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
Win One of 7 Collectible Controllers and an Xbox One at PAX Prime 2015
Are you excited for PAX Prime 2015? Well, you should be! To celebrate Xbox at this year’s PAX Prime in Seattle, WA, we’re giving away 7 collectible controllers with Xbox One consoles, featuring some of our greatest upcoming titles. Best of all, there’s no purchase necessary to enter the sweepstakes, which runs from August 28 to August 31. For more information and all of that sweet legal stuff, be sure to take a closer look at the Official Rules. There are two Ways to Win. At PAX Prime: Snap a photo, and then Instagram or tweet that photo with the hashtags #xboxsweepstakes and #xbox. Also, make sure to follow @Xbox on Twitter! On Twitter: Retweet the specified tweet. Again, make sure you’re following @Xbox!
Know Your Genres: Action Role-Playing Games
This week, we examine a subset of the role-playing game: the action-RPG. It’s difficult to specifically define, or rather delineate, the characteristics of the action-RPG versus a traditional RPG, but we can say a few things for certain. Action-RPGs put players in situations where they must make decisions in real time – there are no menus or tactical interfaces in-between their characters and them. Further, action-RPGs tend to emphasize combat over other aspects of role-playing, and they tend to focus on single-character, rather than party-based RPG mechanics. It is a fine line, however, and arguments will be made about games on the border – so let’s not stress. Instead, let’s talk about some of the classics that are roundly considered to be the best of the sub-genre, and get into its history while we do.
Kerbal Space Program Hurtles Onto Xbox One
Kerbal Space Program – a spaceship construction and flight simulator by developer Squad – was a pretty big deal when it came to Windows PC earlier this year. And pretty soon, you’ll have your chance to get in on the fun on Xbox One. Check out the above trailer for the game! It initially looks like a pretty wacky game: A bunch of small green vaguely humanoid creatures – the titular Kerbals – have built the Kerbal Space Center, a fully operational spaceport designed to let them build the vehicles that will take them from their Earth-like planet to the stars. But beyond the initial cuteness, you’ll find a deep engineering and physics simulator that empowers you to build structurally sound spaceships and rockets, and send them hurtling... well, into the vast reaches of space, wherever you want to go. Kerbal Space Program’s physics model is so realistic that actual rocket scientists from NASA and SpaceX have taken an interest in it – and in most cases, the math and the science check out pretty well when you’re trying to engineer a safe, space-worthy ship. And once you successfully launch into orbit (which is a serious challenge all on its own), you can attempt to reach and explore a number of planets, and then get your brave Kerbals home safely. Once you get into it and start to learn how everything works, Kerbal Space Program is an engrossing spaceship simulator dressed up in a fun, colorful theme.
Games with Gold: Get 10 Free Xbox One Games Before 2016
With the greatest games lineup in Xbox history launching this year, there are already plenty of reasons to jump ahead to Xbox One, including Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Forza Motorsport 6, and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. Why not add another one? Xbox 360 owners with Xbox Live Gold can get up to 10 free Xbox One games before the end of the calendar year. Start today by redeeming Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition. Then, come back every month to add two more free games to your Xbox One game collection. When you get your Xbox One, all those games you redeemed will be waiting for you in your queue. It’s that simple. It gets even better. When Xbox One Backward Compatibility launches in November, all future Xbox 360 Games with Gold titles will be playable on Xbox One. This means that not only can Xbox 360 users start building their Xbox One game collections, but they can continue to play a growing number of their Xbox 360 games on Xbox One at no additional cost.
Xbox August Update Brings Game Streaming in 1080p and 60fps
When Windows 10 launched around the world on July 29, we brought the best of the Xbox Live gaming network to Windows 10. Windows 10 was built with gamers in mind, integrating some of the most popular Xbox features such as Game DVR, screenshots, Avatars and Achievements. We also included new functions like game streaming from Xbox One to Windows 10 PCs. The response from fans has been amazing and starting today, that feature gets even better with support for streaming games in 1080p/60fps. New features starting to roll out today in the August update include: 1080p/60fps Game Streaming – You can now stream games from your Xbox One to Windows 10 devices in high-res HD quality at 1080p/60fps. The new streaming capability works best for gamers who have home networks with adequate bandwidth. In the Xbox app on Windows 10, go to Settings > Game Streaming and set the video encoding level to Very High, which will then stream games from your Xbox One to your Windows 10 PC at 1080p and 60fps (frames per second).