Female Lead Singles DLC Available for Rocksmith 2014

March12.SingThe Female Lead Singles DLC pack for Ubisoft’s Rocksmith 2014 Edition is now available for download on Xbox Live, Xbox 360, the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3, and Steam for PC and Mac. The 3-song pack includes “Crazy on You” by Heart, “All Around Me” by Flyleaf, and “Love Bites (So Do I)” by Halestorm. The songs are available both as a pack or individually.

COMMENTARY: Indie Video Games Are More Than Just Minecraft

Video games come in all shapes and sizes, and blockbuster series such as Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty and Rockstar GamesGrand Theft Auto can be fun in their own elaborate ways. But on the flip side is independent, or “indie” video games, in which each title is often the brainchild of one or a few talented persons at most. While these games don’t always provide a high degree of spectacle, all feature interesting ideas or idiosyncratic touches, making them unique and unlike much of what’s available in the mainstream.

Phil.Jan2.MinecraftThis past weekend, I got to immerse myself in indie video games, courtesy of the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, N.Y. Together with IndieCade, an international festival that promotes video games as a vehicle for artistic expression, the museum is hosting an exhibition, Indie Essentials: 25 Must-Play Video Games, that shows off a variety of games that have been developed outside the major publishers. Among those displayed was Mojang’s Minecraft, which began life as a Swedish programmer’s side project, but has since grown into a cultural and commercial juggernaut.

(I could wax poetic all day about Minecraft, which allows users to build and share amazing homemade structures in a geometric sandbox world. But better yet, check out our recent Minecraft commentary, written by our outstanding editorial assistant Kara Faulk, for a more in-depth look at the hit game.)

The Minecraft installation drew its share of spectators, but there were plenty of other cool games on-hand for visitors to both play and experience. Many have been available on home consoles through the PlayStation Network and other download services. Here’s some of my favorites from the exhibition, but please note, this is in no way a comprehensive list, and anyone curious about the full roster of IndieCade games should check out Museum of the Moving Image’s event web site. [Read more...]

Warner Bros. Interactive Launches New Batman: Arkham Origins Games

Batman.ArkhamWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have released Batman: Arkham Origins. Developed by WB Games Montréal, the game is based on DC Comics’ core Batman license, and introduces an original prequel storyline in which a young, unrefined Batman faces the defining moment of his early career, and sets his path to becoming the famous Dark Knight.

Batman: Arkham Origins, in which Batman is hunted by eight of the deadliest assassins from the DC Comics Universe, is available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and Windows PC. New to the franchise is a multiplayer mode, developed by Splash Damage, which allows friends and foes to engage in online play that blends traditional Arkham gameplay with those of third-person shooter mechanics.

Also available now is Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, a companion game developed by Armature Studio, which brings core Batman Arkham pillars to the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS handheld formats. It allows players to continue the storyline of the console game.

Players looking to extend their gameplay experience can buy the Batman: Arkham Origins Season Pass, comprised of five of the game’s upcoming downloadable content packs. The Season Pass is available on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft, Nintendo eShop, and Steam.

Grand Theft Auto V from Rockstar Games Is Now Available

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Rockstar GamesGrand Theft Auto V is available worldwide for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, and also available for digital download from the PlayStation Network.

For the first time, players can jump in and out of the lives of three playable lead characters, experiencing all sides of the same story. Grand Theft Auto V offers players the freedom to explore the urban metropolis of Los Santos and the countryside of Blaine County, plan and execute a series of heists, and meet a vast array of characters. Players can also participate in a host of activities such as golf, arms trafficking, base jumping, and yoga.

 

COMMENTARY: PlayStation 4, Early Games Have Something for Everyone

I am, at best, a casual video gamer. I played a lot of Nintendo and Sega when I was younger, but I haven’t been an active video game consumer since the PlayStation 2. Still, I like to keep up on what’s current, even if all the latest controllers vex me with their myriad of buttons, and what really interests me is whether I can download every game from my childhood. So when I was offered a chance to preview the upcoming PlayStation 4 (PS4) from Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (Sony), along with some games that will accompany the launch, I went after it the way Sega’s Altered Beast would have gone after a shiny blue orb released by the death of a two-headed white wolf – in other words, like it was pretty darned important.

PS4 for commentaryAbout the hardware: Along with the PS4 console looking more squared-off than its predecessor, changes have been made to the DualShock controllers that are intended to improve game play. The thumbsticks, for example, are more comfortable, and the trigger buttons are curved to accompany the index fingers better. More radical changes are the addition of a small touchpad—it’s utilized significantly in Sony’s Killzone: Shadow Fall game, which I demoed, but more on that later—and a Share button that allows players to send in-game images to social media sites including Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook.

Other hardware additions include a PlayStation Camera, which works in tandem with the DualShock controllers to let users interact with certain games by simply moving their controllers through the air. (More technical specifics on the PS4 can be found here.) [Read more...]

THQ Announces Costume Quest for XBLA, PSN

THQ has teamed with developer Double Fine Productions, Inc. for a new video game, Costume Quest. The game puts players in the role of a brother and sister who move to a new town just before Halloween. Players take control of one avatar as other members of the party follow behind a la Grandia and Evolution.

As players visit houses to trick-or-treat, they collect candy corn, costume pieces, and special cards to be used later in the game. The version I saw last month featured several costumes for each of the four characters. One costume was a robot that (when activated during the game’s turn-based RPG-style battles) transforms the player into a robot warrior much like the mecha (the giant robots) from Robotech. [Read more...]