Big week today folks! Yeah, that’s right. The week that so many of us have been waiting for has arrived. PSP has a game coming out this week. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it myself either until I saw it on Amazon. Oh and some shooting game about a bunch of muscle heads also comes out this week too.
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
Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360)
Tuesday September 20, 2011
The epic human versus mole people story finally ends in Gears of War 3. Set 18 months after the fall of the last human city, Marcus and his squad of body builders takes on the Locust and the Lambent, the third side in this bloody war for control of the planet that was introduced in Gears of War 2.
Gears of War 3 promises a bloody good time like all the previous ones, which means we get new ways to kill. If chainsaws on a machine gun feels a little too incredulous for you, then the bayonet-equipped Retro Lancer should be more your style. This gun lets you charge Bayonet first instantly killing anyone you run into. How about the Sawed-Off Shotgun? Unlike the regular shotgun, the Gnasher, this shotgun instantly kills anyone within melee range, but outside of that range, you might as well be using a water pistol. Looking for a more exotic, almost Insomniac-esque weapon? The digger fires off a burrowing grenade that moves forward underground before popping up to explode making this weapon the perfect choice for killing someone behind cover. How about something we’ve seen in Gears of War 2 but could never use? Remember those giant Locusts that carry a broadsword? Apparently they’re called Cleavers, and now you can pick it up for some cleaving fun. In addition to these three, GOW3 will feature even more new weapons in addition to the returning classics like the Torque Bow and the Hammerburst among others.
New weapons maybe nice, but the big changes of GOW3 are reserved for the multiplayer mode. A new mode called Beast mode plays like a Horde mode, except reversed. You get to play as the Locust. Unlike the human side, Locust comes in different shapes and sizes meaning you get to control various Locusts like those little skittering bombs called Tickers, Grenadiers that throw grenades, and even a hulking Berserker. The match plays out in rounds, and each successful kills net you a token. Save them up, and you’ll be able to spawn as better and better Locusts. Those AI humans won’t stand a chance.
Gears of War 2 popularized the Horde mode so much that the term “Horde Mode” has become synonymous for “Co-op versus AI Mode.” Not wanting to rest on their laurels, GOW3’s Horde mode receives a giant update and is even called Horde 2.0. Now you get to fortify the environment with barricades, turrets, sentries, and even decoys to lure the Locust elsewhere. Fortifications require money, which you get by just killing Locusts in general or completing side objectives that pop up from time to time, but money can be used for other things as well like ammo, fortification repairs, better weapons, and even respawning yourself. Best of all, it can be used to buy the Silverback, a miniature mech. Small, but extremely welcomed, changes have been implemented as well such as the ability to share ammo and money or trade weapons. Finally, the 10th wave of enemies comprise of a different boss character based on which round it is.
It doesn’t look like Epic made too much changes to the basic cover based, third person shooter gameplay of GOW, but these new additions should be more than enough to sate the hardcore fans. Not that it would take that much to satisfy them anyways.
Kirby Mass Attack (DS)
Monday September 19, 2011
Does Nintendo know how to counterprogram or what? In case you just need something cute and pink to counteract all that blood and limbs you’ll be decapitating in Gears of War 3, Nintendo decides that this week is the perfect week to release Kirby Mass Attack. An evil sorcerer has split Kirby into 10 pieces. Now he must set out on a new adventure to put himself back together.
For the most part, Mass Attack plays like a 2D side-scroller, except you control the 10 Kirbys via stylus. Tapping the screen prompts the Kirbys to move to that spot while flicking anyone of the 10 Kirbys flings him around the screen. Flinging Kirby towards various parts of the environment yields different results. When flung towards a vine, Kirby will pull on it but will usually fail until you have enough Kirbys to pull it out, and Flinging Kirby onto enemies constitutes an attack.
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Based on my playtime at PAX, Mass Attack clearly represents Nintendo’s mantra of simple mechanics used in extraordinary ways. The first boss fight, against the Kirby staple Wispy Woods, plays out predictably at first having you fling Kirbys into its face, but then it grew into the top screen forcing you to knock out the lower tree segments before you can actually hurt it again. During all of this, Wispy Woods drops spiky fruits from its branches, and if you don’t move out of the way, you’ll lose Kirbys.
Once again, Nintendo serves up Kirby as a guinea pig for their experiments in gaming, but so far it has resulted in some really good games. Given the giant shadow being cast by Gears of War 3, Kirby Mass Attack will likely get lost in the shuffle, so here’s to hoping that maybe, just maybe, Kirby Mass Attack will shine through that bloody darkness.
Shin Megami Tensei Persona 2: Innocent Sin (PSP)
Tuesday September 13, 2011
Did you know that they made two Persona 2s? They only localized the one called Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (You might remember the box art with the chick with hearts on her boobs). Innocent Sin, on the other hand, never got localized here making this your chance to play the actual sequel to Persona 1. Whereas Eternal Punishment takes place in an alternate universe, Innocent Sin takes place in the same universe that Persona 1 played out.
Like every Persona games we’ve come to know, Persona 2 has you playing as a Japanese High School student who can summon an alter ego known as a Persona. He and his friends must uncover the mystery behind the curse that has taken hold over the city. The curse makes rumors become fact once the rumor has gotten around to enough people. Along the way, they will be able to get new Personas to equip.
Persona 2 carried over the negotiation mechanic from Persona 1. This mechanic enables you to converse with enemies that you’ve just encountered. Based on your choices during the dialogue, any number of things could happen based on the enemy’s mood after the conversation. Happy enemies could provide any number of things including new Personas. Scared enemies could run away from the fight altogether. Angered enemies gain a pre-emptive strike during the battle.
Probably the only people interested in this Persona will be those love the series to death, and from the sound of it, Persona 2 looks to be a fairly hardcore experience. Interested parties should probably check out Persona 3 or 4 before trying out this one.
Coming This Week
Tuesday September 20, 2011
F1 2011 (Xbox 360, PS3)
Make way for the Madden of F1 racing folks. Oh wait that’s right. Nobody around here cares about funny looking cars making left AND right turns on a racecourse. From the sound of the various previews out there, F1 2011 looks to be even tougher than F1 2010 was, which was reportedly a very tough racing game to begin with, so unless you’ve got the patience and the skill, this might not be a good game to get you into F1 racing games.
Barbie: Jet, Set & Style (Wii, DS)
What happens if you give Barbie a Jet? You get a fashion game on an international level. Barbie has become a producer for the Global Glam Fashion Show. As such, you and Barbie has to jet around the world showing everyone how its done, Barbie style! Dear World, I’m sorry.
Chuck E Cheese’s Super Collection (Wii)
Is it wrong that I almost miss writing about these mini-game collection games for the Wii? Almost anyways. This here’s got 18 games with 50 prizes to earn for playing well. It even has online leaderboards! How modern.
Frogger 3D (3DS)
Did you that it has been 30 years since Frogger came out? Sort of explains why we’re getting a 3D version doesn’t it? No? I didn’t think so either. Oddly enough, this is Frogger. In 3D. In its defense, it does feature helper frogs that you can jump on sort of like vehicles. Moreover, the levels seems wackier and more varied than the classic street and river combination. It even has more enemies like a freakin’ attack chopper and a giant, 4 highway lane wide semi. Frogger just doesn’t stand a chance.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 (DS)
Perhaps Dragon Quest just can’t be content until they are THE dominant video game franchise of Japan. That might be why they’ve embarked on their own take on Pokemon. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 plays a lot like Pokemon with a slight Shin Megami Tensei: Persona twist, namely the ability to fuse monsters to make entirely new ones that inherit some of its parents abilities. If you like Dragon Quest 9’s Tag Mode, Joker 2 lets you tag other Joker 2 players to potentially copy their fighting force, but the best outcome would be if they have Dragon Quest 9 or the re-released Dragon Quest 6 on tag mode. You actually get exclusive creatures from those worlds. Nice!
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns (DS)
You gotta hand it to Natsume. They keep coming up with stories to ostensibly package the same farming sim gameplay underneath. Two neighboring, rustic villages once lived in peace, but in time the two grew bitter with each other. Why? Neither can agree as to who has the best cuisine. As a new farmer in the neighborhood, you get to choose which of these two villages and their wildly differing aesthetics suits your taste better before you set up your new farm. At least this beats the time the only difference between one iteration and its previous iteration was the gender of the farmer.
Late to the Party
Odd as this may sound, this week turned out to be more eclectic than I originally thought. Hardcore guys will naturally gravitate to Gears of War 3. The more casual guys should be interested in Kirby Mass Attack, and the different kind of hardcore guys have Persona 2 to fall back on this week. There’s something for just about anybody this week.
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