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Skyrim: Dawnguard Werewolf

While Skyrim's new expansion Dawnguard is all about vampires and those who hunt them, there is still a place in this conflict for werewolves. While you will be presented with the option to lose your Lycanthropy in favor of Vampirism during the questline, you can refuse and keep your Wolf Form

In terms of gameplay, not a whole lot has changed from plain old Skyrim. Guards and NPCs will still attack you while in beast form, and you still get the 1000 Gold bounty for transforming.

One thing I've noticed is that Beast Form tends to lose its effectiveness past a certain level. My current primary character is level 42, and fighting Draugr Deathlords or a number of high level Vampires doesn't seem to work too well. That's probably because of the Werewolves lack of armor. They still deal some good damage, and run really fast, but I recommend keeping your fights to bandits or similar enemies.

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Skyrim: Dawnguard

Just like Bethesda's Fallout titles, Skyrim's DLC adds in a few new Achievements to grab. For the most part, they're pretty straightforward, relating to the questline. But there are a few that are off the beaten path. If you just happen to be one of those PS3 gamers, worry not. Many of the same tasks will transfer over once the vampires invade your Sony console.

For players looking for a couple of extra points or trophies, everything you need to know on how to gain those extra goodies in Dawnguard is in this guide.

Awakening, Beyond Death, Kindred Judgement, and Lost to the Ages: All four are quest related, and you get the achievement just for completing the quests you find along your journey. Nothing tricky here. Play through the game and the points are yours.

Soul Tear: In order to get this one, you need to learn all three words of the new Soul Tear shout. You learn this shout during the questline in the Soul Cairn, so again, it shouldn't be too tricky to grab.

Auriel's Bow: You need to use the special power of Auriel's Bow. Auriel's Bow is related to the questline, so again, you should have no trouble picking this one up.

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AbleGamers

Able Gamers' Editor-In-Chief, Steve Spohn, has fond memories of the creation of the Adroit Switchblade, a device that, while seemingly better suited for the company of the Atari 2600 than one of today’s slick machines, is widely regarded as one of the most accessible and cost-effective gaming controllers for the disabled in the market today.

"On the very first outing I ever did for the AbleGamers Foundation, there was an event where the participants had to come together to design a controller. I was teamed up with Ben Heck and Adam Coe. And, since I was the disabled gamer, we made a 'controller' that I could use. We only had a few hours to complete the process so it ended up being this bag of rice with some buttons Velcro’d to it.”

“Gaming magazines picked up on the MacGyver-like device and interviewed both Adam and I multiple times. Over the course of those interviews, Adam from Evil Controllers and the AbleGamers staff formed a solid friendship. We then embarked on a new endeavor together: The creation of a controller that people with muscular dystrophy could use to build their own rig for gaming."

"It's very interesting how life works. That event was silly and pretty much meaningless. It was never meant to be anything great, but it snowballed from something that was almost done as a teaching experiment into the catalyst for something that is now used to help people who have not gamed in years.”

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Skyrim: Dawnguard

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is back with Dawnguard, and believe it or not, it’s bigger than ever. The first official add-on was released to the Xbox 360 today, adding in a whole ton of new stuff from new quests, abilities, and lots of new enemies to kill. So to help you wrap your head around even more Skyrim goodness, we started exploring it early.

Here's just a taste of what you’ll be seeing in Dawnguard.

What does the DLC add?

A full new questline adding in a story about the war between the Dawnguard, a group of vampire hunters, and Lord Harkon, a vampire lord bent on blotting out the sun with an Elder Scroll. Players can pick which side of the conflict they wish to join, and then partake in a new faction questline similar to the existing ones in the original game.

The DLC also adds new shouts, new perk trees for Werewolves and Vampires, as well as the ability to craft Dragon Bone weapons, which are better quality than even the Daedric Weapons. Of particular note is the addition of crossbows to the Elder Scrolls universe.

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AbleGamers

On the Internet, it's easy to forget that not everyone is of the same gender, ethnicity, opinion, or state of physical health. More often than not, we take it for granted that things like the ability to navigate a controller or to distinguish between shapes on the screen are universal. They aren't. For some, the simple task of holding a mouse can be a heartbreaking impossibility.

President and co-founder Mark Barlet started the AbleGamers Foundation after facing one of these impossibilities. It all started with his best friend Stephanie Walker, her husband, and the love of gaming that they all shared. In 2004, things changed for them with the onset of Stephanie's multiple sclerosis.

"One Friday evening, like almost every Friday evening before, we logged onto Everquest II to have a night of grinding. About ten minutes passed. Stephanie and her husband had yet to log onto the Vent server. I picked up the phone and gave her a call." Barlet recounted, grimly. "Her husband answered and I could hear Stephanie crying in the background. Like any other friend, I started to panic and I asked what was going on. That evening, multiple sclerosis had made using her right hand impossible."

“After that night, we started looking for some other ways for her to game but we couldn't really finding anything useful for her needs. So, we thought that if we were looking for information, others must be as well."

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Nerdsourcing finds you the best crowd sourcing projects from Kickstater, Indiegogo, and other such sites, and brings them straight to your wallet. Give, help spread the word, or just find out what’s going to be the hot new thing in the future; nerdsourcing is there to help support the dreamers out there looking to make the impossible a reality or those looking for the next big thing an edge on the competition. Time is limited to fund these projects so don’t wait to long.

Ground Branch

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more authentic and hardcore online multiplayer shooter than Ground Branch on Kickstarter right now. Working with active Special Forces members, BlackFoot Studios has made something that is truly different than any other shooter out there right now. Players take control of CIA Paramilitary Operators of the Special Activities Division and must tackle randomized objectives and spawns, meaning that you won’t be able to learn and abuse spawn points.

Unlike most modern shooters, health does not regenerate. Once you get shot, you’re as good as dead. Ground Branch is meant to educate players on how weapons and tools behave in real-life. Reloading and swapping ammo isn’t quick and easy, you can only carry a certain amount of it and if you reload while you still have bullets in the clip, they go away when you drop it.

Reward: A digital copy of the game can be snagged for only $15, with a soundtrack included at the $25 level.

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Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter could learn a thing or two from these professionals as we count down the Top 5 Vampire Hunters in video games. Staking and otherwise annihilating the nightwalkers is a strenuous and taxing job. It's definitely not for everyone.

In the spirit of our former president showing vampires what's what this weekend, we've got five of gaming's most vicious vampire hunters. They may not be able to rock a hat like Honest Abe, but we cannot tell a lie: they're still awesome.

inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood DLC Release Date Announced

5. Cole MacGrath

Game: inFamous: Festival of Blood

Before inFamous' release of the Festival of Blood expansion, it was probably the unlikeliest place to find a vampire hunter...especially when that hunter turns out to be Cole MacGrath. After being bitten by a vampire queen, Cole has a limited amount of time to find the queen who turned him into a bloodsucker and say hello -- with a stake to the heart.

It's a classic tale of a newborn vampire attempting to rebel against its nature (or scooping up helpless citizens if that's how you choose to play) with the familiar inFamous hero seen in a whole new light. Yes, Cole's not technically a conventional vampire hunter, but he does a pretty good job of hurling lightning bolts and staking his new brethren. It's quite the enjoyable add-on, and one you might consider checking out, if only to witness his awesome "Swarm Travel" feature. Trust us, you're gonna love it.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

POCKET PLANES

iOS

Before I get into Pocket Planes, there were a lot of amazing games this week. But if there’s one game that captured my attention a little too much this past week, it was Pocket Planes. It’s from Nimblebit, the same two-man team that brought you Tiny Tower, one of our favorite mobile games of 2011, and they don’t disappoint with their follow up. In Pocket Planes, you’ll be honing your management skills with your very own airline... and while that might sound mundane, let’s all recall how addicting Tiny Tower is, in spite of its seemingly vanilla premise.

The true beauty of Pocket Planes is its depth and wide gameplay options. There’s gameplay here for everyone, from super casual to the deep micromanagement players, and the game really pulls you in because of it. You start off with smaller planes, and choose which region around the globe you want to start your airline. From there, you’ll ferry bitizens (Nimblebit’s iconic and adorable denizens) and cargo from location to location. It’s very simple, but when you begin really digging into building airplanes from parts, organizing flights for maximum income, and expanding your air empire; the game transcends into a truly immersive experience.

There’s so much to love and discover about Pocket Planes: Global Events (more gold and prizes for shuttling bitizens to a specific location); Flight Crews (start your own with friends, or join a larger gaming site’s crew to rank higher during global events); and Plane Management (build your own new planes with found/purchased parts). The beloved “BitBook” (a knockoff Facebook for your bitizens) remains in place, and there’s a familiarity there that immediately puts you at ease. Lastly, Pocket Planes is free with IAP available. So if you’ve got an iOS device, there’s no excuse to skip giving it a try. For you Android users, Nimblebit says they’re working on a port of Pocket Planes, so keep your eyes peeled for it in the coming months!

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Surface

With our recent Surface demo experience, we were able to peel back that thin 9.3 mm layer just enough to come up with pros and cons of placing this device in the hands of gamers.

The Microsoft Surface tablet is poised to take on the iPad and add features like a keyboard, kickstand, and a free (not $50) cover; things Apple-hating trolls always complain when new iOS devices are announced. At this week’s press conference, we got a chance to test out the Surface hardware, albeit Microsoft kept our hands-on time to a minimum so our impressions remain “surface deep.” Appropriate, right?

The Good

360 Controller

A Tablet With A Keyboard And An Xbox 360 Controller Input

The reason iOS games “don’t work,” according to the mobile gaming naysayers, is because there are no tactical controls on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Enter the Microsoft Surface tablet. Not only does this Windows 8-powered piece of hardware have actual keys, it boasts a USB port. The Surface RT model has a USB 2.0 port, while the Surface Pro model has a USB 3.0 port. In either version, an Xbox 360 controller can be plugged directly into the machine and button-demanding genres like FPS, action, and fighting games can finally be realized on a tablet.

Wrap your brain around this idea: this gaming-capable machine and its 16:9 monitor are going to be the svelte tech, while the Xbox 360 controller is suddenly going to be the bulky item you hate carrying around. That’s quite a switch. On top of that, it’ll certainly beat tapping, sliding, and swiping your way to victory on completely unresponsive Gorilla Glass.

Both RT and Pro Surface models will include 2x2 MIMO antennas so that Microsoft doesn’t fall into Apple’s “Antenna-gate” controversy. Sadly, the press conference didn’t hint at an integrated Xbox 360 wireless receiver, which means that a wireless Xbox 360 controller would still have to use the annoying dongle. Maybe that’s something Microsoft will squeeze into future models.

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Tags: Features, Tech

Fingle

Fingle is an iPad game that is probably best described as "uncomfortably social," a "social" game in the truest sense of the word. Instead of demanding asynchronous, pseudo-intimacy over the Internet; this game asks its players to engage in something considerably more primal: Actual human contact.

A thumb thrusts against the interspace of your fingers. You close your palm across the back of another's knuckles, your digits wiggling through the gaps to make contact with cool glass of the iPad. There is no mistaking what the motions are alluding to. Nervous giggling entangle with the suggestive, 70's-style soundtrack. A telltale moan, one that leaves nothing to the imagination. You move to the next stage.

Developed by Game Oven, Fingle is kind of like Twister for the hands, except with moving boxes and cheesy 70's music that would make Austin Powers proud. It's a game that's probably inappropriate to play with an errant grandmother. (Unless, of course, you enjoy the idea of geriatric hanky-panky. We're not judging. Honest.)

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Check out our bosses gameplay preview of The Secret World as I got my hands on some of the high level abilities as well as face some of the creatures some players will only met towards the bitter end of this fight through the paranormal and other things that go bump in the night. From the crest of the pyramids to Dracula’s modern castle in Transylvania, I got a taste of what you’ll be fighting through in just a couple of weeks.

Gather your courage and sharpen your axes as we take our final excursion into The Secret World, the newest MMO set to launch on July 3, 2012.

The Secret World Gameplay Preview »


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Warface

If you’re a hardcore gamer it’s time to start paying attention to the free-to-play space.

Imagine you’re playing a triple-A first person shooter with online co-op and competitive modes. The game runs on CryEngine 3, one of the most powerful graphics engines on the market. The shooting mechanics are rock-solid. Every week, you get free content like new co-op missions. Now imagine that you’re not paying a dime for it.

You’re playing Warface, the new free-to-play shooter developed by Crytek, the studio that brought us groundbreaking shooters like Far Cry and Crysis, and it's AAA, all the way.

Some of the most popular first person shooter games ask us for around $100 to get the full experience if we consider the cost of the base product plus all the map packs. Battlefield 3, plus all five eventual expansions, will run you $135 on consoles if you don’t upgrade to Battlefield Premium and get everything for $100 in total. The annual Call of Duty game costs $60, map packs are $15 each, and there are usually at least four of them.

If you’re a single-player campaign fan, this is not an ‘apples to oranges’ equation, but if competitive multiplayer is where your interests lie you have some math to do. Warface, Hawken, Planetside 2 and DUST 514 are all PvP-centric, triple-A, free-to-play shooters.

These four titles are collectively a potential game-changer. They look great. They play great. And unless they fail to provide a full game experience without requiring purchases, the traditional boxed retail model might be in more trouble than ever before.

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Mortal Kombat: Ed Boon Tells Us The Story Behind The Game

To the untrained eye, fighting games like Mortal Kombat and SoulCalibur can often seem like little more than a cacophony of exposed flesh, pyrotechnics, and incomprehensible catch phrases. According to professional Street Fighter player Arturo Sanchez, however, there's a science to all of eSport's redheaded stepchildren.

When we met up backstage at MLG Anaheim 2012, Sanchez, who is also now MLG's Fighting Game Director, was taking a break from the production line. In front of us, sharply dressed shout-casters were narrating every wince-inducing blow traded by the players in a Mortal Kombat match.

"It's ... a little different from Street Fighter, isn't it?" I said, clumsily, feeling every bit the fighting game neonate that I was.

That was what got the ball rolling. Within moments, we were discussing the little things that made up the games on the MLG Pro Circuit, the subtleties that help the experienced differentiate between an irrevocable loss and a possible comeback.

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Mark Of The Ninja

As I put down the controller after my playtime with Mark of the Ninja, I was struck with the realization that Klei Entertainment may have made one of the most pure stealth games in recent memory. Even with new Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, and Hitman games on the horizon, the genre’s emphasis is increasingly making the shift toward blockbuster action sequences. And yet, a beacon of hope for sneaks and rogues comes from one of the least likely of places.

Mark of the Ninja is a 2D side-scrolling hardcore stealth game, the prospect of which may sound bizarre. The flat plane of a side-scroller isn’t exactly the best suited for sneaking and hiding. And yet, Klei seems to have found just the right balance of mixing a clever interface with ninja acrobatics to pull it off flawlessly.

It helps that direct combat is never a viable option. Though my ninja carried a sword, it was no match for the range of firearms wielded by my enemies. Even running away once spotted was nearly death sentence thanks to the range of their assault rifles. It forces a more thoughtful, methodical pace to the game, which is complimented by its use of light, shadow, and sound.

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Learning To Crawl

Whether you’re playing through Diablo III on Nightmare or getting tired of the same old grind, indie games can feed your dungeon crawling sweet tooth with some of the most inventive and entertaining games that won’t break your wallet.

Passion drives each of these developers to create a game that demonstrates what made them fall in love with these darker RPGs. Maybe it’s time we take a look at some of the best ones lurking around, and shine a light into some of these games to find out what makes them tick.

Krater

Somewhere in the wilds of a post-apocalyptic Sweden, the former land of meatballs and IKEA, a roving band of heroes find themselves looking straight down in the mouth of a massive, mysterious creator. Krater gives you that dungeon crawling fix you crave, along with tons of items to scavenge, and the haunting weight of permanent death hanging over your head.

Explore the world with a trio of your choosing. From Slasher to Healer, you choose from four classes to mix-and-match their abilities. Each character comes with two special skills that you manage from the top of your keyboard. Gaining experience unlocks slots that enhance both your character's abilities and themselves with stronger attacks or more life. Swing away at those soft fleshy bodies, and you’ll find plenty of loot to collect. One of the main mechanics you’ll find behind this beautiful title is the ability to craft the weapon, ability, or augment you need for about half the cash of buying it outright. You'll need stuff to craft; stuff you only get through killing lots of enemies. The circle of looting never ends in Krater.

Of course, it’s a good idea to keep those blueprints handy. You know. In case one of your minions bites the big one.

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