Forza Horizon 3 Expansion Announced & Detailed

Playground Games have released details on the first expansion called ‘Blizzard Mountain’ for Forza Horizon 3. This expansion will be introducing some firsts for the Forza series, you’ll be introduced to snow, ice, extreme elevations and blizzards that look to challenge the player on their way to being King of the Mountain.

Along with this expansion players will get to explore the snowy mountain tops with 8 new vehicles that including the 2016 Ford GYMKHANA 9 Focus RS RX and the 1965 Ford F-100 Flareside Abatti Racing Trophy Truck.

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The Blizzard Mountain expanion will be available separately or part of the Forza Horizon 3 Expansion Pass, which will give you discounted access to both expansions for $34.99. If you own the Ultimate Edition you’ll receive a $10 discount on the Expansion Pass, as long as you buy it before the end of 2016.

With Blizzard Mountain there will be new campaign challenges for the players to compete in a series of exhilarating events with you reaching your way to becoming King of the Mountain. There will be plenty to do with more than 50 new events and challenges to compete in. Drivers will be tested across extereme weather conditions and brand new race types  that include; Hill Climb, Descent and Blizzard.

Blizzard Mountain launches for all drivers on December 13th for Xbox One.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 For A Fall 2017 Release

It’s been previously announced that a second Star Wars: Battlefront would be on the way, but now we have a stronger confirmation of a Fall 2017 release. Electronic Arts CEO, Blake Jorgensen, strongly suggested during an earnings call that we will see it release next year.

He stated it will be coming, “A year from now” and added that “We’re working very hard on making sure that it’s an extremely deep and engaging offering.” It was previously stated that they wanted to have “bigger and better worlds” along with content from “the new movies”. While not stating which ones, it could be safe to assume content from the new Star Wars trilogy will end up making it in future games.

Another thing that could possibly be making its way into the new game is a full-fledged single-player campaign. There was sour reception to the first game not shipping with a full campaign, a la Titanfall, but with the backlash that received one would think they’d like to rectify that.

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Bethesda Won’t Be Sending Media Outlets Early Review Copies

Bethesda the other day posted on their blog that review copies for all upcoming games will not be sent to media outlets until the day before release.

Stating that this policy is something they put into effect starting with this year’s DOOM, where review copies weren’t sent out until the day before the general release. During that time, Bethesda stated the reasoning for that was DOOM’s online components.

So this policy will continue with the upcoming release of Dishonored 2 and Skyrim: Special Edition, which are notably both single-player only games. The reasoning for DOOM made sense somewhat, but considering these two games have no online component, it doesn’t make complete sense why they would withhold review copies.

Bethesda now states that the reason this policy will continue is, “we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time”.

They are making this out like it will benefit everyone from this decision, but in reality, it only benefits one party. Critics will now feel rushed in trying to get a review out since they only have the game one day early instead of upwards to a week or two early. On the consumer side of things, they’ll have less information on the game and how it preforms. Bethesda is the only one who seems to benefit from this. This policy will grant them more control over what people see and hear about the game prior to release, with less gameplay being shown off and early game impressions.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out for Bethesda. While you shouldn’t 100% rely on reviews to decide if you want to purchase a game or not, reviews play a good part in helping people decide if a game is worth picking up right away or waiting for a price drop.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 Coming Fall 2017 [Updated]

(Update) The official trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 has been released, and although it didn’t show or tell us much, it’s enough to still get excited about. And with this trailer we still don’t know who the main character(s) will be, so is it possible we see the return of John Marston somehow? Check out the trailer below!

 

Over the last few days Rockstar had been posting some cryptic tweets that led many to believe they were about to finally reveal the next entry in the Red Dead franchise. As expected, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be making it’s way to consoles, and most likely PC, in the Fall of 2017.

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Rockstar released a small statement in regards to the reveal:

Developed by the creators of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland. The game’s vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience.

No additional have been revealed at this time, but we are expected a trailer to be released later today. So stay tuned and we’ll update this post when the trailer goes live!

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Batman: Return To Arkham Collection Coming This Month

A few months ago, WB Games announced that the Batman: Return to Arkham Collection that was due out for July, needed to be pushed back for a while. They cited the reasoning for the delay was “quality issues” and they wanted to work on the game longer to make a more polished product. A date was never set, but recently they announced that Batman: Return to Arkham Collection will be making it’s way to stores this month! Check out the comparison video below to see what changes were made.

Does that sway you into wanting to pick up this collection? Well if it does look for it in stores on October 18, 2016. No official word on pricing as of yet, but it is listed on Amazon for $50 currently.

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Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection Announced!

With rumors and hints at a possible remaster for the Ezio games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise popping up for a while now, it wasn’t a surprise when this became officially announced.

So coming this November is, Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection. We’ll be able to go back and relive all the rooftop climbing, performing leaps of faith into haybales, and assassinating targets all over Renaissance Italy and Constantinople as Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

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Included in the collection will be all the single-player campaigns of Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and all of the single-player DLC for each of the three games. Also included in the collection will be the short movies that expanded on the history of the Creed: Embers and Lineage.

Check out the trailer below for the official announcement trailer!

Also to be noted about the collection is that the multiplayer for Brotherhood and Revelations will not be making their return. Aymar Azaizia, head of content for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, said that they wanted their team to have the single-player experience be the focus for this remastered trilogy.

Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection will be making it’s way to retail stores on November 15th, 2016.

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LEGO Batman {Game Review}

LEGO Batman follows the same basic formula that Travellers’ Tales have been using in their previous LEGO games. You’ll have three episodes that are split off into various missions within those episodes. Although, this time instead of each episode focusing around a specific movie, TT has put their own spin on the Batman universe. It’s actually a somewhat fresh experience this time around since you’re playing through a story you’re not familiar with instead of a movie retelling in lego form.

Story structure is handled similarly as the previous titles. There are multiple episodes to complete with multiple chapters within those. Each chapter will having you taking on a lesser-known villain, leading up to the big baddy at the end of the episode. The general story idea is that all of the villains have escaped Arkham Asylum, splitting into three different groups. One group is helping the Penguin, the Riddler and the Joker.

Basically, you can play the story twice since initially you’ll be playing on Batman’s side. Then after finishing that you can switch over to the villains side and play as them. It adds a little extra length to the story and also mixes things up, it can be fun to play as the villain after all. By adding this storytelling technique into the game it also gives more variety in the gameplay since you’ll have twice as many characters to play with than if it was just the good guys.

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The core gameplay is the same as it’s always been with previous LEGO titles. It boils down to just smashing all the things and beating up all the enemies, with a dash of special abilities. This time around you can earn newer abilities in the form of different suits you can wear, letting you do anything from walking up walls, gliding long distances or swimming under water.

In ways to further shake up the traditional puzzle-solving, beat-em up gameplay some levels will let you take control of different vehicles ranging from the Batmobile, Batwing or even a weird walking robot the Joker has.

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For being one of the earlier LEGO titles in the franchise the graphics are nothing to write home about, but they aren’t terrible either. Obviously the game isn’t going for realistic graphics, but what is presented to you does its job. With not much being on the screen at once there wasn’t any texture issues or pop-in, and the framerate appeared to be steady throughout. For a LEGO game though, it looks really good and everything you see has a nice shine to it.

The music and sound effects are probably one of the higher points of the game. With using some music from the Batman films, it fits the mood perfectly and helps you become immersed in this brick built Batman world. Like previous LEGO games, there is no actual voice work, but instead just audio cues and grunts that the characters use, which can be comical most times.

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While LEGO Batman doesn’t really bring anything new to the franchise it does what it does very well, so why change right? With the added twist of being able to play the villains, you add some replayability and keep the game from getting too stale. It still keeps that LEGO game charm to it from the quirky cutscenes that tell the story to the noises the characters make instead of voice acting, all rounding out to a familiar and enjoyable package.

Good: 

  • Good character, vehicle and level variety
  • That LEGO charm is still there
  • Batman, need I say more?

Bad:

  • Controls can get frustrating at times
  • Has a chance to get repetitive with same basic formula
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Bioshock {Game Review}

When Bioshock came into the gaming industry in 2007 you might have thought, “Oh look! Another first-person shooter”. But as you start to play this gem of the seventh generation of console games, you realize this is something much greater than just your average run-of-the-mill shooter.

You start out your journey in Bioshock as Jack, a passenger on a plane that crashes over the Atlantic Ocean, surrounding a lighthouse you’ll need to swim your way towards. The real fun begins when you enter that lighthouse and you then see the previously wonderful world that is the underwater city of Rapture.

The city was once populated with citizens that flocked here in hopes of freedom and bliss, now reside as monsters and mutated from the result of a science experiment gone wrong. The mastermind behind all this, Andrew Ryan, would now rather see his creation that is Rapture fall in pieces then save it to its former glory.

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Bioshock’s story is a great one and will most certainly throw you for a loop at some point, and deep down is a story about the search for identity and discovery. The audio files you find along the way help richen the story on this journey you take, and missing a single audio file could mean skipping over a piece of the story. Adding things like that are a nice way to add to a story than just your traditional cutscenes to develop the main narrative.

The gameplay though is so fantastic and even though it is quite old at this point, still doesn’t feel all that bad from today’s standards. It can have its moments of clunkiness, but overall it is still very solid, whether you’re meleeing an enemy or viciously shooting them down.

While at its core Bioshock is a shooter, it can be much more than that at times. You can take down enemies in a number of different ways thanks to all the weapons and other combat strategies at your disposal. Overall there is a good mix of shooter, strategy and role-playing, all melding their elements together to make Bioshock so diverse.

If you’re more of the traditional first-person shooter player that likes to run-and-gun, mow everything down with any weapon at your disposal, then you can most certainly do that. You’ll have options like; traditional pistols, tommy guns, grenades, flamethrowers, and rockets. Then you have what are called plasmid powers that you spliced into your genetic makeup early on in the game that will give you special abilities depending on what you choose equipp. You’ll be able to shoot fire, ice wind or electricity out of your hands and that is way more cool and satisfying than a boring gun.

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The game even has a RPG-side to it with the way to build up your character with special abilities and skills. Skills like better armor, making your footsteps quieter or even going invisible when standing can be purchased and equipped. Even plasmids can be upgraded making your abilities even stronger.

One of the downsides though is after a while, the game can seem repetitive especially in enemy variety. You can only defeat so many Big Daddies and splicers before those start to get boring. Some could also say the ending is a tad disappointing, but I didn’t really have much of a problem with either of the two available endings.

The graphics for Bioshock do show their age, granted the game is nine years old. I’m sure when the game was new it was a quality looking game, but for now it has dwindled down to “okay” looking graphics. The character models and textures for background scenery have definitely started to show their age. I didn’t notice very many framerate issues while playing either. I can’t imagine how wonderful a remastered version of Bioshock would look like though!  

Dated graphics aside though this game looks very good and the environments you’re exposed to. The underwater city of Rapture is wonderful to explore and even though it is a “darker” game, it still looks beautiful in its set-pieces and environments. With what has been put together, Rapture turns into a living and breathing world that you can get wrapped up in.

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The audio is great from both the sound effects that encapsulate your ears to the score that’s used throughout and capturing the era that the game takes place in. With just about any room or new area you walk into you can hear a radio playing classic music from the 60s, which really helps add to the immersion.

Any sound that comes from an enemy is enough to haunt you, especially that of the hooks on spider splicers. That sound alone is probably enough to send a shiver down your spine. The first time you hear a Big Daddy near your vicinity is sure to be a sound to wake you up with its loud thump-thud.

The voice acting throughout this game is executed flawlessly, and letting you believe everything that a character tells you. Between splicers freaking you out with their babbling on about who knows what, to the dialogue spoken through radios or audio logs, everything is top-notch quality.

Bioshock is truly one of the greatest games that ever released for the seventh-generation of consoles. Despite the dated graphics the game holds and a few drawbacks in enemy variety, this is still a great game that everyone should experience at least once.

 

Good: 

  • Good story and lore provided
  • Variety in environments and landscapes
  • Great atmosphere and creepy tone

Bad: 

  • Can feel repetitive towards the end
  • Graphics/textures are dated
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