Xbox Live Coming to Switch and Mobile

Xbox Live is about to get a whole lot bigger.

Spotted by Windows Central, the GDC scheduling website shows a reveal event planned for next month’s conference.

“Xbox Live is one of the largest, most engaged gaming communities on the planet with decades of experience providing managed game services to developers that save you time and unlock all of the social and engagement features that players love.


Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger. Xbox Live is expanding from 400M gaming devices and a reach to over 68M active players to over 2B devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK.


Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs.”

Xbox Live logins on non-Xbox platforms are nothing new. Players can play Minecraft on their Switch with their Xbox Live account right now if they wanted. However, this marks the first time Xbox Live services, like achievements, game history, friends lists, and clubs will be available on other platforms. The integration goes beyond first party Microsoft titles too. Playing a game like Warframe on Switch would allow you to earn Xbox achievements, for example.

This falls in line with Microsoft’s recent strategy of making the Xbox less of a single console and more of a service platform that reaches a wide range of devices. Game Pass, the expansion of Xbox Live, cross play, and the upcoming Project xCloud are making Microsoft the poster child for service-based gaming, and the effects of this will certainly be felt throughout the industry in the coming years, especially with the next generation of consoles nearly upon us.

GDC 2019 begins on March 18 and runs until March 22. Expect big news from Microsoft there.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s recent services? Will other companies follow suit with a larger focus on cross play and streaming platforms? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Ubisoft Apologizes After Promising a “Real Government Shutdown” in Division 2 Beta

Earlier today, Ubisoft sent out a promotional email for the upcoming Division 2 Private Beta.

The email’s subject read “Come see what a real government shutdown looks like in the private beta.” Within an hour, Ubisoft sent out an email apology.

“A marketing email promoting Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 was sent in error today,” it read. “This was a grave breakdown in process and we apologise for this error and the offensive subject line of the email. We recognise the very real impact of the United States government shutdown on thousands of people and did not intend to make light of the situation.”

Apparently Ubisoft can’t decide whether or not it wants to make a political statement with The Division 2.

The Division 2 launches on March 15 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The Private Beta begins on February 7. Are you looking forward to The Division 2? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Latest Fallout 76 Patch Reintroduces Previously Fixed Bugs

Bethesda just can’t seem to catch a break.

Fallout 76 was easily the biggest letdown of last year. Critics hated it, and we weren’t too fond of it either, criticizing its lack of sorely needed direction as well as the technical faults under the hood.

One of many criticisms of Fallout 76 at launch was the weight of bobby pins. Bobby pins in Fallout are really handy. They unlock locked doors and safes that contain precious loot, caps, and stimpaks. Nobody’s ever upset if they search a container and find bobby pins. It helps that they’re incredibly light, too, only weighing in at 0.001 pounds. Or at least, they should weigh that much.

At launch, bobby pins originally weighed a ridiculous 0.1 pounds, which adds up when players are carrying around 50+ bobby pins. Bethesda patched the game to fix the weight of the bobby pins, among other things, a while ago, but after yesterday’s Patch 5, bobby pins are a lot heavier again. Another glitch where enemies take no damage from attacks has seemingly returned as well. Not only that, but some posts on the game’s subreddit have pointed out that item duplication has returned, and there are a bevy of new listings on Ebay for rare duplicated items. Certain perk cards like Demolition Expert were also nerfed, and some players who have invested heavily in these skills feel like they’re at a disadvantage. Overall, people aren’t too pleased with this new update.

While the weight of bobby pins isn’t exactly game-breaking, it’s a small misstep following a long series of blunders that doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon. Yes, as games get larger and more complicated, bugs are to be expected, but Fallout 76’s especially troubled development seems like some kind of cruel joke. People with higher framerates could move at super speed, power armor turned players into hulking, naked monsters, players found a developer room containing a multitude of items, and now the latest patch undid some of the fixes of the last patch.

It’s never good news with Fallout 76, is it?

What are your thoughts on the many missteps with Fallout 76? Is the game too far gone, or is there still a chance to save its reputation? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Saying Goodbye to the Wii Shop Channel

Goodbye Wii Shop Channel. You will be missed.

Earlier today, January 30, 2019, the Wii Shop Channel shut down for good. The Wii Shop Channel has been on life support for a while, with the ability to add Wii points, the Shop’s form of currency, being disabled last March, but today, Nintendo finally pulled the plug on the dying service. Purchases can no longer be made with existing Wii points, games can no longer be downloaded, and the channel can no longer be accessed.

Launching shortly after the Wii in 2006, the Wii Shop Channel was a pioneer in the digital distribution market. With the advent of online storefronts like the Wii Shop Channel, PlayStation Store, and Xbox Live Marketplace, people no longer had to leave their homes to buy video games. Not only that, but older, harder to find games that would run for upwards of a hundred dollars or more were now widely available for a low price, no original hardware needed. If you wanted to play Castlevania Dracula X, you could! It truly was the best of times.

The Wii Shop Channel also set a fantastic example for game preservation. Nowadays, if you’re looking to legally play Paper Mario, you’ll have to hook up your Wii U that’s been gathering dust since the Switch launched. And while that works now, the Wii U eShop will shut down eventually, and then I’ll have to write a “Saying Goodbye to the Wii U eShop” article, you won’t be able to play Paper Mario, and nobody will be happy.

Nintendo seems to have forgotten they used to the example when it came to classic game availability. The Wii Shop Channel not only had NES, SNES, N64, and other Nintendo console lineups readily available, but also NeoGeo, Genesis, and even TurboGrafx games. Compare that to the Switch, which only has about 30 NES games only available through a subscription.

Original content was also a centerpiece of the Wii Shop Channel. WiiWare allowed for smaller-budget experimental titles to exist alongside mainstream AAA games. Konami’s Rebirth series, Dr. Mario Online Rx, Pokemon Rumble, My Pokemon Ranch, all of these were only possibly because of WiiWare. Sadly, these WiiWare games were only available on the Wii Shop Channel, so now they’re no longer available.

The Wii Shop Channel, along with its contemporary counterparts, set a standard in digital distribution that led to the meteoric rise of digital video game sales. Its influence can be seen throughout the industry today. Unfortunately, its focus on making older games widely available hasn’t lived on in its successors or with any of its competitors, but Microsoft’s recent push for backwards compatibility is starting to bring that topic back into relevancy. Also, WiiWare helped pioneer the independent development scene, and today indie games are in the spotlight year-round.The Wii Shop Channel was an amazing service, and we’re sad to see it go.

At least we’ll always have the music.

Resident Evil 2 Review

After spending a weekend with Resident Evil 2, I can’t stop thinking about it. I still see the dark corridors of the Raccoon City Police Department when I close my eyes, I hear Mr X’s thudding footsteps when it gets too quiet, and I’m worrying about inventory management when I’m getting my things ready for class in the morning. Resident Evil 2 is chilling, Resident Evil 2 is oppressive, and Resident Evil 2 is fantastic.

It’s no secret that Resident Evil lost its way after the release of Resident Evil 4. After the mediocre Resident Evil 5 and blunders like Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City, it seemed like the franchise would never return to its survival horror roots. But then Capcom surprised everyone with the reveal of Resident Evil 7, which turned out to be a brilliant return to form for the series. After the buzz surrounding 7 died down, though, people started wondering “whatever happened to that remake of Resident Evil 2 they announced a couple years ago?”

Resident Evil 2 originally launched back in 1999 for the PlayStation, and now, two full decades and three whole PlayStations later, Resident Evil 2’s remake is out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The remake is virtually unrecognizable from the original. Fixed camera angles are ditched in favor of a third person perspective, the game is a lot darker, and it looks a whole lot better. The game is changed so drastically that it’s less of a remake like the first game got, but more of a complete reimagining. Despite all these changes, Resident Evil 2 still maintains the soul of the original. This is how a remake should be done. This is the standard by which all other remakes should be judged. Speaking in terms of modernizing a classic while still maintaining the feel of the original, Resident Evil 2 might just be the greatest remake of all time.

When you start Resident Evil 2 for the first time, you’ll be presented with a choice. Do you want to play as rookie cop Leon Kennedy or college student Claire Redfield? This choice is more significant than you might think. Like the original, the remake of Resident Evil 2 features an A scenario and a B scenario. Leon and Claire get split up very early in the story, and you’ll only get to see what happens to the character you chose. Once you finish the story with that character, you can start the B scenario, or “2nd run” as the remake calls it, and see what the other character was up to the whole time, complete with remixed areas, different enemy placements, and an overall more challenging playthrough. Completing the 2nd run lets you see the true ending and fight the real final boss. I started off with Leon, and once I rolled credits I started the 2nd run with Claire.

Leon is a rookie cop waiting to start his first day, but he hasn’t heard from the Raccoon City PD, so he heads to the station himself to see what’s going on. The voice acting isn’t spectacular. Leon sounds like an idiot most of the time, but it’s almost charming in a way. Claire’s performance is a bit better, but not by much. Her story, however, isn’t as interesting as Leon’s, but neither story is particularly riveting. Even though they aren’t written particularly well, I still found myself attached to both Leon and Claire because of the way they react to their surroundings. When a zombie gets back up or there’s a particularly gory corpse, Leon or Claire will let out an “oh shit” or “oh my god”. Most of the time their comments would mimic mine. One time I was running from a group of enemies only to enter a room filled with more, and Leon said “are you kidding me?” I felt for Leon. Our frustration was mutual. It’s little character moments like these that really make both protagonists feel human. My favorite moments with Leon and Claire weren’t in cutscenes, but tense gameplay situations where I knew we were feeling the exact same things.

And the gameplay is tense. Like classic Resident Evil games, ammo is scarce, and choosing when to fight is more important than how you fight. Zombies don’t die either, not unless you completely destroy the head, which takes a lot of bullets (which you don’t have) or a well-timed shotgun blast (which you should save for stronger enemies). Ideally you just want to shoot them enough until they fall down so you can get by. Ammo conservation and item management are key components of the game here, just like the original. The game is at its best when you can count your remaining bullets on one hand and you’re a long way from a safe room. The survival in survival horror is emphasized in Resident Evil 2. The horror doesn’t necessarily come from the monsters, but rather the harsh and oppressive atmosphere the game creates.

There’s still some traditional horror, though. For starters, the game is really dark. I’m talking pitch black here. Unless your flashlight is pointed directly at it, you can’t see it. It’s a clever way to recreate the limited visibility that came with fixed camera angles, and the lighting (or lack thereof) is incredibly atmospheric. You have to check the floor for any zombies laying around, and you have to check the walls and ceilings for lickers. There’s also an extremely detailed gore system. Jaws will come loose from faces, intestines will spill out of stomachs, and torsos will be ripped from legs. It’s disgustingly beautiful, and the incredibly detailed bodies strewn about RPD in the pale moonlight are mesmerizing in a messed up sort of way.

All of this is accompanied by excellent sound design. Music is seldom used in Resident Evil 2, save for the first time you enter a new area or a save room. Most of the time it’s eerily silent. You hear your footsteps echo through empty hallways, followed by distant groans of the undead. Rain and wind blowing in from broken windows create unsettling howls. The sounds in this game draw you into the nightmare, leaving you alone in deafening silence until you stumble across something, or something stumbles across you.

Sound also plays a big role in the game-wide cat and mouse game between you and Mr. X. While he only appeared in the B scenario in the original, Mr. X is present throughout the entirety of the remake. While you’re exploring RPD searching for items to solve puzzles, he’s exploring RPD searching for you. His footsteps are very loud and you can hear them rooms over. As you play Resident Evil 2, you’ll get more and more acquainted with the thud of his boots. Mr. X is relentless in chasing you, crashing through walls, lifting huge debris, and even following you into some areas you thought were safe like the RPD main hall. Some of my scariest moments with this game were with Mr. X, holding my breath and praying he walks by the room I’m hiding in, or trying to complete time sensitive actions knowing he’s just one room over.

Sometimes, though, Mr. X goes from frightening to frustrating very fast. Resident Evil 2 likes to throw him at you when you need to take time to be stationary and perform an action, like lifting a heavy object. At times like those, it felt less like I was evading a ruthless hunter and more like I was taking advantage of its somewhat limited AI to lure it away so I could move a bookshelf. Resident Evil 2 has a handful of moments that disrupt the pacing throughout both campaigns, but they’re small hiccups in the greater scheme of things.

After finishing the 2nd run, you’ll unlock the Fourth Survivor, an extra mode that tasks you with navigating through a challenging gauntlet of enemies with very limited resources. Once you clear Fourth Survivor (which is easier said than done), you’ll unlock the Tofu Survivor mode, which is essentially the same as Fourth Survivor except you play as Tofu and you only have a knife, so it’s much, much harder. There are also three bonus stories called Ghost Survivors releasing next month, so there’s plenty of Resident Evil 2 to go around

Resident Evil 2 is not simply an incredible remake of a classic horror game. It’s able to stand on its own and and adopt its own identity while still remaining true to the original. It takes the ideas first employed 20 years ago and molds them into a game that feels like it could’ve come out today. Resident Evil 2’s haunting atmosphere, stellar presentation, and wealth of content make it not only the best in the series, but one of the best survival horror games ever made.

Final Score: 9

Metroid Prime 4 Development Starting From Scratch

After a reveal at E3 2017, Nintendo’s been pretty quiet when it came to Metroid Prime 4. Now we know why.

This morning, Nintendo uploaded a video to their YouTube channel entitled “Development update on Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch“. The video itself isn’t too long, but the message it conveys is huge: Metroid Prime 4’s development is being completely restarted.

Shinya Takahashi, Senior Managing Executive Officer at Nintendo, gave the news in a clear and succinct fashion. “We must let you know that the current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series.” said Takahashi. “We had to make a difficult decision as a development team.”

The current producer of Metroid Prime 4, Kensuke Tanabe, is now going to be working hand-in-hand with Retro Studios, the team behind the original Prime trilogy. Together they will “restart development from the beginning.”

In collaborating with Retro, Nintendo hopes to make the game live up to fans’s expectations. It’s unusual for Nintendo to pull back the curtain and be clear and honest with their fans like this, but at least now we have some news on the state of Metroid Prime 4, even if it means we’ll have to wait a little while longer for it.

Have you been waiting for Metroid Prime 4? Do you think turning to Retro for help is the right choice? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for the latest gaming news.

Hitman Blood Money and Absolution Remasters Out Next Week

The Hitman HD Enhanced Collection brings two classic Hitman games to PS4 and Xbox One next week.

Developer IO Interactive announced earlier today that they’re bringing the fan-favorite Hitman: Blood Money and also Hitman: Absolution to PS4 and Xbox One, remastered with 4K visuals at 60 fps.

While IO Interactive provided ample technical details about the games, there was no word on pricing in the announcement.

The Hitman HD Enhanced Collection launches on January 11, but in the meantime, you can check out the wonderful Hitman 2, which launched back in November and isn’t getting nearly enough attention.