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The Jingoism of BioShock Infinite

It seems there won't be any kind of competitive or cooerative multiplayer included when BioShock Infinite hits stores on February 26, 2013. Irrational Games' Ken Levine confirmed as much on Twitter in response to fan queries.

The original BioShock was a single player-only affair as well, though BioShock 2 added an adversarial online mode that was good-not-great; it never really took off. It should also be mentioned here that BioShock 2 wasn't an Irrational Games production; Infinite brings the series back to the loving hands of Irrational and Levine. So "no multiplayer" isn't exactly anything new for the developer.


Halo 4 "Spartan Ops: Episode 4" Cinematic Trailer »


Things are getting pretty crazy in Halo 4's Spartan Ops campaign, amirite? Covenant jerks. Dr. Halsey. War criminals touching things?! Get a taste for what's about to go down in the latest, fourth episode -- available today -- in the launch trailer up top.

For those who aren't up on their Halo 4, Spartan Ops is a free bonus campaign of sorts that comes with every copy of the game. 343 Industries is rolling out the story's ten episodes, broken into five playable missions and one cutscene each week, over a period of 10 weeks.





Aliens: Colonial Marines "Survivor" Multiplayer Trailer »


Gearbox Software continues to tease fans with bits of information about Aliens: Colonial Marines, set to arrive on February 12, 2013. The latest reveal focuses on the Survival multiplayer mode, which pits a squad of four humans against multiple waves of Xenomorphs.

It's not clear if the new mode is simply a Horde-style co-op situation or if you're actually going to face off against player-controlled Xenos in each wave, in a sort of Horde-meets-Beast arrangement (continuing the Gears of War comparison). It's looking slick though, especially with the abundance of Xeno types on display in this trailer.

The 8-bit era is long gone, but its playful, blocky aesthetic is here to stay. It's an attractive art style that culls the best its of nostalgia and familiarity to create slick, intriguing interfaces. And who doesn't love breezing through a colorful, simplified world that resembles something from their childhood?

Designing from the ground-up to create a game that resembles some of the best pieces of the heyday of gaming is an undertaking in itself, so it's no surprise so many titles, indie or otherwise, are adopting this approach. The result? Spirited endeavors that aren't just fun, but kickass. We've compiled five of our favorite modern pixelated fantasies for maximum enjoyment. Instead of falling into a turkey-induced coma after you gorge yourself this Thanksgiving, why not load up on these goodies instead?

Five 8-Bit Games You Need To Play Right Now

1. Hotline Miami

A disturbing mess of gore, shotgun blasts, and the seedy underbelly of the night as far as assassins go, Hotline Miami may be one of the coolest experiences you'll ever have in an 8-bit playground. The top-down shooter relies on shockingly violent action with one-hit, one-kill blasts. It's the thinker's massacre. Low-res DeLoreans, menacing animal masks that grant the wearer powers, and chill techno really complete the package. The fact that pixelated red brains and tons of liters of blood stain each crime scene only adds to this truly bizarre and brutal puzzler. Sure, it could have been created with a more modern look, but it wouldn't have been the same. Somehow, the realism would have made it easier to desensitize the player. In this case, the low-quality graphics enhance the experience. And we happen to think it's pretty rad.

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Corridor Digital is back with its latest high-quality fan film, riffing off of Ubisoft's upcoming Far Cry 3 in Far Cry Happy Hour. The squeamish among you should note: things get a little bit gross. Not Saw/Hostel levels of gore, but definitely unsettling if you can't stand the sight of blood. Then again, if that's a problem you suffer from then you probably shouldn't be playing video games like Far Cry 3.

The moral of Far Cry Happy Hour is pretty clear, really: when you've been drugged by a gang of sadistic madmen who want to steal your poker winnings, it's important to remember that those guns in your hands aren't real. It's okay. Let them take the money. You don't need it. You certainly don't need it as much as you need your fingers. Yes, even the pinky.

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Xbox 360's Karaoke App To Charge By The Hour

Singing at your TV may not be as much of a big deal now as it was during the Rock Band/Guitar Hero heyday, but it's still a fun enough diversion at parties to warrant Microsoft partnering up with The Karaoke Channel for the upcoming Karaoke app. Users will have access to a library of over 8,000 sing-along tunes to bring parties to a crashing halt with.

The unusual twist here is the payment model. Karaoke isn't an Xbox Live Arcade download that you can just buy with MS Points. In actuality, it's a new free-to-play exercise. Users will be able to spend MS Points on multi-hour blocks (2, 6, or 24) of Karaoke functionality, with full access to anything in the song library during a rented time block. 

Karaoke features Avatar integration with your virtual self singing and strutting on the screen. Microsoft is also planning to offer SmartGlass features and Achievements in Karaoke, with the service expected to launch sometime this holiday season.

ESPN To Bring Sports To Xbox Live?

The ESPN app on Xbox Live has also been good for non-spotlight coverage, but a newly launched update changes things for the better. Users now have access to all of ESPN's live programming across its assorted channels as well as weekly coverage of the NFL (Monday Night Football, people!), MLB, and NBA.

The enhanced app streams in all live content from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Buzzer Beater, and Goal Line via WatchESPN. The app also allows for two events to be streamed in a split screen mode and the ability to set weekly reminders. An additional update planned for December2012 will bring SmartGlass second screen functionality into the mix as well.





Black Ops 2 Loses, Regains Nuketown Playlist

The Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 launch included a multiplayer bonus for all 'first run' buyers in the form of the slightly tweaked, returning Nuketown 2025 map, available in the game's online play via a Nuketown 24/7 playlist. That playlist was removed yesterday, November 20, 2012, when the launch weekend Double XP promotion came to an end, prompting fan outcry.

Nuketown 24/7 is a holdever "special event" playlist from the Black Ops days, where the original Nuketown map was born. The fan outcry against the new playlist's removal came because, with Nuketown 24/7 gone, there was no longer any option to play it in the XP-driven public multiplayer. Aiming to please fans, Treyarch did the next best thing: a Bonus playlist was added to the game.

Bonus features a mode dubbed as "Chaos Moshpit," which rotates through a variety of game modes on Black Ops 2's smaller maps. Nuketown 2025 is joined on this playlist by Carrier, Cargo, Express, Hijacked, Slums, and Standoff, according to a tweet from Treyarch game design director David Vonderhaar.




G4tv issued a Hitman: Absolution challenge to IO Interacitve. Donell "Sushi Chef" Tucker (aka me) went up against IO Interactive's Sven "Looks like a Drug Dealer" Liebold, attempting to win the title of Silent Assassin. The rules were simple: each player must eliminate the King Of Chinatown on the hardest difficulty without being detected using one of many methods in the game. Seems simple, but only true professionals can accomplish this task. Will G4tv put IO Interactive to shame? Find out who won as you watch the ultimate Hitman: Absolution challenge down below.

The Hitman Challenge: G4tv Vs. IO Interactive »


 

Hitman: Absolution

According to our reviewer, Adam "The Riveter" Rosenberg, Hitman: Absolution is a triumph of detail, plot and murder, and a lot of the credit goes to the details made possible by the game's engine.

Check out this snippet of our Hitman: Absolution review

"Every one of the game's 50+ discrete environments is brimming with life and personality, as well as any number of points of interaction. There are makeshift weapons to be found, shortcuts and secret access points accessible via ledges and air ducts, distraction opportunities... so much that it's almost daunting. Replay value is at an all-time high in the campaign since you can approach any challenge in a ridiculous variety of ways."

Read the rest of our glowing Hitman: Absolution review.




How many Clueless Gamer reviews will it be before we can start holding Conan O'Brien to the same standards that any other video game critic is held to? Conan's latest Clueless Gamer review looks at IO Interactive's Hitman: Absolution in a gross violation of the review embargo set by Square Enix. Pitchforks, people! Grab them!

I kid, I kid. Conan can review whatever he damn well pleases WHENEVER he damn well pleases, because he's Conan freaking O'Brien. His non-gamer perspective is also a refreshing change of pace when it comes to discussing so-called "hardcore" games. He often picks up on things that other critics might not. He's also a really funny mofo, and this Hitman: Absolution review is one of his best Clueless Gamer sketches yet.

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Gamescom 2010: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Preview

The cyberpunk flavor of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is going to Hollywood, with CBS Films confirming plans to produce a big screen adaptation of the 2011 game. Sinister director Scott Derrickson will take the helm, and he's also developing the script in collaboration with his Sinister cohort C. Robert Cargill.

For those who haven't seen it, Sinister is quite a solid little horror movie, with lots of creepy imagery and a very memorable antagonist. Deus Ex isn't exactly a horror story, but the gritty cyberpunk setting should mesh well with Derrickson's and Cargill's creative sensibilities. 




Borderlands 2 DLC Returns In Mr. Torgue's Campaign Of Carnage

The second of four confirmed Borderlands 2 DLC packs is days away, with Gearbox Software confirming a November 20, 2012 release for the add-on pack. The new content is introduced on Twitter by none other than Mister Torgue himself, the big boss at the weapons manufacturer that shares his name.

Mister Torgue wants to know if you're badass enough to survive his Campaign of Carnage. He also appears to like explosions. A lot. So much so that he creates a new form of punctuation right inside his Twitter feed. He also shares the above screenshot to get you in the right frame of mind for the Campaign of Carnage.




G4tv presents two Hitman: Absolution walkthrough videos showing off Agent 47's diverse skill set as well as a gameplay walkthrough of the Vixen Strip Club mission. Narrating these two walkthrough videos are IO Interactive's Tore Blystad and Sven Liebold. This is your chance to find even more about Hitman: Absolution before it comes out November 20, 2012.

Agent 47's mission in the Vixen Strip Club is to kill Dom Osmond, the owner of the place. Find out how we eliminate Mr. Osmond in our Hitman: Absolution "Vixen Strip Club" gameplay playthrough below.

Hitman: Absolution "Vixen Strip Club" Gameplay Preview »


Hit the jump for even more Absolution goodness.

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BioShock Infinite Ultimate Songbird Edition Trailer »


A few weeks back, Irrational Games unveiled the Columbia-fied collector's edition for BioShock Infinite, much to the delight of dystopian fiction lovers everywhere. The stunning collection includes a number of wonderfully detailed pieces, including the real eye/wallet catcher of the collection, the statue of what's quickly become Infinite's most recognizable characters, the Songbird.

We recently spoke with Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine and concept artist Robb Waters via email to find out more about how this collection came together and the Songbird's creation.

Of all the characters that have been revealed so far, the Songbird has consistently been a fan favorite. Did you have a sense when you were creating and designing him that, not unlike the Big Daddy, there was something inherently fascinating about him and that he had the potential to be such a popular character?

Robb Waters: I got a glimpse of the potential for Songbird when I sketched out a rough picture showing Elizabeth touching the monster’s bowing head. It was the unique express ability of the character that was apparent to me at that moment. Seeing beyond the gruesome exterior of the monster and getting a sense of the monster’s soul can make for a more interesting character. The abstracted, mysterious form of the character also allows the viewer to remain engaged, as it keeps them guessing as to what they are actually seeing.

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