hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Xbox

Ultimate Game Sale photo
Ultimate Game Sale

Xbox has another Ultimate Game Sale up its sleeve


Deals galore!
Feb 17
// Brett Makedonski
There's a tiny niche audience of consumers that love both buying things and doing it at a discount. Seriously, just the smallest sliver on a Venn diagram. Still, Microsoft's doing its best to cater to that sub-section with an...
The Witcher 2 photo
The Witcher 2

Today is your last day to grab The Witcher 2 and D4 for free


On Xbox platforms
Jan 31
// Chris Carter
Microsoft's Games With Gold promotion actually isn't too bad anymore, but this month's offerings are on their way out. MX vs. ATV Alive is already gone, but you still have time to get The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings on...
Bitcoin photo
Bitcoin

Microsoft now accepts bitcoin for Windows and Xbox purchases


Trendy
Dec 11
// Brett Makedonski
We get it; you're a hip cat. You got some of those bitcoins to your name. You also have a Microsoft account for purchasing content from the Windows and Xbox stores. The latter isn't so much because you're cool; it's because o...
The Game Awards photo
The Game Awards

Xbox isn't revealing anything at The Game Awards 2014


Sometimes no news is news
Dec 02
// Brett Makedonski
There are a few dates every year that we can bank on new videogames being revealed. The first couple days of E3 are the best for this. However, in recent years, the annual December videogames awards show has proven to hold it...
Halo 2 documentary photo
Halo 2 documentary

The Halo 2: Anniversary documentary arrives on October 31


Not so spooky
Oct 27
// Chris Carter
While the Halo: The Master Chief Collection gears up for a November release, 343 Industries and Microsoft have prepared a full documentary explaining the development process for the remastering of Halo 2. Halo 2 is...
Xbox Music photo
Xbox Music

Xbox Music's free trial period has come to an end


A lot of you out there are probably wondering what this is
Oct 24
// Chris Carter
If you've been using the Xbox Music service for a while now, prepare to be disappointed -- the service is ceasing as a free offer as of December 1st, 2014. Previously the music streaming app was available for free with ads, b...
Deals with Gold photo
Deals with Gold

This week's Xbox Live deals take you out to the ballgame and racetrack


Everyone, please focus your attention on Burnout Paradise
Oct 21
// Brett Makedonski
Just in time for the start of the Fall Classic (Go Royals!), Microsoft has slashed prices on Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions of R.B.I. Baseball '14, discounting both down to $9.99. With all that saved money, you could buy a ti...
Rogue Squadron photo
Rogue Squadron

Factor 5's canceled Rogue Squadron compilation sounds incredible


There was also going to be a multiplayer Rogue Squadon
Oct 10
// Jordan Devore
As if we don't have enough canceled Star Wars games to mourn already, here's a couple more. During a recent Nintendo Voice Chat appearance, Factor 5 president Julian Eggebrecht opened up about a Rogue Squadron compilation and...
 photo

Disney Fantasia Music Evolved demo is out


Try it out!
Oct 10
// Dale North
I believe that Harmonix's Disney Fantasia Music Evolved is one of those games you'll have to experience for yourself to really get. You can read our previews and get some idea of how it made us feel, but I really think that t...

Review: Forza Horizon 2

Sep 25 // Brett Zeidler
Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Playground Games (Xbox One) / Sumo Digital (Xbox 360) / Turn 10Publisher: Microsoft StudiosReleased: September 30, 2014MSRP: $59.99 (Xbox One) / $49.99 (Xbox 360) If you're familiar with the first Forza Horizon, you'll feel right at home. The Horizon Festival is taking place again, except this time it's all the way over in southern Europe by way of France and Italy. Your role is, yet again, to become the top Horizon racer by collecting different colored wristbands as you win championships and work your way up the ladder. Your progress is tracked a couple different ways. Obviously an overall level is raised by completing activities, and every level gives you one Wheelspin. The Wheelspin is a slot machine that either gives you a credit payout or a free car. I've gotten some sweet rewards from this thing. Tracking your progress is really easy with a win/loss ratio, but in Horizon it's all about how cool you look while doing all this. Drifting, near misses, getting air, and destroying things in the world can all add to a skill chain if done in a row. After accruing up a certain amount of points, these unlock skill points that can be spent on perks. Everyone loves perks. These are pretty standard, and increase things like bonuses, XP, or unlock certain abilities that make life easier.  There's a couple characters that interact with you over the course of the game; Ben and Ashley. Ben is the guy. He's the type of guy everyone wants to know, party with, and, in Horizon 2, he's that guy everyone wants to drive with. He's the guy leading the Horizon Festival, after all. Be prepared to hear him say "mate" at the end of every single race. I promise it gets funny eventually. Ultimately, he ends up helping the player learn the mechanics of the game, suggesting where they should go next, and even hooks them up with new rides every once in awhile. Ashley is the mechanic that fixes up all those new rides, and that's all she's really present for outside of being a support character. As far as story and character development goes, that's as in-depth as it gets in Horizon 2. That's really all one expects from a racing game, anyway. It's non-intrusive (nor over the top) to -- and provides a good foundation for -- the real focus: racing. Forza Horizon 2 doesn't attempt to shake up the tried-and-true racing formula. The championship event races break down into one of two types: beat everyone to the finish line in one long sprint or in a traditional lap-based race. Instead of structural variety, Horizon instead relies on locale and visual variety to keep players interested. This was totally the right call. Forza Motorsport 5 was already a visual treat, but the heavily modified engine used in Horizon 2 is absolutely breathtaking. All of the 200-something cars are painstakingly detailed (interiors and all) as always, and are convincingly true-to-life. Southern Europe features back country, densely packed urban areas, coast towns, and everything in-between. It's a very, very big world that's incredibly open and just begs to be explored. For the first time, Forza now has a dynamic weather system. Truly, this is the standout visual element in the game. Sunsets and sunrises are amazing, and never look the same as the cloud placement/density changes their appearance every single time. At any moment, thick clouds could fill an entirely blue sky and, suddenly, there's a downpour of rain. Radio personalities will also comment on this when it happens, which is also pretty cool the first few times it happens. This isn't just a visual trick either, as rain will puddle up in the roads, bead up on the cars (and windshields), and create slick conditions. The visual effect on the windshield is particularly jaw-dropping; light will refract off of each individual bead of rain and cause visual interference just as it does in real life. Windshield wipers will automatically clear the windshield, and will leave a line of water wherever their turn radius ends. You have never seen something like this done in a racing game before, and it's something you really need to see for yourself. In motion, everything comes together to create one of the best-looking titles out there right now. Horizon 2 runs in full 1080p at 30 frames per second, never dipping below that. Some may have an issue with a racing game running at 30 FPS, but it's honestly no problem here. Everything runs incredibly smooth and feels perfectly responsive. If I wasn't told it ran at that frame rate, I would've been none-the-wiser. Having a vast, detailed world can still feel empty fairly quickly if there's not a lot to do, and thankfully Horizon 2 does not come up short in activities to partake in. Outside of over 150 championship events, there are Showcase events, barn finds, Bucket List activities, speed traps, and online modes. Showcases have the player up against some type of machinery (not a car) in a head-to-head race. They're easily the craziest out of all the events, and, despite being blatant smoke and mirrors, created some of the most memorable moments in the game. Since there's so few of them, I won't spoil any of the surprise. Definitely be on the lookout for these every few championship events. Barn finds are nothing new, and still task the player with finding an old, rusted-out vehicles in abandoned barns around the map. They're actually pretty difficult to find. I found an army jeep in one of them, which felt particularly silly to bring into a racing event, but things like that fit right in with the rest of Horizon. It's just a fun atmosphere. Bucket List activities are pretty straightforward as well. These also involve finding cars around the map, placed on the side of roads. However, these cars are usually the best in the game and give a taste of what they're like by completing small activities in them (with varying degrees of difficulty). Speed traps are simply just cameras that radar how fast you're going on a particular road. Sometimes I'd try and beat my personal best on these over and over before I realized I spent a good twenty minutes doing this. At any point, two button clicks will take you to the online lobby system. No menu navigating or lobby juggling needed, as it just works within the game and brings you together with strangers or friends in the full game world. You can participate in road trips, championship events, or explore parts of the map together. It's the type of thing where the structured events are certainly fun, but I imagine the community coming up with pick-up games that add to the multiplayer's longevity. The avoidance of too much menu navigation extends into the rest of the game as well. If you have a Kinect hooked up, a digital personal assistant named ANNA can take your commands and make life a whole lot easier. ANNA allows you to just about play the entire game without ever using a menu of your own doing. Say you know you just want to do the next championship event -- you can have ANNA set the GPS navigator to take you to whichever one is nearest. She'll also provide suggestions of things to do occasionally, or you can just outright ask her what it is she thinks you should do next. This system creates a nice flow, and truly enhances the experience. It's the perfect use of the Kinect. I'm all about a stellar soundtrack, and Horizon 2 nails it. There's something to be said about driving a Lamborghini through a super dense field somewhere over 150 mph, barely able to see, with Chvrches is playing in the background. A soundtrack where Chromeo, The Clash, or Thee Oh Sees are just as likely to play as Vilvaldi, Schubert, or Tchaikovsky excites me like nothing else. Playground Games really knows how to make a road trip playlist. With the original Forza Horizon, we were a little disappointed in the frequency and length of the loading screens. Unfortunately, that's still the case here. Again, the loading screens aren't overwhelmingly long, but they appear before and after every single race. All that time adds up to quite a lot. It's understandable that they're there, but I could've done with less of them. If you were a fan of the original or its simulator brother, there's no reason to pass up Horizon 2. It's simulation enough to not lose longtime fans, while easing the realistic driving just enough to allow new players to jump in and not feel like the car physics are working against them the whole time. Every element in Forza Horizon 2 adds up to an exceptional experience. The story isn't over the top so as to get in the way of racing, driving feels as good as it ever did in Forza Motorsport, there's a ton of things to do, and the game looks absolutely beautiful -- especially the long-awaited dynamic weather system. Forza Horizon 2 is a must-have on the Xbox One.
Forza Horizon 2 review photo
Good racing, mate
The original Forza Horizon impressed us back in 2012 with its ability to incorporate what we already loved about Forza Motorsport into an absolutely massive open-world sandbox racing game, while not completely ditching its si...

Deals with Gold photo
Deals with Gold

Xbox discounts Spider-Man, 1001 Spikes, and a lot of Mass Effect DLC


For Gold subscribers only
Sep 23
// Brett Makedonski
As part of this week's Deals with Gold promotion, Microsoft's slashing prices by a third across three Xbox One games. Web-slinging Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($40.19), shadowy noir Contrast ($10.04), and death s...
Xbox TGS lineup photo
Xbox TGS lineup

Microsoft's TGS lineup includes few Japanese games


'Why doesn't Xbox sell in Japan?' asked nobody ever.
Sep 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Microsoft has revealed its Tokyo Game Show lineup, and one has to wonder how much it will resonate the crowd next week at the Makuhari Messe convention center. Japan has never embraced the Xbox brand, largely due to a lack of software designed to appeal to the local market, and a slate of titles like this doesn't figure to bring about a sea change.
Stop. Just. Stop. photo
Stop. Just. Stop.

DDoS attackers now tied to Xbox Live outages


Group claiming responsibility for PSN issues is at it again
Aug 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Xbox Live users are now reporting intermittent sign-in issues, and the group claiming responsibility for today's PlayStation Network attacks and bomb threat is again taking credit. Microsoft seems to be aware of the...
ID@Xbox photo
ID@Xbox

Xbox is shuttling PAX-goers to the Microsoft campus to play indie games


Pre-PAX
Aug 21
// Brett Makedonski
If you're going to be in Seattle next week for PAX Prime, Xbox is giving you the opportunity to get your hands on some games before the convention even begins. Bonus perks are you get to ride in the Sunset Overdrive bus,...
360 HDD photo
360 HDD

Microsoft unveils Xbox 360 500GB Hard Drive


Yep, Xbox 360
Aug 20
// Chris Carter
Microsoft has revealed a new accessory for the Xbox 360 -- the 500GB Hard Drive. Yep, that's 360, not "One," as the prior generation is getting the upgrade here. It'll cost $110 for the privilege, although no release date out...

The Halo Channel is a huge indicator of Microsoft's plans for the franchise

Aug 14 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]279449:55232:0[/embed] Videogames aren't just about playing games anymore. They're about being an inclusive experience through all methods of media consumption. They're a service. That's unabashedly apparent with The Halo Channel. It's an easy prospect for skeptics to guffaw at, but anyone that wants to be immersed in everything Halo would be hard-pressed to find a better place to do it. Microsoft's branding the channel as an "interactive digital network." All of those claims are true. 343 Industries is putting an emphasis on two-way communication -- not only can it deliver its message to you, but you can deliver your message to it and all of your social contacts. After all, conversation helps things grow; it's how a stagnant experience turns into a talking point. Maybe the key to The Halo Channel is the balance of passive and active activities for users. The active ones are obvious, but still somewhat nuanced. Want to simply play Halo? Hop into a game from the network's hub. Watching a match and fancy some multiplayer of your own? The exact game type that you were viewing can be instantly set up, turning you from a spectator to a player in seconds. However, it's the passive aspect of The Halo Channel that will really justify its existence. The channel will boast a video on-demand service along with a continuous rotation of programs. Microsoft's keen on producing a lot of unique video content that strengthens the Halo lore, so there's sure to be no shortage of shows to watch. With the videogame industry putting more and more emphasis on eSports all the time, 343's direction with The Halo Channel might be a good indicator of its approach to the subject with regard to Halo. 343 producer Kiki Wolfkill explained that the studio's "doubling down" on Halo as a spectator sport. Twitch will be integrated to the channel so players can watch matches at any time, and as mentioned previously jump into similar matches at a moment's notice. When asked what 343's future plans for Halo as a competitive eSport are, the team sort of dodged the question, but remarked that Halo 2 would be well-suited for that kind of thing. Whatever happens with all aspects of the franchise in the future, The Halo Channel is 343 and Microsoft's way of ensuring that fans stay invested and interested in the present. It'll be fairly easily accessible, as it's coming to Xbox One and Windows 8 devices soon, with plans to release on Windows phones sometime down the line. It might be an ambitious project for a singular brand, but if there's one in Xbox's arsenal worthy of the honor, it's Halo. And, if it's as simple, streamlined, and packed with content as it looked to be during the presentation, Halo fans won't need to go anywhere else to get their fix.
Halo Channel photo
Games as a service
Xbox's flagship franchise isn't something that Microsoft's going to stray from anytime soon. Why would it? If there was any doubt about Halo's lasting appeal, it was dashed with the E3 reveal of Halo: The Master Chief Collect...

Xbox at gamescom photo
Xbox at gamescom

Xbox has 'big reveals' planned for its trip to gamescom


Starting with Call of Duty multiplayer
Aug 01
// Brett Makedonski
If its word is to be believed, Xbox is going to take advantage of its time at the world's biggest videogame convention. When gamescom hits (and in the days leading up to it), Microsoft will hold a handful of events where rev...
Atari: Game Over photo
Atari: Game Over

Game Over: Stories of E.T. and industry failures uncovered in new trailer


Documentaries are the best
Jul 28
// Brett Makedonski
You ever hear of game developers living like rock stars? That's what Atari was doing back in the '80s when it was on top of the world. Then E.T. happened, and well, it all went wrong very quickly. As part of Xbox's...
Xbox sale photo
Xbox sale

This week's Xbox Deals with Gold sale has Wolfenstein cheap(er)


There sure are a lot of guns this week
Jul 15
// Brett Makedonski
Even though Microsoft just ended its summer's Ultimate Games Sale, it's not content to simply cease offering discounts altogether. Everything with a gun must go, apparently -- leading to some pretty decent prices on both Xbox...
Xbox sale photo
Xbox sale

Xbox sale: BioShock Infinite, Peggle 2, Painkiller


Final day!
Jul 14
// Brett Makedonski
Here we are, the final day of this Xbox 360 sale. It's like last call at the bar, your mind just a little blurry from one too many vodka tonics, and that damn Semisonic song just came on over the speakers. You know you're goi...
Xbox sale photo
Xbox sale

Xbox sale: South Park, Peggle, Left 4 Dead 2


Peggle's kind of timeless
Jul 12
// Brett Makedonski
No, it's not Xbox 360 newcomer Peggle 2, and yeah, Left 4 Dead 2's pretty old at this point. And anyone that's interested in Madden 25 would probably be better served by waiting for the next iteration in the franchi...
Xbox sale photo
Xbox sale

Xbox sale: GTA V, Need for Speed Rivals, Crysis 3


That's more like it
Jul 11
// Brett Makedonski
We're about halfway through the Xbox Ultimate Games Sale, and the daily deals are really starting to heat up. While Grand Theft Auto V is the most high-profile of the bunch, the rest are no slouches. The likes of Need fo...
Xbox sale photo
Xbox sale

Xbox sale: Garden Warfare, Assassin's Creed Liberation, Black Ops II


Shoot, shoot, stab
Jul 10
// Brett Makedonski
On the third day of Xbox's Ultimate Games Sale, you can pick up two games that are relatively new to the platform. Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is probably the most enticing, but don't sleep on the Xbox 360 HD port...
 photo

Cuphead, Plague Inc. Evolved, Threes, more coming to Xbox One


Microsoft shows off ID@Xbox games
Jun 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
[Update: More games reconfirmed or announced, plus loads of trailers added.] Microsoft just showed off some of the additional ID@Xbox games we can expect from indie developers. Of note are Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Cu...
 photo

Assassin's Creed Unity to have four-player co-op


Gameplay debut
Jun 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Ubisoft just showed off gameplay for Assassin's Creed Unity for the first time, and as part of the reveal they announced that there will be four-player co-op. This is the "biggest playground ever. Hundreds of quests, ac...
 photo

Xbox signs more than 45 new apps


Now up to 225 apps worldwide
Jun 04
// Dale North
Microsoft sends word that they've announced more than 45 new apps for Xbox One and Xbox 360 globally today. Their plan is to get the entertainment stuff out of the way to make E3 all about games.  They're now up to a to...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Xbox One's free Games with Gold are now available to download


Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault
Jun 03
// Brett Makedonski
We've known for a little while now that Xbox One was finally going to be included in Microsoft's continuing Games with Gold program beginning in the month of June. We just didn't know when in June that was going to take effec...
Reading Rainbow photo
Reading Rainbow

Reading Rainbow wants to fly to consoles like PlayStation and Xbox


Take a look, it's on a console
May 30
// Brett Makedonski
Confession time: Ever since the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter was announced earlier this week, we've been looking for a reason to write about it. It's a formative relic of our youths, how could we not want to discuss it? With ...
Dark Souls photo
Dark Souls

Friendly reminder: Dark Souls is free on Games with Gold first of June


I've heard some people like that game
May 30
// Brett Makedonski
It's about that time of month when Microsoft clears its throat and lets everyone know what the upcoming titles in the Games with Gold program are going to be. But, it's already done that earlier in May, and Jordan already tol...
Xbox photo
Xbox

Microsoft CEO says Xbox is sticking around


Against the wishes of investors
May 28
// Brett Makedonski
One of the trendiest rumors surrounding Xbox these past few months was the potential for Microsoft to either sell off the brand or kill it all together. Microsoft's CEO took the opportunity this week to put that rumor to rest...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter?
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -