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Google adds playable Pac-Man Street View to Google Maps

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Google loves April Fool’s Day. But I think today’s early April Fool’s prank even tops the time Google Maps added a Dragon Warrior-inspired Quest Filter.

Going to Google Maps today (and for “a little while” longer) will give users the option to load up a playable Pac-Man Street View. Not every street can be transformed into a Pac-Man playground, but once you find one that does, you can duck down boulevards and avenues to collect dots while avoiding the ghosts on real streets. Here’s Times Square, that’s a good one to start with. Other locales recommended by Google include Niagara Falls, the Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur, their headquarters at Mountain View, and a few others.

The Bandai Namco offices in the the Shinagawa neighborhood of Tokyo, better known as the birthplace of Pac-Man, also works quite well.

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Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China will launch April 21; India and Russia will follow in Fall

Ubisoft has announced the Climax Studios-developed Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, a side-scrolling spinoff in the Assassin’s Creed series, will be released on April 21. Now only that, but Ubisoft also plans to release two additional Chronicles games. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia will both be released by this Fall.

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China will star Shao Jun, who was first seen in the Assassin’s Creed: Embers short film, as she fights for vengeance in her homeland. For Chronicles: China, Ubisoft and Climax will use Chinese brush paintings as the basis for the game’s look. In fact, each entry in the Chronicles trilogy will feature its own unique art style that evokes it’s setting.

The artistic signature of Chronicles: India will be based on the bright colors that bathe India during the Holi celebration. The game will star Arbaaz Mir, who must steal a mysterious item from a Master Templar. Mir previously appeared in the Assassin’s Creed: Brahman graphic novel.

Finally, Chronicles: Russia will take place just after the Russian Revolution, basing its look on the propaganda posters that were common in the USSR. Nikolai Orelov (of Assassin’s Creed: The Fall and The Chain) has been asked to break into the tsar’s palace, where he eventually crosses paths with Anastasia.

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China will be available for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One by itself (priced at $9.99) or as part of the Assassin’s Creed: Unity Season Pass. Future Chronicles installments will be sold separately. An in-depth overview of Chronicles: China can be found at the UbiBlog. Ubisoft’s official site also has an early look at Chronicles: India and Chronicles: Russia.

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Evolve: Behemoth and four new Hunters now available to download

A new Monster (Behemoth) and four new Hunters are now available to download in Turtle Rock’s 4v1 shooter, Evolve.

Behemoth is a massive rock beast that can also turn into a rolling ball of death to crush any Hunters that remain in his path. But the four new Hunters aren’t just going to lie down and die. The tattooed Torvald (Assault), enigmatic Crow (Trapper), psychotic Sunny (Support), and extraterrestrial Slim (Medic) all bring new weapons and abilities to the battle:

Torvald (Assault)
Punch through your enemies with the Assault character Torvald. His loadout includes a Mortar Cannon, Autofire Shotgun, and Shrapnel Grenades.

Crow (Trapper)
Ensnare your enemies with the Trapper character Crow. His loadout includes a Kinetic Long Rifle, Stasis Gun, and a Pet Batray.

Sunny (Support)
Give your teammates a boost with the Support character Sunny. Her loadout includes a Mininuke Grenade Launcher, Jetpack Booster, and a Shield Drone.

Slim (Medic)
Protect your fellow Hunters with the Medic character Slim. His loadout includes a Leech Gun, Spore Cloud Launcher, and Healing Drone.

Players looking to expand Evolve will find that these add-on characters don’t come cheap. Each Hunter has been priced at $7.49 apiece, while Behemoth carries a $14.99 price tag. A new trailer showcasing all five new additions to the game has been embedded above.

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Ubisoft unveils Operator System in Rainbow Six: Siege with new trailer, dev diary

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege has mostly kept to the shadows since its debut at the 2014 E3 Expo. But today, Ubisoft was ready to reveal a bit more about the game’s “Operator” character selection system.

Each of the game’s 20 Operators will serve as unique classes during multiplayer matches. Some are designed for offensive maneuvers while others are better at holding defensive positions. Each character will have their own individual style, including a variety of different skills and weapons. Players will have to figure out which Operators will work best together for Siege’s heavily team-based play.

PC players will be able to get a crack at the first ten Operators by registering for the PC-exclusive Closed Alpha at the official Rainbow Six site. The rest of us will have to read up on each Operator at the UbiBlog, watch an Operator-focused developer diary embedded after the break, or join the Closed Beta, which is scheduled for later this year. Every PC, PS4, and Xbox One player who pre-orders Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege will be able to take part in the Closed Beta.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege is expected to launch in late 2015. (more…)

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Axiom Verge Review: Hack to the Future

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Each generation of video game consoles has that one defining characteristic, that one aspect that changes the paradigm of gaming as we know it. The Nintendo 64 / PlayStation era introduced us to the analog stick and disc-based media. The joys of online play were introduced in the Xbox / PS2 era. And the Xbox 360 / PS3 generation expanded on what it meant to be an “entertainment system.” That, and we were subjected to microtransactions galore. Well, some distinctions are better than others.

I believe it’s fair to say that the significant shift in this current generation is the quality of indie titles, games made by small groups of talented developers who understand that a game doesn’t have to be a Michael Bay-esque explosion-fest in order to be enjoyed. Granted, there were a lot of fantastic indie games last gen, but the scene has grown tremendously over the past few years. These dedicated folks make games that they themselves want to play. And we love them for it, because the love and enthusiasm poured into these games are evident in both the art and quality. Additionally, they offer a breath of fresh air to otherwise stagnant genres. And every so often, a game is released that’s pieced together so lovingly it reminds even the most jaded gamer why they got into this hobby in the first place. Axiom Verge is one of those games; a true masterpiece. (more…)

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Bruce Campbell joins CoD Advanced Warfare as world’s grooviest pilot in Exo Zombies Ep2

John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, Rose McGowan, and Jon Bernthal aren’t loud-mouth braggarts, but they are back to kill more zombies in Exo Zombies: Infection, which is part of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare‘s second expansion pack. This time out, they’ve got air support from the world’s greatest helicopter pilot… who’s played by Bruce Campbell! And until I’m told otherwise, I’m just going to assume he’s playing himself.

Campbell gets in a few nice words while mowing down zombies with a minigun, but this is John Malkovich’s show as he narrates the new trailer, which was released today by Activision as part of the Call of Duty Championship. In case you were curious, the winning team at this year’s competition is Denial eSports. Congratulations.

The Ascendance Pack, and Exo Zombies: Infection, will be available to download this Tuesday, March 31, for Advanced Warfare owners with an Xbox One or Xbox 360. Aside from the mighty Bruce Campbell, Infection will feature the debut of a new zombie type (a heavily-armored ghoul), a new weapon (some kind of microwave gun), and a new trap (looks like a giant crocodile). The expansion will be available for PC, PS3, and PS4 players in about a month.

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New Releases: MLB 15: The Show, Story of Seasons, Toukiden: Kiwami, More

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Batter up! Opening Day is just a week away and Sony wants to make PlayStation owners are ready with the release of MLB 15: The Show on the PS3, PS4, and Vita. The franchise is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and, with the demise of 2K’s Major League Baseball 2K series, its the only game in town when it comes to baseball simulations. The rest of this week’s lineup has a little bit of something for everyone.

XSEED will release Story of Seasons, which is technically the latest game in the farm-tastic Harvest Moon series, for the 3DS. XSEED recently acquired the publishing rights to the series from developer Marvelous, unfortunately, the rights to the Harvest Moon name remain with Natsume.

But speaking of distinctly Japanese franchises, Koei Tecmo will release Toukiden: Kiwami for the PS4 and Vita. The monster-hunting game is actually an expanded version of Toukiden: The Age of Demons, which was released last year solely for the Vita.

A pair of PC games will also be released this week as EA will launch the first Sims 4 expansion, The Sims 4: Get To Work. Get To Work lets you become a doctor, a detective, a scientist, or a shopkeeper in your quest for career fulfillment. Out There: Omega Edition, a space exploration sim, will also be released this week.

Finally, Square Enix has a pair of triple packs set for release. The Ultimate Action Triple Pack will be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and it’ll include Just Cuase 2, Sleeping Dogs, and Tomb Raider. Meanwhile, the Ultimate Stealth Triple Pack will also be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360, but it’ll contain Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Hitman: Absolution, and Thief.

Play ball!

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Mortal Kombat X Kombat Kast #7 includes first look at Erron Black, Liu Kang, Shinnok

NetherRealm’s Community Team hosted another Kombat Kast livestream today, and once again it was packed with all sorts of new information related to Mortal Kombat X. This time…

The developers gave us our first look at Erron Black. The cowboy character has had a decent run in the Mortal Kombat X comic book, and now he has been officially confirmed as a playable character. Like Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, who he is clearly modeled on, Erron Black is a gunslinger with a pair of revolvers and a surly attitude. Coincidentally, one of his variations is known as “Gunslinger,” which includes the Standoff Stance and multiple trick shots with his revolvers. Other variations include “Marksman” (Gains unique special attacks utilizing a Long Rifle) and “Outlaw” (Gains unique attacks utilizing a salvaged Tarkatan Arm Blade). Yes, it’s very possible that Erron Black stole Baraka’s arm and is using it as a sword. The Erron Black section of this Kombat Kast begins at 21 minutes in.

Fast forward to 35 minutes for an in-depth look at Liu Kang. Liu’s looking a little old here, but his variations help keep him young. “Dragon’s Fire” is most similar to the Liu Kang we know and love with Empowered Dragon Fireballs and a Flying Kick. “Flame Fist” switches out the Bicycle Kick for “bicycle punches” and gives Liu Kang the option of delivering heavier Shaolin Flame attacks. Finally, “Dualist” gives him the ability to switch between Light and Dark forms that heal or harm.

The third, and final, highlighted character of this Kombat Kast is Shinnok at 45 minutes in. Shinnok’s three variations include “Impostor” (he gains a Shang Tsung-like ability to steal an opponent’s Special Attack), “Bone Shaper” (gives him access to a variety of weapons made out of bone), and “Necromancer” (Shinnok gains control of a giant skinless arm).

Finally, the episode confirmed that players who can’t get the timing of a Fatality down will be able to earn Easy Fatalities so they can perform the finishers the franchise is famous for. Easy Fatalities can be unlocked at various points throughout the game, though players will be given three right from the start. Also, players who sign up for a WBPlay account will receive access to a free “Futuristic Raiden” skin. He looks like they yanked him out of Tron!

Mortal Kombat X will be released for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One on April 14. A PS3/Xbox 360 version is also in the works and will be released sometime this Summer.

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