As previously promised, Xbox One owners with a subscription get free access to Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault. The Curse of Brotherhood is usually priced at $14.99 and follows eponymous character Max as he sets out to save his little brother. Top-down shooter Halo: Spartan Assault, typically $9.99, takes place between Halo 3 and Halo 4. The game was released last year. Specific dates for either game have not yet been announced.
From June 1 -15, Xbox 360 owners will get access to From Software’s punishing action role-playing game, Dark Souls. Side-scrolling beat-’em-up Charlier Murder and fighting game Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition will be available June 16-30.
Microsoft’s Games with Gold program is a monthly promotion that gifts two free games to Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Xbox 360 players were granted an extra game this month — Super Street Fighter 4 — in celebration of the program’s one-year anniversary.
One of E-40’s best albums — and along with Tha Hall of Game (1996), perhaps his best overall — In a Major Way features the Bay Area rapper early in his career, when he was at his most inspired and focused. His previous solo releases (Federal, 1993; The Mail Man, 1993), as well as his work with the Click (Down and Dirty, 1994), had been formative and low-budget, released independently by his Sick Wid’ It label in association with a regional distributor. Sure, some of that prior work was great, particularly The Mail Man and its breakout hit, “Captain Save a Hoe,” but none of it compares to In a Major Way in terms of scale and consistency. Over the course of 16 tracks, E-40 collaborates with his Sick Wid’ It stable of producers (Studio Ton, Mike Mosley, Sam Bostic) and rappers (B-Legit, Suga T, Celly Cel), along with outside talent. Newcomer Funk Daddy produces three tracks, including the standout “Sideways,” while up-and-coming Bay Area rappers 2Pac, Mac Mall, and Spice 1 team up for another standout, “Dusted ‘n’ Disgusted.” Besides these two standouts, highlights of In a Major Way include a pair of hit singles (“1-Luv,” “Sprinkle Me”) that broke into the Billboard Hot 100, plus “Da Bumble.” In a Major Way does have its shortcomings, chief among them the production, which still sounds low-budget, if improved from prior releases. E-40 made the most of what he had to work with at the time, though, and for a mostly in-house album, In a Major Way is an impressive showcase of the talent at hand. E-40’s raps would improve over the years, as would his production stable and his recording budget, yet few albums in his catalog rival In a Major Way, which track-for-track is remarkably solid and thoroughly entertaining.