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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The first Battlefield 4 DLC pack is upon us (well, it's upon Battlefield Premium members) and it's a doozy. China Rising features four new maps, all set in mainland China, plus five new weapons and a couple of new gadgets. The new maps are enormous fun - Silk Road reminds us of the vast desert maps from Battlefield 2, Dragon Pass and Guilin Peaks have a more Battlefield Vietnam vibe and Altai Range is a huge mountainous arena that feels entirely fresh. Plenty of space for those 'Battlefield Moments' that EA is always banging on about, which is why we've compiled this video of the six most awesome highlights from a day's play.
I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a huge motorsport nerd. When I fire up a game like Forza, my first stop is the racing machinery rather than the (usually generous) selection of family runabouts. Because of this terrible affliction, every time I've seen Dan Greenawalt, creative director on Forza, I've bothered him with a bunch of really specific questions relating to the racing cars and circuits in the game. So that's the Indycar and F1 stuff, plus tracks like Bathurst and Spa Francorchamps. And Dan, being the good sport that he is, has always graciously answered those questions. Hit the jump for car nerd heaven.
You know the rules: everything is better in co-op. With that in mind, Andy and I teamed up and cut a bloody swathe through Los Perdidos, Dead Rising 3's zombie-infested LA-alike. Little did we know the horrors we'd face within. It wasn't so much the tragedy of civilisation's death throes or the true, monstrous nature of the human psyche. It was the icky seediness of the 'Super Massager' which is a leaf blower-powered dildo launcher that wouldn't look out of place in a Saints Row game.
So here we go. This is basically as close as Forza Motorsport 5 gets to endgame. Kimi Raikkonen's 2013 Lotus E21 F1 car is the fastest, most expensive and most terrifying car in Forza 5 and the mountain-top roller coaster of road at Bathurst in Australia is probably the game's most challenging circuit. Combining them makes for a lethal cocktail, but at least you'll go out with a smile on your face.
Microsoft hasn't done the best job of convincing us we need Kinect in our lives. Grand promises were made when the technology debuted as Project Natal back in 2009, but when the device finally arrived it was heavily compromised. Great developers such as Rare and Harmonix teased good games out of Kinect, but for the hardcore there was no killer app to justify it. Now a more advanced version of Kinect is bundled with Xbox One and those same hardcore fans are skeptical, not least because there's little in the launch line-up to change their mind. But we reckon you will use it. Watch on to find out why.
It's no great secret that Fighters Uncaged on the original Kinect was utter toss. Its noble attempts to interpret your arm waving as precise fighting moves fell almost completely flat. After a catastrophic showing at Gamescom, we were convinced that Xbox One semi-sequel Fighter Within was heading in the same, poorly co-ordinated direction. We've now played a near-final version of Fighter Within on Xbox One, so what's the verdict?
Resolution has been an Xbox One hot topic of late. It's all 1080p this and oh-my-god-only-720p-preorder-cancelled that. Well, Need For Speed: Rivals runs at a native 1080p whichever next gen console you plump for and, having played the game on Xbox One, we can confirm it looks all kinds of sexy. Even the cars have a sort of wet, glistening sheen to them that's very Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
With Watch Dogs scrubbed from the launch slate, Dead Rising 3 is the most exciting game that will be available to buy when the Xbox One launches on November 22nd. It's got a huge open world to run around in, hundreds of weapons to play with and the largest crowds of zombies we've seen in a game. When you've just dropped all your pocket money on a new console and a single game, you want something that will last you more than an afternoon. We reckon Dead Rising 3 is that game.
Compare Xbox Live now to how it was at the very beginning of the Xbox 360 and you'll be astounded at how far we've come. Gone are the brightly coloured blades, replaced with apps, parties and cloud saves. It's an upgrade, but there's still room for improvement. Discover the seven ways Xbox Live is better on Xbox One.
It's been a while since we dived into the writhing morass of actual, genuine horror that is the Indie Game Marketplace, but given that it's Halloween and there are a ton of spookily themed games on the service, we thought we'd don the hazmat suit and take the plunge once again. As usual, our objective was to scrape the bottom of the barrel right down to the bare wood. We were not disappointed (in so far as we were extremely disappointed).
Playing the Xbox 360 version of Battlefield 4 exposed a few of our prejudices. With all the talk of shiny new next gen versions, and our eye firmly on the future, we were expecting it to look awful. It's far from the case - this is a very good-looking Xbox 360 game, which benefits from a high resolution texture install. With a current gen victory under its belt, we thought we'd compare the Xbox 360 version against that stunning Fishing in Baku next-gen trailer, which formed BF4's debut, and see how it stands up.
For the second round of our Grand Theft Sporto competition, we looked back into the mists of time and took inspiration from our school days. There's a certain purity of competition to playground games, mainly because kids are completely incapable of fair adjudication. These are games with very clear winners and losers - no room for disputes. With that in mind, we came up with the patently ludicrous GTA Car Conkers.
You're likely here for one of two reasons. Either you're a FIFA fan who's meticulously tracking the changes between the Xbox One version of FIFA and the one currently available on Xbox 360, trying to work out if it's worth grabbing for your next gen console, or you've pre-ordered an Xbox One, you're going to be getting a free copy of FIFA 14 with it and you want to know what to expect. Either way, this is the video for you - we chat to EA direct to find out what the changes are.
Forgive the stereotyping, but most DLC is decidedly half-arsed: a couple of tacked on missions that refuse to introduce new ideas to the party, bundled together for people who've already strip mined the full product. There is a similarly slim number of additions with Saints Row 4 downloadable content Enter The Dominatrix,, but because it's presented as a series of deleted scenes, featuring the 'cast' of Saints Row, it's laugh out loud funny. You know, the old kind of laugh out loud. The one that meant you were actually laughing out loud.
If there's one thing that's become abundantly clear over the course of this long, long generation, it's that you can never have enough co-op zombie games on Xbox 360. With that in mind, here's How To Survive, a co-op zombie game coming to Xbox Live Arcade that's less about actively battering zeds and more about preserving your own fragile health. You do that primarily by crafting a wide variety of gear and weaponry to extend your projected lifespan for a few extra hours.
Plenty of people reckon you can't make strategy games work on consoles, but last year's XCOM Enemy Unknown was the exception to the rule. This winter you can settle down with a second crack at the alien invasion in Enemy Within, an expanded, augmented version of the XCOM campaign that comes as part of XCOM Commander Edition. This is an expansion, but it isn't DLC - on Xbox 360 you can only get it by buying a full boxed product.
To say GTA Online has had a bumpy launch would be like saying Bruce Lee was a bit good at fighting. Lost characters, connection issues, race triggers not appearing, lost money and property - just about everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. It all comes down to the fact your character and accumulated wealth are stored on the mysterious, and currently a bit flaky, Rockstar Cloud Servers. So what can you do to minimise the chances of your hard earned progress disappearing and what are the official steps if things have already gone wrong?
We have mixed feelings about The Elder Scrolls Online. On one hand, the opportunity to explore the entirety of Tamriel with our buddies has us very excited indeed. We devoured Oblivion and Skyrim on Xbox 360 and even dabbled in Morrowind on the original Xbox, so we're reasonably immersed in the universe. On the other hand, the distinctly old-school $15 a month subscription fee is a bit of a buzz-kill. Just look at what Grand Theft Auto Online offers without a subscription and imagine that transposed onto Skyrim. Makes you wonder exactly what you'd be paying that $15 for.
Yesterday saw the news that Call of Duty Ghosts will be rated 16 here in Europe, the first CoD game not to earn an 18 rating since World at War. This immediately prompted speculation that Ghosts would be a less hard-hitting Call of Duty game than we're used to. We visited the Call of Duty Ghosts booth here at Eurogamer Expo to ask Infinity Ward's senior community manager Tina Palacios about that exact subject.
Talk about terrible timing. Imagine being the game released three days after GTA 5, when everyone is completely buried in Los Santos. Allow us to introduce you to that game, Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death, starring the hero with the least memorable name in all of history. Briggs is bumped off during the intro to the game, and is resurrected by a talking Mayan mask that sounds like a cross between the Cookie Monster and Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
After three seasons of largely similar F1 cars, it is so refreshing to be dropped into a car that has fat rear tyres, an enormous turbocharger and unruly power delivery. If you grew up during F1's glory years of the 80s and early 90s, F1 2013 Classic Edition will bring it all flooding back. Although only three teams (Ferrari, Lotus and Williams) are featured, the game's two decades' worth of cars means there's plenty of variety. That's why we've prepped this handy cut-out-and-keep list of our three favourite cars in the game.
I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid. I had all the toys, watched the cartoon religiously and ate enough pizza to feed the Italian army for a decade. But even I can't forgive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows, which could have been a glorious update to the TMNT Arcade co-op brawler format. Instead, as this split screen co-op playthrough reveals, it's a hastily cobbled-together, easy to glitch mess that somehow makes Unreal Engine look dreadful. You know, the same Unreal Engine that helped power Bioshock Infinite? The mind boggles.
The occasion of surviving a whole week of the zombie apocalypse should be a happy one, but after a calamitous previous episode, James enters day seven with plenty of work to do. Morale has taken a beating and he's resolved to approach things in a clinical and professional manner from now on.
As if you weren't already planning to sink hundreds of hours into Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer, Infinity Ward has added a meta-game to the game's in-built clan system. Clan Wars lets you battle for territory against other clans by winning multiplayer matches while flying your clan's colours. We chatted to Mark Rubin, executive producer at Infinity Ward, about how clan support works and what it could mean for your eSports career.
FIFA 14 comes as a free download with pre-ordered Xbox Ones in Europe. But there's a lot more to the most beautiful game based on the beautiful game than just a freebie bundle. FIFA 14 executive producer David Rutter tells us about the improvements coming with the next generation of consoles and how the inclusion of footballing legends, exclusive to Xbox versions of the game, adds to FIFA Ultimate Team.
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