IDL NEWS – The Crew Wild Run, Cities Skylines, EA And Star Wars Battlefront

After a fun jaunt down to Seattle, it’s now back to reality and all things video game. Gears Of War Ultimate Edition arrived in the mail yesterday, as did the Day One edition of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – very excited to try these. I’ll be jumping right into MGS V so expect my impressions throughout the week.

I have lots of news to catch up on, I apologize as some might be older, and new games, deals, etc. Lets go!

The Crew Wild Run

Released in November, The Crew Wild Run expansion seems pretty beefy. They’re re-releasing The Crew with the expansion, but no word yet on the DLC and price.

Notable inclusions:

  • Engine sounds have been reworked
  • UI is getting tweaked
  • Car dynamics and handling have been improved
  • Dynamic weather will be added
  • FreeDrive Stunts and the ability to create your own races will be added
  • Motorcycles
  • Monster Trucks
  • Dragsters
  • Drift cars
  • Recurring Championship festival: The Summit
  • Upgraded graphics

Cities: Skylines Expansion

Cities: Skylines has a new expansion coming out, titled After Dark. The new expansion introduces a new day-to-night cycle and with it comes new specialized areas, city services, transportation systems, graphics enhancements, and citizen behaviour. Might have to jump back in. Sept 24th release.

EA Access Backwards Compatibility

EA said that it is investigating adding backwards compatible EA games to the EA Access in the future. November at the earliest when the Backwards Compatibility will launch.

EA has a long list of Xbox 360 games that could potentially be added to the Vault, including the Mass Effect trilogy, Battlefield 3, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Skate 3, and Burnout Paradise.

star-wars-battlefront-offers-first-look-at-fighter-squadron-mode-488398-2Star Wars Battlefront, Sans Server Browser

DICE confirmed today that Star Wars Battlefront will not have a server browser, like in previous Battlefield games, but instead will use a new skill-based matchmaking system to match online players.

EA also announced that a Star Wars Battlefront beta for PS4, Xbox One, and PC will be available in early October.

Evolve – Free Weekend

Evolve will be free for all this weekend on the Xbox One and PC. It includes all the hunters and monsters and unique skins. Those who play it will retain all their experience if they choose to buy it, and those who own it will get the chance to maybe try out some new hunters or monsters, and will get to keep the new skins.

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Game Deals With Gold – Sept 1 – 7

Xbox One

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 30%
  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – 50%
  • Rayman Legends – 50%
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts – 67%
  • Shiftlings – 60%
  • Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark – 75%
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – 35%
  • Amazing Spider-Man 2 – 60%
  • Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved – 50%

Xbox 360

  • Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – 50%
  • Assassin’s Creed III – 50%
  • Assassin’s Creed Rogue – 50%
  • Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD – 75%
  • Rayman Origins – 67%
  • Rayman Legends – 50%
  • Rayman 3 HD* Arcade 75%
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings-  85%
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II – 67%
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts – 67%
  • Deadpool – 50%
  • Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions – 50%
  • Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark – 75%
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD – 50%
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – 50%

New Games – Aug 25 – Sept 1

Mad Max (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – I got hand’s on with Mad Max over the weekend, and it felt really cool to play. Driving and melee feel really good, and the game looks gorgeous. I had some reservation during my time with it, but only a proper play through will due for my proper opinion.

IGN posted a cool time lapse of the two-hour day and night cycle:

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – This is my go to game for the next week. I briefly started it last night, so expect opinions daily into next week. I’m super stoked.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC) – I played this game back on the Xbox 360 and thought it was a lot of fun. A quite somber tale of two brothers and their messed up world. Sad and tragic, but vast and beautiful. This looks to be the next-gen release of it.

Until Dawn (PS4) – Playstation’s big notable horror game. i don’t really know anything about it though as I’m not a PS gamer. Getting very good reviews.

Dishonored: Definitive Edition (PS4, Xbox One) – Unnecessary HD remaster of one of last gen’s great games. My original review: here.

Mega Man Legacy Collection (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – Reproduction of the classic series original six titles.

The Deer God (Xbox One, PC) – Xbox’s Free game of the month for September. I got it last night and will be including my impressions when I get to it. The title looks very cool, as an indie platformer, and not of the typical shooting variety.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (Xbox One) – Yep. Full remastering of the classic original on the Xbox 360. The game that sold consoles. This edition includes all the multiplayer maps and skins and DLC and the Window’s exclusive story chapters. Excited isn’t sufficient. This game is a game-night staple.

Phew. Well that’s all for tonight. More tomorrow as I continue to go through MGS V and leave my impressions from PAX Prime 2015 and Gears of War this weekend.


IDL NEWS – Nintendo In Mourning, Kojima Productions Shuttering?

Back on form. Back to the news. Another Monday creeps around again.

Today we had some sad news reported, so we’ll touch on that first.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Has Passed Away
At the age of 55, the President and CEO of Nintendo has passed away, due to a bile duct growth that he had been battling for the last couple years. He passed away July 11th, 2015.

Iwata began his long tenure with Nintendo as a programmer in the 1980s, and can be credited to the success of Kirby.

Batman: Arkham Knight PC Woes and DLC
Warner Bros. Interactive have apologized to fans for the notorious PC problems and suspension of sales. They’ve issued full refunds to all those they’ve disappointed. They’ve also announced that the upcoming Batgirl DLC will be delayed on PC until further notice. The DLC will not be available until the main game is fixed.

Kojima Productions Has Disbanded
More sad news. The Japanese voice actor for Solid Snake, Akio Otsuka has confirmed the closure of Kojima Productions.

“Kojima Productions was forced to disband, but it appears that the work that the team has been putting their utmost effort into is nearly complete,”

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that I expect it will become their greatest masterpiece. I couldn’t help it. I just wanted to say ‘Kept you waiting, huh?’ (Laughs.) But even if this is the end, Metal Gear Solid is immortal!”

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is set to release on September 1st, 2015.


I’m very much excited to play this, potentially last, game. And the closure of the studio has pretty much confirmed my next tattoo.

Over the next coming week I hope to play Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes some more to get reacquainted.

Very sad news about Iwata as well, today.

I’ve been playing, and wrapping up The Crew, as evidence by the review from earlier today. I also tried Massive Chalice and will be posting more about that on Wednesday. Titanfall has been a blast to step into again, and I’ve been plugging away at Batman: Arkham Knight. Further impressions on what I’ve been playing later this week.

Tomorrow is the new games and deals day.


iReview – THE CREW – We’ve Got A Secret Weapon. God is Our Co-Pilot

When you’ve been driving around the United States for a couple hours, visiting all the 242 country landmarks, do you get a sense of overwhelming joy, wonder, or fatigue?

Title: The Crew
Developer: Ivory Tower
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Publisher: Ubisoft
Reviewed on: Xbox One

The Crew in one word: expansive. On its own, it’s a decent racer, featuring a wide array of vehicles from many different brands and classes. It also displays a huge map of a contiguous United States. The world is massive, open, and persistent, for both racing, and free-roaming. As a multiplayer racer, it enjoys its always-online connection, reinforcing the idea that this game should not be played alone.

When the game Fuel was released, the map was colossal. One could probably claim that it was too big. It was mountainous and rocky and barren of anything interesting. Hardly any roads and terrain that wasn’t really fun to drive on. Forza Horizon 2 was immense as well, featuring highways, and forests, and farming fields, and a scaled down version of some of the popular European destinations. Test Drive Unlimited 2 brought us to Hawaii and Ibiza, full coverage of the two islands, landscape and cities.


The Crew brings these similar concepts, however this time, of an authentic re-creation of the major cities across the United States. The map is broken up into 5 regions: The Midwest, East Coast, Mountain States, West Coast and The South. Each region has 1-2 main cities, various other large cities, and then 30 odd, smaller cities and towns spread out. All the major US landmarks are view-able, and attainable as collectibles.

The game map takes approximately 45 minutes, in real world time, to cross from coast to coast, depending on your vehicle of choice. Some of the races themselves may even net you a 2-3 hours dedicated game session, as they take you on a tour of the US.


The map is filled with landmarks to visit, hidden busted up car parts to collect, satellite towers to unlock, and pedestrians and wildlife aplenty to swerve around, as you weave in and out of oncoming traffic. From coast to coast, the world is also littered with challenges. These are little mini games to help unlock upgrades for your respective vehicles: Drive fast while on the road, drive through the marked gates, slalom, jump distance, etc. Each has a bronze, silver, gold and platinum trophy and unlocks car parts. And each of these challenges just requires the vehicle to drive through the marked zone to initiate. Then the only loading is when you equip the part after it’s won. The seamlessness is appreciated.

Each region of the map is the home to its specific class of car, and these are unlocked as we progress through the story. Each major city has its own Garage, Tuner, and Showroom for buying new cars.

The Story of The Crew is commonplace to any typical driving game or driving movie: a family member is killed, and you need to infiltrate the ranks of the rival street gang to ruin their day and potentially get revenge for your family. It’s tired and predictable. Need For Speed in a nutshell.

Our protagonist, Alex Taylor, looks like Morgan Freeman. He’s a street racer, as is our older brother, Dayton, big surprise. Our brother is the leader of the 5-10 motor club. I guess street racers don’t hold down real jobs anymore. After winning a race, hanging out by our cars, our brother is shot by an eager up-and-comer, wanting to move up the ranks. As our brother dies in our arms, in the middle of the street, the mysterious driver gets away, and the police arrive, suspecting us of the killing, and we get put in jail for 5 years by a crooked FBI agent.


After 5 years, we get released by another FBI agent, a new face, incorruptible probably. She knows that we were put away wrongly, and has given us the task of tracking down our brother’s killer, the new leader of the 5-10 motor club and the crooked FBI agent, in return for our freedom. All we have to do is infiltrate the ranks, and work our way up through the 5-10 motor club, and get a few permanent tattoos along the way. The deal is that we get our brother’s killer; she gets the crooked FBI agent. Everyone is happy.

What follows is about a 20 hour campaign, working our way through the 5-10 ranks through a series of races, starting in the Midwest, in Detroit, progressing down to The Big Apple, across through The South, all the way to The West Coast, Los Angeles. We start with a functioning car, upgrade it for off-road Dirt races, then Raid class, advance onto Perf, then Street, and finally Circuit. Race types include: A to B style races, checkpoint, lapped races, and even some collection style races.

We meet many different allies, and bad guys along the way, and have to out-run the cops, to remind us that street racing is illegal. But in the end, we finally meet up with our brother’s killer, force him to crash his car, and let the police take him down.

The visuals of the game are impressive, considering the scope of the game. Cars are detailed inside and out, and the map is alive with pedestrians and civilian cars in the city, and many different kinds of wildlife outside. Luckily a lot of the environment is destructible. The one downside of Test Drive Unlimited 2 was its indestructible fences and lamp posts. Luckily The Crew fixed this, as all poles and fences can be driven through without much friction. As mentioned already, the map is large and very diverse, with a full day and night cycle, so it is a joy to drive across the large expanse of country side.


The Tuner shop features a very robust car detailing and upgrades section. This area will allow you to modify the car parts currently assigned, as well as style, colour, and body mods to each. These are all purchased with in-game currency which is earned through races and challenges.

All this, and the game functions with very minimal loading, which is a blessing. When accessing the map, the zoom feature allows you a view right down on top of your car and shows a real-time view of the streets, down to the minor details of any recent tread marks left in your wake, and any crew member who happens to be doing donuts around you. The map also allows the player to fast travel to anywhere they’ve already been, and with only seconds of loading.

That said, the frustrations start to pop up as we try to work within the menu structures. It’s not always readily apparent where to find information about factions, or challenges, or what winning Reputation even means. And trying to access the in-game start menu is all through a cell phone that houses the games settings, vehicle changer, and radio. All of this, while driving? Don’t text and drive kids!

Lastly, the multiplayer and co-op components are what make The Crew worth picking up. Test Drive Unlimited 2, and to an extent, the Forza Horizons twins, introduced us to a social, persistent driving game, where you could road trip with friends. The Crew takes these ideas and puts some weight behind them.

Your crew supports up to 4 drivers, including you, and with these friends, you can enjoy the full campaign, as well as PvP events. The co-op crew functionality includes a shared waypoint indicator for meet-ups, and everyone will be able to participate in campaign events and faction missions. You can also see your friend’s location on the map, and on the horizon. Only downside is you can’t challenge your friends to any spontaneous point-to-point races like some other online racers.


The shared multiplayer world hosts 5 factions. You choose one, and all faction races you take part in will benefit the overall community experience handed out daily. Sort of like a global competition. Faction choice can be changed at will, but not constantly, as there is a delay before switching again.


The multiplayer also supports PvP free-for-all and crew vs crew. The online community, sadly, is lacking, so it might be difficult to find races consistently.

All the campaign races, challenges, and faction events can be replayed endlessly to get a better ratings and trophies. Once the player reaches the level cap of 50, the platinum trophy is unlocked, and this will provide huge boosts to your car parts.

Overall, the crew is a worthy driving game contender. Its map is huge, diverse, and robust with distractions (last bit a staple with all Ubisoft games). It’s satisfying as a racer, if not a little frustrating sometimes with its forceful ground magnets ensuring your vehicle is always right side up, to the sacrifice of any semblance of control, on occasion. Challenge menus, settings, and map quirks aside, the co-op element make up for the shortcomings, and ensures that any friends are welcome to come along for the ride.

“For those who like driving from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic in 45 minutes, near misses with wildlife, or for those who thought that Battlefield Hardline’s story would have been better served in a driving game. Bonus: for those who like Gordon Freeman.”

Achievements aplenty, but these are mainly collectibles. Finding all the landmarks, hidden cars, or getting gold on the 500 skill challenges. Drive forever in one car? Blegh.

Give me those multi-hour races, test-driving expensive cars, or breaking sound barriers on the Salt Flats. Thanks.

Notable Achievements
Coast to Coast (Complete the Faction Mission Coast to Coast in a Crew (2-4players)) – 15G
Salt Rocket (Achieve a speed of over 236 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats) – 15G

WHAT iM PLAYING – The Crew, BADLAND, Destiny, and Splinter Cell Blacklist

In The Crew, I recently reached the West Coast, and I’m starting to get the impression I’m nearing the end of the story mode. Certainly feels like it’s leading up to a climactic showdown. Not that the game is anywhere small, quite the opposite actually, but the story mode itself seems somewhat minimalistic.

Luckily, across the map, all the race types and missions can replayed to earn more money or a better score. And there’s the multiplayer and faction missions as well. Faction missions alone can be anywhere between 10 minutes long, to 4 hours. A couple weeks ago I posted a Twitch timelapse of a 1hr race.


So, obviously there’s a lot of replayability to the game, and I’ll continue to plug through the challenges to acquire the achievements. It’ll be my dedicated racer, I think, for a while. Maybe until Need for Speed comes out.

Badland GoTY has been a lot of fun to play solo and Co-op. I’ve noticed though, that the missions are very similar across the two modes, with a few minor differences for some of the puzzles. So not any variety. But more than enough content.

The game is, by far, the most fun when in co-op, watching the hundreds of flappy monsters explode against the blades and spikes. Especially when the map’s modifiers all come into effect: when you have dozens of clones, smashing through physics objects in slow motion. It even has the slow motion sound effect for added value.

I’m also nearing the end of the campaign in Splinter Cell Blacklist. The game is really showcasing its action sequences near the end, stealth be damned. There’s still the stealth options, but the game gives us 3 options to take on each mission, whichever play style suits us best.

The campaign aside, the side missions also show lots of variations to the gameplay, whether they be straight up stealth & eliminate, or wave based survival missions, the game has a lot of replay options. Also an option is to reply past missions for better score, or completing different gameplay challenges.

Lastly up is Destiny, and The House of Wolves expansion. The story is still very much the same as the campaign, relegated to voice-over, and not even worth listening to. There are some new enemy variants, and some of the missions introduce some new areas and platforming elements.

The game also introduced a new social hub, and two new multiplayer modes and a modification to the free roam social events, as they introduce new boss encounters.

The multiplayer modes are the Temple of Osiris, and Prison of Elders. Prison of Elders is the new 3 player Player vs Everything, wave based game mode. 3 waves, 5 rounds, each round mixing up the arena and round specific challenge.

Reviews for all 4 are around the corner as they’re getting wrapped up.

I’m still slowly plugging through Assassin’s Creed IV, and Far Cry 4. I do need to wrap up one of these games, or move on, before I open up Shadow of Mordor. That being said though, Batman Arkham Knight will be in my hands next week, and I might just lose myself completely in that.

I wouldn’t mind playing through Metal gear Solid: Ground Zeroes a few more times before V is released in September – so I might have to dust that off.

Also simmering on the back-burners are Battlefield Hardline, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles, Contrast, and State of Decay, which I COMPLETELY forgot about – I wonder if all my companions are dead? I heard the game runs in a slower real-time mode when it’s not being actively played. As it’s been 2 months.

Last up, almost forgot, Tomb Raider and the Temple of Osiris, I’m currently playing in co-op, on the odd occasion. More impressions of that next week.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with some news about July’s Free Games with Gold and their new model, and hopefully a review for this weekend, plus Achievement of the Week, eee!


IDL GAMES – New Game Tuesday and some News

Well, we all know the big game this week, so lets jump right in.

Following the break, we have the new games and deals, and we’ll talk a little about the news and what we have coming later this week on the site.

Batman: Arkham Knight (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – The game is finally here, after only a few delays. Probably worth it. I posted the launch trailer yesterday, and I’ve been excited about this game for a while. It’s on order and will be arriving into my hands shortly, so I’ll be leaving my impressions soon. I don’t anticipate waiting on this game, letting it grow stale on my shelf like some undeserving others. 😥

Tales From the Borderlands: Episode 3 – Catch a Ride (PC, X360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One) – I really enjoyed Episode 1, and now that 3 is out, I should get started on Ep 2.


Dishonored 2’s Path Chosen To Go
Dishonored 2 is another game high on my anticipation list, and will be added to the E3 page for ongoing opinions. Recently out of E3 was the announcement of a secondary female character. After about 20-30 minutes into the story playing as the new female, Emily, we’re given a choice of continuing as her, or doing the remainder of the game as Corvo. This change is permanent for the remainder of the story but doesn’t change the missions, just the perspective and commentary.


Deals with Gold and Spotlight Sale
Xbox One
The Crew and Season Pass each 50% off
Evolve and Deluxe Edition each 50% off
Wolfenstein Bundle 35-45% off

I’m currently playing through The Crew, and I’m really liking it. It’s everything I wanted for a social racer. The season pass, which includes 4 monthly car packs plus 2 exclusive cars, might now be worth it.

Evolve, unfortunately, I have not had a chance to try, save for PAX 2014 where I played the monster. Might be time to give it a shot now that it’s on sale. Maybe it’s too late though? This sale comes in time for The Hunting Season Pass 2.

Xbox 360
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier 75% off
Splinter Cell Double Agent 75% off
Grand Theft Auto V 58% off
Grand Theft Auto IV 80% off
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas 75% off
Skyrim 60-66% off
Fallout New Vegas 60-66% off
Dishonored 60-66%
The Evil Within  60-66% off

I’m currently working on adding new material to the E3 page as info continues to surface. I’ll also be working on a PAX Prime 2015 page for the convention in September, and a Extra Life page for the 24 hour video game marathon in November.

I’m continuing to play The Crew and Badland, and streaming those games on Twitch occasionally. I should have a Badland review up this week as the game is a hell of a lot of fun.

I also recently dropped back into Destiny, so I’ll be posting a little summary of the House of Wolves DLC and more info about Year 2 and The Taken King expansion.