Gaming round-up: Microsoft's backwards compatibility push is a marketing miracle

Who would have thought that the promise of old games could be such a fantastic marketing device?

You really have to take your hat off to Microsoft here. They could have so easily pushed it as an exciting feature that the other side don't have and then left it at that.

But they're tying it into almost every major title of the next few months. If you buy Just Cause 3, you get Just Cause 2. If you purchase Gears of War Ultimate, you'll get all four Xbox 360 titles as part of the cost.

In reality, you've already played those games. You probably own them multiple times, some of them across multiple platforms. You could probably buy all of them together for less cash than one of those modern Italian-sounding cups of coffee, but that says more about the cost of bad coffee than anything.

You don't actually need those additional titles, but just the additional value it seems to add is staggering. 

The excitement that replaying these older titles on a new generation console is generating is brilliant, and in a way that PlayStation Now - Sony's Netflix-like game streaming service - just won't be able to match.

Luckily for PlayStation owners, it's more a hype thing than a technical one, and it seems likely that the PR folk at the House of Uncharted are looking to at least match some of these offers.

In the meantime, it's nice to see the underdog score some points, especially considering where they were just a year ago.

 

The last few years have been hard of Resident Evil fans. A single green herb won't be anywhere near enough to undo the real life survival horror that was getting through to the end of the sixth instalment.

Still, things definitely seem to be heading in the right direction. The franchise is slowly being brought back from the dead. The problem is, we all know how that tends to turn out.

The fairly average Revelations 2, the re-release of the REmake and now REmake 2 - it's a survival horror bonanza, made possible by digital stores and cheaper prices.

But, like an insane scientist with a lust for unleashing hoards of the undead for a laugh, the important thing is that Capcom don't start to get carried away.

Resident Evil was massively overused in the late 90s and sales reflected how many titles were released.

That's not something that bothers us as much any more - not since Guitar Hero and Tony Hawks pushed regular releases to the limit - but if they overplay their hand, it might just cause another survival horror crash.

We all want the crazy stories, terrible voice acting and tank controls of our younger years. Hell, I'll even take an occasional boulder punching if it turns things around.

But in the mean time, it's best to be quietly sceptical, because a remake can so easily go wrong.

 

Who actually wants Halo Wars 2?

It was always the black sheep of the family. It revolutionised the way real time strategy (RTS) worked on console, but it was by no means a classic. 

It didn't impress die hard RTS fans, who probably didn't play it purely because it was on console, and it didn't convert many Halo aficionados to the genre either. 

Who actually wants Halo Wars 2? We all should, that's who.

It's being developed by Creative Assembly, who consistently make awesome strategy games.

Building on the basis of the original, a sequel will be at the least playable and at best a must-play exclusive.

And last but certainly not least, it means Microsoft are supporting an unusual, niche corner of their flagship franchise just because they think it will work well.

All those are reasons to be vaguely interested, and give enough incentive to see if how they'll try to impress us ahead of the game's 2016 release date.

 

Released last week:

Rare Replay

Metacritic: 85 (Xbox One)

Rare Replay brings together 30 games - about 12 of them worth playing - from one of the best-loved studios in the industry. Better yet, it's available for less than £20.

Everything from three Banjo-Kazooie titles to Battletoads and Perfect Dark is combined into one easily accessible pack.

Attack of the Fanboy called it 'one of the best collections in gaming history', while a number of other publications knocked the way Xbox 360 titles are emulated separately, rather as part of the game directly.

In real terms this doesn't mean much, but it makes them slightly slower to load and there may be issues that didn't exist in the original outing.

 

Released this week:

Tropico 5: Game of the Year Edition

There's nothing like oppressing a vaguely Cuban island. Just ask America.

But if you're not a global superpower, and few of us are, Tropico is as close as we'll come.

The fifth game is being re-released on PC this Friday, bundled with all the downloadable content.

Take your little island through world wars, depressions and keep hold of the title El Presidente, and you may just be able to brag to your friends about how brilliant you are. If you still have friends - this is a franchise that sucks up your time.


Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

The apocalypse has come, even to Shropshire.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture has you play as six characters across a variety of locations, as you find out what has happened.

The game is set in Shropshire, with players exploring a large open world.

It will be available on PlayStation 4 next week.

 

By Mat Growcott

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