The End Of The Xbox Halo Franchise As We Know It

February 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Halo: Reach is the forthcoming (and final) chapter from current developer studio Bungie, bringing to an end their reign over the Xbox Halo franchise. Set in 2552 on the human planet Reach, and players once more adopt the Spartan colours as Noble 6 and, along with Noble Squad, the gamer will have to defend their planet from the terror that is the Covenant. However, Halo: Reach is a prequel to Bungie's first award winning "Halo: Combat Evolved" title.

Originally designed to be an improved version of the Xbox Halo franchise entry Halo 3, the notion was dropped, Bungie stating they would redesign and improve the quality of the Halo 3 designs. Harking back to the Halo: Combat Evolved concept ideas, this effectively means the new weapon, armour and covenant designs in Halo: Reach will deviate greatly from prior entries but uphold the ethos of the Xbox Halo franchise.

Hinting that Bungie will not cap the Xbox Halo franchise without a bang, the producers are looking to dramatically increase the graphical quality of all gaming areas, even including the weaponry. This clearly required Bungie to create a fresh new engine in Halo: Reach, with the AI augmented and nudged to provide better support for the player as they battle the Covenant.

So after all these promises of fusing greatly refined graphics and improved AI and designs, will Bungie leave the Xbox Halo franchise with a bang and cement their reputation for producing the best FPS for the Xbox 360? The only way to find out is to grab a copy when it is released later this year!

Xbox 360 Virtual Arcade!

January 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Microsoft are continually venturing to make the Xbox Live experience as fun and interactive as they can for existing users and newcomers to the system. As the possibilities grow, Microsoft are able to promote various awesome features online, such as Twitter, Sky and Netfix. Amongst the noteworthy and exciting approaching projects is Xbox 360 virtual arcade, which is garnering much excitement from users.

Microsoft are building upon the ability to play classic games online by developing the new Xbox 360 virtual arcade. The intention is to re-introduce certain titles which many older and sentimental game-players would like to revisit. Whilst a lot of those games may appear simplistic or maybe comical to the audience of today, Microsoft state that many are still awesome titles worth looking into.

Examples of the titles lined up for this feature include such classics as Rocket Knight, Centipede, Streets of Rage and even fan fave Asteroids. These games will mean absolutely everything to those players who grew up with them, and offer a nice aside to the bigger games of our day. The Xbox 360 virtual arcade even offers gamers their very own interactive arcade room. When a player buys one of these classic titles, they are able to place it anywhere in the arcade, and they even appear in the classic arcade machines!

Lastly, Microsoft's new feature is completely interactive, so gamers can ask their buddies to visit and play in their own arcade. Voice chat is included together with avatars, leaderboards, multiplayer features and more. In exchange for Microsoft points you are able to forge your very own Xbox 360 virtual arcade, and sample some classic games with your pals!

What Can Xbox Live Offer You?

November 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Xbox 360 currently offers gamers the opportunity to communicate with each other, using the add-on feature known as Xbox Live. If you're an Xbox Live user, you are instantly part of the chat list. Therefore, you are able to chat and discuss anytime with your friends and family through the Xbox 360 headset. Moreover, you can interact and organize a gaming throwdown with countless other Xbox users. Xbox Live also allows you to buy content in Xbox Live Marketplace, download additional videogame content and even watch preview videos.

If users are enticed by these functions and wish to become an Xbox Live member, then there are two memberships to choose from, classified into two distinct services - gold and silver.

Up first, the silver service is just the basic version of Xbox Live. Going for this version, users can easily get online and download gaming titles. On top of this, you are given the capacity to use their own voice to talk and meet with other Xbox Live users. However, this is all Xbox Live silver provides subscribers with. If you're searching for the optimum Xbox Live experience, Xbox Live gold is what you must go for.

Secondly, the Xbox Live Gold option has various features that make it an awesome way to play on the internet. Apart from the incredible Xbox Live features, it provides gamers with a host of additional add-ons. There is improved chat compatability, as well as interaction with a host of Microsoft products, including messenger and further chat and video programs. The most prominent feature of Xbox Live gold is the manner in which your online avatar is shown to the world. Every account is free to create a distinct 'motto' showing to other gamers online, even linking to Facebook. Furthermore, you're also able to hold a record of your accomplishments. As you play more and more you gradually forge a reputation, and if users like you they are able to rank you positively, making it easier to avoid interacting with users holding bad outlook.

Players can also build a contact list which will list all of your selected chums. It'll also inform you when any of your buddies come online. There is also a recent player list that will record the last fifty friends that you have met.

Xbox Live is as good as Xbox gaming gets. It not only offers great gaming but also provides you with the chance to share your experience with other users!

The Developer Conundrum

February 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

In the games industry there are three distinct development parties. These are third-party developers, second-party developers and first-party developers. Third-party developers are not generally associated with any particular console or corporation other than themselves, whereas second-party developers have signed contracts with a console manufacturing company and release platform exclusives. First-party developers, however, are different all together. They are part of the console manufacturing company and often carry the company's name.

With the different types of development companies out there, games have been developed for various platforms. This provides another dilemma for gamers when choosing a console. We not only have to decide on the quality of the console itself but also the franchise that are available on that console.

Microsoft: Halo is undoubtedly Microsoft's main attraction, with Halo 1 and 2 released for the original Xbox. It was one of the main reasons people bought the Xbox and for many current Xbox 360 owners, Halo 3 is one of the main reasons they bought the 360 as well. There are many other fantastic games for the Xbox 360, but without Halo, there would have been much less Xbox 360s sold.

Halo is not the only franchise exclusive to Microsoft's platform, Epic's Gears of War series and Bizarre Creation's Project Gotham series are both exclusive to Microsoft.

Sony: One of Sony's biggest and loyalist second-party developer has been Insomniac. They have been a second-party developer for Sony for more than ten years, and have released a gamer, almost every year for their platforms. Even today, for the PS3, the company releases games annually, and on the odd occasion twice yearly. Insomniac is an extremely reliable company for producing quality games, and would be proud to own the console they develop on. This generation, Insomniac is best known for the Resistance series, a highly acclaimed first-person-shooter) and the Ratchet and Clank series (a brilliant third-person platformer / shooter).

Naughty Dog are also a primary second-party developer for Sony, with the Jak and Daxter series, and most recently the Uncharted franchise for the PS3. Also it is worth mentioning that for a decade, up until recently, every core Final Fantasy game released was exclusive to Sony platforms. Final Fantasy developers, Square Enix, continue to dedicate itself to the PS3 with exclusive game rights.

Nintendo: For the Nintendo Wii, first-party exclusives include Mario games, such as Mario Galaxy and Paper Mario, and Wii Sports. Wii Sports is a very popular game for the platform and best exploits the innotive features of the Wii Remote, or Wiimote. Many more first-party games have been created for the Wii, such as Excite Truck and Disaster: Day of Crisis. One first-party developer for Nintendo, Intelligent Systems, was founded by former employees of Nintendo's Research and Development division. Intelligent Systems is responsible for great games like Metroid and Famicon Wars.

This kind of information in most likely lost on casual gamers, but for those who are interested in the games industry and are serious gamers it is important to keep track of where games fit in with the developer hierarchy. This knowledge sets the level of expectation for each game and ultimately the success of a console system.

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Xbox 360- What You Need To Know

February 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

When choosing a console, the choice is usually straightforward, with a single calibre of console to choose from. However, the Xbox 360 is not so simple, with varying packages and models to choose from, it can be a daunting task.

There are currently three different models of Xbox 360 available: Arcade, Pro, and Elite. Each vary significantly in features, options, and most importantly, price. Take a look at the following descriptions to see which would best suit you.

The Arcade model is the cheapest, and at first glance would be viewed as a great deal. However, looking closely will reveal a number of drawbacks. Firstly, the selection of games included aren't so great and are mainly meant for online play, which incurs further cost. Secondly, the console has no internal memory, meaning a memory card is also a necessary buy.

Next we have the pro model, which are supplied with 60GB of internal hard drive memory. In many cases, what it actually really comes down to is memory, and chances are that the Pro is exactly what you need. Not too much, not too little, and at an affordable price. But if you really want to get the most out of the system, there is always the Elite.

Xbox 360 Elite is the highest calibre of model on offer. They are distinguished by their black coating and boast 120GB of internal hard drive memory, for a small price more than the pro.

The spending is not over yet though! You should probably be informed that each Xbox 360 comes with a Silver Xbox Live Membership. With a Silver Membership, you can download demos and content, etc. But if you or the recipient of the Xbox wants to play online games, you will need a Gold Membership.This asks an initial sign up price and then periodic payments to upkeep. This can incur quite a charge as the months go on, and so one must consider the merits of playing online and whether it is worth the price.

Reassuringly expensive? Well you don't need us to tell you just how popular the Xbox 360 is, so they must be doing something right!

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Biggest Games of 2009: Street Fighter IV

February 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Who among the gaming culture hasn't heard of the Street Fighter series? None surely! But for those who have yet to experience the best arcade fighting experience, with Street Fighter II being the standout in the list of Street Fighter games, newcomers have Street Fighter IV to look forward to. Street Fighter IV sees the series move from 2D to 3D, however keeping the brilliant art-style. We see familiar characters like Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat and M. Bison return along with a host of new characters - the sultry Crimson Viper, the monstrosity Rufus, lucha libre wrestler El Fuerte and burly Frenchman Abel.

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With the usual basic features that are expected from arcade to home fighting game ports, such as Versus and Training modes, Capcom have created plenty of console-exclusive modes and features, new to the world of Street Fighter. Challenge Mode includes 3 main categories, Time Attack, Survival and Trial. Trail mode is the stand out feature in Challenge Mode, where it teaches you to play Street Figter IV by making you complete specific combos for each character and is a must play for newcomers to learn how to play effectively. New to this generation of fighting games is the online mode, where you can challenge players from around the world, and Street Fighter IV packs it in as well. So, once you've mastered those combos you can try and take on the world!

Street Fighter IV does not bring a new form of fighting game to the market, instead it does everything we expect from a Street Fighter game as well as fighting games in general and does them right. Everything about Street Fighter, from the characters, animations to the game modes feel like its done with precision and care. This is why Street Fighter, when released, will be the biggest fighting game of the year and will triumph over what has been before. 

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