A really solid slate of games for the month of November.
Xbox has revealed the free games that will be coming to both Xbox One and Xbox 360 next month, courtesy of a post on Major Nelson’s blog. The games that will be available to download are the following:
Volgarr the Viking (Xbox One) [All Month] “For Xbox One gamers, this is a journey back to the days of yore, when times were tougher, and you really only needed a couple buttons to play a game.”
Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise (Xbox 360) [November 1st – November 15th]
Red Faction: Guerilla (Xbox 360) [November 17th – November 30th]
I’m personally psyched to try out Volgarr the Viking on Xbox One, but Viva Pinata and Red Faction are both solid offerings on the 360, as well.
If you were waiting for a price drop, well, here it is.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was a very controversial title when it released earlier this year. The game was essentially a brief prologue to the events of next year’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, though the retail price for the game was $30. I personally found a lot of enjoyment in the game and thought that it was so well designed that it made me want to keep coming back for more, but that’s besides the point.
For those who passed due to the fact that they felt it was too much money, Konami has now made the price of the game officially $20. This is the price for physical copies of the game across all platforms, though the game is still interestingly $30 digital on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Ground Zeroes challenges the player to infiltrate a prison base called Camp Omega to rescue hostages. There are also a handful of other scenarios that have you complete various tasks within the confines of the same area. The game takes place 9 years before the events of The Phantom Pain and will reportedly be an important introduction to that game.
November is just around the corner and that means all new games are coming to PlayStation Plus for subscribers to download for free. Beginning on Tuesday, November 4th, subscribers will be able to download the following games on the following platforms:
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Frozen Synapse Prime
The Hungry Horde
As always, these games are yours to download and keep forever. Even if you don’t have the space for the game on the platform, just initiating the download will allow you to complete the download whenever you do have the room down the road.
Borderlands and Borderlands 2 rank as some of my favorite games of the last several years, due to their fantastic blend of the FPS and RPG genres. It’s such a cool idea to have a heavy action game with an arsenal of weapons that many other FPS titles could only dream of having, but then also giving the player stats and bonuses that continuously improve as the player progresses. Borderlands 2 took everything that made the first game good and made it even better, but what can The Pre-Sequel do that hasn’t been done before already?
The Pre-Sequel gets its silly title as a result of the fact that the game takes places in between Borderlands and Borderlands 2. You control one of 4 characters that each have their own unique classes and abilities that you upgrade through experience points, who happen to have been NPCs from the previous games in the series. This time we’re following the escapades of Handsome Jack, witnessing him go from a goofy dude with a big plan to the evil SOB that we know him for in Borderlands 2.
While the story of The Pre-Sequel offers plenty of laughs and situations that had me thinking, “WTF?”, it definitely didn’t hit the highs of Borderlands 2. While Handsome Jack was the highlight of Borderlands 2 and is definitely one of the highlights of this game, the story of his descent into evil is very predictable and one-note. You’re basically just a pawn in his scheme while he screws other people over for his own gains, with your character just going along with it all and not really giving you a say in any of it. It would have been cool if there were branching paths in this narrative, because there were times when my character was just happily going along with the evil that Jack ordered and I definitely wouldn’t have gone that route on my own. It’s to be expected considering there is already a story that this game needs to line up with, but just a bit more freedom in the narrative would have gone a long way.
The supporting cast is also partially to blame for the overall story not being as compelling as previous games, as some of the characters are down-right irritating. Janey Springs is the engineer in this game and has a hyper-obsession with Moxxi, which grows old pretty fast thanks to her boring dialogue. A similar character in the game is named Pickle, who’s cockney-accent seems to be the sole thing that the writers were going for in terms of actual humor. The one addition to the cast that is great, however, is Nurse Nina. She is a huge woman that has a very intimidating presence, and her blunt dialogue mixed with her accent results in plenty of laughs. Other characters from previous games return for The Pre-Sequel, like the aforementioned Moxxi, Lilith and Roland, but they’re mostly on the backburner.
If you have played either of the previous Borderlands games then you exactly what to expect in terms of what the core experience is. You will travel across various new areas completing missions for various characters that will reward you with experience points and loot. The characters and scenarios that you will find yourself in will often be zany and hilarious, and the amount of loot that you will come across over the course of your adventure is mind-blowing. This is a well-oiled machine that still works really well for the series, as the continuous stream of better and better loot is seriously addicting.
However, The Pre-Sequel aims to shake the gameplay up a bit by introducing low-gravity gameplay. Considering this game takes place on Elpis (Pandora’s moon), you will find yourself often in situations where you are jumping and then floating around like an astronaut. This results in some interesting new styles of battles as you take aim at your enemies only for them to jump into the air and float around like a dang balloon. You can also perform a new move called “Butt Slam” that allows you to jump into the air and then come slamming down on your opponents and deal area damage. While these new gravity physics can be fun, often times I felt that it made some battles more of a nuisance due to things slowing down a bit while in the air. You also have to collect O2 kits to replenish your O2 as it depletes steadily over time, which can get a little annoying even though the game is always giving you opportunities to replenish it.
The new characters themselves are a lot of fun to play as, having the option to control either Wilhelm, Nisha, Athena or even Claptrap. I used Wilhelm primarily in my playthrough, as he brings with him an action skill called Wolf & Saint that is truly devastating. When you activate the action skill Wolf flies out and shoots your enemies and Saint hangs back and heals you up. Nisha is a classic gunslinger characters that brings with her wild west stylistics and moves, while Athena has a shield that can be used both as protection and as a weapon. The craziest of the bunch, of course, is Claptrap. His range of moves change depending on the current situation, though you never know whether or not they will be helpful or just stupid. If you’re looking for pure chaos in your gameplay, your best bet is Claptrap.
Each characters has an extensive skill tree for you to put points into to improve various stats and abilities. Just like in other Borderlands games, these skill trees really allow you to tailor your characters to your style of play. The further you go into the skill trees the more new crazy abilities you will unlock, so leveling up as much as you can is definitely recommended if you want fill out those skill trees. This can be done more easily by taking part in the game’s various side-quests, which usually involve going from point a to point b and killing something or collecting something. They are by no means quests that will offer some of the best content that the game has to offer, but you will get to witness more zany character dialogue and scenarios, so that is pretty much worth it alone.
While Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessors, it still brings plenty of the same awesome gameplay and dialogue that the series is known for. It may not tell a story that offers a ton of perspective on the events leading up to Borderlands 2, but just getting an excuse to hang around with the always-charming Handsome Jack again is fine with me. I only wish that the new low-gravity gameplay was fleshed out more than it was, as as it is it’s nothing more than a quick new coat of paint on the same gameplay. Still, regardless of its shortcomings, if you were a fan of either of the other Borderlands games then you will definitely find a lot to like with this pre-sequel. Yes, pre-sequel is officially a word now.
Bungie has revealed that Destiny will be getting its first major expansion on December 9th, and it is called The Dark Below. The expansion will feature a new story that will be packed with new weapons and gear for gamers to grind for, with more co-op and multiplayer activities also inbound.
Here are some of the things that The Dark Below will be bringing to Destiny:
The Light level cap is being raised to 32
A new character named Eris will be in The Tower with new story quests to experience
A new Strike called the Will of Crota
Three new multiplayer arenas: Pantheon, Skyshock and The Cauldron
New six-player raid called Crota’s End
PlayStation platforms getting exclusive Strike, Exotic weapon and more
The president of Bungie, Harold Ryan, said the following in the press release:
“Destiny was created as a living universe, which has allowed us to improve the experience post launch in real-time. It also gives us insight into the things players are looking for in new content. We’ve seen from feedback that people want new activities, gear and weapons and of course the immensely popular Raid. The community helps shape our development decisions and that’s really important to us.”
The Dark Below can be purchased for $20 individually or $35 as part of the Destiny Expansions Pass that will also bring a second expansion at some point next year.
At EA’s recent financial call it was revealed that Visceral Games’ Battlefield: Hardline will be released on March 17th, 2014 in North America and March 19, 2014 in Europe.
Although more information wasn’t released on the actual game, it was revealed that the next entry in the Battlefield franchise will be arriving at the end of 2016. This is part of EA’s plan to have a major first-person shooter title each year, because apparently there just aren’t enough FPS games these days…
Check out a multiplayer trailer for Battlefield: Hardline below.