activision

With the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie doing fairly well (although this lifelong fan didn't bother to see it) and new episodes of the latest animated series airing on Nickleodeon, the Ninja Turtles have really returned to the public limelight once again. This would be a great time to announce an Xbox One TMNT game, but we're not quite that lucky.

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Last week the Xbox One picked up a fair helping of new games. At retail, we got the realistic martial arts simulation EA Sports UFC. And to download came the affordable twin-stick shooter Sixty Second Shooter Prime and the surprise release of cult-horror hit Outlast (both ID@Xbox releases). You'd think the new releases would slow down for a bit after that terrific threesome, but you'd be wrong!

This week at retail, Activision brings the movie tie-in/cross-over Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. Rebellion will publish tactical sniping game Sniper Elite III on Friday in the UK, with a US release following on July 1st. And to download we've got the World War I-era adventure Valiant Hearts from Ubisoft. All three games are coming to both Xbox One and Xbox 360. Need help deciding what to pick up? Check out our new trailers and impressions after the break!

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Next week, the Xbox One will be getting a beautiful and brutal new game at retail: EA Sports UFC, which we learned much about during EA's E3 press conference. The week after that, we'll be seeing a release that's even more exciting for this child of the eighties – Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, and Sony and Nintendo consoles.

A game that crosses over the cool Cybertronian Transformers from the Fall of Cybertron game series with the Transformers movie universe would be exciting enough on its own. But today publisher Activision and developer Edge of Reality (makers of the great Incredible Hulk game in 2008) have sweetened the deal by revealing new preorder bonuses from GameStop and Amazon. We're talking about free characters, posters, and a digital comic. Read on for full game and preorder bonus details.

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The Xbox One’s November launch looms near, but the Xbox 360 continues to receive many high profile games this year. Grand Theft Auto 5 is pretty much the biggest console release of the year, but right behind it is Diablo III from Blizzard Entertainment and Activision. At long last, Xbox 360 gamers can experience the bestselling PC action-RPG on their console of choice.

Head past the break for our full review!

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Last week, Gameloft kicked off their much anticipated wave of Xbox releases for Windows Phone 8 with Asphalt 7, a game I call the best racer on the platform in our review. They’ve followed up this week with the very strong The Amazing Spider-Man and the not-so-strong and highly skippable Real Soccer 2013. With at least 9 more games coming, including first-person shooters, action games, and even an MMORPG, it’s safe to say that Gameloft will keep Windows Phone gamers pretty busy this year.

Similarly, Electronics Arts and its subsidiaries Chillingo and PopCap have produced a ton of fine mobile Xbox games as Nokia exclusives within the past few months. All of the Nokia EA games are expected to become available to general Windows Phone audiences six months after release, so they really do benefit the platform as a whole.

However large and prolific they might be, publishers Gameloft and Electronic Arts can’t keep the Xbox Windows Phone lineup afloat all by themselves. The world of smartphone gaming is vast indeed. iOS and Android thrive thanks to many game developers and publishers, both great and small. Today we continue our ‘How Microsoft can save Xbox Games for Windows Phone’ editorial series with a look at the game makers that our platform needs in order to thrive.

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It’s always interesting to see a popular mobile phone game jump to consoles. Xbox 360 has already received Fruit Ninja Kinect (which turned out pretty well other than the crummy menus), and Doodle Jump is coming with Kinect controls too. That only leaves one other major casual franchise to make the jump: Angry Birds! Well, just as Angry Birds Space is coming to Windows Phone eventually, so too are several Angry Birds games coming to Xbox 360 in the form of Angry Birds Trilogy.

Rovio’s popular bird-flinging series will be published on consoles by Activision (best known for their Call of Duty franchise). Angry Birds Trilogy contains the first three series entries: Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, and Angry Birds Seasons. For those keeping score, only the first game made it to Windows Phone, where it has languished with only a single title update and no Mango support. A patch for 256 MB devices is supposedly coming, at least. But hey, at least it only costs 99 cents nowadays!

With the Xbox 360 being the number one console as opposed to the current third-place position of Microsoft’s mobile OS, we can certainly expect Trilogy to receive much better support as far as content updates go. However, free updates are extremely scarce on the 360 (Minecraft: XBLA Edition had to get special permission for regular updates), with PDLC much more the norm. Rovio and Activision haven’t commented on exactly episodes (sets of levels) are included in Trilogy or their DLC plans, so these things remain to be seen.

Head past the break for more detals, screenshots, and pricing info!

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Guitar Hero 5 Mobile - Review

If you play music games on consoles and also have friends who play real instruments, then you probably know at least one who won’t be bothered to play said games because he’d rather be doing the real thing. It’s a snooty perspective in which the musician is actually bothered by the idea of people pretending to do what he (or she) does without going through years of practice. You can try to tell them how the singing in Rock Band and Guitar Hero is real singing (karaoke-style), but by that time they’re probably outside smoking a cigarette while thinking of how much cooler they are than you.

Just as music snobs don’t get music games, as a music gamer, I don’t quite get Guitar Hero 5 Mobile. The real Guitar Hero is a simplified simulation of the complex act of making music that uses plastic instruments. The mobile version is a simplified simulation of that simulation, sans plastic instruments. It helps if you think about it that way – this version in no way recreates the act of making music. But it is kind of like playing the console game on a touch screen. Perhaps that’s reason enough for it to exist?

Plug in your amp and follow the jump for our full review.

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Last week, super tough Earthworm Jim was the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. This week’s sale game is much easier. It’s Guitar Hero 5 from Glu Mobile and Activison.

On consoles, Guitar Hero has long been outdone by the excellent Rock Band series. Activision, Guitar Hero’s publisher, even made it a point to run the ‘Hero series into the ground by releasing numerous sequels and spin-offs every year. Bad mistakes, Activision’s made a few. But hey, Guitar Hero 5 is the only Xbox Live music game on Windows Phone. It’s committed no crimes. Plus it’s actually decent, with 32 songs from artists like Blink 182, David Bowie, and Garbage, and easy Achievements.

Guitar Hero 5 is on sale for $4.99 (the price it always should have been), down from $6.99. There is of course a free trial. Get your rock on here (Zune link) in the Marketplace.

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Pitfall! - Review

Many younger gamers’ first exposure to Pitfall! came from the console title Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which featured a Pitfall! minigame. But Pitfall! started its life way back in 1982 on the Atari 2600. The product of a single Activision developer, David Crane, it sold over 4 million copies and skyrocketed Activision to stardom. Now developer Krome and publisher Microsoft Game Studios bring the ‘Fall! To Windows Phone as both an Xbox Live and Game Room title. Is it better suited to mobile play than cranky ol’ Asteroids Deluxe? Yes!

Pitfall! stars the adventurer Pitfall Harry. His sprite was comprised of four separate colors on a platform in which most sprites were made of only one or two colors. Harry’s surplus of colors produced such a realistic effect at the time that many people thought an actual human being had somehow become trapped in their game cartridge. Thanks to modern computer technology we now know that this was not the case, but Harry still retains a certain visual charm after all these years.

Grab onto a vine and swing past the jump for our full review!

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We were originally told that two Game Room titles, Asteroids Deluxe and Pitfall!, were coming to Xbox Live on April 20. The date rolled around and Pitfall! was nowhere to be seen, breaking my fragile gamer heart. I can stop crying man tears now as Pitfall is finally available on the Marketplace.

Pitfall! was originally an Atari 2600 game from Activision. It was a huge hit in 1982 thanks in large part to its groundbreaking graphics. The lead character, Pitfall Harry, is made up of 4 unique colors, a level of detail so amazing that - I believe - it used to give children nosebleeds. Harry must run, swing from vines, and jump on top of alligator’s mouths across 255 unique screens as he searches for 32 lost treasures. Pitfall! is an adventure so exciting that Activision legally had to include an exclamation mark in the title so as not to fatally surprise people with its awesomeness.

Being a Game Room title, Pitfall! includes a 3D recreation of an Atari 2600 console, historical data and detailed instructions, friends and global leaderboards, and 10 Achievements.

You can purchase this slice of platform gaming history for $2.99 or try the free trial. Grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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