Man, talk about a Wasteland. As the US heads into a week of fireworks and patriotism to celebrate Independence Day this Thursday, video games simply fade to... nothing. All those weeks before I told you it was barren? Sheesh. But hey, turn those frowns upside down - there's still Tuesday Game Room!
What have you been playing this week?
I've spent the past week getting re-lost into the wonders of Magic the Gathering, as Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 hit. There's not really *much* new, apart from an interesting 'Sealed Deck' mode that gives you a random draft of booster packs and lets you make your own custom deck, but hey, it's Magic! Tap Lands and shit. You don't need much, and the DotP games have always been really good fun.
What I'm actually doing this week is... waiting. Microsoft are having one of their rare 'Ultimate Game Sale' deals, and there's some pretty good titles on the list - including a bunch of recent 2013 titles like Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite and Gears of War Judgement - that are prime for a good price-slash. Similar sales in the past have seen some awesome cuts, so I'm hoping to bag The Witcher 2 on the cheap, just to try that series out, and maybe pick up something like Forza Horizon if there's a good deal (I doubt it, considering it's still obscenely £40 on the GoD service, but who knows?).
Oh boy, I get to use this ol' chesnut again. I would've thought that at least someone would've capitalised on July 4th week in America, but nope. You get Napoleon Total War: Gold Edition for Macs and Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition, the long awaited PC port of MK9 this week... oh, and Trackmania 2: Valley, the first 'official' addon to the crazy french Time Trials/Cher simulator PC racing game, comes out too. The one real shining light for this week is an extra DLC episode for Telltale's sublime The Walking Dead - 400 Days - makes a surprise showing on Steam, NA PSN and Xbox Live.
That's it. Really! Maybe you'll pick something up in a sale?
And now, the News
Once again it's time for a few select picks from the last week of Gaming news, via Eurogamer:
- Your first free game for Xbox's 'Games with Gold' promotion is... Defence Grid: The Awakening - The (actually pretty good!) arcade Tower Defence game originally came out in 2009, but now it's free for the next two weeks! ... Yay? Let's hope that Microsoft ups their game over the next 5 months - they could do with a good bit of PR boost after the last 2 unfortunate months, and grabbing some awesome freebie games in the vein of PS+'s recent offerings could go a long way in doing that.
- Alien Probing Weapon gets Saints Row IV banned in Australia - Despite the presence of an 18 rating in the country now, the Australian rating board refused to classify the latest bonkers entry in the Saints Row series due to the depiction of what it classified as 'implied interactive sexual violence'. Fear not, Aussie SR fans, Volition still intend to release the game down under, so expect a tweaked version of the game to head to your shores this August.
- Microsoft dropped Developer charges for Patching this year, and told nobody - Speaking of good MS news! That said, man, Phil Fish (creator of FEZ and the man who 'outed' the patch-price controversy last year) is not pleased. But when is he when it comes to Microsoft these days? Still, this quiet news quells at least *some* of Microsoft's recent Dev-relationship woes, and that's a good move for them.
- Mark Cerny wants the Playstation Legacy to rival Nintendo's - Lofty words from the man behind the PS4, who was speaking at GameLab last week in a keynote about his career. The whole talk is actually a really interesting listen, not just for a technical insight into the thinking behind the PS4, as Mark Cerny is easily one of the smartest men in the industry and a solid public speaker. If you've got 50 minutes, give it a watch.
- Don Mattrick exits Microsoft for Zynga - Oh dear. Mattrick, part of Microsoft since 2007, oversaw the entertainment division at perhaps the height of its power, the halycon days of the Xbox 360 - however, growing consumer discontent as well as the culmination of the... shall we say turbulent reveal Xbox One in May have knocked both Microsoft and Mattrick's image. Was it meant to be? Was he pushed? We'll never know, but real talk: Zynga? Really, Don? That's like jumping ship from one with rudder control issues to the bloody Titanic, post Iceberg collision. Still, you should also check out Tom Bramwell's interesting look back at what Mattrick's 6 years of leadership have meant for the Xbox.
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!