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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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Latest Halo: Master Chief Collection update addresses matchmaking, stability, more

Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been plagued with matchmaking problems since its initial launch, but a fresh update from developer 343 Industries' should be available the next time you boot up the game. As detailed on Halo Waypoint, the 523 MB patch focuses on "a number of matchmaking issues, fixes various bugs related to UI and the party system, and also improves overall stability."

While a bulletpoint breakdown of the update can be found after the break, highlights include tweaks to how the matchmaking system handles pairing, a change so that custom game settings remain applied to followup matches, and efforts to improve stability both for the user interface and for parties trying to find a match.

Previous updates have also addressed matchmaking issues, but The Master Chief Collection has yet to reach a stable state for many players. 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross has vowed to "make this right with our fans" once the The Master Chief Collection's persisting issues have been resolved.
[Image: Microsoft]

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Games with Gold December: Worms, The Raven, SSX

Like its PlayStation Plus counterpart, Xbox Live's Games With Gold service will feature a new roster of free games available to subscribers during December.

Xbox One owners will be able to download anthropomorphic annelid strategy game Worms: Battlegrounds throughout the month. Xbox 360 owners can download point and click adventure The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief from December 1 through December 15. On December 16, The Raven is replaced by EA Sports' physics-defying snowboarding franchise reboot SSX.

As usual, these free games are only available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Three month subscriptions to the service are available at $25 while 12-month subscriptions can be purchased for $60.
[Image: EA]

Joystiq Streams: Will Shadow of Mordor on Xbox 360 break us?



The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have, for all their technological advancements, returned the gaming world to a place few expected it would go: the land for the down port. Way back when, PC and arcade games too beefy for consoles would be adapted to run on older, less capable machines, hence why you'd end up with a version of Double Dragon on Commodore 64 that looks like it's made of wood chips or Atari Donkey Kong. With games coming to both Xbox One and PS4 as well as their predecessors, Xbox 360 and PS3, the art of the down port has come back to the fore.

The question, then: What happens to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, so reliant on its processor-pushing Nemesis system, when it's crammed into the nearly decade-old Xbox 360? Let's find out!

Starting at 4:00PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, we'll be playing the Xbox 360 version of Shadow or Mordor to see how it stacks up to the current gen version. Join us ahead of time for a bonus stream of Geometry Wars 3 and some pre-show banter!
[Images: WBIE]

WWE 2K15 review: Disqualification match

Like past games in the series, WWE 2K15 spends a lot of time looking back on wrestling history. Propped up by years of real-life stories, cuts and bruises, the series continues to be a good source for professional wrestling nostalgia. Still, while 2K Sports' efforts pay off in a few areas, the publisher missed a chance to be the best in the world by a wide margin this year. By dropping a number of customization options and introducing an annoying game mechanic, WWE 2K15 loses touch with what made the series special.

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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.

Destiny's Dark Below trailer runs through the goodies

Image Destiny's upcoming expansion The Dark Below brings a boatload of new features to Bungie's multiplayer FPS, and the trailer above outlines what you can expect to see. Featured additions include new equipment, guns, environments, story missions, Crucible maps, a multiplayer Raid, and maybe even a J... Continue Reading

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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Deals with Gold: Defense Grid, Diablo, Valiant Hearts

A sizable collection of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games star in this week's Games with Gold lineup, including standouts like Defense Grid 2, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, and Peggle 2.

The Xbox One versions of Strider, Valiant Hearts, Rayman Legends also see discounts of up to 75 percent off this week. Featured Xbox 360 releases include Resident Evil 4, Super Time Force, Slender: The Arrival, and the Gears of War trilogy.

This week's sale additionally offers deep discounts of up to 85 percent off of Xbox 360 Games on Demand releases like Bully: Scholarship Edition, Crysis, Borderlands 2, Mirror's Edge, and SoulCalibur 5. Listed sale prices remain in effect through December 1.

[Image: Hidden Path]

New weapons join Sunset Overdrive in action hit's first DLC

Now that players have had just under a month to explore Insomniac Games' vibrant open-world action hit Sunset Overdrive, the developers are rolling out new toys for fans to play with, specifically new weapons and a big (if temporary) boost to multiplayer rewards.

The first Sunset Overdrive weapons pack is now available for $5 (no charge for Season Pass holders) and includes four new guns. The Plague Bomb is exactly what it sounds like: Once detonated, the bomb spreads a virulent disease that will cause affected enemies to vomit until they explode. If that's not violent enough for you, try the Rager, which sends enemies into a murderous rage. It doesn't kill your foes directly, but they will turn on each other and fight to the death, at which point they, too, will explode.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Shield Buddy, a device that creates a protective shield for your character and any nearby allies. In keeping with the DLC's unspoken theme, the Shield Buddy also drops bombs which will explode any enemies caught in the blast. Finally, the DLC introduces the Multi-Lock Rocket Launcher. Not only does this thing cause your enemies to explode, it homes in on and explodes up to eight targets simultaneously.

To celebrate these new armaments, Insomniac is also tweaking the game's online Chaos Squad multiplayer mode. From now until December 2, not only will Overcharge cans drops at 27.9 times the normal rate, but the elusive Propain Launcher will also appear more frequently.
[Image: Microsoft]

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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]

Halo: MCC dev pledges to 'make this right with our fans'

343 Industries head Bonnie Ross sent out her "heartfelt apologies" to Halo: The Master Chief Collection players yesterday, following a fortnight of matchmaking malaise. It's far from the first time the studio's said sorry for the Xbox One compilation's online troubles, but it is the first time we've seen the matter addressed on Microsoft's own Xbox Wire blog. In an open letter to fans, Ross reiterated 343's commitment to fixing matchmaking issues, adding that the developer will "make this right" with its audience.

"On November 11 we released Halo: The Master Chief Collection," Ross said. "The goal being to create a tribute to Halo fans around the world, and to celebrate the Master Chief's debut on Xbox One. With the initial release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, however, we have not delivered the experience you deserve. I personally apologize for this on behalf of us all at 343 Industries. Our team is committed to working around the clock until these issues are resolved.

"While our team works on continual improvements and towards solutions, my commitment to you is that we will take care of all owners of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Our primary and continued focus is first on fixing the issues at hand. Once we've done that, we will detail how we will make this right with our fans."

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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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