The biggest names in gaming have come to Cologne, Germany to show off the future of interactive science fiction warfare, racing simulation, dragon slaying, and more.
Aug 20, 2015
Nvidia makes game streaming easier with new GeForce Experience
There are two varieties of game streaming: one is the streaming of a video feed showing what you're doing inside the game, and the other is the ability to play remotely by streaming the full interactive experience over to another device. Nvidia knows both are growing in importance, and today it's introducing new software that upgrades the ease with which players can do both. I tried Nvidia's updated GeForce Experience — which is being rolled out in beta form today — at Gamescom earlier this month, and I came away impressed by the simplicity and quickness of the graphics company's new software.Read Article >
Today's update introduces an on-screen overlay that will be available across all games and requires no setup or tinkering. It's just there if you want it, accessible via a keyboard shortcut, and entirely unobtrusive if you don't. The first two options, instant replay and video recording, are basically Nvidia's ShadowPlay functionality presented in an easy and straightforward format. You can let your Nvidia GPU run its own DVR service in the background, automatically recording the last 30 seconds (or as long as 20 minutes) of gameplay and then making them available for immediate replay when something sublime happens in the game. Or you can manually set up a recording of an unlimited length. These options max out at 4K resolution and 60fps, which equates to roughly 60GB of data per hour.
Aug 7, 2015
Meet the new breed of cooperative first-person shooter games
This year's Gamescom has been a special treat for fans of multiplayer games. Ubisoft has brought Rainbow Six Siege and the all-new For Honor for gamers to try out in Cologne, while DICE used the show to debut a massive 20-player dogfight mode in Star Wars: Battlefront. Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm has been everywhere too, but it's another title from the same company that I want to talk about today: Overwatch. It, along with Gearbox Software's Battleborn, is establishing a new category of team-based shooter games, one where violence and gore are de-emphasized in favor of accessibility and cooperative fun.Read Article >
Anyone who's ever played Team Fortress 2 will find both of these new games familiar, and they do indeed owe a measure of creative debt to Valve's enduringly popular team shooter. But you can't have a class of games made up of just one, and it's only now that TF2 is finding more games willing to explore its quirky mix of cartoony visuals, frenetic action, and exaggerated weaponry. The typical definition of a first-person shooter (FPS) game immediately brings to mind the Call of Duty series, where realism is prized and storylines revolve around plausible near-future scenarios. You are a soldier with a rifle, and though the specifics of what you and the rifle can do might change, the essence of gritty warfare is generally right at the heart of the game. Big publishers like Blizzard and 2K Games, which is responsible for Battleborn's release, are now investing their time and effort into creating games that take a different approach.
Battleborn is the best game of Gamescom 2015
I can’t contain my excitement. I’m sitting at a train station right now, foregoing nourishment and hydration just to write these words of joy. Think back to your happiest first date and you’ll have a good idea of how I feel after my first time playing Battleborn. This game is just thrilling.Read Article >
Dogfights in Star Wars: Battlefront are a disorienting mess
It's the stuff of every Star Wars fan's fantasies: a grand battle between X-Wings and TIE fighters, peppered with laser cannon fire and big explosions. That's what Star Wars: Battlefront promises with its newly announced Fighter Squadron multiplayer mode, and for the most part, it duly delivers. The question that lingers for me, though, is whether such 10 versus 10 dogfights actually make for a truly enjoyable gaming experience. I tried the thing here at Gamescom in Cologne and the answer still eludes me.Read Article >
Cuphead is a frenetic, psychotic exercise in fun and frustration
You died. You died. You died again. You died. Why do you keep dying?Read Article >
For a game with such visual charm and flair, Cuphead is an absolute tyrant in its gameplay. It has a minimal tutorial section to teach you the basics of what each button does and then throws you to the wolves. And the mad carrots, and the peeved potatoes, and the birds carrying houses on their backs. Cuphead is basically a collection of really intense, exasperatingly difficult boss fights. There's usually some oversized caricature in the right or center of the screen, and there's you trying frantically to not die. You will fail many times over.
Aug 5, 2015
The Mad Max game has little to do with the movie, but could be just as good
Here's an easy recipe for disappointment: take one of the awesomest, most refreshingly nuanced and thoughtful action movies of recent times, Mad Max: Fury Road, and turn it into a generic find-and-destroy open world game. That's exactly what I envisioned when I first heard of the Mad Max game, which is set in the same universe and stars the same titular character, but is otherwise divorced from Fury Road. I'm glad to say I was wrong.Read Article >
WB Games has brought Mad Max to Gamescom here in Cologne, and I was among the first to try it at the show. My fretful apprehension going into the demo was quickly replaced by fascination: you wouldn't think there'd be much diversity to what you can do in a vast desert world with only a few scraps of metal lying around, but Mad Max belies expectations in many ways. The game's centered on Max's automobile, which isn't his iconic Interceptor but rather a Frankensteinian concoction of post-apocalyptic detritus.
This might be the first good Attack on Titan game
The premise of Attack on Titan sounds like ideal fodder for a video game: sword-wielding humans zip around cities trying to take down towering creatures that love to eat people. The most recent title left much to be desired, but there may finally be a good Attack on Titan game on the way. At Gamescom 2015, Koei Tecmo announced that it will be publishing an Attack on Titan game set to launch on the PS3, PS4, and Vita, and it sounds very promising.Read Article >
We don't have much to go on other than a brief teaser trailer, but there's reason to be excited: the game is being developed by Omega Force, the same studio behind the Dynasty Warriors series. The Dynasty Warriors games are all about powerful soldiers taking on seemingly endless waves of enemies, which is basically the reverse of Attack on Titan's premise where huge monsters fight waves of humans. Omega Force has also shown that it can adapt the formula to licensed properties through games like Hyrule Warriors (which is coming to the 3DS soon) and the upcoming Dragon Quest Heroes, so there's reason to believe that this new title could be the dumb-but-fun Attack on Titan game fans have been waiting for.
Final Fantasy XV’s latest trailer shows what you’ll be fighting for
Up until now, the few, relatively brief glimpses of Final Fantasy XV we've seen have focused on the weird, wild open world and the cast of four bros on a road trip. But at Gamescom 2015, Square Enix revealed a very different, much more serious trailer that introduces us to the game's backstory.Read Article >
Set 15 years before the events of FFXV, the new trailer showcases a relationship between a father and son, and also provides a nice look at the game's unique fantasy-meets-modern setting. This is a place where automatic guns and luxury cars live alongside swords and gleaming suits of armor. Much of the story still remains a mystery, of course, but it sounds like it will be wonderfully confusing in a way only Final Fantasy can be. Here's how Square Enix describes it:
Aug 5, 2015
EA's Unravel is a gorgeous puzzle-platform game about string
It's a beautiful platform game with heavy physics-based puzzles based on the fact that you are made up of yarn. You'll have to manipulate your environment by doing things like stringing bridges together in order to progress, all the while making sure that you don't run out of length and... unravel.Read Article >
It's better explained in motion than words, so take a look at the trailer above. Unravel is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with no release date given as yet.
Star Wars: Battlefront lets you pilot the Millennium Falcon in 20-player dogfights
The latest footage of Star Wars: Battlefront from this year's Gamescom shows a new gameplay mode named Fighter Squadron that allows gamers to take part in hectic 20-player aerial dogfights, piloting X-Wings, TIE fighters, and even the Millennium Falcon itself. "Fighter Squadron will put you inside the cockpit of some of the most memorable vehicles ever seen in the Star Wars galaxy," said Battlefront senior producer Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir at the Gamescom event.Read Article >
Watch five minutes of new Mirror's Edge Catalyst gameplayRead Article >
After first announcing Mirror's Edge Catalyst at E3 this year, EA has released new gameplay footage for the visually stylish, parkour-focused title at this year's Gamescom. The game promises to take players through the origin story of courier-slash-revolutionary Faith, described by senior EA producer Sara Jansson at Gamescom as "a hero who is truly unique — dare I say the most unique hero in video games." If you enjoyed the first Mirror's Edge then the new footage is pretty much everything you could hope for: there's free-running combat, an expansive (and disquietingly clean) city to explore, and, best of all, no guns.
This new Xbox One hard drive looks like a cute little console
Storing digital games is becoming a big problem for console owners — so much so that both Microsoft and Sony have released beefed up, 1TB versions of their home consoles. If you don't want to buy a whole new console, though, Seagate might have just what you're looking for with its new Game Drive for Xbox, a 2TB hard drive designed to work with both the Xbox One and 360.Read Article >
Announced today at Gamescom 2015, the drive will cost you $109.99, and utilizes USB 3.0 for what the company describes as "an easy plug-and-play connection." Of course, Seagate's new hard drive is far from the only option, but it differentiates itself in one key way: it looks great. The tiny box is covered in a distinctly Xbox shade of green, and features an embossed Xbox logo that almost makes it look like a first-party piece of hardware. It wouldn't look out of place sitting in an entertainment unit alongside your consoles.
Aug 4, 2015
Ross Miller and Andrew Webster
The 8 biggest Xbox announcements from Gamescom 2015
Microsoft kicked off Gamescom 2015 in a big way. While the company’s keynote covered a lot of the same ground as its E3 press conference in June, it also featured a number of new announcements that make the Xbox One more tempting than ever. There are improvements to the console itself, like the new DVR functionality, as well as exciting new games to play on it — including a whole lot of Halo. Here are the eight biggest announcements from the event in Germany.Read Article >
Just Cause 3 trailer features plane explosion; Xbox One version comes with Just Cause 2
The Xbox One version of Just Cause 3 will include Just Cause 2, also playable on Xbox One. The announcement came during today's Microsoft press conference at Gamescom 2015. Along with the news, Avalanche Studios premiered a new trailer for Just Cause 3.Read Article >
The developer continues to outdo itself with each new trailer. The new gameplay footage features the hero in gunfights while hanging from a helicopter, riding a gas can, and zipping through a burning village. At the end of the clip, he fires a rocket into a cargo plane, causing it explode across the landscape.
Halo Wars 2 is launching next yearRead Article >
At the end of its Gamescom 2015 keynote, Microsoft had a big surprise: Halo Wars 2, the sequel to the strategy spin-off, is launching next fall. The game will be exclusive to the Xbox One and Windows 10, and it's being developed by renowned strategy game studio The Creative Assembly (it's also the same studio behind the excellent horror game Alien Isolation). Like the original Halo Wars, which launched on the Xbox 360 in 2009, the sequel is a real-time strategy game, offering significantly different gameplay from the main series.
Microsoft announces Halo World Championship with $1 million prize pool
We've seen plenty of Halo 5: Guardians in the lead-up to its October 27th release date. For Gamescom 2015, Microsoft focused on Halo's history as an e-sport — and then took it a step further by announcing a World Championship with $1 million in prizes. That's a significant boost from last month's $150,000 pool but still a far cry from the $18 million Dota 2 International Championships. The focus will be on Halo 5's more frenetic Arena multiplayer (instead of Warzone).Read Article >
Once the de facto competitive multiplayer series, Halo now stands in competition with the likes of Call of Duty. The Halo World Championship launches later this year.
A limited edition Halo-themed Xbox One console is coming this October
For a lot of people, a new Halo game means it's time to finally buy a new Xbox. And when it comes to Halo 5: Guardians, good things come to those who wait. At Gamescom 2015, Microsoft announced a new, limited edition Halo-themed Xbox One, that comes bundled with the game and a hefty 1TB of storage. The new Xbox will feature metallic blue detailing on both the console and controller, and will be available for $499. You can also buy a Master Chief-themed controller separately for $69.99. Ever better: the console launches on October 20th, a week ahead of Halo 5, so you'll have plenty of time to set-up before you start playing. The new console is available for pre-order today. Halo 5: Guardians, meanwhile, is coming to Xbox One on October 27th.Read Article >
Mojang has a new Xbox One game coming in OctoberRead Article >
There's more to Mojang than Minecraft, and at Gamescom 2015 the company announced its next release: Cobalt, which will make its debut on Xbox One in October. It's not an entirely new game; Mojang previously announced that it would be publishing Cobalt, which is developed by Oxeye Game Studios, way back in 2011. The sci-fi, 2D action game has been in an alpha stage on PC and Mac since 2013, and the Xbox port was announced at Gamescom that same year. But we've heard little about the game since then, and now we know exactly when the will be available to Xbox owners. Check out the new trailer above.
The Xbox One controller gets a full QWERTY chat pad
Because sometimes you want to say something but would rather not use a headset or reconnect your Kinect, Microsoft has announced at Gamescom an Xbox One chat pad. Nearly identical to its Xbox 360 predecessor, the new chat pad will fit snugly on the bottom of the controller and let you thumb on a full QWERTY layout for Xbox One and Windows 10. No pricing or release date details, but Microsoft says pre-orders start today.Read Article >
Windows 10 is coming to the Xbox One in November
Microsoft first revealed its redesigned Xbox One dashboard back at E3 earlier this year, and now the company is announcing that it will arrive on consoles in November. Powered by Windows 10, the new dashboard includes features that focus on speed and performance, and a design that's a lot more simplified.Read Article >
One of the key new features in the Xbox One dashboard update is Cortana integration. You can say "Hey Cortana, record the last minute and share it to my activity feed" and it will publish a game clip straight away. Likewise, "Hey Cortana, start a party and invite Amanda" will invite a friend into a voice chat all without having to lift your fingers from your controller. Cortana will require the Kinect sensor for audio controls.
Watch the first gameplay trailer for Scalebound, Xbox One's dragon-riding epicRead Article >
If there's one thing the Xbox One needs more of, it's dragons, and Japanese studio Platinum Games is here to rectify that. At Gamescom 2015, the developer unveiled the first lengthy gameplay trailer forScalebound, an action game where players take on towering fantasy monsters in an impressively huge world. The hero also wears headphones for some reason. According to director Hideki Kamiya, Scalebound will be Platinum's biggest release ever — the studio is best know for its high-intensity action games like Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The new trailer appeared to have some performance issues, but the game is still a ways out — Scalebound is due to hit the Xbox One in late 2016.
Xbox One will get a TV DVR feature next year
Microsoft has killed off Windows Media Center as part of Windows 10, but the company is keeping one of its key features for the Xbox One. The games console will get a TV DVR feature in a future update to enable full DVR functionality. You can schedule recordings on the go, and stream games to any Windows 10 PC. Microsoft is even allowing Windows 10 PCs to download shows to play them on the go. Given the rumors, it's not surprising to see this feature be made available, but the extension to Windows 10 will make it a lot more useful.Read Article >
Microsoft announced the new feature on stage at Gamescom today, but the company is limiting it to only free-to-air TV. While the Xbox One can control and view content from cable boxes using a HDMI-in port, Microsoft has released digital TV tuners in Europe and the US to support free-to-air television. Mike Ybarra, head of platform engineering at Xbox, only mentioned recording free-to-air TV on stage, and Microsoft's blog post reveals this is for free-to-air only. Microsoft is planning to enable the Xbox One TV DVR feature in 2016.
Crackdown 3 trailer promises 100 percent destructible environments
Crackdown 3 gameplay (above) was shown for the first time at Gamescom 2015. The footage features a handful of additions, like transforming vehicles and mechsuits, but details remain sparse.Read Article >
Released in 2007 by Realtime Worlds, Crackdown was one of the first open-world games to give the player superhero-like powers. It owed much of its initial success to a popular demo promotion available on the Xbox digital storefront and the inclusion of a download code with every copy of the full game that unlocked a Halo 3 multiplayer demo. But the game's satirical tone and addictive exploration hooks earned it a cult following. A sequel was released three years later by Ruffian Games to mixed reviews.
Aug 4, 2015
Remedy's long-awaited Quantum Break finally has a release date
After years of development and delays, Remedy's ambitious Quantum Break finally has a confirmed release date. It was announced during Xbox's Gamescom press conference that the cross-medium, time-warping third-person shooter will be available for Xbox One on April 5th, 2016. Xbox chief Phil Spencer hinted at the date's reveal on Twitter Saturday afternoon when he told a curious fan more information was forthcoming. Spencer shared a long clip with narration, gameplay, and some notable actors, including Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings), and Lance Reddick (The Wire). Ashmore also appeared on stage to help introduce the game.Read Article >
Gamers have known about Quantum Break as long as they've known about the Xbox One itself. The game was announced alongside the console back in May 2013, where it was described as a "revolutionary entertainment experience." With titles like Max Payne and Alan Wake in its back pocket, Remedy is a studio defined by cinematic vision — but Quantum Break was supposed to take that commitment to another level.
Xbox event at Gamescom 2015: Live stream, start time, and what to expect
While Xbox's E3 press conference is Microsoft's biggest gaming event of the year, the company has saved a few announcements for this week's Gamescom in Cologne, Germany — including updates on Crackdown, Quantum Break, and Halo 5. Here's what we're expecting to see — and where you can watch it live.Read Article >