The UpStream

Microsoft Stays Commtted to Xbox 360 with More Games, New Console

posted Saturday Jun 15, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Stays Commtted to Xbox 360 with More Games, New Console

Regardless of one's opinion of the Microsoft press event at E3, one thing for sure: Xbox was still committed to its 360 users. To prove this, they announced a huge variety of new Xbox 360 titles that will be releasing over the next 12 months, plus a bunch of free content, games and other exclusive offers. To round out their emphasis on the 360 before jumping into what everyone wanting to hear (and bash) about, the Xbox One, Microsoft also announced a brand new, redesigned Xbox 360.

In keeping with the look and feel of the Xbox One, the new Xbox 360 E model takes on a more box-like body, as opposed to the Xbox 360 S, which tapered off in the center from both sides. The Kinect also got a slight rehaul, and while it is nothing like the Kinect 2, the minor tweaks made to the frame really bring the full look together. Best of all, the new 360 is slimmer, quieter and does look a little sleeker than the previous one. Upon announcement, Microsoft made the console immediately available, although some retailers may take up to a week to get the product in-store.

On the commitment to the 360, Microsoft's Yusuf Medhi said,

Xbox 360 offers unrivaled value - with more great games, an Xbox Live community with 48 million members, and a compelling line-up of apps, sports, movies, TV and music. We've taken all we have learned these past eight years and engineered a new Xbox 360 console that is elegant and accessible to anyone. There's never been a better time to experience everything Xbox 360 has to offer.

Considering that the Xbox 360 S had no major flaws with it, I'd have to agree that now is the best time to upgrade your 360 console. I know I already picked one up, and you should too, at The Microsoft Store. The only downside is that you cannot buy a 250 GB version of it, with the Kinect bundle. The redesigned Xbox 360 is available for the same prices as the existing console: $199.99 for the 4 GB console, $299.99 for the 250 GB edition and $299.99 for the 4 GB Kinect Bundle. Luckily, I'm moving my hard drive into a new one as soon as it gets to my door step. How about you?

Sony and Bungie Show Destiny Gameplay

posted Wednesday Jun 12, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Sony and Bungie Show <i>Destiny</i> Gameplay

We have known for some time about Bungie's next title, Destiny. We got some of our first looks at it at the PlayStation 4 reveal event in February, but we didn't see any real live gameplay. Well, Sony did us a favor giving us a full demo of the game.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line the wrong portion of a campaign was chosen for the demo, with a lot of the presentation being less than stellar. This was a huge disappointment to our team, who have been waiting for this since February. Luckily, even a lackluster demo can't kill the excitement.

The game world is beautiful, as you would expect from the company that created the Halo universe. Foes and friends alike are unique, using a combination of bright colors and muted cloaks to maintain the same brightness, yet imperative distress, that they have brought us in the past.

As expected from Bungie, the game seems to handle as well, if not better, than any of the Halo titles. This is a game to be excited about at launch.

Hit the break to check out the E3 gameplay trailer.

Sony and Square Enix Debut Kingdom Hearts 3

posted Wednesday Jun 12, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Sony and Square Enix Debut <i>Kingdom Hearts 3</i>

It has been 8 years and 2 consoles since the last proper installment of the Kingdom Hearts series, premiering in 2005 on the PlayStation 2. Well, the wait is nearly over as Square Enix announced at Sony's press conference that Kingdom Hearts 3 is currently in the works.

Little is known about the game through the presentation, but there is information known outside. The title is in a VERY early stage of development because resources have been dedicated to work on Final Fantasy XV and Square almost turned down development when Disney asked. Thankfully the company decided to continue the series and the third full installment in the story is set to be the completion of Sora's mission to recover his world from the Heartless.

Outside of the story, we do know that this will be the first installment to jump the PlayStation ship and will be featured on Xbox One. So, while it is very surprising that the PlayStation 3 has been totally skipped in the series, it is even more surprising that Square is opening this franchise up the Xbox players as well.

Hit the break to check out the trailer to see what we know so far.

Ubisoft Shows a Mighty Quest for PC

posted Wednesday Jun 12, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Ubisoft Shows a Mighty Quest for PC

Ubisoft showed off a casual-ish title during its press conference, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. The concept is simple: get and keep stuff. Sounds like a simple premise, but in reality the process is not exactly that.

First, pillage castles. Make it successfully to the center of a castle full of traps and enemies and plunder the loot room. If you don't succeed, however, the castle owner wins and gets loot instead. Now, how you succeed in a castle is up to you. There are 3 character classes that allow you to fight up close and personal (The Knight), from across the room (The Archer) or a combination of the both (The Mage).

Second, defend your loot. Build castles with devilish traps and tons of enemies to protect your own loot stash in the center. Once complete, the castle will be available to others to enter and try and make it out with YOUR stuff just like you have done to their stuff. From the site, "Remember, a house is not a home until it can kill intruders in at least 7 different ways simultaneously!" Sounds like a challenge to me.

The game is, of course, a free-to-play setup with premium items available for real money. Since the game is currently in closed beta, the easiest way to get in is to make an initial purchase that will get you in immediately. If you don't want to pay any money to get into a beta program, you may also sign-up and wait to be chosen. Neither choice will hurt their feelings.

I am currently awaiting my beta key anxiously. This type of game is right up my alley.

Respawn Shows off Titanfall, Xbox Exclusive FPS

posted Wednesday Jun 12, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Respawn Shows off <i>Titanfall</i>, Xbox Exclusive FPS

Since Activision fired the Infinity Ward founders, who went off and formed Respawn Entertainment, the newly formed company has been pretty quiet. The only real news out of the company was the unsurprising news that they had partnered with Electronic Arts to publish their upcoming title.

Well, it is time to take a look at the title, named Titanfall, here at EA's press conference. The game is, as expected, a first person shooter, as that is what Jason West and Vince Zampella do best. The game is not what any of us would consider to be "modern" warfare, as the opening sequence took place on a hover ship and our commander, as it seems, is in a mech suit. We also seem to have long-fall boots, or an equivalent, paired with jetpacks. Another expected departure from their norm.

The ability to jump into one of these mech suits, known as a Titan, is an interesting gameplay mechanic. Obviously the Titan has a lot more power than a standard person would, but it is huge and cannot fit everywhere you might need to go. You also don't have the overall mobility you would have without it, giving you reasons to both wear and not wear these suits.

What is no departure for Jason and Vince is the sprawling and beautiful map. The world is immersive and realistic and incredibly detailed, which is something the Call of Duty franchise was known for before their termination. Whether or not you are into the FPS genre, there is no doubt that this title is a perfect way for Respawn to enter the market.

The game comes exclusively to Xbox One in Spring 2014.

EA Emphasizes PopCap with Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

posted Wednesday Jun 12, 2013 by Scott Ertz

EA Emphasizes PopCap with <i>Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare</i>

Since announcing the closure of PlayFish social games, there was a lot of question about Electronic Arts' commitment to their social, casual and mobile studios. While PlayFish will be responsible for mobile games going forward, it was assumed that EA's other social studio, PopCap, would be taking over. EA emphasized that point during their E3 press event by announcing Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare.

It is certainly an unusual move for a publisher to emphasize more casual gaming titles at their E3 event, but as gaming continues to move toward causal and social, I suspect we will see more of this in the future, E3 or not. It was good to see PopCap and Plants vs Zombies on-stage, as it is one of the few casual franchises I have personally enjoyed.

So, what is new in this tower-defense series? A shooter. Yes, Garden Warfare is a shooter in the vein of Team Fortress 2. The title has a lot of the aspects of TF2, such as different classes each with its own special abilities, all designed to work together and even be needed together. It also maintains the personality of the PvZ franchise, being a little cartoony and really silly. It is exactly what has always made the series so fun and it is good to see they maintained the feel.

Keeping with traditional PopCap trends, you have the ability to take your plant or zombie and customize it. Choose from lots of new characters with new powers and create a unique character with hundreds of available items and customizations. Once you have your character, enter into a 24-player battle or join friends for a 4-player online co-op.

Here is the thing that is most surprising: it is a console title and it will be on Xbox One and Xbox 360 first.

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