Microsoft changes Xbox One policies

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Don Mattrick, the President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, earlier today announced an update regarding the Xbox One. Since Microsoft’s E3 press conference, the company has been getting put through the ringer so to speak by disgruntled gamers across the internet, regarding a number of the Xbox One’s more controversial features.

Instead of pushing through with these features as intended, Microsoft will be repealing or altering as follows:

  • Internet Connection not required to play offline Xbox One games – You only need to connect to the internet for a one time set up of the console itself. Disc-based games will play fine.
  • Trade-in, lend, gift or re-sell games – This will work the same as it does already on Xbox 360. Downloaded titles can obviously not be resold or shared.
  • Disc-based games will be required to be in the tray, as they do with Xbox 360.
  • Games will now be available, at release, for download on Xbox Live. You will be able to download them and play offline like you would with the disc-based version.

Does this change your opinion on the Xbox One? Will you now be getting one or will the PS4 still be your console of preference? Let us know in the comments section below.

Ryse: Son of Rome Gameplay Demo

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As a self confessed romanophile, it would perhaps come as no surprise that Ryse: Son of Rome took my eye of the new exclusives Microsoft unveiled during their E3 press conference. There is seemingly a worrying amount of quick time events as combat unfolds, but with the crisp graphics, you can definitely see Crytek’s involvement here as the game runs on the latest version of CryENGINE.

Screenshot Sunday June 10th

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Another round of Screenshot Sunday coming to you on a Sunday evening (or Monday morning, depending on where you are), with E3 2013 almost upon us. With that in mind, I’ll be opting for a screenshot this week that is a little easier than the last.

Same premise as always; I post a screenshot and you guess the game. The first one to guess the game correctly earns themselves the Brilliant Deduction achievement**!

**A registered account is not required to be able to post, however, to receive the achievement you do need one.

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Correct Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Guesser: Reizac

The Old Gods Review

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“How the little pigs would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffers” – Ragnar Lodbrok after being thrown into King Aella’s snake pit.

The Old Gods is the fourth expansion for the historical grand strategy title, Crusader Kings II published by Paradox Interactive and tackles a previously unexplored area until this point in Medieval Europe; Pagans. Before the Old Gods, Pagans were unplayable (though you could mod them to be) and their various religions’, be it Norse, Slav or Mongol were lumped together in one catchall Pagan religion.

Pagans served to be little more than expansion fodder and the few remaining pagan held lands in the 1066 bookmark would soon be gobbled up by the powers that be and disappear entirely within 50 years of game start. The first and most apparent thing that The Old Gods brings to the table is pulling the timeline back to 867 AD, which brings with it a very different Europe and a time where, despite being on the decline, Pagan nations were still plentiful and powerful.

Charlemagne’s Empire has been split among his descendants, the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok invade the Kingdom of Northumbria in revenge for their father (see quote at the top of the article) and the Viking Rurik has just founded the Kingdom of Rus (which would later become Russia). Indeed, Christianity as a whole is in a much more difficult position than it is in 1066, with places like Hungary and Bulgaria potentially falling to Pagan Steppe Tribes very early on.

Whilst this expansion does tackle Pagans as a whole, it is undoubtedly the Norse (popularly known as the Vikings) who have received the most love here. Norse characters, as a result, are probably the most enjoyable of the Pagan faiths and cultures to play. The ability to hold a blót, where you offer sacrifices up to Odin and other gods before feasting, carving your own Runestone that can tell of your deeds or those of your mother or father are just some of the main and reoccurring intrigue options to Norse Pagans with both yielding plenty of prestige and piety.

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a Viking experience if you couldn’t raid and pillage. The raid feature is new in the expansion and provides a toggle to raised levies (that can only be switched in friendly lands) between regular armies or raiding parties. All Pagan faiths are able to raid their neighbours but the Norse can also raid overseas, filling up their ship holds with gold before returning home with the plunder. A number of rivers on the world map have been navigable, which opens up some otherwise closed doors to Vikings, allowing them to sail down the Seine (for example) to raid Paris!

There’s a number of other flavour events and traits specific to the Norse as well, such as your son going off to join the Varangian Guard, the Viking trait (earned by raiding) and the berserker trait (which has several flavour events linked to it). The Old Gods, whilst adding in a number of new cultures and religions to reflect the start date and beyond, places Pagan religions into two categories; offensive and defensive.

Offensive pagans like the Norse lose prestige if they are at peace for 2 years. Defensive pagans get bonuses to attrition and levy sizes in home lands, which make it a very hard prospect for other lands to invade and thus addresses one of the big issues that I mentioned earlier; Baltic and Slav tribes are a much more survivable prospect now, even in a 1066 start.

The taking of concubines, Mongols being playable as well as the Aztecs (if you the Sunset Invasion DLC), being able to send Missionaries to Pagan lands if you play a Christian, Playable Zoroastrians (A longtime request on the Paradox!), a technology revamp as well as revamped rebels and landless adventurers adds together to make what is probably the meatiest expansion to date for Crusader Kings II.

Whilst many of the Pagan faiths lack the level of flavour that the Norse have, the new mechanics open up many areas of the map that were previously unplayable unless you modded them to be and are as interesting a choice as the Catholic Feudal Lords from whence the game’s namesake comes from. I never bothered to play in Scandinavia, the Baltic region and beyond Hungary until now.

As has been the case with previous expansions to Crusader Kings II, Paradox Development Studios have put most of this content in the accompanying patch, though only available to the AI. That aside though, the Old Gods is the most enjoyable expansion to date and well worth the purchase for what it brings to the table in the vanilla experience, but also for what modders can do with the new tools.

Screenshot Sunday May 26th

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It’s been quite a long time since the last Screenshot Sunday, but there’s no time like today to make a triumphant, lazy and relaxed return. If you’ve never participated in Screenshot Sunday before, the premise is simple; I post a screenshot and you flex your gaming knowledge prowess by attempting to guess which game it comes from. The first person to guess correctly in the comments section below will unlock the Brilliant Deduction achievement**!

**A registered account is not required to be able to post, however, to receive the achievement you do need one.

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Game Name:
Correct Guesser:

Weekend Bargains

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It’s the weekend (or about to be, depending on where you live!) and it’s the perfect time to get some valued gaming time in. But maybe you need a new game to play? Here’s a selection of some of the big deals in the PC-verse.

Steam

Steam’s weekend deal is the latest Call of Duty title, Black Ops 2 with a 33% off sale. For the duration of the weekend, gamers can also download the multiplayer version of Black Ops 2 for free.

Green Man Gaming

GMG has a number of lesser known titles on sale this weekend, including; Shattered Haven, A Valley Without Wind (1 & 2), Asguaard, Laxius Force 1 through 3 and more. There’s also a 20% off voucher code; GMG20-GGN5D-FC3NA.

GOG.com

Adventure and indie fans will find themselves in fine company, as GOG has no less than 16 adventure titles on sale for 60% off, including The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.

GamersGate

If you’re an RPG fan or even a straight up Bethesda Softworks fan, then GamersGate has got you covered this weekend. They’re running a 50% sale on all Bethesda titles; The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind through to Skyrim, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Rage, Dishonoured and more.

 

Happy gaming.

Leisure Suit Larry gets reloaded this June

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The protagonist of the Leisure Suit Larry series, Larry Laffer, will be getting his first adventure, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, remade. The original game, which was released in 1987 (Yes, 26 years ago!), will be getting updated visuals, a re-written score, as well as additional gameplay.

German publisher UIG Entertainment, original creator Al Lowe and original writer Josh Mandel have teamed up for Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded. The King of Innuendo will make his triumphant return in June, not only on PC but Mac and Linux as well.

‘The Evil Within’ announced

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Bethesda Softworks have announced a new title called, “The Evil Within”, being developed by their Japanese studio Tango Gameworks. Bethesda has been dropping a number of cryptic teasers the past week, leading many to originally believe that it was Fallout 4. Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil, Resident Evil 4) heads up the survival-horror game.

You can watch the premiere trailer at IGN.

April Competition

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Easter has come and gone, but the festive spirit doesn’t have to end just yet. Why? Because I’ve got stuff to give away, that’s why! I’ve got two copies of Torchlight II and one copy of Terraria to give away – all are the Steam versions of the games, (so you might want to check minimum system requirements before entering the competition!).

2013 has already seen some great games like the Tomb Raider reboot and BioShock Infinte, and really we’re only just getting started. With the likes of GTA V, Battlefield 4, Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag and more on the horizon, this year is certain to be as big as any that has preceded it.. So that begs the question, which 2013 release are you looking forward to the most?

To enter, all you have to do is post a comment below letting us know which game you are looking forward to the most.*

The winners will be chosen completely at random, via Random.org’s number generator. Two people will win a copy of Torchlight II, whilst another will win the copy of Terraria.

*Entrances will need to have a registered account, or their entry will be void.
*One Entry per person.
*Games are the Steam (PC) versions only. Don’t ask for XBLA or PS3 versions instead.
*Entries close 12pm American standard time, April 6th. Winners will be drawn after and notified.

*Competition is now closed. Winners will be listed in the comments section.