As we head into the final 2 weeks before the holidays, I felt it was imperative to pass along this one bit of advice for gamers everywhere; if Rock Band 2 isn’t currently on your Christmas wish list, you need to get an amended letter sent out to Santa posthaste!!
While I’ve never officially reviewed Rock Band 2, I’ve put countless hours of quality playtime in with the game and can tell you it’s awesome! With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of the top 5 reasons why every gamer should hope to find it under their tree when they wake up Christmas morning.
5) Gameplay: Multiple career options, the ability to form (and compete against) bands over Xbox LIVE, new “Tour Challenges” and “Battle of the Bands” features along with the all new “Drum Trainer” mode add a replayability factor that few other games offer.
4) Appeal: Rock Band 2 is addictive because it’s fun! It’s as much fun playing through a tune you know and love as it is eeking out a 5 star rating on a song you’ve never heard before in your life. Plus, the game lets you experience all the coolness of being a true rock star without any of the downsides like negotiating tour contracts, long bus rides and those inconvenient trips to rehab.
3) (Almost) Anyone can play: Whether you’re young, old, experienced or just getting into console gaming, Rock Band 2 is a game that nearly everyone can play. The game features a great tutorial which walks newcomers through basic and advanced skills quickly and simply. Plus, the game’s tiered skill levels (Beginner through Expert) help inexperienced players get a comfortable feel for the game while steadily improving their playing abilities. Those who invest the time in the simpler levels will soon find their skills improving in spite of themselves!
2) The Music: There are now more than 500 songs available for the game. Rock Band 2 ships with 80 tunes, plus an additional 20 that can be downloaded for free. For a small fee, those who own the original can export all but a few of the songs within that game and make them available in Rock Band 2 as well. Plus, any DLC music purchased for the original Rock Band is automatically imported into Rock Band 2. Speaking of DLC, Harmonix offers a ton of great tracks in Marketplace covering a wide range of music genres ensuring “something for everyone”.
1) It’s just plain cool: The adrenaline rush from cranking out a stellar “Big Rock Ending” while thrashing around alone in front of your TV still beats the anxiety of someone walking in and catching you doing it!
For those of you who have anxiously been awaiting EA’s release of their NHL 09 Xbox 360 Alternate Jersey code, the wait is over!
Enter the code, save your profile and enjoy :)
*EDIT: I didn’t realize this but the code is case-sensitive (it should be all lowercase). My thanks to Adam who pointed this fact out in the comments.
The most well known bird & bear duo will be returning this Wednesday when the original Banjo-Kazooie makes its debut on Xbox LIVE Arcade.
For 1200 Microsoft points, gamers worldwide can once again experience this classic platformer from Rare. The game also lets players unlock new features in Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts released earlier last month.
“When the evil witch Gruntilda discovers that Banjo’s sister Tooty is the most beautiful girl in all of Spiral Mountain, she kidnaps her to steal her youthful good looks. Banjo and his best friend Kazooie must team up in order to defeat Gruntilda and rescue Tooty from the witch’s grasp. At first, Banjo and Kazooie perform simple moves like running and jumping to collect jigsaw pieces, dubbed “Jiggys,” but as players progress, the bird and bear will learn new moves and abilities to help them fly, swim and fight to advance to new worlds and save Tooty.”
Banjo-Kazooie will be available worldwide on Xbox LIVE Arcade beginning this Wednesday, December 3rd at 9 a.m. GMT (2:00 a.m. PDT). For more information visit http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/b/banjokazooiexboxlivearcade/.
Skate 2, slated for release in 2009, continues EA’s take on the world of skateboarding by challenging gamers to revive the New San Vanelona skate scene by circumventing the city’s increased focus on protecting private property.
The latest screenshots from the game were released last week and I’ve included them below.
Bethesda and Microsoft have revealed 3 new Fallout 3 content downloads coming EXCLUSIVELY to Xbox 360 and Games for Windows – LIVE Marketplace.
The first DLC entitled Operation: Anchorage will arrive in January followed soon thereafter by two additional episodes, The Pitt and Broken Steel. Although Fallout 3 had no shortages in the depth department to begin with, these new downloadable episodes will expand the already impressive gameplay with new missions, enemies and more.
Operation: Anchorage adds a brand new dimension to the critically acclaimed RPG, as players enter a unique military simulation to liberate the city of Anchorage in one of the seminal battles of Fallout lore. Stay tuned for more details once the official release dates for these upcoming DLC episodes are announced.
EA is currently working on the follow-up to their 2007 hit The Godfather The Game appropriately titled The Godfather II. The folks at EA Redwood Shores released a new batch of screenshots from the upcoming game today and it looks like the series is headed for a major makeover. I reviewed the original and felt it was a very good game with a comfortable control scheme, lots of depth but somewhat weak graphics. Here’s hoping that The Godfather II takes the best features from its older siblings and adds a much needed facelift.
In just a few short weeks, mega-hit Fable II will see the first of what most likely will be a slew of DLC offerings.
On December 12th, gamers will be able to grab the Knothole Island downloadable content pack
(800 Microsoft Points). “The remote island of Knothole is dying: its golden sands and lush vegetation are covered with snow, its people freezing, its treasures buried. Only a hero can face the trials of the three shrines to bring back the sunshine“.
Along with this Premium download, gamers will also find a free Fable II downloadable pack which will allow co-op play with players who have downloaded the Knothole Island pack. NOTE: Both co-op players MUST download the Knothole Island (Premium) pack in order to play new quests and enjoy the complete Knothole Island co-op experience. The free content bridges the gap for standard game co-op play only.
Whether you choose to download the Premium pack or the free pack, expect to receive some new free treats including Knight’s Boots, Assassins Gloves, a special Weight Loss Potion, collectible silver book and more. Players will also be able to check their standing in over 50 new Leaderboards on Lionhead.com.
And lastly, Lionhead Studios and Microsoft Game Studios have created an all-new Albion dashboard theme in celebration of the launch of the New Xbox Experience. This new Albion theme integrates beautifully with the NXE and will be available for 250 Microsoft Points.
Originally introduced at this year’s Comic-Con, “Horror Meets Comedy“ will make its debut this Wednesday on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, this series of 8 comedic short films feature the unique perspective of some of the world’s most renowned horror directors including James Wan (“Saw”), David Slade (“30 Days of Night”) and James Gunn (“Slither”).
Another indie series to hit LIVE is actress/writer Felicia Day’s cult-classic “The Guild“. Co-produced by Day and Kim Evey (creator of web series “Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show”) “The Guild” is a web sitcom about a group of online gamers and how they interact online and offline. Featuring Felicia Day (“House”, “Bring It On Again”) who stars as “Codex”, a struggling gaming addict, along with well known actors Jeff Lewis (“My Name Is Earl”, “According to Jim”) as “Vork” the Guildmaster, and Sandeep Parikh (creator of web series “Legend of Neil”) as Zaboo, Codex’s benevolent stalker. Season 1 of “The Guild” is available now for free on Xbox LIVE, with season 2 will premiering on the service tomorrow.
Other great content available at the Independent Video Channel in Xbox LIVE Marketplace includes:
- The Jace Hall Show – The popular show features behind-the-scenes footage from game developers, as well interviews with actors, musicians, and athletes about games.
- Red vs Blue – The show follows the civil war fighting of two opposing teams of soldiers in Blood Gulch. Seasons 1 & 2 are currently available on Xbox LIVE Independent Video channel, with seasons 3 & 4 coming soon.
- Blind Ferret Entertainment – Some of their projects include “Player vs. Player” and “Ctrl+Alt+Del: The Animated Series”. New episodes will be going live on by end of year.
- Major League Gaming – A multi-city gaming league where gaming tournaments are held and competitions are broadcast over television and on the internet. Xbox LIVE Independent Video channel with show 2007 series highlights and “Best of” specials live.
For more information on these and other indie offering, visit the Independent Videos page on Xbox.com.
*UPDATE: The Guitar Hero World Tour game kit offer actually runs through December 1st!
This week only, AT&T is giving away complete Guitar Hero World Tour game kits to new subscribers who sign up for AT&T’s High Speed Internet service or AT&T’s U-Verse TV service. By “complete game kit”, they mean the entire kit and caboodle: console game, guitar, drums and microphone. And by “giving away” they mean FREE!
Additionally, AT&T is giving away a real life Laguna Electric Guitar, Laguna Electric Bass Guitar, Orange County Drum and Percussion Drum Kit with Cymbals plus a $1000 gift card to the massive music retailer Guitar Center by way of their Get Ready to Rock Sweepstakes.
For more information and to enter the Sweepstakes visit www.att.com/guitarhero.
I was going through my new Avatar-inhabited Friends List last night when I realized something really sorta creepy…
I’ve met a number of people on my Friends List either in person or via video chat and I have to say that the majority of Avatars these folks have created looked amazingly similar to their real life selves! Obviously the Avatars are not “lifelike” in any way, but they can definitely take on a very accurate depiction of their makers. I almost found myself waving back at them.
We’ve seen many a Dashboard update over the past 3 years, but none even come close to the changes Xbox 360 gamers are about to receive.
The launch of the New Xbox Experience is now just hours away (2:00 am PST) and, having had the opportunity to play around with it over the past couple of weeks, I can honestly say that (the majority of) you will not be disappointed. I’m sure that you’ve all read countless articles by now on what NXE is all about and the new features included within the update so I won’t bore you with another recap. Instead, I want to emphasize that, while the new Avatars are definitely cool, they are only a portion of what this new Experience is about.
One other point; most people are adverse to change. NXE is a BIG change so, if your first instinct is to hit the forums and rip it to bits, I suggest you give yourself a few days to digest it before making the “Love it/Hate it” decision. I’m betting that it’s going to be a hit J
Capcom announced today that their long awaited Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD
Remix for Xbox LIVE Arcade will be one of the first games to be featured in the New Xbox Experience with a Branded Destination Experience.
When it hits Arcade tomorrow, the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix destination experience will provide a central place for Xbox LIVE Arcade gamers to learn about new content, view the latest trailers, and access downloadable content, including picture packs, and both Basic and Premium Themes. The new Street Fighter Premium Theme features extensive high-definition graphical layers that take over your Dashboard, presenting a fully dynamic and encompassing package for the ultimate social entertainment experience on Xbox LIVE.
“With 1080p high-definition art and graphics, and the ultimate user feature set, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is the perfect game to compliment the New Xbox Experience,” said Christian Svensson, VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development at Capcom Entertainment Inc. “Capcom is dedicated to providing captivating content to the digital space and we’re proud to participate in this new era of Xbox LIVE.”
For more information on the New Xbox Experience, visit http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/nxe
For more information on Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, visit: http://games.capcomdigital.com/streetfighterIIhdr