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Gaming Nexus' Jeremy Duff gives the weekly rundown of news and notable releases. This week features: PayDay 2: Crime Wave Edition for PS4 and Xbox One and this being E3 week Microsoft announced backwards compatibility for Xbox One to play 360 games, Fallout 4 will be out for the holidays and Sony announced a remake of Final Fantasy VIII!
Now Loading interviews Lead Designer Drew Nolosco about the upcoming Magic: Duels, the successor to Duels of the Planeswalkers and some of the features of the game.
Now Loading interviews Global Brand Manager Liz Lamb-Ferro about the upcoming Magic: Duels, the successor to Duels of the Planeswalkers.
June 15, 2015 - Los Angeles - Opening with the tagline "Jump Ahead', Microsoft's Xbox Press Conference at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) delivered welcome news to Xbox gamers. Most notably, head of Xbox ,Phil Spencer annouced to a thundering roar, Xbox One will now be backward compatible with the last generation Xbox 360. This means all those old favorites will be playable on the Xbox One! The backward compatibility will work for both digital downloads and discs.
Xbox also highlighted a host of exclusive titles, with no less than five triple a titles slated before the end of this year and into early 2016. Those exclusive titles include: Halo 5: Guardians, Recore, Forza 6, Fable: Legends and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Some of the titles will be cross-supported on the newest Windows 10 OS coming this July, allowing PC and console gamers to play together.
From the hardware side, Microsoft announced a partnership with Valve VR (virtual reality) with the Oculus VR headset coming packaged with an Xbox One controller.
However, the biggest "wows" came from the live demonstration of Microsoft's recently announced Hololens. The headset will allow players to virtually project thier game onto a wall and onto a table-top surface in 3D! The demo game used was the very popular game Minecraft and a special Hololens version is in the works.
Keep checking back here for continuing E3 2015 coverage!
Game of Thrones: Episode Four "Sons of Winter" Review - Xbox One
by: Alan M. Wasserman
The plight of house Forrester continues in this excellent additional to Telltale's, Game of Thrones series. In this episode many of the machinations of the protagonists move forward or begin to resolve in some way. Though as expected typically not in the way you would expect.
The game opens where it ended Gared and Britt’s swordfight on the top of the wall. Gared, who can’t seem to catch a break when defending himself or his family, is locked in a storage pantry to await trial, which to me seems like an odd place to throw someone who you are accusing of murder. There surely is a more secure location somewhere in Castle Black. Inevitably the two dumb guards leave Gared to get honey cakes since “he’s not going anywhere” and Gared with your help and some typical Telltale puzzle solving and his friend Cotter break out of the pantry and escape Castle Black along with Finn if you befriended him, out to find the North Grove. What will they find out there Wildlings? White Walkers? Will the Nights Watch catch them and kill them for deserting?
We then visit my favorite Forrester, Asher and his party of miscreants, as they continue to search for a way back to Ironrath. We open with the continuation of Asher’s conversation with Daenerys as he recounts the tale of seeing (and fighting) Drogon. After several flirtatious remarks from Asher and the thin threating responses from Daenerys, Asher finally asks for some of the Second Sons so he can return home and free Ironrath. Daenerys agrees but only if Asher helps free the slaves from Mereen, which is pivotal plot point in both the book and the TV Show, by going on a mission to disable one of the four warning braziers warn the city of potential threats. Asher volunteers Beshka to come along since she lived in and knows Mereen. As they leave the Queen’s tent Beshka continues to show her anger about going back inside the city walls but really gives no explanation as to why. Asher for once caught speechless watches as she storms off.
We travel back to Ironrath where back in the family woods, Royland and Rodrick train. Royland is showing Rodrick how to fight and deal with his injury. They dream up some techniques that will help take advantage of Rodrick’s limited mobility and balance by getting his enemy on the ground. While they spar Rodrick’s bethrothed Elaena shows up with her brother and the royal guard. They want to help Rodrick toss the windbag Gryff from Ironrath. The reasoning for this sudden move to violence; Elaena’s father has promised her to Gryff instead of Rodrick. As defiance daughters go, Elaena’s pretty high on the list. After Rodrick agrees they share a moment in the woods alone, which is a rare happy moment for any of these Forresters.
We finally catch up with Mira Forrester, about half way through the chapter. Her story has begun to bore me as it doesn’t really move the needle for the full house forward. Mira has decided, that even though Queen Margaery has told her not go to Tommen’s Coronation Feast she is going to sneak in and find out who is Lord Whitehill’s contact and who has the agreement to sell Ironwood now. We find out that contact is little know Lyman Lannister, who has a problem with milk of the poppy. Mira creates multiple scenes at the feast while angering Lord Whitehill and divulging Lannister secrets out in the open. My guess is Mira’s world is about to go from bad to worse. I would not be surprised to see her thrown in the Black Cells.
The game move along at a good pace, and as before, I will not provide spoilers to the main plot points. Especially because this far into a Telltale game my game may be radically different than anyone else who is playing it.
The climax of the game is the infiltration of Mereen by Asher and the Second sons as you take out several emplacements of guards. Combat, both ranged and hand to hand, come into play and the evolution of the combat system for this game continues. A lengthy sequence emerges as the Beskha and Asher take the brazier and keep the signal fire from going off. While the game keeps you on the edge due to carefully constructed choices and dialogue, it has not felt impactful during the combat scenes. If you fail, you die, you get a Valar Morghulis screen and you get to try again. While I didn’t fail during this combat I did get the more overwhelming sense of dread that something bad would happen if I didn’t succeed. I am eager to see what “rewards” I get for helping Daenerys. The other tense scene in the game comes when Rodrick decides to go rescue Ryon from the Whitehills at Highpoint. The scene takes a very Red Wedding tone when Rodrick’s group is surrounded by crossbowmen at elevated positions and Lord Whitehill pulls a knife on poor Ryon. In the end you get a some choices that help decide Ryon’s fate and your party returns to Ironrath to find creep of the world Ramsey Snow sitting at the table eating dinner with Talia Forrester. He says he's heard Rodrick is a man that can't be broken, and that he's decided to come see for himself.
I only had a few small problems with the game, the biggest of which was when starting out the game on the “Previously on Game of Thrones” recap scenes there was a lot of dialogue running without the animation. I don’t know if this was intentional but I felt like the game as going to crash because of it. Secondarily, and probably my biggest issue with the game as a whole is that we only get a new episode every 2 months or so and I frequently forget what occurred in the previous episodes or who lesser characters are and how they could play into the grand scheme of the narrative. The game continues to drive and tell a great story, but with it being so disjointed I feel like I am missing out a little on the entire experience.
I give this episode 7 out of 10. The more and more these chapters go on, they are clearly driving towards a grand finale where everything happens at once and the choices we made come back to help or haunt us. I feel though that this chapter lacked the Holy Crap moment when you just stare at the screen bemused and amazed at what just happened that we have had in several of the other episodes. Sure there were tense moments of combat and choice, but nothing that shocked me at the outcome. The payoff, like Winter, is Coming I am sure. And until then I will wait patiently for the next installment. To that I say Valar Morghulis!