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Court approves settlement over Sony's 2011 PSN breach

The US District Court for the Southern District of California approved a settlement for the class action lawsuit resulting from Sony's 2011 PSN data breach. The settlement may result in Sony doling out as much as $17.75 million, which includes an offer for one free game (PS3 or PSP only), three PS3 themes or credit for three months of PlayStation Plus membership (valid only for new subscribers).

The claimant groups are divided based on whether PSN account holders prior to May 15, 2011 took advantage of the "Welcome Back" program following the intrusion. Those that did not accept the PSN Welcome Back offer can claim two of the benefit options among the games, themes and PS Plus membership credit on a first come, first served basis until a $6 million allocation from Sony is reached. For those that did take advantage of the program, they will receive one of the benefits above until a $4 million allocation is reached.

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Dark Souls 2 'Crown of the Sunken King' review: Lost and crowned

After losing days to just navigating Lordran, I understood the switch to more linear pathways in Dark Souls 2. Still, I missed getting truly lost in the first game's open world. It was a labyrinthine mess that coiled in on itself in the most confusing ways, and it added another layer to an already oppressive game. The world itself was against you in Dark Souls, and it magnified those feelings of dread, challenge and, eventually, satisfaction.

It's great to see Crown of the Sunken King, the first Dark Souls 2 DLC expansion, is closer to the first game's mazey madness, albeit in a more conscise form. Its rocky inclines and crumbling chambers don't so much twist and turn as gently lead you astray, and the interconnections are more foreshadowed. It makes sense for the DLC's scope; it takes five hours to find and defeat the final boss, and that's even if you lose your way a few times.

All the same, in its stone-cold heart of hearts, Sunken King is just more Dark Souls 2, albeit inevitably tougher. There are a few new enemies - some total bastards - while others are more reworked and re-skinned, but generally the higher difficulty comes from placement and numbers.

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Disney Infinity 2.0 hits North America on September 23.0

The Marvel-stuffed Disney Infinity 2.0 is officially hitting North America's store shelves on September 23, a date that's been rumored for a while. We've confirmed with Disney the release date applies to the PS4, Xbox One. Wii U, Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the sequel.

Disney also confirmed the pre-order program GameStop's been advertising, which bundles in an extra $14-value Disney Infinity 2.0 figure, is available at "top retailers nationwide." We reached out to Disney to find out the figures are available in the promo - UK retailer GAME says players can choose between Nick Fury, Hawkeye and Iron Fist.

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Akiba's Trip 2 brings the full monty, including PS4, to North America


Akiba's Trip 2 AKA the helpfully named Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed is confirmed for PS4 in North America. Acquire's action-RPG leaves its hat on the PS4 sometime this holiday season, after arriving on PS3 and Vita on August 12.

One of this year's more intellectual games, Akiba's Trip 2 tasks you with taking the clothes off vampire-like enemies terrorizing Tokyo. Because you want to shine sunlight onto their vampiric skin, of course. There's no other motivation than that, as the above NSFW trailer clearly shows.
[Image: XSEED]

Hohokum launch trailer is just the right amount of weird


The arrival of Honeyslug's cheerful Hohokum is mere weeks away, and it's still impossible to classify. The game received a new trailer to celebrate its August 12 launch date (August 13 in Europe), showing the meditating hermit-like star of the game in addition to the squiggly, flying worm that players control.

Devised by artist Richard Hogg, Hohokum became a 2011 IGF finalist before Sony Santa Monica began working with the Hogg and Honeyslug in May 2013 to bring the game to PlayStation platforms. It will be Cross-Buy-enabled as well, so the $14.99 price will give players access to the PS4, PS3 and Vita versions.

Hohokum is part of the PlayStation Store Play event Sony announced just yesterday, in which players that pick up four games in August will receive $10 of in-store credit. Additionally, pre-orders for the four games are 20 percent off each for PlayStation Plus members. Joining Hohokum in the deal are Rogue Legacy, The Swapper and CounterSpy.
[Image: Sony]

Live and let CounterSpy

Image Yesterday we learned that Dynamighty's mod stealth-action game CounterSpy will reach the PlayStation 4, PS3 and Vita on August 19. Today we're presented with a launch trailer that's less "debonair, Connery-era James Bond" and more "Daniel Craig on a murderous rampage." [Image: Dynamighty]... Continue Reading

Play Destiny's Beta on Saturday, get a reward in the full version

Bungie is offering Destiny Beta participants an exclusive reward for the full version of the game as an incentive for logging in this weekend, according to an in-game message relayed to players today.

"To earn your reward, play the Destiny Beta on Saturday, July 26th at 2pm PDT (9pm GMT)," the message reads. Bungie did not specify what the reward is, but free is free, so be sure to hop on this weekend if you're intrigued. Here's hoping that it's a gold-plated Peter Dinklage-bot. Or new character dances. Or a dancing Dinklage-bot.

[Update: Bungie confirmed that the featured reward is an in-game emblem.]

[Image: Bungie]

Relive classic Grand Theft Auto moments in GTA Online

In its latest newswire update, Rockstar Games highlights a handful of GTA Online jobs that revisit pivotal moments from past Grand Theft Auto entries courtesy of creative fans and the game's powerful Creator tool.

From the classic Grand Theft Auto 3 to the underloved GTA: Chinatown Wars, Rockstar's selection covers a wide swath of open-world sandbox mayhem. "Four Iron," for instance, is a modern, deathmatch take on the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City mission of the same name, in which Tommy Vercetti chased a land developer through a golf course before murdering the poor sap. "Valet Parking," on the other hand, is a lap race homage to those recurring side missions in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in which CJ would pose as a valet, and either politely park cars to earn extra cash or drive off with a fancy new ride.

The Rockstar newswire has a full list of throwback missions, for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but keep in mind that the limitations of the GTA Online Creator prevent any of these jobs from being singleplayer affairs. The only way to truly relive Rockstar's classics is by replaying the original games.
[Image: Take Two]

Destiny Beta Google Hangout and Xbox One Stream Spectacular [Update: Relive the stream!]



Update: Watch the Google Hangout discussion here and the Xbox One stream above!

At first, Joystiq said, "Sure, I'll check out Destiny. Why not? Bungie's made some good games. We like playing games." Then we played it. A lot of it. Then the beta went offline for a couple of days and Joystiq said, "Whatever. I'll wait three days to call Destiny back. We're not that serious or anything." Then we couldn't stop thinking about Destiny. The only course of action is to get everyone in the crew together and make a list of everything we like about the Destiny beta and everything we don't like to determine if we're ready for a real Destiny commitment.

Starting at 2:30PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, the Joystiq staff will be in a Google Hangout to discuss all things Destiny after our first taste of the action. Then we'll roll directly into a stream of the Xbox One version of the game immediately afterward, with a brand new fire team including Jess Conditt, Xav de Matos, and Susan Arendt.

Tune in to hang out with us and ask many questions at Joystiq.com/Twitch at 2:30PM EST!
[Images: Activision]

Destiny beta comparison: PlayStation 3 versus PlayStation 4


Though the PlayStation 4 has been soaking up the majority of the spotlight, the Destiny beta is also available on the PlayStation 3, and based on this side-by-side graphical comparison, the older hardware does an admirable job of keeping up.

While the PlayStation 3 game runs at a lower resolution and features less detail than its PlayStation 4 counterpart, the broad graphical strokes remain the same. Characters bear the same futuristic, decidedly Halo-esque aesthetic in both games, and actual game content appears to be the same, down to the infamous, ominpresent Peter Dinklage voiceover. Most impressively, the PlayStation 3 beta does an admirable job of providing a stable, fluid framerate, even when the screen is filled with explosive graphical effects.

Obviously the PlayStation 4 version of Destiny looks and performs better than its PlayStation 3 counterpart, but if this comparison is any indicator, the older generation of hardware offers a perfectly suitable Destiny experience.
[Image: Activision]

Crysis 3, Ryse producer Mike Read departs Crytek

Crytek's exodus of company talent continues, as Ryse: Son of Rome and Crysis 3 producer Mike Read has left the studio, The Escapist reports.

The Escapist notes that Read's recently updated LinkedIn profile no longer lists Crytek as his current employer. Read's Twitter bio additionally states that he is a "former producer" at Crytek.

Read's departure follows up on the recent resignation of 11-year Crytek veteran Tiago Sousa, who now serves as Lead Rendering Programmer at id Software. Subsidiary Crytek UK also saw a number of departures last month, losing more than 30 employees and Homefront: The Revolution director Hasit Zala amid rumors of late staff payments.

[Image: Crytek]

Guardians of the Galaxy converge in Disney Infinity 2.0

The Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's oddball ensemble leaping from comics to film on August 1, are visiting earth in the form of tiny figures. Disney Interactive is preparing a cosmic Play Set for the upcoming launch of Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, rooted in the likenesses of Groot (the tree), Gamora (the assassin), Drax (the Destroyer), Rocket Raccoon (you know) and Star-Lord. (Star-Lord, man. Legendary outlaw?)

The five space criminals on the cusp of heroism are playable in their own story, joined by a handful of crossover characters from other sets. Iron Man swings by to help out in the battle against Ronan the Accuser, while Nova jets in from the Spider-Man Play Set. Oh, and switch "swings" with "jets" there. Now it's wordplay.

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PlayStation Store Play event offers pre-order discounts, bonus PSN credit


Throughout the next month, Sony is launching a selection of new cross-platform games at a discount for PlayStation Plus members as part of its annual PlayStation Store Play event, with cash-back credit offered for buying multiple titles.

Featured games include Cellar Door's roguelike platformer Rogue Legacy (premiering July 29), Facepalm Games' side-scrolling puzzler The Swapper (August 5), Honeyslug's fanciful exploration game Hohokum (August 12), and Dynamighty's espionage-themed CounterSpy (August 19). All games are available as Cross-Buy releases, and are playable on the PlayStation 4, PS3, and PS Vita.

PS Store Play games are available for pre-order at a 20 percent discount for PlayStation Plus subscribers. PSN members are eligible to receive $3 in store credit for buying two featured games, $6 for three, or $10 for all four between July 22 and August 25.

[Image: Sony]

Hulk smash Disney Infinity: Marvel 2.0 on PS4, PS3

The Sony-specific Collector's Edition of Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 features all of the Avengers characters available at launch – Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow – plus Hulk, a figure that won't be for sale separately until later on. And the Collector's Edition comes with a huge display featuring the Frost Beast and spaces for all of the characters. And it glows. The Collector's Edition will be available for PS3 and PS4 this fall.

Additionally, a bundle featuring the Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 Starter Pack (which includes Thor, Black Widow and Iron Man), and a 12GB PS3 will launch in the fall for $250.

While the collector's display looks large, it probably won't require any assembly – the Avengers usually have that covered.

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PSN Tuesday: Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty, Superhero Sales

This week's PlayStation Store update features a host of games ... you can pre-order! Downloadable PS3 and PS4 exclusives CounterSpy – launching August 19 – and Hohokum – coming August 12 – are both available to pre-purchase ($14.99 each) today. Pre-orders for PS3 and PS4 versions of popular PC titles Rogue Legacy – arriving July 29 for $16.99 – and The Swapper – recently delayed to August 5 for $19.99 – are also available. Plus members can enjoy a 20 percent discount on advanced orders of each title.

As for actual releases, the PlayStation 4 welcomes Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty today. The game, a "re-crafted take" on Abe's Oddysee from the original PlayStation, is available for $29.99.

PSN also features a slew of discounts on superhero games. Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3, PS4), for example, is down to $27.99 or a staggering $8.40 for Plus members. Never has punching Lex Luthor in his dumb, bald head been so cheap! The sale includes everything from Batman: Arkham Origins ($27.99, $8.40 for Plus members) to Lego Marvel Super Heroes (PS4) ($34.99, $10.50 for Plus members).

For the complete listing of superhero-sized sales, check out the PlayStation Blog.

[Image: Oddworld Inhabitants]

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