Archive - Mike Channell
Mike is co-editor at Outside Xbox. His favourite thing about making videos is adding unnecessary special effects. He has heard all of your 'channel' jokes.
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It's Halloween: the most wonderful time of year, when jolly Saint Dracula swoops down the chimney and feasts on the blood of misbehaving children. At least that is what I'm telling my kids if I ever have any. We're all very excited here at Outside Xbox, which is why this week's Show of the Week is a spooky special. We've got tips for the perfect Halloween costume and the next-gen revival of a horror classic on Xbox One in the shape of Resident Evil HD Remastered.
The biggest surprise during our hour or so with Resident Evil Revelations 2 wasn't being jumped by a slathering mutant zombie inmate, or getting diced by some whirling-blade contraption: it was the first time Moira Burton dropped an F-bomb. In spite of the liberal gore and violence, Resident Evil's characters have always remained relatively composed in the past. We blame Barry Burton's absentee parenting. But then we always blame Barry Burton.
The word dystopia literally translates to 'bad place' and, to be fair, places like Rapture and City 17 would not be fun places to eke out an existence. But with so many sci-fi dystopias in videogames, are they all really that terrible? We've found six that we reckon would at least scrape a couple of stars on TripAdvisor.
We're all looking to save a bit of money after Christmas, having spent all of our money in December on presents for relatives and festive booze ups. It's fitting, then, that one of the earliest games scheduled for 2015, Dying Light, contains features from five of the biggest games coming out later that year. We knew Techland's co-op, open world zombie game was ambitious, but could it be the best value game you buy all year?
What's the one thing more annoying than Claptrap? Two Claptraps. That is the regrettable entourage with which I wound up in this co-op session in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The mobile toaster's special ability in particular is enough to have you twisting your controller in half. Called vaulthunter.exe, this special ability is a randomised buff that affects the entire group and although each buff has its advantages, there are also disadvantages designed to be super irritating. Hit the jump to watch us struggle through the chaos in Xbox 360 gameplay.
As if Alien Isolation's brand new storyline wasn't exciting enough, for the day one DLC Creative Assembly somehow found time to meticulously render the Nostromo from the original Alien film and hire members of the original cast to reprise their characters. CA had access to production notes from the movie, so this is as accurate a recreation of the spaceship as you'll ever see and it looks stunning. Not much time for leisurely sightseeing with an Alien stalking the corridors though. Perhaps Sgt. Apone from not-that-Alien-film can help?
The question with Alien: Isolation was never whether the game's super-smart Alien could scare you. That much was guaranteed. The question was always would it continue to scare you. The answer, having played a good 16 hours of the thing is yes. Yes it most certainly can. But the Alien is just one of the five things we liked and there was something we hated too. Hit the jump for our definitive Alien Isolation review.
Given how aggressively Sony has targeted indie game developers, you would be forgiven for thinking the PS4 is the only place to play charming, downloadable indie titles. Since Gamescom, however, Microsoft has been scrabbling to regain territory and has announced a host of indie games for its ID@Xbox program. London games expo EGX 2014 was the perfect place to play these games and meet the developers, so we struck out in search of Xbox One indie games.
It must have been a tough decision to delay Battlefield into 2015 and miss all those vital Christmas sales. If the new Hotwire mode is anything to go by, however, that extra time for polish is being used well. Hotwire is best described as Conquest-style mode but with cars, where the control points are the vehicles themselves. The inevitable result is a series of pell-mell car chases around the map as each team attempts to grab as many of the crucial vehicles as possible. We played a full match at EGX 2014 and boy, do we have opinions.
One of the most exciting things about any new Forza game is the selection of new vehicles that have never been seen in the series before. Forza Horizon 2 might be the spin-off series, but it still has a bunch of new models, many of them laser targeted for the easy-going festival vibe. That means cars that aren't necessarily the fastest, or the most planted, but that are plenty of fun to chuck around Southern Europe. Hit the jump to discover our five favourites.
Videogames are a multibillion dollar business these days and wherever that kind of money is sloshing around, lawsuits are sure to follow. Sega is being sued because Aliens: Colonial Marines was so awful, Oculus is being sued because John Carmack is so clever, and Rockstar is being sued because you can't create a parody of a Hollywood starlet without it being compared to Lindsay Lohan, even by Lohan herself. But this isn't a new thing; here are eight allegedly ridiculous lawsuits that allegedly didn't go according to plan. Allegedly.
The underdog story is ingrained in British culture. We can't help rooting for anyone punching above their weight. The other thing that's ingrained in British culture, at least in terms of videogames, is the racing game. Brits are pretty ruddy good at them, which is why we're rather excited for Project CARS: a game whose development is led first and foremost by the desires of racing game fans. It's set its sights on Forza's crown, but can it play with the simulation big boys?
We're hungry for new games on the Xbox One at the moment, and Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate just about counts. Alright, it is technically an 'Ultimate' edition of a game that was released on Xbox 360 back in 2011, but regardless, it's been stuffed with extra characters and missions and gussied up for an Xbox One release. With little to no understanding of Warriors Orochi beyond the fact it involves huge battles and kill counts in the thousands, we lobbed ourselves into the fray.
The Crew is probably the most ambitious driving game yet attempted. Ubisoft and Ivory Tower are attempting to compress the entire Continental US into a playable sandbox, and our time spent with the PC beta suggests they have been entirely successful. There's a real sense of the scenery and landscape changing as you traverse the country. This is the great American road trip in videogame form and knocks pale imitations like Need For Speed: The Run into a cocked hat. So with a console beta arriving in September, here are the places you should be sticking in your GPS.
Different story, different developer, no actual island - you'd be forgiven for wondering why this game is called Dead Island 2. And don't get us started on the fact there has already been a direct sequel to Dead Island in the shape of Dead Island Riptide. Nevertheless, we give Yager and Deep Silver a chance to explain how this game fits snugly into the Dead Island canon.
The Mad Catz Racing Wheel is a new force feedback steering wheel peripheral for the Xbox One, and it's time to take it for a spin. And we mean spin. Sure, we could test the wheel with a modest family hatchback, but to really discover the limits of the hardware you have to pick the most extreme cars in the game: Grand Prix machinery from the 2010s and the 1960s. So is this £350 piece of metal, plastic and machinery really better than a controller? Take a watch.
Continuing its trend of fixing things we didn't realise were horribly broken until having them pointed out to us, FIFA 15 has set its sights on the 'unsung hero' of the football team: the goalkeeper. Through a combination of new animations and increased intelligence, FIFA 15's goalies look and behave like they do in real life - that is, drastically different from every other player in the team. We discussed that and more with senior producer Nick Channon.
Previous gameplay sessions with Alien Isolation have been brief, terrifying snatches of the most intense sections of the game. For our most recent appointment with the Alien, we had much more time to roam the corridors of Sevastopol Station - a good three hours from early in the story. We got to play with the crafting options, which allow you to build tools to distract or divert the Alien, and we also got to experience what happens when the creature learns and adapts to those tools.
The overwhelming feeling when we're playing Titanfall's second DLC pack, Frontier's Edge, isn't that we're wowed by it being particularly new or different. It's more us wondering why we ever stopped playing Titanfall in the first place. Respawn's kinetic brand of futuristic combat on foot and in robot is just as intoxicating as it was when we were playing the game first time around. The question is, do the mad skills we developed in the beta and around launch still stand up?
Say what you like about Call of Duty Ghosts as a game, but this season of DLC has been a revelation as far as CoD is concerned. Infinity Ward lobbed out the rulebook, parachuting in recognisable characters including the Predator and Michael Myers and generally being a bit more playful with the serious business of Call of Duty multiplayer. So what treats do we have in store in DLC 4? Hey, that rhymed.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel might be a 2K Australia joint, rather than a Gearbox Software one, but based on the segment we played, it's just as anarchic and entertaining as a full fat Borderlands. In this portion, which we played on an early PC version of the game, we're stuck on a moon with a limited oxygen supply and a selection of extremely narked baddies. Hit the jump to see how we get on.
Strategy games get a bad rap. Say the words real-time strategy and most console gamers fall immediately into a deep slumber. There does appear to be a simple solution though, which is just to add some shooting into the mix. Free-to-play Xbox 360 title Airmech Arena appears to have landed on this answer as well. That's why it has the handling of a twin-stick shooter but the brains of an RTS. Does it all fit together? We thought we'd apply our rigorous Let's Play process to find out.
While we're usually shining paragons of law-abiding virtue here on Outside Xbox, very occasionally we do enjoy the thrill of a police chase. Naturally we opt for the most disproportionately punished crime in GTA - backing up to the gates of Fort Zancudo for three wanted stars - to initiate the Grand Theft Sporto Wanted Level Challenge. Longest survivor wins and direct interference with other competitors is strictly forbidden. Not that it's ever stopped us before.
Decades from now in Videogame University, Professors of Videogames will point to Battlefield 4 as an example of how not to launch your game. It was a buggy, laggy mess, made all the more painful by the fact that there was a great game hidden under the strata of performance problems. Now that the netcode has been given a once over in a recent patch, EA and DICE were able to release this latest DLC, Dragon's Teeth, without the usual sheepish grin. We thought we'd dust off our (non existent) Battlefield skills and dive in.
You can't talk great games of the last generation without including Skyrim. The previous Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, might have proved you can squeeze a huge, involving world onto an Xbox 360, but Skyrim demonstrated that it could be beautiful and atmospheric too. What better way to pay tribute to the depth and sophistication of Bethesda's masterpiece than by sprinting nude down a mountain? We couldn't think of anything, so we did that.
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