Coming of Age with Age of Empires: Castle Siege
Age of Empires is surely one of PC gaming’s most celebrated franchises. The original inspired many like it, but none that could quite match its deft mix of planning, resource management, strategic combat, and historical relevance. Now, the game is coming to Windows 10 PC in a new format, building upon the successful Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8 and iOS title of the same name: Age of Empires: Castle Siege. “Many staff members at the studio have fond memories of playing the original Age of Empires,” said David Dubord, whose studio Smoking Gun Interactive is responsible for the upcoming Windows 10 PC release of Age of Empires: Castle Siege, hitting the Windows Store today. The game makes use of many of the civilizations, units, and historical advancements found in previous Age of Empires titles, so longtime fans should find plenty of nostalgic value here. Indeed, the team at Smoking Gun is composed of many of the people responsible for PC classic Company of Heroes, and Age of Empires was certainly an influential title at the time. “A lot of us spent many late nights playing Age of Empires,” Dubord recalled. “We were very excited to get a chance to work on this iteration of the franchise.” Players will see plenty of familiar elements, such as aging up through history, building/fortifying castles, using heroes, and – of course – training armies and fighting enemies. Unlike a lot of similar mobile-only titles, Castle Siege gives player direct control over their units in battle.
Getting Our Hands Dirty with Rise of the Tomb Raider
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a game that’s chock full of adventure, climbing, gun fights, stealth, and – most importantly – tombs. Earlier this month, we got to play through one of the first tombs in the new game, and witness heroine Lara Croft’s return to what made her one of our favorite heroes in all of gaming. Our demo opened with Lara in Syria, looking for the fabled tomb of an ancient prophet. It’s a scene that takes place before the snowy adventures you may have seen in previous Rise of the Tomb Raider demos and trailers. After a brutal car crash, followed by an explosion, then a fall off a cliff, Lara found herself right near the entrance to the tomb. So, yeah – in case you thought Rise of the Tomb Raider was going to give Lara Croft a break this time... nope!The bruised and bleeding Lara shook it off like a champ, and whipped out her father’s tape recorder to get some in-game exposition about where she was headed. The tape recorder is a nice device that keeps the game moving – while getting more story as you’re climbing
Get Ready to Jump Ahead with Xbox One Thanks to September’s Games with Gold
By September, school’s starting, the weather’s cooling off, and the buzz of summer is winding down. But with our Games with Gold program, we’re just getting started! This month, we’re helping you get caught up with one of the most exciting, awesome series in video games as we bring you Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition on Xbox One. This complete version of one of 2013’s most acclaimed games will get you ready to Jump Ahead into November when Rise of the Tomb Raider, one of 2015’s most anticipated titles, comes out only on Xbox One and Xbox 360. Also in September, Xbox One Games with Gold members will get the exciting, indie sidescroller The Deer God, and Xbox 360 members will get Battlestations: Pacific, the comprehensive World War II tactical and action simulator, as well as the eye-poppingly gorgeous shooter Crysis 3. Finally, in case you missed our exciting announcement at Gamescom 2015, when backward compatibility launches in November, all future Xbox 360 Games with Gold titles will be playable on Xbox One. That means Xbox Live Gold members will get even more free games to play each month on Xbox One.
Smite: A Beginner’s Guide
I play a lot of multiplayer online battle arena games (or “MOBAs”) on PC. I may not be the best player in the world, but I’m certainly not the worst – and one thing I can say for rootin’, tootin’ sure: Smite on Xbox One is, without question, the absolute best MOBA experience on console, ever. Period. It’s a fantastic game whether you’re playing on Windows or Xbox One, but if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool console guy, and you’re dying (in the wool or otherwise) to get into MOBAs, you had better get your hands on Smite right now. OK, so you’re intimidated. You’ve seen Let’s Play videos of guys joining MOBA matches online and getting yelled at, and you don’t want to be “that guy.” Well, have no fear. First of all, Smite doesn’t allocate loot (experience points and gold) the way most MOBAs do – dealing the final hit on a mob (basic, A.I. enemy) only nets you a small extra amount of gold and XP. Everyone else who’s nearby gets nearly the same amount as you do. So if you take someone’s kill, he’s not gonna flip out. Second: Smite is pretty much the only bona fide MOBA on Xbox One right now. What do you think, everybody out there is an expert overnight? So just grab your controller and get in the game!
X-Wing and TIE Fighters Shine in Star Wars Battlefront
Much like how the Star Wars film series has two distinctive elements to it – land-based firefights and massive dogfights in the air and space – great Star Wars video games manage to combine both of these. And Star Wars Battlefront is shaping up to be a great Star Wars game. We recently got our hands on a wave survival mode on Tatooine that acted as a nice counterbalance to the Hoth battle that we checked out back at E3 2015. But the thing that really blew us away this time was the TIE Fighter vs X-Wing battle mode, titled Fighter Squadron. If you’re a fan of previous flight-based Star Wars games, then Star Wars Battlefront’s Fighter Squadron mode will feel familiar. Controlling either a Rebel X-Wing or an Imperial TIE Fighter, players have to shoot down enemy fighters, while occasionally attacking or defending transport ships. It’s clear that there’s a lot of love for the older games built into Star Wars Battlefront.
Smite Officially Launches Today on Xbox One
Today, developer Hi-Rez Studios’ free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Smite – the mythology-themed third-person action game – officially launched on Xbox One after a successful beta testing process. The game’s already racked up over 1 million players during the course of its alpha and beta, and now all Xbox Live Gold subscribers can download the game, jump in, and have some fun. “With over one million participants in our beta, there is clearly an appetite for the right MOBA on console,” said Todd Harris, co-founder and COO of Hi-Rez Studios. “MOBAs have historically been a PC-only genre, but Smite’s action-oriented gameplay is a great fit with the Xbox One controller. The strong player retention we’ve seen during beta makes us confident that this is just the beginning for console MOBAs and console e-Sports.”
A Closer Look at the People and Places of Fallout 4
Our recent look at Fallout 4 concluded with a moment tailor-made to please existing fans of the post-apocalyptic role-playing game franchise. Armed with the atomic bomb-slinging Fat Man gun, the player – using the V.A.T.S. targeting system – aimed at a Behemoth mutant’s torso. Before blasting a hubcap-sized hole in a monster’s belly with a mini-nuke, though, the presentation offered some subtler, but no less impressive peeks at what fans can expect from the Boston-set sequel. Shedding more light on the game’s companion system, Game Director Todd Howard introduced us to potential new friends Preston Garvey and Piper. The former is the leader of the Commonwealth Minutemen, while the latter seems to be a wasteland reporter working out of Diamond City, the ruins of Fenway Park.