High Definition Update to San Andreas Coming to Xbox 360 Next Week

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Rockstar Games slid a little love to Xbox 360 owners still looking to squeeze a little life out of their 8 year old consoles. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will be made available on the Xbox 360’s Games on Demand service with enhanced HD visuals at 720p resolution featuring enhanced draw distance and achievement support with 11 achievements. The game will launch on October 26, 10 years to the date of the game’s original debut.

This is not the first time that GTA: San Andreas will grace the Xbox 360 as the game was made available as an Xbox Originals download, which was recently de-listed. Priced at $14.99, the new version will not be compatible with Xbox Originals save files and there is no official word on release on any other systems beyond the Xbox 360.

The release coincides with special San Andreas themed events being held in Grand Theft Auto V’s GTA Online.

Many regard San Andreas as one of the best titles in the critically acclaimed franchise and it certainly benefits from much of the growth during the GTA3 era. I personally am intrigued with the HD improvements as I only played through about two-thirds of the original launch on PS2. A return to the original Grove Street would be a fun distraction and certainly feed into my completionist nature.

Rockstar Support – Games on Demand GTA: San Andreas Replacing Xbox Originals Version

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Dance Central Spotlight to Launch September 2 at $9.99

Dance Central SpotlightHarmonix Studios’ next Dance Central title, Dance Central Spotlight, will debut on September 2 at a very friendly price of $9.99. This is the debut Dance Central title on the Xbox One, a series that garnered near-unanimous praise on the original Kinect.

Dance Central Spotlight will include 10 tracks and routines with more than 50 more tracks available as DLC at launch. The tracks included with the launch package are confirmed as:

  • Avicii – Wake Me Up
  • Cher Lloyd – I Wish
  • David Guetta ft. Sia – Titanium
  • Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz – Talk Dirty
  • Kid Ink ft. Chris Brown – Show Me
  • Lorde – Royals
  • OneRepublic – Counting Stars
  • Pharrell Williams – Happy
  • Rhianna – Diamonds
  • Will.I.Am ft. Justin Bieber – #thatPOWER

It’s a solid list of songs of dance/pop chart-toppers. Honestly, Harmonix has made Dance Central Spotlight attractive with both a starter set-list of recognizable hits and a ridiculously low price point of $9.99. It almost doesn’t matter how much additional tracks cost, because purchasers are already making out with a solid game and great songs to dance to with friends.

Even with the initial launch support with the additional tracks, Harmonix has also stated that any DLC purchases for previous Dance Central titles on the Xbox 360 will be transferable to Spotlight owners for free. I hope that they will also make available on-disc songs from previous games, transferring them like they did for their Rock Band franchise.

Polygon – Dance Central Spotlight launches Sept. 2 on Xbox One for $9.99

Midweek Timewaster – C4 + Xbox 360 + Ultra Slo-Mo Camera

RatedRR, a YouTube channel specializing in destroying tech with high powered weaponry, is sending off the Xbox 360 into the sunset. By obliterating it with C4.

I can’t help but be thankful that somebody has the time and resources to destroy broken, outgoing technology. Viewing the explosions in ultra slow motion make the disintegration of that seven year old console even more fascinating. All the consoles are red-ringed, so their deaths comes with just a touch of vindication.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD Due Early 2014

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD

UbiSoft’s previously PS Vita exclusive Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is set to make its HD remaster debut on current generation consoles early 2014. While no Xbox 360 release date is being slated beyond “early 2014,” the hit Vita title from 2012 is set to launch on PlayStation 3 January 14 and Windows PC January 15.

AC: Liberation was praised for its bold narrative, a story centering around the assassin Aveline, a half French half African-American woman in the years preceding the American Revolutionary War in Louisiana. It was certainly a game that caught my attention, in particular for its tone and setting coupled with the fact that it is the best looking mobile version of Assassin’s Creed to date. I had previously been holding out for a console release as many viewed the game as solid, but something that would ultimately benefit from seeing a console release.

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD

I am a little concerned at the lack of a immediate release date for the Xbox 360 as UbiSoft has been making a conscious effort to distance itself from Microsoft. What started as time-based exclusivity on DLC for games like Watch_Dogs has extended to franchises that have performed well on the Xbox brand, including Assassin’s Creed. Further muddling the relationship is that the Xbox One’s software status seems to be pushing forward while UbiSoft is mired in delays with their next generation fare, especially with the company’s push for support in Sony’s PlayStation 4.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation has a base price of $19.99 and includes a special promotion of a $5 discount with the purchase of the Assassin’s Creed IV DLC season pass.

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD

This Week in Gaming: August 26, 2013 – Sony on the Offensive

Xbox 360

With only a few more months until the new console launches from Sony and Microsoft, I think my seventh generation consoles sensed the writing on the wall. First my PS3 decided to die on me with a optical drive failure last spring. Now it seems my Xbox 360 is joining my PS3 in the ward for partially crippled consoles. My 360, the longest tenured and steadfast of my entertainment setup, suffered incapacitation at the hands of a eject function failure. Both consoles still effectively function, but the loss of my entire physical collection of games is too much to handle, especially with the massive lineup for Fall (and a little game called GTAV).

I guess I can play the Wii to tide me over.

Sony launches an offensive volley from GamesCom

PS4: Greatness Awaits

Although I speculated last week that Sony would sit on the launch date for their PS4, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sony will begin sales on the PS4 November 15th in North America (Nov 29 for Europe). The date comes at a time where Microsoft is expected to have a late November launch, giving Sony at least two weeks alone in stores. Not that it matters, with Sony PS4s being reportedly pre-ordered at a higher rate than the Xbox One.

In fact, it appeared that Sony is sticking with the battle strategy of “we’re not Microsoft,” despite Microsoft’s change in attitude and improved public reception. Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Andrew House took the stage at GamesCom and said, “While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining a message that is fair and in tune with consumer desires.” I can’t fault Sony from taking the approach because it so far has masked their weaker initial software lineup and put them in a position of advantage while Microsoft scrambled to regain its footing.

Andrew House

I hope for both Sony’s and the overall growth of the industry that they strive to be more than just not being Microsoft because ultimately, there will be a push for more digital content. Ideally there will be tools created that can accomplish both a reasonable amount of things gamers desire like game sharing and purchasing options while allowing manufacturers to find success in new technologies in digital delivery and ownership rights. We might be a ways off from that but it won’t be because it was better to play it safe. Continue reading

Xbox One – Microsoft’s Diff’rent Strokes

As I wake up this morning, I find myself on the fence. Yesterday, at a controlled presentation from their Redmond campus, Microsoft finally unveiled their mythical Durango project: the Xbox One. Taking the box portion of their moniker fairly literally, the third entry into the Xbox family promises improved performance for games, beefy software based on Windows 8, Kinect 2.0 and a plethora of entertainment media offerings. Yet aside from showing off the impressive multitasking capability, the speed of the new console and the exclusive relationships with new media giants, I can’t bring myself to fully accept the Xbox One.

Xbox One

See, I have supported the Xbox brand faithfully since the winter of 2001, during its original launch window. That Xbox still sits under a 20″ CRT television and still works reasonably well. I also have owned the Xbox 360 since its first year and to this day I consider it my primary console.

I was awake early for Microsoft’s presser (I streamed it live over my Xbox 360), and I found myself getting anxious in anticipation of the new features, the new games, the new technology that Microsoft crammed into their shiny new console. But when all was said and done, I wasn’t even sure what to take away from the showing. All I knew was the name caught me off guard, the console was there to see, some new features were shown and a couple of pseudo-announcements were made.

What’s in the box!?!

Xbox One Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Things Learned from the Xbox 360

We’ve spent a long time with the Xbox 360. That sturdy little machine has chugged along steadily over the past seven years and it just might go down as the most successful, but under-appreciated consoles of all time. The Xbox 360 didn’t do a lot of things that one would consider revolutionary or game changing, but it managed to do a lot of things right. Microsoft may not have a reputation for being perfect (far from it), but they do have a knack for learning from their mistakes. Just look at the original Xbox. Microsoft managed to take that behemoth of a machine and streamline the best parts of it (internal hard drive, broadband online play, high definition output) in creating the Xbox 360.

Sure, the system caught a lot of flak for the infamous Red Ring of Death and the early models propensity for overheating, but Microsoft slowly tweaked both the hardware and software of the Xbox 360 to create a simple to use, well performing gaming console that often managed to outperform the beefier PlayStation 3.

So now that the curtain has been lifted on the Xbox One, lets take a look back at some lessons to take away from Microsoft’s second console.

10. Make sure you choose a solid medium

HD DVD Player

What was hailed as VHS versus Betamax round two, the debate between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD was less of a war and more of a schoolyard bully. Sony beat up poor Toshiba in this fight over a pudding cup, it’s just too bad Microsoft sided with Toshiba and created the HD-DVD player attachment for the Xbox 360. To be fair, I would never expect Microsoft to openly support Sony unless cornered into it (like 2013). And while Toshiba’s HD-DVD went out with a whimper in a matter of months, at least HD-DVD player owners will have their copy of Peter Jackson’s King Kong to stink up a room more than their poor choice in High Definition video. Continue reading