Tag: Xbox

  • Rolled credits: Planet of Lana

    Planet of Lana wears it influences on its sleeve, and while I don’t think it reaches the highest highs of Playground’s INSIDE, the fact that you can fairly compare the two is a huge compliment to Wishfully Studios – made even more impressive by the fact it’s their first game.

    Planet of Lana is a genuinely polished experience – it’s well paced, beautifully art directed and staged, wonderfully scored. The story and acting are simple but very effective, with the gameplay journey propelling you towards an emotionally resonant conclusion via puzzles, traversal and cinematic moments.


    Recommended: Luke Lohr’s interview with Creative Director, Adam Stjärnljus has some fantastic insight into the game’s development, including composer Takeshi Furukawa emailing him out of the blue to discuss scoring the game (Adam initially thought it was a hoax).


  • Now Playing: Planet of Lana

    Planet of Lana wears it’s inspirations on its sleeve, but isn’t bound by them.

    As a huge (huge) fan of INSIDE and the Ori games, I wondered if PoL wouldn’t quite do enough to break free of the outrageous standard of quality and polish those games have set the genre. And while it doesn’t quite hit those lofty heights, in my experience so far it is at least in the conversation, which is a huge compliment.

    Dense but clear environments, a wonderful soundscape, and thoughtful level design are the standouts so far. I wondered if the puzzling would end up overly simplistic or stale, but the first full cave section has alleviated my worries.

    I’ll likely complete Planet of Lana in the next day or two. More soon…


  • Now playing Redfall + the reviews are in

    I have to admit, after seeing gameplay leaks and slight hints of what the reviews would look like, I installed Redfall this morning to check it out for myself.

    Even with the middling reviews, everything people have been saying – even the not-so-great stuff – the idea of the game kinda started roping me in.

    I’ll point you at these two reviews, which I feel are even handed and point out exactly how the game fails to land the more lacklustre aspects.

    For myself, I’m bummed that 60fps is missing at launch, as I could really settle into the world I’ve seen so far. Hopefully that feature is weeks, not months, away.


  • Predicting the updated Xbox Dashboard

    My prediction.

    New Xbox dashboard layout is on the horizon, and it’s looking good. 😍

    It’s not an overhaul, but it addresses feedback you’ve all been asking them to address.

    @JezCorden

    In the 2nd half of 2022 Xbox started testing an alternate dashboard layout that focussed heavily on dynamic Game Pass content.

    Generally speaking, Xbox fans rejected the entire premise of this experiment. In fact the majority of the most popular requests for improving the dashboard experience have gone unanswered for a long time.

    It seems they are (for now) rolling back that experiment, and have instead decided to action one of the most common complaints: The dashboard is too busy, and no one can see their dynamic backgrounds.

    So what will this new dashboard look like?

    Keep reading


  • Limited edition Redfall controllers on Xbox Design Lab

    Yes, yes. Ok. get your ‘xbox has more controllers than games’ joke out of the way now.

    Today Xbox announced a new suite of limited edition Design Lab controllers, made especially for Redfall.

    Each controller comes with a custom design top plate, a fixed palette of colours to customise with, and four engraving options for the battery cover. They’re nice!

    At the start of April a purported Starfield controller leaked on a resale app in China. After a day or so, someone figured out that the person who listed the controller was also a modding enthusiast, which caused most people to pass this off as a custom job.

    I’m not so sure.

    Keep reading


  • Sorry everyone… People are not going to stop talking about Microsoft’s ABK acquisition once it’s done

    The New York Post is reporting that Microsoft intends to close it’s ABK acquisition, despite any ongoing roadblocks from the FTC in the United States. This report includes a spicy quote via a source that “they are going to cram this down the FTC’s throats”. 😳

    It’s been widely reported that the CMA (UK) will approve the deal this week (Update: in a huge move this did not happen, the CMA blocked the deal!), and most observers anticipate the EU will follow in May.

    Today’s reporting has been met with some optimism on Twitter that once that deal is “done” everyone will move on…

    Whatever it takes so we can stop talking about it!!!

    @NeoGameSpark

    Ain’t no way.

    Even if the close the deal in May/June, all of these topics will continue to play out loudly in social media spaces:

    • FTC machinations are ongoing. Microsoft might close he deal in spite of the FTC dragging its heels, but that means the FTC may sue for an injunction. Microsoft are obviously confident in their position since the FTC will, globally speaking, be out on a limb all on their lonesome.
    • We have no idea what the acquisition means for Game Pass. FTC activity might hamper any meaningful business integration in the immediate term – so when will the games come?
    • Any and all ABK game news/announcements will be the subject of intense console war noise well into 2024 and beyond.

    If you’re into the banter, you’re going to keep having a good time.

    If you think it sucks, keep that block button ready.


  • Sea of Thieves: Season 9

    Season 9 of Sea of Thieves introduced a big refresh for world events – both the frequency and tuning (nerfs, mostly).

    While some die-hard players have responded negatively to some of the challenge being removed, I think the upside has been worth it. Events popping more frequently and finishing more quickly means more activity on the seas, which means more player encounters and more loot in play.

    The player-base has responded strongly too. The last 30 days has the highest concurrent peak on Steam since July 2021, and highest average concurrency since July 2022, according to Steam Charts.

    I’m a big fan of the lvl 100 legendary reward, the Legendary Bone Hunter Jacket (above), but I do think the last 20 levels of the seasonal progression were a little light on cosmetics to drive you through to the end.

    🏴‍☠️


  • Now playing: Minecraft Legends

    I’m not sure about this one… Yet!

    I’m a few hours in, and I still feel like I need a few more to really settle into the gameplay loop.

    Great:

    • Somehow the Renderdragon engine looks… great!?
    • Great environments
    • Plenty of charm
    • Systems feel robust

    But:

    • The loop could be explained better
    • The 1080p cutscenes feel jarring
    • This is too complicated for my kids, so who is this for?

    All that said, it’s giving me enough to want to finish the campaign. Maybe I’ll check back in here after beating the first boss.


  • Oxenfree II was announced for Netflix Games today and Xbox fans lost their minds… for the wrong reason

    Earlier today Night School Studio announced that Oxenfree II would also be coming to Netflix (mobile) when it launches on July 12th this year.

    And for some reason a bunch of Xbox fans went crazy on Twitter.

    “Am I tripping or does this say Netflix but not Xbox???” “No joke, we need answer why this keeps happening…” “wtf is going on 💀” “Ok this is starting to become a serious problem for Xbox”

    Pals… Calm. down.

    Here’s the situation with Oxenfree II:

    • Game announced April 19th 2021, Switch and Steam
    • Netflix acquires Night School Studio September 29th 2021
    • Oxenfree II appears in the PlayStation Indies Spotlight August 6th 2022
    • Oxenfree II announced for Netflix mobile today

    Not only is this game not coming to Xbox, we’ve know it for months, if not years. Why is it a huge deal now, all of a sudden?

    Gaming narratives are a funny old thing fucking stupid.

    Would this be as big a deal if the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster wasn’t skipping Xbox (for some apparently unknowable reason) and getting banger scores?

    Minecraft Legends dropped yesterday and people are freaking about Oxenfree II? Xbox secured multiple Game-of-the-Year nominated indie games in 2021 and 2022 and people are freaking about Oxenfree II? Really?

    A much bigger story here is that Netflix is the publisher. What will that mean in the competitive space moving forward? Will Netflix pal up with PlayStation on console to hedge against Microsoft’s buying power and Cloud position?

    MS (Game Pass) and Netflix both see themselves as competitors. Don’t be surprised when the more tech-facing companies choose to isolate Microsoft.

    HoegLaw

  • The Minecraft Legends reviews are in

    The Legends reviews are in, and they’re… fine? Quite good? OK? Mixed? Decent actually?

    Open Critic currently has Legends at 73 + 50% of critics “recommend” – which is, coincidentally, almost the exact score that Dungeons got – a game that I feel is still under-appreciated despite it having well over 15M players at this point.

    I have two primary goals in this review:

    Number one – to properly explain what Minecraft Legends is, and number two – to convince you to play it, because this is a really fantastic game that took some time to get into, but after it clicked I was like ‘Holy shit, where did this come from?’

    Skillup

    I don’t always agree with Skillup’s opinions for every game, but you can not deny that he shows his work. Legends seems interesting and fun, and despite the mid 70s score, I’ll be hitting it up on launch day.

    Dungeons was a 74, and I played the hell out of that game. Legends might have the same appeal.


  • On Xbox and disappointment

    Windows Central’s Jez Corden hits the nail on the head here with an excellent opinion piece, following Arcane’s recent announcement that Redfall will launch missing a 60fps mode.

    At the end of the day, Xbox fans just want to see the platform they’ve invested in succeeding on the same level the competition seems to succeed, with expectations set by Microsoft itself being met. There are too many caveats, too many broken promises, and too much misalignment between marketing beats and product realities. As a fan, it just becomes a little tiring. 

    Jez Corden

    On Xbox, caveats, and mismanaged expectations [windowscentral.com]

    #Redfall Clusterfk


  • Redfall is launching with 30fps modes only

    Redfall is launching on Xbox consoles with Quality mode only:
    Xbox Series X: 4K 30 FPS
    Xbox Series S: 1440p 30 FPS
    60 FPS Performance mode will be added via game update at a later date.

    @playRedfall

    Shambles.

    At this point I think if Xbox can’t meet baseline expectations here or there, they at least just need to be entirely transparent about it. If you’re dropping the ball, tell us the exact reason you can’t hit launch but *can* patch it in. Without that the narratives take off.

    They’ve done a very poor job of controlling the communication on this one because it’s not just the game, it’s the perception of your entire platform.

    #Redfall Clusterfk