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The Secret World

Funcom's solid MMORPG The Secret World is officially subscription-free, starting today. It's not quite free-to-play, since you'll still have to buy the actual game if you want to play it, but your ability to play no longer hinges on paying a monthly fee as well.

Those who purchase the game by December 31, 2012 will have full access to the game as it originally shipped over the summer as well as four major post-release update plus a fifth, that will be released "shortly." Those who buy the game in 2012 will also receive the "Initiate pack," offering stronger starter weapons, a Blood Raven pet, and extra social clothing.

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It used to be that you'd hide your pollution-producing power plant off in a filthy corner of your sprawling SimCity urban paradise, but the series' 2013 revival offers an alternative in multi-city play. In the above trailer's example, lead designer Stone Librande establishes a neighboring city to feed power to his glitzy, casino-laden tourist trap. No vacationer wants to see a smoke-belching coal plant next door to their holiday getaway.

The multi-city feature seems like a cool evolution of the SimCity framework. It's ultimately not so different from hiding a power plant away in a distant corner, but establishing another city means you're working with an entirely separate budget. Social gamers can even parcel out city management among friends. Every new peek at Maxis' return to SimCity looks better and better. The wait won't be much longer now either, with SimCity set to arrive on March 5, 2013.




XCOM Enemy Unknown

Countless friends and family have fallen in humanity's ongoing war against alien invaders in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and now Firaxis Games has a way for you to honor their sacrifices. An XCOM Memorial Wall has been established on Facebook, with a slick interface that allows you to quickly scroll through the names and details of the deceased. Clicking any name offers more detail, including a brief, player-written breakdown of what led to the death.

We've lost some very recognizable names in the ongoing war, includes former James Bond actor George Lazenby, the "Great Emancipator" Abraham Lincoln, and even Firaxis' own Sid Meier, who was "torn apart quite viciously." We thank you all for your noble sacrifices. Share your own war stories now on Facebook's XCOM Memorial Wall.




 

Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials Gameplay Trailer »


 

Arkane Studios delivered one of the freshest video game experiences of 2012 in Dishonored, and now the game's first DLC pack is here. Dunwall City Trials adds 10 challenge maps to the game, with each one designed to test players' abilities to sneak, move, and kill.

The Trials pack is the first of three announced DLC releases for Dishonored, with a pair of story-driven content packs due to arrive in 2013. Few details have been revealed about the future content drops, though we do know that there's more to be revealed about the mysterious Daud character.

You can download Dunwall City Trials now from your content provider of choice for $4.99 / 400 MS Points.




South Park: The Stick of Truth Story Trailer »


There's still no release date confirmed for South Park: The Stick of Truth, though the latest trailer suggests that it'll be "coming soon." You might've missed that because you were too busy cackling at the ridiculousness of Obsidian Entertainment's upcoming RPG, which pretty much looks like a typical South Park episode rendered on a grand scale.

There's a poo tornado, a Moses summon, a machine gun-wielding Jesus, Mr. Slave doing unspeakable things, and a random, unasked-for Star Trek reference. Also, lots of NSFW language. Seriously: turn the volume down on this one if there are kiddies present. Let's try to keep the number of profane fourth-graders in this world locked to Trey Parker and Matt Stone's fictional take on South Park, Colorado.

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Dark Souls 2 Announcement Trailer »


Brace yourselves, gluttons for punishment: From Software is partnered with Namco Bandai Games for the North American release of Dark Souls 2, first revealed over the weekend in a CG trailer. There's no release date/window specified, but a press release confirms that the game is coming to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC platforms.

The game announcement also reveals a few basic facts about the sequel, which features a new hero tugging at the threads of a new storyline in an "unfamiliar" world. Fans can also expected a "revamped server-based multiplayer experience that will put a distinct Dark Souls 2 twist on the concept of playing and sharing with others." Whatever that means.

Stay tuned for more news soon on the game's official website and Facebook page.





Ubisoft has some fairly ambitious plans for Assassin's Creed 3 in the three-part The Tyranny of King Washington DLC, which you can take a peek at in the newly released trailer above. The campaign content runs through an alternate alternate history in which America's first president succumbs to the allure of absolute power and must be stopped by Connor Kenway.

The trailer doesn't show off any of the DLC's gameplay, focusing instead on setting the scene for the multi-part story. Unfortunately, there's no indication of when part one of the download series will be released, with the tail end of the trailer simply touting the Season Pass, which includes access to all three King Washington releases along with an handful of other DLC.

Interestingly, there's no mention in the trailer of the upcoming content supporting the Wii U version of the game, nor is there a logo for Nintendo's console listed alongside the other platforms at the end..

 

Bioshock Infinite Preview - Hands-On With One Of Next Year's Big Hits

Well, we have good news and bad news regarding BioShock Infinite. The bad news is that it’s been delayed again. According to Irrational Games’ Ken Levine, when they brought Rod Fergusson from Epic Games over to serve as executive vice-president of development, and to help finish this title, one of the first things he told them was that the game needed another month for polish and refinements. We’re okay with that... as long as it doesn’t signal a series of small delays.

So, that’s the bad news. What’s the good news? It’s worth the wait, and then some. While we don’t want to see this title pushed back any further, all of the hype behind it since the announcement and subsequent peeks at development have all been spot on. We were worried, as we are with most games, that the product wouldn’t live up to the expectations put out there from early looks and studio-controlled videos. But BioShock Infinite is on course to become the must-have video game for 2013.

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BioShock Infinite Release Date Delayed Again - Is This Gonna Be A Stand-up Fight Or Another Bughunt?

BioShock Infinite’s release date has been delayed until March 26, 2013. News of the delay came directly from Irrational Games creative director and co-founder Ken Levine.

According to a report on Eurogamer, Levine said: “When Rod Fergusson (former Gears of War franchise director at Epic Games) came on board we looked at the game. He was there for about a month and he said, 'look, I've been looking at the schedule and looking at the game and frankly you could really benefit from another three or four more weeks for polish and bug fixing.'"

"We talked about it. I knew I'd probably get beat up in the press a little bit about it. But at the end of the day, if it's going to make a better game we're going to do it. So the new date is March 26 (2013). That's my bad news."

In case you forgot (which I doubt you have), this is the second time BioShock Infinite has been pushed back. Originally the game was supposed to be released in October of this year. Then, shortly after the original delay was announced, two key BioShock Infinite developers left Irrational Games.

So what do you think? At one point in 2012 BioShock Infinite seemed like everyone’s most anticipated game. Do you still think the game will wow you in 2013? Plenty of games have taken similar stumbles on their way to release and come out unscathed (GTA IV, Alan Wake, even the original BioShock come to mind).

On March 26th, 2013 I guess we'll all find out.

PS - how about the image we used on this post? I mean, if that isn't a "delayed again? child please!" face then I don't know what one is.

X-Play has announced the winners of their Best of 2012 awards! Once again the internal fights have been had, the votes have been tallied, the event has been held, and now they've handed out hardware honoring the year's best in gaming across a huge range of categories. Relive all the action and find out if your favorite games won right here!

Game of the Year

Borderlands 2

Best of 2012: Game of the Year »


Check after the break for the full list of winners in all categories, including Best RPG, Best Multiplayer, Best Shooter, Best Writing, Most Original Game and more! All nominees are listed, and the winners are in bold.

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Far Cry 3 is here, putting you into a hostile, open-world tropical setting where in order to survive you'll have to combine action kills, stealth kills, hunting and crafting and a whole lot more.

Does it all add up to a buy? Find out in our Far Cry 3 review:

Far Cry 3 Video Review »


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Steam's Big Picture Mode Flickers To Life

Steam's Big Picture Mode is officially out of beta and ready for primetime, Valve reveals in a press release. The Steam update adds gamepad nav support to the core client, effectively making the digital distribution service a TV-friendly proposition. Next stop: SteamBox!

To celebrate the feature launch, Valve is running a sale on a number of similarly TV-friendly games. You can nab up to 75 percent off on a variety of controller-supporting titles, everything from console favorites like Alan Wake and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron to PC-only hits like Magicka and TRAIN SIMULATOR 2013. Also Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead, because Valve.




Darksiders 2's Demon Lord Belial DLC Revealed, Launches

The third DLC drop for THQ and Vigil's Darksiders 2, called The Demon Lord Belial, is both revealed and released as of this week. It seems that there's still some life left on Earth -- or the  Third Kingdom, in the parlance of Darksiders 2 -- and it's up to Death to find out.

The DLC's return visit to Earth pits the surprisingly heroic rider of the apocalypse against... well... I'll give you one guess. HINT: It's the title of the DLC pack. The Demon Lord Belial is available starting today, December 4, 2012, for all platforms that aren't called Wii U (ie PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC) in North America, for $9.99 / 800 MS Points.




Crysis 3

Crytek has shared the minimum and recommended PC specs for Crysis 3, which arrives in 2013. It used to be that you could gauge the quality of somebody's gaming PC build with a simple question: "But will it run Crysis?" Starting in 2013, the new question will be: "But will it run Crysis 3?"

The lowest end PC capable of running the game will still need to have a DirectX 11 graphics card with a minimum of 1GB of RAM, which means that Crysis 3 will only run in Windows Vista or later. You'll also need at least a dual-core CPU and 2GB of RAM (3GB in Vista), though that should be less of an issue for most gamers.

Check out the full specs rundown on the game's official website. Then start planning your next hardware upgrade.




BioShock Infinite Cosplayer Becomes BioShock Infinite Spokesmodel

Don't scoff at cosplay. Create a convincing enough costume and you could end up getting yourself a job. Fan Anne Moleva discovered this firsthand after she impressed Irrational Games with her cosplay of BioShock Infinite's leading lady, Elizabeth.

A post on Irrational's website reveals that Moleva landed the gig of live-action spokesmodel for Elizabeth after her cosplay left a big impression on the dev team. She's now "the official face of Elizabeth," which means that she'll be making special appearances at select events as well as appearing in promotional art and TV ads.

The announcement post from Irrational also includes a Q&A with Moleva, so head over to the source link and take a peek.

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