It has begun. The gaming releases have surged this week, and not just in numbers either. Last week, the HD consolre front was rather quiet. Too quiet, and from the looks of this week, now I know why. They were just holding back, possibly away from Metroid: Other M. Even the PSP is getting something decent this week. Let’s dive in and see what we’ve got this week.
Remember. Release dates are quite literally made at the whims of the publisher. The following are subject to change without any warning.
Releases To Watch For This Week
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP)
Tuesday September 7, 2010
Let’s get one thing out of the way. If you know what the hell is Kingdom Hearts, by all means e-mail me. After 2 games worth of Kingdom Hearts, I still haven’t the faintest idea as to what the hell it is. Maybe this prequel will help. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is set before the events of Kingdom Hearts with 3 new characters, Ventus, Terra, and Aqua. Of the bunch, Ventus should seem the most familiar to series veterans, and yet not. These three are on their way to becoming Keyblade Masters until Ventus suddenly left the world with the other two searching for him. The three characters are actually 3 sides of the same story, and you’ll be able to play through all of them in any order and at your own pace. Like all the other Kingdom Hearts, their travels will take them to familiar Disney worlds like Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Snow White. They’ll even come across familiar faces Sora, Riku, and Kairi when they were much younger and a couple of guys from Organization XIII. The combat seems to be similar by and large with the other Kingdom Hearts, but there’s a little bit more now involving custom commands that can be evolved or leveled with experience. The series have waned a little bit over the years given the grind-tastic entry that was Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 days, but from the looks of the trailers and the previews, this one could reinvigorate the series by making the game actually be fun again and maybe fleshing out the story a little bit. Of course, that last part is probably just wishful thinking. Seriously! What the hell is Kingdom Hearts?
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS)
Sunday September 12, 2010
Layton’s back baby! And he’ll totally solve all your puzzles ‘till you cry! Yeah, Professor Layton’s not exactly the badass, space marine we’ve all come to appreciate, but somehow he’s managed to find a little soft spot inside our hardened hearts. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is the third in the Layton series (Those lucky bastards over in Japan is already on the 5th iteration), and chances are good that not much has changed. Just more puzzles, and more charm from the wonderfully non-anime anime visual style. At first glance, you’d be hard pressed to pin the visual style as Japanese, but watch it for a while and several telltale signs will come up. As for the story, Professor Layton and his sidekick Luke has received a letter. From Luke. Ten years into the future. London’s all screwed up in that time, and only Layton can fix it. Somehow. Given the game’s track record with the narrative, this one will undoubtedly make as much sense as the others, but by and large, no one seems to mind given it’s other strengths. If you need me, I’ll be preparing with this giant book of puzzles.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS)
Tuesday September 7, 2010
Spider-Mans unite! Instead of getting one measly Spider-Man, we’re getting 4! The mainstream Spider-Man (Let’s just say Spider-Man prime) inadvertently destroyed some magical tablet thingy, and its shards have somehow magically transported itself to 3 other dimensions. Conveniently those dimensions just happen to have their own versions of Spider-Man. There’s the Spider-Man Noir, which is basically Spider-Man and Splinter Cell mashed together. There’s Spider-Man 2099 where he doesn’t swing so much as glide between buildings. And then there’s Ultimate Spider-Man, which is basically Spider-Man when he still had the Symbiote costume. They, along with Spider-Man Prime, must work together to recover the tablet to fix the borders between dimensions or something to that degree. The console versions will play very similarly to each other. Each Spider-Mans plays a little differently from each other, and each one must deal with their own villains in their respective universe. Regardless of which one you play, it’s basically a third-person brawler with some platforming. The DS version is going a slightly different route. The story is the same, but it’s a 2D platformer with lots of punching, webbing, and gliding. Spider-Man games have all been struggling to be that one “good” Spider-Man game on the PS1 that everyone wouldn’t shut up about. Maybe this one will be the one finally give them something else to talk about.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold The Video Game (Wii, DS)
Tuesday September 7, 2010
Ever since Arkham Asylum, Batman games have a giant expectation to live up to. Fortunately for Batman: The Brave and the Bold, it sidesteps that completely by going the “completely insane” route. Based off of the carton series, this Batman is extremely lighthearted concentrating more on wacky villains with even wackier plots like a gem that turns people into cats. In keeping with the lighthearted nature, it’s a 2D brawler with combo counters, screen clearing attacks from DC Universe characters like Green Lantern, gadgets, and a little bit of platforming. Brave and the Bold will also feature co-op mode to seriously remind you of how fun it is to play people right next to you. The DS version isn’t all that much different although it seems to lack the co-op mode, but here’s a little twist. The two versions actually link up. Using the Wii’s underused feature that allows a Wii to connect with a DS, you can control Bat Mite in the Wii version of Brave and the Bold. As Bat Mite, you can drop health packs and big giant weights on enemies. At a slightly lower price of $40 for the Wii version, Brave and the Bold looks pretty decent, although I don’t know about the DS version given its standard $30 price. See just how wacky your favorite Dark Knight can be.
Coming This Week
Tuesday September 7, 2010
NHL 11 (Xbox 360, PS3)
Another yearly EA update to one of the major sports sees the package get much shinier. In a Madden-esque move NHL 11 also features the new Ultimate Team mode – think Pokémon with actual NHL player’s card. In more changes to the franchise the physics engine has been enhanced to make the game play far more true to life. From face-offs to hip checks NHL 11 aims to feel more fluid.
R.U.S.E. (Xbox 360, PS3)
I’m definitely spoiled by Starcraft 2. Any kind of strategizing that goes beyond “make more units than the other guys” is just lost on me. R.U.S.E. is basically an Real Time Strategy with more emphasis on psyching out the opponent. As its title implies, R.U.S.E. employs a lot misdirection strategies like fake assaults and fake productions to make the opponents give you the opening you need. It looks complicated as hell, but I’m willing to bet that just makes winning that much more fun.
Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 (Xbox 360, PS3)
Did Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. leave you wanting more? Well, fret not! Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 has come to your rescue. More mission. More 4 player online co-op. Probably more pretty as well. Some new features include flying a UAV for reconnaissance or precision bombing runs. Hopefully that’s enough for you H.A.W.X. fans.
Family Party: Fitness Fun (Wii)
Is it me or has it been a while since the last time we had a mini-game collection game come out for the Wii. Not that I’m complaining mind you. The Wii is already drowning in them. This here has boxing, dodge ball, and other slightly exercise-ish mini-games that you and up to 3 of your friends can play at the same time. You can even dust off your Balance Board so you can use it for this game!
Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy (DS)
Have I ever told you how much I hated the hidden-object adventure games? Well I hate them. I really, really do. Here’s yet another one where you try to figure out the truth behind Edgar Allan Poe’s death after you were visited by his ghost. Under most normal circumstances, I’d be somewhat intrigued by the story, but given its genre, I couldn’t type through this fast enough.
101-in-1 Sports Megamix (DS)
The 101-in-1 series continues. Now with sports mini-games! I know the world of sports is pretty big, but is there really a 100 different sports out there? If caber tossing and traction kiting is any indication, there really is. I wonder if it has extreme ironing?
The weeks are definitely getting more interesting. No doubt most of you are far more interested with next week. Who knew a game based of a character from a cell phone commercial would be so popular? I’ll just busy myself with solving puzzles or maybe figuring out what the hell Kingdom Hearts is while the rest of you figure out how to build a time machine to make next week come faster.
Width for pics = 480
If you enjoy this article, please visit our website at www.rrbgames.com. This feature is released every Monday.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!