Green Gang vs. Gangrene: Plants vs. Zombies Arrives on Xbox Systems

PlantsvsZombies.GardenWarfarePlants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is now available from PopCap Games for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 in North America. The new multi-player shooter, based on the popular Plants vs. Zombies series, lets players choose a side and wage all-out war on plant or zombie enemies in a variety of gameplay modes.

The game features favorite items from the series, such as the Peashooter and Sunflower, along with a new cast of characters including Ice Cactus, Hot Rod Chomper, and all kinds of zombies. Players can select from two 12 vs. 12 competitive multiplayer modes called Garden & Graveyards and Team Vanquish, or a four-player cooperative mode called Garden Ops. Customization options give players an opportunity to personalize plants and zombies with costumes, items, hats, and more, some of which provide new abilities to characters.

The Xbox One version includes two additional modes, the first of which allows for local cooperative split screen for multiple players. The second is Boss Mode, which allows for a third friend to join via a SmartGlass device, and is also available on Kinect for a full screen experience.

A digital version of Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare can also be downloaded for Xbox One or Xbox 360.

Activision, Hasbro Igniting Home Gaming with Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

Transformers.RiseDarkSparkActivision Publishing Inc. and Hasbro Inc. are collaborating on Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, a video game complement to Paramount PicturesTransformers: Age of Extinction, which arrives in theaters in June. Players get to choose from more than 40 playable characters, derived from both movie director Michael Bay’s Transformers universe as well as the ever-popular Cybertron universe, as they battle over the Dark Spark. [Read more...]

Warner Bros., TT Games, and Lego to Create Lego The Hobbit

WBIE_Color_LowResWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, and The Lego Group are making a new addition to the Lego videogame series: Lego The Hobbit. The game will bring filmmaker Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and the upcoming The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug to life as players are taken on quests and adventures throughout Middle-earth, joining Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and Thorin Oakenshield and Company.

Players will even visit key locations from the films, including Bag End, Bilbo’s Hobbit-hole in Hobbiton, as they solve countless puzzles, partake in treasure quests, and battle with orcs, trolls, and other foul things.

Lego The Hobbit is currently being developed by TT Games and will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vista, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Windows PC and Mac, next year.

Plants vs. Zombies Declares Garden Warfare on Xbox Systems

PlantsvsZombies.GardenWarfarePopCap Games, a division of Electronic Arts Inc., has announced that Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare will be shipping for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 video game systems on February 18 in North America and February 20 in Europe. The game is a third-person multiplayer shooter that lets players become favorite characters from the franchise.

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare features 3-D worlds, more than 10 maps, and three distinct modes, including two competitive, multiplayer modes called Garden & Graveyards and Team Vanquish. There is also a four-player cooperative mode called Garden Ops. In Garden & Graveyards, plants must defend their garden bases from zombies attempting to turn them into graveyards. Players can also square off in Team Vanquish and try to send the other team to the compost pile. Meanwhile, Garden Ops lets gamers work together to battle off waves of zombies on the attack.

In the Xbox One version, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare includes two extra modes: local cooperative split screen and Boss Mode. With split screen, players can team up with a friend to fight endless hordes of zombies, while in Boss Mode, gamers utilize their Kinect or SmartGlass device in any of the other gameplay modes to support their respective teams.

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is available for pre-order at major retailers nationwide and at www.origin.com. A PC version will be released at a later date.

Major Toy Retailers Welcome Shoppers on Thanksgiving with Black Friday Deals

ToysRUsLogo copyThis Thanksgiving, Toys “R” Us nationwide stores will open at 5 p.m. on November 28, so parents and gift-givers can get a head start on their holiday shopping. Promotions include four-hour deals, as well as Thursday through Sunday discounts on toys, games, and tablets.

Shoppers can plan their strategies as early as November 24 on the Toys “R” Us Facebook page, and a 28-page circular is set to arrive in newspapers across the country on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, for the first time, customers can shop the majority of Thanksgiving weekend deals online at toysrus.com/blackfriday starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

Those shoppers who spend $75 or more between November 28 and 29, at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us, will receive a $10 redeemable coupon that’s valid in-store or online between December 1 through December 7. [Read more...]

Angry Birds Star Wars Comes to Home, Handheld Gaming Systems

angrybirdsRovio Entertainment Ltd. and Lucasfilm Ltd., in association with Activision Publishing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., have launched Angry Birds Star Wars for home and handheld video game systems. Angry Birds Star Wars brings the struggle between the Rebel Birds and Imperial Pigs to new audiences on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii and Wii U systems, and the Nintendo 3DSAngry Birds Star Wars will also launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Twenty newly created levels join the more than 200 stages already available from the original mobile release of Angry Birds Star Wars. This latest version brings cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, letting players team up or square off. Moreover, this expansive edition exploits the unique capabilities of each game system to deliver a distinctive experience tailored specifically to each platform, including sharp and colorful, high-definition visuals, achievements and trophies, leaderboards, voice command support through Kinect for Xbox 360, and touch-screen controls on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita.

The next-generation versions of Angry Birds Star Wars maintain these core features while introducing new play and interface elements exclusive to each system. The PlayStation 4 system’s adaptation makes full use of the DualShock 4 controller’s touchpad to offer precision, touch-screen handling, and full support for PlayStation Move in both single-player and local multiplayer modes. Players can also easily record and share their accomplishments with the world with the PlayStation 4 system’s automatic screenshot and video capture options. [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.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes Launches with Massive Character Line-up, Lego Big Figures

Lego.MarvelLego Marvel Super Heroes has launched in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Windows PC. Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril is also now available for the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita handheld systems.

In Lego Marvel Super Heroes, players take on the role of their favorite Marvel characters, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk, as they assemble to battle some of the most menacing Marvel supervillains. More than 100 playable characters are unlockable, and players can also choose from bonus heroes, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Punisher, Squirrel Girl, and Deadpool.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes offers players a chance to show off their super skills by using weapons, such as Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer, or Hawkeye’s bow, during action sequences. Players will also be introduced to different character super abilities, such as Doctor Strange’s magic powers, Professor X or Jean Grey’s mind control, and more. Lego Marvel Super Heroes features some of the more legendary locations from the Marvel Universe, including Iron Man’s Stark Tower headquarters and the Daily Bugle. For the first time in a Lego game, players can clobber and smash bricks with super-sized Lego big figures, including Colossus, Iron Man’s Hulkbuster Armor, and the Thing.

The handheld Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril offers a different gameplay experience that includes challenging time-based missions, performing combo moves, and getting assistance from your superpowered tag team partner.

Ubisoft Releases Trailer for Rocksmith 2014 Edition Session Mode

RocksmithUbisoft has released a trailer showcasing Session Mode, a new groundbreaking feature of Rocksmith 2014 Edition.

In Session Mode, players lead a band that plays along with them and follows their lead, and in the process, learn to improvise and create their own music. Players can jam with a friend in Multiplayer mode and create their own band experience.

Rocksmith 2014 Edition allows players to plug any real guitar or bass directly into their Xbox 360PlayStation 3, PC, or Mac to begin their musical journey. Rocksmith 2014 Edition will launch on October 22.

COMMENTARY: D3Publisher’s Upcoming Slate Captures What Makes Cartoons Great

Licensed video games can be a risky proposition. After all, a recognizable title doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. Having personally experienced some lows in licensed games over the years, I felt it was my duty to attend D3Publisher of America Inc.’s showcase ahead of the holidays, though I had my share of reservations. But despite my trepidation, a few hours later, I walked out suitably impressed. Each licensed game’s creative team seemed to get what makes their respective source material unique, resulting in a product likely to please even hardcore fans. Here’s a rundown of the games:

Oct4.Ben10Ben 10 Omniverse 2: This title is based on a cartoon franchise that has been on TV since 2005, and revolves around Ben Tennyson, who in the most recent series, Ben 10: Omniverse, is a teenage superhero who can transform into 10 different alien forms. What makes the character interesting is that he must select the appropriate guise for any given situation, as each form has its own advantages and disadvantages. D3’s new game takes this basic characteristic and combines it with the “endless running” genre: For about half the game, Ben hurtles down a series of corridors, encountering one obstacle after another, with a very limited time to react. [Read more...]