Xbox LIVE Wrap-Up for December 31st, 2009

It’s not quite 2010 yet, but, hey, what does it matter? Our latest Diehard GameFAN Nintendo VC wrap-up stated we would be offering weekly updates for the other consoles next year, but since I’ve spent so much time on Xbox LIVE during my recent holidays, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to start now. I’ve volunteered my services to throw up recent updates on Xbox LIVE to give everyone a heads-up on what they can find on the service, so, hopefully, everyone will be able find something to enjoy. Unlike our VC wrap-up, most of the material posted into the Xbox wrap-up will be new materials that the staff cannot attest to the quality of the games. So this week, we’re just reporting recent additions that should serve to be the final updates for 2009.

Game Add-Ons: Borderlands – Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot
As if players haven’t sunk enough time into the extensive FPS RPG, Borderlands, Gearbox has now unleashed the second expansion to its hit game. Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot will add The Underdome to the player’s list of available locations to travel to and effectively adds another game mode to Borderlands. The Underdome challenges are very equivalent to the Horde or Firefight modes added to Gears of War 2 and Halo 3 ODST respectively. Up to four players can meet up online and face waves of enemies in a cooperative bout of survival against enemies of Mad Moxxi’s choosing. Each environment is given a number of rounds to test players’ endurance, with each round being capped by a boss character returning from the story of Borderlands. As players progress, they will also find waves that slap them with modifiers or handicaps that can really screw over a players that isn’t well prepared with a variety of weapons and skills.

While the add-on doesn’t expand the game with large, open areas for players to explore, even the shortest of arena battles can last about an hour, so the length of gameplay isn’t an issue with the 800 Microsoft Point purchase. Also of note, the purchase opens up a bank in The Underdome’s lobby that allows players to store items they don’t want to carry on their person (this also adds bank storage expansion SDUs to the various vending locations in the game). Much like the rest of the game, The Underdome enemies adjust to the current level of the host so most players can jump straight in and take advantage of the stronger vending machine offerings and weapons dropped as rewards inbetween rounds. Finally, of course, since the add-on is a purchase, players will find a new set of achievements to tackle.

We’ll have a more in-depth look at Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot right here on Diehard GameFAN in the near future, so keep checking back.

Games on Demand: Gears of War
The title that put Epic on the Xbox map has been released as a digital download for 1600 Microsoft Points. The title has been out on the market for three years now, so people shouldn’t be a stranger to the series, but if you haven’t yet played it, our own Mark B. did review Gears of War on Diehard GameFAN. While the title garners universally favorable reviews, I’ll note that you can now pick up a physical copy of this title pre-owned for about half this asking price. However, $20 is about what you might pay for a new copy of the title, so, ultimately, the decision lies on how frugal or picky over disc condition you want to be.

Demo: Dante’s Inferno – Gates of Hell
After a whole lot of talk on the part of EA, players can finally get a hands-on preview of what the company has been hyping for the better part of the year. If you’ve always wanted God of War on the Xbox 360, Dante’s Inferno is about as close as you will ever get to style and visceral gameplay offered in the Sony exclusive. The demo will take you through the first few segments of the game and allows players to get a sizable taste of hell.

Demo: LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
Players will get more of the same in LEGO Indiana Jones 2, which isn’t exactly a bad thing if you enjoyed the first entry. Indiana Jones 2 takes players through the events of The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and injects new players and environments into the formula. The demo won’t let players dive into the new level creation mode, however, the LEGO formula remains true in this family platformer.

Xbox LIVE Deal of the Week: The Maw is now 400 Microsoft Points
I’ve only had experience with the demo for this title, however, this week (through Sunday), the title is half off. Players guide The Maw with a leash and allow it to gobble up items to help the player escape from a planet they have crash landed on. Of course, there is a free demo available for the title, so if the trail hooks you, get it fast while it is on the cheap.

Xbox LIVE Deal of the Day
Through a countdown to New Year’s Day, we’ve seen daily deals pop up on Xbox LIVE, including some great steals such as picking up Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 for a mere 560 Microsoft Points, Monkey Island for 400 Microsoft Points and, while it will be too late for our readers if they didn’t know about this, Wednesday’s deal had Castle Crashers at more than 50% off. As of the publishing of this wrap-up, you might have a few hours to catch Castle Crashers on sale, depending on your time zone, but once Xbox LIVE is updated with its content for Thursday, one final mystery deal will go into place. What could it be?

Music Game Marketplace
With many music game titles receiving expansion content on a weekly basis, it may start to become hard to follow, especially with these updates usually covering up the entire line of recent updates on the Xbox dashboard. This week, Rock Band goes country once again and Lips receives a final trio of updates to end the year.

Rock Band:
Available Now
Alan Jackson – “Good Time” Cross Canadian Ragweed – “Cry Lonely”
Jason Aldean – “She’s Country” Keith Urban – “I Told You So”
Kenny Rogers – “The Gambler”
Martina McBride – “This One’s For the Girls”
Shania Twain – “Any Man of Mine”

Available Jan. 5
Paul McCartney – “Band on the Run (Live)”
Paul McCartney – “Jet (Live)”
Paul McCartney – “Sing the Changes (Live)”
Blink-182 – “Adam’s Song”
Blink-182 – “First Date”
Blink-182 – “I Miss You”
The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”
The Psychedelic Furs – “Sister Europe”
The Ramones – “Rock “Ëœn’ Roll High School”

Lips:
Aretha Franklin – “Think”
Flo Rida – “Right Round”
Violent Femmes – “Blister in the Sun”

We’ll be back in January once Microsoft gives us some updates to report on. As we have more to work with, you’ll be able to count on staff commentaries and more features working their way into the Xbox LIVE Wrap-Up. Until then, though, have a great New Year’s holiday!

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