Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kinect Bites, The Dust

This one's going to be brief, since the content within is time-sensitive. First, Microsoft has backpedaled on the design of the Xbox One (again), offering the system without its annoyingly intrusive Kinect camera for $399. The company also revealed in its recent press release that multimedia apps like Netflix will no longer require a subscription to Xbox Live Gold. (Absolutely nobody else was doing this; it's puzzling that it took this long for Microsoft to hop aboard the clue train.) Finally, the Games with Gold promotion will extend to the Xbox One in the near future, and there will be three freebies offered for the Xbox 360 next month, including medieval emasculator Dark Souls and upgrade-to-the-upgrade Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. If this is Microsoft's apology for last year's disastrous Xbox One unveiling... well, they'll still have to sleep on the couch, but it's a good start.

Speaking of Games with Gold, Dust: An Elysian Tail is currently up for grabs for Gold subscribers, and if you have any love for Muramasa or its spiritual predecessor Odin Sphere, I'd suggest you snap up a copy while the snappin's good. Designed almost entirely by Korean-American artist Dean "for the last time, I'm not a Pokemon!" Dodrill, Dust is a sprawling action game in the tradition of Metroid and later Castlevania titles. I've actually owned the game for a while, but was inspired to return it after a year-long hiatus when Apricot Sushi declared May the month of Metrovanias. Smart move! Dust is absolutely gorgeous, and offers an equal blend of crisply responsive platforming and button-mashing combat, topped with a dollop of likeable (if frequently silly) characters. Yes, they're furry, but after the excellence of Tail Concerto and Solatorobo, I hope you wouldn't turn your nose up at a game just because it has a few talking dogs and rabbits in it. Dust is free for just a couple more days, so get to it, people!

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