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Weekly Video Game News Round-Up: September 11th

Video Game News Reviews September 5-11 2011

Several major video games hit store shelves and download services this past week as we approach the beginnings of the exciting fall video game release season and along with a listing of these reviews, we have a pile of important news you may have missed.

In this week's weekly wrap-up, we talk about Madden NFL 12's success and season prediction, Star Trek Online becoming free-to-play, the potential for Steam on the Xbox 360, the next Legend of Zelda game and the franchise's 25th anniversary, a few more PS Vita games leaking, release dates for From Dust on PS3 and DLC for Fruit Ninja Kinect and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.

Video Game News

1. Madden NFL 12 open week sales and season simulation.

In its first week since release (Aug. 30 - Sept. 5), EA Sports saw success with their latest Madden NFL installment, managing to sell over 1.4 million copies in the opening week along, a pleasant 10% increase over last year. Users have taken advantage of the Madden Ultimate Team mode, purchasing over 200,000 in-game cards and tokens, helping the game bring in a 78% increase in digital content as well. Read our Madden NFL 12 review here.

As per tradition of EA Sports titles, a full season was simulated prior to this weekend's start of the regular season, and it predicted the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers continuing to dominate after their Super Bowl XLV match-up. For the full simulated season breakdown, click here.

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2. Star Trek Online goes Free-to-Play

Cryptic Studios, now part of Perfect World, is following in the footsteps of Lord of the Rings Online, Champions Online and Age of Conan by dropping subscription fees Star Trek Online and going free-to-play later this year. Anyone will be able to download and play for as long as they want without any commitment or subscriptions, partaking in weekly episodes and controlling their own ship, crew and more as they explore the Star Trek universe. Jack Emmert, CEO, Cryptic Studios:

"In addition to seeking out new life and exploring strange new civilizations, part of our continuing mission for Star Trek Online is to expand and improve. Transitioning to a free-to-play model is a natural way to share all we've built with a broader community of players and we couldn't be more excited."

For more on Star Trek Online going free, click here.

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3. Rumor Patrol: Steam coming to Xbox 360

Valve's Steam Support mentions “XBOX Support” which sparked rumors earlier this week that perhaps Valve and Microsoft had worked out a compromise for both sides that would see Steam finally make its way to Xbox 360, since it's already supported with multiplatform play on the PlayStation 3. It's more likely this is just to support Valve products that are available on the Xbox 360 and we don't expect Steam on the Xbox console anytime soon.

Source: TheSixthAxis

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4. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Cover Issue

Game Informer hinted that they'd be featuring another big name game on their October cover issue and it wasn't long before they confirmed it as The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This is fitting, considering we're celebrating the 25th anniversary of the franchise (can you believe it?) and the Game Informer issue is going all out for the special occasion with 24 pages dedicated to the series, 14 of which run down all of The Legend of Zelda games leading us up to Skyward Sword.

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Source: Game Informer

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5. More PlayStation Vita Games

The Nintendo 3DS suffered (and still suffers) from a small and weak games library so what is Sony going to do in order to avoid a similar issue? They'll start by bringing forty (40!) games to the Tokyo Games Show before the device even releases. Some of the unannounced gamers showed up in a recent issue of Famitsu: Lumines: Electronic Symphony, Rayman Origins, Michael Jackson The Experience HD, Dark Quest, Sumioni, Dream Club Zero Portable, Moe Moe Daisensou and Ragnarok Odyssey.

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6. From Dust on PlayStation 3

From Dust was a game that impressed us at E3, so much so that Game Rant nominated it for multiple awards, and crowing it the winner for Best Original Game of E3 2011. The God game from creator Eric Chahi released on XBLA back in July, on PC in August, and now it's official that it'll release on PSN on September 27, 2011.

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7. Downloadable DLC for Downloadable Games

Two neat downloadable games we enjoy at Game Rant are getting more content! Fruit Ninja Kinect is getting spaced-themed DLC, titled 'Space Capsule' for 160 Microsoft Points ($2) which brings players 50 achievements points to acquire, along with a new background, a new blade and a new silhouette.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is also getting DLC, titled 'Shadow Hunters' from FuelCell Games on Tuesday, September 13th, which takes place after the main campaign is complete and sees the player and alien allies (co-op!) take the fight to their rather dark invaders. Maps will seemingly be randomly generated on each playthrough.

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Be sure to check out all of our reviews for the week of September 5-11, 2011:

Game Reviews

Tech Reviews

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Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers Extend Conference Dominance According to EA SPORTS Madden NFL 12 Regular Season Simulation

Michael Vick Caps Career Year with MVP Award; Detroit Lions Capture Long-Awaited Playoff Spot

Following their match-up in Super Bowl XLV, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers maintained their dominance over the NFL during the 2011 season according to the official Madden NFL12 regular season simulation. With less than a week before NFL Kickoff week, EA SPORTS predicted the 2011 NFL regular season’s division winners, Wild Card winners, statistical league leaders and individual award winners.

Behind Defensive Player of the Year Clay Matthews, the Packers remained the team to beat in the NFC. They improved on last year’s 10-6 record by finishing 13-3 in 2011. Not to be outdone, the reigning AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers had an equally dominant 13-win season under the direction of NFL Coach of the Year Mike Tomlin.

However, boosted by significant additions during the offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots were nipping at their heels. Both teams posted a 12-4 record and received a first-round playoff bye. The Eagles’ dominance was spearheaded by NFL MVP Michael Vick, whose 29 touchdown passes and nearly 4,000 yards passing were both career highs. Two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady carried the Patriots, finishing with an NFL-best 35 touchdown passes and over 4,000 yards passing.

Green Bay, Philadelphia, New Orleans and St. Louis each won their respective divisions in the NFC, while Offensive Player of the Year Roddy White and the Atlanta Falcons (11-5) secured the fifth seed in the NFC. Locking down the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC was the playoff-starved Detroit Lions (9-7), a team that hadn’t been to the postseason in 12 long years.

The AFC remained a model of consistency as Pittsburgh, New England and Indianapolis each won their respective divisions, with San Diego (11-5) wrestling the AFC West away from Kansas City (10-6).  The New York Jets once again grabbed the fifth seed with another 11-5 season, while the Baltimore Ravens (10-6) stole the last playoff spot behind NFL rushing leader Ray Rice, who finished with over 1,600 yards.

RB Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints and CB Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals were named Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, respectively. Dallas LB DeMarcus Ware led the league in sacks with 17, while Baltimore’s Ed Reed solidified his ball-hawking reputation with a league-leading 10 interceptions.

For screenshots and video featuring Madden NFL 12 regular season simulation results, as well as box art and other assets, please visit http://maddennfl12.newslinevine.com.

NFL 2011 Season Awards (as simulated by Madden NFL 12):

- NFL MVP — Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

- Offensive Player of the Year — Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

- Defensive Player of the Year — Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers

- Offensive Rookie of the Year — Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

- Defensive Rookie of the Year — Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals

- Coach of the Year — Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Top Ten Offensive Performers

Top Defensive Performers

STAR TREKâ„¢ ONLINE FREE-TO-PLAY IN 2011

Star Trek Online to Accommodate All Players. Closed Beta Begins Soon.

Los Gatos, CA (September 6, 2011) - Star Trek Online, the acclaimed sci-fi MMORPG, developed by Cryptic Studios, Inc. ("Cryptic Studios"), will be free-to-play in 2011. Players will be able to download and enjoy the game as they like at no cost.

A features matrix, FAQ, overview and various forums can be found on the official Star Trek Onlinewebsite to better explain the nature of free-to-play to new and existing users.

To learn more about Star Trek Online free-to-play, please visit: http://www.startrekonline.com/f2p

"In addition to seeking out new life and exploring strange new civilizations, part of our continuing mission for Star Trek Online is to expand and improve," said Jack Emmert, CEO, Cryptic Studios. "Transitioning to a free-to-play model is a natural way to share all we've built with a broader community of players and we couldn't be more excited."

Later this year, when Star Trek Online free-to-play launches, anyone can download and play the game for free without purchasing a retail copy or subscription. All players will be able to take advantage of Star Trek Online's many features for free, from customizing avatars, crews and the very ships they command, to exploring a galaxy filled with intrigue and danger.

Players will also be able to access additional features a la carte through a virtual goods store. Current players can become Gold Members by continuing to subscribe to the game for $14.99 a month. New players can also upgrade to Gold status for a set price of $14.99 per month. The differences between paying Gold Members and free Silver Players can be found at: http://www.startrekonline.com/f2p

Star Trek Online free-to-play allows players to get into the game and engage the Star Trekuniverse in a number of ways:

The Universe is Your Only Limit - Play as much as you like for as long as you like at no cost. No subscription is required, nor is payment of any kind required.

Episodic Gameplay - Experience new weekly episodes that feature story-based gameplay and put your captain's ability to command to the ultimate test.

Your Captain, Your Crew, Your Destiny - Become a captain, seek out new life and new civilizations and encounter hostile beings as you advance to maximum level for free.

Familiar Places, New Experiences - Travel to Starfleet Academy, Deep Space Nine, The First City of Qo'noS and many other iconic locations and notable worlds from the beloved Star Trekuniverse.

Engage and Explore Your Way - A web and in-game virtual goods store provides players the option of purchasing gameplay upgrades or additional premium content as they like, when they like.

Taking place in the year 2409, Star Trek Online boasts extraordinary features and lets fans both new and old experience unparalleled adventures within the Star Trek universe. Players have the opportunity to become high-ranking Starfleet officers and participate in missions structured like episodes that take them into the depths of space, across exotic planets and inside other starships. All players are invited to explore strange new worlds and encounter new life in a vast, ever expanding universe!

Star Trek Online is a licensed product from CBS Consumer Products and developed by Cryptic Studios, Inc. For more information, please visit: www.startrekonline.com

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