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Halo: Reach framerate issues being addressed by Microsoft

Halo: Reach is one of the highest regarded games of the Halo franchise; taking players through a story of multiple spartans before the start of the 2001 title, Halo: Combat Evolved. When Microsoft announced backwards compatibility Reach was seen at the forefront of their advertising for it with the game case prominently displayed as one of the first titles to be available.

While Reach wasn’t one of the first titles, Xbox One owners and Halo fans were certainly excited that the game was still to come in the subsequent set of titles released through backwards compatibility.

Unfortunately for those fans, Halo: Reach has been an abject disappointment with borderline unplayable framerate issues and buggy physics all wrapped up in a package that only matches the graphical capability of the splitscreen mode of the original Halo: Reach.

The complaints of gamers have reached Microsoft and they “are aware some users are experiencing issues.” Microsoft claims the Xbox team is working on a fix, but no timeline has been given.

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Microsoft reveals Xbox One backwards compatible games

Backwards compatbility may very well have been the feature that won Microsoft E3 2015, and after a long five months the promises that they made are finally coming to fruition.

Xbox Live’s Major Nelson and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed exactly which Xbox 360 will be available on the Xbox One November 12.

“At Xbox, we believe that gaming is universal and should be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. Our philosophy since launching Xbox One two years ago has been to put gamers at the center of everything we do and create the best, most seamless gaming experience possible.” – Mike Ybarra and Larry Hryb

104 games — mostly first party games — will be part of the initial launch. The majority of the games are not particularly major titles or among the top titles that gamers were clamoring for in the Xbox Live uservoice community reach-out initiative by Microsoft.

Instead the biggest name titles include Just Cause 2, Fable II, Fallout 3, Mirror’s Edge, Super Meat Boy, and all of the Gears of War games. There is an extensive collection of Xbox Live arcade games as well.

While the selection isn’t particularly bad, there are still many gamers that are reasonably disappointed that even Halo: Reach will still be a ways away. Reach, Halo Wars, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite and Skate 3 are among the big name games that are “on the way.”

Call of Duty Black Ops 2, Red Dead Redemption, and Skyrim were the top three requested titles and nothing was mentioned regarding future compatibility with these titles. It’s certainly possible that Microsoft simply has been given the go-ahead from Bethesda or Rockstar to release their games again through backwards compatibility.

Still, backwards compatibility is here, and it’s a major bonus for the console struggling to compete with the PS4 in European and Asian markets. Microsoft is continuing to re-invent it’s image and inticing previous-gen gamers with a few more games with the added media features of the Xbox One (game streaming, screenshots, game DVR) can’t hurt.

Are you happy with the games included in backwards compatibility?

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Microsoft looking to add keyboard and mouse support on the Xbox One

Phil Spencer confirmed on twitter recently that Microsoft will be adding keyboard and mouse support in the near future, but the extent of its implementation is yet to be known. While it would make sense for more games to take advantage of keyboard and mouse support — especially given its advantages for certain game genres like FPS’s and strategy games — there are a variety of other ways that the inclusion of this support could benefit the overall experience of the console.

The keyboard app currently works on the Xbox One — but only for the limited instances where it would be needed for text like messages, entering information in games, and using the web browser.

The immediate confirmation that mouse support is being included likely means it’ll make a more intuitive web browsing experience. However for those expecting the keyboard and mouse integration to be extraordinarily significant they’ll be disappointed. The Xbox One’s predecessor, the Xbox 360, also had keyboard and mouse support but few games implemented it as doing so could present unfair advantages for certain users.

While it’s certain that Microsoft will putting the keyboard and mouse to much greater use on the Xbox One the way it is used will likely be heavily within the console’s apps rather than its games.

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False Xbox’s Games with Gold August selection leaked on 4chan

At the start of July Microsoft rolled out one of their best months of Games with Gold yet on the Xbox One offering both Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and So Many Me — a campy and very fun indie game. Some speculation has arisen regarding how or if Microsoft will be able to top that and a rumor began to spread on 4chan.org supposedly leaking the Games with Gold for August.

The image on /v/ shows both Ryse Son of Rome: Legendary Edition and Slash Dash for the Xbox One as well as Fallout New Vegas and Catherine on the Xbox 360.

While the games rumored are not particularly outlandish, the likelihood that Ryse would include all of its DLC is unfortunately too good to be true.

In addition, Slash Dash has released less than a week ago and Microsoft has yet to handicap an indie title like this so abruptly after it’s initial release.

Perhaps the biggest giveaway is the incorrect Xbox 360 circle logo at the top left corner which is an older design using a darker gray.

This is the current Xbox 360 logo.
This is the current Xbox 360 logo.

Xbox’s Games with Gold will soon be officially revealed, and while there is still a glimmer of hope that this rumor could be true, it’s really just a blind shot in the dark. Check out MajorNelson’s blog for official word on what the next selection of free games will be.

Update: Phil Spencer confirmed that this is not August’s Games with Gold lineup.

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Dark Souls II | Review

Dark Souls II

 

Dark Souls II(DkSII), the younger sibling to Dark Souls(DkS) in many respects, trying to be much more than its predecessor, but flowing in the veins of Soul-Vania, was probably the second game I had ever bought on release for Xbox 360. I garnered much respect and experienced much enjoyment for this next installment, and if you haven’t checked out Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, I strongly recommend you do. It’s the entire DLC package and base game, and serves as a fantastic gateway to the Souls series.

Dark Souls II is a fantasy action-RPG developed by From Software and produced my Bandai Namco. It’s renowned for being difficult, but often chided for following in the steps of cult classic Dark Souls.

It was my love for the first game that persuaded me into buying Dark Souls II, the yearning for more adventure as my banner. I wanted to stretch my legs in unfounded territory, to see the sights, and to bury my sword into the supple undead flesh of my adversaries.

I wasn’t disappointed…

 

Dark Souls II follows in the footsteps of those who came before, featuring the same fighting mechanics as Dark Souls with a few tweaked elements including different riposte animations, i-frames being reliant on your adaptability skill, different enemies with different strategies, and a storyline finding itself peering over the entrenched walls Dark Souls had spent much time establishing years previous.

I had spent several months on Dark Souls beforehand, battling my way through bosses time and time again, and only thought it fair that I hold Dark Souls II to its own standards, reflecting upon the fact that it was not directed by Miyazaki, but instead by entirely different faces.

When I first showed up in Drangleic – the next continent victimized undeath – I noticed right away that the lighting and textures were extremely vibrant and showed great variation, especially when it came to the expansive and undoubtedly attractive set pieces, much in the spirit of exploration and discovery.

There were mountains of ice, pits of fire and lakes of lava, giant bogs with mutated enemies, castles that rose above the clouds and towers that eclipsed the moon. It was in between the glorious reaches of Drangleic that I had found a new, temporary home.

Above all things, I was instantly enamored by Majula, the new Firelink Shrine in some respects, albeit bigger majulaas it felt like I was inside a village I must reconstruct. It was the central hub, where I could find oft reliant NPCs and a small host of aggravated enemies. A step to the side and I quickly found the correct path to go down. It was here that my journey began.

A few differences were noticeable right away. For one, I now had to level up through another NPC and when I died I lost a bit of max health. It came not as a shock, but as a creative and technical difference in how I would play, or so I thought. In the previous game one could not warp between bonfires to start out, and bosses in DkS seemed to be constructed in a way that wasn’t detrimental to the evolutionary curve of your character. I found that with every step I took in Drangleic, a moment of judgement was required to determine the dangers of my surroundings, and after one or two attempts, the answers came to fruition.

It was not nearly as difficult as my first time playing DkS, but I chalked that up to being somewhat experienced with the whole ordeal. This began to bear on me as I cleaved my way through several tons of steel in armour plating, and when my weapon began to degrade, only then I realized I had drawn a trump card in terms of destructive capabilities.

I had found my all-time weapon with which I was to fight every boss for the rest of the game. I enjoyed the fights for the most part, recognizing movesets and character similarities, learning quickly what it meant to be a victim rather than a victor.

The path to each boss was probably the most vile feature of this new crusade, and in the end the bosses proved no more than robots on stilts. It was fun, regardless, and when the challenge had been mounted I felt the chalice of victory’s cold metal if only for an instant.

It was as if I had returned to a place long forgotten, tried to make a difference, and when the game’s final credits rolled, it was as if this place would only exist in a distant dream or a squalid nightmare.

I connected to my character more than ever, the cohort of weapons and cosplay being magnanimous in stature, and broad in girth. I dressed up my fetid knight, tossing him into the bowels of destruction to face every challenge one on one, and I felt like a retired hero from Lordran who had sailed to Drangleic in a quest of mystery and want.gaming-dark-souls-2-screenshot-11

DkSII had proven to me that From Software could rehash their Souls games over and over again, pressing Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, until I paid them $60 for a piece of software. I wouldn’t question it, because I, like many others, fanboy over the prospects of our gracious overlords opening the food traps, even though it might be leftovers or the same shitty meatloaf.

But DkSII tried to be different, much in every way that it stayed the same. The sequel wasn’t inferior by far, it was a different game with tweaked rules, but I realized after my first 200+ hours that I bought these games not to punish myself, or because I was diehard, but because no matter what, I trust From Software to instill in me a spirit of adventure and to test my limits.

They gave me variation, and I will say that I’m hoping for a Dark Souls III either in factuality or spirituality. With Bloodborne being released two weeks ago, I can only see From Software on the horizon as the frontiersmen paving the way for a beautiful mix of survivalism and hardcore RPGs that seemed to have gone the way of the dodo.

8.7/10


Dark Souls II is currently available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC for $19.99.

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Ori and the Blind Forest profitable after one week

Ori and the Blind Forest and it’s wonderful story has yielded positive financial results for its publisher — Microsoft. The game has broke-even after just its first week on the Xbox One and the developer, Moon Studios, will be given the opportunity to continue on with more similar projects — or possibly a sequel to Ori.

During a time when most publishers are fixated on releasing major AAA games it’s surprising to see an arcade/indie game get some well deserved appreciation. But the business end of things is going well acording to the CEO of Moon Studios and the good feelings are encompassing everyone in the or related to the company.

“We also started acquiring some new talent and I’m super excited to see them do work for us. I think a lot of people are really interested in our way of working, the ‘virtual office’ kinda thing, etc. – and I think a lot of people are just super hungry to work on passion projects instead of doing work on the, without trying to sound disrespectful, ‘factory games’.” – Thomas Mahler, CEO of Moon Studios (Neogaf)

Ori and the Blind Forest released as a Microsoft exclusive and brought gamers an emotional action-adventure platformer with a beautiful art style overlaid over the experience. Those looking for the continuation of the emotional Ori narrative will likely get it.

Ori and the Blind Forest is currently available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.

More details on the progress that Moon Studios makes will come soon. Follow Pixelpine on twitter for more updates.

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What Xbox 360 arcade game should come to the Xbox One next? [Poll]

The Xbox One has gotten plenty of its own interesting arcade games like #IDARB, Valiant Hearts, Killer Instinct, and more, but the library on the Xbox 360 was extensive and the new console still has a long ways to go before it matches the game selection of its predecessor.

Games like Castle Crashers, Aegis Wing, Battlefield 1943, Bastion and so many more offer great experiences for a very reasonable price.

Day One Xbox One owners have seen the initially underwhelming selection of games evolve and expand rapidly — especially throughout Q4 of 2014.

Many IPs from the Xbox 360 have risen again on the One. Peggle 2, Trials Evolution, and Geometry Wars 3 have all stemmed from their past success on the 360.

This trend of importing the old IPs to the new generation will likely continue, but which games would you like to see the most on the Xbox One?

What Xbox 360 arcade IP should be ported to the Xbox One?

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UPDATES: Sony releases statement on PSN and Xbox Live issues; PSN service slowly recovering

Update: 10:00 pm Saturday

I am now able to sign into PSN on my PS4 as well as my PS3. So I recommend all PSN users to try signing on and if problems persist, keep checking the @AskPlaystation page on Twitter for official updates.

Update: 5:00 pm Saturday

After three days in the dark from a DDOS hacker attack, Sony has issued a statement on the takedown of their online network. Many Playstation Network and Xbox Live users are still experiencing connectivity and functionality issues.

Catherine Jensen, vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) Consumer Experience, offered the following statement at 12 pm ET:

“The video game industry has been experiencing high levels of traffic designed to disrupt connectivity and online gameplay. Multiple networks, including PSN, have been affected over the last 48 hours. PSN engineers are working hard to restore full network access and online gameplay as quickly as possible.

From time to time there may be disruptions in service due to surges in traffic, but our engineers will be working to restore service as quickly as possible.

If you received a PlayStation console over the holidays and have been unable to log onto the network, know that this problem is temporary and is not caused by your game console. We’ll continue to keep you posted on Twitter at @AskPlayStation and we’ll update this post once the problems subside.

Thanks again for your patience.”

Early Friday morning, the @AskPlaystation page on Twitter had reported that PS3, PS4 and Vita services were “gradually coming back online” but that report proved futile as the day progressed.

 

Xbox Live is back online since late Thursday and has finally returned to normal status on the Xbox Live Service page.

The XBL Service Status page is showing core services and social/gaming up and running smoothly as of 6:30 pm ET Saturday.
The XBL Service Status page is showing core services and social/gaming up and running smoothly as of 6:30 pm ET Saturday

Meanwhile, I can say that my Playstation 3 is working with some services working better than others. Sign-in on my PS3 is working fine and I can access all apps (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, IGN, etc.), as well as the Playstation Store. But online multiplayer, although functional, is a bit sluggish.

On the other hand, I am still unable to sign into PSN on my PS4.

Stay tuned to Pixelpine for further updates. Playstation owners keep checking the @AskPlaystation page on Twitter for updates.

Friday, Dec. 27 9 pm ET

After a frustrating Christmas for gamers that saw the shutdowns of PSN AND Xbox Live, Xbox owners saw a little bit of relief as the core services for Xbox Live were restored but are still limited due to the amount of users trying to access the servers. Meanwhile, Playstation’s support page on Twitter offered a somewhat dismal message to its followers, stating there is “no ETA” for when services will be back up and running.

Lizard Squad, the presumed hacker group that claimed credit for the attacks, tweeted out around noon Friday that the attacks were over:

Since then, both Microsoft and Playstation have been working effortlessly (or so they say) to fix the issues plaguing their respective networks. Both companies took to Twitter to inform console owners of their progress.

PSN and Xbox Live responses?

Although both companies have acknowledged the vast complaints and problems that have been reported, neither company has verified the culprit behind the attack. This may be that they are still unsure (not likely) or that they do not wish to concede that they have suffered another cyber attack. Xbox Live was supposedly taken down earlier this month by the same hacker group using denial-of-service attacks.

Many questions on the minds of gamers that have not been able to play their newest games is, why? And the indirect answer from Lizard Squad: denote the incompetence and injustice of Sony and Microsoft’s programming.

This type of statement from the hacker group seems to be defending their actions as righteous and intended to teach the corporations a lesson. But at the same time, the cyber-vigilanteism is also harming millions of innocent users that just like to play games.

Stay tuned to Pixelpine for more updates.

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PSN and Xbox Live receive hacker attacks and outages for Christmas

More repercussions for Sony; Microsoft along for the ride

Around 3:00 pm on Wednesday, Playstation and Microsoft users began experiencing problems accessing their respective online services, Playstation Network and Xbox Live. Log-in and content purchasing problems and online multiplayer issues were among the most complaints on the PSN and Xbox Live outages.

Lizard Squad, an anonymous hacker group that has previously attacked PSN back in August and earlier this month, has laid claims to this Christmas gift on Twitter:

The hacker squad tweeted out prior to the initial attacks that they were preparing for something big:

After Sony Pictures Entertainment was attacked last month for its controversial upcoming picture The Interview, which centers around the assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un, Lizard Squad promised another “Christmas gift” if the company released the movie.

After an initial delay, Sony began distributing the movie Thursday in a little over 300 theaters across the United States, and managed to pull in $1.04 million. The movie is also available online.

Xbox Live, which began offering The Interview on demand, was targeted by the hacker group as well. Lizard Squad offered a hint on Twitter on Wednesday of the impending trouble:

On Thursday, reports were flooding the support pages of both Xbox and Playstation for answers as both were experiencing problems. And once again, Lizard Squad had a bit of fun mocking gamers who were attempting to access the PSN and Xbox Live networks on Xbox One and PS4.

Stay tuned to Pixelpine for updates.

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Hacker group takes credit for current Xbox Live disruptions

While the Microsoft servers have been inconsistent over the last few months, it seems that this current outage is not due to any technical gaffes on Microsoft’s part.

Currently all services including online multiplayer, social services, and the store are down.

The hacker group which shall not be named in this post, has impacted services before with the Playstation Network being taken down and the Sony president being threatened by a bomb scare.

As of 8:30 p.m. a short tweet stating “Xbox Live #Offline” is stickied on their twitter — their current medium used to update the public on all their attacks and general passive-aggressive threats towards a variety of major games.

Microsoft has not issued any statement regarding their state of resolving the disruption.

Update (11:58 p.m.): While there is still no official word from Microsoft, it appears that some services have returned in a limited state.

The hacker group has also threatened more attacks come Christmas day. The group has conveyed that they will be targeting more than just Microsoft.