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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Day seven of the Oxbox Xmas Challenge is here and it's the turn of the recently patched Assassin's Creed Unity to host our festive competition. The rules for this one are straightforward: sprint across the rooftops of revolutionary Paris and catch one of two fleeing Assassins within five minutes. The execution will be much tougher.
We don't mean to be unkind, but Evolve appears to be a bit boring. It's got a forgettable title, a generic sci-fi art style and a cast of characters whose names simply refuse to stay in our memories. The worst part is, if you've played it you know there are some brilliant mechanics in there and that it plays unlike any other multiplayer shooter. This is our last ditch attempt to convince you that Evolve isn't as dull as it looks.
Things are heating up on day four of the Oxbox Xmas Challenge. I've eked out an early lead but it's all to play for as I draw a task similar to one I failed last year. Still, I'm more familiar with Street Fighter than I am with Killer Instinct. I didn't say I was good, mind.
By popular demand (no, really) the Oxbox Xmas Challenge returns for 2014 with a whole new batch of randomly drawn challenges, taking in the year's games. I'm up first with a challenge that should play into a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. That career being 20 years of shooting things in the crotch in videogames.
Show of the Week ponders open-world racer The Crew, in which the entire continental United States has been squeezed and compressed into a driveable sandbox, filled with other players driving their own disgustingly decorated rides.
Let's not get our hopes up, Jurassic World may be terrible. If the trailer is anything to go by, the dialogue is a bit hokey and the plot revolves around a genetically modified super-dinosaur. So lets regress into our nostalgic comfort zone and remember five classic Jurassic Park games that would serve as better sequels than Jurassic World will, probably. And Jurassic Park 3 too, come to mention it. Probably The Lost World as well.
If you're old and hoary enough to remember a) the word hoary and b) Micro Machines on 16-bit consoles, you'll understand why we were rather excited by Toybox Turbos. In all but name, it's a Micro Machines remake by its original development house, pitting four tiny cars against each other in a race across domestic tabletops. If you've played the classic games, you'll also be aware that it has one of the most fiendishly entertaining local multiplayer modes around, which is why that's exactly what we're playing here.
Never Alone, or "Kisima Ingitchuna" in the Inupiat language, is a super charming retelling of an Alaskan Native fable, starring a little girl and her adorable white fox friend, who battle both evil and the elements. Our version of the story, played here in co-op on Xbox One, includes multiple screw ups as we accidentally steer Fox into the icy brine for the eighth consecutive time.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is all well and good, but you'll forgive us for being more excited for Halo's proper next-gen debut, Halo 5. We'll have a much better idea of what's in store for Xbox One-owning Halo fans when the Halo 5 multiplayer beta launches the week after Christmas, but after a mere two hours of hands-on time with that beta, here are five things we have already learned about Halo 5.
Millions of kids are transfixed by the Skylanders games, hoovering up expensive plastic models in order to unlock areas inside the videogame they (or rather their parents) have already bought. What is the special sauce that keeps them coming back? As Skylanders ignorami, we threw ourselves at the series' debut on Xbox One, Skylanders Trap Team, to see what the fuss is about.
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 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.
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