The house of green and black; anything in general about Microsoft. Look to the tags for anything more specific.
It was E3 2014 when I first saw FRU in action and immediately fell for its mix of 2D platforming and Kinect integration. The bubbly silhouette of your body allows the main character to interact with an alternate version of the world. Your positioning allows the character to access platforms and bypass obstacles. Imagine if your body was the portal in Portal. And it’s finally out on Xbox One today for $14.99 or $10.04 for Gold members.
Road Rage was just revealed among Maximum Games’s E3 lineup and may brandish the Road Rash torch even better than the long-in-development Road Redemption (which I’m still waiting to be a finished product). Everything they’ve shown so far is merely target renders and PR copy but it sounds promising and the developer, Team6, has loads of past experience with irreverent vehicle-based antics.
The most important component of a good Road Rash-alike is melee weapons. Road Rage promises “insane weaponry” but so far they’ve shown the requisite bats, chains and pipes alongside the moderately unexpected axe, katana and hockey stick. I mean, a hockey stick is practically the sniper rifle of melee weapons and that’s kinda insane, right?
What’s most promising for me are 42 missions that the PR copy labels as “story-driven” with the promise of open world exploration. In past Road Rash titles there was just enough story to string together a little internal narrative as the races unfolded. I don’t know that I need someone attempting a Fast & Furious caliber storyline but putting meaning to motorcycle-bound knife fights can only be entertaining, either by design or happy accident. See: Torque
Open world is also open to interpretation at this point. The copy promises “56 additional side missions from delivery and escort to combat races and gang brawls” but it doesn’t even mention hidden collectibles which are always a favorite part of mine. It paints a picture in my mind of a small, mostly lifeless cityscape but not everything can be Grand Theft Auto V in scale, especially coming from this small Netherlands based studio. That they even mentioned an open world is enticing enough for me.
Hopefully we see actual gameplay footage by the end of E3 but Road Rage is already planned for a September release so we won’t have to wait too long to see it in action. It’s coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC as well so I expect plenty of terrible “Let’s Play” serieses to pop up by year’s end, maybe even my own. Check out the official site to see a few more target renders and rest assured I’ll post more about it when I see it.
The most depressing part about Microsoft’s decision to close down the legendary Lionhead Studios and the promising Press Play Studios? This quote from Microsoft Europe’s Hanno Lemke:
“These changes are taking effect as Microsoft Studios continues to focus its investment and development on the games and franchises that fans find most exciting and want to play.”
Meaning more Gears, more Halo, more Forza and I guess that’s it. After Quantum Break fails to be the megahit that Microsoft apparently requires it to be Remedy will no doubt be cut loose. Where does this leave Rare with Sea of Thieves and their legacy of middling performance under Microsoft’s banner? What of the Phantom Dust sequel that was almost immediately put out of active development and the already delayed Scalebound?
Abandoning their in-house focus on creative and original games must also mean that they think the ID@Xbox program isn’t the loathsome cavalcade of totally overlooked or subpar releases that it is. This stuff is not picking up the slack for original, unique or inventive Xbox exclusives, guys.
Nearly from the beginning Microsoft has been pulling back on its promises for Xbox One and those cuts have finally made it to the software lineup. With these changes in mind there is almost nothing left that’s exclusive to Xbox for me. Quantum Break, Below and Crackdown are all that hold an inkling of excitement but once those are released (or cancelled) what will be left?
I really did want to love the Xbox like I did last generation but they’ve lost me.
It remains a real head-scratcher as to how Microsoft let the sweet Ivory soap of victory pop out of their hands in the terrifying prison shower that is the Console Video Game Race. As they nearly had it back in their grasp Sony couldn’t help but stick out a foot and they’ve been careening around the grimy tile floor ever since.
I was a real Xbox fan last generation and everything had to be played on the 360. I was even a supporter of their wild ambitions for an always-on Xbox future. Even after they backpedaled I still picked up an Xbox One and was perfectly happy with it through 2014. Suddenly, though, it was PlayStation 4 that was home to the exclusives I cared about and from there it was just as slippery a ride as Microsoft’s to have Sony back in my good graces.
So when the Xbox PR machine sent me a 2015 recap I wondered what could even be on it. The full report is much longer with comparisons between me, my friends and the Xbox community but I think this sampling sums it up: I haven’t been super hot on Xbox since 2014. In fact, the game I spent the most time with was Earth Defense Force 2025, an Xbox 360 release from 2014 which is, sadly, not Xbox One backward compatible.
Given how few games I played on Xbox One I was surprised and mystified to see I racked up 423 hours on Xbox Live. I thought it was a glitch but then I finally found the culprit; Netflix. Either watching or idling while we cooked dinner, I managed to let that app run for 290 hours, more time than all the games I played on the console combined. The most active day — March 8th — reminded me that way back then I was playing through Sniper Elite 3 and using all of the Xbox One’s features. I was editing clips, posting comments and actively “Liking” my friends activities. I even Skyped with Kinect a few times.
But that’s about the time I got a PlayStation 4 in anticipation of Metal Gear Solid V and I’ve been mostly absent from Xbox One since. That explains why my most “High Value” Achievements are from 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V and 2014’s Peggle 2.
I’m not fanboying over here, I really do like Microsoft and the Xbox One. Hell, I even still like Kinect and miss its voice commands now that my Netflix watching happens on the PS4. Whenever another Xbox exclusive comes along that I’m determined to play I’ll be firing it up again… and waiting for eternal Dashboard updates to be installed.