Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Deck-based beat ’em up Phantom Dust out now free

Phantom Dust is one of those games that lots of people talk about but nobody I know actually bought back in the day. Originally released for the Xbox None in 2004, it’s a 3D fighting game set in destructible environments. The twist is that all of your character’s abilities are determined by a deck of cards, so you can switch in new attacks, blocks and specials when you earn/buy new cards.

Today Microsoft re-released it free on both Windows 10 and Xbox One, with cards available as microtransactions. You can, I believe, unlock every card in the game by playing. Here’s a video from Microsoft explaining how it works.

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Halo Wars: Definitive Edition trundles onto Steam today

I went for the word “trundles” in the headline because “warthogs” isn’t really a verb and I don’t know if I have the literary capital to pull off that particular innovation. Sorry, everyone. Anyway, a spruced-up version of Halo Wars the First has come out on Steam, allowing many to play the spin-off’d RTS for the first time. Previously it was only available as an inclusion on a special edition of the recent Halo Wars 2, which is a Windows 10-only affair as far as PCs are concerned. This is good news nonetheless, but there is a multiplayer catch. You can’t play with Windows Store chums.
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What Xbox ‘Project Scorpio’ means for PC gaming

Microsoft has dished the deets on its upcoming ‘Scorpio’ hardware update for the Xbox console, and in what amounts to uncharacteristic detail and candour given the ruddy thing isn’t going on sale until the end of 2017. But what are we poor PC peasants to make of the Beast of Redmond’s latest game box and its towering on-paper capabilities? In short, what influence will Project Scorpio’s trick new hardware have on future PC games? Read the rest of this entry »

Windows 10 Game Mode tested: minimal gains, unless you’re unusually cruel to your PC

Microsoft chucked out the Windows 10 Creators Update this week, which is the sort of thing that true-blue enthusiasts of IBM-Compatible home computers used to call a Service Pack back in the day. It’s a surprisingly game-focused update in its way, a built-in streaming service (akin to Twitch, only inevitably far less popular) known as Beam, a concerted effort to put all its game-related settings into one place and Game Mode – a new setting that, in theory, can boost game performance.

We talked to Microsoft about their own hopes for Game Mode a couple of months back, but now it’s time to see what – if anything – it does in practice. Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft Windows 10 launching mod Marketplace

All right: who picked Minecraft in the pool for who’d try paid mods next? Come see me to collect your winnings. Mojang have announced the Minecraft Marketplace, a microtransaction store coming to sell skin and texture packs, adventure worlds, minigames, and more in the brick ’em up’s Windows 10 and pocket telephone version. Mojang say they’ll curate the store and only accept submissions from registered businesses, so it won’t be quite as much of a free-for-all as Steam and Skyrim’s crack at paid mods in 2015. And this is only in Microsoft’s rebuild of Minecraft, to be clear, not the original Java version. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Encarta’s MindMaze?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I was thinking of what else to include in this series and MindMaze bubbled up from the recesses of my brain like a sunken mafia victim, suddenly afloat. Bloated and warped with childhood memories. The details of this ancient trivia minigame come to me now like bits and pieces of an old dream. I know it was included in an Encarta 95 CD-ROM, and I know it was absolutely impossible to complete. You had to be some kind of genius to know the answer to these questions. Or, like, some kind of adult.
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Wot I Think: Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 [official site] is undeniably a console RTS – a rare, exotic bird that looks a bit weird and could only have evolved on an island split off from the rest of the world. Removing it from its natural habitat and introducing it to the PC ecosystem, where its evolutionary niche isn’t quite so niche, might seem a little cruel and ill-conceived. But while it’s certainly not a perfect fit, it’s striking and, more often than not, quite a lot of fun. Here’s wot I think.

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