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Tag: Xbox (1-10 of 17)

EW ranks the 'Halo' games in 'The Master Chief Collection'

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With today’s release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, over a decade of Halo history has been assembled in one package to celebrate the franchise’s past–and do a smart bit of promotion for its future.

The collection combines Halo 1 through 4, highlighting every adventure in the franchise with Master Chief as the protagonist. While it doesn’t include the well-received spin offs Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST, the four main entries in the package highlight a number of the greatest moments in the fight between humanity and the Covenant.

But which of Master Chief’s adventures is the best, and which has withered with time? Having had a chance to revisit the classic titles as part of the collection, EW has ranked the four main Halo story campaigns from worst to best.

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Team Deathmatch: EW argues the pros and cons of fall's biggest video games

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We, as a nation, have apparently decided that we want most of our video games to come out at the same time every year. We, as a nation, should probably rethink that, because the time it takes to finish an average video game is something crazy like 40 hours. Even with the time off that comes around the holidays, taking on a few extra full-time-job’s worth of games is kind of bananas. Did we mention that this fall’s release calendar is what a “light” year looks like?

Fortunately, our own Natalie Abrams, Jonathon Dornbush, Darren Franich, Aaron Morales, and Joshua Rivera have opinions on how to best allocate those extracurricular hours. Game accordingly.

Disclaimer: This list isn’t comprehensive. It very obviously omits sports games (because we know jack shit about them) and indie games (because they’re made by commitmentphobes who don’t set release dates very far in advance). We’re very much looking forward to some of these games (hello, Ori and the Blind Forest), but this list is geared towards games with set release dates.

SEPT OCT NOV DEC
Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes Edition
Release Date: Sept. 23
Playstation 4
Xbox One
Playstation 3
Xbox 360
PC & Vita in 2015

Combining beloved Disney franchises with some of Marvel’s most recognizable faces, Disney Infinity 2 adds heroes like Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, and Spider-Man to the menagerie of actual figurines you can zap into its game worlds. (No, really—the game comes with action figures that determine which characters players control.) Beyond that, it allows players to create whatever they would like in the game’s imagination-driven Toy Box, from tower defense games, to a Disney-themed house, to a raceway that’s part Guardians of the Galaxy and part Toy Story.

PRO: I’ve already said plenty about why Infinity is so special. Yes, the single player campaign’s mission design is a bit generic, but the marquee feature, the Toy Box, is a delight. By allowing players to create game levels, cities, raceways, houses—almost anything they want—and express themselves by employing memorable Disney and Marvel franchises, the game sucks users in for hours at a time. Infinity encourages imagination, and the sheer number of possibilities should send any child—and more than a few Disney-obsessed adults—into a creative frenzy. —JD

CON: This adult enjoyed playing with the toys that come with game more than the repetitive, simplistic campaign itself. Seriously, the toys are awesome. —AM

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Release Date: Sept. 26
PC
PS4 TBA

In the tradition of many quality cable dramas, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter takes place in an idyllic town in the middle of nowhere that’s full of terrible occurrences. As a detective with supernatural abilities, you’ll communicate with the dead in order to uncover whatever disturbing, hidden secrets lie in Red Creek Valley.

WHY IT’S INTERESTING: Some of the best games don’t give you much to go on. Myst is the classic example here, a game that dropped you on an island with no explanation and left you to stumble across an intriguing mystery. There’s a bit more context to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, but development studio The Astronauts seem committed to mostly staying out of the way, letting players rely on their own observations to discover the game’s secrets. “Show, don’t tell,” is just as important in video games as it is in other media—and one of the greatest tricks in video game horror is giving you the freedom to creep yourself out. —JR

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Release Date: Sept. 30
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 11.18.14

You know how the first trailer for The Hobbit got you all excited? Because The Lord of the Rings films were great, so surely Hobbit would be, too? And then the movie was divided into like, 18 parts, each a year apart and all of them middling. That’s kind of what it’s been like for LOTR video games, except the bit about there being 18 parts isn’t all that hyperbolic. The pitch for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is simple: what if a LOTR game wasn’t just good, but great?

PRO: There have been some good The Lord of the Rings games, but fans have been waiting for a great one, and Shadow of Mordor looks to be it. Combining the best of two major franchises—Assassin’s Creed and the Batman: Arkham games—Mordor adds in the promising Nemesis System. With it, your enemies are no longer simple sword fodder—they actually matter to main character Talion. Players can alter the balance of power by taking out ruling Uruks or bending them to his will, and the game’s randomized Uruk creator means you’ll never see the same Uruk twice. With the third-person action space dominated by sequels this year and next, it’s nice to see a new franchise try to stake its own claim in the genre. —JD

CON: The last boss battle is an anticlimactic string of quick-time events. Everything else? Pretty awesome. —AM

Microsoft announces acquisition of 'Minecraft' developer

Mojang may not be a household name, but the game developer’s title Minecraft is. The game that allows users to build just about anything they can imagine has attracted more than 100 million players and is available on just about every platform imaginable, from Windows PC to PlayStation 3 to iOS devices.

It’s now one of the most popular games to play on the Xbox 360, and Microsoft took note of the game’s success. The company announced today it will acquire Mojang and the Minecraft franchise for $2.5 billion.

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Eight intriguing games unveiled so far at Gamescom 2014

Gamescom is a Cologne, Germany-based annual video game trade fair that’s open to both the public and industry professionals. Like the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, it’s a great place to see new games announced and get closer looks at others on the way. At the halfway point of Gamescom 2014, here are some of the most interesting looking titles from this year’s crop:

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Amidst layoffs, Microsoft abandons bid to be the next Netflix

Another contender for the Netflix crown has fallen.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced that the company will shut down its Xbox Entertainment Studios division, well before any of the studio’s marquee series go live. The news comes hours after Microsoft announced massive restructuring plans that will see the company eliminate up to 18,000 jobs this year.

In an internal memo published by Re/code, Phil Spencer, head of the company’s in-house video game production wing Microsoft Studios, briefly outlined Microsoft’s strategy for the Xbox in light of the sudden upheaval: READ FULL STORY

Xbox E3 2014: Microsoft is very happy you told them to stop doing everything they were doing

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The corporate realities of the videogame industry operate on massive, mega, epochal levels. Release dates are planned out years in advance. New brands are built carefully over the course of years, with the implicit promise that they could run for decades. You could think of the major videogame companies as giants, skyscraper-size creatures who move at their own pace. Or you could think of them as creatures out of an HP Lovecraft story, unthinkable many-headed monstrosities who live in cross-dimensional space dreaming up new nightmares. Either way, it’s hard to imagine that the events of a single day can change everything.

But one year ago today, Microsoft woke up on top of the world, and then everything got ruined. Or maybe they ruined everything. Hard to say: Their media presentation was shaky enough, what with the rape-joke controversy and the backpedaling insistence that the Xbox One’s Orwellian Always-On requirement wasn’t a requirement, just a suggestion for cool people who aren’t lame. But then a few hours later, Sony basically made the subject of their presentation: “Here’s why we aren’t Microsoft.” The PlayStation 4 let you play any games you wanted to play. The Playstation 4 was a videogame console built for videogames, not for weird tie-ins to ESPN. Above all else, the PlayStation 4 was a hundred dollars cheaper. READ FULL STORY

'Halo 5': Master Chief's next chapter gets a name and release window

Following last summer’s teaser footage of a hooded Master Chief braving the desert, Halo fans have been clamoring for any info regarding the Spartan’s next alien-thwarting adventure. Well, the wait for fresh intel ends now, as Microsoft and Chief’s handlers at 343 Industries have revealed the name and release window for the upcoming entry in the popular sci-fi first-person shooter franchise. READ FULL STORY

Microsoft launching original Xbox shows (including the 'Halo' series?) early next year

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The Xbox One hit stores almost a month ago. Launch titles like Ryse and Dead Rising 3 didn’t inspire much confidence, but Microsoft always positioned the Xbox One as a new kind of device: An entertainment console that would unite the disparate media machines in your living room into one glorious voice-operated mega-machine. (It’s the Megazord, basically.) To that end, Microsoft already announced plans to populate Xbox Live with original TV series, including a Halo series executive produced by Steven Spielberg, director of Always and also several other films you may have heard of. READ FULL STORY

Xbox One sells 1 million units in first 24 hours

According to Microsoft, their new gaming system, Xbox One, has sold 1 million units worldwide during the first 24 hours of being on the market. The new gaming system has already sold more units on its first day than the Xbox 360 did when it came out in 2005.

Additionally, the new console’s first-day figures are comparable to that of its rival: Sony’s PlayStation 4, which was released in the U.S. and Canada just one week prior, also sold 1 million units in North America within the first 24 hours of being on the market.

The new record-high number of units sold in Xbox One’s first 24 hours has also had a direct effect on the number of people playing the new gaming console’s video games. Microsoft is also reporting that since going on the market, there have been 60 million zombies killed in Dead Rising 3, more than 3.6 million miles driven in Forza Motorsport 5, and more than 8.5 million enemies defeated in Ryse: Son of Rome.
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Xbox One review: One box to rule the living room

Long before Sony’s PlayStation 4 landed on the front lines of the next-gen console war earlier this month, it was decided it would be a gamer-focused platform, while Microsoft’s Xbox One would be an all-in-one entertainment device. Due in no small part to the latter’s early — but later-reversed — unpopular policies regarding used games and an always-online connection, as well as Microsoft’s own marketing, this was, for better or worse, the defining distinction made between the two boxes.

It’s ironic, then, that I’ve had more fun with the Xbox One’s first-party launch lineup than I had with the titles that debuted alongside Sony’s dedicated gaming console. As with the competition, the Xbox One has no Halo-like killer app. Its trio of triple-A entries — Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, and Forza Motorsport 5 — however, make a more convincing case for the power of next-gen gaming than Sony’s pair of big-budget day-one offerings Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack.
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