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Alien: Isolation is the Bravest Game of 2014

IGN.com - 2 hours 20 min ago

There’s a moment in Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien where Ellen Ripley screams out “you BITCH!” before slamming her flamethrower down onto a computer monitor in frustration. It’s the first ‘bitch’ she utters in the Alien series, although certainly not the most iconic; that award goes to the ultra slick, James Cameron-penned line from 1986’s much more bombastic Aliens.

It does, however, encapsulate the sort of explosive fear and exasperation both Ripley and the audience are feeling after 90 odd minutes of a brutal game of cat and mouse. It is a predictable response from Ripley considering her circumstances. It is also a predictable response to have while playing Alien: Isolation, the Creative Assembly-created horror game that serves as a bridge between the two films, but is firmly set in Scott’s world; the tense, taut and extremely unforgiving one.

Continue reading…

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The Swankiest Bar in Minecraft - IGN Plays

IGN.com - 5 hours 45 min ago
One IGN editor needs a new Minecraft home. Let's make it for him.
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The Merits of Rocksmith for Xbox One - Podcast Unlocked

IGN.com - 7 hours 45 min ago
Ubisoft community developer Dan Amrich discusses the Xbox One version of the guitar-learning video game.
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The Daughter - 10 Years of WoW #10

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 7 hours 45 min ago
We finish this ten part series with a look to the future. Synthia's daughter is a child of Azeroth, a Hearthstone fan, and a reminder of the powerful effects games can have on our lives.
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The Best Date Ever - GTA Online

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 7 hours 45 min ago
Chastee and Tongo are new in town. Watch their first date in first person as they roam Los Santos for the first time in GTA Online.
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Steam Fall Sale Starts This Week -- Report

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 8 hours 52 min ago

It looks like the Steam Fall sale is kicking off this Wednesday, November 26, which is either the best or worst news depending on how much money you have in your wallet.

Valve hasn't made an official announcement, but an email from PayPal (via VG247) encouraged customers to stock up on Steam Wallet codes from the PayPal Digital Gift store, saying the Steam Fall Sale will run from November 26 to December 1.

Not a huge surprise given that the sale started around the same time last year, running through Black Friday and ending right after Cyber Monday. Last year, the sale included general sales in place until the end of the promotion, Daily Deals that last for 48 hours, and Flash Sales that changed every eight hours.

If you're looking for more great prices on games, keep an eye out for our regular roundups of Gaming Deals.

Image credit: VG247

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Watch: Killer Instinct Teases an Old Favorite, Shows Kan-Ra in Action

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 9 hours 28 min ago

Microsoft released a new trailer showing off Kan-Ra, a new fighter that'll be added to Killer Instinct tomorrow, and a tease for the next character: Riptor.

Kan-Ra is a 2,500-year-old sorcerer from Babylon who's cursed by dark magic that causes him to rot, which is the reason why he is covered in bandages. Once the trailer is done showing us him pummeling his opponent with special moves and long combos, we see the Ultratech logo on screen, and after a preamble, a very brief glimpse at Riptor.

Riptor, if you haven't played the original game, is a creature created by Ultratech that has both human and reptilian DNA.

Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Isgreen recently clarified the schedule for monthly new character releases. "'Every month' could more accurately be represented as 'every calendar month' instead of every 30 days," Isgreen said.

Killer Instinct shipped on the same day as the Xbox One launch, with Jago available to play for free. Players could unlock other characters and items by paying a fee.

Killer Instinct developer Double Helix was acquired by Amazon earlier this year, casting doubt on continued support for the Xbox One fighter. Microsoft claimed the game would not be affected and said that the franchise, which it owns, would continue on.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Sony Denies PSN Was Hacked

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 10 hours 4 min ago

Sony says it found no signs to indicate that PSN was hacked and that 2,131 logins were compromised, as a hacker group recently claimed.

As first reported on GameSpot's sister site CNET, the hacker group that claimed responsibility for a DDoS attack on Blizzard's servers, claimed to have obtained usernames and passwords for 2,131 PSN accounts, 1,473 Windows Live accounts, and 2,000 2K Games accounts.

"We have investigated the claims that our network was breached and have found no evidence that there was any intrusion into our network," Sony said in a statement to Joystiq. "Unfortunately, Internet fraud including phishing and password matching are realities that consumers and online networks face on a regular basis. We take these reports very seriously and will continue to monitor our network closely."

As CNET later noted, the leak may have been faked by repurposing customer login details obtained in previous breaches. So, you're probably safe, but it's never a bad idea to change your password anyway.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Amiibo Manufacturing Error Gives Samus Two Arm Cannons

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 18:53

It seems like an Amiibo manufacturing error has accidentally doubled Samus Aaran's firepower.

Adam Truesdale picked up the Amiibo you can see here yesterday, and posted it to Reddit under the username Adamantium126. He preordered it from his local Best Buy along with the Mario, Link, and Donkey Kong Amiibo. There was only one other Samus Amiibo in the store (a normal one) in addition to the defective one he preordered. Additional photos and a receipt provided to GameSpot make the defective Amiibo seem authentic.

You can see the differences between the normal and defective Amiibo below.

"I didn’t realize that she had two blasters until my friend pointed it out to me," Truesdale told GameSpot. "I would have more than likely opened it up and started using it without a second thought." He said that the Amiibo remains sealed an unharmed for now.

The first wave of Amiibo toys have been available since yesterday in the United States, alongside fighting game Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which is available now and is the first game to support the toys.

Have you seen another weird Amiibo in the wild? Let us know in the comments below.

Image credit: @hampsanonymous

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Microsoft Thanks Xbox One Early Adopters With a Free Copy of Limbo-- Report

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 17:55

Several Xbox One users who bought the console near launch are reporting that they've received thank you notes from Microsoft saying that they'll get a free copy of the indie platformer Limbo when it's released.

Developer Playdead's game, which was first released on the Xbox 360, has yet to be officially announced for the Xbox One, but it was listed for the console on a Korea-based ratings board last month.

Today is the official one year anniversary of Xbox One, and a post to Major Nelson's blog explains that Microsoft is celebrating the occasion by giving away a range of digital content "to show our appreciation for your loyal and continued support." Strangely, Limbo isn't one of the games Microsoft said you might get for free.

Only Xbox One owners who bought their console before November 11, 2014 in the console's 13 launch markets who are 17 years or old and have played 10+ hours on Xbox One are eligible. You can find the full list of possible free gifts here.

Want to know how Microsoft's is doing after its first year? Read our Xbox One: the year in review feature.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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GameStop Worried Digital Games Are Too Cheap

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 16:32

GameStop is worried that digital games could drive game prices dangerously low, according to a statement from the company's president Tony Bartel in its most recent quarterly earnings report.

Bartel said that GameStop estimates that $100 million-worth of games have been digitally delivered for free as part of hardware bundles like the Xbox One Assassin's Creed Bundle and the PlayStation 4 upcoming Black Friday Bundle.

"We want to help ensure that our industry does not make the same mistake as other entertainment categories by driving the perceived value of digital goods significantly below that of a physical game," Bartel said (via Seekingalpha.com). "When the free digital token programs end, we believe that the industry will need to work together to continue to price goods in a way that sustains profitability and encourages a great innovation that this category needs."

Bartel also said that recent research indicated that the average price a consumer pays for a full, AAA game download is $22. When asked what price consumers expected to pay for a full game digital download, they said approximately $35.

Two important pieces of information that Bartel didn't mention about that study are which platforms did these consumers buy these games for (Console or PC, where platforms like Steam offer regular sales), and how long after the release of these games did consumers buy them for $22. Later in the call, Bartell said that $22 is "clearly an unsustainable price point for a game that physically is at $60."

How much do you expect to pay for full, digital games? Let us know in the comments below.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Far Cry 4 Director Tackles New, Smaller Project Next

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 14:20

Alex Hutchinson, the creative director on Far Cry 4, is moving on to his next project at Ubisoft Montreal, a smaller, more personal game.

"I've got clearance along with a bunch of people from Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV to go off and do something new after [Far Cry 4]," Hutchinson told CVG . "The challenge then is to keep costs down and make something that competes at a high level, without saying 'we need a thousand people for a new IP!'"

The project is part of Ubisoft's new strategy to encourage developers to pursue passion projects in addition to huge, AAA releases. Child of Light, for example, was led by Patrick Plourde, who previously directed Far Cry 3.

In September, Ubisoft said it wants to make more smaller games like Child of Light, and it recently revealed that the game eventually managed to turn a profit.

Hutchinson didn't give any more details about his next game, but that he hoped he'd be able to show it next year.

For more on Far Cry 4, check out GameSpot's review.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Greg Miller's Nightmare Apartment in Minecraft - IGN Plays

IGN.com - Sat, 2014-11-22 14:00
Wanna know what Greg's bedroom might look like? Are you sure?
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Xbox One: The Year One Review

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 13:00

If you've grown tired of hearing the Xbox One's back-story of calamity and eleventh-hour reversals, imagine how Microsoft feels. The corporation refuses to dwell on its mistakes, tirelessly adding in numerous features and tweaks to the system, guided by new gamer-first principles that have reformed every root and branch of the business.

And yet, Microsoft still has some distance to go if it really wants to turn the console's fortunes around. While Xbox One sales are (naturally) picking up for the holiday season, the corporation has undeniably lost its stranglehold on the UK and North American markets.

At the very heart of its revival plan is convincing you, the informed consumer, that its new-gen console is worthy of your money. Has it done enough yet? Below, GameSpot has created a comprehensive review to mark the one-year anniversary since the system's release, guided by a simple yet important question for any gamer: Is it time to buy an Xbox One?

On Saturday, November 15, GameSpot marked the one-year anniversary of the PS4's release with a similarly styled analysis. Then on Tuesday, November 18, we followed up with a breakdown of the Wii U to mark its two-year anniversary.

Xbox One's Inferiority is Overblown, But Not Trivial

The Xbox One is a capable next-generation console packaged with a problem.

In its first year on the market, Microsoft has proven its system can deliver a noticeable leap in visual fidelity when compared to the previous geneneration, as demonstrated by the graphical sumptuousness of games such as Forza Horizon 2 and Ryse. And yet, while this next-gen splendour should be applauded, Microsoft faces a hard truth: PlayStation 4 has shown, on many occasions already, that Sony's system carries a raw power advantage.

Who, hand on heart, can tell the difference between 900p and 1080p?

It is difficult to gauge how meaningful this will be for everyone. Who, hand on heart, can tell the difference between 900p and 1080p? Such a minor disparity in resolution can be found between the Xbox One and PS4 versions of key triple-A games such as Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

However, with some other games the difference is less subtle. The likes of Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts render at 720p on Xbox One, while the PS4 versions maintain a 1080p display.

It's worth noting that, generally, the quality gap appears to be narrowing, with the 1080p/720p split mostly occurring with launch titles. Much like how coders managed to get the most out of the PS3's complex and exotic multithreaded architecture, the likelihood is that developers will eventually be able to optimise Xbox One code so that it comes closer to graphical parity.

But that can't exactly be guaranteed either, especially considering the PS4 GPU has a pipeline for 1.84 teraflops of compute workload, while the Xbox One's maxes out at 1.31 teraflops. Hard facts such as these will be difficult, but not impossible, for programmers to overcome.

Microsoft has taken a proactive approach to addressing the Xbox One's shortcomings, and in June, it updated the platform so that developers could reclaim 10 percent of the GPU that was reserved for Kinect-related tasks.

Yet, no matter how much resolution disparity is an overblown issue, and no matter how hard Microsoft is fighting to remedy the Xbox One's shortcomings, the PS4 nevertheless comes with the quiet assurance that it delivers an uncompromised console experience. That detail, when combined with the PS4 and Xbox One's similarity in price, makes Microsoft's console a complicated proposition.

In terms of form factor, the Xbox One boasts a premium finish that loses a little elegance due to its sheer bulk and external power brick. This is a humongous and somewhat hollow console, halved with ventilation casing that--one suspects--was designed with the nightmare of three red rings still lingering in mind. It's not a disastrous look, but good hardware design tends to grow on you and the Xbox One, when sitting under your TV for months, won't do that.

Kinect, meanwhile, is an eyesore. Stiff and angular and bulky beyond belief, the peripheral blends as well into a home theatre set-up as a brown leather shoe would. Its artery-sized cabling is difficult to hide and the peripheral will make any set-up lose its grace. (It is, however, now an optional extra).

Xbox One Game Install Times Are Exasperating

The escalating file sizes of triple-A games, coupled with the relatively slow speeds of disc drives, has made game installation a modern necessity.

While this is an understandable trade-off for games that carry beautifully rich and detailed assets, the Xbox One's install times are painful. When taken completely offline, the console took around five minutes to install 13 percent of Assassin's Creed Unity, which was enough to make the game accessible to a point. The remainder took more than another half hour to fully install (which, bear in mind, locks out the chance of installing other applications). When taken online, Xbox One arbitrarily mixes update patches into the install process, which means there's every chance a new game will be inaccessible for at least an hour, if not more.

By contrast, the PS4 installs the Assassin's Creed Unity disc, in its entirety, in less than two minutes. (Some GameSpot staff point out that, in fact, it isn't always as rapid as this). The Wii U, meanwhile, doesn't require game installation.

The Controller is an Acquired Taste

While the Xbox 360 controller garnered near-universal praise, the response to the Xbox One pad is surprisingly conflicted. An anecdotal survey of GameSpot's UK staff showed that some consider the tweaked design a step forwards, while others don't quite embrace the changes.

Its shape has been slightly revised, with each handle now pointing inward at a more acute angle, which means that the pad doesn't quite fill out into your hands as much as the 360's did. Consequently, some feel they have less grip and control as before, while others say the result is actually more comfortable.

There was, however, unanimity on some points: Everyone prefers the new d-pad, which is flush and far better defined, while most people dislike the hard-shell RB/LB buttons, which feel unwieldy and out of position. Not enough respondents even mentioned the pad's superior rumble capabilities, partly because there aren't enough games yet that emphasise the superiority of the force feedback.

After the ritual annoyance of recharging a DualShock 4 every few hours, paying for batteries that will last up to 20 hours is well worth it.

Prior to release, it was the controller's AA battery requirement that proved to be the most controversial aspect. But trust us, after the ritual annoyance of recharging a DualShock 4 every few hours, paying for batteries that will last up to 20 hours is well worth it. You can, if you wish, buy a recharge kit.

It is difficult to give an overall assessment of the Xbox One controller, such is the pad's inherent divisiveness. Microsoft has tweaked its winning formula to the extent that the pad has become an acquired taste that necessitates a road test for any would-be buyer. There was, however, one surprising conclusion that came from the GameSpot UK team's analysis: Everyone who held the Xbox One controller in their palms, even those who praised it, said they preferred the feel of the DualShock 4.

Kinect is a Complex Relationship

If you own Kinect there's every chance that, eventually, you'll share a magic moment with it. Commanding the Xbox One by voice-control alone, at times, seems like the realisation of a eight-year dream for Microsoft. Booting the console by uttering "Xbox on", and controlling live TV with phrases such as "Xbox pause", and navigating its apps and system features by names alone, feels dipping your toes into the future. It's not just cool, it's convenient.

Then there are the rough patches. The days when Kinect just wants to ignore you. The occasions when you need to repeat yourself. The times when it refuses to hear requests to switch off. The moments when it loads the Xbox Store instead of the app you asked for. The awkward instances when it doesn't listen to guests. These are moments of disappointment, inconvenience, and even stress, that will make you regret splurging on it in the first place.

Booting the console by uttering "Xbox on" feels like dipping your toes into the future.

(It turns out, by the way, that the camera, and the concept of navigating the system with your arms, palms, and fingers, is farcically inferior to what was first promised. You will likely never bother with it.)

But it's hard to stay mad at Kinect forever, especially since it offers free--and hands-free--Skype video calls. Connecting to a friend's mobile from your couch, without needing to hold anything, has an unmistakable pinch of magic to it. One suspects it would be hailed as a key phase in the smartening of televisions, had Apple done it first.

Should you buy Kinect? Absolutely not if you're only using your Xbox One for games (12 months in, and only two games use Kinect as a primary control input). But for TV, Skype and hands-free navigation, it's an expensive luxury that will occasionally dazzle.

The Xbox One Interface is Challenging

Navigating the Xbox One is a bit like hearing an Aristocrats joke. Each turn and navigation is more unfathomably awful than the last, defying sacred taboos of user interface, to the extent that it genuinely becomes amusing.

Let's warm you up with the home page layout: A third of it is saved for sponsored content, and another third is dominated by a huge preview pane showing your singlemost recently used app, which is essentially a gargantuan, space-eating reminder of what you've just navigated away from. Clicking on this vast window is also how you return to the app, which is a strikingly inelegant replacement for, say, just pressing the Xbox button.

Each turn and navigation is more unfathomably awful than the last, defying sacred taboos of user interface, to the extent that it genuinely becomes amusing.

You might not believe this either, but trust us; currently, pressing the Xbox button on the home page does nothing. Yes, Microsoft could theoretically make the Xbox button resume your game, like how the PlayStation 4 does so swiftly, but what's the point in having a colossal preview pane if you can outright negate it with a simple thumb press? And sure, Microsoft could have made the Xbox button launch a mini-guide, as the Xbox 360 did so handily, but what's the point in putting tools in people's hands?

And yet, if you double-tap the Xbox button on the home screen, you enter Snap Mode. Yes, Snap Mode is higher up the short-cut pecking order than the game or app you've chosen.

Crammed within the remaining slither of home-page space is... another Snap Mode icon. It's apparently vital that you have more ways to access this feature, especially on incredibly limited dashboard real-estate.

Then there's the games and apps icon. The Xbox One's library of media apps and games isn't automatically available on the home screen. I mean, why put them there, right in front of you? How about instead you enter the 'app' app (yes) to find the app you want?

As a bonus, the app drawer itself is chaos. Browsing it is akin to rummaging through a suitcase on vacation. The Achievements app is next to Skype, next to Friends, next to YouTube, next to Settings, next to Twitch. Xbox doesn't make a distinction between system-wide services and entertainment applications, and the result is as dumbfounding as it sounds.

The remaining tiny letterbox of home-page space is reserved for your four most recent games and apps. Sony launched the PS4 with a large strip of ten of these stretching across the centre of the homepage, and after taking feedback from users, expanded that to 15. Xbox One, by contrast, has no space to go beyond four. Bear in mind that even the most basic features, such as friends and achievements, are now designated apps that will also barge their way into this small space.

Adjacent to your four recent items is the disc icon, which displays media content currently populating the Xbox One's Blu-ray drive. Yet bizarrely, the game populating the disc icon (which, remember, is fixed in place) also appears in the recent icons. That's two windows of the same game, sitting next to each other, on severely limited home page space. It's the kind of UI oversight you might expect from Chinese bootlegs and hacked systems, and quite stunning to see it on the real thing.

Previous Xbox 360 dashboard layouts, from the blades right through to the end, would be a welcomed upgrade.

It is a Herculean endeavour in itself to complete a full list of the Xbox One's operating system problems. The store layouts are confusing, it's not clear how one switches between Snap Mode and the main picture (double-tap the Xbox button and follow the instructions, fyi), and keyboard typing hasn't moved on from standards set in 2005. The YouTube app's on-screen keyboard, by the way, is a mind-boggling single-file ABC-strip. The fastest time anyone in the office could type the word "the" was 4.3 seconds.

Some would argue that these problems can be overcome by pinning your apps to a dedicated space, situated just left of the home screen. It is true, to a point, that having your own hodgepodge of pinned apps eliminates the hassle of finding those ones in particular. But even with these handy shortcuts, navigating the system is a unenjoyable inevitability.

Elsewhere there's an extraordinary absence of on-screen directions too, which means the handy tricks found by pressing the 'options' button is never referenced, while modes of navigation are hardly ever mentioned. This, coupled with the OS's general lack of intuitiveness, means that pathways around the system are naturally forgotten. You'll recall seeing the installation queue before, somewhere, but can't quite remember how you got there.

...But the System is Improving Faster Than Any Other

In what is telling of both Microsoft's problems and its determination to overcome them, more than one hundred tweaks and new features have been applied to the Xbox One in its first year alone. In fact, the system is updated with improvements and features every month, and in June Microsoft opened a dedicated feedback site for customers to request specific fixes.

The exhaustive list of changes can be found here, and the improvements are hardly trivial. Among the additions are necessities such as a battery power indicator and storage management access, while the key perks include custom background options, external hard-drive support, pre-ordering and pre-downloading options, as well as DLNA and MKV support.

The Xbox One may be flawed throughout, but its manufacturer has shown a commendable perseverance in turning things around.

Note those last two additions specifically, because those are features that you won't find on the PlayStation 4 or Wii U, and don't expect this will be the last update with that distinction.

The Xbox One may be flawed throughout, but its manufacturer has shown a commendable perseverance in turning things around. Sweeping changes will be required for the system to catch up with the PS4 in terms of usability, but if Microsoft sticks to the path that it's on, don't be surprised if it eventually achieves that goal.

Games With Gold is a Small Plus...

The influence of PlayStation Plus, and its big-hearted monthly offering of free games, has left Microsoft needing to add more value to Xbox Live Gold in order to remain competitive. As a result, Games With Gold is a monthly perk that gives subscribers a free Xbox One game each month.

Although the service got off to a rocky start on the Xbox 360 with moth-eaten offerings such as Assassin's Creed 2 and Crackdown, it has begun to mix in more contemporary and relevant games.

Yet comparisons to PlayStation Plus remain unflattering. Xbox One's range of free games is obviously a pleasant bonus, but not to the extent that a free copy of TowerFall, Spelunky or Pix the Cat would be.

...But EA Access Helps

EA Access was initially intended to arrive on both PS4 and Xbox One, but due to Sony's assertion that it "doesn't represent value for money", the service is now exclusive to Xbox One, offering a small-but-constantly-expanding library of games that will be permanently available to subscribers for $5 a month.

Ironically, in some respects it offers better value than PS Plus. Players can try EA games several days prior to launch, at no additional cost, as well as take advantage to discounts across the publisher's entire range of games. The vault of free games is rather small right now, featuring the likes of Battlefield 4, Need For Speed Rivals and Peggle 2, but EA insists these games will remain in there permanently.

Xbox One is a Fantastic All-in-One Media Player

Still reeling from that fateful day in May 2013, when Microsoft conjured a storm of outrage by introducing the Xbox One with games as the conspicuous afterthought, the corporation is still hesitant to flaunt the console's multimedia capabilities.

This does it a major disservice. The Xbox One is easily the most accomplished games console yet when it comes to watching media.

It plays CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays with no fuss, and yet perhaps the real coup is its DLNA and MKV support. It means that downloaded video files can be streamed via your PC or transported via external hard-drive and USBs.

Then there's the cable-box support, which is as unnecessary as its detractors claim, yet nevertheless a joy to control and pause with your voice alone. (In the UK, Microsoft has also released a Freeview adapter that everyone without Sky should consider--it's a delightfully convenient and feature-packed device, giving users HD channels by default, as well as the option to live pause and stream to tablets).

Its range of apps is fairly staggering too: In the US, video channels include Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, Comedy Central, Crackle, CW, ESPN, Fox Now, FX Now, GoPro Channel, Hulu Plus, Machinima, MLB.TV, Major League Gaming, MTV, NBA Game Time, Netflix, NHL Gamecenter Live, Starz Play, Syfy Now, TED, Univision Deportes, USA Now, Verizon FiOS, VH1, Vudu, the WWE Network, and YouTube. Meanwhile, UK specific apps include 4OD, Blinkbox, Demand 5, Eurosport, Netflix, Now TV, TED, Twitch, Wuaki.tv.

Its Twitch channel, meanwhile, plays all available content, while the PS4 streams are locked to PlayStation footage only. There's even a dedicated Vine app, and now, a HBO GO app too.

Xbox One's Game Library Edges Ahead of PS4

Although on face value there's a modest difference between the Xbox One and PS4 game libraries, Microsoft's exclusive content gives it a slight advantage. Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, Killer Instinct and Titanfall each stand tall within their own respective genres, and while Halo: The Master Chief Collection hasn't garnered universal acclaim, fans of the series have a bountiful haul of classics to indulge in.

Whether the aforementioned games stir an interest or not is probably more indicative of how invested you are in Xbox in the first place. These games represent the staple diet for westerners; feature-rich, visually plush and backed by Xbox Live's infrastructure.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Microsoft has made an extraordinary investment in servers, which is noticeably more stable than PSN. Some developers, certainly those governed by Microsoft, tend to make the most of the online infrastructure too, such as with Forza Motorsport 5's 'Drivatar' system, along with Killer Instinct's seasonal structure.

Microsoft Hunts Down Triple-A Exclusives...

There was an outpouring of shock and outrage over Microsoft's recent announcement that it had secured a timed exclusivity deal for The Rise of the Tomb Raider.

How exactly is this surprising from a company that paid for exclusive rights to DLC for both GTA 4 and the Modern Warfare series? Microsoft understands the power of the must-have exclusive, and indeed the timed exclusive, and has paid handsomely to secure such benefits with dozens of games, from Gears of War to Dead or Alive 4 to Dead Rising 3.

But because the market has undergone a tectonic shift from Xbox 360 to PS4, some fans now openly detest a business practice that once routinely rewarded them for their loyalty.

They'll need to get used to it; Microsoft has the money, the vision, and the thirst to secure exclusivity when it matters most. The Rise of the Tomb Raider may be the most controversial outcome of this, but only for now.

...But Indies Have Slipped Through its Fingers

The Xbox 360 exec team was either particularly shrewd or incredibly lucky for fostering breakthrough indie games on its platform, but that achievement only makes its subsequent paralysis even more unexpected.

In recent years, Sony has embarked on a major indie charm offensive, freely offering dev kits, readily supporting teams locally, and making its people easy to contact. Sony has moulded its policies and practices around making indie publishing as straightforward as it's ever been, and consequently, has made PS4 an obvious choice for game creators.

Microsoft, by contrast, remained silent for far too long about its indie games policies on Xbox One. Its eye-catching proposal, that every single Xbox One could also be a dev kit, has yet to materialise, and is no longer a priority.

Instead, the biggest noise generated by Microsoft's indie program has been its day-one parity clause, which demands that self-published PS4 games must arrive on Xbox One at the same time, or not at all. This policy, no matter how Microsoft attempts to justify it, has been roundly criticised and--perhaps even worse--ignored.

Games that have or will arrive first on PS4 include: The Witness, Nidhogg, TowerFall: Ascension, No Man's Sky, Transistor, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Hotline Miami 2, Rime, Velocity 2X, ABZU, DayZ, Hellblade, Nuclear Throne, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, OlliOlli 1 and 2, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Volume. As out of touch as Microsoft's parity clause has become, surely it cannot exclude a library of such applauded and highly anticipated indie games? That is a question no one appears to have the answer for, which makes it a dilemma that should linger in the mind of any would-be buyer.

That's not to say Xbox One will be bereft of indie games entirely (the likes of Ori and the Blind Forest, Below, and Cuphead each have tremendous promise in particular), but the sheer mass of indie games that are missing is still quite dumbfounding.

VERDICT: Is It Time to Buy an Xbox One?

To be frank, no. While our analysis of the PlayStation 4 suggested that the system had all the right ideas in place, but wasn't an essential purchase, the Xbox One lags behind on too many key aspects.

That's not to say that all fans will be wholly dissatisfied. The Xbox One carries a superior first-party line-up of games that serves its core fans well. Meanwhile, its multimedia capabilities, and Kinect voice commands, are bonuses you can't find on another TV console. These are enticing, enjoyable aspects of Microsoft's system.

But while most of the Xbox One's inconveniences are forgivable on their own, the same can't be said for the package as a whole. The inferior hardware, however overblown, is an issue. The lack of support from the indie community, however redeemable, is an issue. The superiority of the DualShock 4, however slight, is an issue. Games With Gold, while certainly improving, is an issue. The user interface--every aspect of it--is an issue.

The most damaging issue of all is that these problems are not present on the PlayStation 4, despite Sony's system retailing at the same price. Ultimately, it makes the choice between the two fairly easy.

While most of Xbox One's inconveniences are forgivable on their own, the same can't be said for the package as a whole.

Better days lie ahead. Perhaps the most exciting prospect for Xbox One owners is that Microsoft's executives are demonstrably obsessive about reclaiming its crown. More than one hundred tweaks and improvements have been applied in the first twelve months. Do not be shocked if, a few years down the line, the operating system transforms into the best out there.

Microsoft is, remember, the corporation that spent $1 billion to resolve its RROD mess, and one that has shown a considerable willingness to slash system prices, no matter how costly the damage, and one that eagerly revises its hardware designs, and one that mercilessly axed Kinect for the greater good.

So, you probably shouldn't consider an Xbox One right now, but don't count it out in the future.

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PC Has Most of the Console DLC, but Not All

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 12:49

Earlier this month, Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy XIII-2 will come to PC through Steam on December 11, and that it will include downloadable content from the original console game at no extra cost. Today, Square Enix explained that the PC version will come with most but not all of the console DLC.

"We managed to get the vast majority of the console DLC bundled together in the PC version but sadly we weren’t able to get all of the original console DLC in there due to licensing and contractual restrictions," Square Enix explained. "That means that the other console DLC content will not be released with the original Windows PC release of Final Fantasy XIII-2, or later on as separate update content."

Unlike Final Fantasy XIII's PC version, which released with basically no graphics options, the PC version of Final Fantasy XIII-2 includes 60fps support and resolution options, Square Enix said. An update scheduled for December will add the same functionality to Final Fantasy XIII.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 will cost $20 when it's released, though you can pre-purchase it now for $18.

Here's the complete list of the DLC you'll get with the PC version of the game:

Coliseum Battles

  • Omega (from Final Fantasy V)
  • Gilgamesh (from Final Fantasy V)
  • Ultros & Typhon (from Final Fantasy VI)
  • PuPu (from Final Fantasy VIII)
  • Lightning & Lieutenant Amodar (from Final Fantasy XIII)
  • PSICOM officer Jihl Nabaat (from Final Fantasy XIII)

Outfits for Serah

  • Summoner’s Garb
  • Beachwear
  • White Mage

Outfits for Noel

  • Battle Attire
  • Spacetime Guardian
  • Black Mage

Outfits for Mog

  • A Wondrous Wardrobe

Scenarios/Story DLC

  • Sazh: Heads or Tails?
  • Lightning: Requiem of the Goddess
  • Snow: Perpetual Battlefield
Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Assassin's Creed Toys Meant to Introduce Kids to the Franchise, Ubisoft Says

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 12:06

Assassin's Creed, as you've probably noticed, is no longer just a video game series. In the last year, we've reported on an Assassin's Creed board game, an Assassin's Creed-themed Monopoly, and an Assassin's Creed Mega Bloks set.

At the GameON Finance conference in Toronto, Ubisoft international brand manager Yannick Spagna explained that Ubisoft doesn't partner to make these products for any revenue they might bring in, but in order to introduce younger audiences to the Assassin's Creed brand. In theory, the benefit is that while the Assassin's Creed video games are rated M for mature by the ESRB (ages 17+), toys like the Mega Bloks set are suitable for ages 10 and up.

"On a big IP, like Assassin's Creed or that type of game, I think now the idea is to reach a maximum of people, so it's not about needing advertisement to get additional revenue," Spagna said during a panel discussion as reported by Gamesindustry.biz. "For big IPs, smart brands are the best partners. They do a line with Mega Bloks together. On their side, it's nice because toys are looking for the hype around video games. And we are looking for a new audience: kids, children, it's more like that."

Spagna also told Gamesindustry.biz that Ubisoft could even create on Assassin's Creed tailored specifically for children, which he compared to the Lego video games.

Ubisoft recently launched Assassin's Creed Unity across Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, though the game is still suffering from numerous technical issues. For more on Unity, check out GameSpot's review and what other critics are saying.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Grand Theft Auto V - Peyote Trip Compilation

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 12:00
From mountain lions to chickens, and even Chop the dog, here are the animals we were able to transform into after tripping on peyote.
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Far Cry 4 - The Gun Show

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 12:00
Chris Watters shows off the weapons you need to survive, thrive, and blow stuff up in Far Cry 4.
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The Relapser - 10 Years of WoW #9

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Sat, 2014-11-22 12:00
Episode nine centers on the most common World of Warcraft story. Since we went to BlizzCon and started this video series, GameSpot's Erick Tay has once again become hooked on WoW.
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Our Dream (Non-Valve) Half-Life 3 Devs - Podcast Unlocked

IGN.com - Sat, 2014-11-22 12:00
Half-Life 2 is 10 years old, and Valve doesn't seem to want to make Half-Life 3.
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