Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Ooh, I don't know, these comic books today, introducing new characters like there's no tomorrow. Why can't we stick with the characters we all know and love, like Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, Krypto the Superdog, and Matter-Eater Lad. No, no, we need to introduce new people, apparently! So things will be with DC Comics fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us, but the DLC season pass announced today will at least offer four DLC characters for the price of three.

The $15 season pass will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at launch, but not Wii U. On top of the aforementioned yet unannounced four extra playable characters, you'll get the exclusive Flash Point Skin Pack with alternate costumes for Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Deathstroke.

Developed by the Mortal Kombat reboot gang at NetherRealm Studios, Injustice is coming to Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U on April 16.

Hey, here's a recent trailer introducing the magical Raven:

Shacknews - Matt Cabral

Our last extended look at Beyond: Two Souls displayed the title's ability to deliver the sort of high-octane thrills ordinarily reserved for Jerry Bruckheimer films. From its foot chase atop a speeding train to its exploding gas station, the preview provided more adrenaline-pumping moments in a few minutes than Heavy Rain did in its entire running time.

During a recent visit to Quantic Dream's Paris studio, however, the highly cinematic game showed us a decidedly different side; one that yielded a surprisingly strong survival horror vibe, complete with monster-in-closet moments and the reveal of a potentially significant--and possibly supernatural--plot point.

Our hands-on session begins in a car, where stars Jodie Holmes and Nathan Dawkins (played by Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe) chat en route to some sort of top secret research facility. Sadly, we're unable to listen in because, well, Quantic won't let us; their conversation apparently contains major spoilers, so we're not allowed to put our headphones on until they've exited the vehicle and walked to the building. Despite the absence of audio, however, it's obvious the pair isn't out for a casual stroll; walking to the facility--which, by the way, is on fire--they pass heavily armed military personnel as well as some terrified-looking folks in hazmat suits.

At the entrance, Jodie appears to receive some encouraging words and a pat on the shoulder from Dawkins. The scientist then leaves, we're given the go-ahead to don our headphones, and Jodie enters the burning building. With a push of the left stick, we direct her toward an elevator, passing plenty of broken glass, blood stains, and sparking electrical fixtures along the way. The foreboding atmosphere is affective. So much so that we half expect a virally-infected canine to come crashing through a window, Resident Evil-style. When we arrive at the lift, we're introduced to what designer David Cage earlier in the day referred to as a "discreet, intuitive, fluid UI." Like Heavy Rain, Beyond incorporates a fully contextual interface. Unlike its predecessor's potentially immersion-breaking prompts, however, Beyond's inconspicuous cues won't be accused of pulling players from the experience.

The foundation of this seamless, streamlined control scheme is built on players simply doing what seems obvious or natural, with occasional guidance coming from tiny white dots placed near interactions. One such dot, for example, sits near the elevator's control panel; a push of the right stick toward the dot begins an interaction. In this case, we learn the elevator is stuck, leading us to call on Jodie's supernatural sidekick Aiden for help. A press of the triangle button puts us in control of the entity, while using the dual sticks controls the character and camera just as they would in a first-person shooter.

From this perspective, we push Aiden through the door and down to the jammed elevator car below. Upon passing a fresh corpse on the floor, we discover a crate's keeping the door from shutting. We lock onto the object with L1, then pull back and release the two sticks--sort of like shooting a slingshot--to knock the object out of the way. With the puzzle tackled, we again assume the role of Jodie and call the elevator. It still doesn't line-up perfectly though, so we use the DualShock's six-axis feature to trigger her jump down.

With a bit more help from the contextual dots, we access the laboratory level, where a seemingly dead guard uses his last breath to warn Jodie of the danger ahead. The moment provides a modest scare, but pales in comparison to what comes next. As Jodie passes through an air-locked hallway, which wouldn't look out of place among Doom's hell spawn-cluttered corridors, a corpse briefly rises in her wake. Shortly after this shock, she's confronted by the white-eyed stare of another ghastly figure peering through a window. We're told by the Sony rep overseeing our demo that these ghouls aren't zombies, but hallucinations used to convey Jodie's fragile mental state.

The corridor's exit door is locked, but we're again able to exploit Aiden's ethereal skills to pass through it and open it from the other side. Now in the bowels of the research lab, Jodie discovers a corpse and we're introduced to Aiden's ability to channel the last living moments of the dead. Upon aligning a pair of glowing blue orbs hovering above the body and then tethering them to Jodie, we see a flashback of the man's grisly end; the brief, black and white cinematic is difficult to decipher, but it's obvious his death was delivered with swift violence.

Following a short puzzle, which sees Jodie and Aiden collaborating to remove a ceiling grate and navigate a ventilation duct, we get a clearer picture of what felled this unfortunate victim. Now navigating a room engulfed in flames, we utilize our Aiden to tap into the final moments of a fireman's life. The potentially story-spoiling scene (you've been warned) sees the firefighter and his partner brutally slain by piercing tentacles; you know, the sort of snaking, spiky limbs usually used to scare our pants off in sci-fi horror films.

On top of this nightmarish reveal, the flashback displays the location of a fire extinguisher dropped by one of the men while having his ribcage rearranged by the ... monster? Leveraging this intel, we have Aiden push the object through a wall of fire, toward Jodie's feet. We extinguish the flames, but our progress is halted by a plate glass window. We toss a chair through the glass by gesturing the controller to the right three times, but we're told we could've also overcome the obstacle by having Aiden hurl a table through it.

We're asked to relinquish our headphones and controller just as a screaming man, engulfed in flames, flails and falls before Jodie. It's an abrupt end to a largely linear and directed demo. Its affective horror vibe, intro to fresh mechanics, and imagination-piquing narrative beats, however, already have us anxiously awaiting our next outer-body experience with Beyond.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Shooting men in the face can be fun but what if it hurts people's feelings, and why can't we be friends? Thankfully, Warframe has the answer: co-op missions against AI (which is probably not advanced enough to suffer distress). The free-to-play third-person shooter from The Darkness II developer Digital Extremes launched into open beta today, so we can all enjoy nice, safe face-shooting.

Warframe plops you into the eponymous Warframes, mighty ancient combat armours. They're essentially classes, each with different powers and attributes. In them, you'll go marauding around with your chums on missions, from raiding artifacts and wave defense to rescuing hostages and capturing VIPs. Along the way, you collect loot to upgrade and unlock stuff.

Monetisation will come from selling instant unlocks of, as far as I can tell from a quick look, upgrades, weapons and warframes which can mostly be unlocked slowly for free too.

Hit the official site for more information and to play.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

There isn't really a dearth of highly scripted linear first-person shooters. Yet, 4A Games manages to create something truly engrossing with its follow-up to Metro 2033. Metro: Last Light doesn't captivate by innovating--instead, it shines through sheer polish, offering best-in-class visuals, satisfying battles, and an intricately detailed world to explore.

Last Light takes place one year after the events of 2033, with Artyom once again looking for the Dark Ones. And although there is quite a bit of backstory to wade through, newcomers and fans alike will be able to instantly appreciate the unique setting of Metro--a post-apocalyptic world where nuclear war has forced Russian denizens to seek shelter in underground subway systems.

4A brings the Metro universe to life with absolutely stunning visuals--on a high-end PC, at least. (We didn't see the console versions demoed.) What really sells the experience isn't necessarily the tech, however. You can simply absorb the world by looking around. Pay attention, and you'll notice how everything in the world has been jury-rigged from garbage and scraps to accommodate humanity's new lifestyle. From gates to boats, humanity has come up with rather interesting solutions for living underground.

The world feels alive, and during your expeditions to the game's many towns, you'll feel tempted to simply watch how NPCs interact with one another. In one part of the game, you'll walk through a cabaret show. I saw one complete act, and decided to move on as the second act was beginning--but I wondered: how long could I have stayed there?

While it's easy to get tricked by life in the "streets" of the Metro underground, there's quite a lot of turmoil to deal with. Above-ground, nuclear fallout is responsible for horrifying mutants--and poisonous air that kills without an air filter. The irradiated fallout provides Metro some of its most exhilarating moments. As you traverse the destroyed Russian cityscape, you'll be constantly pressed for air filters. Lasting only a few minutes, the game forces you to be mindful--and incredibly resourceful, scavenging bodies and searching hidden corners for every last filter you can find.

Although there are some knuckle-biting moments fighting mutants, I found myself enjoying the challenge of fighting against human enemies far more. While the monsters overwhelm with brute force, the human opponents of Metro are much more cunning. The AI feels incredibly responsive to your actions. If you're ever detected, you'll see the AI moving foes into cover, looking for opportunities to flank you. As their numbers whittle down, you'll see them adjust their tactics. One time, I was especially impressed to see that two enemies were scanning the area with their flashlight, as they walked around backs against each other. Seeing the AI constantly engaging with new tactics makes combat utterly satisfying.

With a beautiful distopyian sci-fi setting, and an interesting mix of human and mutant enemies to fight, Metro: Last Light perfects the formula that Valve introduced in Half-Life. And given the studio's silence on Episode 3, Last Light may be the closest thing we'll get to a proper Half-Life follow-up. That's not meant as a mark against 4A's talent--rather, it's proof that Metro: Last Light is shaping up to be something rather remarkable.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

With PAX East kicking off tomorrow, half of this week's news has revolved around the expo organised by Penny Arcade, the games you can see there and the games you can play. Most fitting of all is the debut trailer, however, is the release of the debut trailer for Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4, the retro RPG created by the webcomic gang and made by Cthulhu Saves the World developer Zeboyd Games.

Zeboyd's going a bit more open-world and non-linear for its second entry in the series, which it took over from Hothead Games, with alternate routes and secrets. The studio also had a bit more influence on its story, as this time it wasn't already planned before it started.

This time around, you can recruit and train monsters to fight for you too. Gotta catch 'em all!

PAOTRSPOD4 is due to launch this spring on PC and Xbox Live Indie Games, priced at $5.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Hey, you! Have you played Natural Selection 2 yet? If you fancy giving the FPS-RTS a go, today's your lucky day, as it'll be free for all and sundry to try and play on Steam from this morning until Sunday. To put a cherry on top, developer Unknown Worlds is cutting the price by 50% for the weekend too, bringing it down to $12.50.

From 10 a.m. PT today, everyone will be able to download NS2 through Steam and play until 1pm PDT on Sunday. The 50 percent discount will run all the way through to 10 a.m. PT on Monday.

Unknown Worlds released NS2's biggest update ever at the end of February, so if you heard about the game during its long pre-order beta period or at launch, hey, it's a bit different now.

Here's an exciting new trailer to celebrate the event:

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

It is happening again. It is happening... again. So put on a pot of coffee (watch for fish in the percolator!), start baking cherry pie, and dust off your log, as the small town of Twin Pe-, ah, Greenvale is about to be rocked by a horrific series of murders. The remarkably wonky but thoroughly delightful Twin Peaks-inspired survival horror Deadly Premonition will arrive on PlayStation 3 in Director's Cut form on April 30, publisher Rising Star Games has formally confirmed.

That date had hung in the air before, taunting us in strange dreams, but now it's proper official with a press release to announce it and everything.

Deadly Premonition is an open-world survival horror which sees a small town in the Pacific Northwest struck by a ritualistic serial killer. Stepping into the series of an unconventional FBI agent, you have to solve the mystery but can also faff about with weird and wonderful side-quests involving the town's unusual inhabitants. I once stole cigarettes from a dog.

Deadly Premonition was originally released in North America in 2010 only on Xbox 360, though a PlayStation 3 edition was made and released in Japan. To make up for the wait, the PS3 edition is a Director's Cut jazzed up with improved graphics and controls, a new scenario, and the promise of DLC which will "Expand the mystery beyond the original game and let Agent York (and Zach) live it up in Greenvale." Gosh, I don't want to need to buy a PS3 for this.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Apparently, Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite is something of a franken-woman. According to a new video released by Irrational Games, her character was constructed from four different people. Courtnee Draper gives her her voice, while Heather Gordon is her motion capture actress. Character motivations come from level designer Amanda Jeffrey, while her real-life persona from Russian cosplay personality Anna "Omerli" Moleva.

You'll get to see Elizabeth in action when the game comes out on Tuesday for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Mobile developer NimbleBit has announced its next game, an action RPG called Nimble Quest. The game is coming to iOS and the Mac App Store on March 28, and an Android version will follow some time in April.

You steer a line of heroes with various powers to cut through enemies, increase your skills, and grow your party size. It looks a bit like the classic game Snake mixed with a rogue-like. The announcement also mentions the ability to join a Guild and compete with other players in specially timed Guild Quests.

NimbleBit made its name on the mobile game Tiny Tower, which was named Apple's iPhone Game of the Year. The company subsequently sent a sarcastic thank-you to Zynga for cloning its concept, and went on to make Pocket Planes.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Level-5 and Sony's PS3-exclusive White Knight Chronicles franchise never attracted the same kind of fanbase of, say, Demon's Souls. So, the online servers for both WKC 1 and 2 are being closed rather unceremoniously on June 18th.

A notice on the forums confirms the date, and notes that offline play will be unaffected by the server closure. "Thank you for your support till now. We hope you will still enjoy playing offline," the posting says.

Although the post only mentions the first game, its sequel will also be shut down on the same day, according to a tweet from the PlayStation account.

...