With the action movie, Jack Reacher, in theaters on Dec. 21st, we take the time to look back at our favorite action games.

There are shooters and there are action games. Shooters feature action, but action games don't always involve shooting. Over the past five years -- what most of us would consider the meat of the current console hardware generation -- we've seen a diverse assortment of action titles from any number of talented developers. Soon enough, possibly even as soon as 2013, the gaming world will be starry-eyed for the next generation's slate of hardware. 

Before you start celebrating what's to come, why not take a look back now on the best action games of this generation. From the must-play sleepers to the AAA marquee blockbusters, these are all backlog titles that you should make a point of finding some time for before they're all outclassed by the video game industry's shiny, new toys.

New Batman: Arkham City Screenshot And Artwork

Batman: Arkham City

Rocksteady Studios took everything that worked about Batman: Arkham Asylum and dumped it into the content-filled open world of Arkham City. The improvements are legion. Exploration gets a renewed focus thanks to a wider offering of Riddler puzzles and a hefty helping of secondary story arcs, each of which amounts to a multi-mission challenge. The combat continues to be just as tight as it was before, with the added bonus of respawning bad guys and an open world that supports any number of approaches to a given challenge.

Wrapped around all of it is a Batman story that knows exactly who its audience is. This is a comic book game for comic book fans. The characters are elevated by top-notch performances by the likes of Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Troy Baker. The main narrative thread carries actual consequences within the fictional world, a daring-yet-successful move. This is a game that can be enjoyed by a Batman fan of any stripe, and it continues to stand as one of the most entertaining action experiences of this generation.

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Skyrim: Dragonborn Launch Guide - Welcome to Solstheim!

Skyrim may be the largest game out there, but it got even bigger this week with the release of Dragonborn, the third DLC pack from Bethesda. While this summer's Dawnguard added a few new features and locations, Dragonborn really kicks it up a notch. Your journey will take you out of the land of Skyrim entirely, to the island of Solstheim off the coast of Morrowind. Long term Elder Scrolls fans who played Morrowind might recognize a few land marks and items, as well as some lore elements in Dragonborn.

The main storyline of Dragonborn involves your character being approached by followers of Miraak - the First Dragonborn. Once you've been approached by them, and found out where they came from, you'll book passage to Solstheim and begin your journey. Once there, you'll quickly discover something is a little off about Miraak, and that's really where the main quest line kicks off. Of course, in traditional Skyrim fashion, you can totally ignore that quest and explore the island first. In fact I recommend doing just that, at least for a few hours. You'll find a number of the new features added in with the Expansion right near Raven Rock.

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It's finally here! The launch trailer for Borderlands 2 Mr. Torgue's Campaign Of Carnage is now ready for your viewing pleasure. The latest, and potentially greatest, piece of Borderlands 2 DLC is available today. Before you download this arena DLC, check out this trailer!

Borderlands 2 Mr. Torgue's Campaign Of Carnage Launch Trailer »

Borderlands 2

Gearbox has been diligent about supporting Borderlands 2 post launch. They promised they would give gamers plenty of DLC. Only two months after launch and we're already on our second major DLC drop for Borderlands 2. It's called Borderlands 2: Mr. Torgues Campaign of Carnage. If you're a fan of arena challenges, you're going to want to read this.

Here's a piece from our Borderlands 2: Mr. Torgues Campaign of Carnage preview.

Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage also continues Gearbox's tradition of practical approaches to new content and reskins. It's commendable how they take the time to create new enemies with unique animations while mixing them with a roster of reskined foes. Same goes for the weapons as there's a wealth of new and rare firearms to experiment with. And once again, if you have buddies who haven't picked up the Season Pass but love weapons, you can bring the unique guns from this expansion into the main game and give them to your friends.

For more, read all of our Borderlands 2: Mr. Torgues Campaign of Carnage preview.

Tags: DLC, Videogames

Aftermath is the fourth expansion pack for Battlefield 3. It takes place in post-earthquake Iran, and comes with four new mid-sized multiplayer maps that are filled with carnage and debris from the quake. In the video below, Graig McLeod, Producer at Electronic Arts, gives us details about the maps, a new crossbow weapon, and a new game mode called Scavenger.

Battlefield 3 Aftermath Gameplay Preview »



Square Enix has released a teaser trailer for Sleeping Dogs DLC "Nightmare in North Point." The spooky DLC revolves around a "Hungry Ghost," cat food, and murder. Our hero wil have to call upon the powers of ancient Chinese magic to defeat ghosts of Triads, possessed citizens and Smiley Cat’s army of Jiang Shi.

Sleeping Dogs "Nightmare in North Point" Trailer »

Sleeping Dogs "Nightmere in North Point" will be available for download on October 31, 2012.
You can read the official haunted tale behind Sleeping Dogs "Nightmare in North Point" after the break.

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Borderlands 2 Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty DLC Review Verdict: Fight Pirates, Sandworms and Junk Robots

Borderlands 2 DLC: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty Review Verdict

Platform: PS3/Xbox 360

Price: $9.99/MS 800

Ask any gamer what they want out of DLC and they’ll tell you three things – more, more, and more. But there’s a delicate dance that any developer needs to be aware of while making new content. Move too far away from the original formula, and fans will quickly turn on you for not giving them what they want. Make more of the same and the gamers get bored quickly. Gearbox Studios played this game with the first installment of the Borderlands series. The results ranged from the divine (The Secret Armory of General Knoxx) to some better left on the virtual cutting room floor (Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot).

With the release of Borderlands 2 only a couple of weeks in the past, Gearbox Studios sets sails with their new content update in the form of Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty. While not the game changer of Knoxx, the first DLC hits the gates running with plenty of new content and surprises for anyone still hungry for more Borderlands 2 action. If anything, Pirate’s Booty is culmination of many of the lessons learned through the first batch of DLC.

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Mass Effect 3 DLC "Retaliation" adds new maps, features and most importantly, new enemies, to ME3 multiplayer. Mass Effect 2 fans will recognize these baddies as The Collectors, an alien race who harvested human colonies for the Reapers. Mass Effect 3 DLC "Retaliation" is free, so if you're still playing Mass Effect 3, you should check it out.

Here's a taste Mass Effect 3 "Retaliation" in action.

Mass Effect 3 Retaliation DLC Multiplayer Gameplay Video »

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim's DLC pack "Hearthfire" is now available for download on the PC via Steam. Hearthfire adds the ability to purchase land, build a home and adopt children. If these sound like your kind of activities, get ready to lay down $4.99.

We played Skyrim: Hearthfire on the Xbox 360 already, you can check our Hearthfire review for more information.

Hearthfire does not have a release date for the PS3 at this tyime.

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim - Hearthfire "Adopt A Child" Gameplay Video »

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BioWare has announced another multiplayer DLC pack for Mass Effect 3. It's called "Retaliation" and shows the return of a familiar enemy, the Collectors. Mass Effect 2's main baddies are back, and this time as an enemy faction in Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode.

Retaliation will include new weapons, new characters, "treacherous environmental hazards" added to current maps and more. You'll also be able to track and compare your friends' progress from various multiplayer challenges.

Mass Effect 3 "Retaliation" DLC Trailer »

Mass Effect 3: Retaliation will be available for download on the Xbox 360, PC, and PS3, on October 9, 2012. The pack is "free of charge" until October 9, 2014.

To play Mass Effect 3: Retaliation gamers will have to download a new patch as well. For a complete list of additions from the patch and content pack, keep reading. 

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New Super Mario Bros. 2

New Super Mario Bros 2 DLC will launch this Thursday, October 4, 2012. Nintendo will be launching three packs of content for $2.50 each. These content packs will include three courses for Coin Rush mode. We here about add-ons for other games all the time, but this will be Nintendo's first step into the world of downloadable content. The Big N hopes to add even more content to New Super Mario Bros 2 throughout the fall.

Keep reading to see some details on the three DLC packs.

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Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – Khyber Strike DLC Details

We just received a ton of details on the Khyber Strike DLC pack, coming to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Khyber Strike features three new multiplayer maps, a new deathmatch-style multiplayer game mode called “Takeover,” a new Guerrilla Mode co-op map, new achievements, and an increased level cap.  

It will be available for download on October 9th on Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3. The PC version is coming at a later date. The Khyber Strike DLC for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will be available for purchase for 800 Microsoft points on Xbox Live or $9.99 on the PlayStation Network.  It can be pre-ordered at GameStop and Best Buy.

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Borderlands 2 Mechromancer Name Revealed: Meet Gaige

We've known about the Borderlands 2 fiery redheaded Mechromancer class for a while, but now the character's name has finally been revealed. Meet Gaige, the gadget-savvy cyborg who can deploy a massive robot named Death Trap to do her bidding. Gaige is a name I've never heard before, and for some reason I love it. It matches her spunky personality and tomboyish style, while still being a bit girly. It's perfect!

You can access Gaige for free if you pre-order Borderlands 2, or you can pick her up for $10 or 800 MSP on October 16. If you want to know more about Gaige, check out our gameplay preview below.

Borderlands 2 "Mechromancer" Character Preview »

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim's latest DLC pack, Hearthfire, has been released. You should read my Hearthfire review to find out if this DLC is for you. If asking you to read a few paragraphs is too much, take a look at this video showing how to adopt a child in Skyrim, and how to start building your dream home.

Again, check out my Skyrim: Hearthfire review too!

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim - Hearthfire "Adopt A Child" Gameplay Video »

Skyrim: Hearthfire DLC Review


Posted September 7, 2012 - By Nikole Zivalich

 Skyrim: Hearthfire DLC Review

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim: Hearthfire is a minor add-on pack, it's especially minor in comparison to Dawnguard. Despite the fact Dawnguard has yet to make its debut on the PS3, Bethesda released the second content pack for Skyrim on September 4, 2012, only a week after announcing it. Hearthfire, which only costs 400 MS points, adds two features to Skyrim: building a home, and adopting children. As someone who has invested nearly 200 hours into Skyrim, I can confidently say these weren’t features Skyrim fans were clamoring for. Nevertheless, it’s new Skyrim content, and I want it.

Hearthfire begins when a courier drops off a message from Constance Michel at the Honorhall Orphanage in Riften. Her message urges the Dragonborn to consider the wonderful world of adopting children. At the orphanage she’ll tell you in order to adopt a child you’ll need a home that’s equipped for them. Constance Michel won’t give you any clues about your next step, no matter how many time you hold a bow to her head. If you check your inventory you may notice another letter, this one about one of your homes. I received a message about my Whiterun home stating new home furnishings were available. I didn’t receive a similar letter in regards to my Solitude pad, but I set off for the Blue Palace anyway.

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