Bulletstorm demo in Crysis on XBL

A couple of demos have showed up on Xbox Live, one of them expected, the other I had no idea about. So imagine the gleeful surprise when I checked Xbox.com a few minutes ago and found not only the Bulletstorm demo but an 360-exclusive Crysis 2 multiplayer beta. Expect to a bit of a wait and almost 3GB of space disappear off your HDD however but neither games run on engines that scrimp on graphics. But hey, I can live with that for gorgeous visuals. The write up for Crysis 2 states “The next big leap in multiplayer gives you nearly unlimited ways to approach the dynamic combat environment,” or in other words, “bye bye social life, hello frag-fest.”

For Bulletstorm, you’ll play through the Collapsed Building level in Echo mode, comparing your scores and skillshots to those on your friends list. In order to nab those all important rights to brag among friends, kill the enemy as creatively as you can. I’m up for that! Though it’ll sadly not be for a good few hours yet. The demo comes to the PlayStation 3 tomorrow.

Add the Bulletstorm demo to your download queue from here or the Crysis 2 beta here.

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Christmas and canines come to Fable III

It’s no secret that Fable III had one or two issues. Starting like a dream and ending with a whimper, the one constant feature throughout the game was its dog. Not as much of a star as your faithful companion in the second game but still a loveable addition. If you’re still playing Lionhead’s third romp through Albion and find the choice of canines a tad tiresome, the Dog Breed Pack DLC could offer a helping hand. Or is that paw? No, that’s a terrible pun… Anyway, the add-on costing 240 MS Points (£2.06/€2.88/$3) turns that pooch into either a Doberman, Poodle or German Shepard. I don’t imagine this being a hugely popular download nor do I think anyone would ever use the Poodle for anything other than comically ironic purposes but the Doberman looks menacingly cool.

For the game’s King or Queen, a free Santa hat is available now to spread a bit of Christmas cheer to your citizens. Though it would need a hell of a lot of cheer to bring smiles back to my loyal subjects. They hate me! That’s what I get for being the good guy huh?

Xbox Fall update goes live tomorrow, November 1st

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remember, remember the 1st of November. Or is it the 5th? Doesn’t matter, as of tomorrow, the start of 2010’s penultimate month, Microsoft will be rolling out their Fall update to everyone connected to Live. And a lot of changes come with it like those odd little Avatars being re-shaped to be more proportional, readying them for Kinect. Which, as it happens, is one of the big reasons for the Fall update because from tomorrow, our Xbow 360’s will have full Kinect support ready for the device’s arrival on November 4th in US and 10th in Europe.

But it’s not just about motion-controls, Microsoft’s seasonal update modernises the user interface (okay, that has a little to do with Kinect), improves navigation and responsiveness of said UI and cleans up the audio for Party chat. The dashboard’s QWERTY keyboard has been made easier to use and Xbox Live Marketplace has also received its fair share of refurbishment, limiting the amount of needless steps taken to get to the store’s actual content.

Other such niceties coming with the Fall update can be seen in the video above and Microsoft claim it will only take between five and ten minutes to download and install. I hope so as I do hate waiting for systems to update (PS3 I’m looking at you!)

Deal or no deal?

Rather than spooning out discounts on games that you’re not really that interested in (like normal), Microsoft are giving Gold subscribers the chance to vote on what they want to see as an October Deal of the Week. The screenshot above (from Major Nelson) shows all the reductions to choose from including a third off Deathspank, Perfect Dark for half price and some healthy savings on a lot of Dragon Age‘s DLC. What gets my vote is a third off Trials HD making it 800 MS Points (£6.85/€9.60/$10). I already have the game so won’t benefit from the saving but it’s so freaking good that if it encourages more people to buy it, then that’s more people enjoying the madness. The specific date as to when this deal will take place is yet to be announced which is a bit of a bummer but at least we know it’s in the month of October. Voting takes place via the Spotlight channel on your Xbox 360 dashboards.

Halo: Reach leaked onto Torrent sites

Bungie’s highly anticipated Halo: Reach has found itself in the hands of some cheeky modders who were able to hack their way into a secure part of Xbox Live Marketplace and download the game. Microsoft uploaded the full game for the benefit of reviewers before the September 14th release date but these crafty so and sos found a way in: “So after alot of .xex cracking etc.. Me and my team finally did it, we got Halo: Reach! This is not released for public, and we are not really planning on releasing either.

Microsoft told IGN, who reported the leak, that they are “aggressively” looking into such claims and have no further comment. Despite the ‘kindness’ of the modding team’s spokesperson to not release the game, clearly one of the hackers disagreed. After a quick google search, Halo: Reach can be found on various BitTorren sites, making the situation far worse than Microsoft could have originally imagined. Of course, anyone caught playing the game early will be severely banned from Xbox Live but the story could still be ruined for fans awaiting to see the downfall of Reach. Bungie forum moderators issued a warning saying “The moderation team is doing their best, but if you want to stay 100% spoiler free, our best advice is to ‘go dark’ by staying off all internet gaming forums until you have played through the game!”

H.A.W.X 2 demo live on Live

While we wait for the next Ace Combat to quench the thirst for aerial combat, whistles can be well and truly wetted with the demo (and eventually full game) of Ubisoft’s H.A.W.X 2, out today on Xbox Live and tomorrow on PSN in the US and Wednesday 18th for Europe. Two single player missions are on offer showing the multinational story line and differing terrains. The first sees players as a Russian pilot intercepting a group of stolen aircraft over the Caucasus Mountains whereas the second is set at night as an elite US HAWX fighter starts the mission onboard an aircraft carrier and ends with the destruction of a weapons smuggling operation.

The full game is landing (sorry) September 3rd in Europe and 7th in America for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.