Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Now that Steam's all couch-friendly thanks to Big Picture mode, it'd be nice if more games were reconfigured for slouching. Oh, what luck! Just after I write that sentence apropos of nothing, I notice that Valve has released a Portal 2 patch enabling split-screen co-op in its puzzle 'em up.

Portal 2's console edition came with split-screen co-op options but it was never officially supported on PC. Cunning fans had managed to tweak and cajole the game into supporting split-screen, but poking around in config files is not for everyone. Now, all you need to do is play with two controllers in Big Picture mode, which is easy enough.

The patch notes have a little more information, and details two fixes too.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Stompy, stompy, Late Night Computing is here for November 20, 2012.

The Walking Dead isn't out for me until tomorrow, so it looks like I'm hitting the battlefield of MechWarrior Online to test out the brand new Cataphract. I've been running the first hero mech in the Yen-Lo-Wang, a Centurion-class mech, and doing pretty well. The C-bill boost is probably the best part about that mech at the moment, helping me to quickly rebuild my reserve since the open beta reset. What type of mech are you running?

News bits.

  • Electronic Arts keeps the hockey season alive as the strike carries on with their NHL 13 simulated Week 7 highlight reel. [via Youtube]

  • Use your gaming skills to become a modern surgeon. Though, before you apply to medical school, find your old Operation! set and see how you fare. [via ArsTechnica]

  • Continuing the weeks Twinkie craze, Business Week investigates the real reasons behind the bankruptcy. [via BusinessWeek]

  • Syfy reboots Battle Bots as the Robot Combat League. Hugh Jackman seen working out in the background. [via Entertainment Weekly]

  • Popular Science takes a look at the Israeli Iron Dome system, which helps to knock incoming missiles out of the sky. [via Popular Science]

Chatty posts of the moment.

Make sure you log-in and check your filters if you can't see the following:

  • Just...read this post. valcan_s shows off Hitman: Absolution on his powerful gaming PC with the details cranked to the max. And it looks amazing. [by valcan_s]

  • "This really has been the year of stealth games. It is a good time to be alive! Between Dishonored, Mark of the Ninja, Hitman: Absolution, and Batman: Arkham City (although that was technically 2011), we have a healthy mix of original and franchise stealth games. I used to think of the sub genre as lacking the attention of developers, but this year has turned that opinion around. I hope the trend continues. What are some other great stealth games or series?" [by amrbean]

Nightly file.

  • Planetside 2 client downloader 1.0 "PlanetSide 2 is a Massively Multiplayer first person shooter that delivers truly epic, massive combat on a scale never before seen in stunning, breathtaking detail. Battles take place not between dozens of troops, but thousands; with air and ground vehicles slugging it out alongside squads of troops. Whether in open fields, tightly-packed urban centers or enormous structures, winning requires strategic teamwork and a quick trigger finger." Download the client for Windows.

Media.

DmC: Devil May Cry demo trailer:

Get your hands on Dante with the DmC: Devil May Cry demo, available now.

NBA 2K13 launches for the WiiU with a celebatory trailer, watch the full Halo 4 Spartan Ops Episode 3 cinematic, see what Tripwire Interactive is releasing for free this fall with a new Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad trailer, and Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse launches with a new trailer.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Adventure studio Telltale Games has a bona fide hit on its hands in The Walking Dead, and the company has now announced it is expanding to handle a larger workload. This spring, Telltale will begin an expansion plan that will continue through the next few years.

The expansion applies to both the physical space and number of employees. It has signed a lease on a new office with nearly double the space, and the new building will support up to 160 employees compared to its current 125. The company says it will be expanding its staff over the next few years. This is after the studio has already doubled in size over the past two years.

"We've maxed out where we're at," CEO and co-founder Dan Connors told the North Bay Business Journal (via Develop). "Civic Center will give us room we need to grow our team and take on more projects on a yearly basis."

One of those projects will certainly be Season Two of The Walking Dead. The Season One finale, No Time Left, is debuting this week. Check out our review for more details.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

A nuclear testing town will never be the most stable of places, but Nuketown 2025 has had a right old time of things these past few days. Touted as a pre-order bonus for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the revamp of classic Cod Blops map Nuketown was pulled from rotation yesterday, only to return in a new playlist following complaints from fans.

Cod Blops 2 had a special non-stop Nuketown 2025 playlist, but that was pulled when the launch weekend double XP event ended yesterday. With the playlist gone, it was only be playable in custom games, which are cut off from player progression tracks. Treyarch game design director David Vonderhaar said on Twitter that it'd return "for special events," but players wanted more.

"By popular demand," Nuketown 2025 returned today in a new playlist titled Chaos Moshpit, which also includes the maps Carrier, Cargo, Express, Hijacked, Slums, and Standoff.

And who said complaining on the Internet never gets you anywhere? Me, probably, at some point. Let's make that "almost never gets you anywhere."

Shacknews - John Keefer

Far Cry 3's single-player has been the focus of much of the news coming out of Ubisoft as the game approaches release on December 4. But a new trailer offers a glimpse of the new multiplayer modes, and a fun little side perk of letting the winning team's best player choose the fate of the best losing player.

In Firestorm mode, you need to set fire to enemy's supply nodes at the same time and then capture a radio transmitter. In Transmission mode, players must capture propaganda and keep them from becoming active.

The game will be available for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Shacknews - Ryan Calavano

The original Borderlands was lauded for its diverse and well-designed downloadable content packs. Campaign of Carnage for Borderlands 2 isn't great, but a subversive twist wrapped in some over-the-top boss fights should be enough to satisfy.

Then, The Walking Dead is easily one of the most focused and cohesive adventure game we've played to date. More importantly, it's a story that invites discussion and dissection, and a credit to the narrative power of video games. Those interested in these electronic diversions as a storytelling medium simply need to experience it. The final episode is out today.

Finally, we've said it before, and we'll say it again: PlayStation All-Stars is not Smash Bros. Battle Royale fills a niche in PlayStation's lineup, and it does a good enough job at offering a party-oriented fighting experience. There's a long list of things that should be improved for a sequel, but it's certainly fun enough for a first outing in the franchise.

You can also watch this episode on YouTube. And, don't forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes as they go up. We'll be back after the Thanksgiving break on November 26th.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

We've been bombarded with so many software updates from Sony over the past few years, that we've forgotten what it's like to get an update that actually makes the user experience significantly better. Firmware 2.00 for Vita is one of those rare transformative updates that makes using the system so much better.

Multitasking

I'm a big fan of the Vita OS, thanks to its WebOS-esque card system. In theory, the card system makes it easy for you to switch between ongoing applications. At release, Vita could run a game and a few background processes, such as Skype. With 2.00, you'll be able to have numerous programs open, all without ever stopping your game. I could quickly jump out of a game of Plants vs Zombies, read a few tweets, check my email, browse the web, and jump back into the game without a hitch.

The new Vita browser is terrific

Internet Browser

The internet browser that originally shipped with the Vita was terrible. It struggled to render even the simplest of sites, ironically choking on graphically-intense sites like PlayStation's own official website. The new browser is fast, responsive, and renders pages nearly-instantly. We loaded up Shacknews without a hitch.

Not only is the browser much better at rendering HTML5, it also takes far less memory on the Vita. Before 2.00, you couldn't have much else running on the Vita when you opened the browser. Now, you'll be able to play a game and have the browser open--pretty crucial if you're looking up trophy requirements.

The e-mail client is easy to set up, but lacks features

E-mail Client

Firmware 2.00 adds a brand new icon to your handheld: e-mail! There are a few things I like about this app. Firstly, it's incredibly easy to setup. If you have a Yahoo or Gmail account, you simply type in your username and password, and it will automatically download all your messages. When you have the app suspended, you'll see a notification telling you how many new messages are in your inbox. And, you'll even get system notifications when a new e-mail comes in. It's pretty nifty.

However, the client itself is quite lacking. Vita doesn't support HTML mail, meaning many messages simply won't render. Some attachments, like images, can be downloaded to your system. But many others (like the .doc pictured above) will not work. It's nice to see Sony slowly making Vita more like a smartphone, but this will likely be a feature few will use regularly.

Wireless content transfers are easy to use

Content Management

One of the biggest nuisances of Vita is the need to use a proprietary USB cable. Before 2.00, you'd always need to carry the cable around if you wanted to transfer content between your PC and Vita. The firmware update introduces the ability to make wireless transfers. So long as your computer and Vita are running on the same wireless network, you'll be able to easily establish a handshake between the two devices and start transferring data.

The process is incredibly easy, but do note that you may need to update the Content Manager Assistant on your PC before getting it to work.

These tricks are no longer a secret

Near makes a little bit more sense with this update

Better Instruction

Sony has always struggled to clearly communicate many of the features hidden in its hardware. Did you know you can set upscaling options for PSone games, for example? With firmware 2.00, you'll get one-time notices that tell you some nifty tricks on how to make the best out of your Vita. For example, in the image, you'll see how launching a PSP game will tell you how to access the Vita's secret menu for PSP games.

Near, Vita's confusing social network, is made a little less confusing this time around. Now, you'll actually find out what Near can do. And, the updated UI is far easier to understand. Go! Find new friends and download location-based gifts without having to scratch your head.

PlayStation Plus members get cloud storage

PlayStation Plus

In spite of all these updates, perhaps the one people are most excited about are the features exclusive to PlayStation Plus members. Yes, starting today, you'll get access to the Vita Instant Game Collection as part of the $50 annual membership fee. However, there are a few other nifty features you can take advantage of.

So long as your system is in Sleep mode (not fully turned off), you'll be able to schedule automatic trophy transfers, for example. You'll also be able to transfer data to and from 1GB of dedicated cloud storage. Unsurprisingly, this space is reserved exclusively for save data (pictured above). However, I would've loved to be able to transfer pictures, MP3s, etc. onto that space as well.

Conclusion

Vita 2.00 is a much improved experience over the launch system. While an updated operating system is unlikely to make gamers want to buy the system all of a sudden, there's a lot more reason to be excited about owning a Vita. In conjunction with the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection, there's never been a better time to have Sony's latest handheld system.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Bayonetta's planned cameo in Anarchy Reigns has been confirmed as a retailer-exclusive pre-order bonus. Sega announced today that pre-ordering the game at GameStop nets you the hair-witch, as well as two extra multiplayer modes.

Mad Survival is like the regular wave-based Survival mode, but against stronger playable characters from the game. Dogfight has you hang from helicopters and hit each other with bullets until one of you falls off.

Anarchy Reigns is set for release on January 8, after an odd delay from Sega. It will cost $29.99.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Halfbrick's hit mobile game Jetpack Joyride is coming to PlayStation systems today, including the PlayStation 3, Vita, and even the PSP. It's being categorized as a PlayStation Mini, and includes the bells and whistles of the popular iOS and Android versions--for a higher price.

According to the PlayStation.Blog, the game promises 12 jetpacks, more than a dozen costumes, and various Gadgets to buy from "the Stash." This version also revises the Gadgets into a tiered system, requiring you to work your way towards the more powerful Gadgets. You'll also have the Sansei look from the start, and a free Head Start, Quick Revive, and Final Blast utility available for each new game save data.

The game will cost you $3.99, which is pretty steep compared to its free status on iOS and Android.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Following last month's successful promotion, Sony is running a similar "spend X, get X credit" deal on PlayStation Network this week.

The promotion includes anything purchased with your wallet on the PlayStation Store, meaning you can buy games, movies, or TV shows and be eligible for the credit. Simply spend $60 on PSN from now until November 26th, and you'll earn a $10 bonus.

This offer coincides with the launch of additional "PS3 Ultimate Editions," full retail games that are bundled with DLC. You can see the entire list on the PlayStation.Blog.

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