There were plenty of releases on the Xbox Live Marketplace this week, and thanks to Major Nelson we can now easily compile it all for you en masse. Demos, trailers, Arcade games – you name it, you got it. Apologies if anything was missed, but there was an insane amount of content. Hit up the comments section if you like this story and would like to see a weekly round-up of downloadable content each week. And just as a warning: if lists irritate you, your head will likely explode if you check out the rest of the story after the break.
- NCAA Football 08
- Blue Dragon
- Ace Combat 6 (campaign)
- Stuntman: Ignition
- The Bigs
- Harry Potter OOTP
If you’re a JRPG fan with access to nothing more than an Xbox 360, then things have been a bit slow going. That’s an understatement… since release, you’ve gotten nothing more than Enchanted Arms, which is arguably not all that good. But worry not, because a JRPG is coming to the U.S. next month in the form of Blue Dragon. Originally released in Japan late last year, Blue Dragon has gotten a tremendous amount of attention due to Hironobu Sakaguchi –creator of the Final Fantasy series.
Those wanting to give Blue Dragon a try before plopping down the cash for a copy will have that opportunity, as a 1.1GB demo is going to be available for download from July 20 – August 3.
I’ve aired my concerns over Heavenly Sword, which by all indications looks to be nothing more than a game where you beat the hell out of enemies in a coliseum setting. We’ve been promised a lot more, but we haven’t seen much more, so I’ve been reserving my excitement for when we get to see some of the real meat of the game. Well, it looks like we’ll have that opportunity when a demo is released on the PlayStation Network in the “very near future,” whatever that means.
The head of production at developer Ninja Theory, Mat Hart, had this to say on the developer’s IGN blog:
I can confirm that we are, of course, going to be releasing a demo for Heavenly Sword - and soon! This will be downloadable via the Playstation Network, so keep an eye out for it in the very near future - and I mean very near future!
Maybe this will be something we’ll see next week during E3. We know that Microsoft will be releasing tons of Marketplace content during the event as it did last year, so perhaps this is Sony’s way of combating that. Keep your fingers crossed.
Over in Microsoft’s camp, chest thumping has commenced with their announcement of over 7,000 pieces of digital content for their burgeoning, yet still controversial – see Guitar Hero II, horse armor – Xbox Live Marketplace. The month of June will absolutely clobber their current video collection with brand new stuff.
Geneon/Funimation is preparing an all new addition to the Video Marketplace stable: Anime! Akira, Samurai 7, Basilisk, and Lupin the 3rd should be tempting you as early as next week. It’s said that more are to come soon, so let’s cross our fingers for HD Evangelion and Samurai Champloo, shall we?
MTV is offering a slate of Country Music Television programs to the table, including Comedy Stage, Foxworthy’s Big Night Out, and Prankville. Another slate comes from the networks gay/lesbian channel, Logo, offering up The Big Gay Sketch Show and Noah’s Arc. While it’s nice to see companies attempting to broaden the current demographic, one has to wonder how this kind of content will do on the notoriously immature Xbox Live service.
The obligatory new movies are also on their way: Pan’s Labyrinth, Dreamgirls, Shooter, Black Snake Moan, Team America: World Police, and Letters from Iwo Jima are all scheduled to arrive in June.
As if your Crackdown disc didn’t already have enough worth – it’s your key into the Halo 3 beta, after all – Microsoft and developer Real Time Worlds are planning on releasing nothing short of a mammoth load of content for the game. Through a combination of a title update and two content packs – one free, and one premium – there will be plenty of reasons to keep Crackdown in your 360 drive long after the Halo 3 beta ends.
Before getting into this laundry list of content, one nifty feature that has been implemented is basically a “try before you buy” system. Join up in a co-op game with someone that owns the “Getting’ Busy Bonus Pack” (the name of the 800 Microsoft Point premium content pack) and you’ll temporarily be given full access to everything included in the pack.
Read More | Major Nelson
GoldenEye 007 is one of those titles that most gamers have fond recollections of. Released in 1997, it was the first console FPS that really got it - that is, up until that point, everyone looked at FPSs as something that only worked on PCs. But with a solid combination of single player and multiplayer mayhem, it captured the hearts of N64 owners to the tune of eight million copies sold. It seems only natural that a classic of this caliber would eventually makes its way onto the Virtual Console.
But there’s one problem – when developer Rare was sold to Microsoft, the rights to the title became, as Rare put it, “… caught up in a convoluted web of rights the likes of which would make the Weaver from Perdido Street Station jealous. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, just that a lot of people with a lot of different perspectives are involved.”
The long-awaited Spring Update is finally set for launch tomorrow (Wednesday), with the headline feature being all-new Xbox Live integration with MSN/Windows Live Messenger. This is the third such major dashboard update in the life of the Xbox 360, and contains a long list of new features – but it’s ultimately the weakest of those three releases.
Being able to instant message while gaming, watching movies or doing whatever else on the 360 is certainly a nifty feature, but isn’t going to be worth taking advantage of for the average user – at least not until the mini-QWERTY keyboard is released. USB keyboard support is being added, but unless you’re sitting fairly close (or wireless keyboards are supported), you’ll be stuck typing with the virtual keyboard. And from having sent hundreds over messages over Live, let me say that using that is nothing short of an exercise in patience.
In addition to the IMing capabilities included in the update, the following features have been added:
- On-screen pop-ups that immediately display the name and gamerscore value of a just accomplished Achievement, allowing gamers to see their progress without leaving or pausing the game.
- An even safer way to communicate through Xbox LIVE with enhanced family settings that enable different default settings for video chat and voice chat.
- A new, standalone Xbox LIVE Marketplace blade houses all Xbox LIVE Marketplace content in one easy to navigate space.
- Xbox LIVE Arcade enhancements that showcase what games friends are playing directly from the friends list. Boasting about high scores, comparing progress and checking out leaderboards are all easier now as well.
- Faster access to free, trial version of Xbox LIVE Arcade games through an improved Auto Downloads feature.
- The ability to fast-forward, pause and rewind video as it is being downloaded on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
- Owners can now set their consoles to turn off after downloading content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace to help save energy, and download speeds have been increased.
The Marketplace blade will certainly be useful, but what Microsoft is really trying to do is simply make it as easy as possible for you to hand over those Microsoft Points. But the new Achievement notification will be sure to go over well, especially with me, as I’m the type of person who always checks out what achievement I just unlocked - even if I’m in a multiplayer game.
For more details on the free download and a full list of features, check out this page on Xbox.com.
As was rumored this past week, Double Dragon will be released on the Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday. It’ll be available at 2 a.m. PDT for a fee of 400 Microsoft Points, or $5 in non-virtual money.
It’ll ship with the standard Arcade fare of 12 achievements and 200 achievement points, graphical enhancements, and leaderboards. But the major benefit of picking up Double Dragon will be the two-player co-op, playable locally or over Xbox Live. For $5, you really can’t go wrong with this arcade classic.
Microsoft has also announced six other upcoming Arcade titles – only one of which is a port. Finally, another use for the Vision camera will be available with Spyglass Board Games, a collection of classic board games such as chess and checers. Video chat will be available in game, much in the same fashion that it is in Uno.
The full list of titles can be seen after the break.
Ubisoft has confirmed that the classic Konami arcade game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be coming to the Xbox Live Arcade in the near future. One of the best parts about the original arcade game was four-player support, and this will make its way over to the Xbox Live version, supporting co-op play locally or over Xbox Live. The game will sell for a mere 400 Points ($5) and should appear by the end of the month, to tie in with the upcoming movie release.
Read More | IGN
It looks like after Worms finally passed certification last week Microsoft put it on the fast track for release, as the title will be coming to Xbox Live Arcade next Wednesday for 800 Marketplace Points ($10). A Worms game online, on a big screen HDTV, supported by Xbox Live would seem to be a great match; hopefully the extra time in certification will mean that online play will be polished upon release.
The full press release continues below.