Spring is a time of new growth and renewal. It is also a time when a lot of game companies host events for folks to preview upcoming titles. In an atypical move (or at least, atypical as far as I can recall), the X-Box Canada crew hosted an event to show off some cool stuff hitting the shelves later this year. Ricky and I checked it out and saw old friends, made some new ones, and had a great time with our friends from X-Box Canada. Here are some of the things we saw.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
I don’t typically go for the sports games first, but a lot of the other gaming stations were taken, and I had heard some cool things about Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, so I opted to hang out with Ryan Simmons, Product Manager for EA Sports. Right out of the gate, Ryan told me that this title, for which 4 major championship licenses have finally been attained, is all about legends, stretching back to the late 1800′s and works its way up to present day. Split into different eras, the game covers all of the greats in golf history, framing a number of them as “bosses” of their own era. From Bobby Jones1 all the way up to Tiger Woods, each legend have their own custom swings and stances that make them unique. This game pretty much has you covered whether or not you enjoy golf.
Modern courses return – modeled with painstaking detail and realism. A new thing this year: 1934 Augusta National was created using photographs – and let me tell you, it looks pretty amazing. Golf physics have been updated with better ball physics that more closely match real life – and new for this year is a simulator-level difficulty that will have you paying very close attention to the nuances of your swing2.
“Wait! I think I lost a contact lens!”
In the audiovisual department, the game follows the times. That is, broadcast-style presentation, equipment and the galleries are era-specific. It’s awesome listening to the announcers with their voices high in crackling treble as you watch a grainy, sepia-toned view of what’s going on. Spectators always fit in with the times, which is a great step in the direction of realism that is good enough to make you flinch at some of the fashion trends. As you unlock the bosses through regular play, you can choose to take them to different eras – and they will appear dressed appropriately for that time period.
Like last year’s game, the 2014 version is Kinect integrated (with improved algorithms). In addition to this, there is a full-tour LPGA mode, which is pretty amazing. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2014 also has a challenge mode, which takes famous plays from real-life events and has you trying to beat them. If you manage to get close, you’ll pass the test; but if you can match or do better, your own personal golfer can become a legend in their own right.
I have to say, with more than 25 courses and over 35 authentic golfers, I’m pretty excited to try this game when it hits the shelves at the end of March.
An alternative to NetFlix, CinemaNow has more than 20,000 titles available to rent and own. Available on a variety of devices, CinemaNow seems to have the widest selection of new release content (like, days after release and in some cases before retail). Strong partnerships with WB, Paramount, Fox, Disney, Alliance Films (along with a few others) are leveraged to great effect. CinemaNow is also available on more than a thousand devices.
For those who live under a rock: you can do a lot more with your Xbox 360 than just play games.
As I chatted with the rep, Skyfall was playing on the TV through the Xbox in 1080i – with no stuttering or pauses at all (bandwidth usage is comparable to similar services). The pay-as-you-go model might appeal to some people – especially those who like to own all of their content. Purchasing a show or movie basically gives you rights to access that movie from the Cloud. Movie rentals start at $3.99, while purchases start are $2.49 for a television episode and $9.99 for a movie.
Gallery and More to Come
There were lots of cool games there to try out and play. Tomorrow, Ricky will write about some of the games that he tried out! In the mean time, check out my gallery from the event.