It's been a long, troubled road for Xbox One, from a rocky reveal to policy backpedals, but the console has emerged better for it, and in a significantly better shape ahead of its worldwide launch this week. The Next Generation continues, in this all-in-one edition of Tuesday Game Room!
What have you been playing this week?
I continued my quest to level up a Draenei in World of Warcraft this week, but honestly most of my time gaming was spent elsewhere. And most of that time was spent clenching my hands tight around my head and gritting my teeth in fits of unbridled stress: Because I started another playthrough of XCOM, with the new expansion added, Enemy Within!
And hoo boy, I'm scraping by - luckily no casualties yet, but a lot of grievous wounds - but even on Normal (far too much of a wuss to play on anything higher!) I don't remember the original game throwing this much intensity at you so early on. Within two months I had hardly any research done because project times have vastly increased, no funds to send out satellites or build new facilities, two rotating squads of soldiers barely making it out of each mission in one piece, and the gutwrenchingly tough decision of either assaulting the Alien base (the sort of 'Act 1' dénouement of XCOM's story campaign) with an under geared and unprepared squad and risk losing my best-equipped men and women, or losing the Americas to mass panic - panic I couldn't ease with satellites because a new Satellite relay would take me two weeks to build - along with a good chunk of my already meagre Council Funding.
And yet, I loved every second. XCOM continues to be one of the very few games I'm willing to wrangle with in such a stressful manner - and it is surprisingly stressing for a turn based tactical game - because the feeling of success is akin to wading into the light, after years in darkness.
And let's just not mention EXALT. Like... ever. *shudders*
Like last week, there's a little bit of housekeeping before Friday's explosion of gaming goodness. The surprisingly not awful The Amazing Spider-Man: The Game makes its way to Vita this week, over a year after the other versions, which is kinda weird. Fans of the cancelled DC Animated series Young Justice might get a heartening bolster with the multiplatform release of Young Justice: Legacy on PC and current-generation consoles as well as 3DS, and PC gamers get their hands on Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag today too. Need for Speed Rivals makes its way to current-gen this week after a slight delay (or rather, a brought-forward release on PS4 last week), and finally, The Walking Dead: Game of the Year Edition, which now includes the Season One epilogue DLC, 400 Days, is out on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Seriously, if you've not played The Walking Dead yet, you should. You really, really should.
But here's the big release of the week: Hot on Sony's heels in the US, The Xbox One is out this Friday in 13 countries worldwide, and with it comes a host of first and third party games. Once again, take a deep breath, because here's the full line up: Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, Fighter Within, Zoo Tycoon, Zumba Fitness: World Party, Lococyle, Powerstar Golf, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Need for Speed Rivals, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Angry Birds Star Wars, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 2014, NBA 2k14, NBA Live, Just Dance 2014, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, The Pinball Arcade and Skylanders: Swap Force. *gasps for air* Oh my! Look at all those games!
Once again though, don't count Nintendo out of a fight, because on the same day they're pushing out two big name titles for the 3DS, as well as a must-have title for the Wii U like they just don't give a hoot about your next-gen console launch: Mario Party: Island Tour and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, a sequel to the legendary A Link to the Past, make their way to handhelds, and Super Mario 3D World (not to be confused with Super Mario 3D Land!) heads to the home console.
And now, the News
Once again it's time for a few select picks from the last week of Gaming news, via Eurogamer:
- Valve to début proprietary VR hardware early next year - Now, this is interesting. When it comes to VR, much of the PC gaming community has rallied around the Oculus Rift, an amazing piece of tech thats come on in leaps and bounds over the last year. But what could Valve, the darling of the PC Gamer, bring to Virtual Reality? And what could VR bring to Steam, Valve's vast marketplace for PC gaming? They've already had odd designs on the way we use game controllers, so at this point it could be anything. We'll find out more at a Steam Dev Day event in January of next year.
- Sony issues 'Blinking Blue Light' FAQ as the number of bricked PS4s grows - This is a disconcerting bit of news for us Europeans still 10 days away from the PS4, who might start getting a bit hand-wringy over the repeated reports of dodgy PS4s (which hit critical mass over the weekend with an unsourced report of Foxconn Interns deliberately sabotaging PS4 manufacturing in China spreading like wildfire over the internet) - but Sony have also come out to say the number of reports they've received fall within their expected estimates. Even then, out of the 1 million plus consoles sold in the US alone last Friday, a 0.4% failure rate is still at least 4,000 very unhappy gamers - combine it with the fact that bad news is even easier to spread with the rise of Facebook and Twitter, practically in their infancy during the last console launches, and you're likely to see a bleak picture at the moment. Hopefully Sony can avoid anything disastrous with this first wave of PS4 Hardware (the same for the Xbox One too, which has been designed with the 360's infamous early-stage unreliability well in mind), so people aren't left out in the cold during the holidays.
- Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD finally get a Western release date - Well, in Europe at least. It's been a weird path of release for this remastering, which was announced over 2 years ago now, and even then, only a date for the PS3 collection was revealed, the much anticipated Vita version missing from this latest news. It certainly looks great, and sounds great (I think I'm more excited for the remastered soundtrack, as FFX is one of my favourites in the whole franchise), but it's hard to get excited when even now, it's still so very far away.
- DICE fights off Battlefield 4 DDOS attacks and promises PS4 instability patching coming soon - It's been a rough week for the latest Battlefield game too. Not only does the game repeatedly crash in its shiny new PS4 form (aside from the litany of bugs already found in the PC and current gen releases), but the PC Origin servers for the game were rendered offline for much of the past weekend due to a wave of unprecedented Denial of Service Attacks. Whilst the DDOS threat is largely absolved now, DICE have released statements confirming that patches for some versions of the game, including the PS4 version, will be due out some time this week to help get the game running normally.
We'll be back this time next Tuesday for more gaming discussion, but for now, sound off in the comments with the games you've been playing, and what you're looking forward to this week - and don't forget to join us on Steam!