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Jon Quintero

Associate Editor for PowerLeveled, fantastic lover and all around awesome guy.

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Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Officially Announced!

Get ready to plunder some more treasures and uncover ancient mysteries. PlayStation has finally admitted to the long running rumors of an Uncharted collection, and whats even more exciting is that its hitting store shelves very soon! October 9th to be exact! Check out the new trailer below as you prepare to find the trail to “El God Damn Dorado”.

To top off the exciting news that players will get to relive their nostalgic memories from the PlayStation 3 titles on PlayStation 4, purchasing said collection will give players some exciting in-game bonuses as well as grant access to the just announced Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End multiplayer Beta. Details follow:

unchartedCollect

By pre-ordering Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection today, you can receive the Nathan Drake Pack which includes single player skins of iconic Drake outfits as well as everyone’s favorite weapons: the Golden AK-47 and Golden 92FS guns. If you pre-order the digital download via the PlayStation Store, you will also get an Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection PS4 dynamic theme as an immediate download.

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on PS4

Oh, and one other important note, buying the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection grants you exclusive access to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End multiplayer Beta version (while the Beta is available, of course.)

You can bet your sweet cheeks that the PL crew will be getting work done in that Beta as soon as it’s available, so keep an eye out for details on how you can join us in scaling vertical levels and start rolling deep in that pulpy third person action.

Source: PlayStation Blog

Rise of the Tomb Raider Gets Pre-E3 Teaser Trailer

Microsoft is already teasing players about what it will be showing at it’s E3 press conference this month with a new trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider. Although the trailer is fully CG cutscene, its stunningly beautiful none the less. Ending with a tag of “See more at the Microsoft E3 Press Conference June 15th” you can be sure that this Xbox exclusive will get its time to shine before releasing this holiday season.

Keep in mind that Square Enix has stated that Rise of the Tomb Raider is a timed exclusive and will most likely hit other platforms at a later date. So for those of you that own a PS4, you’ll probably be okay with getting it later rather than never.

GameFly Announces Game Streaming Service For Amazon Fire TV

feature-Gamefly

Video game rental service has just announced it’s foray into the future of games delivery as a streaming service(think Netflix but for video games). Exclusive to the Amazon Fire TV, GameFly will allow customers to purchase specific “Game Packs” to stream content through the Fire OS console, adding another delivery method for the rental giant. The info released on their site follows:

“GameFly Streaming is bringing the future of gaming directly to you in your home. Through our acquisition of Playcast Media Systems, Inc., a cloud-based streaming technology company, GameFly Streaming will be introduced in the US in the Fire TV App store starting June 2. Our service streams high end video games directly to your TV providing a next-gen console-like experience for core and casual gamers alike.”

How does GameFly Streaming work?

All you need is your HDTV, an Amazon Fire TV, and an Amazon account. In the GameFly Streaming app, you can choose from a variety of gaming titles from the leading brands and independent studios. To get started, simply select a game pack that suits you and you are on your way. Your Amazon account will be billed and you can focus on enjoying the games! We stream the games directly to your TV and you use the Amazon Fire TV game controller to play. You are also welcome to play using the Xbox 360, Logitech F-310 or Logitech F-710 game controllers. Our technology is solely focused on high quality playability – in other words, we minimize latency and emphasize video quality so you can play the games uninterrupted on your TV. The games run on our server andstream video directly to your TV. For an optimal gaming experience, we recommend a wired Internet connection with at least 10 Mbps of bandwidth. We also support 5 GHz Wi-Fi service (802.11n, 802.11ac standard).
amazon-fire-tv
What games are available?

With the Amazon Fire TV, we offer a variety of genres from Action to Family for you to choose from. If you want to try some games before you buy a pack, you are welcome to! We have a ten minute free evaluation period for each game.

Action Pack (7 titles) – $6.99/month includes F.E.A.R. 3, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, Red Faction: Armageddon, Red Faction: Guerilla, Mafia II, Sleeping Dogs and Hitman

Adventure Pack (7 titles) – $6.99/month includes Dark Void, Overlord II, Darksiders, Darksiders II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins

Gamer Pack (16 titles) – $9.99/month includes F.E.A.R. 3, Red Faction: Armageddon, Red Faction: Guerilla, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Darksiders, Darksiders II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins, Shank, Shank 2, Dark Void, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, Mafia II, Overlord II

Speed Pack (7 titles) – $6.99/month includes Ace Combat, Dirt 3, GRID, GRID 2, MotoGP13, Ridge Racer Unbounded, WRC 4

Fun Pack (7 titles) – $6.99/month includes Flock!, PAC-MAN Championship Edition, PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Rise of the Owlverlord, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger

LEGO Pack (7 titles) – $6.99/month includes LEGO Batman, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, LEGO Lord of the Rings, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, LEGO Marvel: Super Heroes, LEGO The Hobbit.

The release ends with “More titles coming soon!” so being an early adopter seems pretty limited. Especially when you consider the amount of people that actually own a Fire TV.
Source: GameFly via IGN

XCOM 2 Announced; Trailer Has Landed

Firaxis Games has partnered with IGN for the announcement of XCOM 2, a sequel to the critically acclaimed 2012 hit XCOM Enemy Unknown, and has subsequently dropped a new trailer for every one to salivate over.

Judging by the looks of it, XCOM 2 will continue the turn based strategy gameplay from the previous entry and we’ll all be able to get our hands on it when it releases this November. XCOM Enemy Unknown was initially released on PC then later ported to mobile devices, although only announced currently for PC, its a pretty safe bet to say that XCOM 2 is likely to hit other platforms either day and date or shortly there after.

 

Source: IGN First

Making The Current Gen Perfect: Storage Solutions

For some reason, when Microsoft and Sony (lets not even get into Nintendo) decided to hit the markets with their newest console offerings, each had this crazy idea that what little storage they shipped with would work out just fine in our digital age. Both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launched with internal Hard Drives with a capacity of 500 GB, but even that was questionable with nearly every disc based launch game being available day one on each company’s online store. Gamers quickly filled up that storage space and we’ve all been yearning for more. Microsoft released a firmware update that allows for compatibility with external storage and Sony’s PlayStation 4 plays nice with any 2.5″ internal HDD you can find on the market. So, whats the best solution for those that want to keep on building that digital collection, without the hindrance of having to delete their favorite games to make room?

Xbox One

CMXboxOneCollective Minds Xbox One Media Hub

“When attached to your Xbox One Console, the Collective Minds USB Hub and Hard Drive Enclosure lets you expand your gaming frontiers. Charge your controllers with ease with the conveniently located three front USB 3.0 ports. For the highest controller performance use the Collective Minds Tournament Play Cable. Running out of space on your hard drive is now a thing of the past.  Using the high speed SATA hard drive interface you can add nearly any size 2.5″ internal hard drive as you need.  Use a SSD drive, a Hybrid or standard drive – you decide your storage with the USB Hub and Hard Drive Enclosure flexible design.  Better yet the drive is hidden in a bay inside the hub so no ugly wires off your console.  You can now expand your game library with ease as the Plug and Play  technology of the USB Hub and Hard Drive Enclosure works with your Xbox One console and automatically sets up ANY* internal drive you add to the hub, not just your game saves but full game installs as well!  The Collective Minds USB Hub and Hard Drive Enclosure TM was crafted with the gamers most demanding needs in mind and is designed to match your Xbox One console perfectly – as if it was part of the console itself.”

Well, that’s fantastic for Xbox owners, and even better is that the Media Hub is available today! The PlayStation 4 doesn’t use a proprietary memory solution, which makes swapping out its internal storage incredibly easy, but what’s cheaper than a laptop HDD? Try a 3.5″ desktop HDD! In comes Nyko with the perfect add-on…

PS4

83223_data_bank_large Nyko PlayStation 4 Data Bank

“Conveniently upgrade your PlayStation 4 hard-drive space. The Data Bank for the PlayStation 4 allows for use of any 3.5” hard drive in lieu of the stock 2.5” hard drive. Simply remove the top cover of the PS4 and the internal drive by removing one screw with the included screw driver. Then you can snap the Data Bank into place. Once installed the Data Bank allows you to use any standard 3.5″ drive which are less expensive at higher capacities than the 2.5″ drives internally supported by the PS4. The unit also includes a front facing LED indicator which illustrates when the PlayStation 4 is accessing or saving content from the hard drive.”

The only problem with the PS4 option is that it isn’t available just yet. Nyko has plans to launch the device sometime this year but hasn’t nailed down a firm release date. In the mean time, upgrading your current HDD on Sony’s console is an option left up to what Google results you come up with searching for that 2.5″ internal.

The digital era is upon us and more and more downloadable titles continue to grow is size. What do you think the best solution is for your gaming box? Let us know what you decide or if you’ve found cheaper and more elegant add-on in the comments below.

Rock Band Announced for PS4 and Xbox One

Rejoice plastic peripheral collectors of yesteryear! Harmonix has officially announced Rock Band 4 for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Stopping by the PlayStation Blog, Harmonix developer Eric Pope had this to explain to fans,

“Hey gang!

This is Eric Pope from Harmonix. All of us at the studio are beyond thrilled to announce today that Rock Band will make its triumphant return to living rooms this year with Rock Band 4 for PlayStation 4!

I’ve spent years as a community manager playing our various installments of Rock Band around the world with fans at every event you can imagine. I’m as excited as you are to have the next evolution of the franchise, Rock Band 4, on the current generation of console hardware.

Since we released Rock Band 3 in 2010, Harmonix has branched out, developing projects in a number of new areas including motion control, PC and even VR. With every new project, the studio has challenged the perception of what a “music game” can be, and learned a lot in the process. With those lessons under our belt, we felt like we were prepared to dive back into our beloved Rock Band series, and actually push the genre forward. We’ve landed on a design that doubles down on the core Rock Band experience fans love, while innovating on gameplay in some super exciting ways that we’ll have more to say about a little later this year.

Rock Band 4

I know what you’re wondering right about now:

“How about all those Rock Band DLC songs I bought on my PlayStation 3?”

That’s a fair question! We’ve always been committed to the idea that Rock Band is a platform, and as such Rock Band 4 will support all your previous DLC purchases at no additional cost! (Be sure to thank our friends at PlayStation, because we couldn’t pull this off without significant work from them!)”

In addition to being able to re-download your PlayStation 3 songs library the same goes for Xbox Live users who purchased songs through any previous Rock Band titles (excluding Beatles Rock Band).

Source: PlayStation Blog

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review

The sound of cold steel striking flesh with all a man’s force behind it. The crack of bone and spilling of blood that follows. The resounding thud of a head falling from its body and hitting the rain soaked ground. These are usually things that make the average person cringe or feel a sense of nausea about. I can honestly say, I’ve never had so much joy cutting down my enemies than I have in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It’s only the start of the fall video game avalanche and yet, I believe we already have a Game of the Year contender.

talion

Shadow of Mordor sets players loose in a world crafted by famed author J.R.R. Tolkien and continues the tales surrounding the Rings of Power. As the main character, a Ranger of Gondor named Talion, you’re set off on a quest to avenge your family’s untimely demise by the Black Hand. The catch here is that you too were brutally murdered and have been seemingly sacrificed and bound to an unknown Elvin spirit, endowing you with powers beyond any Mortal man.

You know what? Flat out, the weakest parts of Shadow of Mordor happen to fall wholeheartedly on its plot. I won’t spoil it for you, but unless you’re a diehard Tolkien fan, most of this game’s story is going to be hard to follow. A very familiar face returns to move the main character along, in a pretty interesting way, but ultimately its the product’s overall execution that really stands out here – So let’s get to the incredible parts of Shadow of Mordor.

choke

Gameplay ripped almost completely out of the Batman Arkham franchise makes Mordor’s combat feel fantastic. The mature rating and content allows the fighting to feel visceral and gritty in a way Batman hasn’t. Multiple presses of the attack button send Talion into a combo counter called “Hit Streaks”, which in time builds to a “Combat Finisher”, for a brutal kill preformed on your opponent. Countering is also present, although this time it feels much more responsive than any of the aforementioned Batman games. Very rarely did I miss a counter while fighting multiple grunts, even in the middle of another attack animation. Monolith definitely got it right here. It’s so smooth, I can’t believe it’s not butter.

Traversal is another aspect of Mordor that seems to be borrowing from another franchise. In this case we’re talking about Assassin’s Creed, which in my opinion if you’re going to copy someone, you’d better copy the best. Challenged only by the InFamous series, Assassins Creed is the only game doing Parkour correct in games lately. Scaling a tower in Mordor feels quick and nothing really ever feels like an obstacle in the world. Getting from one mission to another feel just as good to run to as it does to Fast Travel through your map and save some time between splitting Uruk into pieces.

Nemesis_System

The main campaign will take you about 20 hours or so to beat but getting sidetracked with all the optional missions was never something I felt hindered by. Shadow of Mordor implements what they call the “Nemesis System”, an intricate design of procedurally generated enemies that all have distinct characteristics and personalities like I’ve never seen done in a single player game. The Uruks are shaped by their personal encounters with Talion, meaning that if you are killed by a specific Uruk, they rank up and remember you the next time you face them. Dying at the hand of one particular Uruk several times powers up that Uruk’s rank moving him ever closer to becoming War Chief, the top dogs in Sauron’s army, and becoming a more skilled fighter. One Uruk in particular was such a pain in my ass, and killed my so many times that he ranked up to level 20 before I could take him down. By that point things had become personal and I ignored all the main campaign missions to focus all my efforts on taking this guy out. Such a satisfying kill.

Middle Earth:Shadow of Mordor does very little wrong and executes perfectly on so many levels that it’s hard to believe that this game wasn’t on many people’s minds this holiday season. A well crafted and polished experience, set in a beloved world, wrapped in a blanket of gore puts Shadow of Mordor in a league of its own. Monolith Studios set out to make an amazing Lord of the Rings game and in succeeding also created one of the most entertaining video games this year. This Fall’s Black Gate has opened and the flood of games is here but this one might have been destined to rule them all.

An Unexpected Sleeper To Rule Them All

If you’re like me, a casual gamer without an overabundance of money to spend these next few months, and decided to hold out on purchasing Destiny, then you might have made a very wise choice. Or at least your wallet might think so. Forza Horizon 2, Natural Doctrine, Persona 4 Arena, Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment and finally Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, the fall is absolutely jam packed with fantastic titles, and that list is just this week!

Sure there might be a few titles you could skip out on playing, but what of those you weren’t expecting to grab your attention? Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor seems to be that game for me. Combat directly inspired by the Batman Arkham series and lore set in the world created by Lord of the Rings writer J. R. R. Tolkien, you would have thought Shadow was a no-brainer. To be honest though, I never really seen anything blow me away in its marketing. There was always the potential there for developer Monolith Productions to create an amazing title. With support and assets provided by Warner Bros. Interactive, publisher of the commercially and critically acclaimed Batman Arkham series, Shadow definitely had a good source in place. It almost seems an insult to call Shadow of Mordor a “Sleeper Hit”.

There really isn’t any other way to describe it. Shadow of Mordor is an early review darling. IGN gave it a 9.3/10, Polygon gave it a 9.5/10, Joystiq gave it a 5/5 and even on the lower end GameSpot gave it an 8/10! It seems this might be the title no one expected to rise to the top. You can bet your ass this is my next. (Expect a review shortly after launch)

I didn’t expect to be picking up a title so soon into the fall season, especially not after cuffing my wallet hand to the proverbial heater, but it seems Shadow of Mordor might just be that one title I won’t be able to resist. As for the rest of the deluge of upcoming games, heres hoping titles such as Assassins Creed: Unity, Far Cry 4 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (among countless others)bring with them similarly tantalizing scores. For now though, at least personally, I can say I’ve already been pleasantly caught off guard.

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