dungeons and focuses on Diablo-esque looting. Mixing in improved combat, open-world gameplay, and a fascinating story, Darksiders 2 is a game you definitely shouldn't miss. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> September <p>There have been a ton of side-scrolling shooters over the years, but Super Time Force definitely stands out from the crowd. You play as a team of unique soldiers, all carrying their own prefered instrument of destruction. But the twist in the gameplay comes when you take hold of time itself and bend it to your will. You can play through a section of a level, rewind time and do it again. Then, on the second run, your previous run's clone will kill things along with you. Stack together clones of yourself, and you turn into a bullet-flinging wave of destruction. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> September 1 to 15 <p>Ever wanted to know if you could pull off the perfect heist? In Monaco: What's Yours is Mine, you can give it a shot. Assemble a team of criminals to rob businesses, banks, and any establishment containing a pile of cash. You'll need locksmiths to open doors, lookouts to spot dangers, and cleaners to take care of the more...unpleasant duties of a robbery (like poisoning guards). Need more help? Up to four players can join in co-op and take on a heist together, making an addicting and challenging experience to play with friends. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> September 16 to 30 <p>How did the war with the Covenant start? Who are the Spartans? How did the Chief get all mixed up in all this? All of these questions are answered in Halo: Reach, the last Halo title created by the developers at Bungie. As a send off, Master Chief sits on the sidelines and an entire team of Spartans step in to save the world. You play as the newest member of Noble Team as they fight to defend the world of Reach from an overwhelming covenant invasion. Expect all of the intense action, vehicular destruction, and rifle butting the series is known for, plus a multiplayer experience that can't be beat. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> August 1</p> <p>If there was ever a good time to give the spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon a shot, this is it. Crimson Dragon puts you in control of a dragon rider as you battle an army of evil dragons, flying jellyfish, and humongous monsters in on-rails shooter missions. The gameplay feels like you're playing through Star Fox 64 as you try to shoot down as many enemies as possible using charged shots and rapid-fire blasts. If you missed this Xbox One Launch title at its initial release, here's your chance to finally get your hands on it. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption>You snooze, you lose. Here's the games you missed from previous months.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> August 1</p> <p>As the second flight shooter available for free in the month of August, Strike Suit Zero puts you in the cockpit of an advanced, transforming space ship that is capable of taking on entire fleets of enemy ships by itself. You know those epic space battles you see in the Star Wars movies? Strike Suit Zero's missions feel just like that, except your ship can use it's stored energy to turn into a mech with the ability to quickly decimate a squadron of enemies with a barrage of missiles. You'll dogfight, strafe enemy capital ships, and explore beautiful environments set in the vast expanse of space. If you've been looking to engage in epic space battles, check out Strike Suit Zero. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> August 1 to 15</p> <p>There's just something about sitting on a motorcycle, revving up the engine and kicking up a bunch of dust in your opponent's faces that just feels sooo good. Motocross Madness is an Xbox Live Arcade title that lets you race on a high flying dirt bike as your Xbox Live avatar. You'll race on off road tracks that range from the scorching hot deserts of Egypt to snow-capped mountains in 8-player online races.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> August 16 to 31</p> <p>Corvo Attano is a man on a mission. After being framed for the murder of the woman he was sworn to protect, is hunted by the authorities, and is dead set on getting his revenge. Now he has to fight (or sneak) his way through enemy territory to assassinate the people responsible. Sounds like a bad place to be in, right? Well, it would be if Corvo didn't have supernatural powers that allow him to teleport, summon guard-devouring swarms of rats, and stealth his way to his assassination targets. Plus, he's got enough gadgets and weapons at his disposal to be ready for just about any situation--whether that's hacking into security systems to sneak by an unsuspecting guard, or stabbing an alerted enemy through the neck with his collapsable sword.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available: July</b> <p>Out with the free Halo Spartan Assault (the Xbox One free game available in June) and in with Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition. This Metroidvania-style, side-scrolling brawler puts you in control of a magical Mexican wrestler as you traverse a bizarre world drenched in the Mexican cultural themes and internet memes. As the luchador protagonist, you must save the land of the living from the evil leader of the World of the Dead. "But how?" you ask. Well, with a repertoire of wrestling moves and ground-to-air-based melee combos, of course. Along the way you'll pick up special abilities that let you traverse the multidimensional world, and move through some complex platforming puzzles.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> June <p><a href="" target="_blank">Max: The Curse of Brotherhood</a> is the first game made available for free for Xbox One's Games with Gold. The 2.5D platformer puts you in the shoes of a young boy that has mistakenly caused his little brother to be whisked away to a mysterious fantasy land, and you have to rescue him. With the power of his magic marker (which has magic powers, obvs) you can create vines to swing on, move earth, and shoot fireballs. If, for whatever reason you were waiting to play The Curse of Brotherhood, you have no excuses now.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available: </b>July 1 to July 15 <p>Remember those vigilantes that dress up like Batman in the beginning of <i>The Dark Knight</i> movie? You're one of those Batman wannabes n Gotham City Imposters (or a Joker gang member if that's how you roll). That's right, you don't play as the Caped Crusader or Boy Wonder this Bat-time. Imposters is a first-person shooter that has you blasting rifles, firing rockets, and zipping around Gotham via grappling hooks. The multiplayer-only FPS pits two teams of up to 6 players against each other in four different modes. While there is the standard team deathmatch and a variant on a capture point-like mode, modes like Bounty Hunter and Psych Warfare have you collecting coins to claim kills and capturing batteries to power a mind control machine. It's a different take on the dark comic book world, but Gotham City Imposters is definitely worth a look. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> July 16 to July 31 <p>If you haven't jumped into The Behemoth's puzzle platformer, now is the perfect time to check it out. Battleblock Theater maintains the hand drawn, cartoon aesthetic of the developer's previous games (like Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid) that is as adorable as it is humorous. But unlike the developer's other action-heavy titles, this one is all about platforming. In Battleblock Theater you play as a puppet that has been enslaved by evil cats, who are forcing you to perform on stage in murderous shows for the feline audience's amusement. To escape and confront the treacherous puppet that enslaved you, you'll have to survive stage after stage of puzzle environments, hanging by a thread. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> June <p>Can't get enough of gunning down Grunts, Elites, and Banshees as a space-aged super soldier? Halo: Spartan Assault gives you a chance to take the fight to the Covenant as a Spartan-in-training on the UNSC Infinity as you undergo rigorous, historical battle simulations. Instead of being played from the series' typical first-person perspective, Spartan Assault takes on a twin-stick control scheme and gives you an isometric view. But the change in perspective keeps the Halo experience intact, allowing you to use weapons like the Needler and Spartan Laser, jump into any vehicle, and even use armor abilities.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> June 1, 2014 to June 15, 2014 <p>If you haven't prepared to die yet, you should start. <a href="" target="_blank">Dark Souls</a> is notorious for being unforgivably difficult, but if your reasons for not jumping in to try it was actually paying for the game, that is no longer an issue come June. Dark Souls gives you an open, interconnected world full of deadly traps, even more dangerous creatures, and all the awesome looking loot you could hope for. On top of the incredibly challenging single player campaign, and surprisingly deep storyline, you can also jump into the unique multiplayer feature that lets you invade other player's worlds and make them cry. What are you waiting for? Get in there and praise the sun!</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> June 16, 2014 to June 30, 2014 <p>Punk rock bands, dynamite strapped suicide sharks, and four-player wrestling matches? Yup, Charlie Murder has just about everything you could ask for in a psychopathic beat 'em up. You play at the members of the garage punk band Charlie Murder as they are betrayed by their former band mate, killed, and sent to the pits of hell. Only, now each band member has awesome undead powers to fight their way through a legion of undead monsters and demons to get revenge against their new rival and play in the ultimate battle of the bands.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Available:</b> June 16, 2014 to June 30, 2014 <p>To celebrate the one year anniversary of Games with Gold, Microsoft is making one additional game available in June. Yeah, <a href="">Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition</a> isn't going to be the latest game in the long time fighting series for long (Ultra is on the way), but if you've been out practice, getting a free copy of Street Fighter IV is the perfect opportunity to catch up. And if you get the game for free, you can still do the relatively cheap upgrade to the Ultra version when it releases.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Dust: An Elysian Tail (Xbox 360):</b> This beautiful sidescroller has much more going for it than its looks and the awesomeness that's inherent of anthropomorphic characters. Once you get into the intricate combat and Metroidvania-style exploration, you'll be hooked. Even if you did miss the Games with Gold free offer, we say just go an pick this one up anyway. <p><b>Saints Row: The Third (Xbox 360) Available until May 31: </b>If all of the crazy stuff you can do in a GTA game wasn't enough--like utterly destroying dozens of cars with a rocket launcher or running pedestrians over while driving down a sidewalk--Saint's Row: The Third may just be the game for you. From the giant purple dildo bats to the flame spewing Gat Mobile, Saints 3 is completely off the walls, in the best way possible.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Hitman: Absolution (Xbox 360):</b> Agent 47 is back again, equipped with enough gadgets, disguises, and weapons to pull off the perfect assassinations. Every mission you take leaves the decisions up to you. You choose how you will approach your target, how it happens, and when it happens. Few games give you this much freedom to accomplish your murderous goals. <p><b>Deadlight (Xbox 360):</b> Another XBLA title that's probably worth a look despite no longer being free. Deadlight puts you in the role of a survivor of the Zombie apocalypse. But rather than having to gather bullets to shoot aggressors to death like you might in other zombie games, this platformer challenges you fast paced platforming and lots of exploration.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (Xbox 360):</b> Usually, when you hear about a Civilization game, you think of a grand, strategic undertaking, filled with managing resources, building cities, and taking your built-from-the-ground-up population through the ages... and all of that being done on a PC. Well, in Revolution you can skip the PC part and just play some good old Civ on a console. Pretty sweet right? <p><b>Dungeon Defenders (Xbox 360):</b> It's a horde-based mish-mash of tower defense, third-person action, RPG leveling, and loot-grabbing insanity. All of these elements mix to create a hectic, yet strategic effort to defend giant magic crystals from being destroyed by waves of incoming enemy grunts and bosses. While it's definitely fun to set up your perfect defense alone, if you can manage to grab three other friends, you'll have a blast in co-op.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Dead Island:</b> Zombies. Somehow we just can't get enough of killing those brain-munching flesh bags. In Dead Island, you'll have plenty of opportunities to cave in the skulls of bikini-wearing undead. You're trapped on an island and, of course, you need to find a way off. Along the way, you'll need to gather supplies, craft makeshift weapons, and help the other survivors around the island--all from a first-person perspective no less. <p><b>Toy Soldiers: Cold War (Xbox 360):</b> Another XBLA title you might have missed, Toy Soldiers: Cold War is a tower-defense style game that lets you strategically place your defenses as usual, but you can also take control of individual troops. Like it's WWI predecessor, the battlefield is populated by toys, bringing a oddly cute aesthetic to the otherwise brutal war zones.</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p><b>Sleeping Dogs (Xbox 360):</b> Put Grand Theft Auto in China, make the main character a good guy cop (rather than a random criminal), and add Batman: Arkham Asylum-style Kung Fu combat, and that's <a href="" target="_blank">Sleeping Dogs</a>. The open-world gameplay holds on to the same features you might be used to from a GTA title: You can steal cars, take on side missions at any time, and drive at breakneck speed into oncoming traffic. The latter is much more common than you think. Chinese traffic drives on the <i>other</i> side of the road. <p><b>Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (Xbox 360):</b> A co-op, twin-stick shooter isn't the first type of game you'd expect to see Lara Croft brandish her dual pistols, but here she is. Lara's co-op partner is Totec, a spear and shield-wielding buddy. And don't worry about the game being all shooter; the duo will also have to solve environmental puzzles together--which often involves spears being thrown into walls and Lara using her gymnastics skills to reach new heights. </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>With all of these free games, you've got even more gaming options to fill in the summer lull. The Xbox 360's Games with Gold has already been around for a year, but the Xbox One is just starting out. What games do you want Microsoft to put up for free? Let us know in the comments below. <p><b><i>Want more? Check out our <a href="" target="_blank">upcoming Xbox One games</a> article, and our <a href="" target="_blank">PS4 vs. Xbox One</a> comparison.</i></b></p></caption> </div> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:00:00 -0800 Remasters that improve on the original in every way <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>We sure seem to be getting a lot of remasters lately, huh? You can't go a week without some old game getting a brand new day in the spotlight on modern hardware. But there are reasons why they're so commonplace. People still want to revisit the classics, and that SNES cartridge just won't fit in a Wii U. And publishers, realizing that blockbuster games are time-consuming and costly endeavors, are reaching into their back catalogs to fill the gaps with inexpensive ports.</p> <p>It's nice to get a chance to revisit those vintage games we haven't played in years, but many publishers are keen to simply dress up an old game's graphics, toss it on some new hardware, and call it a day. Sometimes, though, a remaster goes above and beyond to become something truly special. Maybe it's been slightly redesigned to adhere to modern game design sensibilities, or it includes additional features to entice returning players, or the overhaul itself is vastly more impressive than a simple reskin job. Whatever the case, these are the remasters that turned out to be more fun than the original game they're based on.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>The Metroid Prime series did the impossible - it not only took the two-dimensional exploration the series is known for and expertly applied it to a three-dimensional space, it also made first-person jumping not suck. But if you wanted to play the whole series back-to-back, you had to have a GameCube and a Wii, GameCube controllers and memory cards, Wii Remotes, Nunchucks… It was a mess. Thankfully, Nintendo re-released all three in one Metroid Prime Trilogy package for the Wii (and on Wii U Virtual Console).</p> <p>These games were instant classics, so Retro Studios could have gotten away with quick port jobs. Instead, it converted every game into full widescreen, and tied all three games together with the achievement/reward unlock system introduced in Metroid Prime 3. But best of all, the first two games in the series can be controlled using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck controllers. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but the Remote's point-and-shoot aiming gives you far more precision than your typical console FPS. Couple that with Metroid Prime's snappy lock-on targeting, and you'll be dancing circles around your enemies in no time.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>When the desolate nuke-soaked landscape of Metro 2033 first arrived on PCs and consoles in 2010, it was rough around the edges. Sure, it looked nice (on PC anyway), but it was a bit too unforgiving to new players. Stealth was all but broken, if you didn't properly prepare at the beginning of the game you were boned by the end, and to top it all off, it was just generally kind of buggy. And the console versions were even jankier than the PC version.</p> <p>Luckily, this uniquely atmospheric game got a new lease on life when 4A Games released the Metro Redux collection, and completely rebuilt Metro 2033 to bring it up to par with the far more playable Metro: Last Light. Not only are the graphics completely rehauled, but several new modes make it easier (like the Spartan mode which turns it into a more conventional first-person shooter) or harder (like Ranger mode, which is the closest anyone will hopefully ever get to life in a frigid Russian wasteland filled with irradiated mutants). Thanks to the update, Metro 2033 gets to be the beautifully desolate survival experience it was always meant to be.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Capcom is certainly no stranger to the world of ports and remakes (see: Street Fighter 2, Mega Man, Darkstalkers…). But when Capcom makes the effort to actually recreate a beloved classic for modern audiences, it doesn't just phone it in. The Resident Evil remake (or REmake, as fans have called it) on GameCube (and subsequent rerelease on new-gen consoles (I told you Capcom does this a lot)) does a lot more to the Spencer Mansion than some simple redecorating.</p> <p>Sure, you get the higher-resolution backgrounds and nicer looking character models. Capcom also added a few new locations which were cut from the original game, as well as revamped puzzles to keep old players on their toes. Enhanced controls (180-degree turns!), and defensive maneuvers were also added to help give players a slight edge. Why would they need that, exactly? Because zombies can now come back to life as Crimson Heads, even faster and more deadly than before. It was enough to make my friend (who knew the original like the back of his hand) scream "HOLY SHIT THAT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN" when he got attacked by a Crimson Head for the first time. <i>This</i> is how you remake a classic.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>The Bionic Commando reboot may not have gotten the love it deserved (<a href="" target="_blank">unless you're one of the true fans</a>). I guess that's what happens when you put your dead wife inside a bionic arm (it's a long, dumb story). Surprisingly, the downloadable Bionic Commando Rearmed took off instead, and its popularity is well deserved.</p> <p>Rearmed is essentially a gussied-up retelling of the original NES classic, but it's so much more than that. The swinging physics were retooled to be more fluid and natural, bosses were changed to make use of all of your available skills, additional challenge levels and the entire last level are completely new to the game, and you can play through it all with a bud. And no, you still can't jump. That's what the grapple arm is for!</p> </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the DuckTales game? That's right - it's the joy of hopping around each zany level with Scrooge McDuck's cane like a child given a gallon of Surge. And when Capcom and WayForward brought DuckTales to a new generation of hardware, they made sure to keep that bounce intact. But that's not all they did for DuckTales fans young and old.</p> <p>They brought back the entire surviving cast of the classic '90s cartoon show, including nonagenarian badass Alan Young to reprise his role as Scrooge. To make things look even more like the TV show, all of the game's 8-bit art was replaced with actual hand-drawn animation. Even the music blended elements of the classic NES game with newly recorded renditions of the songs from the animated series. In short, it's the perfect love letter to fans of DuckTales in every form.</p> </caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Like a few games on this list, Final Fantasy 4 has been rereleased several times over the years, but its 3D incarnation on the DS (and more recently on PC and mobile devices) is its best, most fully version featured yet. Every cave, town, and moon has been lovingly recreated in 3D, and many of the most important scenes have surprisingly good voice work to accompany them.</p> <p>With new minigames, sidequests, and additional plot points that weren't included in the original version of the game, the 3D version of Final Fantasy 4 is already packed with reasons to dive back in. But wait - there's more! A New Game Plus option lets you carry your equipment over to a second playthrough, where you can take on some hidden bosses for the first time. Sure, you don't get all the extra epilogue content featured in the After Years, but that stuff was mostly crap anyway.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Wind Waker has benefitted greatly from the value of hindsight. Originally decried by Zelda fans as 'that dumb kiddie cartoon one', now it's (rightly) heralded as one of the best Zelda games ever made. Except for, you know, that one bit near the end. You know, where you have to find all of those maps, pay for them to be translated, then find all of the Triforce pieces? And it takes <i>foreeeeeeeeeeeeverrrrrrrrrr</i>? God, wouldn't it be great if Nintendo would just fix it so it wasn't such a pain in the ass?</p> <p>Well, as it happens, they totally did in the HD rerelease for Wii U. In addition to removing several steps of that asinine Triforce treasure hunt, there's also a special sail you can pick up at the auction house that speeds up travel times significantly. While it doesn't entirely fix Wind Waker's issues, it's still the best version of an already spectacular game.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>What if Metal Gear was even <i>more</i> like one of your <i>Japanese animes</i>? What if it ditched the grainy, blocky polygons of the PlayStation era and adopted the sleeker, smoother curves of Metal Gear Solid 2? Well, your prayers are answered, because The Twin Snakes makes Metal Gear Solid even more bonkers (if you can believe it) and much prettier to look at.</p> <p>Not only does The Twin Snakes bring with it a much-appreciated improvement in graphical fidelity, it also features many of the same moves and abilities from Metal Gear Solid 2 - including its first-person aiming mode. The Twin Snakes also features some incredibly over-the-top cutscenes, directed by Japanese action flick director Ryuhei Kitamura. Like, 'backflip-onto-a-missile-and-return-fire-with-a-rocket-of-your-own' kind of over-the-top. While the original Metal Gear Solid still remains a classic, The Twin Snakes just feels so much more entertaining.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>The first two Monkey Island games are amazing point-and-click adventures, filled to the brim with hilarious pirate jokes, insult sword fighting, and way too many modern conveniences for a game set during the Golden Age of Piracy. But ever since I played the third entry, The Curse of Monkey Island, I always hoped that LucasArts would go back to the old games and stick some new artwork and voice acting on top of them.</p> <p>Turns out my wish was granted back in 2009, and again in 2010, when LucasArts released the Special Editions of the first two games in the Monkey Island series. The updated graphics are take-'em-or-leave-'em, but you can switch to the old visuals at the push of a button. More importantly, every single line of dialog has been voiced by a stellar cast (including the one and only Dominic Armato as Guybrush Threepwood). You also get a handy hint system for both games and a neat commentary track for Monkey Island 2. The voice acting alone makes these Special Editions leagues better than the original releases. And yes, I know these are two separate releases, but they both got the same level of TLC, so I'm grouping them together. Because I can.</p></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>Before you go into full-on rage mode the next time you hear about another imminent re-release, just remember these extra-polished gems. Who knows? Maybe that old game is getting a ton of great stuff to make double-dipping worth it. Do you have a favorite remaster you enjoy more than the original? Or perhaps there's one you'd like to see? Let me know in the comments!</p> <p><b><i>Looking for more? Check out these <a href="" target="_blank">7 reasons why we think Nintendo's next hardware will be a smartwatch</a>, or <a href="" target="_blank">a list of some of the most valuable amiibo and how to find them</a>.</b></i></p></caption> </div> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:00:00 -0800 of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC kicks off with Havoc <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>If you're a series fan, you know <i>exactly</i> what you're in for with <a href="" target="_blank">Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare</a>'s slate of upcoming DLC. That's not really a bad thing, mind - the heavyweight shooter series knows how to make a map pack sing, with oodles of new score streaks and timed events to keep players guessing. Not to mention the indispensalbe Exo Zombies mode, which furthers CoD's fine tradition of cheesy undead survival... this time, with super-powered exoskeletons. <p>As per usual, each pack will hit Xbox One and Xbox 360 first, with release on all the other platforms expected about a month later. Each of the four packs is available on its own for $14.99/£11.59 or as part of the $49.99/£34.99 season pass - which includes a few other bonuses such as the Atlas Gorge map and early access to DLC weapons. Click on for more details on each pack as we get them, and make sure to check back in as the season rolls on!</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>You want more competitive maps? Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's Havoc DLC has more competitive maps. Four more, to be exact: Core, Urban, Drift, and Sideshow, and you can click on to see screenshots and brief synopses for each one. But what good is a bunch of new stages without some new guns to carve them up? Thankfully, Havoc also drops in the AE4 directed energy assault rifle and its customized variant, the AE4 Widowmaker. <p>Advanced Warfare's first DLC pack also includes the first episode of the Exo Zombies campaign, which sees four civilian employees of the Atlas corporation struggling to survive against an outbreak among the company's elite soldiers. And yes, it amps up the now-standard camp factor, complete with face-captured performances from John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, Rose McGowan, and Jon Bernthal that will leave you asking "Kevin Spacey who?"</caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption></caption> </div> <div> <img src=""/> <caption><p>That's all we know about Advanced Warfare's DLC plans so far, but we'll update this article with all the details on Havoc, Ascendance, Supremacy, and Reckoning as we get them. Until then, what are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments! <p><b><i>Looking for more Advanced Warfare? Make sure not to miss our <a href="" target="_blank">review</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">8 tips to help you dominate in multiplayer</a>.</b></i></caption> </div> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:00:00 -0800