PAX East will be upon us in roughly 24 hours, and XBLAFans has rounded up as many booth locations for great XBLA games as we could, all in one convenient post. That’s not to say you shouldn’t wander around PAX looking for other booths we didn’t know about, but we love our readers and so put the most comprehensive list we could together. Check it out after the jump. If you know of other XBLA games shown at PAX East send the info to email@example.com. If we could get link to the source (if possible) and the booth number as well that’d be super-great! Have fun at PAX!
Clearing your system cache will temporarily fix the issue.
It’s happened to all of us — we pick up a game we’ve been waiting to play only to find something horribly broken in it. Achievements don’t unlock, characters get stuck in walls, scripted events don’t fire, or at times even core gameplay feels off. It’s frustrating, and so often the issues kill sales for what could have potentially been a great game. So often our hopes lie in a patch, known on Xbox Live as a title update. But for some games that patch never comes.
The two console generations previous to this one saw a rather large amount of Star Wars related video games. With this generation however, due to various changes at LucasArts, we have been limited to LEGO Star Wars, Clone Wars and Force Unleashed games. Back in the PlayStation 1 era when Star Wars games were much more prevalent we saw the release of Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles.
The Episode I in the title would suggest this was planned as a series which would follow the prequel films as they were released. Perhaps that was the plan but aside from a Dreamcast port and a GBA version (sans Episode I title) of the PS1 game a sequel was never made.
Jedi Power Battles was essentially a side-scrolling brawler akin to Streets of Rage or Final Fight. Changing the protagonists to Jedi and the enemies from street thugs to droids and various other space menaces makes all the difference. Power Battles was good mindless fun, playing alone or with a friend one could quickly go from level to level tearing down droids and battling bosses. It wasn’t ground breaking by any means but it was a fairly well executed take on the genre with a Star Wars skin.
During the late 90s and early 2000s, it seemed like Rare could do no wrong on the Nintendo 64. Responsible for massive hits like GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo-Kazooie, they cranked out memorable games dear to many gamers.
Jet Force Gemini might not be remembered in the same way as some of Rare’s other classics, but like many of their other titles, it was ahead of its time and pushed the boundaries of what the system could do. It’s epic scale, creative weaponry, surprisingly violent combat and emphasis on exploration landed it in the hearts of many, and would make a perfect HD remake for XBLA.
Ensemble Studios shutting down was a bittersweet moment for a team that had grown extremely close over the years; however, as cliché as it sounds, the doors closing on Ensemble forced the team to look at open doors full of opportunity and new possibilities. For many this meant the first chance in years to break away from an already established IP in over fifteen years presenting a chance now to take risks and reinvigorate themselves. The tight-knit group showed that it really did believe in fostering community, as when the former Microsoft subsidiary disbanded as company but the majority of its members stuck together in one of four new studios: Robot Entertainment, Bonfire (now Zynga Dallas), Windstorm Studio and New Toy.
Recently we had the opportunity to visit Robot Entertainment in Dallas. While the studio may have a new name, they haven’t forgotten all the old lessons they learned. The team still believes in community both internally and with fans. Upon entering the studio, the open environment is striking: four main quadrants of desks with no cubicles or walls and a biergarten style lunch room comprise the majority of the studio. Outside of the two war rooms, server room and executive offices, it’s an entirely open floor plan mirroring the studios own level of openness with employees. The real decisions as to what games are made don’t come from a guy in a suit with a calculator, but from a collaborative process involving the entire team.
This “organic” process started six months ago. Development on Age of Empires Online was beginning to wind down, and the studio was looking toward what their next project would be. Instead of setting their sights on the traditional three year AAA development cycle, Robot chose to focus on the downloadable segment of the industry. The shorter development time allowed the fifty person team to the ability to not become re-tied down to a singular IP for the foreseeable future. Robot started to brainstorm and create basic prototypes for some of the better ideas, one of which was Orcs Must Die.
Often when looking to buy a game I look up not only critic reviews, but comments from everyday users like you and me. We all do it. While the critics can give an overall “point scale” view of the game, it’s often family, friends, and even common folks on the internet who sway me one way or another on my purchase. That’s why XBLAFans reviews games as though it’s a recommendation from a friend; we want you to know whether to buy, try, or skip it.
Still, there’s one thing that bothers me: when people don’t actually demo a game. On the one hand there’s the age-old comment “I tried it for like two minutes and shut it off. The game sucks”. On the other hand there’s the “Dude, I really wish I’d tried the demo first. I’m out 800MSP and there’s no refunds on this crappy game!” So what’s a person to do? The answer is simple: actually try the demo or trial. Spend more than a few minutes in the game, and for heaven sakes, don’t make your buy or skip decision based on no-to-little time with the trial.