In addition to looking at the lighter and weirder side of the game industry, System Update provides the latest information on weekly console updates, DLC, game-specific updates, and other game-industry flotsam and jetsam.
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Earlier today, Capcom at last offered a firm commitment on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, saying that the team-based, Slant Six-developed shooter will arrive for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC this winter. However, that wasn't the only Resident Evil news outbreak of the day.
With the 3DS launching in most regions this weekend, Capcom whetted gamers' appetites for its own survival horror handheld effort, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. According to the publisher, those who pick up Mercenaries 3D, which is due in the next few months, will also be granted access to a free demo for Resident Evil: Revelations.
In the Revelations demo, gamers will assume the role of Jill Valentine, who mysteriously finds herself charged with slaying zombies aboard an ocean liner. Capcom expects to reveal more information on Mercenaries at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.
As for The Mercenaries 3D, the game itself was inspired by the Resident Evil game modes of the same name. In it, players try to beat each other's zombie kill counts in timed rounds. Specific missions from Resident Evil 4 and 5 will be included, along with new modes and additional characters. The game will also feature global online cooperative play.
When it comes to surviving the end of times, having a leg up might not be so bad. Today, THQ announced preorder incentives for its upcoming sci-fi shooter Red Faction: Armageddon that confer a variety of retailer-specific in-game bonuses for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC game.
GameStop and Amazon are offering perhaps the sweetest survival kit for console gamers, as the two retailers will be offering a free copy of Red Faction: Battlegrounds. Expected to be available during the first week of April, Battlegrounds is a multiplayer-oriented, top-down, vehicle-based arena combat game. Those who don't preorder from GameStop or Amazon can download the game through Xbox Live or the PSN for $10.
Beyond Battlegrounds, GameStop preorderers will also receive the in-game Commando Pack, which includes an armored uniform, a plasma thrower, and laser pistols. However, Amazon prepurchasers aren't slated to receive any additional items.
Those who prebuy the game at Best Buy will be afforded the Recon Pack. Included in this in-game add-on are the stealth uniform, the electrically charged arc welder weapon, and the XNG-5000, which fires homing missiles. Lastly, Walmart preorderers have the only bit of real-world schwag: a 24-page Red Faction comic book and strategy guide.
Red Faction: Armageddon will be available in North America on May 31. For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.
Yesterday Nintendo launched the 3DS, the House of Mario's latest line in the DS family of portable systems. Today, the Japanese game maker updated its digital download spots with two new games and a duo of samplers.
Leading the pack this week is Simply Solitaire (200 DSi points) on DSiWare. From Engine Software, the title puts the classic single-player card game into gamers' pockets. Additionally, the game boasts 50 puzzles in each level.
Also out on DSiWare now is Faceez: Monsters (200 DSi points, or $2). From Neko Entertainment, the game has players using the DSi's camera to snap shots of their friends and then lets them slap an array of monstrous faces onto them. Possibilities include zombie, werewolf, and vampire skins.
Switching to WiiWare, Nintendo did not add any new games to the download space this week but did welcome two new demos, the first of which is for the four-player dart-throwing game Dart Rage. The other new demo out now on WiiWare is for the children’s game Learning With the PooYoos: Episode 2.
Nintendo has been updating the Wii's Virtual Console with classics--and sometimes, "classics"--from gaming systems gone by since the system launched in November 2006. However, though its pool of oft-requested games is dwindling, the publisher still has a few aces remaining.
Today, Nintendo announced that Japanese gamers will be able to download Square's acclaimed Chrono Trigger in April. The game will set players back 900 Wii points ($9), a 100 Wii point premium over other SNES-era titles.
Chrono Trigger presents the story of Crono, who attempts to save his friend Marle from a malfunctioning teleportation device. However, a more sinister threat evolves through his adventures, and Crono soon finds himself altering space-time to divert the near-certain apocalyptic future.
Rather than traditional random-encounter battles, Chrono Trigger features visible enemies and an active battle system, where players have a personal countdown timer that measures the frequency of attacks. Seen as revolutionary at the time, the game also includes multiple ending sequences.
Chrono Trigger is one of just three releases scheduled for Japan's Virtual Console in April. The publisher also plans to release Mega Man X, which has itself been the subject of critical acclaim, as well as King of the Monsters 2.
Nintendo did not indicate whether Chrono Trigger would arrive on Virtual Consoles outside of Japan and had not responded to a request for comment as of press time. For more on the game, check out video of the 2008 DS rerelease below.
The highest score ever recorded in Guitar Hero was courtesy of English power metal band Dragonforce’s unfathomably fast "Through the Fire and Flames." The song premiered in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and will next week become available in the Rock Band library.
Harmonix today announced next week's additions to the Rock Band tune catalogue. Dragonforce's "Operation Ground and Pound" and the above mentioned "Through the Fire and Flames" will arrive next week.
Also debuting next week is the Days of Peace Pack 01, which includes songs from Jefferson Airplane; Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Santana.
All cuts are master recordings and will be available as $2 individual purchases on March 29 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. Tracks denoted with "X" have Pro Guitar and Pro Bass expansions available to them for $1 extra. Additionally, the Days of Peace Pack will be available as a bundle for 550 Wii points/440 Microsoft points, or $5.49.
Days of Peace Pack 01
• Jefferson Airplane – "Somebody to Love"
• Blood, Sweat & Tears – "Spinning Wheel"
• Santana – "Black Magic Woman" X
• DragonForce – "Through the Fire and Flames" X
• DragonForce – "Operation Ground and Pound"
Though the beginning of April is usually associated with pranks and jokes, the games press is coming together early next month for a much more serious project. More than 25 media outlets, including GameSpot, will collaborate on a 60-minute video project called Gamers Heart Japan. The special will premiere on a variety of outlets on April 3 and will both highlight the rich history of game development in Japan and raise awareness for the Red Cross relief effort in the earthquake-, tsunami-, and nuclear-disaster-stricken nation.
The video will feature many leading game journalists, as well as a host of developers. The latter group will include Jade Raymond (Ubisoft Toronto), Dr. Greg Zeschuk (BioWare), Dr. Ray Muzyka (BioWare), Tim Schafer (Double Fine), Cliff Bleszinski (Epic Games), Ted Price (Insomniac Games), Siobhan Reddy (Media Molecule), Todd Howard (Bethesda), Peter Molyneux (Lionhead), Alex Rigopulos (Harmonix), Jenova Chen (thatgamecompany), Evan Wells (Naughty Dog), Ed Boon (Netherrealm), Sid Meier (Firaxis), and more.
A full list of participating media outlets is below. For more information on scheduling or to donate to the Red Cross' relief fund for Japan, visit the official GamersHeartJapan.com website.
G4 (US & Canada)
SCI FI Australia
Musique Plus (Canada)
Though the Assassin's Creed series hasn't even hit its third proper iteration, Ubisoft's historical stealth action franchise has cultivated a sprawling universe all its own. Between the console and handheld spin-offs, downloadable content, comics, novels, short films, and even a Facebook game, Ubisoft is having trouble keeping track of the Assassin's Creed mythos.
In a posting on the official UbiWorkshop site, the publisher today listed a job opening for someone to help produce an Assassin's Creed encyclopedia. The only requirements a candidate must meet are an accurate (encyclopedic, even) knowledge of the franchise, strong organizational skills to manage that knowledge, and excellent English writing skills to communicate it all. Being located near Ubisoft's Montreal studio is also helpful, though working remotely is an option.
Those wishing to apply for the job will need to submit sample encyclopedia entries for various characters and key concepts of the series showcasing their talents. Those with knowledge of the actual historical events portrayed in the games can also garner consideration with detailed examinations of how the game treatment differed from real life.
For more on Assassin's Creed, or to research it for a possible submission, check out GameSpot's review of the latest console installment, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.
Well over four years after Square Enix revamped and rereleased Final Fantasy III for the DS, the 3D adventures of Luneth, Ingus, Arc, and Refia have made their way to Apple's iOS platforms. Today, Square Enix said that a 3D remake of Final Fantasy III is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and an iPad version is expected to launch next month.
Based on the original Final Fantasy III, which saw first release in Japan for the Famicom (aka Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1990, Square Enix's 3D remake featured the aforementioned new playable characters, along with their accompanying backstories. Square Enix also made a handful of tweaks to the game's character classes and introduced new job-specific items.
Square Enix said that it has further refined Final Fantasy III's 3D graphics for the iOS installments. The game also makes use of touch-screen controls in a fashion similar to other Final Fantasy releases for the iOS.
Final Fantasy III can be downloaded worldwide through Apple's App Store for $16.
Zynga has rocketed to prominence within the gaming industry in just the past couple of years, reportedly accumulating a net worth that exceeds that of even the decades-old Electronic Arts. With that much money floating around, it should come as no surprise that someone would try to make off with a slice of that pie.
The Guardian reports today that Ashley Mitchell of Paignton, Devon, has been sentenced to two years in jail after stealing some 400 billion chips for use in Zynga's Texas HoldEm Poker. According to the British newspaper, Mitchell performed the theft by hacking into Zynga's servers, gaining access to two employees' accounts, and then transferring chips to his own account. He then sold the chips--valued by Zynga at $12 million--to other Facebook users.
Mitchell reportedly made about $87,000 after selling about one-third of the stolen chips before being caught by investigators. The thief was identified after he used his own Facebook account during one of the hacking attempts.
"It was clear there had been a systematic approach adopted in probing and accessing Zynga. Checks on [Mitchell's] bank account showed at this time he bought items including a Rolex watch and was also spending money on online gambling," the prosecution argued.
Mitchell received an additional 30 weeks of jail time for violating his probation on a prior hacking-related conviction.
It's a busy week on the PlayStation Network, as Sony has added a stream of new wares to its download spaces, including the first downloadable Ghosbusters game, new content for the latest Castlevania game, and the new Final Fantasy fighting game.
Leading the pack this week is Atari's Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime ($10) for the PlayStation 3. The top-down game set in New York City is a cooperative adventure game playable online or offline with up to four players. It drops players into the boots of the Ghostbuster team's newest recruit and tasks them with working cooperatively to take down towering bosses. Also, gamers have a range of weaponry at their disposal, including the proton stream, the plasma inductor, and the fermion shock.
Also now available for the PS3 is Swarm ($15). The game puts players in control of up to 50 swarmites at a given time, guiding the entire pack through puzzling levels fraught with danger from spinning saw blades, poison gas, high explosives, and more. At least one member of the swarm will need to avoid becoming a stain on the ground to collect DNA and pass each level.
Gamers looking to pick up a tie-in game for the recently released film Battle: Los Angeles can grab a game of the same name today from the PlayStation Network. The Battle: Los Angeles game is a first-person shooter that sees players taking on the role of Corporal Lee Imlay and fighting alongside other characters from the film. Developer Saber Interactive has some experience with the genre, having created 2007's TimeShift, as well as 2003's Will Rock.
DC Universe Online launched in early January to warm reception. The game is now available to download from the comfort of the couch. The digital version will run gamers $60 and comes with 30 days of free play time. After the grace period, players must pay $15 a month to continue trekking through the game's world. However, players looking to stick around for a while can save a few dollars by purchasing a six-month pass for $78 or a 12-month pass for $135.
DC Universe Online lets players create their crime fighter or villain and is set in such locales as Superman's Metropolis and Batman's Gotham City. Also, a range of heroes and villains from the comic book publisher's immense stable lend their presence to the game. The game also benefits from heralded comic artist Jim Lee and scribe Marv Wolfman, who contributed to the project.
The game sees characters from the aforementioned franchises plucked from their own worlds by an alien force and thrown together on a patchwork world where they must complete more than 40 missions, with gameplay using the Move controller to guide Frisbees through obstacle courses, bowl with an explosive ball, or engage in some old-fashioned third-person shooting and melee-driven head busting.
Soccer fans this week can grab Premier Manager ($10). The soccer management title has players dealing with the headaches, as well as the joys and pleasures of managing a top squad.
Those looking to continue their adventure in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow can grab the game's first add-on content today, Reverie ($10). The content sees players in the guise of Gabriel Belmont again, dealing with the consequences of slaying the vampire queen Carmilla. While Carmilla is gone, an evil she had previously kept under control has been unleashed and needs to be dealt with in the downloadable content.
Sony added one new PSOne classic to the download hub today, Legend of Mana ($6). The action role-playing game has players controlling a male or female character through the fictional world of Fa’Diel. The Mana Tree has been lost, and it’s up to gamers to seek out and return the lost artifacts to save the world.
Gamers looking to try before they buy can pick up three new demos today from the PlayStation Network. Samplers for WWE All-Stars, You Don't Know Jack, and Ghosbusters: Sanctum of Slime are now live and ready to download.
Switching to the PSP storefront, Sony added two new games to the download spot today, the first of which is Dissidia 012 Duodecim ($30). The game features multiple roster additions, including Final Fantasy IV's lance-wielding dragoon Kain. A number of familiar faces will also be returning, including Sephiroth, Tifa, Onion Knight, Cecil, Golbez, Zidane, and Terra.
The other new PSP game out now is action strategy game Hoard ($10). The game casts players as a dragon bent on destroying a medieval kingdom.
Music-game fans can now grab six new Billy Joel songs for play in Rock Band 3. The songs are available for $2 individual purchases or for $10 as part of the Billy Joel Piano Challenge pack.
A full list of the week's deals and new PlayStation Store content, including themes, wallpapers, demos, discounts, and add-on content, is available on the PlayStation Blog.
Last month, onetime Grand Theft Auto producer Gary Penn made the surprising revelation that the original incarnation in what would become Rockstar's genre-defining open-world action adventure franchise was very nearly canceled. Titled "Race 'n' Chase," the game was termed by Penn as "awful."
So what did Grand Theft Auto's humble beginnings look like? Yesterday, Grand Theft Auto lead designer Mike Dailly uploaded Race 'n' Chase's original design document to his Flickr photo stream. As detailed in the scan, the concept for the game that would eventually become Grand Theft Auto was originally designed to be a multiplayer racing game.
"The aim of Race 'n' Chase is to produce a fun, addictive, and fast multiplayer car racing and crashing game that uses a novel graphics method," the original concept reads. The game's story was simply stated as: "The game will be set in a present-day world."
The description of the game's action bears the first kernels of what would eventually become hallmark Grand Theft Auto gameplay.
"Players will be able to drive cars and possibly other vehicles such as boats, helicopters, or lorries," the section reads. "Cars can be stolen, raced, collided, crashed (ramraiding?) and have to be navigated about a large map. It will also be possible for players to get out of their car and steal another one. This will mean controlling a vulnerable pedestrian for a short time. Trying to steal a car may result in an alarm being set off which will, of course, attract the police."
According to the design document, Race 'n' Chase was initially slated to ship on July 1, 1996. However, as the game evolved, that date was eventually pushed back to February 28, 1998, on the PC, and then to June 30, 1998, on the original PlayStation.
Microsoft plans to officially release a PC software development kit for the Xbox 360 add-on Kinect this spring, but already, amateur tinkerers have been using the camera-based motion-sensing peripheral in ways that extend well beyond games. Following on from the flying Quadrotor and iRobot vacuum variant, the latest inspired use for Kinect can be found in Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre's surgery room.
The Canadian Online Explorer reports today that Dr. Calvin Law and his team in Toronto have begun using Kinect as a way to view patient imaging data during surgery. The primary draw to Kinect is its hands-free nature, which lets Dr. Law and his associates view MRI and CT scan data while conducting surgery.
The interface was designed by University of Toronto general surgery resident and engineer Matt Strickland, with help from mechatronics engineer Jamie Tremaine and computer engineer Greg Brigley. The trio first set up the Kinect sensor on a remote computer and then connected that output to a suspended screen in the operating room. The surgeon would then make gestures recognized by Kinect to view the relevant data.
Prior to implementing the device, the surgeon would be required to leave the operating area to view the data, memorize the information, and then resterilize to continue the procedure. According to Dr. Law, he has used Kinect in six liver cancer surgeries over the past month.
Last week new additions to Microsoft's virtual marketplace were spearheaded by Halo: Reach's latest volley of downloadable content, the Defiant Map Pack. This week's focus, however, shifts to ghost wrangling.
Leading the pack this week on the Xbox Live Arcade is Atari's Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime (800 MS points, or $10). Due out on Wednesday, the top-down game set in New York City will be a cooperative adventure game playable online or offline with up to four players. It will drop players into the boots of the Ghostbuster team's newest recruit and task them with working cooperatively to take down towering bosses. Also, gamers will have a range of weaponry at their disposal, including the proton stream, the plasma inductor, and the fermion shock.
Also out tomorrow on the XBLA is Hothead Games' Swarm (1,200 MS points, or $15). Swarm will put players in control of up to 50 swarmites at a given time, guiding the entire pack through puzzling levels fraught with danger from spinning saw blades, poison gas, high explosives, and more. At least one member of the swarm will need to avoid becoming a splatter on the ground in order to collect DNA and pass each level.
Switching to the Games on Demand space, Microsoft added three new games to the download spot today, the first of which is Ubisoft's Wild West shooter Call of Juarez ($20). The other two new full-game downloads available now are Supreme Commander 2 ($30) and the movie tie-in game Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ($50).
Gamers looking to try before they buy can grab a demo for WWE All-Stars today from Xbox Live. The sampler gives players a first look at and feel for THQ's latest WWE-licensed game. The wrestling game is due out in full on March 29.
According to a tweet from Treyarch community manager Josh Olin, the First Strike DLC will hit the PC this Friday, March 25. The content is currently available for preorder through Steam, and doing so grants $1.50 in savings.
As for the content, the map pack includes four new multiplayer environments ranging in locale from the Berlin Wall in Germany to a North American hockey rink. The add-on also bundles one environment for the game's zombie mode, dubbed Ascension.
For more on the maps within the content, check out GameSpot's video preview of the First Strike downloadable content embedded below.
Electronic Arts has tried a number of different methods to select the cover athlete of its Madden NFL football series in recent years. For Madden NFL 09, the publisher picked a (supposedly) retired player to front the game in Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. The following year, Madden NFL 10 featured two players for the first time ever when Super Bowl stars Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu shared the featured spot. For last year's game, EA let players choose from three finalists for the cover spot, with Super Bowl quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints landing the honor.
EA is tweaking its cover athlete selection process once again for Madden NFL 12. Today, the publisher announced it would let fans once again vote for the cover and unveiled a 32-man tournament bracket with one representative for each team in the league. Over five rounds--each lasting a week--fans will whittle down the field until only one option remains.
Some of the entrants are obvious, with Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers representing the Green Bay Packers and Philip Rivers giving San Diego Chargers fans a name to vote for. However, the field also includes a handful of household no-names for teams lacking star power, while the Seattle Seahawks wound up represented by its own fan base, collectively known as "The 12th Man."
However, not all fans will be voting for their hometown favorites. Given the oft-documented (and soon-to-be documentaried) Madden Curse, fans may not want their stars anywhere near the game.
After appearing on the Madden NFL 10 cover, Polamalu suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of that season's opening game. Madden NFL 2008's cover athlete, Vince Young, received a knee injury that caused his backup quarterback, Kerry Collins, to start most of the 2008 season. After a string of injuries, 2007 cover star Shaun Alexander went from being the NFL's Most Valuable Player to being a backup running back in just two years. Madden NFL 06 cover athlete Donovan McNabb suffered a season-ending sports hernia halfway through the season after he was named cover athlete. Additionally, 2004 cover athlete Michael Vick missed most of the 2004 season after breaking his leg--and was incarcerated after being convicted on a series of gambling and dogfighting-related felonies in 2007.
While Nintendo will be wrestling with the 3DS's downloadable features for months after the system's release, the company has its current system's online options thoroughly pinned down. The publisher today provided its weekly evidence of that with another Monday update of WiiWare, DSiWare, and Virtual Console offerings.
First out of the gate this week on the Virtual Console is Natsume Championship Wrestling (800 Wii points, or $8). Originally released on the Super NES, the 16-bit Championship Wrestling has players choosing from 12 fighters and duking it out in the ring. Gamers can play against an AI-controlled opponent or take on the game's Exhibition, Tag Team, and Round Robin modes with up to four players.
Switching to WiiWare, Nintendo added one new title and a fresh demo to the downloadable storefront today. The new title is Nordcurrent's Arcade Essentials (500 Wii points, or $5). As its name suggests, the offering is a collection of games based on classic arcade titles.
The new WiiWare demo is for Dive: The Medes Island Secret. The game casts players as John Sanders, an experienced diver who swims to the depths of the sea to uncover treasure buried inside the wreckage of ships.
Two new DSiWare titles are also available for download today, the first of which is Tik Games' Shapo (500 DSi points, or $5). The puzzle game has players placing differently weighted shapes on a scale and tasks them with making sure the scale stays balanced while lining up the falling shapes. Shapo sports 150 levels and two modes: Puzzle and Classic.
The last new DSiWare game out this week is G.G. Series D-Tank (200 DSi points, or $2). From Genterprise, the game has players driving a tank with a limited number of respawns. The game sports two distinct game types: offensive and defensive. In offensive missions, players must lay siege to the enemy's fortress within the allotted time, and in defensive mode, players are tasked with destroying oncoming enemy tanks.
Halo: Reach was a popular game for developer Bungie and publisher Microsoft. The game minted $200 million in its first 24 hours and has gone on to move more than 3.3 million units. To date, more than 1.3 billion Reach games have been played, and the sci-fi shooter has welcomed two map packs. Now, the developer has announced the next overhaul coming to planet Reach.
In the latest Bungie Weekly Update, the Washington state developer offered word on the Halo: Reach April Matchmaking update. The online overhaul is penciled in for release over Xbox Live on March 29, but Bungie said that date is subject to change, as the team has not yet finished testing it.
As for the update, the April Matchmaking revision will see a laundry list of changes to Halo's online universe. These updates include the addition of new game types and more community-made maps into the multiplayer hopper, as well as the implementation of a list of minor tweaks.
Specifically, a new four-on-four Action Sack playlist will find its way to the Halo: Reach online sphere. This playlist includes the new game types Power Slayer, Speedpile, Speedflag, and HammerBall/Hockey. Another new four-versus-four playlist arriving at the end of the month is Team Classic. This new hopper includes game variants with no equipment or custom settings. Additionally, games within this playlist will feature community-made remakes of classic Halo environments.
Earlier this month, THQ confirmed that Double Fine would be stacking more content onto its downloadable title Stacking, but the details of that announcement didn't add up to much. That changed today, as THQ said that gamers can expect Stacking's first add-on, The Lost Hobo King, to be available through Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network in early April.
The Lost Hobo King continues the story of chimney sweeper Charlie Blackmore, who in the original game set out to rescue his family from the Baron, a nefarious industrialist. The new storyline sees Charlie venturing to the hobo kingdom of Camelfoot, where he hopes to assist his friend Levi in securing the hobo crown for his uncle, Rufus.
Gameplay will be in line with the original Stacking, where Charlie will accomplish his tasks by stacking into larger-sized dolls in order to gain their unique abilities. Charlie's options include more than 15 different dolls, all of which have new abilities in the add-on pack. The Lost Hobo King also includes new achievements and trophies.
THQ did not reveal pricing information for The Lost Hobo King. For an idea of what to expect from the expansion, check out GameSpot's review of Stacking.
BioWare is finally closing the book on Mass Effect 2. The developer today announced Mass Effect: Arrival, the final downloadable add-on for the sci-fi role-playing sequel.
Set for release March 29, Arrival sees Commander Shepard investigating clues to an impending Reaper invasion on the edge of the galaxy. The downloadable content will also see the return of actor Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Stone Cold) lending his voice to Admiral Hackett. The add-on will sell for $7 (560 Microsoft points).
While Mass Effect 2: Arrival is expected to bridge the gap between the second and third installments of the game, it's not entirely clear what Mass Effect 3 has in store for players when it is launched later this year. To date, BioWare has released little more than a teaser trailer and a description on the Electronic Arts storefront's product page that reads, "Earth is burning. Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race. As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the Earth."
For more on Mass Effect 2, check out GameSpot's review of the game.
Dragon Age is the latest franchise to make the free-to-play jump, as Electronic Arts today announced that Dragon Age Legends is now playable on Facebook for all of the social platform's users worldwide. Billed as a collaboration between EA's BioWare studio and its free-to-play development house EA2D, Dragon Age Legends brings turn-based combat to the fantasy series' swords-and-sorcery setting.
In the game, players can enlist the aid of their Facebook friends to work through a storyline's worth of quests, upgrade characters, and build their kingdoms. As an added incentive for fans of the franchise, players can earn exclusive unlockable items for use in Dragon Age II by completing specific quests in Dragon Age Legends.
Dragon Age Legends is just the latest effort in Electronic Arts' ongoing campaign to carve out a presence in the free-to-play market. In 2009, the publisher acquired Facebook developer Playfish for $275 million, and the company has also invested in adapting franchises like Battlefield, Need for Speed, FIFA, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour to microtransaction-based stand-alone PC games.
For more on Dragon Age Legends' source material, check out GameSpot's review of the recently released Dragon Age II.