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Destiny hot fix tweaks Crota's End raid drops

If you're suffering from a lack of level-boosting loot in Destiny's raids, Bungie has the cure for what ails you. A patch issued this week tweaks gear drop rates within The Dark Below's new raid mission Crota's End, ensuring that more players will receive new equipment for their efforts.

Following this week's patch, Raid gear in Crota's End now begins at level 30, putting players on an upgrade path to level 32. The Crota's End-specific helmet item additionally spawns on Normal Mode now, and Hard Mode players have a better chance of receiving it as a drop.

The fix also addresses issues regarding reputation gains, Hive shield functionality, and Pocket Infinity charging. The patch is available as a free update for all Destiny players on all available platforms.

[Image: Bungie]

Xeodrifter review: Snacktroid

3DS, PC

There's a purity to Xeodrifter that I really admire. The 2D action exploration game is brief, but Xeodrifter explores its simple, well-executed mechanics to a T. It takes the best elements of other exploration-driven action games like Castlevania and Metroid and packs them neatly into a handful of hours.

Nimbly rewarding you with health extensions, gun upgrades and special abilities along the way, Xeodrifter plays something like a "greatest hits" compilation of the genre, though not without adding a few B-sides of its own. Before long, you'll be running at turbo speed, soaring into the sky with rocket-propelled leaps and cleaving your way through enemies with enhanced firepower.

There's no cruft, no filler – just a competent, compact adventure.

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Skylanders Trap Team Light and Dark expansions hit retail this weekend

Skylanders veterans will soon be able to master in-game elements never previously seen in the series via a pair of new Skylanders Trap Team expansion packs premiering at retail this weekend.

Trap Masters Knight Mare and Knight Light join the Skylanders roster as part of Trap Team's new Light and Dark Element Expansion Packs. Each pack includes a character figure, a Trap accessory that allows players to trap and control Light and Dark villains, and a location piece that unlocks new levels featuring Light and Dark element-specific content.

Players who ventured through Skylanders Trap Team likely noticed deactivated element gates scattered throughout specific levels. These gates can only be accessed using the new Light and Dark element characters, opening up a significant portion of the game that was locked off since launch.

Trap Team's Light and Dark Element Expansion Packs will launch exclusively at Toys"R"Us stores on December 21 at $29.99 apiece.

[Image: Activision]

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Assassin's Creed: Unity patch is 40 GB on Xbox One for some

The fourth patch for Assassin's Creed: Unity arrived yesterday as a sizable 6.7 GB download. At least, that's the case for non-Xbox One players; some players using the Microsoft console are facing 40 GB downloads for the patch, effectively the size of the full game on the system's hard drive. Ubisoft explained the situation in an update on its support site, noting the "issue with the patch downloading process is replacing the entire game instead of just the parts affected by the patch."

The publisher is "working with Microsoft on a solution to reduce the total download to the intended size so that you can get back into the game faster," though it does not have an estimated timeline for the patch's fix just yet. Ubisoft did provide an alternative workaround for disc-based Assassin's Creed: Unity owners: By uninstalling and then re-installing the game, the patch will revert to the correct 6.7 GB download size. The publisher briefly delayed the launch of the patch earlier this week to "refurbish" the game's Paris map. The update is expected to fix ""most of the remaining issues [Ubisoft's] players have been reporting."

The Sims 4 update gets paid time off, adds holiday cheer

EA updated The Sims 4 this week, adding a significant amount of new content to the life simulation game. Your sims can now go after an athletic or business career like Hall of Famer or Business Tycoon and accrue paid time off for any of their occupations, plus they can take family leave from their jobs to celebrate new life entering their families. The developer also changed career objectives, cleaning out repetitive or overly specific goals and tweaking ones that were too difficult to complete.

The update also introduces the free, downloadable Holiday Celebration Pack, which adds a wreath, snowman, holiday decorations and festive sweaters to the game. Additionally, sims are now able to eat the fruits and vegetables they harvest from gardening activities, and can also die at venues. EA also fixed a few game-crashing bugs and other issues, such as a crash that occurred when players tried placing roofs away from their lot. Head to The Sims 4's patch notes page to see the full list of changes.

Time-bending teen drama Life is Strange debuts next month

The debut episode of the DONTNOD-developed Life is Strange arrives on January 30, 2015, Square Enix announced today. The publisher commemorated the news with a new trailer showing the game in action. To see how Remember Me studio DONTNOD is mixing emotional teenage drama with supernatural time manipulation, check out the video below the break.

Life is Strange caught our eye at Gamescom this year, particularly in the way it presented a convincing glimpse of modern teenage life. As Joystiq's Jess Conditt put it, "Life is Strange presents two fully realized, genuine young women navigating adolescence, betrayal, love and loss. Chloe's pot-smoking and profanity-laced room feel honest to her character, as does her reception of Max. Anyone who's drifted apart from a teenage best friend can relate to the guarded, chilly reunion between these two girls, as well as the spark of envy that Max can display when she learns about Rachel, the new best – and perhaps better – friend."

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Disgaea 5 wings West in 2015

The now-dubbed Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance is coming to North America and Europe in fall 2015, NIS America announced this week. The newly revealed subtitle is tied to the game's Alliance Attack battle system. According to NIS, it lets main characters - and main characters only - use special moves when their "relationships are appropriately aligned."

NIS' announcement also reveals the PS4 tactics RPG features more than 40 races and jobs, as well as a new stats-boosting system called Revenge Mode. It's just a hunch, but we're guessing that's a shot of it above. As NIS puts it, "Revenge Mode empowers your characters with bonus stats when they've become fed up of their allies being beat on."

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PSN Store Update: Damn it Otacon, Get a Grip

Some six years after it hit retail shelves, you can now download Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots from the PlayStation Store. As such, you can now sort of ruin one of the game's most memorable moments. We're of course talking about that tongue-in-cheek bit about the PS3's Blu-Ray capabilities, which arguably loses its edge when you're not playing from a disc. So, it's another Metal Gear Solid moment that only really works when playing the game in its original form. Not that that's a bad thing.

If you don't fancy shelling out $20 on a 30GB-ish download, there is other, fresher stuff on the PS Store. Guilty Gear Xrd Sign is the major new release of the week, and you can grab the fighter for $60 on PS4 and $50 on PS3. Also new on PS4 this week are free-to-play shooter Loadout, Tetris Ultimate ($10), and Super Mega Baseball ($20, cross-buy with PS3)

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PSA: SSX free for Gold members on Xbox 360

It's tricky to rock a pun, to rock a pun with SSX. It's tricky.
It's tricky, tricky, tricky, tricky. So we didn't.

EA Canada's 2012 reboot of the trick-crazy snowboarding series is free right now via Games with Gold. That means Xbox 360 owners with Gold memberships can download the game at no extra cost, and that's for keeps - it doesn't matter if your Gold subscription runs out. SSX will stay free on Games with Gold until the end of the month.

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Nostalgia attacks first in new Cosmic Star Heroine video

Image Maybe this footage of Zeboyd Games' upcoming PS4 and Vita roleplaying game Cosmic Star Heroine could look more like a time-displaced refugee from the dawn of the 32-bit era if its first moments featured the classic Square logo and Chrono Trigger theme song. But that's a big maybe. [Image: Zebo... Continue Reading

WCW stars invade WWE 2K15 in wrestling game's first DLC

In this corner, from Atlanta, Georgia, weighing in at over 400 megabytes, is the first post-launch DLC for WWE 2K15: a pack featuring five stars of the squared circle who made their names in World Championship Wrestling.

Included in the DLC are Fit Finlay (complete with classic, long-haired brawler outfit), Lex Luger, Bam Bam Bigelow, Lord Steven Regal (before he left for WWE and changed his name to William), and, of course, the latter-day face of WCW, Diamond Dallas Page. Each boasts a full complement of personalized wrestling moves, customized entrance animations and a rough approximation of their real-life abilities. The WCW character pack is priced at $8.

Today also marks the debut of the Sting and Hulk Hogan DLC characters for those players who didn't receive the duo by pre-ordering WWE 2K15. Each wrestler is priced at $3 and includes two variants, one from the day-glo early-90s and one from the more "edgy" NWO era. Additionally, DLC featuring WWE Diva Paige is now available to those who purchased the WWE 2K15 season pass, though there's no word on when this DLC will reach the public.
[Image: 2K Games]

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LittleBigPlanet 3 finds Frozen DLC, refuses to Let It Go

Having conquered movies, music and the minds of children everywhere, characters from Disney's animated mega-hit Frozen now join Captain America and Pixar's Toy Story cast among the wide range of licensed costume options found in LittleBigPlanet 3.

Included in the DLC are costumes for all four of the game's heroes based on Frozen's fan-favorite characters such as Kristoff, Anna and Elsa. Each costume is available from the PlayStation Network at a price of $2, though you can also buy all of them at once for $6. Doing so will grant you a bonus costume based on Frozen's comedy relief snowman, Olaf.

Of course, Frozen's characters would be totally lost without the ice and snow that serves as their film's setting and key theme, so LittleBigPlanet 3 is also receiving the Winter Creator Kit, a free DLC pack filled with new, winter-themed decorations for the prospective level builder. Now, the next time somebody asks you to build a snowman, you can be prepared.

Dragon Age: Inquisition add-ons expand multiplayer, go Deluxe

Today, Dragon Age: Inquisition gets a piece of free multiplayer content and a $10 upgrade that elevates the Standard Edition of the game to the Deluxe Edition, all across PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. The free multiplayer expansion is titled Destruction and it adds new paths to existing destinations, BioWare writes on the Dragon Age blog:

"The conflicts raging throughout the world have upset the balance of nature. Wild creatures now roam the battlefield, introducing chaos as they attack both friend and foe."

The $10 Deluxe Upgrade "is ideal for players who purchased the Standard Edition of Dragon Age: Inquisition," mostly because it features swag already in the $70 Digital Deluxe Edition, including the Skyhold Throne, Bog Unicorn, Red Hart Halla, Flames of the Inquisition weapons, Inquisitor Armor and an armored mount.

Dragon Age: Inquisition received a day-one patch and a second patch released last week that addressed stability and multiplayer issues. BioWare says it's already working on a third patch. These are all tweaks to an already robust, enchanting and "gorgeous" game, as outlined in our five-star review.
[Image: BioWare]

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 targets 2016 release for PS4, Xbox One, PC

A new entry in the million-selling Sniper: Ghost Warrior series is "deep in development" for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms, developer CI Games announced today.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 will feature a blend of precision shooting and strategic gameplay, challenging players to use stealth in order to safely navigate its open-world environments. Developed by Lords of the Fallen creator CI Games, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is "created from the ground up by an all-star development team," including Sniper Elite V2 senior producer Steve Hart.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is due to launch in the first half of 2016.

[Image: CI Games]

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Payday 2 enlists its first woman gang member in new DLC

Murderous thieves though they may be, the masked crooks of Payday 2 are a progressive bunch and have hired a new female member going by the pseudonym "Clover" to join their heists, assuming you buy the game's newly-available character pack.

Available on Steam and other digital distribution platforms for $5, the character pack introduces Clover alongside her unique mask and Shillelagh weapon - Clover is overtly Irish, in case the name didn't give it away - as well as the new Queen's Wrath assault rifle and an additional perk deck focused on breaking into things and accessing areas that are otherwise off limits.

Payday 2 also receives a new mission today, dubbed "The Diamond Heist." In it, players will attempt to swipe the world's most famous diamond from a heavily guarded museum. Players are given the option to pre-plan the heist or just ad-lib the whole thing, and they'll do so in style thanks to four new masks "based on historical figures and myths of old." The Diamond Heist DLC features a price of $7.

Beyond the break you'll find a trailer for the Diamond Heist narrated by Clover. It's not in-game footage, but it does set up ample reason to steal the precious mineral.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 125: The Crew, Dragon Age Inquisition, The Evil Within

Latest episode: Friday, December 12th, 2014

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