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Far Cry 4 plans a prison break for January 13

Far Cry 4's "Escape from Durgesh Prison" DLC will be available to download on January 13, Ubisoft announced today. The DLC will have players racing across Kyrat to finish challenges and recover lost weapons, upgrading their gear and skills along the way. Escape from Durgesh Prison will be playable in both single player and cooperative multiplayer modes, but should they die in the DLC, players will have to start the mission over from the beginning.

Escape from Durgesh Prison was revealed as part of Far Cry 4's season pass in October, which gives buyers access to multiple add-on missions including the season pass-exclusive DLC, The Syringe. Those without the $30 season pass can still pick up Escape from Durgesh Prison separately for $10. Far Cry 4 launched in November and received praise for its "interesting and absorbing" world in our review.

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Assassin's Creed Unity free game offer now active for Season Pass buyers

Ubisoft is giving away free games to Assassin's Creed Unity players who purchased a Season Pass before November 25, fulfilling an offer made in response to widespread bug reports following Unity's November launch.

Eligible players can head to this site to submit a claim. Ubisoft is offering affected players their choice of one of several featured free games, including Far Cry 4, The Crew, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, Watch Dogs, Rayman Legends, and Just Dance 2015.

All Assassin's Creed Unity players will receive the upcoming Dead Kings DLC expansion free of charge once it launches next year. Season Pass buyers have until March 15, 2015, to redeem their free game codes.

[Image: Ubisoft)

GTA 5 'Festive Surprise' brings Christmas fear to Los Santas

As the snow drifted quietly this wintry morn, Rockstar Games offered a new "Festive Surprise" update for Grand Theft Auto 5. Players will now be able to use proximity mines and a homing missile launcher in the game, which will feature occasional snowy days. The update also adds holiday pajamas, Christmas sweaters, hats, scarves, masks and other festive gear for free, available through Monday, January 5. GTA 5's Festive Surprise update also features special gifts on Christmas Day (December 25) and a firework launcher and firework rocket ammo to celebrate New Year's. Lastly, players can pick up four new vehicles, such as the Hot Rod Christmas Ratloader and the Slam Van.

The open world game's update also tweaked a few of the game's mechanics, adding an on/off switch for the first-person mode's auto-level setting as well as deadzone and acceleration slider controls. Better yet, players are now able to own a third property in GTA Online, allowing them to own up to 30 cars and 9 bicycles. While the Festive Surprise update is available to all players, a recent developer Q&A addressed concerns over next-gen-exclusive updates, such as first-person mode. Rockstar stressed that "there may be some updates that are only technically possible on the new hardware," though it does "hope to continue delivering as many updates as we can for all four consoles for as long as possible." GTA Online's heist missions will be available for all players in early 2015.

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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]

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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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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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]

Landmark visual novel Steins;Gate heads west on PS3, Vita next year

Acclaimed Japanese visual novel Steins;Gate will be localized and released in North America and Europe next year for the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, publisher PQube announced today.

Taking place on the streets of Japanese electronics shopping district Akihabara, Steins;Gate tells a sci-fi tale in which its characters can change past events by sending text messages through time. The mystery deepens when the cast receives replies from a dystopian future hinting at a world-changing conspiracy revolving around the Large Hadron Collider.

Steins;Gate topped PC sales charts in Japan for many consecutive months following its initial release in 2010, spawning multiple spinoffs and ports for the Xbox 360, PSP, and mobile platforms. While an English-language PC version premiered earlier this year via JAST USA, PQube's upcoming localization will mark Steins;Gate's first appearance on consoles in North America and Europe.

Speaking to Siliconera, PQube head of marketing Geraint Evans revealed that the company is pursuing a retail launch in addition to a digital release via the PlayStation Network. "I'm personally against digital-only releases, so I will do my very best to ensure a physical release happens," Evans stated.

[Image: PQube]

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Tomb Raider: DE, Dark Souls 2 drop to $20 each on Amazon

Heads up if you're in a rush to find last-minute Christmas gifts: Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (Xbox One/PS4) and Dark Souls 2 (Xbox 360/PS3) are $19.99 apiece on Amazon right now, making either an ideal pick for the gamers on your shopping list.

Other featured deals on Amazon this week include The Last of Us Remastered for $29.99, the Xbox One version of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for $27.99, Driveclub for $34.99, and Assassin's Creed Unity for $29.99. Sale prices are in effect through December 20, or while supplies last. A full list of discounts is available at Cheap Ass Gamer.

[Image: Square Enix]

This week's UK charts are last week's UK charts

It's nearly the time for merriment, which means it's nearly time for the Christmas Doctor Who special. The UK gaming chart is already getting into the festive mood by re-enacting the "Blink" episode. The chart managed to keep its eyes wide open for the whole week, meaning the top five games have stayed in exactly the same position, and nobody's going to get eaten and sent back to the 1920s by sharp-toothed gargoyles. For now.

So, it's (gasp) FIFA 15 on top for the second week running, followed by Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Grand Theft Auto 5, Far Cry 4 and Lego Batman 3. There aren't even any new releases to holler about, so the only real action comes courtesy of Destiny. Bungie's shooter planet-hopped seven places into ninth, no doubt boosted by the new Dark Below expansion.

The top ten below the break may be almost the same, but the customary (and lovably roguish) music video isn't! Don't worry, it's not at all festive; we'll save that ear-bomb for next week.

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Tower of Guns opens to PS3, PS4, Xbox One fans in early 2015


Tower of Guns, a bullet-hell-style shooter that's sprinkled with roguelike elements like procedurally-generated rooms and loot, will open fire on the PS3, PS4 and Xbox One (via the ID@Xbox program) early next year. The upcoming ports were announced in a post from Terrible Posture Games cofounder Joe Mirabello, which added that Grip Digital will be handling publishing duties.

Cross-buy compatibility will be supported for the PS3 and PS4 ports, with the latter version running at 60 frames per second in 1080p. A Vita version sounds unlikely however – Grip Games' Jakub Mikyska explains that it was attempted, but Unreal Engine games don't run well on the handheld. Mikyska also noted that the device's CPU isn't quite up to handling Tower of Guns' clouds of projectiles, adding that even getting the PS3 version to work was difficult.

PC users have been dodging Tower of Guns' bullets since March on Steam and GOG, with the latter store currently offering a 50 percent discount on the frenzied ascent.
[Image: Terrible Posture Games]

PlayStation Plus' free games totaled more than $1,300 in value per subscription this year

Sony would, of course, like you to see its PlayStation Plus service as a bargain, but how much value does it really add to your gaming life? Well, according to data compiled by UK publication Push Square, quite a lot, actually. After combing through the 2014 selection of games offered as part of the service's Instant Game Collection, Push Square reports that Sony offered $1,349.29 worth of games in North America, and £960.64 worth of games in Europe.

Now, there are some caveats to this data. While the games themselves are free to add to your collection and free to play while you have a current PS Plus subscription ($50 for a year in the US), once your subscription lapses you'll lose access to said games. Push Square's numbers also do not separate games by system, so you only got the full, $1,349.29 value of games if you owned a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and a PlayStation Vita.

Still, considering that the average monthly Metacritic score (factoring in all games) was 79 for the US and 78 in Europe, as well as the fact that PS Plus also grants subscribers access to discounts, giveaways, Share Play and online multiplayer on PS4, it's not a bad deal. And that's how you (possibly) saved more than $1,200 in 12 months on your game collection.
[Image: Sony]

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