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PlayStation Now logo on blue Sony background

It seems like everyone is starting their own premium gaming service these days. It can be tough for parents to be able to tell the difference between Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and all the others. We can’t let that stand here at EFG so we wrote up a big ol’ guide for all of the premium services so our readers can tell them all apart and understand the costs and benefits of each one.

Take a look below for our guide to PlayStation Now!

The Pitch

PlayStation Now (PSNow) is a Netflix-esque streaming service for PlayStation 4 and PC. Subscribers have unlimited access to stream a collection of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games over the internet on their PlayStation 4 console or PC.

How Does it Work?

Subscribers have access to the massive catalog of games for as long as their membership lasts. The games are streamed over the internet so there is no downloading involved. This makes the service.

How Much Does it Cost?

PlayStation Now (PSNow) can be purchased in 12-month, 3-month, or 1-month increments.

12 Month subscription – $99.99

3 Month subscription – $44.99

1 Month subscription – $19.99

Advice

PlayStation Now (PSNow) is entirely dependent upon the strength of your internet connection. The games are streamed over the internet so they will run poorly if you can’t get a good enough connection. Sony customer support recommends that your internet service has a download speed of at least 5mbps (megabytes per second) to use the service. Tests performed by other sites like ArsTechnica have shown that it takes closer to 9 mbps to really take advantage of it.

Troubleshooting

Sony technical support has provided a few tips for folks who have the recommended download speed and are still experiencing issues with the service:

Use a Wired Connection

Many homes have their consoles hooked up to the internet via a wireless connection (wifi). This does hamper the quality of the connection between your PS4 and the modem. One way to correct this is by using an ethernet cable to connect your PS4 to the modem directly. This may not be possible for everyone, but it is at least worth mentioning.

Reduce the Number of Applications Using the Network

Your home network only has so much data that it can download from the internet at once. Applications that are sharing that download speed and can hinder each other’s performance. Its like traffic coming into your house. We’d get everywhere faster if we were the only car on the road.

Some applications you might consider shutting down are:

  • Streaming video applications (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube)
  • Cloud backup or sync applications (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud)
  • Content downloads (BitTorrent, software, games, movies, or music)
  • Video/audio communication apps (FaceTime, Skype)

Try Off-Peak Hours

Your download speed can also be hurt if you try to use a shared (or public) connection during the busiest hours of the day. Try using the service during off-peak hours like evenings and weekends so there may be fewer people using the service.

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Live Gold

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origin’s Access


Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Playstation Plus logo

It seems like everyone is starting their own premium gaming service these days. It can be tough for parents to be able to tell the difference between Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and all the others. We can’t let that stand here at EFG so we wrote up a big ol’ guide for all of the premium services so our readers can tell them all apart and understand the costs and benefits of each one.

Take a look below for our guide to PlayStation Plus!

The Pitch

PlayStation Plus is a subscription service for PlayStation that is required in order to play online multiplayer games over the PlayStation Network. The service also includes periodic discounts on digital purchases through the PlayStation Network. It also includes a suite of free PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, PlayStation  Vita, and PlayStation VR games that are available for free each month.

How Does it Work?

PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that must be maintained in order to keep using it. The service grants its members access to the following:

  • Online Multiplayer gaming using the PlayStation Network platform
  • A suite of free games available for download each month for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. These games can be downloaded to the PlayStation 4 hard drive at any time, but you can only play them if you have an active PlayStation Plus subscription.
  • Periodic discounts on digital games sold on the PlayStation Marketplace. The games you purchase using a discount made available during a PlayStation Plus subscription will remain playable even after the subscription expires.

How Much Does it Cost?

PlayStation Plus can be purchased yearly, every three months, or monthly.

Advice

There isn’t much advice to give. If your family owns a PlayStation 4 console then this is required for online play. It is, however, a pretty good value because over the course of a year the free games available through the program will add up to a significant value.

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Live Gold

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origin’s Access


Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

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mighty no. 9 logo

Mighty No. 9 is a game that had more potential than it had any right to. But, all of that potential was left squandered in an experience that felt hollow at its best and annoying the rest of the time.

Keiji Inafune just about set the world on fire with his Kickstarter campaign a few years back. His promise was simple: recreate the magic of the original Mega Man series on modern consoles. He promised a character and premise that was “legally distinct” from Mega Man, but close enough that anyone paying attention would know exactly what he was doing.

Mighty No. 9 is a game where players take control of a robot named Beck as he fights several different robots, called Mighty Numbers, and takes their powers for his own when he defeats them. If that sounds familiar to you, then you can congratulate yourself for recognizing the basic structure of the Mega Man series.

The fact that Mighty No. 9 all but steals Mega Man’s thunder isn’t really a negative at all. Capcom had been squandering the property for years and it was far past time for a return for the franchise. The thing that brought this game down for me was that it felt like it was being slapped together haphazardly and with no regard for making anything other than an homage to an old game.

Is it a Family Game?

Mighty No. 9 features futuristic combat between cartoon robots. There is nothing to be concerned about here if you let your kids watch pretty much ANY kind of cartoon.

Playability Assessment

Mighty No. 9 is not as difficult as Mega Man games, but it is still going to be very challenging for younger players who are not very experienced with platforming games.

Conclusion

I desperately wanted to like Mighty No. 9 even if only to serve as an introduction to this style of games for my kids. At the end of the day, though, parents would definitely be better served spending the money on a copy of the Mega Man Legacy Collection to serve that purpose. It will be more challenging, but the reward will be far sweeter.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan Screenshot

Developer: Platinum Games

Released on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is about fun: simplistic character traits, colorful characters, comical antics, and no significant weight behind the story. You can replay any level, raise the difficulty, or connect with some folks online for multiplayer action. All of these options are available to you from the start and add a sense of instant gratification.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan Screenshot

Donatello and Raphael mean business!

The story is very straightforward. The Turtles spend the game trying to keep Manhattan safe from the combined efforts of Krang and Shredder. It is not clear what the villains are up to at the beginning of the game, but as the Turtles continue to thwart their efforts, their evil plans become clearer.

You have to ask yourself some questions though. Is this adventure worth your time? Are these turtles a beloved rendition of your favorite teenage team, or just another reminder of a Michael Bay monstrosity?

First thing is first: I love the look of this game. The cell shaded style may not be new to video games, but it is new to TMNT, and it was a pleasant take on the comic book style. The Turtles were bright and boastful, while enemies like Bebop and Rocksteady were successfully recreated as exaggeratedly burly and powerful, while not feeling too menacing.

 

The gameplay was what was to be expected from a Turtles game: a repetitive action beat-em-up. You’ll go up against many familiar faces like hordes of foot clan, rock soldiers, and Krangs. There is even some exciting boss battles against some of the series’ favorite villains.  While in combat, there are fast and strong attacks, as well as various ways to combo those moves. There is also a dodge mechanic that includes a parry ability, but the parry is difficult to time correctly. I also want to make sure to call out the traversal in this game, which is very smooth. Climb walls, grind rails or float from building to building with your para-shell. Getting around the semi open world levels never got in the way, and honestly felt better than most open-world traversal has in other games of that genre. You never felt limited to only one or two paths to a destination.
Separate from the basic commands, the Turtles a have the ability to unlock new special moves that are on cooldowns.(Editor’s Note: Cooldowns, in games, are a period of time between which a special move cannot be used. This is often used for balance purposes and to force players to use diverse moves.)  These moves can be used by any of the four Turtles. Upgrading one skill would improve it for all the Turtles. It was a little disappointing that there were not skills specific for each of them, but the included abilities led to some exciting moments.
There have been some conversations post launch about the fact there there is no local split-screen co-op. This was a staple of turtle games for some time,  so I can understand why it is frustrating. I do wish to point out, though, that most Platinum developed games are normally single player experiences. I connected to a handful of multiplayer games and work with strangers to rid the city of vermin, and I found that to be an entertaining experience.

Family Gaming Assessment

Rated T for Teen
Description:”This is an action game in which players assume the roles of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as they fight to defend New York from villains. From a third-person perspective, players traverse an urban landscape and battle soldiers, aliens, and various mutant boss characters. The turtles use swords, staffs, punches, and kicks to defeat enemies in frenetic combat. Some characters use blaster-like guns; one boss uses a chainsaw and blaster; a soldier uses electrified prods to attack the turtles. Combat is fast-paced, with frequent explosions, laser/gun-fire, combo moves, and grunts/cries of pain.” ~ ESRB

Conclusion

Overall, I found the combat in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan to be enjoyable, and deep enough to warrant replaying levels to improve my score and my timing with combos. I found the style to be very fitting for the turtles, and the story to be a perfectly ridiculous. Even after beating the game, I will continue to go back to replay my favorite levels so I can spend a little more quality time with Leo, Raph, Mikey and Donny.

~ Stephen Haberman The Geeky Husband on Twitter
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There are few things on earth that are more consistent than the annual release of Just Dance. This year will be no different as we will be playing Just Dance 2017 this October.

The developer’s goal is, and has been, to make the whole world dance, and releasing the ever popular dance title across every platform imaginable certainly helps with that. The game will be released on the following (giant) list of consoles:

  • Wii
  • Wii U
  • Nintendo NX
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One
  • Playstation 3
  • Playstation 4
  • PC download (For the first time ever)

The game will launch with six different game modes including the newly designed Just Dance Machine. This is a mode that is exclusive to current generation consoles and will challenge players to dance in various international dancing styles. The other modes include Sweat + Playlists, Just Dance Quest, Just Dance TV, and the World Dance Floor.

The first tracks announced as part of the release are as follows:

  • “Sorry” – Justin Bieber
  • “DADDY” – Psy Ft. CL of 2NE1
  • “Cheap Thrills” – Sia Ft. Sean Paul
  • “Lean On” – Major Lazer Ft. MØ & DJ Snake
  • “Worth It” – Fifth Harmony Ft. Kid Ink
  • “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen
  • “PoPiPo” – Hatsune Miku
  • “Radical” – Dyro & Dannic
  • “El Tiki” – Maluma
  • “September” – Equinox Stars
  • “What Is Love” – Ultraclub 90

We will have more information here on Pixelkin.org as we get closer to the release.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Pixelkin.org as part of their E3 Coverage. They are another site that reviews games for families much like us. Check them out when you get a chance!

Electronic Arts held their E3 Play press event on June 12th, 2016. They brought a new trailer for Madden NFL 17 as well as information regarding significant updates to the game’s Franchise Mode.

The most significant update comes in the form of the “Play the Moments” feature. This works by giving players in Franchise mode the chance to take the helm at critical moments throughout the game, while simulating the rest. Focusing on critical red zone drives, key third down stops on defense, and late game scoring opportunities will keep the games moving and will let players complete a season over the course of a weekend.

Madden17PlaytheMoment

The updates aren’t all on the field though. There are improvements between games as well. Players will be able to use Franchise gameplanning to help tailor their strategy to help take advantage of their teams’ strengths or their opponents’ weaknesses. This influences practices in between, and play selection during, each game.

The Big Decisions system also allows players to take on the role of a General Manager for their favorite team and decide when to bring players back from injury, signing free agents, and even negotiating contracts with players. This is an unprecedented level of control for players and, if implemented correctly, might even give some insight into the decisions some of our favorite teams have made over the years.

These sure are big updates, but don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at this video from Mike and Mike (of ESPN Radio fame) where they lay it all out on the table.

The bottom line? Madden NFL 17 looks stunning and includes some highly sought after feature updates. This is going to be a great year to be a Madden fan!

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FIFA 2017 Alex HUNTER

Electronic Arts held their EA Play event today as part of the E3 2016 event in LA. They made a series of announcements regarding games like Titanfall 2,  Battlefield I, and Mass Effect. They also made an announcement regarding a significant addition to FIFA 2017.

FIFA is one of the most successful video games in the world; fueled by the massive popularity of football worldwide. The series began back in 1993 on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and has grown by orders of magnitude since then. The newest game looks better than ever, but includes new features that just might make it bigger than ever.

Some of the technical updates are as follows:

Set Piece Rewrite – “New penalties, free kicks, corners, and throw-ins bring creativity and variety in every dead ball situation.”

Physical Play Overhaul – “U.S. Patent-Pending Pushback Technology changes the way players physically interact in every situation and introduces a new shielding system that gives fans more control when in possession or battling to win the ball.”

Active Intelligence System – “A brand new intelligence system gives players the ability to better define and classify space to make smarter decisions off the ball. Players will utilize several New Run Types like fake, direct, and stunted runs to stay even more active off the ball.”

New Attacking Techniques – “New options in attack give fans more ways to create chances and finish in front of goal. Send teammates in with a Threaded Through Pass and put exciting goals away with a Driven Finish or Downward Header.”

FIFA 2017 Alex HUNTER

Take the Journey with Alex Hunter – FIFA 2017

Those are excellent technical updates that fall well in line with previous iterative updates as the franchise has grown in the past. The most significant change, though, is the inclusion of “The Journey.” This is a game mode where players take on the role of Alex Hunter as he is drafted into the Premier league and begins his professional football career. Players will be in command as he plays games, makes plays, and deals with the trials and tribulations of his newfound success, wealth, and fame.

This appears to be a football themed take on the story of Frequency Vibrations in NBA 2016 and I am 100% ok with that. We will find out more details as the game gets closer to launch to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information about FIFA 2017 and the Journey.

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We have been waiting a VERY long time for Mighty No. 9 to come out. The wildly successful Kickstarter campaign for the game happened almost three years ago. But, it looks like the game will finally come out.

Keiji Inafune, the head of Comcept, made an announcement to Kickstarter backers that was also posted on the Mighty No. 9 website that announced that the game has “gone gold” which means that it should have no further delays and will, finally, release on June 21st, 2016.

Mega Man fans don’t have much longer to wait before they get to play this one as that is less than eight weeks from now. We can only hope that it will be worth the long wait. (Although, let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute here. The internet is not a very forgiving beast. I expect that the game could be perfect and it wouldn’t be enough for some people.”

We will be covering the game and publishing a review after its release so keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for info as the release date comes closer.

Take a look below for the full text of the announcement.

“To all of our backers and fans of Mighty No. 9,

Firstly, I would like to say again how sincerely sorry we are for how long we have kept all of our fans waiting. We are finally able to deliver some long awaited news regarding Mighty No. 9. We have now confirmed the following release dates for Mighty No. 9: June 21st 2016 (North America & Asia) and June 24th 2016 (World Wide). We understand that as a result of the various delays we have disappointed and let down our fans, but we are happy to finally be able to deliver the game to everyone who brought us this far.

With the game having “gone gold” we are in the last final stages of being able to deliver it into your hands, be that via your favorite retail outlet, or via digital channels.

Therefore the release date we are announcing is set in stone and there will be no further delays for the game.

Portable versions for PlayStation® Vita and Nintendo 3DS ™ will follow at a later point.

It has been almost three years since the start of our Kickstarter campaign, which was only made possible through the support of our backers and fans around the world. This is a project where everyone’s passions were combined in order to create something very special, and we are looking forward to delivering the final product to everyone who was involved. There can be no stronger connection between game creators and game fans.

Now that the dust has settled, we will be delivering Mighty No. 9 to everyone next month. How long will it take you to clear the main story on NORMAL? How many people are going to be able to clear MANIAC mode? What is going to be the fastest record for the time attack mode? We are looking forward to seeing the community answer all of these questions for us! Make sure to let us know your feedback and thoughts on the game through our SNS channels as you play the game. Your voices are what made this game possible, and we want to continue hearing what you think so that it may influence our future endeavors. “

-Keiji Inafune

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Skylanders are going on sale from March 13th through March 19th to celebrate the arrival of Spring (and for Easter Baskets). Check out all the killer deals to help fill out your collection!

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Target

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Game Stop

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Walmart

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Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted to us by the owner over at Token Meeple. It’s a little out of their genre over there, but we sure loved the help! Head on over there for their take on grown up board games (including some great single player stuff)!

Today Disney presented us with the first edition of Disney Infinity Next. If this 12-minute announcement was any indication, there are big things in store for Disney Infinity 3.0 over the next few months and the remainder of 2016.

During the opening sequence we were reminded that Disney Infinity, for the 2nd year in a row, #1 in the Toys-to-Life category. The 3.0 release will be the largest collection of content inside of a Disney game and will remain compatible with the 3.0 base.

The next announcement focused around the upcoming release of the Zootopia movie this Friday. Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps bring a bit of a stylistic change from previous Infinity characters and look like they just walked off the movie set and into the game. They are available for purchase as of March 1st for the Disney Infinity Platform. Judy is the agile and quick character who will specialize in powerful kicks and will have her Tranq gun from the movie to help stun characters in game as well. Nick is a very strong melee character who will have his Popsicle stick referenced from the movie to help him out. He also has a friend “sidekick” who can help him out and use the Popsicle as well.

The next announcement was what really caught our attention. The Marvel Battlegrounds Play Set!! At one time we all have wondered who would win in a fight between say Captain America and Iron Man, and now we can find out! Also, for the first time, a Disney Infinity Play Set will feature 4-player play and it seems it will happen without another base. Battlegrounds will feature 8 arenas’ that take on a life of their own. The Arenas are almost a character themselves. They take damage leading to a lot of Environmental Destruction and potentially causing you to fall between levels or open up other new areas of the Arena. And lets not forget, the Marvel Disney Infinity 1.0 and 2.0 characters have been refreshed to include new abilities and super abilities within the Battlegrounds.

All of the Marvel Characters have been balanced within the Play set to make the combat more competitive. 4 new characters will be released at around the same time the Play Set is available. These new characters will consist of a new Captain America from Captain America: Civil War. This combat focuses much more around his shield in this version and his special ability is a Heli-Carrier strike that he deflects with his shield for a powerful AOE attack.

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The other new characters we will be seeing to hype this play set are Black Panther, who will be another character who excels in Martial Arts agile melee style. Vision, yet another quick character, changes it up with his special ability allowing him to phase into the ground, perform an uppercut and transition that into an air combo. This is a new ability type that hasn’t been introduced into Disney Infinity yet and shows that Disney is committed to pushing Disney Infinity to new heights.

Then we get one of my most wanted, Ant-Man. You read that right, we will finally have Ant-Man in Disney Infinity shrinking power included!! Ant-Man will be a very defensive character but because of his shrinking ability he will be able to surprise people and catch them off-guard.

The final announcement of the initial Disney Infinity Next featured the live action remake of The Jungle Book. Well now hopefully you are asking what does this do for Disney Infinity, and the answer is Baloo! This figure is modeled beautifully and you can picture Baloo dancing and singing Bear-Necessities when you lay eyes on it. In game, Baloo can swing a Palm tree as a melee weapon and throw various fruit at his enemies. Baloo also attacks his enemies with his belly and rear end, and we can see him being a favorite of many children.

I have to admit, this was a pretty exciting 12 minutes and Disney teased with just enough to have me looking forward to each new wave release. Even with all of this being announced, I would still expect a surprise or two from Disney on the Infinity side, after all there is still a lot of Disney left unexplored on the Infinity platform. I am still waiting for something from the Junior side of the house as well!

 

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