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Rash in Killer Instinct is a cameo done with love

Aug 17 // Patrick Hancock
What I love: Rash plays like he's ripped right out of Battletoads. He can grow ram horns and headbutt his opponent, turn into a wrecking ball, kick with a giant spiky boot, and even call in the infamous speeder bike. While these sounds completely ridiculous, it never feels out of place or strange. I mean, this is a game with robo-dinosaurs and flame cats. Rash has a ton of mobility around the stage. He can zip around the screen using his tongue, though it won't do any damage if it hits the opponent. An added benefit to the tongue is that it will eat projectiles, which in turn helps Rash build meter! The wrecking ball move can also be used to get around the stage, making Rash able to zip and zoop around the screen to keep the opponent on their toes.  My favorite moment so far has been against an Orchid. We were both very low on health, so she starts spamming her fire cats across the stage. Since Rash doesn't have a projectile, I just decided to keep eating hers. Eventually she ran out of Instinct and I was able to use the Shadow version of the Wrecking Ball to seal my victory! The animations and sound prove that this isn't just some ham-fisted nostalgia-fueled cameo done for the money. It's clear that a lot of care was taken when re-creating Rash for the modern era. Going back and forth between Rare Replay's Battletoads and Killer Instinct's Rash is way too seamless. Players can even button mash while fighting to perform a combo, though this isn't super useful. [embed]297480:60011:0[/embed] What needs to change before he's finished: The biggest thing that irks me about Rash is that he only has one linker move, Battering Ram. Every other character has more than that and I expect Rash to by March as well. Rash's trailer seems to have a second linker in the form of a traditional Russian dance, so perhaps we'll see that come March. Other pieces are missing as well, like an actual Ultra, but that's a given for his final version. His throw demonstrated in the reveal trailer has Rash picking up the enemy and moving with them, just like in the original Battletoads, but this is not implemented in the current version.  Rash feels like a great addition to the Killer Instinct cast. If this is how all future cameos are done, then I am all for adding in more. I have a feeling I'm going to go through some intense withdrawal between September and Match without having Rash on the roster.
Rash in Killer Instinct photo
Just give him like, one more linker?
Battletoads is an interesting entity. It's really hard, and everyone knows it. It garnered a big following long after its release and has become more and more infamous over time. Then, the characters appeared in Shovel K...

Rare Replay photo
Rare Replay

Rare Replay is Rare's first UK best seller since the '90s

First top spot since Banjo in 1998
Aug 10
// Laura Kate Dale
Rare Replay has hit number one in the UK games charts, making it the first Rare game to do so since the late '90s. The last Rare game to hit number one in the UK chart was Banjo-Kazooie on the N64, which was released all the ...
Rare Replay photo
Rare Replay

Rare Replay adds 'modern controls' for Jet Force Gemini

It's no longer damn near impossible
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
I hope you're enjoying Rare Replay. I've been methodically playing Trouble in Paradise while also mixing in some of the Nintendo 64 games I missed originally. Blast Corps is one. It's so much fun! Jet Force Gemini is another....
Ori expansion photo
Ori expansion

Ori and the Blind Forest is getting an expansion

For Xbox One and Windows 10
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favorite games on Xbox One. It looks, sounds, and plays magnificently. I'm surprised and delighted it even got made, and that goes double for its commercial success. The game was "already...
HoloLens photo

Microsoft's HoloLens will feature Xbox Live and ID@Xbox support

Four platforms to rule them all
Aug 04
// Laura Kate Dale
With Microsoft's gamescom press conference mere hours away, little bits of news are starting to pop up here and there that it didn't deem worth making part of the main conference. From the looks of it, some additional HoloLen...
The Coalition photo
The Coalition

Gears of War 4 dev canceling its original game for Gears a 'no-brainer'

Job security, I guess
Jul 29
// Steven Hansen
After Microsoft acquired the Gears of War rights, Black Tusk studio was doomed. It was rebranded as The Coalition, a less discrete and more boring name, and will be to Gears of War what 343 is to Halo. Black Tusk had been wo...
Rare Replay trailer photo
Rare Replay trailer

Rare Replay trailer goes the cardboard cutout route

Now I want to play Parappa the Rapper
Jul 24
// Darren Nakamura
Rare Replay is coming out on August 4. That's in less than two weeks! The collection of games from Rare's past 30 years is showing up on Xbox One with some extra nuggets thrown in as well. The trailer above talks about this ...
Early Access photo
Early Access

Xbox One Game Preview lets you play games still in development

Early Access
Jun 15
// Steven Hansen
Xbox One will allow you to "buy and play a selection games while they're still in active development" with a system similar to Steam's Early Access. Unlike Steam, Microsoft mandates each game on the service has a free trial s...
Forza 6 photo
Forza 6

Forza 6 reps American muscle for Xbox One

Leak details confirmed
Jun 15
// Steven Hansen
Microsoft Euro-trashed the pop fun of Forza Horizon with a somber, American muscle-y showing of Forza 6 at its press conference, confirming all the details that leaked last week: "over 450 cars, 1080p60 visuals, 3D puddle effects, night racing, 26 'world-famous' locales, 2-player split screen, 24-player races, and the return of the Drivatar AI system." It releases September 15.
Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

New Rise of the Tomb Raider trailer shows off highly unsafe climbing practices

Full reveal at Microsoft's E3 briefing
Jun 01
// Darren Nakamura
Lara Croft reaches the top of the ice wall after a probably-should-be-dead experience. She has several carabiners attached to her belt. Why didn't she use them on her way up? Granted, it wouldn't have helped if all of her an...
Iron Brigade photo
Iron Brigade

Double Fine gets Iron Brigade rights back from Microsoft

But who owns Trenched?
May 26
// Mike Cosimano
Today, indie developer/publisher Double Fine announced that it had regained the rights to Iron Brigade, a 2011 downloadable title originally published by Microsoft Studios under the name Trenched. From this point on, the game...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct's final Season 2 character is a CEO

Send in the drones
May 08
// Jordan Devore
Season 2 of Killer Instinct gave us a golem, a sorcerer, and a Japanese ghost, among other characters. Who's next? The CEO of UltraTech. ARIA may be an artificial intelligence, but that's not about to stop her from getting ph...
Ori is doing well photo
Ori is doing well

Good vibes: Ori and the Blind Forest is profitable

Moon Studios is one to watch
Apr 09
// Jordan Devore
Oh thank goodness: Ori and the Blind Forest "was already profitable a week after release," according to Moon Studios' Thomas Mahler, and publisher "Microsoft is super happy." Ori wasn't just a delight, it was also something o...
Age of Empires photo
Age of Empires

A new Age of Empires II HD expansion in 2015

What a time to be alive
Apr 09
// Jordan Devore
Two years later, Age of Empires II HD is still going strong. So strong that, according to producer Ryan Chaply, more people have spent 50+ hours with the game than there are actual humans living in Little Rock, Arkansas (~200...
Quantum Break delay photo
Quantum Break delay

Quantum Break slips to 2016

Time extend
Apr 02
// Jordan Devore
Max Payne and Alan Wake maker Remedy has delayed its next major game, Quantum Break. The third-person action title will now bring its slick time manipulation to Xbox One next year. "We thank our fans for their patience," said...
Xbox One & PC photo
Xbox One & PC

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition debut trailer, releases April 28

GOTY 2013, if you don't mention The Last of Us to me
Mar 19
// Stephen Turner
State of Decay was one of those pleasant surprises back in 2013. Sure, the sandbox/RPG-lite horror game was a little rough, but it was an intense experience full of free flow situations, base building, and likable survivors....
Amazing Ori art photo
Amazing Ori art

What a wonderful world: Ori and the Blind Forest

Best-looking game of 2015? Quite possibly
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
After finishing Ori and the Blind Forest, a heartfelt Metroidvania-style adventure for PC and Xbox One, I wondered just how the hell I managed to know so little about it going in. What a thrill. There were moments -- not mere...
Xbox org shuffle photo
Xbox org shuffle

Remember Kudo? He's now looking after a bunch of studios at Microsoft

Yes, yes, I've included the 'WELL BAM!' video
Mar 09
// Jordan Devore
Kudo Tsunoda, the guy who demonstrated Project Natal (now Kinect) at E3 2009, has been off working on Microsoft's crazy holographic headset HoloLens. He's going to keep at that but will also now lead a bunch of Xbox teams, i...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct is getting a multi-faced golem and a 'Ghost Girl'

Available Feb. 27 with the Ultra Edition, March 5 with the Combo Breaker Edition
Feb 20
// Jordan Devore
From a cosmetic perspective, I'm digging this new round of Killer Instinct characters. While the trailer is focused on next week's Aganos, a golem who looks more like a boss than a combatant, there's also a tease at the end for a character everyone seems to be calling "Ghost Girl." I hope that name sticks. Videogames can and should be weird like that sometimes.
Halo 5 changes photo
Halo 5 changes

Player feedback led to these changes in Halo 5

For starters, you can disable Spartan Abilities in custom games
Feb 05
// Jordan Devore
Given the adjustments to the long-running Halo formula present in Halo 5: Guardians, players were bound to be vocal about what they did and didn't like in the multiplayer beta. 343 Industries is incorporating that feedback in...
State of Decay Xbox One photo
State of Decay Xbox One

State of Decay Xbox One remaster hits April 28, upgrade plan detailed

Improved graphics and 'hundreds of smaller improvements'
Jan 20
// Jordan Devore
Oh, right, State of Decay is coming to Xbox One. Rough as it is in spots, the third-person zombie survival game is worth experiencing (though preferably during a Steam sale). Running around town with your crew, fortifying bas...
Ori and the Blind Forest photo
Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest jumps out of the woods and onto your screen on March 11

And looks great while doing it
Jan 20
// Brett Makedonski
At gamescom this year, I found out that Ori and the Blind Forest isn't just a drop-dead gorgeous game; it's also quite the challenging, tight-controlling platformer. In less than two months, everyone can stop taking my ...
Battletoads chatter photo
Battletoads chatter

Microsoft's Ken Lobb discusses Rare IP, mentions Battletoads specifically

While a new game may not currently be in the works, it's not out of the question
Jan 11
// Rob Morrow
Back in November we ran a story on the head of Microsoft's Xbox division Phil Spencer's visit to Rare's offices where he tweeted about having a look at its latest project. This visit, coupled with the filing for the...
Storm Island photo
Storm Island

Forza Horizon 2's first DLC takes places at the ominous Storm Island

Gee, I wonder what happens there
Dec 16
// Brett Makedonski
Forza Horizon 2 shipped this fall with plenty of inclement weather, unlike some other game. Nevertheless, its first add-on centers around even more torrential downpours on the paradisiacal sounding Storm Island. Storm I...

Halo 5: Guardians has left me oddly cold and worried

Nov 10 // Abel Girmay
Halo 5: GuardiansDeveloper: 343 IndustriesPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosRelease: November 2015  From the moment I sat down with Halo 5: Guardians, it was clear that the game has a big focus on player movement. If you thought Halo 4's universal sprint was blasphemous (again, you're wrong), enter a Halo game with ledge climbs, running melee's, air stomps, and slides. All of these new abilities are made possible by your thrust pack. Take the running melee for instance. When doing a normal sprint, your thruster will kick in after a few seconds, sending your spartan into a terminal velocity where your melee becomes a running charge that kills in one hit from the back, and your crouch turns into a slide. The ground pounds are similar to the air stomps in Crysis. To initiate a ground pound, you simply jump, aim by holding down the melee button, and a cursor will appear on any surface below, allowing you to smash down with speed. I do wonder how effective a technique the ground pound will be though, as the entire time you're aiming midair, you hover with the thruster pack, making yourself a painfully obvious target.  In exchange for the extra maneuvers, your shields take a hit, never recharging until you come out of your thrust-fueled abilities. It's quite the trade off, and after more than an hour of play, one that I still hadn't quite gotten the hang of. It feels as if 343 was trying to create some sort trade off between mobility and safety, perhaps even trying to find a middle ground between fans that enjoy sprint and those that long of Halo 3's slower pace. In any case, it led to many instances where I would feel like I was being punished for trying to escape a double team. One of the odder additions has to be the clamber system. Essentially a ledge grab and climb, clambering allows you to vault up platforms that are just out of reach of your standard jump. Playing Slayer on the map Truth, a remake of Midship, I must have killed and been killed three times trying to jump to the platform ring where the energy sword rests, as it was oddly just out of standard jump range. Finally, we had all wised up to the fact that the clamber was necessary to make it to the top. A relatively small, inoffensive change to be sure, but more and more I started to feel its implementation was forced. The issue I had with it is that most platforms that seem within jumping range are always just out of reach. Playing on a brand new map, Empire, I found many situations where I would expect to be able to make a jump, only to fall just short without the clamber mechanic. It created this weird chicken or the egg feeling where I'm not sure if clamber is the solution to a problem, or maps were intentionally designed to justify the mechanics existence. My time playing on Truth seemed to suggest the latter, as having this new ability on a well known map never opened up any new or interesting routes, or ways to interact with the map. For those of you who keep up with NeoGAF and its various leaks, you make have heard that Halo 5 has aim down sights (ADS). Well, yes, it does, and yes, ADS doesn't feel good in Halo. While there is no movement penalty, aiming down does narrow your field of view, as it does in all other games. The problem here is that aiming down is a feature that works best, and only in games where weapons by design are inaccurate from the hip, and guns are meant to kill almost as soon as you can land your cursor over an enemy. Halo games do neither of these things. Losing your field of vision with no significant accuracy gain is redundant, and at worst, I felt the narrow view caused me to lose my beat on an enemy. Frustrating in a game where it takes five head shots on average to score a kill.  So that covers the new mechanics, but what about the modes? Apart from Slayer, the only other mode available was the all new Breakout. In Breakout, you and your team of four take on an opposing team, racing to win five rounds. Each player has one life per round, is without shields (not unlike in SWAT), and starts off with an SMG. Their are only two Battle Rifles and two Assault rifles between eight players. It's quite a tense mode, and like Grifball or Zombies, can make for good bouts of quick fun. After I had finished my 90 minutes with Halo 5: Guardians it was clear that 343 wants this game to be more energetic, faster, and physically dynamic. I fear, however, that in their quest the good people of 343 Industries have changed so much that what's left can not be properly identified as a Halo game. That, in summation, is my problem with Halo 5: Guardians. The sinking pit-of-my-stomach feeling that I left with as I thought to myself, "This is not a Halo game." On a more hopeful note, the upcoming December/January beta the is earliest that a beta has launched in franchise history, and 343 made it very clear they want fans to help them make meaningful changes. So if you have an Xbox One and a copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection (which you should because that game is amazing), participate, be vocal, and keep your fingers crossed for the next year. I know that's what I'll be doing
Halo 5: Guardians photo
Not my granpappy's Halo
I am not opposed to change. While certain circles of Halo fans find it popular to hate Halo 4, I've always appreciated what 343 Industries did with that game. Sprint was a logical next step to character movement, while loadou...

Here's how Halo: Combat Evolved's PC multiplayer looks on Xbox One

Nov 08 // Bill Zoeker
As a little bonus, here's a dumb joke video I made with some of the other footage I captured. [embed]283620:56263:0[/embed]  
I swear to God, if anyone is confused by that headline...
At a recent Xbox event, I got to play a bunch of multiplayer stuff in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. I was caught off guard when we were suddenly dropped into the online multiplayer for Halo: Combat Evolved's PC version,...

Halo 2 documentary photo
Halo 2 documentary

I didn't make it all the way through the Halo 2 documentary

'Remaking the Legend - Halo 2: Anniversary'
Nov 04
// Jordan Devore
343 and Run Studios' hour-long Halo 2: Anniversary documentary is now up on YouTube. I enjoyed the first 20 minutes, a nostalgic look at the original game and its sequel with fun behind-the-scenes tidbits sprinkled throughou...
Halo 2 photo
Halo 2

Halo 2 Anniversary's new cutscenes look so damn good

Well done, Blur
Oct 29
// Jordan Devore
Blur Studio has been killing it lately. You might not know the company by name, but as someone who plays modern videogames you'll surely recognize the company's visual effects. When Halo 2 Anniversary debuts in The Master Ch...
Halo 2 Anniversary photo
Halo 2 Anniversary

I'm down for this Halo 2 Anniversary making-of documentary

'Remaking the Legend'
Oct 20
// Jordan Devore
You may have heard that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will require a 20GB day-one update, but did you also know that there's a documentary for Halo 2 Anniversary, one of the games in this compilation, on the way? (I hope...
Killer Instinct S2 photo
Killer Instinct S2

Killer Instinct Season 2 starts tomorrow with TJ Combo and Maya

I genuinely like the trailer music in this specific setting
Oct 14
// Jordan Devore
Iron Galaxy took over continued development of Killer Instinct for Microsoft following Amazon's acquisition of Double Helix earlier this year. We'll get to see what the studio has come up with starting tomorrow when the firs...

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