The Windows Central Stream Team recently celebrated the season with a holiday stream featuring The Jackbox Party Pack 1 and 2. That stream featured our largest pool of prizes yet. Don't think we're going to start slacking on our weekend giveaways, though – far from it. We actually have some exciting stream plans spanning the next several months…
Windows Central is proud to team up with Koei Tecmo on a monthly stream series featuring each of the storied Japanese's publisher's Xbox One games. Starting this Saturday, we'll stream a Koei Tecmo game every month until we've played (and given out free copies of) every game they have to offer. That includes Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires, BladeStorm: Nightmare, and Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. Read on for all the details!
Saturday, December 26 – Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate
Koei Tecmo's Warriors Orochi series is a crossover between the ancient Chinese setting of Dynasty Warriors and the feudal Japanese setting of Samurai Warriors. That series made its debut on Xbox One with Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate, one of our picks for Best Xbox games of 2014.
Look past Warriors Orochi 3's slightly dated graphics and you'll find an action-RPG of massive scope. Warriors Orochi 3 has literally hundreds of characters to unlock and fight with. These include Dynasty and Samurai Warriors mainstays, plus guest characters from Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, Soul Calibur, and Blade Storm. Surprisingly, most of these visitors get woven into the game's expansive story (however briefly).
The premise of the game involves a mysterious multi-headed dragon called the Orochi attacking and destroying nearly all of the world's heroes and warriors. With the help of a friendly goddess, the few remaining warriors must travel back into their own pasts to save their fallen comrades and build an army strong enough to take on the Orochi and its demonic leader. The time-traveling aspects make for a unique and compelling story.
Warriors Orochi 3's actual fighting is quite simple, but the game's deep RPG elements and addictive character collection will provide beat 'em-up and role-playing fans with hundreds of hours of gameplay. Give this niche game a try and it might make a fan of you.
Read our full review for more details, and join us this Saturday for a chance to win your own copy for Xbox One or PlayStation 4!
Saturday, January 23 – Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires
The latest entry in the Dynasty Warriors series that started it all, Empires takes place within China's Three Kingdoms period. Like Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate, much of the gameplay involves hacking and slashing at battlefields filled with hundreds of enemy warriors at once. But this one includes a lot more simulation and strategy elements.
Players will choose from several independent campaigns and then choose from several historical characters, each with unique abilities that allow them to excel at different roles outside of the battlefield. You can be a leader and set policies for your government, exercising diplomacy with other nations. Or choose to be a soldier and rise through the ranks as you complete missions for your country.
New features in Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires include the ability to customize your soldiers, horses, and banner (in addition to general character customization). Players can marry an NPC and have children who will receive their parents' traits and grow to become warriors someday. Seasons and weather now affect battles as well.
With a variety of mission types and simulation-focused activities, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires is far more than just a hack-and-slash game. The menus can be too complicated for my liking, but stick with it and you're bound to love conquering your own Chinese empires.
Saturday, February 27 – BladeStorm: Nightmare
BladeStorm: Nightmare is a sequel/remake of the original Xbox 360 BladeStorm that contains both the full first game and a whole new 'Nightmare' campaign. Players will create a custom mercenary and then join in the Hundred Years' War between England and France that lasted from 1337 to 1453 (yes, that's well over the hundred years that make a century).
This personalized warrior will then take on a huge array of missions that will support either the English or French side over the course of the Hundred Years' War. The actual combat resembles that of Warriors Orochi and Dynasty Warriors, only players issues commands to a full squad during each large-scale battle.
Bladestorm: Nightmare introduces a new 'Nightmare' mode that breaks away from historical events. Players can choose from over 32 additional characters, including Joan of Arc (who already appeared in Warriors Orochi 3), Edward the Black Prince, and a French military commander called La Hire.
The real excitement of Nightmare mode comes not just from the historical guest stars, but the fantasy elements the missions are built around. In the first Nightmare mode mission, players lead a group of mercenaries who have acquired a sword that can control monsters. The warriors arrive in Gascony to discover the English and France forces under siege by a gigantic monster army. You'll have to rescue the human forces from the demonic threat and begin a campaign to discover its nefarious source.
Although BladeStorm: Nightmare doesn't push graphics that are much more advanced over those of the original, it still features a truly impressive character creator. The level of detail players have over their custom mercenary nearly rivals that of games like WWE 2K16. And the blend of historical fiction and medieval fantasy is unlike any other game on consoles.
Saturday, March 26 – Dead or Alive 5: Last Round
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is the latest evolution of Dead or Alive 5, with all the characters, stages, and modes from the previous versions of DOA5 plus some new characters and features. Fighting fans can buy the whole game outright for $40 (a steal), or grab the Core Pack of eight fighters for free.
Last Round offers a multitude of modes to keep players busy, starting with Story mode. The story menu consists of multiple pathways dotted with battles. These battles star a variety of different characters, giving players a taste of the game's cast and some of their relationships with one another.
Other single-player modes include Arcade, Time Attack, and Survival. None of these has story-based endings (like you might expect from Arcade), but they're all good fun. Each offers the choice of fighting in solo or tag battles. Online players can challenge you while you go through single-player modes, taking the boredom out of matchmaking.
Although Xbox One already has a solid fighting game in Killer Instinct, Last Round still provides a worthwhile alternative. This one is fully 3D, with players able to move in any direction rather than being confined to a 2D plane. The 3D presentation includes gorgeously colorful graphics and character models, stages with destructible walls and secret areas, and some very bouncy ladies. But you can turn off the bounce and play it as a serious fighting game, so don't let the exaggerated physics turn you away.
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is one of my favorite fighting games in recent memory. Find out more in our detailed review.
More livestreams to come
It's always a joy playing games and chatting with our readers and viewers during our Saturday livestreams. And of course we get a kick out of spreading the love by giving out free downloadable games to lucky viewers each week.
These Koei Tecmo streams are special because each one is a retail title that launched at fifty bucks or higher. Sharing these distinct Japanese-developed games and giving out high-dollar prizes (15+ codes per game) is truly a special treat. And if these streams go well, maybe there will be more retail game streams in the months to come. Be sure to watch along and leave positive comments on our stream articles to help make that happen!
To participate in these streams and enter to win a game, just follow us at Twitch.tv/WindowsCentral (making sure to enable email notifications!). Tune in during the stream and be prepared to enter the contest through chat. Each stream happens at 8pm Central/6pm Pacific/2am GMT on Saturdays. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you!
Note: 2016 Schedule is subject to change – visit Windows Central every Saturday to find out the finalized stream game for that weekend.