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Quarter mile livestream: Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon


I don't got friends...
Mar 27
// Steven Hansen
Are you's all ready to live(stream) your life a quarter mile at a time?! Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, a standalone expansion, is available for free on Xbox One and 360 until April 10. If you download it before...
Free Forza expansion photo
Free Forza expansion

That free Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon 2 is out today


You don't need the base game to play
Mar 27
// Jordan Devore
More free stuff to download on Xbox One and Xbox 360 assuming you get around to nabbing Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious before April 10, at which point the standalone expansion becomes $10. As we said previously,...
F1 photo
F1

F1 2015 coming this June, but only on current gen


Yes, this is a good thing
Mar 26
// Robert Summa
Fans of F1 and actual racing can breathe a sigh of relief regarding two facts about the upcoming F1 2015. One, it will be out this June. And two, it's only going to be on current gen consoles and PC -- that's right, no dumbin...
The Crew photo
The Crew

The Crew is getting a two-hour trial, upgradable to the final version


Go hit the hoad
Mar 25
// Chris Carter
Starting this week, both PS4 and Xbox One owners can go grab a free version of Ubisoft's new open-world racer, The Crew. It's a two-hour trial of sorts, and if you want to buy the full game you can continue your progress. Whi...
Driveclub photo
Driveclub

Driveclub developer hit with layoffs; game now considered a service


So no more MotorStorm then?
Mar 19
// Robert Summa
The life of Driveclub has not been easy. From delays to broken promises, what was to be a flagship title for the PlayStation 4 has become somewhat of a joke -- whether actually deserved or not. And even though we can debate i...
Driveclub photo
Driveclub

Driveclub getting Lamborghini DLC


New cars and tour coming this month
Mar 09
// Laura Kate Dale
Later this month Driveclub is going to be getting some new Lamborghini-themed DLC. The Lamborghini DLC pack, which comes with four new cars and a dedicated tour, is due out at some unspecified time later this month alongside...
Quarter mile at a time photo
Quarter mile at a time

Forza Horizon 2 gets free, standalone Fast & Furious expansion


Free for the first two weeks
Feb 25
// Steven Hansen
Get ready to live your life a quarter mile at a time. An Xbox and Universal partnership has borne Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, a standalone expansion.  Not only do you not need to own the base game to pl...

Review: Harold

Feb 20 // Conrad Zimmerman
Harold (PC)Developer: Moon Spider StudioPublisher: Moon Spider StudioReleased: February 12, 2015MSRP: $19.99 The premise of Harold is centered in a school where angels are trained to become guardians of humanity. For their final exam, students are tasked with safely guiding a human as they race through deadly obstacle courses, working to ensure their human not only survives but is at the head of the pack. Players assume the role of Gabe, a top student who has coasted by on natural talent and needs only to place third in the final exam races to earn a coveted scholarship to Archangel Academy. In a cruel twist, Gabe has been matched up with Harold, a determined but physically inept racer. Where other angels are paired with athletes able to nimbly hop around obstacles, Harold will run straight into them and die without intervention, taking Gabe's hopes of higher education with him. Harold himself isn't so much controlled as he is prompted to act. In the vein of an auto-running platformer, he trundles straight along the path until he's compelled to jump by a button press or sent into a brief sprint with the expenditure of the "Puff Power" collected during the race (also used as extra lives for Harold). A sprint extends the length of a jump, but that's the extent of Harold's physical prowess, far from enough to safely navigate a course alone. To succeed, the player must manage Harold and his environment simultaneously to finish each of the game's twelve races. [embed]287901:57417:0[/embed] Each race is presented as a series of screens which Harold crosses from left to right, typically containing one or more objects that can be moved or manipulated for his benefit. There is considerable variety in environmental objects and how they're interacted with, using different applications of the left analog stick. Platforms can be pushed and pulled, quick flicks bash barriers with a wispy battering ram, and gears turn with rotations. Some objects, like wooden bridges and snare traps, won't stop Harold but offer opportunities to propel him forward more quickly. When multiple objects exist, pulling the triggers allows the player to switch between interactive elements. These objects are not only helpful to Harold, they can be a hindrance to the other racers. Every manipulable object has the potential to disrupt other racers and slow them down while additionally rewarding the player with more Puff Power for sprinting and mishaps of their own.  It's an exercise similar to plate spinning. Under the constant pressure of advancement through the course, the player has to remain mindful of Harold's position to time sprints and jumps, while ensuring that the coming challenges are prepared for his arrival. There is barely enough time to recognize what actions need to be taken before those actions must be performed, which makes it exhilarating to play when some confidence has been gained. As the courses become more difficult and introduce more complex configuration of objects, the game even grants the ability to pan ahead one race segment and get greater lead time on establishing the course. This is yet another plate. Moving ahead means leaving Harold to his own devices until the player returns to the prior screen or Harold catches up, further dividing focus. It also means additional opportunities to create interference for opponents ahead of Harold, which quickly becomes as important as keeping him alive if he's going to finish third or better. It would be horrible to leap into one of these races cold. Certainly, learning the intricacies of a course is one of the great pleasures of a racing game, but Harold is so demanding of the player's focus that running a stage without some knowledge of its contents would probably frustrate most players into quickly quitting. Moon Spider has wisely implemented a progression system which prevents this by putting the player through a practice mode on new stages before the race can be attempted. The practice mode presents the segments of the course individually as exercises, making sure the player can get Harold through each segment while also providing indications of optimal paths achievable by collecting the three stars on each screen. After completing a race, an even more difficult "challenge" mode becomes available for the stage in which Harold must navigate the course and collect stars while running at top speed. If Harold dies in this mode, that's the end of the attempt, making the stages extremely hard. Mastering a stage's challenge mode all but guarantees one has the skill to take first place in a replay of the main race, if desired. Harold is a satisfying challenge, but it may be a little too demanding of accuracy at times. I found rotating actions to be particularly difficult to perform evenly and had frequent issues getting back and forth flicks to register correctly. While I, as the player, am perfectly willing to accept the most responsibility for this, it's worth keeping in mind for the easily frustrated, especially as the game offers no means of reassigning controls nor allows for any input method other than a controller. Harold is also a looker of a game. Employing a hand-drawn animation style, it's bright and colorful, with exquisite detail. The visuals are almost wasted on a game where the player barely has a chance to observe their surroundings. Cutscenes before stages are not nearly as impressive from an animation standpoint, but do enjoy well performed narration and Harold's escalating pre-race mishaps are generally funny. Between its charming premise, beautiful graphics, and demanding gameplay, Harold is a winner in the end. Players who appreciate auto-running platform games should find it to be a fresh approach to the concepts found in such titles and a worthy challenge. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Harold review photo
Divine interference
Moon Spider Studio has released its debut title, Harold, an endearing and challenging race game about the most incompetent runner ever to need protection from a guardian angel. With some quick thinking, quicker thumbs, and an opportunistic eye, players guide the titular Harold to victory against all odds. Who doesn't love an underdog?

THUMPER photo
THUMPER

If this is what a 'rhythm violence' game looks like, I'm all about them


Nominated for Excellence in Audio at the Independent Games Festival
Feb 18
// Jordan Devore
While watching this trailer for THUMPER, a self-described rhythm violence game from current Harmonix artist Brian Gibson and former lead programmer Marc Flury, I didn't want to blink. I also let out a confused "what?" follow...
Spectra photo
Spectra

Race through ten Chipzel songs on a laser track in Spectra


Billed as 'F-Zero meets Audiosurf'
Feb 18
// Darren Nakamura
"F-Zero meets Audiosurf" brings some vivid imagery to mind, but after watching the above trailer, I'm not sure I agree with that tagline for the indie racer Spectra. Sure, it's set to some bumpin' Chipzel tracks, but it look...
Driveclub photo
Driveclub

Upcoming Driveclub car will peel your face off


Not quite ludicrous speed though
Feb 12
// Robert Summa
To tease one of the upcoming cars arriving for Driveclub this month, the developers decided to give us a sneak peak via a video showing off the terrifying speed the unnamed four-wheeled machine can do -- at least 242 mph. You got what it takes to hit that kind of speed and not end up a stain on the road? We'll have to see in the coming weeks.  
Ubisoft photo
Ubisoft

The Crew patch fixes months-old lost stats bug, doesn't return lost stats


Ubisoft
Feb 09
// Steven Hansen
Ubisoft's open world racer The Crew launched in December with a bug that the team couldn't fix over the holidays or also the month of January. It was a big bug, too, what with it randomly erasing players' stats.  Wi...
Drift Stage photo
Drift Stage

PS4, Vita ports locked in for rad racer Drift Stage


It's not too late to get in on the Kickstarter
Feb 04
// Jordan Devore
With a few days left on the Kickstarter for Drift Stage, developer Super Systems Softworks has confirmed that PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita ports will eventually happen for its arcade racer. Expect those to land sometime...
Drive!Drive!Drive! photo
Drive!Drive!Drive!

Drive!Drive!Drive! looks insane, sounds wonderful


Different Cloth announces new multi-track racer
Feb 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Derrick the Deathfin and lilt line developer Different Cloth has announced a new project. It's called Drive!Drive!Drive!, like the Ryan Gosling film if you shouted into an echo chamber. It's a driving game where you race multiple tracks simultaneously. I'm loving that music and violet hue. Expect it to end up on "some platforms at some point in the future."
Forza Horizon 2 photo
Forza Horizon 2

Time to get your Stig on


Forza gets Top Gear love
Feb 03
// Robert Summa
If you're a car junkie, then you should be very familiar with Top Gear. Microsoft is hoping that familiarity will lead to DLC sales as the Forza Horizon 2 Top Gear Car Pack has just been made available to Xbox One racers for $5. Have a look at the list of cars available (including a freebie):
RIDE photo
RIDE

Take a ride with RIDE


Or just ride it out
Jan 27
// Robert Summa
As a daily rider, when I first heard a game like RIDE was announced, I got a little excited. Not too excited, but just a little. Sometimes I need a virtual motorcycle fix and that's just not easy to get in a car-dominated ra...
Forza Motorsport 6 photo
Forza Motorsport 6

Microsoft announces Forza 6...with a nice, stationary model of a Ford GT


Forza Motorsport 6
Jan 12
// Steven Hansen
Forget the Euro-dynamism and great soundtrack of Forza Horizon. Microsoft and Turn 10 have announced Forza Motorsport 6, baby!  Look at that well-modeled Ford GT, Forza 6's "cover car." Look at it. Look at it again. Exc...
Hidden Nintendo song photo
Hidden Nintendo song

Hidden 'Totaka's Song' discovered in Mario Kart 8


You sly dog
Jan 12
// Jordan Devore
Composer Kazumi Totaka has been hiding this tune in Nintendo games for over two decades now. While some of us will best recognize "Totaka's Song" from Mario Paint, it has turned up in titles like Link's Awakening, Luigi's Ma...
Kickstarter photo
Kickstarter

Drift Stage looks and plays like a love letter to classic arcade racing games


I haven't felt this compelled to share a Kickstarter in quite a while
Jan 09
// Jordan Devore
One look at Drift Stage in motion -- a few quick seconds into its main theme song -- and it's love. This is a racing game for PC/Mac with one hell of an art direction currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. The pitch isn't...
Joe Danger photo
Joe Danger

Tearaway is back with a cameo in Joe Danger 2 for PS Vita


Forget Steve from Minecraft, play as Atoi or Iota instead
Jan 07
// Jordan Devore
Before No Man's Sky, there was Joe Danger 2, a lovable side-scrolling racing/platform game about a motorbike-riding daredevil. After appearing on Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3, the game is now primed for its PS Vita debut, ...
More F-Zero, maybe photo
More F-Zero, maybe

Miyamoto thinks F-Zero needs a 'new type of controller interface'


We'd be fine without it, all the same
Jan 06
// Jordan Devore
In a recent appearance on Smosh Games (interview starts at 4:35), Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto touched on a range of topics, including the future of F-Zero and Pikmin. The famed designer gave a concise update on the latter se...

Review: The Crew

Dec 22 // Brittany Vincent
The Crew (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed])Developer: Ivory Tower, Ubisoft ReflectionsPublisher: UbisoftReleased: December 2, 2014MSRP: $59.99 The Crew was arresting ever since I became entangled within its narrative, which is surprisingly gripping for the genre. Its deliciously cheesy and lightweight criminal protagonist’s plight gave me something to shoot for: revenge. Kyuss’ “Demon Cleaner” blared from my television as I burned rubber to tail the dirty FBI agent who murdered Alex Taylor’s brother, years after his being framed. With the law on my side, I was absolutely ready to exact my sweet, sweet revenge by working my way to the top of the gangs who put me away and took my brother from me. Sure, it’s cliched. You’ve heard this story before, namely within the realm of Need for Speed and its ilk, but I didn’t care. I related to it. I probably would have done much of the same given the situation. So I couldn’t have cared less who I was playing as after The Crew motivated me to drive cross-country in-game, winning races, delivering cars, and taking out leaders in the name of justice along the way. [embed]285043:56708:0[/embed] That’s why with all of its shortcomings I was able to genuinely sit back, relax, and enjoy The Crew. Most importantly, I did it without the influence or necessity of other people. And looking back on my time with the game now, like in real life, other people would only have tainted what I was able to accomplish. Let’s get down to brass tacks, though. The bread and butter of any racer is of course car mechanics, and there’s a comfortable mix of arcade-style handling with simulation-styled controls. You can alter the controls to your liking so it feels more familiar and workable, but for the most part the game is quite forgiving, even if you tend to bump into that car in front of you or the signpost on the side of the road. This actually tends to work in your favor, especially during timed events where clipping a guard rail and spinning out in another game could mean the difference between starting the race over entirely and losing a couple of seconds. All of the cars have a very basic “stock” feel to them in the beginning, which you can liken to the very same feeling arcade racers pack. You’ll need to tune them accordingly before they begin to feel more like wieldy vehicles, and this is done by purchasing additional upgrades with points earned throughout the game as you progress. There’s a robust if uninspired system in place to ensure your earnings are tracked in every way they can be, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to earn additional points here and there to make your muscle car or humble sedan roadworthy. But without somewhere to drive, where would we be in a racer? The vast open world of The Crew is its biggest asset, and despite the dozens of missions and races you can drive to from the start of the game, you’ll undoubtedly spend most of your time checking out the U.S. countryside, just like a virtual road trip. You can hit up Manhattan and check out the Rocky Mountains with no loading times between, spending hours upon hours exploring every little nook and cranny the game has to offer. Sprinkled throughout the countryside are a smattering of missions you can complete, ranging from a couple of minutes long to a few hours. You might spend some time speeding through gates for experience. In another area you might be charged with delivering a car as a gift for one of the gang members’ contacts. There’s always something to do, even if a good part of it consists of single-player missions that are best enjoyed alone. That’s where things get a little confusing. Unfortunately, Ubisoft opted for the boneheaded decision to force The Crew players to remain online at all times to play this game. Effectively, that makes it a racing MMORPG, given the fact that experience is earned through said missions and whatnot. That also means other players are sharing the map with you at any given time. Luckily, you aren’t forced to get buddy buddy with others in order to complete missions and progress, though if you want to reach out, you can form your own crews to conquer instances you just can’t best. You can even reach out at any time to complete a mission with a second player, which can get you through some pretty tight spots. If either player wins, both participants receive experience, which makes playing with others a lucrative offer. But what really happens is a flood of notifications declaring that RiffRaff420blAzEiT wants to race against you, or YesImAGirlPlayingAVideoGame wants to complete a mission together. In more congested areas you’ll find that everyone just wants in on the multiplayer experience, which only got worse as the days piled up after release date. Some might find this an alright problem to have, given the fact that online-only games need their players to participate. But as someone who prefers to play solo, period, it was tiring and jarring, especially since I wished only to spin the narrative of my choosing, and that was being a lone wolf on a cross-country journey to avenge my brother. I didn’t want anyone getting in the way. Of course, for the review’s sake, I had to participate in multiplayer events, which worked quite smoothly. It can still be difficult at times to find players for races or assistance (if that’s your kind of thing) but I didn’t have any issues establishing or maintaining a connection once I made the decision to. It’s a helpful addition when and if you choose to take advantage of it, but if all you’re concerned with is a solo career as a driver, you’ll want to turn notifications off and speed through the desert on your lonesome. Unfortunately, sometimes the solo grind can be difficult. Unless you challenge nearly every mission you come across and rack up the experience points, you won’t have reached the best level at which you can best your competition. This will call for an abundance of experience farming, which does tend to give a “homework” sort of feel to the game at some points, but with so many places to explore, you can take it one play session at a time. No need for rushing — you’ve got the whole of the the States to explore. With an insanely large world it had to be assumed there would be at least some sort of hit in visual fidelity as well, and while the game looks competent at least in the current-gen department, it’s not as great-looking as it could have been. The trade-off for minimal load times and such an expansive world more than makes up for it, however, and visually impressive cut scenes prove time was spent on making characters and cars impressive where the effort could be more concentrated. The Crew offers you the entire countryside to explore solo or with friends (or strangers), plenty of cars, customization options, and a narrative that extends a purpose beyond “being the best” to get your motor running. Ubisoft’s familiar structural pitfalls like microtransactions, online-only play, and other trappings hinder rather than enhance, but those things have become par for the course by now. Thankfully, they don’t mar the overall experience, and that was an overtly positive one for me. I don’t need a crew to cruise downtown Chicago or the west coast. I was just fine going it alone. And if you settle in for a few hours and let the game take you, I surmise you will be, too. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
The Crew review photo
Me and my crew, we swaggin' in the room
A great racer to me doesn’t focus on an abundance of customization options or entire garages of cars. It doesn’t even serve up solid multiplayer modes or an interesting soundtrack. It keeps me playing. And let me ...

Shovel Knight photo
Shovel Knight

What the butt? Shovel Knight is in Road Redemption


He's coming to the Steam Early Access game today
Dec 22
// Jordan Devore
Shovel Knight's surprise appearance in Road Rash spiritual successor Road Redemption seems like the result of the developers meeting over drinks, someone throwing out a wild idea, and no one being sober enough to interject. Then again, this is the studio responsible for butt mode. Bless 'em.
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...
Action Henk photo
Action Henk

I played Super Mario Bros.' World 1-1 as fat Sonic in Action Henk


Too many chili dogs
Dec 16
// Jordan Devore
If there's a level editor, World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros. will find a way. But before I get to that, there's a more pressing matter: fat action figures dressed up like Sonic the Hedgehog. Yes, we could use more of those in ...
Distance Early Access photo
Distance Early Access

Survival racer Distance available now on Early Access, also coming to PS4


Refract's take on the racing genre has left me impressed
Dec 13
// Rob Morrow
Distance, the neon-soaked spiritual successor to the popular freeware racing title Nitronic Rush is now available to test drive on Steam Early Access. For those interested, you can pick it up for a l...
Mario Kart 8 photo
Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8's TV app no longer broken


Wii U System Update 5.3.1
Dec 02
// Chris Carter
Mario Kart 8 has definitely passed the honeymoon test. It's still a staple with my group of friends, and the sheer number of tracks will likely ensure that over time, it will be my most played Mario Kart ever -- tha...
The Crew photo
The Crew

Ubisoft informs everyone of The Crew's review process and it's not great


Just be patient
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
Only a few weeks removed from the kerfuffle surrounding both the Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed Rogue reviews and embargoes, Ubisoft is opening up about exactly how The Crew's review process will go. Th...
Driveclub photo
Driveclub

Maybe Evolution should focus on getting Driveclub to work instead of free DLC


Driveflub
Nov 21
// Brett Makedonski
We're rapidly approaching the two-month anniversary of Evolution Studios' Driveclub's release. What makes this significant is that the multiplayer component of the game doesn't consistently work. Two. Months. Later. We won't ...
F-Zero photo
F-Zero

Mario Kart 8's take on Mute City recreated in F-Zero X


But can we go deeper?
Nov 19
// Jordan Devore
Mute City is my favorite DLC track in Mario Kart 8. Like, it's not even close. Nintendo doesn't seem all that interested in making a new F-Zero, but at least we have dedicated fans out there keeping the series alive. Take th...

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