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, 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: 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.
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.
Also on: PC, Xbox 360; Publisher: Digital Reality; Developer: Candygun Games; Players: 1 – 4; Released: July 19, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
Trends will inevitably hit gaming and certain genres or themes will be exploited to the point where they are present in virtually every other release. Like in games and movies, zombies are now swarming a multitude of games, from Call of Duty: Black Ops to Ryu ga Gotoku Of the End (Yakuza of the End). The latest to try its hand at zombie bashing action is Dead Block, which fails with its weak game mechanics and will have a hard time keeping players’ attention when there are so many better options available.
Also on: PC, Xbox 360; Publisher: Playdead; Developer: Playdead; Players: 1; Released: July 19, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
Often times, video games are credited as the great escape that people need from the monotony of life and powerless nature of humanity. Words are barely enough to describe the sheer joy that players can feel from taking control of a mobile suit and mowing down thousands of enemies in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 or embarking on an epic quest in Dungeon Siege III. Every once in a while, a game goes the other direction and limits players’ abilities to more realistic realms. Limbo does so in a drastic manner and yet keeps players compelled despite their roles as a boy who can only jump, push, and pull objects.
While packed with sex appeal, the Record of Agarest War series has definitely been making the rounds as a legit and quality strategy RPG as well. With the latest release, Record of Agarest War Zero, the series has already garnered a good following in the states. To tell us a bit more about the game series, PR coordinator James Xie of Aksys Games takes a few moments to answer a couple of Quick Questions for us.
Available on: PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Square Enix; Developer: Obsidian Entertainment; Players: 1 – 4; Released: June 21, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
I’ve been a fan of Dungeon Siege since the first game came out, when I was hot in my exploration of swords and magic themed narratives. The open-ended feeling of the character development and geographic design let me spend many hours finding secret places with unknown and powerful monsters hoarding magnificent treasures. Dungeon Siege II heavily redesigned the gameplay to facilitate more linear character development, which at first felt constricting, but turned out to be a clever way to make the player focus on a goal.
Dungeon Siege III focuses the intense white-hot narrative to make an action-oriented RPG that feels less like the original Dungeon Siege than some may be comfortable with, but it is okay; beating up the bad guys is more fun when it is an activity rather than a process.
Available on: PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Namco Bandai Games; Developer: Tecmo Koei; Players: 1 – 4; Released: June 28, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
Since Dynasty Warriors: Gundam’s original announcement, fans of both Gundam and hack-and-slashers alike have been absolutely giddy about the prospect of cutting down and blowing up thousands of mobile suits. Since then, the games have pumped up the fan service even more and awe practically every Gundam fan in its presence. The newest installment, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 is no exception. Speaking as an enthusiast of the Universal Century stories myself, this is the game I’ve been waiting for yet again.
Available on: Xbox 360; Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios; Developer: Double Fine Productions; Players: 1 – 4; Released: June 22, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
With recent games, there’s been a slow trend towards combining different genres; at times, it may seem like an odd match, but come to work like a dream. Trenched throws together several genres like a hodgepodge of features, including shooting, mecha customization, and tower defense. Most people would look at this formula and already be turned off by the pitch of such a convoluted game. However, it is nowhere near convoluted in practice. If anything, it is a unique and enjoyable fusion that few have dared to experiment with before.