Category Archives: Xbox Series X|S

Outbreak: Contagious Memories Review – Xbox Series S|X

Outbreak: Contagious Memories wants to take you back to a time when tank controls felt immersive. Where a well-designed horror game made you feel vulnerable and unsure of what lies around the corner. The 90’s horror games of yore were a diamond in the rough, but three decades of innovation have made them impenetrable without modernization. Outbreak Contagious Memories wastes no time making comparisons to early Resident Evil and Silent Hill. However, it’s a bill of goods that the game doesn’t come close to delivering. Graphics, controls, combat, puzzles seem more of a proof of concept rather than a commercial product due to quality.

Dead Drop Studios is porting Contagious Memories, one of several games in a series, to the Xbox Series platform. While the marketing indicates that it is taking advantage of new hardware, it’s apparent from the get-go, that this is simply a port. Nearly every action outside of gameplay will force a loading screen. Hitting pause, opening a door, and navigating one or two clicks deep into a menu, all cause a brief loading screen. It’s jarring and while I’m not a developer, it makes me ask the question, why does a native game with such simple levels require a landing screen given the SSD and speed of these consoles?

You play as Lydia who wakes up to a city undergoing the early hours of zombie infection. While getting the lay of the land you must find a way to escape by managing your resources, shooting monsters, and solving puzzles. The game attempts to apply pressure by giving you limited resources to clear each section of a level, solve a puzzle, and keep moving towards leaving town. The game also features a coop mode where you must share resources.  While I appreciate the goal of wanting to transport me back to the 90s and make a campy experience that gives me feelings of nostalgia, I found the game to be too frustrating to be able to appreciate the aim of the developer.

Outbreak: Contagious Memories gives you the option to choose between fixed camera, over-the-shoulder, and first-person perspective. While It’s a good idea to give players choice when revisiting a more reductive level design, the controls, locomotion, and aiming were so clunky none of the schemes felt at all playable. Similar to when Grand Theft Auto V added first-person to their third-person game, your character has the momentum to overcome before and after indicating walking. It gives the controls a loose feeling that makes it difficult to line up shots, with your limited ammo as a zombie takes sometimes 6-10 shots to kill!

To add insult to injury, the aim-assist system is so broken that you’ll end up wasting shots and get your health chipped away. This is evident especially when shooting the dog enemies in the game. As the dogs run towards you, the auto-aim in first person locks on above the dog’s character model. I can only suspect that this is what happens when you apply the same auto-aim mechanics to a character model that is 1/3 the size of the zombie character model. I understand a design choice of wanting to not feature the overly sticky auto-aim of modern games, but this game’s aiming mechanic is broken not challenging.

I had to restart from scratch two different times when I would reach a new room and not have enough ammunition to clear the enemies or even begin to read whatever note was left behind to solve a puzzle. For that reason, I ended up not even finishing the game but instead spent my time sussing out all the ways this game trips over itself and tries to call it nostalgia.

I can put up with campy and silly callbacks to 90’s horror games, I was there and loved discovering the genre moving into the 3D realm, but I can’t describe this game as a finished commercial product. Enemies clipping in and out of each other as they shamble towards you while you empty shot after shot into them, dogs levitating back up from the ground after you’ve spent all your ammo shooting behind them, clogged levels that have you endlessly backtracking and seeing a loading screen for the 5th time in three minutes of playing, it all robs the experience of any fun you could have.

Outbreak: Contagious Memories is a part of a series that can be found on Limited Run Games, Stadia, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, and Steam. It’s normally priced between 10 and 30 dollars and I have to say it certainly smells like shovelware. Furthermore, Dead Drop Studios is launching a Kickstarter this month to fundraise. It’s certainly a harsh criticism, and I’m sure someone else may resonate more with the design intent, but I can’t recommend you spend your money or time on this title. I’d be suspicious of other games in the franchise given how many platforms it’s been ported to. If you’re looking for a nostalgia kick, I’d look somewhere else.

Turbo Golf Racing is out today

The future of motorsports is here. Developer Hugecalf Studios and publisher Secret Mode are pleased to confirm that Turbo Golf Racing is available now on PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One via Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview.

Players can grab Turbo Golf Racing from today for £14.99 | €17.99 | $17.99. It’s also now available via Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.

Turbo Golf Racing is a fast-paced, arcade-style sports-racing game for up to eight players online, where drivers charge down—or flip and glide over—twisting golf courses teeming with jumps and boost pads. It’s every racer for themselves in first-to-the-flag Grands Prix spread across 30 levels, as gameplay-altering Power Cores and devious shortcuts contribute to the chaos.

“It’s hard to comprehend that three-and-a-half years have passed since we first started prototyping our car-golf game,” says Jonny Hughes, director & producer at Hugecalf Studios. “We’re immensely proud of how far Turbo Golf Racing has come since then and we will be forever grateful to the tens of thousands of players who helped us refine the game during this year’s Beta tests. I’m excited for players to experience everything that’s in Turbo Golf Racing today, and to discover what’s to still to come in the months ahead…”

Hugecalf Studios currently anticipates that the Early Access and Game Preview period will last approximately 12 months, during which time Turbo Golf Racing will receive numerous content, feature, and balancing updates. Players can expect new levels, cars, cosmetics, and Power Cores in the coming months, with the first free content update due later in August. You could say there’s a… (drumroll) fairway to go, yet.

“Player feedback is central to everything in Turbo Golf Racing today and in its future,” explains Krystal Ramsey, product manager at Secret Mode. “The ridiculously talented team at Hugecalf Studios has already made an incredible game that’s exhilarating from minute one, but this really is the beginning of the ride. Without spoiling the surprises in store, we’re incredibly excited to see how the Turbo Golf Racing experience evolves throughout the Early Access and Game Preview programs in tandem with the community’s ideas.”

Turbo Golf Racing is out now on Steam and Xbox platforms.

After Wave: Downfall Out Now on Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One

Indie game developer and publisher 7 Raven Studios are announcing that pre-orders for After Wave: Downfall for Nintendo SwitchXbox Series X|SXbox One are now live.

After Wave: Downfall is an arcade shooter where the player battles against monsters, completes various missions with a cool battleship.  Deathrix invaded the world and released a mysterious meteorite causing a great flood.

Players can upgrade their ships for better performance to fight the most brutal enemies. A Local Co-op mode allows the player to team up and adventure with others.

After Wave: Downfall will be fully released on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One on August 3, Nintendo Switch on August 4, and PlayStation 5 and 4 on August 5. There will be no pre-orders on the PlayStation store.

Features

  • 3D cartoon style graphics with stunning effects.
  • Join your friends on an adventure in a local Co-op mode.
  • Multiple difficulty levels
  • 10 stages to overcome with many brutal bosses.
  • Upgrade your battleship systems to develop different playing skills.
  • Six battleships to choose from with different abilities.
  • Extra mode allows playing in multiple ways.
  • Many achievements within the game to unlock.

A Tale of Paper: Refolded PC and Xbox release date confirmed

A Tale of Paper: Refolded, the remastered version of award-winning puzzle platformer A Tale of Paper, will launch for PC (Steam, Epic, GOG, Humble and other storefronts), Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S on 19 August, publisher Digerati is delighted to announce.  Versions for Nintendo Switch and PS5 will launch later in the year (release date TBC).

Created by Barcelona-based developer Open House Games, A Tale of Paper was originally released as a PS4 exclusive after winning the PlayStation Talents ‘Game of the Year’ award. The Refolded edition has been updated with three brand new prequel chapters, starring a new character with its own unique transforming abilities.

A Tale of Paper: Refolded is a puzzle-platformer that tells the story of Line, a magical character made of paper who can use origami to change its shape. Transform into a frog, a rocket, a bird and more as Line embarks on an emotional journey to fulfill the dream of its creator.

Key features

  • Paper shape transformations: Jump high as an origami frog! Turn into a paper plane and soar! Discover seven forms, each with its own pros and cons
  • A small hero in a big world: Overcome challenges, solve puzzles, and escape danger as you journey across beautifully crafted environments
  • A narrative without text: Explore each level and find hidden collectibles to unveil the heartfelt story behind A Tale of Paper
  • Discover bonus chapters: Complete the main adventure and unlock three prequel chapters, with a new character, new abilities, and new challenges

Action-Adventure Game The Tale of Bistun Out Now

Polish games publisher IMGN.PRO, in partnership with Black Cube Games, is thrilled to announce today that their gorgeous and captivating action-adventure game The Tale of Bistun is now available for Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. Based on the legendary Persian romantic epic, “Khosrow and Shirin”, The Tale of Bistun is not only a title inspired by an iconic piece of Iranian literature, it was developed by an Iranian team, and features the voice talents of Shohreh Aghdashloo, an Emmy winning, Oscar-nominated Iranian-American actress with an impressive resume that includes roles across film, television, and video games.

On the craggy slopes of Mount Bistun, a stone carver awakens with no memory of who he is nor how he came to be there. He soon discovers that a blight is squeezing the life out of nature, tainting the local wildlife and turning it hostile. Encouraged by a strange, pleading whisper, the man journeys between the real world and the mysterious place of forgotten memories, known as the Revelations Realm, in search of answers. But a colossal ancient evil is watching, waiting, and it is not pleased that its plans are being disrupted. All the while, an omniscient narrator recounts the man’s every step and details his innermost thoughts. But who is he? And how does he know so much about the befuddled stone carver?

The Tale of Bistun follows an amnesiac stone-carver on his journey up the slopes of the intimidating Mount Bistun. He’ll have to battle legions of monstrous foes using fast-paced, melee combat and powerful magical abilities as he explores the real world and the mysterious place of forgotten memories, known as the Revelations Realm, in search of answers. All the while, a mysterious voice encourages him to keep going, recounting his every step and keeping close tabs on his quest through these beautiful but blight-infested lands.

Shohreh Aghdashloo (The House of Sand and Fog, The Expanse, Destiny 2, Mass Effect 2) lends her vocal talents to The Tale of Bistun to provide a captivating voiceover that introduces and bookends the protagonist’s heartfelt quest. Aghdashloo has had quite a storied career across multiple media, with starring roles in film, television, and video games. Aghdashloo adds another layer of cultural authenticity to a title made by and based on the Iranian people and their cultural history.

“Today is an incredibly exciting day for the whole team behind The Tale of Bistun,” said Amin Shahidi, Black Cube Games team lead, animator, and game designer. “Thanks to the support of IMGN.PRO, we’ve reached the finish line and can finally share this story with people around the world. We’re also incredibly honored to have such a talented cast — including Shohreh Aghdashloo and Marc Thompson — help us bring the world of The Tale of Bistun to life. We hope you all have a great time!”

 The Tale of Bistun Key Features:

  • A Re-telling of a Persian Legend: Based on an epic romantic poem from the 12th century, “Khosrow and Shirin” The Tale of Bistun is a tale of love, loss, and adventure through a land where magic and bravery collide
  • A Stunning Land of Myth and Magic: Ascend the deadly slopes of Mount Bistun and battle through a gorgeous world that brings the ancient lands of Mesopotamia to life
  • Hack, Slash, and Blast: Battle hordes of dangerous foes using fast-paced tactical melee combat and ferocious magical abilities
  • Carve Out Your Own Tale: King Darius, eat your heart out! Create your own Behistun Inscription and etch out beautiful engravings to tell the world your story.
  • Follow the Voice: Popular voice actor Marc Thompson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars: Visions, Pokémon) lends his talents to the game as the omniscient, primary narrator. In this role, he guides players through their harrowing journey.

The Tale of Bistun is available now for Windows PC via Steam and the Epic Game Store, and on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S through ID@Xbox for 17.99 USD.

Eternal Hope Review – Xbox Series X

After watching the trailer, I was excited to go hands-on with Eternal Hope. I instantly gravitate towards this moody and beautiful art design and puzzle-platform gameplay. While this is a small Brazilian studio, it’s apparent that they aim high by the almost direct comparison to other games in the genre. On its surface, the game easily points towards 2010’s Limbo and subsequent 2016 INSIDE. Between the silhouette art design, gruesome ragdoll deaths, and somber tone, Doubhit Studio aims to add another layer by allowing the player to access the Shadow World to solve puzzles and navigate this contaminated but beautiful world.

After a brief exhibition highlighting how lonely he is, you take control of Ti’bi, a companionless silhouette boy. Shortly thereafter you find your paramour, a shadow girl with a scarf, and all seems right in the world. That is until your love is whisked away, and her soul is shattered into disparate parts that you must go find. With scarf in hand and equipped with a fairy-type companion named Heli.

You’re given the ability to immediately shift into the Shadow World as much as you like. That is the hellish monster-ridden background that underpins the beautiful land. This will help you solve puzzles and reach places that would otherwise could not. While you can only transition to this plane for a brief time, it is a nice spin that encourages constantly checking to see if there’s something you missed. It aids in finding collectibles to boot, so I found myself hitting it constantly.

These games live and die on the tight controls and natural feeling physics to make the player feel like when they die, it’s a skill gap that they can improve on. However, the controls weren’t tight enough to always feel like I was executing the solution that I had already figured out. Small things, like if you hold the jump button a smidge too long your character will jump twice or grappling onto ledges feeling inconsistent. If the game asks me to learn by dying, then I need the deaths to be my fault.

A second gripe is the polish on the puzzles. 9 out of 10 times, you can find the solution to the clever and satisfying puzzle through repetition and looking for the visual or audio cue from the game design. However, about 10% of the time, I found myself scratching my head and wondering how anyone could solve that without dumb luck.

A hidden trap door that didn’t have any visual or audio cue indicating that I could stomp on it or a block that I ciuld only climb 50 percent of the time for example. For a game that is only 2-3 hours long, I spent almost 20% of my time solving two undercooked puzzles. While it’s not realistic that every square foot of the game would have an equal polish from a small indie team, it was so obvious that I wonder how it didn’t come up in playtests. At the time of writing this, there has been no day-one patch resolving these two instances. As an aside and speaking of polish, when the credits rolled on Xbox, the text was all overlapping each other, and I could not read any of the roles or credited names. It’s probably an easy fix, but not a great last impression.

The art and style of the game are what stand out the most. Across the four different levels, each was distinct and beautiful in its own way. My favorite was the Forgotten City which pointed towards a lost civilization and helped to flesh out the world you find yourself in. With an almost fairytale atmosphere, Eternal Hope has a very clear and developed art style that carries the player through some of the rougher attributes.

One of the main sticking points will be the game length. Clocking in at about 2-3 hours for a play-through and adding another hour for completionists to find the remaining collectibles, it’s a very short experience. Also, bear in mind, I play games very slowly. It’s my opinion that more games should explore these tighter condensed experiences and set their price points accordingly. It’s currently on sale for $7.99 on the Xbox Store, and I think that is an entirely appropriate price point. For gamers who are looking for a satisfying and beautiful game for one or two evenings, it will certainly fit the bill. However, if you want to stretch your dollar per hour of game, look elsewhere.

While I do wish the controls were a bit tighter and the small number of clunky puzzles were polished, I enjoyed my time with Eternal Hope. I wouldn’t expect the level or length of a Limbo or INSIDE, but it is nice to see something so lovingly crafted in their images. I hope that Doublehit can make enough to pour into a second puzzle-platformer because the potential and technical skill are there, it’s just a little short and clunky to be a mainstream hit. That being said, if you want a bite-sized romp in a colorful and sad world, then by all means jump into the Shadow World and save your lost love.

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‘We have a liftoff!’ Deliver Us The Moon Out Now for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

Publisher Wired Productions and acclaimed Dutch game studio KeokeN interactive are proud to announce that the award-winning sci-fi thriller, Deliver Us The Moon launches today for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, priced at $24.99 / €24.99 / £19.99. Existing owners on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can upgrade at no additional cost. PlayStation 5 owners can pick up the physical edition of the game via the Wired Productions store for £19.99, through Limited Run Games for US customers at $24.99, or European retailers at €24.99.

The astronomical launch trailer showcases everything the definitive version of Deliver Us The Moon has to offer with fully remastered out-of-this-world 4K visuals and stunning ray-traced shadows and reflections. The next-gen features add infinite new levels of immersion to the science-fiction epic.

Deliver Us The Moon is a sci-fi thriller set in an apocalyptic near future, where Earth’s natural resources are depleted. A lunar colony providing a vital supply of energy has gone silent. A lone astronaut is sent to the moon on a critical mission to save humanity from extinction. Will you save mankind or be forgotten in the dark abyss of Space?

Features

  • Tackle real world issues
  • 1st and 3rd Person perspective, including driving numerous vehicles
  • Vast, open moonscape to explore and discover
  • Suspense driven action
  • Anti-gravity gameplay sequences
  • Clever, challenging puzzles
  • Haunting, orchestral soundtrack
  • Powered by Unreal® Engine 4

Next Gen Upgrades

  • Fully remastered in 4K with ray-traced shadows and reflections
  • Jump into the action quicker with faster loading times
  • PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners upgrade to Next Gen version for free

The Deliver Us The Moon PlayStation 4 Collector’s Edition will also receive a free digital PlayStation 5 Upgrade to the Physical Deluxe Edition copy of the game. Available via the Wired Productions Store, the must-have Collector’s Edition includes the award-winning original soundtrack on 12” Double Vinyl, an Exclusive and limited Moonman “The Blackout” Comic Book”, a stellar hardback Deliver Us The Moon Artbook, and more.

Deliver Us The Moon launches today on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, priced at $24.99 / €24.99 / £19.99. A physical edition is available now on PlayStation 5, which includes a double-sided folded poster, a reversible sleeve, a stellar set of stickers, plus a digital download of the Deliver Us The Moon EP via the Wired Productions Store or find a retailer in Wired’s Where to Buy section.

For more information, follow Wired Productions on Twitter, join the official Discord or visit: https://www.deliverusthemoon.com/

NARAKA: BLADEPOINT LAUNCHES ON XBOX SERIES X|S AND XBOX GAME PASS TODAY

24 Entertainment and NetEase Games are excited to announce that NARAKA: BLADEPOINT — the hugely popular battle royale sensation — which has now sold over 10 million copies since its launch in August last year, is now available on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox Game Pass. 

Everything from the UI to the gameplay has been fully optimized, and the Xbox version is supported by Dolby (and Dolby Atmos) stereo to provide players with a completely immersive audio experience. 

To celebrate the Xbox launch, all players will also have access to a brand-new weapon: The Dual Blades, the first double handed weapon to come to NARAKA allowing players to deliver striking blows with a high attacking speed and unstoppable movement with multiple-hit combos. 

Cross play with PC will also be available from today but is optional, meaning players on Xbox can play with 10 million PC players to team up, or battle against each other. 

NARAKA is also going to see the return of the game’s zombie mode, Omni’s Nightmare, with major updates. Players will now be able to pick two skills, from a random selection of three, before entering each game — and will now pick a side before the match starts which increases the likelihood of being on that side. 

As part of the ongoing updates to the game, a new campaign mode will be coming to the later this summer, but if new players want to dive into the game before then NARAKA: BLADEPOINT is currently part of the Steam Summer Sale where there is 30% off from 9am 6/22 to 10am 7/7 PDT. 

Make sure to keep up to date with all the latest NARAKA: BLADEPOINT action on the NARAKA site, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, Steam, and Discord.

Dying Light 2: Steepest Discounts Yet in Steam Summer Sale and Xbox Deals Unlocked

The Steam Summer Sale is just around the corner, but a new promotion from Techland starts a bit earlier and brings the biggest deals so far to Dying Light 2 Stay Human.

Starting today at 10 AM PT, obtain Dying Light 2 Stay Human at an all-time discount of 33% off for the Standard Edition. The Deluxe Edition will receive a 25% discount, and the Ultimate Edition’s price will be lowered by 20%. While these deals are available through the Steam Summer Sale, Xbox gamers can get the same discounts thanks to the Deals Unlocked sale!

Hurry to Steam or the Microsoft Store to take advantage—this promotion ends on June 24.

Summer is the perfect time to visit the City, as a horde of free post-launch content has debuted over the last few months. New Game +, Photo Mode, outfit and weapon packs, in-game events, and more await on your summer holiday to Villedor. While you’re in town, check out Chapter 1 – “In the Footsteps of a Nightrunner”, the first significant seasonal content for Dying Light 2 Stay Human.

Techland is highly dedicated to providing the community with awesome content and invites you to join them on this post-launch journey—only the beginning of a 5-year-plan of support for Dying Light 2 Stay Human.

To check all current promotions, visit the official website of our game.

Media and content creators are invited to join the Dying Light 2 Stay Human press center at dl2.dyinglightgame.com/press-center/.