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Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions review: Game cubed

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Mac

In 2008, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 was the ruler (pun intended) of Xbox Live. It riffed on Asteroids aptly, mixing simple, refined shoot-em-up with a hypnotic techno frenzy. Like a three-legged pub crawl with tequila shots, it delivered in short, impelling bursts that kept you drunkenly chasing high scores through the night, or at least until your thumbs passed out. In short, it was a black hole of time in the best possible way.

After such a siesta, it's hard to see Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions outside of what came before. Oddly enough, it's a sometimes overlooked Geometry Wars entry, Galaxies, that brings the most enjoyable component to developer Lucid Games' revival: a dense, challenge-based campaign. In contrast, GW3's freshest defining quality, the third dimension, doesn't make the same impact. If you view GW3 in the inebriated, blurry lens of GW2 it comes up a little short. Take a more sober look at it, and it's a welcome, faithful enough return that you can still sink plenty into.

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Sonic Adventure, Nights headline Humble Sega Bundle


Sega peeks into its storied past this week with the Humble Sega Bundle, a pay-what-you-want collection featuring a handful of classics adapted from the Saturn and Dreamcast eras.

Pay any amount for the bundle and you'll get the surreal score-attack action game Nights Into Dreams, kart racer Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and the Dreamcast Collection, which includes PC versions of Sonic Adventure, Sega Bass Fishing, Crazy Taxi, and Space Channel 5 Part 2.

The package also offers Total War: Rome II's "Caesar in Gaul" expansion and the Miles' Tactic DLC for Football Manager 2015. Beat the bundle's average purchase price (currently $3.68) and you'll unlock Empire: Total War, Company of Heroes 2 - The Western Front Armies: Oberkommando West, and additional games that will be revealed as the bundle enters its final week.

Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai is up for grabs as a $12 incentive, and you can also get an exclusive Dreamcast-themed t-shirt with a purchase of $50 or more. The Humble Sega Bundle will be available through December 9.

[Video: Humble Bundle / Sega]

Assassin's Creed: Unity CEO apologizes for bugs, offers free DLC

Everyone who owns Assassin's Creed: Unity will receive the Dead Kings DLC for free once that launches, Ubisoft Montreal and Toronto CEO Yannis Mallat says in a blog post. The freebie is an apology for the technical issues that have plagued Unity since launch.

"Unfortunately, at launch, the overall quality of the game was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues," Mallat says. "I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin's Creed team. These problems took away from your enjoyment of the game, and kept many of you from experiencing the game at its fullest potential."

In our review of Unity, we noted that the game was "in dire need of a technical re-tweaking." Today, Ubisoft launched the game's third patch, bringing in more than 300 fixes.

Players who purchased the Season Pass for Unity would have already received the Dead Kings DLC, and they are now entitled to one free Ubisoft game from the following lineup: The Crew, Far Cry 4, Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed Black Flag, Rayman Legends and Just Dance 2015. Ubisoft is discontinuing sale of the Season Pass, the FAQ reads.

Steam Exploration Sale: Watch Dogs, Lords of the Fallen, more

As if there weren't enough deals to ruin your wallets this holiday season, Steam's Exploration Sale started today. As expected, the digital gaming platform began offering a number of discounted PC and Mac games today, with the sale lasting until December 1. Among the games on sale are Lords of the Fallen ($29.99), Don't Starve ($3.74), The Long Dark ($9.99), Watch Dogs ($29.99) and Goat Simulator ($4.99)

A number of retailers and publishers already listed their Black Friday deals, such as EA's discounts on games like The Sims 4 and FIFA 15 ($40 each) through Origin. Some stores are already offering deals on games and consoles, like Wolfenstein: The New Order ($30) and Infamous: Second Son ($32.94) through Amazon as well as Sony's Co-Op Gaming sale on PSN that kicked off yesterday.
[Image: Steam]

DayZ PC beta due in Q4 2015, console prototype in Q3

DayZ has completed its first year in Early Access on Steam, and Bohemia Interactive is now sharing its plans for the game in 2015, including two important milestones: The beta version is due to launch in the fourth quarter of 2015, and the final version will launch in the first half of 2016. DayZ will retain its price of $30 during the Steam Fall Sale (starting today), but it will then increase to $35, and eventually $44 with the launch of the beta. The final version will cost $50.

Bohemia Interactive breaks down the 2015 DayZ schedule by quarters, starting with the addition of new zombie AI, basic vehicles, diseases and more in Q1. The second quarter adds advanced vehicles, advanced animals, new UI, player stamina and more, and the third quarter adds traps, barricading, aerial transport and a console prototype. The final quarter includes the beta, alongside animal companions, base building and Steam community integration. See the list of expected updates below.

Bohemia Interactive previously announced that a beta would be available by the end of 2014.

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Tales from the Borderlands Episode One review: Busy earnin'

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, Android

You should probably know who Handsome Jack is. That's really the only advice I'd give to anyone looking to dip into Telltale's latest episodic series, Tales from the Borderlands. Granted, Borderlands doesn't have the most sophisticated lore, subsisting largely on dick jokes, pop culture references and lots of screaming jerks, but suffice it to say that you don't have to be intimately familiar with Gearbox's first-person shooters to appreciate Tales. If you know that Handsome Jack is a villain, perhaps heard his smarmy voice in a trailer or two, you should be fine.

In other words, regardless of your level of Borderlands experience, Tales from the Borderlands is a witty, well-written adventure with broad appeal. And yeah, there's a dick joke or two.

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'Haystack issues' - AC: Unity's third patch rolls out 300+ fixes

November's revolving door of patchwork continues unabated, with Assassin's Creed Unity's third band-aid promising "over three hundred fixes." The not-so-stealthy-sounding patch is due to hit PS4 and Xbox One today, while PC players have to wait until later this week.

You can see the full or abridged patch notes on Ubisoft's site, including the wonderfully succinct note of "fixed various haystack issues." While some of the game's technical woes have been as hilarious as they were disturbing, other performance concerns have included framerate drops and frequent crashes. According to Ubisoft, this week's patch addresses both of those issues, but the publisher added there's still more work to be done.

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Dark Souls' Steam migration delayed, prepare to die next month

Dark Souls PC owners can throw another log on the bonfire, because they have to wait until December for the game to transition over to Steam. Namco Bandai says it's finalizing the nuts and bolts of moving the action-RPG from Games for Windows Live to Steam, and more testing means the company's targeting the transition for next month rather than this one.

In its original announcement, Namco said owners will be able to redeem Dark Souls on Steam by using their GFWL tokens at no extra cost. Saves and achievements can survive the journey during a short migration period, but GFWL rankings will be flattened by a figurative cannonball rolling down a metaphorical staircase.

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Let there be Torchlight for free

If you've yet to try it, Torchlight is a decent way to while away the holiday hours this week. A frequent flyer in our 2009 Best of the Rests, Runic's loot-heavy action-RPG is free until Sunday, November 30 on Perfect World's Arc client, and that's for keeps. If you don't have Arc then it's another PC client to clutter up your desktop, but on the flipside... free game.

While you're at it, keep the Torchlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul. In other, less obscurely referential words, you can also get the deeper, multiplayer-enhanced Torchlight 2 at a cut-down price. It's reduced from $20 to $5 on Arc, again until November 30.
[Image: Runic Games]

EA Black Friday: Up to 75 percent off 300 games, DLC

Like GameStop, Walmart and Microsoft, EA's digital distribution service Origin will celebrate Black Friday with big discounts on a wide number of items.

Though very recent PC games like Dragon Age: Inquisition maintain their $60 launch prices, slightly older games like The Sims 4 and FIFA 15 are available at $40. Likewise discounted is Titanfall, which can be purchased for $15. The biggest discounts are seen on EA's classic games. The normally $15 Mass Effect is now available at $3.74 while Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and SimCity 4 are each available for $10. A full rundown of the discounts can be found on Origin.

Though Origin's Black Friday sale is available until December 1, you should keep a close eye on the event once Black Friday rolls around. EA won't commit to anything just yet, but the Origin news feed suggests that even bigger discounts will come on November 28.
[Image: EA]

Activision issuing DMCA takedowns on Call of Duty exploit videos

Activision is issuing copyright strikes on YouTube videos that "promote cheating and unfair exploits" within its Call of Duty series, Eurogamer reports.

Gaming network Machinima warned its userbase in an e-mailed newsletter this week that videos showcasing glitches in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are currently being targeted for DMCA takedowns, and affected accounts will receive copyright strikes. YouTube users who earn multiple copyright strikes risk having their accounts permanently disabled.

"Activision is being particularly vigilant about their Call of Duty videos lately; issuing strikes on videos showing glitches," Machinima's statement reads. "If you post videos highlighting these glitches, your channel may be liable to receive a copyright strike so please be careful."

Activision issued a response to Eurogamer claiming that it intends to curb cheating and unfair play within Advanced Warfare's multiplayer mode.

"We're excited that so many fans are having fun playing the game and posting videos of their gameplay," an Activision representative wrote. "We love watching the videos ourselves. Occasionally, some folks post videos that promote cheating and unfair exploits. As always, we keep an eye out for these videos - our level of video claims hasn't changed. We are appreciative of the community's support in helping to ensure that everyone has the best playing experience possible."

[Image: Activision]

Joystiq Streams: Humble Bundle giveaway extravaganza

Perhaps you heard: We put together a Humble Bundle! Joystiq and the merry Humble crew assembled a selection of delicious games and began selling them for a shockingly low price, with proceeds going to the developers, Humble, and the absolutely wonderful organization known as AbleGamers. (If you're unfamiliar with AbleGamers, we recently spotlighted their work here.) Some awesome games populate the bundle: Costume Quest 2, Slender: The Arrival, The Dream Machine, and Primal Carnage to name a few.

With two days left to pick up the bundle, we're celebrating the event by streaming a bunch of them from 2:30PM to 5:00PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch. Watching us play games is cool and all, but what do you get out of it? Free games! We'll be doling out free bundles as we stream so tune in to get in on it.

Joystiq.com/Twitch from 2:30PM to 5:00PM EST. Be there. Dig the streams? Follow us on Twitch for more.
[Images: Double Fine, Humble]

CCP slays Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines remake

CCP Games has halted a fan-developed remake of the classic PC RPG Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, requesting an end to development and the removal of assets taken from the original game via an e-mailed cease and desist order.

The remake, codenamed Project Vaulderie, was to recreate Bloodlines in the Unity engine, patching up lingering issues from the original release and adding a multiplayer component. Bloodlines was originally rushed to retail in a notoriously buggy state in 2004 after an extended development period, and an active modding community worked to improve the game in the years afterward.

"We're very sad to report that we received a Cease & Desist e-mail from CCP Games, asking us to cease game development, remove any materials that might contain Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines, names, locations or related elements from the sites we control, and cease any further use of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines property, and in a disappointment shared among our team we are complying with that request," Project Vaulderie's team lead said in a recent blog post.

The post continues: "We are avidly seeking a resolute course to continue working on a future game, but we cannot at this time discuss this publicly and with that I urge you to please be patient and hopeful that we will find a way."

[Image: CCP Games]

Tales from the Borderlands rollin', rollin', rollin' out today

The first episode of Telltale's Tales from the Borderlands hits Steam across the globe later today, as well as PS4 and PS3 in North America. Next up are the Xbox One and Xbox 360, with worldwide releases due tomorrow, November 26, and December 3 respectively. Last but not least, PS owners in Europe also join the episodic party on December 3.

As for prices, on PlayStations and Xboxen each individual episode is $5. On PSN there's the option to purchase all five episodes in a $20 season pass, while on Xbox Live you can get Episodes 2-5 in a $15 season pass upgrade. On Steam the asking price for the season is $25, which you can bring down to $22.49 with a pre-purchase. Finally, Telltale's previously said the first episode should hit iOS and Android before the end of the year.

To see the launch trailer in action, move 'em on and head 'em out past the break. Also, that title is not referencing Limp Bizkit - you guys are just the Durst.

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Expanded Dark Souls 2 coming to smite Xbox One, PS4 owners


You might have thought that buying into the new generation of consoles would protect you from the gleeful, maniacal punishment of the Dark Souls series, but you were wrong. Namco has revealed that a new edition of Dark Souls 2, subtitled Scholar of the First Sin, is headed to Xbox 360, PS3, PC and now, for the first time, Xbox One and PS4.

On all platforms – according to Namco – the expanded edition of the game packs some new features, including improved balance, new NPCs, an expanded story, and new item descriptions. These improvements will also be available to existing Dark Souls 2 owners via a free update. Meanwhile, the Xbox One, PS4 and DirectX 11 PC versions of the game will offer "enhanced graphics," with Namco explaining to Joystiq that this includes higher resolution textures and improved lighting effects, among other things. Furthermore, these versions of the game will increase the maximum number of online players.

Of course, it wouldn't be a proper re-release without packing in some DLC, and all versions of Scholar of the First Sin will include all three of Dark Souls 2's DLC episodes. Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin is set to arrive on April 7, 2015 – just after Bloodborne, developer From Software's newest game, hits the shelves.

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