Full Xbox One Launch Lineup

The full Xbox One launch lineup has finally been confirmed! Here’s the whole list of all the games that you will have access to the day the console is released:

1) Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (Ubisoft, Ubisoft)
2) Battlefield 4 (DICE, Electronic Arts)
3) Call of Duty Ghosts (Infinity Ward, Activision)
4) Crimson Dragon 3 (Grounding/Land Ho!, Microsoft Studios)
5) Dead Rising 3 (Capcom Vancouver, Microsoft Studios)
6) FIFA 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
7) Fighter Within (AMA Ltd., Ubisoft)
8) Forza Motorsport 5 (Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios)
9) Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft)
10) Killer Instinct (Double Helix, Microsoft Studios)
11) LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games, Warner Bros. Interactive)
12) Lococycle (Twisted Pixel, Microsoft Studios)
13) Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
14) NBA 2K14 (Visual Concepts, 2K Sports)
15) NBA Live 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
16) Need For Speed: Rivals (Ghost Games, Electronic Arts)
17) Peggle 2 (Popcap, Electronic Arts)
18) Powerstar Golf (Zoe Mode, Microsoft Studios)
19) Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek, Microsoft Studios)
20) Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions, Activision)
21) Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft)
22) Zoo Tycoon (Frontier Developments Ltd., Microsoft Studios)
23) Zumba Fitness: World Party (Zoe Mode, Majesco)

There’s even more games coming out directly following the launch, but expect these to be on the shelves if you pick up your console on day one.

I think this is a pretty awesome lineup. There’s a little bit for everyone. There’s action-adventure games, fighting games, FPS’s, racing games, sports games, kids games, Kinect games, as well as several others. There really is something for everyone, and I think that’ll definitely make a difference in the amount of consoles sold. It’s obvious that COD: Ghosts will sell consoles, but even games like Skylanders: Swapforce are going to be HUGE when they release. The Skylanders series has blown up more than I ever expected it to, and the new game is definitely going to be a console mover for the parents of younger gamers.

E3 Hangover

I’m finally back after a huge hiatus, and I’ve missed so much… Due to the fact that I was out of town during E3, I had to catch up on tons of crazy news. It seems like everyone and their mother is still hungover from the onslaught of information that came from E3 this year. Xbox users are probably feeling this the most with all of the crazy information coming from Microsoft’s corner.

There really is just too much information to try and talk about, but I do want to address a few topics. The biggest is Microsoft’s used games issue. If you hadn’t heard before, Microsoft was planning on implementing a used game fee when the Xbox One released. This meant that if you wanted to buy a used game, or borrow your friend’s disc, you’d have to pay a fee which would go mainly to the developer. Long story short, the gaming community’s backlash was so huge that Microsoft changed their policy and have now stated that used games for the X1 will essentially work in the same fashion as they do now.

Silly Microsoft and their DRM policies

Silly Microsoft and their DRM policies… (photo from Kotaku)

I don’t even know what else to cover… All of the games that were announced, other features of the Xbox one, what the competitors are doing, and the Xbox One’s price point are all topics floating around in my head. I’ll just touch on some of these briefly. Continue reading

Xbox One: My Initial Thoughts

Here it is. The new Xbox. I’m sure you all have had your news feed absolutely demolished with the new Xbox info, but let me add my 2 cents:

Can't get much slicker than that!

I’m not looking at giving you all of the information on the new console. It just wouldn’t make sense. Instead, I’m just going to go over the things that really stood out to me, starting with the hardware.

Hardware
When I look at the console, I think “sleek.” The black chrome finish is wonderfully modern and I even think the vents at the top add to the aesthetics. Underneath the hood, I was pleased, but not surprised. It has 8Gb of RAM and an 8 core CPU. It comes with a 500Gb Hard Drive, although I bet they’ll have optional bigger ones. All-in-all, in terms of processing power, it’s about what I expected. Keep in mind that the Xbox 360 only has 512Mb of RAM. That’s NOTHING in the computer/gaming world. All-in-all, I’m not overly impressed with the hardware, but I’m not disappointed either. It’s about average specs for a gaming machine, but I’m afraid that it will be outdated quickly. Even more so than the 360 did. Im interested to see if Microsoft addresses this issue.

Remember the first Xbox controller? Blegh, what a monstrosity that was... I'm lovin' this one.

Remember the first Xbox controller? Blegh, what a monstrosity that was… I’m lovin’ this one.

The next piece of hardware is the controller. Again, “sleek” comes to mind when I look at it. Not a crazy amount of changes, but enough to make a difference. Upgraded joysticks, flush battery pack on the back (That’s a HUGE one for me. I hate the huge battery pack on the current ones), better triggers that let you jump from one to the other much more seamlessly, and what appears to be a more ergonomic design.

Last but not least, is Kinect. I’ve never been a huge fan of Kinect, but now that EVERY SINGLE XBOX ONE CONSOLE will ship with Kinect, that’ll definitely change. I think this is big for Microsoft because Kinect will be bigger than ever. Now with every single user having a Kinect, they’ll HAVE to make it as best as it can be. It seems to be a much more powerful piece of tech and I can’t wait to use it.

Oh, and how could I forget! We finally have a Blu Ray player!

Software
The huge thing they’re pushing is the fact that the Xbox is running three operating systems. One for the main functions of the Xbox (starting up, etc), the next is for accessories and other capabilities (Kinect, movies, TV, etc.), and the main one is for gaming. Why do they do this? Because then, you can seamlessly switch from one aspect of the Xbox to the other. The downside? Performance might be slowed due to running all of this at once.

I like the new menu interface, and I like how it works with Kinect. The games shown were great looking, although they’re still far out from release so I wouldn’t expect them to look different by the time they ship.

Other Cool Features
This is not my photo. Go here for the original: http://media1.gameinformer.com/imagefeed/featured/microsoft2013/XBOXREVEAL/xboxguide610.jpg
1) Watching TV straight  from your Xbox. I was hoping this would happen, and it did. Basically, you plug in your TV device (cable box, satellite stuff, etc.) into your Xbox, and then the Xbox will send it to the TV. That way, you can access your guide without ever changing TV inputs. I have to say, this is INGENIOUS of Microsoft. Now you really can access anything from your console. They’ve become the medium of all living room entertainment. Absolutely brilliant.

2) Up to 1000 friends on Xbox Live. I can’t even think about how many times I’ve complained about the friends list cap on the 360. They’ve finally learned and boosted the limit. It’s about time.

3) Apparently, there are rumors that there will be dedicated servers for all games? That could be pretty huge.

4) Achievements will be ported. Not surprising, but still nice to know.

5) There’s going to be a live-action Halo TV show!!! Directed by Steven Spielberg!!! Can’t get much cooler than that.

Complaints and/or unanswered questions
1) 
No backwards compatibility with 360 games and XBLA games. This is going to sour a lot of gamers. However, I’ve looked into why this is, and it’s something that’s unavoidable due to how the console’s architecture is now running.

2) Purchasing system for used games. Basically, on the Xbox One, you can download the whole game to your console and basically validate your purchase. Then, if you sell your game and someone uses your disc, they have to pay a fee to download it to their console, and then your dowload will be invalidated on your own console. It’s a way of curbing used game sales. I’m not sure how this’ll turn out, so we’ll have to wait and see.

3) They didn’t address anything about DVR capabilities with your cable box, but I’m assuming it’ll work the same as accessing the cable guide. I just want to hear it from them.

4) They need to address the core gamers in their crowd. Sony did a great job of showing exactly how well the PS4 will process things, whereas Microsoft didn’t. In that sense, I believe Sony did a better job.

5) Price?

6) Release date? (Probably November)

7) There’s some info related to the fact that the Xbox One might have to be connected to the internet whenever you want to play, and I think this is very interesting. I think it’s kinda ridiculous to make a console that can’t play offline, but I guess we’ll see.

And finally…. Here’s some links for much-needed information regarding the Xbox One (or as I’ve now heard it being called, the X1. I like that much better)

1) PS4 vs. Xbox One Comparison
2) Used game fee information
3) Fantastic inside look at the Xbox One
4) Xbox One FAQ
5) Funny bit on how “the cloud” works
6) More awesome information about the future of Xbox Live

Microsoft’s Press Briefing At E3 2012

From Usher performing, to Master Chief making a comeback, today had a lot of cool content displayed at the Microsoft press briefing. I’m sure you’ve already heard TONS of news about E3 from TV and other websites, so I’m just going to take this time to talk about what my favorite moments were at the Microsoft press briefing. If you think I missed something important, post a comment below!

Microsoft started of their show with a demo of Halo 4 gameplay footage. They showed some significant changes, including new weapons and an all new enemy. The next game shown was Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It seems like the Splinter Cell franchise is slowly getting more and more action-oriented, instead of just stealthy. We saw that a bit with the last game, and it looks like we’re getting even more action in this one. The only thing I didn’t like was the Kinect integration into the game. Once again, it feels like they stuck in Kinect integration after-the-fact. I mean, do we really need to yell out “hey you!” to our Kinect in order to get someone’s attention in the game? It just feels unnecessary. Another game filled with action was Gears of War: Judgement, based on the Gears character Baird’s past. We still don’t know a whole lot about gameplay, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out at E3. Continue reading

E3 Wish List

E3 is coming up incredibly fast, and I (along with the whole gaming community) can’t wait to see what games are going to be on display. Today I figured I’d make a list of the top 10 Xbox games that I’d like to see more of, or for the first time if that’s the case. Enjoy!

1. Assassin’s creed III
2. Halo 4
3. GTA V
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
5. Resident Evil 6
6. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
7. Skyrim DLC
8. Mass Effect DLC (new ending?)
9. Diablo III for Xbox
10. A Kinect game that will actually make me want to buy a Kinect

I also figured I’d throw in a couple games that, although they most likely won’t be talked about at E3 (or anywhere for that matter), I’d LOVE to see them. However, if they did happen to be there, I would be quite happy (and by quite happy, I mean I would go pretty much go insane).

1. Mirror’s Edge 2
2. Half-Life 3
3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3
4. Bioshock: Infinite (This one just won’t be at E3. I’d still love to see it though…)
5. A Kinect game that will actually make me want to buy a Kinect

Do you have any games you’d like to see at E3? If so, post them in the comments section below! Also, make sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. for updates on my latest posts as well as posts on what I see at E3 next week! Just search for “xboxopinions” or click the symbols at the top right of this page!

The Problem With Kinect

Ever since I first saw Kinect (If you don’t know what Kinect is, go here), I thought it was pretty cool. A bit gimmicky, but it was definitely better than what the other consoles were developing, like the Playstation Move. Kinect’s capabilities are pretty impressive. It can detect movement from each individual person in the frame, and distinguish who’s who through your physical appearance and voice. It can also track certain body parts as well, turning your whole body into a huge Xbox controller (Just like Microsoft’s motto for Kinect, “You are the controller”). The problem that everyone, including myself, had with it was that we were afraid of how Microsoft was going to use it. We were first amazed by Peter Molyneux’s (The man behind the Fable franchise as well as others) showcase at E3 entitled “Milo”, where he had a representative interact with a virtual boy by using the Kinect. You could talk to him, hand him things, and interact with the boy’s environment (Or so we thought). It turns out that the showcase was a scripted video, showing what the Kinect might be capable of in the future. This was the first of many disappointments. Continue reading

Mass Effect 3 Review (Updated)

I’ve played ME3 some more, so I thought I’d add some more to this review. If you’ve already read what I have so far, just skip to the bottom and you’ll see what I’ve added.

Mass Effect 3 is finally here!!! I really do hope that everyone is going out and buying this game because it is SO incredible. I’ve only played it for a day now, but I’m definitely hooked already. If you’re still curious about what the whole game is about, I’ll give a quick synopsis. The main character in Mass Effect is Commander Shepard. You can choose to make Shepard a male or female, and fully customize his/her appearance. Without going too deep into the past games, Shepard is basically a hero who has saved the universe several times from oncoming threats (the typical kind of hero story one would find in any sort of video game of this magnitude). In the third game, Shepard must save everyone from the biggest threat they have ever seen: the reapers. The reapers are an incredibly powerful race of beings, whose powers cannot be matched by any other living creature (as far as we know). They are not simply biological creatures, but rather something greater. As discovered in Mass Effect 2, (*SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t played the other games!!!) these reapers come about every 50,000 years and wipe out all living organisms. They kill all powerful civilizations and then have all of the others start from scratch (This whole concept vaguely reminded me of the end of The Matrix, where Neo finds out that there are many cycles of life, and he is just one of many. He then goes on to try and change his fate, just like Shepard does). However, humanity has never known about any of this until Commander Shepard found traces of a previous civilization, known as the Protheans. He now uses their knowledge in an attempt to discover a way to defeat the reapers, instead of having humanity die once again.

Continue reading

Xbox: The Next Generation

Everyone’s talking about what they’re expecting from the next Xbox console, so I guess I’ll give my two cents. Personally, I don’t care about a lot of the things that people seem to be looking forward to. I don’t really care about 3D, and as of right now, I’m not a huge fan of Kinect either. It’s not that I don’t like 3D, but it’s that I don’t think I really need it. I already wear a Turtle Beach headset when I play, so I don’t want to have to wear glasses too. Now if they came out with TVs that had 3D built in somehow, then I’ll join the party, but as of right now, I’m just not seeing it. As for the Kinect, it’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t think that they have supported it in the right way. It has SO much potential to do great things, but only a couple of games have really embraced it to its full potential (I did however see the commercial during the Super Bowl where Microsoft showed some of the real-world capabilities of kinect, which I thought was cool). So as long as they don’t make every game in a way where Kinect is a necessity, or isn’t complete without it, I have no problems with it.  All I’m really looking for is better graphics, better online functionality, and an all-around smoother running console. I can’t think of any little add-ons that they need to put in it to make it better. Going back to the Kinect issue, if they were to put Kinect INSIDE the console, with the lenses next to the disc slot of something, I would definitely like that. Then people won’t have to go out and buy an all-new peripheral as soon as they buy a new console. That’s all I can think of right now, and I’ll post any more ideas as I think of them.

I’ll make a post tomorrow discussing what I’m looking forward to on the software side of the next console launch, so stay tuned! Don’t touch that dial! (Really, who has dials on their TVs anymore? Not sure why TV shows still say that…)

Gaming In The Super Bowl

I know everyone’s watching football and stuffing their faces with chips and dip right now, but I figured I’d make a post anyways. I was trying to imagine what the stats look like for something like Xbox Live right now. At first glance one would think that it’s pretty silent on U.S. servers, but I have a feeling that it’s actually pretty busy right now. Today’s one of those days where families get together, watch TV, and play games. Even if they aren’t playing games as much as I think they are, I’ve already seen the presence of gaming within several commercials during the Super Bowl. I’ve already seen an advertisement for the Kinect, as well as Call of Duty in a TV/internet provider’s advertisement. It’s actually pretty cool to see how games are treated nowadays. I think because of the fact that consoles are now more than just gaming centers (DVD players, Netflix, Music Players, etc.), more people have accepted video games as a social norm, and I think that’s awesome. Anyways, that’s all I have for today. Hope everyone is having a great Sunday! (And if anyone has any thoughts or opinions on the matter, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!)

Another Upcoming Release

The more I hear about it, the more I’m looking forward to Mass Effect 3. The game releases on March 6th, and I have a feeling there’s going to be a huge amount of sales starting on day 1. The last two games were amazing, and I can’t imagine this one being any different. The fact that they allow you to save the data from the previous two games and load them into the third is crazy. It’s now a true series, where something that was done in the first and second game actually affects a player’s experience in the third game. For those who don’t know what Mass Effect is, it is a 3rd-person shooter and RPG at it’s core. You play as Commander Shephard (a male or female character, depending on the player’s preference), who is hired to protect humanity (as well as other races) from a mysterious aggressor known as the Reapers. There’s a lot more backstory, but you basically fly around to different planets and solar systems where you choose to either be a good or bad guy (or girl), and help or hurt various other groups of individuals. There is a system of choices within every conversation, and this is where the RPG-style elements come into play. The only thing I am worried about is the support for Kinect that Bioware is adding. I really have a hard time imagining anyone wanting to virtually punch and stab every bad guy, as well as read the dialogue for the whole damn game, but who knows, maybe they do. We’ll see I guess…