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It’s October folks, and do you know what that means? No seriously do you? I’ve been asking my friends what it means, but the only response I get is a quizzical look. I’m just kidding. I know what October is. I think. Anyways, this week may not be jam packed with triple-A releases, but I’m willing to bet there are some gems among the rubble this week. Let’s take a look shall we?

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

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (Xbox 360, PS3)

Tuesday October 5, 2010

Castlevania’s track record with 3D is, how shall I put this lightly, horrendous. From the N64 Castlevania right up to the last one on PS2, Castlevania has consistently failed in making itself relevant in the 3D world. Maybe, just maybe, with Kojima Productions helping out, this one might be the one turn its fortunes around. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is not connected to any other Castlevania games. If anything it looks more related to God of War than an actual Castlevania game. As Gabriel Belmont, you get to use the Combat Cross, a holy chain whip, to take down hordes of enemies. He’ll have access to a bunch of spells and secondary weapons as well. Mostly, Lords of Shadow appears to be checking off checkboxes off of a list of features that most good 3D brawlers come with these days. There is one standout though. Titans are a special type of enemy, and they certainly live up their name. They’re huge. As in it could crush Gabriel completely and utterly like a fly huge. The only way to stop it is to climb up on the thing, hang on for your life while it tries to shake you off, avoid its hands as it tries to pick you off, and stab a couple of runes found all around its body. Sounds familiar? The videos look interesting enough, even if it looks a little unoriginal. Here’s to hoping this Castlevania will finally break its 3D curse.

 

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Xbox 360, PS3)

Tuesday October 5, 2010
If people are sick of WWII shooters because there were just too damn many of them, why aren’t we sick of post apocalyptic games? I’m pretty certain there’s been way more of those. Enslaved is yet another post-apocalyptic game, but it seems to set itself apart in a number of ways. First of all, the world isn’t completely desolate. The ruins of New York City are completely overrun by trees and vegetation in general. Second, it’s not a shooter. Its closest cousin is probably Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Lots of obstacle courses to traverse and a good bit of combat. Finally, the story is loosely based on the Chinese novel “Journey to the West.” It’s not everyday a game could come out and say “Hey, we’re based on a book but not a Tolkien book.” The story goes like this. It’s the future. Mankind has lost the war with the machines and is scattered throughout the land. Trip, after escaping from the machines, needs to get back to her home in the West, but she doesn’t stand a chance by herself. That’s when she decided to force her fellow escapee, Monkey, to help her. Through a slave band that the machines use on their human slaves, Monkey must help out Trip whether he likes it or not. I’m not entirely sure where the similarities with the novel are besides the name of the main character. I certainly don’t think the original story has any robots in it. From what little I’ve played of the demo on Xbox Live Marketplace, it seems like a pretty decent third person brawler/platformer. It’s definitely very pretty what with the prominence of wildlife and all instead of the usual brown and gray that pervades most post-apocalyptic games. You should check it out for yourself.

 

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (DS)

Tuesday October 5, 2010

Was Final Fantasy XIII just that much of a disappointment to those of you who was hoping for a more traditional RPG? Maybe Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light could cheer you up. This turn-based RPG looks to be extremely old school in its ways. From the fact that its turn-based to how there’s an overworld, a bit of a rarity these days in RPGs, 4 Heroes of Light will undoubtedly scratch that old school RPG itch of yours. Following Final Fantasy’s ultra popular job system, 4 Heroes of Light has the Crown Job System wherein you have 20 jobs to choose from for your 4 party members. From the early previews I’ve read, the game is also reportedly pretty tough despite what the hyper cutesy art style might suggest. Some grinding might actually be necessary to beat that the next boss. Maybe the strangest aspect of the game is the actual combat. You get to pick what action each of your character does, but you don’t pick their targets. Each action has a built in rule, which makes them predictable, but it’s certainly different from both the full control method and the AI controlled method we’ve seen to date. The Final Fantasy series loves to reinvent itself at every turn. Let’s see how this one fare out shall we?

 

Honorable Mention

Def Jam Rapstar (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

Tuesday October 5, 2010

Singstar has finally gone ghetto. Def Jam Rapstar will let you rap along to one of 40 songs on the list, and the game will actually make sure you’re saying the right words. Whereas Singstar simply checks if you’re singing at the correct pitch, Rapstar is supposedly able to tell if your lyrics are correct as well as your cadence. It also has a pretty cool community feature where you’re able to video your own performance (not on the Wii of course), edit it with visual and audio effects, and post it on their website for others to view, judge, call you $^%#& for it, and other pleasant things. Players can also battle each other for Rapstar supremacy through challenges. They can even form crews, make up some fake rivalry just like real life, and have fans follow your work. Basically, Rapstar has the tools to turn you into a real… well… rap star. I can’t sing to save a life let alone rap, so this stuff isn’t for me, but I’m willing to bet there’s a rap star deep down everyone else waiting to show the world their lyrical prowess. I guess this is a good place as any to start.

 

Rock of the Dead (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

Tuesday October 5, 2010

You know that fake plastic guitar of yours that you’re not using for Guitar Hero or Rock Band? Well, now it’s got another purpose. Killing zombies and monsters! And I don’t mean by bashing in their skulls either. In Rock of the Dead, Earth is under attack, and only Neil Patrick Harris and his guitar can fight them off! True story. This homage to Typing of the Dead literally superimposes a horizontal note track on every enemy. All you have to do is play those notes to defeat them. Bosses have a scrolling note track that you’ll have to play in time to the public domain music playing in the background. Thankfully this game is budget priced so you won’t have to feel too bad when you hear the cheesy one-liners Harris throws out and the horrible graphics and rock versions of classical music they have playing throughout. Still, can you think of better ways to use your plastic guitars aside from impressing chicks with your fake guitar skills? I didn’t think so.

 

Coming This Week

Monday October 4, 2010

Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs (DS)

Sorry folks. Pokemon Black and White isn’t out yet, but here’s another Pokemon spin off to distract you from that fact. Pokemon Ranger has you playing as a Pokemon Ranger who must protect the Pokemons on their island from being captured. I guess even Pokemons get endangered if you catch them and force them to fight until they faint over and over again!

 

Tuesday October 5, 2010

Ben 10: Ultimate Alien – Cosmic Destruction (ECKM*)

I didn’t even know this cartoon was still around. Good ol’ Benny here can transform into 1 of 10 different alien form, each with its own unique powers. Watch as he travels the world looking for an alien artifact that can save planet Earth from an oncoming cosmic storm. Scintillating.

 

John Daly’s ProStroke Golf (Xbox 360, PS3)

John Daly, the golfer better known for his antics off the field more so than for his one major championship victory in the 1995 British Open, has his own video game now. Oh America the land of opportunities. John Daly ProStroke Golf will feature Playstation Move compatibility on the PS3, while the Xbox 360 version will not feature Kinectivity (yeah I went there). No word yet if you'll be able to chain smoke and drink Diet Coke between holes.
-Mario Marquez

NBA 2K11 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP)

Michael Jordan is making another comeback, virtually. The greatest basketball player ever is not only gracing the cover of this year's NBA 2k game, but also will appear as a playable character. Not only will your dream matchups of MJ vs. Kobe or MJ vs. LeBron come to pass but the developers are promising better controls, better visuals and deeper gameplay. With improvements to IsoMotion and My Career to go along with Michael Jordan exclusives this game has all the makings of greatness.

Two Worlds II (Xbox 360, PS3)

So the first Two Worlds sucked, but for some miraculous reason, SouthPeak has seen fit to make a sequel to the first, buggy game. Most of the previews I’ve read for Two Worlds II have been fairly positive though pointing out how much better it looks and how much more focused the game feels. The customizable spells are also interesting. You can make a whirlwind that surrounds you or increase the number of projectiles a projectile spell. Let’s see if people are willing to forgive its past and give this one a shot.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (Wii, DS)

I do! I do! Oh wait, you’re a video game. I can’t actually win a million dollars can I? Not unless the game will contact someone via the internet once I’ve successfully answer the million-dollar question. Doesn’t it? Oh hell, it’s worth $30!

Dragon’s Lair Trilogy (Wii)

The title is a little bit misleading since there were only 2 Dragon’s Lair games. The third game is Space Ace, although that’s basically Dragon’s Lair in space. Don’t know what Dragon’s Lair is? You know all those quicktime events you see in games like God of War? Guess where it all came from. Dragon’s Lair didn’t just invented it. It was the gameplay. The entire game is all about inputing the correct commands under an even tighter window of time than what we’re used to. The one good thing about missing though is the death animation. They range from hilarious to gruesome. Check out this classic, if you dare.

NBA Jam (Wii)

BOOM-SHAKALAKA!!! NBA Jam is back! And everything you loved and more is making its way to the Nintendo Wii. The new NBA Jam will feature a similar visual style, the same over the top gameplay you'd expect, and your favorites teams best players in a game of 2 on 2 that blew your mind in 1993. Joining the current crop of NBA superstars are NBA legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Clyde Drexler, and more. The only thing left to say is OH MY HE'S ON FIRE!!!
-Mario Marquez

Oops! Prank Party (Wii)

Feeling possibly a little bit nostalgic, Hudson Soft decided to make a Mario Party clone. By all accounts, this is simply Mario Party without Mario and his crew. Wait, that sounds familiar. Have I written that somewhere before?

Sid Meier’s Pirates! (Wii)

Ah the Nintendo Wii. Home of ports of ports. You read that right. Sid Meier’s Pirates originally came out for the original Xbox 5 years ago. That was ported over to the PSP, which I have a feeling is the source of this port and not the original. Thankfully, Pirates! was a bona fide good game. Where else can you live out the live of the classic pirate without either a time machine or joining those Somalian pirates?

The Hollywood Squares (Wii)

Is this game show still around? I just don’t see how a game show that’s more about the personalities of the people in the squares translate to a video game though. This game will basically boil down to whether or not the answer these “celebrities” dole out to the question they’re asked are true or false. I hope you like that, because chances are, that’s what you’ll be getting.

Freddi Fish: ABC Under The Sea (DS)

Are your kids having trouble with their ABCs or as they call it the “AFTs.” Well fret no more because Freddi Fish is here, and he’ll teach those kiddies ages 3-5 their ABCs and spelling and counting and colors and directions. With loads of fun, educational mini-games, they’ll ace their classes in not time flat!

Littlest Pet Shop 3: Biggest Stars – Purple Team, Littlest Pet Shop 3: Biggest Stars – Blue Team, Littlest Pet Shop 3: Biggest Stars – Pink Team (DS)

Did you know that ponies can ice skate? That parrots can do gymnastics? How about that bunnies can become fashion designers? If Littlest Pet Shop 3 is anything to go by, it’s all true. Not only that. There’s a competition which you can enter said talented pet. AS for why there’s 3 different versions, each one comes with a unique set of 6 pets each. It’s not about buying the one that matches your purse. It’s about buying the one with just the right pet for you.

Solitaire Overload Plus (DS)

How’s this for false advertising. Of the 707 variants of games, only 202 are variants of Solitaire, and yes I too was shocked that there’s that many variants of Solitaire. Tangram takes up 303. Mahjong takes up 101, and picture puzzles take up the last 101. Shouldn’t this be called Miscellaneous Games Overload Plus or something?

Sports Collection (DS)

There’s not being able to come up with a better title, and then there’s being lazy and just titling your game with the most obvious title. In case you haven’t guess, Sports Collection is a collection of some pretty vanilla sports games like tennis, baseball, swimming, and ice climbing. Couldn’t you call it, like, I don’t know, “Amazing Sports Collection” or something?

Vampire Moon (DS)

We’ve got ourselves yet another hidden object game. This time, it’s in Transylvania with some scares here and there to mix things up. Somewhere along the way, Dracula will probably show up, and the only way to escape is to find 15 different crap in a pile of junk. Maybe one them is a stake or something.

Witches & Vampires (DS)

So there are 3 siblings. One’s a witch. Another is a vampire, and the third is, I swear to god, a half witch half vampire. Don’t ask because I’ve got no answers for you. Together they shall embark on an adventure to save a family heirloom and possibly the world along with it. Each one will have their own unique powers, and together nothing can stop them. I feel like I should’ve been paid by them to write that last sentence.

Actual Crimes: Jack the Ripper (PSP)

We just can’t get of this guy can we? Here’s your chance to figure out just who the hell this Jack the Ripper guy was through searching crime scenes and solving mini puzzles. Unless this developer just happens to know exactly who Jack the Ripper was, this game will ultimately end in a disappointment.

 

Sunday October 10, 2010

Chronicles of Mystery: The Tree of Life (DS)

Fans of Coming Soon! already knows how much I hate hidden object games, and yet the damn industry just keeps coming out with new ones. Here we’ve got Sylvia Leroux who uncovered the mystery of the Tree of Life and must travel to various exotic locations to unravel it. Sounds fun and all other than the fact that all you do is look for a bunch of hidden crap for no good reason whatsoever.

 

LTTP

 

Despite the fact that I abhorred Heavenly Sword, Enslaved looked pretty interesting. That Final Fantasy game also kind of peaked my curiosity too what with the whole non-traditional Final Fantasy and all that. Being broke as I am though, I’ll probably just play Rock of the Dead. How about you guys? Who’s up for making a parrot do gymnastics?

 

* = Every Console Known to Man

 

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