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Windows 10 is now available, these are the gaming features you might care about

Jul 29 // Jed Whitaker
The start menu is back and why are we celebrating this!? A big complaint about Windows 8 was the removal of the basic start menu for the Metro system with live tiles, tailor made for touch screen devices. As most of us probably still use Windows with a mouse and keyboard it wasn't a great solution. It had some apps running in basically their own full screen only windows, thus defeating the purpose of... you know... windows. Thankfully Windows 10 fixes this by combining the old school easy-to-use start menu with the flash and flair of live tiles from Windows 8 Metro start menu. The apps now launch in their own resizable windows instead of full screen only, and plenty of them can be downloaded from the Windows Store for free. Windows Store for those of you who haven't heard of Steam The Windows Store includes plenty of games you can play with your Xbox Live friends and even earn Achievements, but most of them are just ports of casual mobile or Facebook-style games. However, you can find Project Spark on the Windows Store, which runs far better on PC than Xbox One. In the future you can look forward to the sexy free-to-play Gigantic which I quite liked at PAX East this year. Halo's Cortana is the new voice assistant you'll most likely ignore Cortana is to Windows as Siri is to iOS devices, that is to say she is a personal assistant that can be used via text or voice. Cortana is voiced by Jen Taylor, just like in the Halo series, and can do all kinds of tasks such as scheduling appointments, setting reminders, opening apps, and even chatting about Halo and Master Chief. I honestly haven't used Cortana too much but I don't really dig voice assistants, as they don't always seem to understand what I'm saying; even Cortana had trouble understanding me while using my professional grade microphone. Even on my iPhone I've literally only used Siri to call Buffalo Wild Wings instead of adding them to my contact list because I'm too lazy. Voice assistants seem more geared towards business than common folk like me. The Xbox app with game streaming from Xbox One is actually decent The Xbox app is free on Windows 10 and gives you access to all your friends, messages, achievements, clips and even allows you to stream games from  your Xbox One. Streaming from the Xbox One requires an Xbox controller (360 or One) be connected to the system which at time of writing can only be done via USB, though a wireless dongle is coming. The Xbox app also allows you to record gameplay and take screenshots of any game on your PC, whether playing on Xbox or not via a handy keyboard shortcut (Win + G) and pop-up toolbar. Game streaming works about as well as you'd imagine. I just played a match of Halo 2's SWAT -- a game mode requiring precision aiming due to requiring headshots for kills -- in which I came in the middle of the pack with over ten kills. There was a smidgen of noticeable lag at one point, but not enough to really affect the gameplay enough to matter. Video quality-wise there was a bit of artifacting but only if I really looked for it, even with both my desktop and Xbox One running on wired connections. Also the "Xbox record that" voice command won't work during streaming, so you'll have to use Xbox apps keyboard shortcut to record directly onto your PC that way. Supposedly better performance out of your current graphics card with DirectX 12 To save you all the geeky technical talk just know that DirectX 12 allows many graphics cards to have majorly increased performance in comparison to previous versions, meaning you might be able to play at higher resolutions with better settings on your current setup. For more details check out this informative video from AMD.  I personally haven't seen much real world increase in graphical performance, but I'm running on an Nvidia GTX 980 that could already max out all the games I was playing on Windows 8 previously. Perhaps you'll see some gains? Minecraft: Windows 10 beta is a thing that exists If you are one of those people who must have every version of Minecraft possible then good news, you can get the Windows 10 beta for free if you already own a PC copy of the game. Details on how to get the beta are at the Mojang site. I just attempted to do it and it is only allowing me to download the trial version, so your results may vary. This version of Minecraft allows you to play with up to seven of your Xbox Live friends at once and eventually even play with mobile players. I guess that is probably exciting for someone.  -- Windows 10 has plenty of other new features, most of which just let you do what you'd normally do more efficiently such as new ways to snap windows, a new task view, automatic updates, and the Microsoft Edge web browser that is probably the fastest browser currently on the market. Edge doesn't currently support extensions, which is keeping me from switching from Google Chrome at the moment. I've been using Windows 10 on my main system for quite a while now with no issues and with all my games and applications working as intended. Windows 10 is easily the best operating system I've ever used as it allows me to play, work, and relax more efficiently and effectively. It has been worthwhile for me.
Best Windows yet? photo
Pizzazz, pizzazz, Windows 10 is here
Windows 10 is now officially available, and those who have Windows 7 or 8 can upgrade for free, which is a pretty good price for what I consider the best version of Windows yet. Windows 10 packs a bunch of new features, including some nice extras for Xbox One owners. Here is an overview of new features you might care about as someone who plays games.

The Destructoid Xbox One Game File Size Guide

Apr 29 // Brett Makedonski
GameFile Size 1001 Spikes 235.82MB Alien: Isolation 24.41GB The Amazing Spider-Man 2 9.89GB Angry Birds Star Wars 1.81GB Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition 267.8MB Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China 3.25GB Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag 22.29GB Assassin's Creed Unity 39.36GB Battlefield 4 37.1GB Battlefield: Hardline 45.33GB Blue Estate 4.14GB Boom Ball for Kinect 506.32MB Borderlands 2 23.34GB Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel 13.84GB Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 48.97GB Call of Duty: Ghosts 42.21GB CastleStorm 641.14MB Chariot 2.69GB Child of Light 2.31GB Contrast 1.94GB Costume Quest 2 1.11GB The Crew 15.97GB Crimson Dragon 6.83GB D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die 8.81GB Dance Central Spotlight 1.4GB Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin 12.2GB Dead or Alive 5: Last Round 9.4GB Dead Rising 3 26.9GB Defense Grid 2 1.44GB Destiny 24.2GB Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition 31.55GB Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved 5.88GB Disney Infinity [2.0] 9.61GB Divekick: Addition Edition 3.6GB DmC: Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition 20.09GB Don Bradman Cricket 2.26GB Dragon Age: Inquisition 41.96GB Dragon Ball Xenoverse 9.89GB Duck Dynasty 8.93GB Dying Light 20.78GB Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires 23.16GB EA Sports UFC 17.74GB The Escapists 323.88MB The Evil Within 34.14GB Evolve 26.61GB Far Cry 4 26.6GB Fibbage: The Hilarious Bluffing Party Game 319.84MB FIFA 14 9.82GB FIFA 15 12.67GB Fighter Within 11.05GB Final Fantasy Type-0 HD 22.35GB Flockers 5.86GB Forza Horizon 2 38.21GB Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious 15GB Forza Motorsport 5 40.54GB Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 1.1GB Funk of Titans 1.71GB Game of Thrones - Episode 1: Iron From Ice 2.56GB Game of Thrones - Episode 2: The Lost Lords 1.55GB Game of Thrones - Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness 2.35GB Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved 260.5MB Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Director's Cut 2.35GB Goat Simulator 878.25MB The Golf Club 3.9GB Grand Theft Auto V 46.76GB Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition 816.86MB Halo: Spartan Assault 2.49GB Halo: The Master Chief Collection 59.11GB Hand of Fate 4.22GB Happy Wars 1.7GB How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition 3GB #IDARB 402.78MB The Jackbox Party Pack 1.47GB Jet Car Stunts 351.24MB Just Dance 2014 22.81GB Just Dance 2015 15.8GB Kalimba 2.66GB Kickbeat: Special Edition 859.59MB Killer Instinct 19.02GB Killer Instinct Classic 441MB Killer Instinct 2 Classic 581.09MB Kinect Sports Rivals 10.88GB LA Cops 1.2GB Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris 2.58GB The Legend of Korra 2.9GB Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham 7.33GB Lego Marvel Super Heroes 6.48GB The Lego Movie Videogame 6.85GB Lego The Hobbit 8.76GB Life is Strange - Episode 1: Chrysallis 2.91GB Life is Strange - Episode 2: Out of Time 2.58GB Limbo 212.46MB LocoCycle 13.21GB Lords of the Fallen 5.95GB Madden NFL 15 15.07GB Madden NFL 25 12.52GB Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 1.2GB Max: The Curse of Brotherhood 3GB Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes 4.79GB Metro 2033 Redux 7.85GB Metro: Last Light Redux 9.24GB Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor 28.43GB Minecraft 668.64MB Monopoly Deal 744.68MB Monopoly Plus 1.03GB Mortal Kombat X 34.66GB Murdered: Soul Suspect 11.83GB NBA 2K14 43.89GB NBA 2K15 46.61GB NBA Live 14 9.37GB NBA Live 15 14.88GB Need for Speed Rivals 16.58GB Never Alone 2.92GB Neverwinter 10.5GB NHL 15 21.25GB Nutjitsu 261.89MB Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty 7.51GB OlliOlli 533.62MB Ori and the Blind Forest 7.68GB Outlast 3.68GB Peggle 2 2.55GB Pier Solar and the Great Architects 2.29GB Pinball Arcade 3.83GB Pinball FX2 420.03MB Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 17.5GB Pneuma: Breath of Life 10.47GB Pool Nation FX 12.03GB Powerstar Golf 4.09GB Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 22.2GB Project CARS 18.13GB Project Spark 2.86GB Pure Pool 599.75MB R.B.I. Baseball 14 1.12GB R.B.I. Baseball 15 4.86GB Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV Show 14.22GB Rayman Legends 3.4GB Resident Evil 14.68GB Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 1 6.96GB Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2 4.05GB Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 3 3.69GB Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 4 3.82GB Riptide GP2 203.8MB Risk 2.79GB Rocksmith 2014 5.68GB Roundabout 2.97GB Rugby 15 2.76GB Ryse: Son of Rome 36.96GB Saints Row IV: Re-Elected 12.07GB Saints Row: Gat out of Hell 6.65GB ScreamRide 4.41GB Shadow Warrior 6.78GB Shape Up 7.4GB Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments 12.45GB Shiftlings 2.3GB Shovel Knight 243.11MB Sixty Second Shooter Prime 292.45MB Skylanders: SWAP Force 15.72GB Skylanders: Trap Team 19.08GB Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition 17.83GB Sniper Elite III 23.18GB State of Decay: Year-One 3.91GB Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones 396.68MB Stick it to the Man! 1.78GB Strider 3.09GB Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut 1.81GB Styx: Master of Shadows 6.48GB Sunset Overdrive 26.06GB Super Time Force 930.45MB Tales from the Borderlands - Episode 1: Zer0 Sum 2.53GB Tales from the Borderlands - Episode 2: Atlas Mugged 1.41GB Terraria 503.66MB Tetris Ultimate 498.3MB Thief 19.25GB Thomas Was Alone 465.46MB Threes! 331.28MB Titanfall 19.73GB Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition 14.47GB Tower of Guns 1.15GB Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark 11.19GB Trials Fusion 8.44GB Unmechanical: Extended 986.44MB Valiant Hearts: The Great War 1.32GB Volgarr the Viking 291.15MB The Walking Dead: Season One 4.65GB The Walking Dead Season Two 4.48GB Warframe 6.98GB Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate 19.61GB Watch Dogs 14.44GB White Night 1.83GB The Wolf Among Us 4.95GB Wolfenstein: The New Order 43.27GB Wolfenstein: The Old Blood 37.14GB Worms Battlegrounds 1.88GB WWE 2K15 21.84GB Xbox Fitness 390.76MB Zombie Army Trilogy 10.25GB Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition 1.62GB Zoo Tycoon 2.64GB Zumba Fitness: World Party 24.15GB
Xbox One File Size Guide photo
From MB to GB
With the rise of digital distribution, hard drive constraints are becoming more problematic than ever. It's never fun purchasing a game only to find out you don't actually have space for it. Here is a constantly-updated list ...

Xbox to indie devs: There's a place for your game on Windows 10, no matter the size

Mar 11 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]288897:57724:0[/embed] According to Charla, that's the program's ultimate goal. "The most important thing to us is to make sure that when someone turns on their Xbox One or their Windows 10 device, they have access to a really broad array of videogames," he said. "The nice thing about that is that for us at ID@Xbox, it creates a really easy, kind of north-star central goal that we align ourselves to every day which is 'Let’s make life really easy for developers.' The easier we make life for developers, the more we reduce friction to get onto our platforms, the more we make Xbox and Windows 10 a great sustainable ecosystem." That's where Windows 10 comes in, at least in the gaming space. If Microsoft wants consumers playing games on any Windows 10 device, it starts with convincing developers to put their titles on those platforms. But, Charla deals solely with indies -- a demographic that's not known for their extensive resources. Would this mean that some independent developers might be averse to the idea of over-extending themselves to too many platforms at once? Charla doesn't think so. He commented "We’re not about trying to put requirements on developers; we’re about providing options for developers. The thing with Windows 10 is that it has a huge, broad reach. That doesn’t mean you have to make your game work on phone on Windows 10, and on PC on Windows 10, and on HoloLens on Windows 10. You should make your games for the platforms, endpoints, or devices that you think it’ll succeed on. We think that including Xbox Live needs to be pretty straight-forward, and for the developers who have done it so far, it’s been pretty straight-forward. And, they’re not the biggest developers in the world, right? We think it enables developers to offer their players an interesting addition to the game." It will make for an interesting option for developers, but it's also Microsoft's vision of the future (at least for now). It's reasonable to assume that Xbox and Microsoft have a vested interest in getting as many developers as possible to philosophically buy into the program. Given that ID@Xbox helps indies publish their games, maybe Xbox will offer extra incentive to developers that release across multiple platforms. It's easy to see a scenario where these studios are offered some sort of preferential treatment, whether it be in the form of extra support or funding. However, Charla denies that this is the case. He insisted that while ID@Xbox is dedicated to decreasing the burden on developers, it's not sweetening the pot for some that are willing to help this new ecosystem thrive. Instead, that assistance is being distributed unilaterally in the form of services such as speeding up the certification process or holding showcases for the games in the program. And, now it's about giving developers options. But, one option that still won't be available is XNA. XNA is a free toolset that's aimed at developing games across several Microsoft platforms. Some notable examples of titles created with it are Dust: An Elysian Tail, Bastion, Fez, and Charlie Murder. There's talk within the development community that it'll make a return, and this new emphasis on unifying games on Windows 10 seems like the perfect time. When asked point-blank if XNA is coming back, Charla responded with a definitive "No." He elaborated "But, I think that when you think about what XNA was for, a lot of that spirit is still at Microsoft in the desire to make sure that anyone can create games for Microsoft devices, whether they’re a 150 team at a major publisher or a teenager who’s just learning how to code. We want to make sure that the Microsoft ecosystem is a place where you can make games and learn. In that spirit, XNA was a solution design for the technology that was available at the time. It was a program that was created to foster the creative spirit. We’ve always said that we want Xbox One – and by extension, Windows 10 – to be a place that isn’t just a place to enjoy great content; it's a place to create great content." Really, that's step one when it comes to creating a platform for games: make sure people want to create there. That's what ID@Xbox is dedicated to doing. Charla wrapped up the interview by saying "But, it’s important to us to support developers and to make their lives easy, and to support the spirit that anyone can make a game." By most accounts, ID@Xbox has been doing that all along. Now, Windows 10 just makes it so developers have a few more options.
Xbox interview photo
'We're about providing options for developers'
Microsoft announced last week at GDC in San Francisco that it was introducing cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. That opens a world of possibility in ways for developers to deliver games to their audience. So...

Windows 10 makes it even easier for gameplay videos to go viral

Mar 09 // Brett Makedonski
In our demo, the presenter chose to record footage of Goat Simulator running on Steam. Goat Simulator was selected because "[It] shipped on Steam about this time last year. The developers haven't really touched its base functionality since it shipped. It has no knowledge of Xbox One, or Game DVR and Windows 10. But, Game DVR is a feature of the Windows 10 operating system, and it's available to any game played." After just a bit of nonsense in Goat Simulator (which isn't difficult to accomplish), he recorded the clip and showed how Windows 10 saves it. "No smoke and mirrors, no magic, no special file formats. They're just 1080p .mp4s sitting in my videos folder." From there, users can either use the Xbox app on their computer to select start and end points, or they can use any video editing software to make more nuanced edits. Once the clip's suited to their liking, it can be uploaded anywhere, just like any other video. When we asked whether users will find this feature to be resource intensive for Game DVR to always be recording in the background, Microsoft responded by saying "We're working on what the performance profiles of different hardware configurations are. You're going to have best experiences with modern GPUs, but you're still going to be able to use it if you have an older system. We're going to be very upfront about whether it's on or off by default because of the performance profile of your system." But, limitations of your system aren't the only way to turn Game DVR off if it isn't to your liking. The presenter elaborated "We want to put that flexibility in the user's hands. If they say 'frame-rate is unequivocally the most important thing; I don't care how tricked out my rig is.' If they want to turn it off because that's what they want to optimize for, they're going to be able to." A decent chunk of today's gaming space is occupied by sharing unique gameplay videos on sites like reddit. Some personalities thrive on it; others are just normal players that had something wacky happen to them. Whatever the case may be, Windows 10 will make it easier than ever to get those special moments out in front of a crowd.
Windows 10 photo
'No smoke and mirrors'
The latest generation in gaming has brought with it an emphasis on sharing. Screenshots and gameplay videos can be relatively easily captured and uploaded for anyone's audience to see. It's a smart way to drive interaction --...


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...

Dumb Idiot Ideas photo
Slow news day?
This week, we filmed a wonderful short piece in which Bill and I discussed the lack of video games that let us play as actual animals. Unfortunately, Bill's microphone cut out mid-discussion, and the camera's face-tracking started focusing on an animated GIF of some dogs having sex I had up on my monitor behind me. So, here's what we did instead. 

 photo
It's already the closest thing these kids have to a parent
Max had to leave early this week to go stay in a horse cottage and attend a zoo wedding or something, so we farted out Dumb Idiot Ideas pretty quickly. I had the idea: what if the Xbox One, with all of its voice recognition,...

Whitten's departure photo
So it has been Whitten
Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer of Xbox, joined Microsoft in 2000, helping to build the original Xbox and Xbox Live, and release two subsequent consoles. Microsoft has announced his departure from the company to take the ...

Destructoid's Xbox One exclusive launch title guide

Nov 22 // Chris Carter
Crimson DragonMSRP: $19.99Score: 8.0 (review here, tips guide here) Crimson Dragon was a pleasant surprise. As a massive fan of the Panzer series, I was worried that it wouldn't quite honor it, but there's plenty here for gamers who have been longing for an entry since 2003's Orta. There are some mechanical problems, but any old school rail shooter fan will be able to handle them. -- Chris Dead Rising 3MSRP: $59.99Score: 9.0 (review here, SmartGlass impressions here) Although it sacrifices a tad of its loveable camp factor and neon style in favor of a few other advancements, the outcome is a much stronger, more involved Dead Rising game. For once, I actually felt overwhelmed in a zombie outbreak, which is a real example of how next-gen technology can be used to do more than simply "make things look better." Out of all the launch titles I've played on both new consoles, Dead Rising 3 is my personal favorite, bar none. -- Chris Fighter WithinMSRP: $59.99Score: 3.0 (review here) Fighter Within is a lazy tech demo with a poor story, unimpressive fighting engine, and a forgettable cast. Maybe one day we'll have a cool Kinect fighting game, where everyone at EVO is flailing around with some semblance of strategic value. But this is not that day. Forza Motorsport 5MSRP: $59.99Score: 9.0 (review here) But, at the end of the day, the racing is what matters. And with this game, the racing is fantastic, and Turn 10 is really onto something with this Drivatar stuff. It alone gives Forza Motorsport 5 something over every other racer out there, pushing the genre forward. They've remedied the racing genre's biggest problem: scripted AI cars. For this, Turn 10 deserves high praise.  Killer InstinctMSRP: Free, $20 for Season Pass, $40 for Ultra EditionScore: 7.5 (review here) Killer Instinct may not be the new king of fighting games, and it feels a bit rushed in terms of content, but it is very solid and far exceeds my expectations for it. With a pricing scheme that doesn't feel exploitative and a balanced character roster, the well developed mechanics will keep you busy until the new content drops next year. It'll be interesting to see what the community at large thinks of it over time, but in my living room, it's a welcome addition to my fighting game roster. LocoCycleMSRP: $19.99Score: 7.0 (review here, tips guide here) LocoCycle tries a lot of new things thematically, while simultaneously paying homage to classic arcade racing shooters. It doesn't succeed in everything it sets out to do, but if you're looking for a decent arcade shooter to toy around with on your new Xbox One, LocoCycle is it. For everyone else, you'll have to wait until it hits the Xbox 360. Powerstar GolfMSRP: $19.99Score: 7.0 (review here) In the end, Powerstar Golf isn't particularly special, but it'll win over the hearts of golf fans for sure. If all you're looking to do is whack a ball down a course on a next-gen system with the occasional bit of positive reinforcement, Powerstar is your huckleberry. Ryse: Son of RomeMSRP: $59.99Score: 5.0 (review here) In fact, the promising arena mode is the only saving grace of Ryse. The campaign may as well not even be there, and having to fight the same handful of enemies over and over on top of a trite, stereotypical narrative is not an example of a good time. Ryse looks great and has a lot of great ideas, but it falls flat in nearly every respect in regards to its core story. If you're a hardcore action fan you may get some satisfaction on the highest difficulty setting, but even then I'd wait for an equally hardcore price drop. Xbox FitnessMSRP: Free with Xbox Live GoldScore: No score (impressions here) Xbox Fitness has a few rough edges, but I actually found myself enjoying the gimmick of "scoring" workouts. The legitimately enhanced Kinect 2 actually feels like it's picking up more than just general movements, and the added incentive of achievements and mid-exercise challenges are genius. Hopefully some updates will come along to really sell the app in the future, but until then, current Gold subscribers should definitely check it out for free. Zoo TycoonMSRP: $59.99Score: 7.5 (review here) Zoo Tycoon has a distinct lack of depth, but if you're capable of sitting down with this simplistic simulator, you'll smile more times than you can count. The simulator fan in me was a bit disappointed by the ease of it all, but the child in me couldn't help but enjoy myself.
Xbox One launch guide photo
What to get, and what to skip
The Xbox One has a large variety of launch titles, including shooters, action games, a fighting game, and even a racer. I would contend that this is one of the strongest launch lineups of all time, but you can dig into our fu...

The story of Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

May 04 // Jim Sterling
There's a decent chance that you actually don't know what I'm talking about, and that's understandable. Metal Arms, unfortunately, was not a major success. The game released with very little fanfare, sold poorly, and was never seen again. This ran contrary to the plans of its creators, of course, who had poured their love into the game, only to have the work wasted, snatched away, and locked up for good. The story of Metal Arms is a melancholy one, but it's a story that deserves to be told. Boba Fett versus Planet Robot Metal Arms was devised by Swingin' Ape Studios, a company that formed in 2000 under the leadership of Scott Goffman, Mike Starich and Steve Ranck. While doing contract work for other developers, Swingin' Ape was working on its own game, a title that was never be finished but eventually went on to inspire the concept of Metal Arms. "The game put the player in control of a Boba Fett-like intergalactic bounty hunter where each level took place on a different planet," explained Ranck. "One of the planets was called Iron Star and was occupied by a variety of sentient and deadly robots. It was by far our favorite planet in the game. When our contracting job unexpectedly ended, we decided to put our full efforts into the bounty hunter game. "But within a few weeks, another intergalactic bounty hunter game was announced and we decided it would be difficult finding a publisher interested in funding our game."  A Glitch in Time With no income and only a few months of survival cash in the bank, the founders met with the team to discuss the grim possibility that after less than a year, Swingin' Ape might be out of business shortly. Faced with premature death, the team had a meeting to figure out what it should do with whatever time it had remaining. In that meeting, the concept for Metal Arms was born. Taking Iron Star and its robotic inhabitants as a starting point, Swingin' Ape decided it could make a shooter with an extreme level of violence that would retain its all-important "Teen" rating, due to the fact that the characters were not made of flesh and juicy, censor-baiting blood.  "With just a few weeks until 2001 E3, we worked hard on developing a concept movie that demonstrated the look and feel of the game," recalled Ranck. "We ended up including this movie in the final game -- it can be viewed once all 42 levels in the campaign have been completed. "When E3 arrived, Scott, Mike, and I were equipped with a laptop with the movie, a stack of colorful presentations, and a fairly polished pitch. For two days, we literally ran from meeting to meeting and pitched Metal Arms to over 15 publishers. Some were interested and at least appeared to be enthusiastic. Others yawned through the presentation and glanced at their watches. Nice. When we returned from E3, we really didn't feel any closer. Everything was still up in the air, and Swingin' Ape was almost out of time." At the very last minute, however, the studio got a call from Mike Ryder, then-president of Sierra. While no commitments were made, Ryder was shown the full concept for Metal Arms and expressed a hopeful amount of enthusiasm. Nothing was set in stone, but Sierra was now Swingin' Ape's best chance at succcess.  Seducing Sierra The seven-person studio set itself the daunting task of creating a fully playable demo level within six weeks, armed only with an unfinished proprietary engine and limited design ideas. Amazingly -- and thanks to the sacrifice of all free time and sleep -- Swingin' Ape built its demo. In Ranck's own words, the end result was, "Fun. Very fun." Sierra loved the demo, and Ryder was personally championing the game. Yet despite the excitement, the project was never officially greenlit and the studio was still facing closure. As luck would have it, Ranck was able to license out the technology used in the creation of Metal Arms' demo, which allowed Swingin' Ape to survive just long enough to sign a contract with Sierra in December 2001. Against all probability, Metal Arms was now officially a game, and development could begin.  "Developing Metal Arms was incredibly fun, though the game itself wasn't. Not in the beginning. The demo was just that -- a slice of fun that demonstrated the game. When you focus on a slice of gameplay, it's much easier to find the right formula to make it fun. But developing general, full-featured levels is another thing altogether," Ranck told me.  "It's not that we didn't know how to make the game fun, but that we had a huge amount of foundation code to write initially. I very much respect the people running Sierra at the time, because they fundamentally understood that for Metal Arms to be a good game, we needed the time to invest in our technology foundation. Once we had the core foundation done, we were then able to focus on the game's physics & destruction system, arguably the key component to the gratifying gameplay feel. Once the destruction system was complete, the fun level skyrocketed, and Metal Arms began to feel like a game. We were definitely hopeful for its chances of success." Sierra was compliant and development was going smoothly, but an ominous figure loomed over the horizon, threatening to strike Metal Arms down with an unjust fury. That shadowy malevolence was Vivendi, Sierra's parent company. Unlike Sierra, Vivendi had no clue what was so appealing about Metal Arms. It could not understand why the publisher had greenlit the project, and as such, often pretended the game didn't exist and would regularly omit it from project reviews.  "Then, the week before 2003 E3, Vivendi held their pre-E3 press event, where they showed off their games lineup to the press," revealed Ranck. "At the end of the event, the members of the press were invited to fill out a card where they ranked the games Vivendi showed to them.  "Metal Arms ranked #1, which caught Vivendi off-guard. To be honest, it caught all of us off-guard. Unfortunately, Vivendi had disappointingly dedicated only a single kiosk of their massive E3 booth to Metal Arms, which is a good indicator of how they considered the game, but after the press event, they scrambled to find more space and ultimately got the game on a 2nd kiosk as well as into Microsoft's Xbox booth. The E3 press on the game was strong, and it won several awards." Life's a Glitch, and then you die From then on, Vivendi bucked its ideas up and decided to lend some marketing weight to the game. A TV spot was aired and web banners were published on top-ranking sites. However, Ranck believes it was a case of too little, too late. Vivendi's marketing only came just prior to release, and most sales were generated through pure word of mouth -- at least as far as Swingin' Ape's anecdotal knowledge is concerned.  The gaming press was generally supportive of the title, although Ranck noticed several reviews from authors that "clearly have played only the first level or two, and yet feel they've played enough to form an opinion of the game and then publish a score." Armed with press coverage and late-but-welcome publisher backing, Swingin' Ape had high hopes for Metal Arms' retail performance. Due to grassroots hype and critical acclaim, Vivendi was confident enough to commission a sequel, which the studio began to work on. Three months after development began, though, the game was axed. Things had not gone according to plan.  "It was cancelled because despite Metal Arms' success in the press, it wasn't selling well. In general, the people who played Metal Arms really liked the game. But there just weren't enough people who were aware that the game existed." Just like that, Metal Arms: Glitch in the System was done. The game eventually made its way to Xbox Live as an Xbox Classic, but Ranck has no idea how well it performed. He's not even entirely sure where the IP currently rests, although www.metalarms.com now redirects to Activision's site, which would make sense, since Activision swallowed Vivendi in 2007. That Metal Arms would eventually drown in Activision's sea of lost souls, however, is through no lack of Ranck's attempts to rescue it. "I did try to acquire the IP but Vivendi wouldn't part with it," confessed Ranck. "Metal Arms was originally written as a trilogy which is why the game's story has a few unanswered questions. I'll take this opportunity to, for the first time ever, share some with your readers. I suppose you could consider this a SPOILER ALERT in a way, but since MA2 seems highly unlikely, maybe it's a risk worth taking for some." Metal Arms 2 The following section details what would have become of Metal Arms' story had the two sequels been made. As Ranck pointed out, they are spoilers, but for games that will likely never be made -- so feel free to read and imagine what could have been.  "Okay, so although we never came out and said it, Glitch was indeed created by the Morbots. That symbol on Glitch's head matches the glyphs in the Morbot region. The Morbots then intentionally planted Glitch for the Droids to find. The big reveal in Metal Arms 2 was that General Corrosive (the main villain of Metal Arms) was also created by the Morbots. He's Glitch's brother. Exavolt thinks that he created Corrosive, but he was just a tool in the Morbot's [sic] master plan. I won't go into detail as to what the Morbots were doing here, but will say that the whole thing was a grand experiment. "You never see a Morbot in Metal Arms. We know they live under the planet's surface. In fact, the name 'Morbot' spawned from the 'Morlocks' from H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. The Morbots generate and control the massive power consumed by the bots on the surface. Exavolt wants that power at his fingertips so he can win the war and rule the planet, but there are only a few gateways that lead down to the Morbot region, and the gateways appear to have no doors. You can see one of these Morbot gateways in the game when Glitch takes the massive lift up and out of the Morbot region. The next level is the first of the Mil City levels. When that level starts, the structure behind Glitch is a Morbot gateway. The markings match that on Glitch's head. "Exavolt never could figure out how to open the gateway. So, he came up with the plan of drilling through the planet's surface to gain access to the Morbot region. If you remember the giant drill level in the R&D facility, that's what that was all about. It's the Mil way of doing things -- sloppy, brute force. The Mils flooded into the Morbot region and occupied it, but the Morbots were nowhere to be found. They would reemerge in MA2. When Glitch discovers he was a pawn and killed his brother, he is motivated to settle the score with the powerful Morbots." That is where Metal Arms 2 would have taken us, but alas, it was not to be. Perhaps one day, Activision will remember that it's sitting on a critically acclaimed property that could have been a surprise hit if only it had been supported, and will greenlight another Metal Arms. Given Activision's tendency to not do such things, perhaps that's an incredible level of wishful thinking.  There are those of us that do remember Metal Arms, however, and are glad we got to play at least one game in what was a promising, original, heartfelt series. Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is available on Xbox Live Classics, and you can find the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube versions for peanuts. Should you ever feel the need to play a violent, funny, brutally tough shooter, don't forget Metal Arms. That's the very least it deserves.
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My first encounter with Metal Arms: Glitch in the System came via a banner ad on IGN. Being an impulsive chap who will often be drawn to things simply because they look cool, I was immediately intrigued by the game, whic...


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