XBox 360 Universe Straight from the source
  • scissors
    March 31st, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    The Legend of Zelda is a storied franchise in the video game industry. Upon its arrival in Japan in 1986 it set the standard for non-linear action-adventure games, combining arcade-style action with the open-endedness of CRPGS like Ultima and Wizardry. It inspired more than a dozen sequels, including A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time — often celebrated as two of the best games ever made — and influenced scores of modern action games like Grand Theft Auto, Okami, and Shadow of the Colossus, to name just a few. 

    Yet the franchise's single greatest contribution didn't come in 1986 or 1991 with A Link to the Past, or even 1998 with Ocarina of Time. It came this year, 2017, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a strong contender for greatest game of all time.

    How Breath of the Wild reached these lofty heights and outclassed its contemporaries has a lot to do with the series' origins on NES. Whereas most modern Zelda titles have followed faithfully the blueprint of A Link to the Past, Breath of the Wild skips over the seminal SNES title and draws its inspiration directly from the franchise's premiere game, The Legend of Zelda.

    By looking backward into the series' past, producer Eiji Aonuma and his team have, ironically, brought the Zelda franchise forward with Breath of the Wild. The predictable, linear nature of recent installments is gone, replaced by a true open world with few signposts and the freedom to tackle objectives in random order — or to delay the main quest indefinitely. 

    Series staples are still intact, however. Breath of the Wild may have drawn inspiration from modern RPGs and open-world titles like The Elder Scrolls and Far Cry, but it also built off lessons learned over three decades of Zelda games. As always, there are three tentpoles: exploration, real-time combat, and problem-solving. That said, each tentpole is not created equal. The creative minds at Nintendo have redistributed the weight of each pillar, producing a Zelda title that's heavier than normal on exploration and combat, and lighter than average on problem-solving.

    Exploration is the backbone of Breath of the Wild. Yes, enterprising speed-runners can skip most of the main story missions and side quests and head directly for a showdown with the game's final boss, but risk missing out on the sense of discovery that forms this newest Zelda's raison d'être. The number of things to do, see, unlock, and unearth in Breath of the Wild is staggering. Every corner of the game's astonishingly large world — 12 times larger than Twilight Princess, according to Nintendo — is populated with a monster to beat, an animal to hunt, a resource to gather, a person to meet, or a riddle to solve.

    There are several towns and dungeons in Breath of the Wild, around which most of its plot points revolve, but so much of the wonder in the game comes from stumbling across something strange on the way from point A to point B. Dozens of optional shrines, each with its own puzzle or challenge, dot the landscape. Hundreds of impish Koroks hide under rocks, among tall grass, and atop trees, waiting to be found. Intelligent monsters like Moblins and Lizalfos erect camps and garrisons, defying intrepid adventurers.

    The size and scope of the world is impressive, but so too is the physics engine that underpins it. Elements, materials, and objects react to each other in predictable, realistic ways. Those predictable reactions, however, open up for players the freedom to experiment with unpredictable combinations.

    Take lightning, for example. When roaming the countryside during a lightning storm, the hero Link will attract lightning bolts if he's wearing metal armor or carrying metal weapons. Using that knowledge of the physical realities in the game, players might toss a metal weapon among monsters during a storm or fire a lightning arrow into a pool of water to electrocute submerged enemies.

    This same physics system informs combat and puzzle-solving, the other two ingredients of Zelda's success. Aonuma and company had made significant strides in tactical sword-fighting in 2011 with Skyward Sword, but have now outdone themselves with Breath of the Wild. The combination of realistic physics, artificially intelligent monsters, and breakable weapons makes for tactical combat opportunities that reward improvisation and unconventional thinking.

    Players have the freedom to engage enemy encounters according to a wide variety of strategies. Some might drink a stealth potion and pick off monsters silently one at a time; others might charge head-first into the fray, swinging a heavy weapon; some others might survey the environment for a boulder to roll into the encampment or an explosive barrel to ignite, thinning the enemy's ranks before a frontal assault.

    Breakable weapons, a point of contention for some, make combat all the more improvisational. Swords, staves, shields, and bows will decay over time from use, setting up situations where players will need to switch weapons on the fly (using the quick menu on the d-pad), hurl almost-broken weapons at monsters, and loot the battlefield mid-skirmish for usable weapons. It's reminiscent of the spontaneous fighting in Halo: Combat Evolved.

    Puzzle and problem-solving is back, also, although it's limited mostly to the game's four main dungeons and 100-plus shrines. Again, the game's robust physics system plays its part, providing a foundation for interesting puzzles and outside-the-box solutions. In shrines, players may need to use special Sheikah powers to stop time, move magnetic objects, and freeze water to move forward. Sometimes, unfortunately, puzzles require the use of motion controls. These are frustrating and tedious, and one of the rare blemishes on this entry's mostly spotless record.

    Puzzles in dungeons, which take the form of four hulking colossi, rely similarly on physical challenges. The most notable difference is Link's ability to rotate and contort each colossus from within to uncover treasure chests and find out-of-reach consoles. In some ways, each of these colossi recalls Stone Tower Temple in Majora's Mask.

    These colossi, called "Divine Beasts," play an important part in Breath of the Wild's wistful and unexpectedly poignant story. Players join the hero Link as he wakes from a 100-year slumber. The kingdom of Hyrule has suffered for a century under the power of an ancient evil called Calamity Ganon. Link is tasked with freeing the Divine Beasts which fell under enemy control years ago and liberating the trapped souls of the champions who operated them at the time of Ganon's coup. He must also save Princess Zelda and, ultimately, face Ganon.

    By allowing 100 years to pass and by putting Link in stasis for a century, the writers at Nintendo created a plot heavy with regret, longing, and loss. Link may not have aged a day over the decades, but his old friends are now wrinkled, bitter, or, in some cases, dead, and the kingdom he swore to protect has fallen apart. Via flashbacks players learn more about the relationships among Link, Zelda, and the four champions. These vignettes are short but bittersweet, and give players a reason to care deeply about the heroes of Hyrule — past, present, and future.

    Despite Nintendo's ambition with Breath of the Wild — or, perhaps, because of it — the game suffers from some technical flaws. In areas busy with NPCs or particle effects the framerate can drop or dip briefly. Pop-in is another issue, especially noticeable on wide, open paths. These technical quirks are easy to forgive, however, when considered next to the game's mechanical and physical audacity.

    Don't mistake that audacity for originality, though. Nothing in Breath of the Wild is especially new or innovative. Its physics engine isn't groundbreaking; its weather and artificial intelligence programming don't break the mold. Yet much like its acclaimed predecessor Ocarina of TimeBreath of the Wild weaves together existing mechanics and gameplay scenarios to create something far greater than the sum of its parts.

    The brilliance of this latest Zelda game doesn't come from any one system or framework. It comes from the intentional, planful organization of many systems working together to create results both expected and unexpected. Emergent gameplay, improvisational combat, and player mobility combine to form an open-world sandbox second to none, and a video game experience that ranks among the greatest ever conceived.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267757/the-legend-of-zelda-breath-of-the-wild-ns/

  • scissors
    March 31st, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    HTC have announced that they'll be adding adverts to the HTC Vive, as part of what's being dubbed the 'VR Ad service'.

    Furthermore, HTC posted the following on Viveport:

    "Ads that appear in immersive VR environments can not only provide more effective impressions, they can also track whether the users have viewed them or have turned away their gaze. Accordingly, the multiplied effect of effective impressions and verified viewings will bring you higher advertising revenue!" 

    Luckily, looking away doesn't force you into an advert loop, but instead is intended to help create targeted ads and save developers money:

    "Immersive VR environment can not only meet the user’s needs by means of precise re-targeting, but can also be detected if they are viewed effectively by users.  Therefore, promotion of your applications would have much more effective impression, which not only arouses the attention of potential users and enhance brand image, but further attracts interested users directly to download your apps in the VR environment!"

    Source: [Viveport via PC Gamer]

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267765/htc-vives-ad-service-to-track-whether-users-watch-their-ads/

  • scissors
    March 30th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    Snake Pass is a puzzle-platformer in which you control a snake called Noodle, as well as his best friend Doodle, a hummingbird. Over the course of a short but highly replayable campaign, you'll make your way across 15 different stages and uncover four different worlds, each filled with their own unique challenges that must be overcome.

    There isn't much in the way of story in Snake Pass, instead the game's focus is placed on puzzle-solving and navigating Noodle across the title's difficult and varied worlds. As you might imagine, controlling a long snake comes with its own challenges, especially when for the most part you're only able to control its head. The controls themselves are simple: press the right trigger (RL on the Switch) to slide forward, A to move Noodle's head upwards (in order to climb up things), the left trigger to grip onto materials and move more slowly, and finally the Y button to get Doodle the hummingbird to grip your tail, helping you out in times of need. 

    These controls may seem limited, but how you master Noodle's body makes a world of difference, and I loved the challenge this added from start to finish. Working with such a long, almost uncooperative body in order to solve increasingly difficult puzzles does have its frustrations, especially given the limited amount of checkpoints that are available throughout each stage, but when you manage to overcome a particularly tricky challenge the feeling of elation you'll feel is almost unmatched. I would spend ages going back and forth across a tricky platforming section, wriggling Noodle's body in such a way that gravity wouldn't take its toll and cause him to falter, and the feeling is simply stupendous when you successfully pull it off.

    The narrative is almost as bare-bones as it's possible to get. Doodle comes rushing over to Noodle at the start of the game to explain that some crystals have gone missing, and that if you don’t retrieve them it’ll be the end of the world. This isn't a huge negative, especially when the puzzle mechanics are as sublime as they are, but it would have been nice to have seen more cut scenes, or better yet to have witnessed more personality and interaction between Noodle and Doodle over the course of the campaign. 

    The checkpoint system could also have been improved. There’s nothing worse than spending 10 minutes acquiring a bunch of hard-to-reach collectibles, only to fall off at the last hurdle and lose all of your progress, forcing you to do it all over again. I would have preferred a system of autosaves that come into effect after a few minutes whenever you're on a flat platform, rather than the current system that centres around activating a limited number of floor tiles.

    Each world Noodle and Doodle come across has new and exciting challenges to overcome, from levers that must be pulled using Noodle's long, unwieldy body (a massive challenge in and of itself!), to moving platforms where you must position Noodle in such a way that he wraps around them with ease. Later levels contain wind, which represents a whole new layer of challenge in how you control Noodle. A constant reinvention of how you control your main character is what makes Snake Pass so engaging.

    Replayability is also taken care of by the fact that there are multiple collectibles to find and reach in each level, from orbs to coins, which are often difficult but rewarding to capture. I found myself coming back to individual levels well after completing the game, just to try and find these hidden collectibles. This partly makes up for the fact there are only 15 levels and, should you only go for the main orbs on each stage, the campaign can be completed quite quickly. 

    Graphically speaking, Snake Pass is certainly charming, and holds up well on the Nintendo Switch. I was surprised by how luscious it looks, even in handheld mode, with the resolution seeming to be the only sacrifice that Sumo Digital made in porting the game from more powerful consoles. It’s definitely blurry, both on a 4K TV and on the Switch’s own screen, but strong aesthetics throughout ensure it holds up fairly well regardless of this. 

    Snake Pass is lovely and innovative. Having to control such a long and unwieldy character brings a rare but enjoyable type of challenge to the puzzle-platformer genre. It has its frustrations, especially when a mistake is made without there being a nearby checkpoint, but overall Snake Pass is a pleasure to work through. 

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267762/snake-pass-ns/

  • scissors
    March 30th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    BioWare has released a statement on Twitter regarding the criticism of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which launched last week.

    Tweet.

    BioWare's latest addition to the Mass Effect series was met with a mixed reception, to put it mildly, and it looks like BioWare will attempt to salvage the series' otherwise stellar reputation by announcing various changes and fixes to Andromeda next week.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267763/bioware-to-announce-immediate-plans-for-mass-effect-andromeda-next-week/

  • scissors
    March 29th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    Monster Hunter XX (3DS) remained at the top of the Japanese charts in its second week with sales of 280,293 units, according to Media Create for the week ending March 26. 

    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NS) is in second place with another 39,103 units sold. 1-2-Switch (NS) is in third with sales of 21,647 units.

     

    The Nintendo Switch was the best-selling platform with sales of 78,441 units. The 3DS sold 39,359 units, the PS4 sold 30,733 units, and the PlayStation Vita sold 7,574 units. The PlayStation 3 sold 2,930 units, the Wii U sold 411 units and the Xbox One sold 115 units.

    Here is the complete top 20 chart:

    1. [3DS] Monster Hunter XX (Capcom, 03/16/17) – 280,293 (1,128,760)
    2. [NSW] The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Limited Edition Included) (Nintendo, 03/03/17) – 39,103 (302,080)
    3. [NSW] 1-2-Switch (Nintendo, 03/03/17) – 21,647 (137,384)
    4. [PS4] Ghost Recon: Wildlands (Ubisoft, 03/09/17) – 17,349 (133,768)
    5. [PS4] Horizon: Zero Dawn (SIE, 03/02/17) – 12,559 (181,944)
    6. [3DS] Pokemon Sun / Pokemon Moon (Nintendo, 11/18/16) – 9,956 (3,221,001)
    7. [PSV] Accel World VS. Sword Art Online (Bandai Namco, 03/15/17) – 9,665 (48,318)
    8. [PS4] Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix (Square Enix, 03/09/17) – 9,216 (88,147)
    9. [PS4] NieR: Automata (Square Enix, 02/23/17) – 8,847 (278,156)
    10. [Wii U] The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 03/03/17) – 7,796 (81,188)
    11. [PS4] Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (Limited Edition Included) (Marvelous, 03/15/17) – 7,529 (61,276)
    12. [PS4] Accel World VS. Sword Art Online (Bandai Namco, 03/15/17) – 7,287 (39,302)
    13. [NSW] Super Bomberman R (Konami, 03/03/17) – 6,952 (57,708)
    14. [3DS] Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo, 12/01/16) – 6,801 (1,002,323)
    15. [PS4] Grand Theft Auto V (Low Price Version) (Take-Two, 10/08/15) – 5,295 (308,854)
    16. [NSW] Dragon Quest Heroes I•II for Nintendo Switch (Square Enix, 03/03/17) – 4,544 (41,419)
    17. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki (Level-5, 12/15/16) – 4,425 (694,376)
    18. [3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 Professional (Square Enix, 02/09/17) – 4,353 (182,957)
    19. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (SIE, 03/19/15) – 4,227 (1,130,619)
    20. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf Amiibo+ (Nintendo, 11/23/16) – 4,136 (150,355)

    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267761/monster-hunter-xx-tops-the-japanese-charts-for-2nd-week/

  • scissors
    March 29th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    Sony on the PlayStation Blog have revealed the PlayStation Plus games for April. Two PlayStation 4 titles, two PlayStation 3 titles and two PlayStation Vita titles (with crossbuy with PS4) will be available for free to download.


    The free PlayStation Plus games for the month are:

    • Drawn To Death, PS4
    • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, PS4
    • Invizimals: the Lost Kingdom, PS3
    • Alien Rage – Extended Edition, PS3
    • 10 Second Ninja, PS Vita (crossbuy with PS4)
    • Curses ‘n Chaos, PS Vita (crossbuy on PS4)

    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267760/playstation-plus-games-for-april-announced/

  • scissors
    March 28th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    GameStop has told VentureBeat the excitement around the Nintendo Switch is really high and any new stock sells out within hours. The retailer expects there to be supply issues for the rest of 2017. 

    "There’s a lot of excitement about the Switch, but there’s also a lot of caution," said GameStop chief executive Paul Raines. "We’re very cautious simply because of limited allocation. We don’t really have an aggressive forecast built-in for the Switch. We’ve learned with Nintendo not to do that."


    GameStop chief operating officer Tony Bartel added, "The demand is incredible strong. As soon as we get it into stores, it’s out within hours. We anticipate that we’ll be chasing supply this entire year. The other thing is that to have an over five-and-a-half attach rate [for games and accessories] for the Switch. This signifies that a lot of people are finding this a great platform, and they’re picking up almost any game they can."

    "The data says it’s selling," Raines said. "There’s tremendous demand. Every unit we get sells out quickly. But if you’ve played it, that’s the best way to know it has tremendous broadening potential."


    The retailer added that the releases Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey should keep the demand high through the rest of the year. 

    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267759/gamestop-new-switch-stock-sells-out-within-hours-expects-supply-issues-for-rest-of-2017/

  • scissors
    March 28th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima told Nikkei that the smartphone game, Super Mario Run, "did not meet our expectations."

    The free version of the game topped 90 million downloads in less than a few weeks, however, at the time only around three million people purchased the full game. At $9.99 for each purchase that equals $30 million. 

    Super Mario Run released last week on Android. 

     

    Nintendo tried another model with the game, Fire Emblem Heroes. The game is a free download, however, players can pay to unlock random characters, which is known as gacha in Japan. While the model has proved a success a Nintendo senior official says "Heroes' is an outlier and "we honestly prefer the Super Mario Run modes."

    Expanding into the smartphone market isn't all about revenue, but is also about expanding the Nintendo brand to a wider audience.

    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267758/nintendo-president-super-mario-run-did-not-meet-our-expectations/

  • scissors
    March 28th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    Mass Effect: Andromeda debuted at the top of the UK charts, according to Chart-Track for the week ending March 25. The game is the third biggest launch of 2017 behind Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Horizon Zero Dawn.

    55 percent of the sales were on the PlayStation 4, 41 percent on the Xbox One and just four percent on Windows PC. However, the figures don't include digital sales.  


    Ghost Recon: Wildlands, LEGO Worlds, Horizon Zero Dawn and Grand Theft Auto V all drop one place. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains in sixth place. 

    Here are the top 10 best-selling titles (combined sales) for the week:

    1. Mass Effect: Andromeda
    2. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
    3. LEGO Worlds
    4. Horizon Zero Dawn
    5. Grand Theft Auto V 
    6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 
    7. FIFA 17 
    8. Rocket League 
    9. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare 
    10. Forza Horizon 3 

    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267756/mass-effect-andromeda-debuts-at-the-top-of-the-uk-charts/

  • scissors
    March 28th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    Final Fantasy XIV's free trial no longer has a 14-day time restriction, Square Enix has announced.

    From now on, players that download the free trial can access all of the content in the base game without time clocking against them. Instead the new trial will cap the player's level at 35; to progress further than that, purchasing the game will be required, but players can retain their progress if they so desire.

    Because the restriction has been removed from every account, this also means that players who have already downloaded the trial can jump back in, even if the timer expired on a previous attempt, and continue their game from where they originally left off.

    Several additional restrictions, however, are still in place through the trial version. Nevertheless, it is a good way to motivate players to give it a try at their own pace and see if they like it enough to upgrade afterwards.

    To download the trial, you can access the website on your computer or find the trial version through the PlayStation Store.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267755/final-fantasy-xivs-free-trial-time-restrictions-removed/

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