With so many smaller titles hitting Xbox One every week, it’s difficult to cover them all. While they may not be blockbuster experiences with copious amounts of marketing behind them, these games should be of interest to people looking for short or unique titles. This week we’re discussing Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare, The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game and Pinball FX 3.
Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare is a phenomenal expansion which not only changes the way people look at strategy games, but it also appeals to long-time fans of the Halo franchise because it features the return of the Flood. As you all know, the Flood are basically parasites which feed off of other organisms, in particular sentient beings. After Halo 3 many thought that Halo 4 would feature a surprise appearance but that wasn’t the case. Luckily, Halo Wars 2 rectifies that and adds a lot of unexpected twists. The most prominent addition in Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare has to be the new campaign missions played from the Banished perspective. Remember the Banished? The Brute antagonists of the base game? Well, you play as them this time around. The plot is thrilling and while it may not be a deeply philosophical story, it’s interesting because you get to experience another side of the story. I still wish that the base game would’ve ended on a satisfying note instead of having us look forward to Halo Wars 3. However, I’ll take a Flood expansion any day. If you like Halo Wars 2’s multiple offerings then you’re in luck too. The download adds new multiplayer leaders and maps which are a lot of fun to play with. Lastly, the biggest multiplayer-related change has to be the Terminus Firefight mode. Terminus Firefight is a unique new co-op mode where players build both bases and armies to defend and survive against an onslaught of enemy forces. It’s basically Halo’s Firefight mode except you’re in a strategy game. Aside from the return of the Floor, this has to be the most appealing part of the package. If you haven’t played Halo Wars 2 in a while, then this is the right time to jump back in. Having 343 Industries drop leaders now and then is always fun but gamers have been asking for a meaty expansion for months. Now we finally have it. Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare is definitely worth the price of admission because it’s just so much fun. It increases the longevity of the title too because I can see my friends and I playing Terminus Firefight for months to come.
The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game follows a long series of Lego games which are known for their hilarious stories, quirky characters and collecting-based gameplay. You go around destroying everything in your path mostly and then pick up the small circular Lego pieces which drop from vanquished foes or destroyed objects. The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game is no different but what makes it special—like Lego City Undercover—is that it’s an original idea. TT Games aren’t trying to follow the story of The Avengers or some other tale from the Marvel Universe. They aren’t trying to recreate Indiana Jones or Star Wars. This is all about what Lego can do and the story Lego can tell. I think that because of this, the lack of restrictions or an already-conceived idea, The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game manages to be one of my most favorite Lego games alongside Lego City Undercover. The story follows the The Lego Ninjago Movie and it’s absolutely hilarious. The company knows what they’re doing and knows how to make people laugh. The voice acting is perfect and I couldn’t stop laughing the entire time. Well, laughing during the cutscenes, some of the action sequences are quite intense because you’re swarmed by enemies so you have to concentrate. There won’t be any laughing then. While the casual gameplay and story might be great, the visuals and performance are a little off on Xbox One. The game runs at 30 FPS and this can be problematic in some hectic scenarios. A faster frame rate would’ve been ideal here. The visuals are also a little fuzzy on Xbox One and it’s unclear if this is because of the resolution or some post-processing effect. Despite these minor issues, The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game is well worth your time because you’ll definitely enjoy it. It’s also great to play with younger children because it can become a family experience. If you’re in the market for a casual title between those heavy-hitters or are looking for a title to play with your family, then look no further.
I thought Pinball FX 2 was a gorgeous game on Xbox One but Pinball FX 3 looks even better. There seems to be more polish here this time around and more going on. While I’m not sure about all of the visual upgrades, they definitely include real-time lighting and shadow projection. If my memory serves me well, this time around there appear to be way more moving objects and animations in the tables themselves. The environments are also much more detailed because you aren’t just looking at the table, you’re looking at everything around you. Pinball FX 3 also features multiplayer matchups, user generated tournaments and league play. It’s quite possibly the most social pinball game ever made for a console. The studio definitely is more comfortable developing on consoles because they’ve really pushed the bar higher. Right now, Pinball FX 3 is by far the most advanced pinball game available on the console. I used to prefer The Pinball Arcade but that’s not the case anymore. All the tables have received challenging new game modes, upgrades, power-ups, unlockable bonus items and more. However, what does Pinball FX 3 have that sets it apart from others? Let me tell know. Your existing tables transfer over and there are amazing new additions too. Some of the most famous tables are Aliens, Bethesda, Family Guy, Marvel and Star Wars. I’m probably forgetting so many because even Portal and The Walking Dead make an appearance in there! Pinball FX 3 is free-to-play if you only want to experience one table and get good at it but if you want to spend a few dollars and buy some packs then the title really opens up. The tables themselves are creative and works of art so I would definitely recommend investing in them. If you love pinball like me and want to experience it at home, then Pinball FX 3 is a must-buy despite the fact that acquiring all of the content can become a little expensive.
Out of all of these games, Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare is the one I would recommend the most because it’s the most unexpected and has tremendous replay value. Well, Pinball FX 3 does too but it’s not a hardcore experience. Still, each of them has their own unique appeal and could be the perfect game for the right audience depending on what you are looking for. Give them all a chance if you have the time because gaming in general is a lot of fun. It’s worth it to try out new experiences now and then and be pleasantly surprised.