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I think 3 months is long enough don’t you think? For what you may be asking. For First Person Shooter fans to get fed up with Call of Duty 2010 of course. This week doesn’t just bring us 1 big shooter. It’s bringing us 2. Thankfully, Nintendo has their own counterprogramming up their sleeves.

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

That reminds me of the time I fed a seagull some Alka Seltzer.

Bulletstorm (Xbox 360, PS3)

Tuesday February 22, 2011
Have you noticed just how serious FPSes have gotten lately? From Halo: Reach’s somber as hell Remember Reach campaign all the way to Medal of Honor’s, and really just about any military shooters, real-soldiers-real-experience nonsense. Epic noticed this disturbing trend and decided to do something about it by making Bulletstorm. If you’ve seen any of their commercials that parodies other “serious” FPSes, you can basically guess the atmosphere that Bulletstorm is going for. The driving mechanic behind Bulletstorm is the “Kill with Skill” mechanic wherein you are rewarded for killing enemies in the most creative ways. Yes, headshots count as creative, but try shooting them in the nuts BEFORE shooting them in the head. How about using the electric leash to pull enemies to you before kicking them unto the nearest cactus-like plant? Better yet, use the leash’s special ability to pop an enemy into the air and shoot a flare into him/her/it in midair and watch as he/she/it explodes 4th of July style. Getting the idea? This isn’t just a way to satisfy your sadistic side. Getting creative kills nets you more points. Points get you upgrades and new weapons, which gives you access to even more creative ways to kill. The killing with skill thing extends into the multiplayer as well. Instead of the usual fares of most shooters like deathmatches or team deathmatches, Anarchy Mode sets a group of players versus hordes of enemies. The kicker here is that you’re trying to reach an overall score threshold while competing for having the highest individual points, but you’re awarded more points for executing team skill shots. There’s a story somewhere underneath about space pirates and revenge and mutants and some other stuff, but really, who gives a damn.

 

Killzone 3 (PS3)

Tuesday February 22, 2011
To even out the serious side of the FPS equation this week, we’re getting the uber-serious, fictional intergalactic war of Killzone 3. Taking place right after the end of Killzone 2, Killzone 3 follows Sev and Rico’s desperate escape from Helghan after the ISA’s failed invasion. The thing that sets the series apart from just about every other FPS out there isn’t the setting, the weapons, the story, or the graphics. Well maybe the graphics a little bit. The series is renown for aiming for realistic graphics and largely succeeding. The thing that really sets it apart is the controls. The guys over at Guerrilla Games made a stylistic choice to skew from the super tight controls found in just about every other shooters and going for a “realistic” and heavy feel to the weapons. Your aim has much more momentum behind it. Back in Killzone 2, it was a point of contention for a good number of players, and the patch they released afterwards didn’t really change it by much. A developer diary pointed this out and promises that Killzone 3 will stick to their stylistic choice but will tuned enough possibly to please the detractors. Control changes aside, probably the only other big change in Killzone 3 is the brutal melee mechanic. It’s a fancy term for cooler, much more bloody melee kills. Instead of just hitting some Hellghast with the stock of your weapon, you’ll be stabbing them in the chest or cutting out their throat from the front. The more memorable one involves sticking your thumbs straight through the Helghast’s goggles into their eyes. Other new features aren’t exactly game related. It supports 3-D television and the Playstation Move. Now PS3 owners get to know what playing an FPS is like on the Wii!

Of course, you can’t talk about a Triple-A shooter without talking about multiplayer. Killzone 3 is taking some notes from both Team Fortress 2 and Call of Duty by integrating a leveling system and a class system. Each time you spawn, you pick one of 5 classes: Field Medic, Infiltrator, Engineer, Marksman, and Tactician. Each class has their own unique abilities like cloaking for Marksman and reviving a fallen team member for Field Medics. Moreover, leveling up means being able to unlock better abilities like longer cloaking times for the Marksman or reviving team member and giving them more health. The modes are all team based, and the popular Warzone mode from Killzone 2 returns here as well. The newest mode, Operations, is an objective based mode with story elements. Basically, play out a story and the highest rated player gets a role in the cutscene that plays out every so often.

Killzone managed to survive its days as the “Halo Killer” from way back yonder without actually killing Halo, so obviously it must be doing something right.

 

Honorable Mention

Radiant Historia (DS)

Tuesday February 22, 2011
If this week feels like it has just a little too much testosterone for you, Atlus has something to remedy that. In Radiant Historia, 2 warring kingdoms will ultimately lead to the end of the world unless Stocke, a spy from one of the kingdoms, can stop it. Thankfully, he can travel through time. Stocke can travel back to any point in time and change key decisions to ultimately steer destruction away from the two kingdoms. As for the battle system, it combines some very traditional elements infused with something a little different. It’s a turn based battle system complete with a little list that tells you which character will take their turn and when Final Fantasy 10 style. The twist here is on the enemy’s side. Enemies are placed on a 3X3 grid. The closer they are to your characters, the more damage they deal. Your attacks generally hit anything in a given square, but you also have certain attacks that can manipulate the enemy’s placement. Eventually, you can even manipulate your turn order, but doing so puts the character at risk because they take more damage for a little while afterwards. The unique battle system along with the intriguing story should catch the attention of RPG fans, but like every JRPG not named Final Fantasy in existence, this one will probably fly below most people’s radar. Here’s to hoping you’ll be swinging your radar in Radiant Historia’s direction before it flies too far away.

 

Coming This Week

Tuesday February 22, 2011

de Blob 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS)

Do you like to paint? Well let’s you did! Have I got a game for you. de Blob 2 is a sequel to the critically slightly-acclaimed, Wii exclusive game where you were tasked to bring color back to the world. Colonel Black has returned and has drained Prima City of color. de Blob also returns along with his apparently spongy body which is perfect for sucking up paint and painting every surface he can get his porous body on. With new abilities and new environments, along with being on new platforms, and the same humor that made the first one fun to play, let’s see if de Blob 2 will fare better than the first one did.

Knight’s Contract (Xbox 360, PS3)

What does one do to balance out an immortal character in a video game? In the case of Namco Bandai’s action game, you stick him with a companion who isn’t. In Knight’s Contract, you’re an immortal knight who wields a scythe and has signed a contract with a recently resurrected witch to help her save the land from evil. In addition to slicing and dicing everything in your way, you’ll have access to her witchly powers, which I’m sure will lead to some insane looking combos. By the way, the reason she died was because you executed her a while back. Awkward.

Dance Paradise (Xbox 360 Kinect)

Dance Central really opened up a floodgate for dancing games for the Kinect didn’t it? Here’s THQ’s take on the dancing genre. Unlike the others, this one has avatar integration, so you get to look stupid trying to learn the moves both in real life and virtually!

Dreamcast Collection (Xbox 360)

Are you feeling nostalgic for the Dreamcast halcyon days but sold/lost/broke/tossed/accidentally burned your Dreamcast a while back? Sega feels your pain and is releasing this collection of some of Sega’s best Dreamcast games. You get Sonic Adventure (Arguably the best 3D sonic game like ever!), Space Channel 5 (A music game way before Guitar Hero showed up), Crazy Taxi (Best use of The Offspring song in a video game ever!), and Sega Bass Fishing! Hell, 3 out of 4 ain’t half bad right?

Pirate Blast (Wii)

Oh no! Vile Isle Amusement Park is being taken over by Captain Greasebeard and his robotic Henchbots! Whatever shall we do? Grab your Wii Remotes, mateys, and get ready to rid the island of Captain Greasebeard and all his Henchbots. Fortunately, your Wii Remote will be able to shoot jets of water to short out these robots, and when things get dicey, show them the business end of your waterballoons! I wish I was making this up.

 

LTTP

Ys I & II Chronicles (PSP) 2/22/2011

 

Aren’t we sick of First Person Shooters yet? Thank god for Radiant Historia! Even Knight’s Contract look way more interesting than the prospect of kicking people into cactuses or shooting guys with glowing red eye goggles. I’m guessing most of you just can’t wait to do exactly that. Happy shooting!

 

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