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Battletoad KI photo
It's a timed test right now

Today, Microsoft announced Season 3 of Killer Instinct, set to debut next year on PC and Xbox One. But wait, there was another tidbit too -- Rash from Battletoads will be playable today! Unfortunately, the reality is a little less exciting, and after checking the dashboard moments ago, actual details were revealed.

Evidently Rash will be playable from August 4 until September 8, at which point he will be removed from the game, presumably until the release of Season 3. This is a character test session, not a full release of a brand new character.

If you purchased Rare Replay (neat) or any Killer Instinct DLC, you can play as Rash. Currently the official FAQ is down, but the information is accessible in-game. We'll bring you more on Rash as he rolls out.

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Mario's li'l dick photo
Also he shares animations with Kid Kool

Mario has been with us for a long time. He's an icon. He has been scrutinized, discussed, and deified among gamers. That doesn't matter at all right now. What matters right now is Mario's silhouette looks like it has a li'l dick.

Originally posted on The Cutting Room Floor as a study in how similar Mario's running animations are to Kid Kool's, it's difficult not to see the blacked out third frame as a man with a potbelly standing around, his little wang waving in the breeze. I know; it's actually the tip of his raised foot as he is in motion. I like it better as the silhouette.

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Homefront: The Revolution is very different than when we last saw it

Aug 04 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]297199:59800:0[/embed] When I first played Homefront: The Revolution, the world felt lived-in. The oppressive themes were apparent, but the citizens seemed to accept it and go about their daily routines (except for the ones sparking the revolution in secret, of course). I believed that this was a city I could change the face of. I saw the potential to revolt and to do so in creative ways. The chunk I recently saw was more chaotic than that. Things are on fire and smoke billows on the horizon. All those people doing everyday stuff don't exist anymore. There are a few freedom fighters, but not many. It's mostly an empty playground for me to ramp my motorcycle off stuff. Rather than showing off a functioning city, this version of Homefront: The Revolution opted for sporadic waves of enemies. Many battles took places in warehouses, often around large crates that are meant to scream "industry!" It was all just so boring. It was like a Call of Duty where you traverse more ground before the next section of bad guys with guns. The world was still open, but the enemies acted with the scripted ways of a linear game. The player reached the top of the stairs, so it's time to charge through the door. That is to say, this demo largely erased my positive attitude toward Homefront: The Revolution. I'm not going to care about liberating a city if there's no one in that city. Its lifelessness reminded me of every shooter I've played for the past ten years and then immediately forgot about. The thing is, this can't be the true Homefront: The Revolution. Its premise is one with promise, but this slice shows none of that ambition. There's no way the game's skewed this far from concept. I guess I'll chalk this up to another misrepresentative demo, and hey -- I just broke the rule I spent the first paragraph talking about.
Homefront preview photo
But not necessarily better

Sometimes when you see a game at a preview event, you don't even want to write about it. You just know that what was shown wasn't a good representation of the final game. Malicious intent isn't always to blame, either; there are just times when circumstances cause a preview to be off.

That's how my first experience playing Homefront: The Revolution went some 15 months ago. After Deep Silver quit talking about this open world with so many options, I was strictly led through a demo in such a way so as to ensure I would see everything I was supposed to see. Don't get me wrong, it played fine, but I was on a leash. That didn't sit well when the presentation minutes before was predicated largely on player freedom.

At an Xbox pre-gamescom event, I got my second crack at Homefront: The Revolution. It was a very different game than I had experienced little more than a year prior. And, that leash was off this time.

How I long for that first demo again.

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Humble Bundle photo
Good gift-giving potential

Humble Bundle and Bandai Namco have partnered for a sale on some older games that are still well worth playing. If nothing else, I'd say this is a great way to give the gift of Pac-Man CE.

  • Name your price: Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ All You Can Eat Edition Bundle, Platformines, and DeadCore
  • Pay more than the average: Ridge Racer Unbounded Bundle, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Premium Edition, Ace Combat Assault Horizon - Enhanced Edition, and "more games coming soon"
  • Pay $10 or more: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition

I was unfamiliar with DeadCore (it's a fast-paced first-person platformer about scaling a tower). Think I'll wait on the mid-sale additions (August 11) before deciding to buy or skip this bundle.

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Cities: Skylines photo
Also on PC now

Cities: Skylines dropped in March on PC and kind of took all the wind out of SimCity's sails. Today at gamescom, Microsoft announced that Skylines would come to the Xbox One first, whenever it happens to arrive on consoles.

This is pretty great news for Xbox One owners, provided that the control scheme translates well to a controller. But hey, that's been done before, and considering how good Skyline is, I'm willing to give it another go on a console.

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Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Reckoning

Aug 04 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Reckoning DLC (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Sledgehammer Games (Current-gen) / High Moon Studios (Last-gen) / Raven Software (Zombies)Publisher: ActivisionReleased: August 4, 2015MSRP: $14.99 ($50 Season Pass for four packs) Let's kick things off with Overload, the sexiest map in Reckoning. Taking place in a giant Middle Eastern hotel complex, it has all of the pizazz you'd expect, and more. It's a great mix of indoor and outdoor environments, with a layout that keeps you in the action while allowing you to have condensed firefights. It allows the Exo movement and jetpack mechanic to really breathe without confining it like some maps in the past have. It also has these little tesla coil things littered about, which are basic in their functionality (an area-of-effect jolt when shot), but very cool aesthetically -- plus, they sound really neat. Next up is Swarm, a map set in a ruined Korean city. It's nice to see the series return to a setting like this, as I enjoyed "Magma" in Black Ops II. There's plenty of windows to boost into and buildings to hide in, and the map lends itself to vertical movement well. They really go with the destruction theme, and there's a ton of detail present that I wasn't expecting. It's another great showing for Reckoning. Fracture is an ice level that reminds me of The Thing, in a good way. The backgrounds are very detailed, and the smaller, more intimate theme works to its advantage. It's basically all outdoors, which gives it a distinct feel compared to the rest of the DLC. Although Array from the original Black Ops is probably my favorite snow map in Call of Duty history, Fracture does the frozen sub-genre proud. Quarantine, the last of the four core maps in Reckoning, gives off a distinct Walking Dead TV series vibe, which I dig. It also feels like it has a Call of Duty 4 theme with its simplicity, but it's not as vertical as I hoped it would be. The general gist is that the arena is a testing site for experiments on primates, complete with tons of banana boxes and even a room full of live test subjects. It's a rather generic theme, but it must be said that I do enjoy playing it in the rotation. I wouldn't consider it a wasted slot. [embed]297123:59780:0[/embed] Now, onto the best part -- the zombie level. Following along with the narrative that saw the demise of John Malkovich's character (and the debut of Bruce Campbell), and his ascension into zombie-hood, Descent is one of the most unique zombie stages in the entire series (the one that featured mafia ghosts withstanding). It straight-up feels like you're in a Bond villain base, which is partially true as Malkovich is there to taunt you every step of the way as you navigate your path through an underwater testing site. As you make your way through each wave, various power-ups will start to appear at the top of the deck, which you can periodically gather. These range from standard stuff like turrets, to more interesting mechanisms like defensive AI robots that float around your character. Everything feels much more action-packed and desperate, with more firepower and abilities to match the more aggressive enemies. At times, Malkovich will teleport you to a room for a boss fight session of sorts, with different hazards to avoid (like laser grids above you, preventing double-jumps) and a variety of enemies to best in close-quarters. It's a sight to behold with four players, as power-ups are constantly appearing in this secluded room while you fight for your life. Again, intensity is what they're going for here, and it really works. I'd have to think about it for a while, but it may be the most fun I've had with zombies since first playing World at War. I mean, Malkovich actually says the line "The teleporters are mine now, bitch," to give you an idea of what I'm talking about here. At the end of the day, I'm happy with what Sledgehammer Games (and Raven) brought to the table with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as a whole. Though it'll be tough to dethrone the current kings of the franchise (Treyarch), I have more confidence in their follow-up than before, and I'm eager to see what they can come up with next. At this point Infinity Ward is a lame duck, and the odd developer out.
Call of Duty DLC review photo
Did John Malkovich just call me a bitch?

So here we are with the Reckoning DLC pack, the last add-on for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare after Havoc, Ascendance, and Supremacy. All in all, it's been a great ride, and slowly but surely, each map pack has improved upon the last.

It's great then that Advanced Warfare is going out with a bang with its best DLC yet.

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Destiny recast photo
Ghost's lines re-recorded

Prolific voice actor Nolan North (Uncharted's Nathan Drake) is taking on the Ghost in Destiny, reports Game Informer. He'll voice the AI companion in The Taken King and, no joke, the original game too -- the dialogue is being re-recorded for consistency. Talk about the nuclear option.

"North echoes some of the cadences and quirks established by the character's original voice actor, but his line delivery is hard to immediately connect to his familiar heroic tone," according to the site.

If players end up disliking this new take on the character, Bungie can give Troy Baker a call next.

Goodbye Dinklebot: Destiny Recasts Its Most Important Character With Nolan North [Game Informer]

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Diablo photo
$150 though

Do you like wood? What if it had a map etched into it? Alex Griendling has crafted just that, and it features Tristram, the classic town from the Diablo franchise. The whole shebang is 18 1/2" by 14", and will run you $150.

This really just makes me want to replay the first Diablo. While it can be a pain to run on current machines, I'll always have my original PlayStation copy!

Woodlands: Tristram [Neutral Ground Shop]

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Vita photo
If you're into that thing

[embed]297177:59791:0[/embed]

If you're into Sony's PS Now subscription service, you can now stream games on the Vita as of today. In addition, God of War III, Dynasty Warriors 8, MX Vs. ATV Supercross, Bomberman Ultra, and The Last Guy have hit the service (full list here). PS Now is also supported on PS3, PS4, PS TV, some Blu-ray players, and select Sony and Samsung TVs.

Yeah, I'm still going to pass on this -- $20 a month to stream a ton of old games I already own is a little too rich for my blood.

PS Now Subscription Coming to PS Vita, August Lineup Detailed [PS Blog]

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Yomawari photo
I'm digging the music too

[embed]297174:59790:0[/embed]

A month ago we just had screens to go by, but Yomawari is shaping up nicely if this new trailer from NIS is any indication. Backed by beautiful music, we get to see a bit of gameplay here, which involves a girl searching for her sister and dog in a city.

It'll drop on October 29 in Japan on Vita (!).

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Everything that happened at Microsoft's 2015 gamescom conference

Aug 04 // Chris Carter
New Quantum Break trailer has a hobbit and military violence Microsoft debuts Crackdown 3 gameplay at gamescom Scalebound gameplay trailer reveals four player co-op, coming Holiday 2016 Quantum Break now has an April 5, 2016 release date Xbox One DVR functionality coming in 2016 Killer Instinct Season 3 coming March 2016 on Xbox One and PC Bloodstained will feature Microsoft crossplay, new character revealed Lovely Xbox One controller gets an ugly chatpad Xbox One backward compatibility comes to everyone in November Ark: Survival Evolved adds giant spiders to its dino-fest Ron Gilbert's Thimbleweed Park coming to Xbox One, Windows 10 We Happy Few is coming to Xbox One first, my fair lady Cobalt, that arena battle game, is still an Xbox exclusive Thimbleweed Park has an Anthony Burch doppelganger Homefront: The Revolution is doing an Xbox One exclusive beta 'Xbox players love their fut' and crappy FIFA deals Halo 5's new trailer has an excellent sliding kill Microsoft announces Halo World Championship, special 1TB Xbox One New Just Cause 3 trailer looks like silly, explosive fun Rainbow Six Siege scmhoozes gamescom with German counter terror unit Forza 6 team is way too hyped about rain Halo Wars 2 confirmed for Xbox One and PC, coming in 2016 Tremble in fear at our first look at Dark Souls 3 Cities: Skylines will arrive on Xbox One first on console
gamescom 2015 photo
Lots of non-exclusives

Hey, you know what? I actually enjoyed Microsoft's gamescom conference for the most part. Sure it had a lot of non-exclusives in there, but it wasn't a train wreck.

I mean, when your heavy-hitter is Halo Wars 2 you know it's not all that exciting, but again, it could have been a lot worse. Plus, I know a lot of people who actually really dug Halo Wars, so I bet they're happy.

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Dark Souls III photo
Yep, that's some Dark Souls right there

[embed]297197:59811:0[/embed]

At today's Microsoft gamescom press conference, the general public finally got its first look at Dark Souls III, and it certainly looks like a new-gen Dark Souls game.

The trailer showed off several new bosses, multiple large scale environments and a combat system that appeared to be faster paced, more in line with Bloodborne than previous Souls entries. Many of the character animations were reminiscent of the original Dark Souls, the music was creepy as hell, and there were some interesting lore implications made regarding the undead and their ceremonial robes.

Dark Souls III is due out in 2016 and I for one cannot freaking wait.

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Halo Wars 2 photo
Creative Assembly is involved

[embed]297208:59807:0[/embed]

Although they haven't given out any real details, Halo Wars 2 was confirmed today at Microsoft's gamescom conference. It will be coming to the PC and Xbox One in fall 2016. The trailer above gives us a quick look at the Spartan and Brute conflict.

I didn't really like the original Halo Wars. It was a fun enough RTS, but since the genre was still thriving back in 2009, there was no shortage of better games to play. Hopefully Halo Wars 2 brings in some more interesting concepts.

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The Forza 6 team is way too hyped about rain

Aug 04 // Kyle MacGregor
[embed]297206:59806:0[/embed]
Forza Motorsport 6 photo
They recreated every damn puddle y'all

Look, Forza Motorsport 6's dynamic rain features might be all well and good, but to your average dude that just wants to race cars real fast, these guys are way too stoked about some puddles.

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GSG9 photo
Meet GSG9

[embed]297205:59805:0[/embed]

"Germany?"

"That's...that's where we are!!!"

[pulls pud over close ups of lil flags on the uniforms]

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Just Cause 3 photo
Bang, bang, you're dead

I've never really been a fan of the Just Cause series, but this new trailer for Just Cause 3 shown at Microsoft's gamescom press conference taught me everything I need to know. Just Cause 3 is rock music, silliness, and over-the-top explosions. I guess sign me up for a big action shooter game.

[embed]297204:59804:0[/embed]

We also got a look at some cool-looking villain types with some creepy, awesome voice acting and a reminder that the game is launching pretty soon.

Just Cause 3 launches on December 1 and comes with a copy of Just Cause 2 on Xbox One.

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Halo photo
I wonder how well it will do

[embed]297203:59802:0[/embed]

Microsoft has unveiled a new Halo tournament, dubbed the Halo World Championship. It'll feature one million dollars in prizes, and will focus around Halo 5: Guardians. Additionally, the publisher revealed a new 1TB limited edition console, which will be up for pre-order "shortly" after the show.

I'm curious to see how the community will react to Halo 5. Based on the beta, I'm not crazy about it, but it has a number of conventions that have the potential to shift it into a popular eSport.

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Halo 5 photo
Where do you slide?

[embed]297202:59801:0[/embed]

I'm at Microsoft's gamescom press conference battling bad Wi-Fi and mashing the keyboard in hopes that words magically form. Sometimes I get a chance to look up at the what's happening on the screen. It just so happens that I did that at the :38 second mark of this trailer to see a badass sliding kill.

I spent the majority of my youth sliding places. You know, into second base, into third base, and into home. Never first. You run through that bad boy. Also, belly-first down Crocodile Mile. But, I never did it with a shotgun, and now I feel like I was robbed of my childhood.

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gamescom photo
Xbox One bundle, week early access

That is FIFA Ultimate Team, the thing EA uses to somehow make more money than just releasing a new FIFA every year (two when it's a World Cup year).

"FUT fans this is a deal for you." Xbox One folks get FIFA 16 one week early with EA Access, like with Hardline. You'll also save 10% in buying digital trading cards in FUT if you pay for EA Access (so you're not really saving, right?). And footballing legends like Gennaro Gattuso are coming exclusive to Xbox One.

Plus there's a console bundle (well, two; 500GB and 1TB) with three free Legends for FUT.

Fut fut fut.

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Homefront: The Revolution is doing an Xbox One exclusive beta

Aug 04 // Kyle MacGregor
[embed]297199:59800:0[/embed] In addition to this CG trailer with the sad kid being forced to say things he doesn't believe, Microsoft and Deep Silver showed off some gameplay footage of the shooter's single-player campaign. Homefront: The Revolution will also feature an online cooperative campaign when the game arrives sometime next year on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Mac, and Xbox One.
Homefront photo
Can you feel the excitement?

Guerrilla warfare shooter Homefront: The Revolution is getting an exclusive multiplayer beta this winter on Xbox One. Until then, watch some propaganda about our faceless Korean overlords.

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Ron Gilbert photo
New game from Monkey Island creator

Seriously, is it just me?

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Cobalt at gamescom photo
New trailer

[embed]297196:59799:0[/embed]

Mojang has shifted gears a bit since the Microsoft aquisition, and is going to be publishing some more projects in the future. One such game is Cobalt, an arena battler, that will debut on PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One at an undisclosed date.

Based on the trailer above, it looks like a fun little romp. I could always go for the occasional arena title with friends.

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We Happy Few photo
So good

[embed]297194:59797:0[/embed]

ID@Xbox head Chris Charla ended his segment of Microsoft's gamescom press conference by calling We Happy Few "one of the creepiest games in recent memory." Look at that trailer. He's not wrong. It's not exactly feel-good material.

Xbox One users are going to get a head-start on getting creeped out. We Happy Few is going to be on Microsoft's console first. It's not clear whether it's just a timed-exclusive as far as other consoles go and it'll hit PC at the same time. Whatever gets us playing this game as soon as possible, man.

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Ron Gilbert's Thimbleweed Park coming to Xbox One, Windows 10

Aug 04 // Kyle MacGregor
[embed]297195:59798:0[/embed]
Thimbleweed Park photo
'Use balloon animal with corpse'

Today at Microsoft's gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany, The Secret of Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert took the stage to announce that his upcoming adventure game Thimbleweed Park would be coming to Xbox One and Windows 10.

Thimbleweed Park raised over $626,000 on Kickstarter in late 2014, nearly doubling its initial $375,000 funding goal. The project is a spiritual successor to both Maniac Mansion and the Monkey Island series, aiming to evoke the experience of late '80s/early '90s adventure games. 

The title is also coming to Mac, Linux, and mobile platforms, and aims to launch by June 2016.

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Ark photo
Coming to Xbox One

[embed]297193:59796:0[/embed]

Bad name, but man Ark: Survival Evolved looks great. It's already playable on Steam in Early Access, but it's coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One early next year. Not sure if it can do as well there as it will on PC, where people who play stuff like DayZ tend to congregate, but, hey, name one more cool-looking dinosaur game coming out anytime soon.

Really, if I'm missing one, let me know.

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Xbox One photo
Games with Gold gets a boost, too

Microsoft is obviously looking forward to the future, but it hasn't completely turned its attention from the past. At E3, it dropped the bombshell that it had a backward compatibility program so that Xbox 360 titles could be played on Xbox One.

In the time since, many details have trickled out about how and when it would actually work. We don't have the definitives on the how, but at least we have the when. As part of its gamescom press conference, it was revealed that backward compatibility will be available to everyone in November of this year.

Moreover, Microsoft announced that all Xbox 360 Games with Gold titles will be backward compatible upon launch, meaning that you don't need the old system to take advantage of those old freebies. Once that's fully implemented, there's probably not a lot of reason to keep the faithful 360 in the entertainment system anymore.

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Xbox One chatpad photo
Function, not form

I mean, hey, it works. Anyone type enough on the Xbox One that they're picking this bad boy up when it launches in November?

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Bloodstained photo
Dual sword wielding demon hunter shown

If you buy Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on Xbox One or Windows 10, you'll be able to interact with your friends on other Microsoft-owned platforms.

Revealed at Microsoft's gamescom press briefing, we also got our first glimpse at a brand new character, who is as of yet unnamed. We do know he's a dual sword wielding demon hunter who can utilize Japanese spells while hunting demons.

Demons, fear his beard and unnecessary number of chains.

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Killer Instinct photo
Rash from Battletoads is confirmed

Microsoft announced today at gamescom that Killer Instinct will be getting a Season 3, which will debut in March 2016. That goes for the Xbox One and the upcoming PC version, and Xbox One fight sticks and controllers will work on PC.

Also, Rash from Battletoads will debut in the game today, which is pretty awesome. I'm up for a Season 3, as the core game has been excellent so far.

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DVR on Xbox One photo
A subscription-free serivce

Today at Microsoft's gamescom media briefing, the company announced a subscription-free DVR service with the ability to record shows on a schedule or in the background while you're gaming.

For a while there it seemed like Microsoft was trying to get away from painting Xbox One as an "all-in-one" media box to just focus on the games, but I suppose the company could only restrain itself for so long. Still, options are always nice, and at least a few people will get some use out of this.

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