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Joystiq Weekly: Free stuff for AC: Unity, Telltale's Borderlands review, a Zelda story and more

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Welcome to Joystiq Weekly, a "too long; didn't read" of each week's biggest stories, reviews and original content. Each category's top story is introduced with a reactionary gif, because moving pictures aren't just for The Daily Prophet.
Oh wow, look at that scenic view from every retail store in the United States! Hopefully everyone survived Black Friday, an annual, nationwide recreation of that Lion King stampede scene where customers are unwavering bringers of death and retail employees are terrified reincarnations of Simba. We understand the thought process though – cheap video games and consoles are awesome!

While you're mending your wounds, whether they were sustained physically or through your wallet, you can catch up on the past week's worth of prominent news with the Joystiq Weekly. News of free vouchers for Vita owners, free games for Assassin's Creed: Unity season pass owners, reviews of Assassin's Creed Rogue and Tales from the Borderlands, a spoken tale of a staff member's first journey to obtain The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and more is all waiting for you after the break!


News
  • Assassin's Creed: Unity hasn't enjoyed a smooth launch, but developer and publisher Ubisoft has decided to do more to address the situation than just releasing correctional patches. Fans that have purchased Unity can eventually help themselves to free Dead Kings DLC, while those who have purchased Unity's season pass can pick a free game from one of several options.
  • AC: Unity isn't the only prominent, broken-at-launch game in recent memory – Halo: The Master Chief Collection has seen several patches of its own, with this week's focusing on improving stability, matchmaking and other issues. Bonnie Ross, head of The Master Chief Collection developer 343 Industries, has vowed to make up for the trouble faced by fans once the game has reached a stable state.
  • We have to wait until June 2 to don Bats' ears and cape in Batman: Arkham Knight, but a new trailer cut together from gameplay should help hold us over. Or make the wait more noticeable, one or the other.
  • This week's trailer for Destiny's The Dark Below wasn't made out of gameplay, but its glimpse of the DLC's intro cinematic isn't exactly tough to watch.
  • The Vita is a nifty piece of hardware, but as Sony Computer Entertainment America learned this week, toting it as something that would revolutionize gaming mobility is a little much. Sony's settlement with the FTC over misleading ads will result in partial refunds and vouchers for those that purchased Vitas between late 2011 and early 2012.
  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin's April 7, 2015 arrival on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One will mark the game's first appearance on current-generation hardware, but it's a little more than another re-release. While enhanced graphics and a boosted max number of online players will be present on recently-launched platforms, an expanded story, new NPCs and more will be made available both in Scholars of the First Sin and eventually in the original release via patch.
  • At the time of this writing, $434,743 has been gathered to fund the development of Thimbleweed Park, a new 2D adventure game from Maniac Mansion designers Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick. Backers have surpassed stretch goals for several translations, including a take from Monkey Island's German translator Boris Schneider-Johne, but iOS and Android versions of Thimbleweed Park are currently out of reach at $525,000.
  • In what seems like a wise effort to play to their current strengths, Sony has announced intentions to shift away from TVs and smartphones to instead focus on its PlayStation brand. The company's three-year plan estimates a $13.6 billion (25 percent) boost of sales for the PlayStation division.
  • The next course of games for PlayStation Plus members was revealed this week – PS4 users can pick up Injustice: Gods Among Us and Secret Ponchos, while PS3 fans can download Hitman HD Trilogy and Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut. Vita owners can also snatch Titan Attacks and Final Horizon.
  • Xbox Live Gold members aren't left out in the cold, of course – Worms: Battlegrounds will be offered to Xbox One users throughout December, while Xbox 360 owners will have the first half of the month to grab the point-and-click The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief, with SSX swapping itself in for the second half.

Reviews
  • Feature Content Director Xav De Matos sailed through Assassin's Creed Rogue, finding this year's dose of the franchise on the Xbox 360 and PS3 to be "essentially a clone of Black Flag's setting and systems." With a short campaign, absence of multiplayer and a lack of ideas, Xav wrapped his thoughts with a comparison: "If Abstergo Entertainment is a parody of Ubisoft, Rogue is its Animus - you're just replaying old memories."
  • Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is Sierra and Activision's continuation of Bizarre Creations' vivid twin-stick shooter series. Contributing Editor Sinan Kubba's review found its 50-stage Adventure mode to work "sublimely" with its emphasis of exploration, but he also noticed the absence of GW2's incessant push for leaderboard competitions. Sinan concludes that GW3 is "not exactly what came before," but that it "earns its name, riffing, mixing and adding enough to satiate a thirst for intoxicating shoot-em-up."
  • Reviews Content Director Richard Mitchell tried his hand at surviving Pandora in Tales from the Borderlands, Telltale Games' narrative-driven adaptation of the Borderlands series. While Richard feels that Telltale's graphical efforts are "starting to look very dated," he found Tales' debut episode to provide a "creative, playful and often laugh-out-loud adventure."
  • Contributing Editor Mike Suszek donned his wrestling costume and hopped into WWE 2K15's ring, finding its graphical upgrades to be 2K15's most impressive improvement. However, Mike noted that "the action between the ropes isn't up to the same standards as the visual presentation," calling out a key reversal system with difficult-to-read timing demands. That issue magnifies with the latency of online matches, and a QTE-like chain wrestling mechanic doesn't help things either. Suszek describes 2K15 as a "severe disappointment" and, with the series' annual nature in mind, a game "worth skipping this year."
Original Features
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a special game to a lot of people, but Reviews Content Director Richard Mitchell recently shared the story of his slippery venture to grab his first copy of the game. Richard's tale is presented in a radio interview format, complete with support from Community Manager Anthony John Agnello and Zelda-themed backing tracks.
  • Nintendo's most famous dual-screen device, the Nintendo DS, turned 10 years old earlier this month. To celebrate its double-digit milestone, the Joystiq Staff recalled 10 games that will help the device transition to a more mature part of life ... you know, like the preteen era.
  • Before we get ready to start ranking and arguing about the greatest games of 2014, we took a moment to look back on our top three victors from the Game of the Year rounds in 2006-2008.
[Image: Bethesda]

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