It’s been two weeks folks. Have you finally finished Mass Effect 3 yet? Let’s hope you have because the games industry waits for nobody.
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
Ninja Gaiden 3 (Xbox 360, PS3)
Tuesday March 20, 2012
I could’ve sworn ninjas are suppose to hide in shadows, bid their time, and strike at the opportune moment. Not charge in blaze of glory style with sword so wet in blood it might as well be a butcher’s cleaver. Given how well the actionest of action game series, Ninja Gaiden pulls it off though, I don’t think anyone cares.
Once again Ryu Hayabusa returns in Ninja Gaiden 3 with his trusty Dragon Sword ready to disembowel anyone standing in his way. This time around, he’s working for the UN for some reason and has to take on some mysterious foe who wants to… do something bad. Seriously, nobody has ever cared as to why Hayabusa goes around relieving people of their excess blood.
What people do care about has been the high level of challenge Ninja Gaiden offers to anyone who dares pick up the controller. The enemies were relentless, and even the lowliest minions can kill you within seconds if you don’t treat them seriously. Despite how it sounds, it actually managed to strike that magical balance of challenge and fairness. Those people might be a little bit disappointed by this one. Various previews have taken note of NG3’s difficulty level as a little bit lower than previous titles. Even on hard mode, they still say that it was lacking. You might have to look to other people for the challenge that you’re looking for.
For the first time in the series’ history, NG3 has a multiplayer mode. Here you are pitted against up to seven other players in a fight to see who gets to keep their internal organs internal. So far we only know of two modes: A standard Free-for All mode and 4v4 mode and really not much else beyond that. Action games generally don’t have such mode because usually the game is geared to give the player a huge advantage over the computer AI who relies on numbers to even the playing field against you. How NG3 will pull this off remains to be seen.
Some would say that toning down Ninja Gaiden’s difficulty is a mistake. The challenging, yet fair gameplay of the previous titles sets it apart from just about every game out there not named Demon’s/Dark Souls. They might have a point, but given the cutthroat, whoever sells the most wins mentality that currently pervades the industry, I don’t think NG3 has a choice in the matter. Lowering the general difficulty level should allow more people to actually play the game and therefore generate more sales. Regardless of the difficulty level, NG3 still looks pretty good and hopefully will still satisfy our bloodthirst, even if it does so in a different way.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Xbox 360, PS3)
Tuesday March 20, 2012
Spin offs have always been a great way for a franchise to show itself off in a different light. That doesn’t make Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City any easier to digest though.
Despite having zombies, Hunters, Lickers, and pretty much everything else from Resident Evil 2, the entire premise of RE:ORC (let’s just stick with ORC shall we?) has you playing as a squad member of Umbrella operatives, each with their own speciality like medic, stealth, an heavy among others, on clandestine missions at Raccoon City while the whole RE2 shebang is going down. As such, ORC will actually let you interfere with the canon of RE series going as far as giving you the chance to kill off key figures like Leon Kennedy. Also did I mention you can move and shoot at the same time?
Moving and shooting has eluded the series until now. ORC plays far more like a squad based third person shooter than RE’s normal take on third person shooting where you stand stock still while you shoot. You can even take cover! Obviously you don’t take cover when you’re fighting zombies. You do it because you’re also fighting against humans with guns like the Raccoon City police and the U.S. Special Forces. Or other players.
Can you think of a shooter that doesn’t have multiplayer these days? Didn’t think so. ORC offers up four multiplayer modes: Survival (Free-for-All), Team Attack (4v4), Biohazard (Capture the Flag), and Heroes. That last one has you playing as one of the characters from the RE universe like Leon, Ada, Jill, or Claire to name a few. As long as you are one of these heroes/villains, you have more power and health. Once you die, you respawn as a regular soldier. Last team with at least one hero left on their side wins. In each of these modes, you’ll have to contend with zombies and other denizens of Raccoon City in addition to other players. Theoretically speaking they can be used to your advantage. Whether or not they cooperate with you remains to be seen.
If you’re wondering as to where in all of this does the survival aspect part kicks in, keep wondering. From the looks of most of the trailers I’ve seen, the streets tend to be jam packed with zombies, but given your firepower and some of the insane melee animations I’ve seen, those hordes shouldn’t pose much of a problem for you. As much as I would love to go into Raccoon City and mow down every zombie and monster in my way, it has to make you wonder just what part of ORC is an RE game?
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
Friday March 23, 2012
Let’s pretend you’re not over the age of 30. Would you know, or by extension care about Kid Icarus? Despite having lived through the days of the NES, I barely gave the game a second thought. Imagine my surprise to learn 20 years later that people actually did care for it and harbored a pretty strong desire to see it return. That desire was stoked into a passion when Pit, the series protagonist, made an appearance on Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Nintendo must have been listening because here we are getting Kid Icarus: Uprising over two decades later.
Medusa, the big bad of the original KI, has been reborn and once again threatens to wipe out humanity. Pit must once again stop Medusa with the help of the goddess Palutena who can grant Pitt the “Miracle of Flight” allowing Pitt to fly for a limited time. Kinda makes you wonder what the hell those wings are for doesn’t it if Pitt needs assistance to actually fly?
The game plays out in two ways. While flying through the air, Uprising plays very much like an on-rails shooter. You use the Circle Pad to move Pitt around to avoid attacks while the stylus controls where he’s aiming. When he’s not flying. Uprising sort of plays like a third person shooter. I say sort of because the camera doesn’t stay focus on the reticule. Instead you have to move the reticule to the edges of the screen to move the camera. As an alternative you can flick the stylus on the touch screen to move the camera quickly in the direction of the flick. Joy.
Uprising may not have the best control scheme, but it does boast an incredibly customizable gameplay experience. First up, Pit will come across a boatload of weapons by defeating enemies. In addition to his traditional bow and arrow, he can wield swords, lances, drills, cannons, and claws just to name a very, very few. And if that wasn’t enough, Pit will be able to fuse weapons to make something wholly unique. As a quick aside, these weapon recipes can be swapped with other players through the StreetPass feature.
Second, the Fiend Cauldron mechanic takes the whole difficulty level concept and throws in an element of risk and reward. If you’re up to it, you can “bet” a number of hearts, which is basically the game’s money, to increase the game’s difficulty based on how much you put in. The difficulty level goes on a 0 to 10 system with default being at two. Imagine the kind of chaos you can theoretically put yourself through at level 10. The reward comes in the form of enemies dropping more hearts and far better weapons. If you die, however, you lose all the hearts you put into the bet.
The kick ass weapons you manage to accrue can be used in Uprising’s multiplayer mode, both local and online. Here, you and up to six other players, either human or bot, can battle it out in one of two modes. Free for All doesn’t need any explanation, but the Light Vs. Dark mode does have an interesting twist to it. Each team of three has a team health bar that depletes every time someone bites the dust and respawns. When it’s gone, the next person to respawn does so as Pit or Dark Pit. These two are far more powerful than the regular soldier, but if defeated their team loses.
I still don’t know why everyone desperately wanted to see the continuation to the series. I do know that this game did shape up to look pretty gosh darn promising, even if the controls do worry me a little bit.
Coming This Week
Tuesday March 20, 2012
Armored Core V (Xbox 360, PS3)
I like to think of the Armored Core series as the Gran Turismo of giant mech games. As always you’ll be able to obsessively customize your walking death tank to suit your style of mech destruction. The big change here involves the persistent world that tracks your selected faction’s progress, which you must choose regardless of whether or not you go online. Do well, either in single player or multiplayer, and your faction gains territory on its virtual world with the ultimate goal being to control all of it. Statues in likeness of yourself not included.
Silent Hill HD Collection (Xbox 360, PS3)
If you’re ever wondering as to why gamers have such a fervent passion of the Silent Hill 2 and why they say that just about every Silent Hill game since than just haven’t lived up to it, this HD collection should answer all your questions. As a bonus you even get Silent Hill 3.
Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure (Xbox 360 Kinect)
It looks like Disney isn’t done with the Kinect quite just yet. Here the game takes players to Pixar Park where you get to play mini-games in theme with one of Pixar’s movies like Cars, The Incredibles, and Toy Story. Happy flailing.
Let’s Ride: Best of Breed (3DS)
On the bright side, this horse simulator didn’t originally start on the DS. This one was wholly made just for the 3DS complete with StretPass functionality. Beyond that, we’ve got ourselves yet another horse simulator. How many of these exactly do we need? Are we not sated by the 20 other horse simulators already on the market? Do these games sell and sell like hotcakes that actually warrants publishers to just keep churning out more of these kinds of games?
Paws & Claws: Pampered Pets (3DS)
And the DS ports continues. This one has you not only taking care of pets, but making damn sure that they feel like the god damn kings of the world. Will nothing stop the 3-D-ification of every single pet simulators on the DS unto the 3DS?
Gogo’s Crazy Bones (DS)
Odd as this may sound, but a mini-game collection game makes perfect sense for the video game version of these real life, little collectible figurines. Just as the figurines can be used for a variety of games with different rules, they’re used in a variety of ways in the 25 or so levels in the game. One of which has been described as “Angry Birds” style. Of course it has.
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