OXCGN’s Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 Review


First it took the world by a cellular storm on the App and Play stores, now it is an enjoyable yet tiring homage to the days of the Eyetoy. Fruit Ninja Kinect first appeared on the Xbox 360, and now its older brother has joined the Xbox One’s limited Kinect lineup. Simply put: it looks great, plays mostly well, and is worth what you are paying for.

Fruit_Ninja_Kinect_2_Screenshot_5

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 presents players with a high definition rendering of the famous mobile game up on the big screen. When I first booted it up, I found my silhouette painted onto the screen with instructions to slice through the menu options to make selections. I was getting Playstation Eyetoy flashbacks, strong ones. Control, though occasionally flimsy, feels much more direct than other Kinect selecting options. A delayed hand floating around the screen; teetering it on a button only to slip off at the last second… this arcade game has more success than the big titles that give us the latter option. Your silhouette is always present during menus and gameplay, so you always know where you are and what you’re slicing. Sometimes if your arms cross or your jacket juts out it can be taken as a slice, but unless you are unlucky, it generally won’t cost you.

 Fruit_Ninja_Kinect_2_Characters

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 has a fair chunk of play options; the mobile title’s arcade, classic, and zen modes, all stored in their own “Play” menu, as well as challenge modes for a selection of characters. Flailing my arms around slicing fruit while avoiding taking a shuriken to the face made me glad I was in the privacy of my bedroom while playing. It is all ridiculous fun, and when another player joins is, apart from the occasionally backhand to the head, enjoyment only doubles. However, in order to reach the four-player potential, a lot of space would be required. It is no game for a dorm room.

Fruit_Ninja_Kinect_2_Screenshot_2

Each game grants you some fruit tokens, for the purpose of buying new silhouette styles, blade colours, and backgrounds, so there is always more than just a high score to work towards. There aren’t hundreds of options, but they increase in price exponentially, so expect some bulging biceps by the time you’ve worked up enough points to purchase the best items.

Pros:

  • Responsive and fluid controls with only minor hiccups.
  • Fun and enjoyable gameplay.
  • A fair chunk of content for the price.

Cons:

  • 4-player multiplayer requires a large play space.
  • There could always be more purchasable content, but you do get your money’s worth.

TL;DR

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 for Xbox One is a fun and responsive experience that is worth every cent. It has better menu control schemes than most of the biggest titles and is a welcome homage back to the Eyetoy days. There will quickly come a time where you only pull it out at parties, but that isn’t too much of a negative. Our favourite mobile game just got better… and more tiring.

7.5/10

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 was provided to OXCGN staff by Halfbrick for review.

Microsoft Starting Season of Xbox With Price Cut for Holiday Season


Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One will be available for a special limited-time offer of US$349. The promotional pricing of $50 off the console of your choice applies to any Xbox One console, including special edition bundles for Assassin’s Creed Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Sunset Overdrive. With Xbox One available at its best price yet, and savings up to $150 off select bundles, there’s never been a better time to own an Xbox One.

Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, has said:

“Fans don’t have to wait for Black Friday this year to enjoy great savings on Xbox One. We’re offering our best price yet, with unprecedented choices and value, so more people can play on Xbox One this holiday. We’re gearing up for one of our biggest holidays ever and we are thrilled to offer fans up to $150 in savings on Xbox One and some of the biggest blockbuster games of the season.”

The holidays are starting early this year as the Season of Xbox will bring the fans more options, from 2 November, to choose from with several exclusive bundles available at $50 off including:

  • The Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Bundle for US$349 ERP and Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Bundle with Kinect for US$449 ERP features what is shaping up to be the biggest, most intense Assassin’s Creed game to date: Assassin’s Creed Unity as well as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on Xbox One. The Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Bundle with Kinect also includes Dance Central Spotlight.
  • The Xbox One Special Edition Sunset Overdrive Bundle, available in limited quantities now, features a sleek white console and wireless controller, a digital copy of the game, and special Day One edition in-game items. This bundles is available for US$349 ERP.
  • The Xbox One Limited Edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle for US$449 ERP available starting 3 November, features a 1TB hard drive, custom console, custom controller and Limited Edition exoskeleton, plus a digital copy of the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition.

These special promotions will be available nationwide at most major national retailers in the U.S., including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Microsoft Stores, Target, Toys ‘R Us and Walmart. The $50 off any Xbox One console or bundle will be valid from 2 November 2014 through to 3 January 2015 at participating retailers. The regional availability and timing outside the U.S. will vary.

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, has added:

“We want this to be an unforgettable holiday season for Xbox fans around the world. Only on Xbox One can you play some of the most anticipated exclusives, newest blockbuster franchises and innovative independent games of the year. We’re pleased to start the season off early with an incredible portfolio that includes millions of hours of fun for gamers and their friends.”

Kinect Sports Rivals and Zoo Tycoon Getting Game of the Year Editions


With the latest spotted Ryse: Son of Rome Legendary Edition, game of the year editions have been spotted for Zoo Tycoon and Kinect Sports Rivals on the Alza online store. Both of the games will include all available downloadable content. Game of the year editions are always a great way to catch up on games with all the content available for a one set reduced price. In addition to those games there will be Forza 5 and Dead Rising 3 Game of the Year Editions available. If you would want a Game of the Year Edition for one game, what would it be?

GOTY Editions

Updates Coming to Xbox Live for Users from June


More reasons to get a Gold membership

Heading over to Xbox Wire where Yusuf Mehdi and Phil Spencer are featured in a short video talking about the news announced earlier today, Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners can also read about the other benefits that will accompany this Kinect-less Xbox One bundle.

  • Free games with Games with Gold**. Since Games with Gold launched on Xbox 360 a year ago, over 12 million people have enjoyed great free games, resulting in nearly 200 million hours of free fun playing Games with Gold titles. We’ve been learning from your feedback and have focused on making improvements each month to the selection of titles. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Games with Gold for Xbox 360 and as a thank you for helping shape this program, members will receive an additional free Xbox 360 game in June. The Games with Gold titles for Xbox 360 in June are “Dark Souls,” “Charlie Murder” and a bonus game of “Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.” We’re pleased to bring Games with Gold to Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One in June. Members will have subscription-based access to free games ranging from top hits to breaking indie stars. The program will launch on Xbox One with “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood” and “Halo: Spartan Assault.” A single Gold membership will get you access to the free games for both Xbox One and Xbox 360.
  • Exclusive Discounts. Deals with Gold will also launch for Xbox One in June, delivering discounts for great games each month, with significant savings for Xbox Live Gold members. The first titles offered in June will include “Forza Motorsport 5,” “Ryse: Son of Rome,” and a few other surprises. In the coming months, we will offer significant savings of up to 50 – 75 percent off certain titles. This program will continue to be available for Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox 360. And new on Xbox One, we will launch a virtual VIP room exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members where we will feature free games, monthly deals, and other great benefits.
  • Popular entertainment apps will be available for all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners. Xbox 360 has been a leader in delivering entertainment experiences for years, with over 170 global entertainment apps and experiences available today. We’re constantly adding new partners and experiences to the growing catalog on Xbox One. Coming in June, anyone with an Xbox will be able to access popular entertainment experiences – whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership. This includes great gaming apps like Machinima, Twitch and Upload, popular video services like Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Red Bull TV and HBO GO, sports experiences like the NFL app for Xbox One, MLB.TV, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center and more.*** Microsoft experiences including Internet Explorer, Skype, OneDrive and OneGuide will also be available to all Xbox customers.**** You can find a full list of apps and features that will be available below.
  • *Suggested retail price; actual prices will vary by market and retailer. Games sold separately. Some apps, including Netflix, require app-provider provider specific subscriptions and/or additional requirements For more details, go to http://www.xbox.com.
    **Free Games Offer: For paid Gold members only. On Xbox One, active Gold membership required to play free games you’ve downloaded. Must download titles during designated window. Kinect and/or hard drive required for some games.
    ***Available apps and experiences vary between Xbox 360 and Xbox One and by market. Some apps including Netflix, Hulu, NFL, ESPN, NBA and NHL may require app provider-specific subscriptions and/or additional requirements. GoPro and HBO GO currently only on Xbox 360; Coming soon to Xbox One.
    ****Skype, OneDrive and OneGuide currently only on Xbox One.

It’s interesting to see how Microsoft’s vision of their console has changed since it was first revealed, from removing the always online DRM feature, to offering it without Kinect. No doubt this will please many fans who are yet to pick up a next gen console as the asking price is the same as a Playstation 4 here in Australia. Gamers can pick up an Xbox One with Kinect bundle for $598 at JB Hi-Fi where they’ll receive Titanfall and Forza 5 that can be downloaded via the market place, coupled in with the fact that certain features will also become available to Non-Gold members, June is a great time to pick up a next generation console if you haven’t already.

Below is an info graphic on the changes that will be coming for users on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

179794-08 Xbox Live Digital Poster-s16_FINAL

Xbox One – Now without Kinect Available June 9th from AUD$499


The right move to stay competitive?

Earlier today, Microsoft announced they’ll be shipping a Kinect-less version of the Xbox One, and with that, giving it a $100 price drop, only 6 months after it’s original release in November 2013.

Apparently, the move is to please fans, after a public outcry for a cheaper Xbox One, rather than buy it with a camera that the user may not want to use.

This move may sting some fans who have already purchased the Xbox One with Kinect less than 6 months ago for the higher price tag, but this appears as more of a move to push a larger amount of units, as Sony are currently leading the way in sales with the Playstation 4.

The Kinect-Free Xbox One will be available on the 9th of June for $399.99 in the US and $499.00 in Australia, as well any other region where the Xbox One is currently available.

OXCGN’s Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Review


4v4 Class based PVP game, interesting

(York Robilliard returns with his review of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z) This is a bizarre predicament to find oneself in, as a fan of Dragon Ball as a franchise and a series of video game adaptations, the product we have here is the last thing I had expected to emerge after the Kinect debacle of 2012.

Battle of Z is not the latest in a line of Tenkaichi sequels, nor is it the western release of the esteemed Dragon Ball Heroes series of Cardass strategy games that are currently forwarding the storyline to new ridiculous heights in Japan.

Instead what we have here is an appropriation of developer Artdink’s Macross games in the form of a 4v4 Class based PVP Dragon Ball Z game, confused? That’s okay. Without question fans of the franchise will be polarised by the style of play, this isn’t the new Tenkaichi game you desire… and playing it as such will only lead to disappointment.

Team up to take on the world
Team up to take on the world

Battle of Z begins poorly, treated to a droll opening that teaches you the basic controls but not how to play; the player once again defeats Raditz for the zillionth time and it’s here you’re let loose on the story mode with next to no restriction.

Here’s where it kicks into the good stuff.

Characters essentially function like Mecha with DBZ skins, with two movements speed, the ability to ascend and descend and the lock-on function allows you to track enemies and locate and heal downed allies.

Movement aside, the game essentially functions as a fusion of Mech multiplayer brawler with light action RPG elements. Players are rewarded with cards that essentially function as gear that increases your stats, though for the most part gaining cards with higher number values is all there is to it, there are special items and special cards that allow you to mitigate your characters shortcomings, change your style of play or just give your team that little extra chance to win the battle.

Every character has two special attacks and a major attack,  though certain characters have ultimate attacks that require preparation time, an equipped item and can only be used in story or co-op mode for the time being.

From here it’s important to make the distinction between the four classes and how they play.  Melee is your standard brawler/warrior archetype; they tend to have chase attacks, guard breakers, quick teleport movements and a large energy attack for their sub-ultimate.  Ki characters are essentially your Mages with lesser health, high-powered energy attacks and the ability to zip around ranging everyone out as the melee types keep the foe occupied.

Support and Interfere classes are the two ancillary combat types, Support tend to buff allies, provide much need Ki and heal allies. Interfere types tend to inflict debuffs, stun attacks, drain energy and fight in conjunction with Melee types to sustain combos.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, you want to roam arenas from the show and associated media at the speed of light with all your favourite characters pulling of planet busting Ki blasts as you progressively transform to make the battle more intense.

Character customisation
Character customisation

This is not the game to do this; in-play transformations do not exist, instead functioning as separate characters. The reason for this is not inherently clear when dealing with someone like Goku, but becomes apparent when dealing with the likes of Frieza and Cell. Unlike Goku, Cell and Frieza change drastically as they transform. As a result they change classes as they become more powerful, starting out as Ki/Interfere types, becoming Melee types and ending up as powerful Ki characters with deadly finishing moves.

Story mode functions here as a way to not only get familiar with the mechanics, but unlock the majority of the cast.  Co-op always one to share the experience with other players and something I highly recommend if you can get a rag-tag groups of Z-Fighters together.

Team Battle is the competitive side of the game, featuring four modes of play. Normal Battle is your 4v4 skirmish that provides some of the most interesting and enjoyable gameplay this game has to offer.

Similar to Story and Co-op mode where your team shares a pool of retries governed by the characters you choose (“weaker” characters like Yamcha and Krillin provide two retries, medium to strong characters like Super Saiyans and above provide one and super characters like Beerus and Vegito provide none), Team battle is best played by a team of players who pick appropriate classes and play the associated role in order to achieve victory; you don’t complete instances in WOW with just warriors do you? The same applies here, only simplified and more chaotic.

Score Battle is the same but ditches the retries for score based victories, the analogous scenario I can think of is time vs. stock featured in the Smash Bros. series.

Battle Royale is where things get messy; essentially a free-for-all, picking a character with appropriate offensive power or buffs to make up for lack of it is key here. Alliances are forged in broken in seconds here, as threats are dealt with a “lesser of two evils” paradigm here. “The only way we can beat is to work together Piccolo!”

Dragon Ball Grab functions as CTF here, though it had its moments: crunch-time skirmishes at the last minute for possession, I found the player populous forgoing supporting each other in order to claim the prize. A lot of unnecessary defeat against more synergetic players occurred for this reason.

As interesting as all this sounds, it’s not all fresh and invigorating. Battle of Z is first and foremost and online game, whilst the story mode has its purpose, it’s beaten fairly quickly and there’s nothing more to it once completed. There’s no local play either, meaning if you and a buddy are wishing to experience the chaotic team action together you’ll need separate consoles- though considering the nature of the game it’s probably a good design decision: the field of view in split-screen would likely hinder player performance.

Battle of Z is at it’s best when played with competent experienced players with a team of characters that complement each other, wins are satisfying under the new system crafted by Artdink when it all comes together.

I wouldn't want to mess with a team of Goku's
I wouldn’t want to mess with a team of Goku’s

 

TL;DR 

Dragon Ball Z is a breath of fresh air for console DBZ games, though it has it’s flaws and could use more features and refined design decisions regarding character customisation and attack sets- the template set here provides something to enjoy until the next software title. With a little refinement and the next-gen hardware to develop on, the sequel could be the quality DBZ outing we’ve been waiting for since the days of the PlayStation 2 games.

Pros:

+ Experienced players will find characters that compliment each other satisfying

+ Lays foundation for potential future titles on current/next-gen consoles

Cons:

– Dull introduction which doesn’t exactly teach you how to play the game

– Extremely short story mode

– No local multiplayer only online

7/10

Review conducted with personal copy purchased by York Robilliard.

OXCGN’s Zoo Tycoon Review


zootycoonBe the zookeeper

I must admit, I’ve always been on the very outskirts of the Tycoon-style games over the years; peaking at about 30 hours with rollercoaster Tycoon 3– not really impressive by any standard but there it is.

This edition of Zoo Tycoon is a Microsoft developed reboot of Blue Fang Games series that ended quietly on the DS in the late naughties. As with previous entries Zoo Tycoon places you in the shoes of the eponymous zookeeper, tasked with creating, developing and maintaining a prestigious zoo in order to attract visitors and developing your collection whilst keeping finances steady enough to progressively grow your creation.

The king of tycoon games?
The king of tycoon games?

Continue reading OXCGN’s Zoo Tycoon Review

OXCGN’s Fighter Within Review


fighter-within-xbox-one-kinect-exclusive-game-logo-art-transparentPoor implementation leads to a poor game

Of all the launch titles for the Xbox One, Ubisofts Fighter Within is the one you should completely stay away from. Not because it’s a bad game, but because it has the most poorly implemented Kinect functionality ever. Fighter Within, is the first piece of shovelware to be seen on the Xbox One, and it’s sad that this type of game wasn’t supposed to make it’s way over to next gen but unfortunately it has. After the mistake that was Fighter Uncaged, I honestly don’t know what Ubisoft were thinking when allowing this game to proceed.

With an unknown developer at the helm the moment this was announced, trouble was the only outcome possible for this game.

Roundhouse kick of disappointment
Roundhouse kick of disappointment

Continue reading OXCGN’s Fighter Within Review