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Available on: Xbox 360; Publisher: Microsoft Studios; Developer: Certain Affinity; Players: 1 – 4; Released: September 7, 2011 (Steam); ESRB: Teen; Official Site
When looking back on the games that we remember, it’s always the most groundbreaking or well thought-out games that stand out the most. Games on the other end of the spectrum stand out as well, if only for the laughs that people get reminiscing about how low their standards were as children. Fortunately for Crimson Alliance, it does not fall into the latter category; unfortunately, it does not fall into the first either and merely rests in the realm of mediocrity.
Available on: PS3; Publisher: NIS America; Developer: NIS; Players: 1; Released: September 6, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
Having never played a Disgaea game through, the latest game, Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten was somewhat of a venture for me. The series has long gained a reputation for sucking players’ lives dry with its demand for level grinding and notorious replay value. After so many years dabbling with the likes of the Super Robot Wars and SD Gundam G Generation series, it was about time I stepped up to the challenge of training prinnies in Disgaea 4. Though difficult, the game didn’t have me running, but constantly kept me going with its cute characters and multitude of ways to combat the netherworld’s challenges.
Available on: PC, PS3; Publisher: Rockin’ Android; Developer: Platine Dispositif; Players: 1 – 2; Released: September 27, 2011 (Steam); ESRB: Everyone; Official Site
The three games, Hitogata Happa, GundeadliGne, and Gundemonium Recollection, each offer several levels of bulletstorms. The main appeal of each game seems to be that the player controls girls dressed in fancy outfits and a comically large shooting weapon. Initially I wasn’t sure whether to expect a female-oriented narrative in which a female is empowered by the use of gun-based implements or a game where I shoot girls. Both options are terrible and shallow theses, and thankfully what I played instead was more sensible: Japanese anime maids (ani-maids) shooting laser bunnies, demon pumpkins, and half-naked cat swordswomen.
Available on: PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Majesco Games; Developer: WayForward; Players: 1; Released: September 6, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
It’s always hard to envision an old franchise in new forms. With the recently released Deus Ex: Human Revolution, though the visual style and story had changed drastically, it was still a first person shooter with a heavy emphasis on RPG elements and seemed familiar to longtime fans. Some games go the other route; Bloodrayne: Betrayal takes the voluptuous vampire half-breed to the second dimension and trades in sex appeal for comic book-like visuals for an experience that proves neither cleavage nor top tier graphics are necessary.
Available on: PS3; Publisher: Boolat Games; Developer: Boolat Games; Players: 1; Released: August 30, 2011; ESRB: Everyone; Official Site
No puzzle game is like the other. Each one tries to do more than the hit before it so it can be the next big thing. Whether it’s the simplicity of Tetris or the social drive of Bejeweled Blitz, each game strives to stand out. The latest game, 4 Elements HD, isn’t necessarily simple nor does it have a strong social component, so what is going to keep you coming back to it? Instead of either, 4 Elements HD is filled to the brim with different obstacles, which makes for a game that is quite complex and will easily appeal to those in search of new challenges.
Available on: Mac, PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Hothead Games; Developer: Hothead Games; Players: 1 – 2; Released: August 30, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
The Baconing is the third game in the Deathspank series, the superhero trilogy from Hothead games, and it returns with some more of the action-RPG gameplay, wacky characters, and writing that fans have come to love. Despite being the third game already, The Baconing doesn’t became stale and is still a joy to play, provided that players can stomach its sometimes trying humor.
One of the least revolutionary genres of video games tends to be the racing genre. There isn’t much room for innovation from the gameplay/design aspect and the majority of changes rely on enhancements in cars. But Ubisoft has decided to break out of the mold and make a truly unique racing game with Driver: San Francisco. We’ve decided to give the demo a shot and see what we can expect before the full game is released.
Available on: PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Square-Enix; Developer: Eidos Montreal; Players: 1; Released: August 23, 2011; ESRB: Mature; Official Site
Eleven years after the original game came out, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is ironically set 11 years before the original. With a different publisher, Square-Enix, that undoubtedly has more Japanese roots and is more reknown for their static, yet emotion driven stories, it was definitely an awkward combination with Deus Ex’s open-ended world that constantly changed with the player’s actions. Thankfully, the Japanese publisher’s signature gameplay and storytelling hasn’t interfered with the western philosophy of design and left gamers with everything they could expect of a sequel.
Back in the days of cartridge converters and illegal modifications all for the purpose of playing imported games, most American gamers only heard about elusive Japanese games and could only find out about them from rare magazine articles or word of mouth. With the internet and a greater interest in gaming, not only is more information making it to western gamers by way of individual user created videos, but there is a greater number of games being published here as well. Although that is the case, people still import games – and for good reason. Here are at least five reasons why to import a game instead of waiting for it to come overseas.