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: 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.
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: PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: 2K Games; Developer: 3D Realms; Players: 1 – 8; Released: June 14, 2011; ESRB: Mature; Official Website
Usually, games are cancelled for a reason. While eagerly awaiting fans may not like that development, there’s not much they can do about it after the fact aside from signing (mostly) ignored online petitions. After the longest 15 years ever for fans, however, the Duke finally returns and in full HD action. Although some may rejoice, perhaps Duke Nukem Forever is an omen that games cancelled are best if they stayed cancelled.
Available on: PC, Xbox 360; Publisher: Kalypso Media; Developer: Haemimont Games; Players: 1; Released: May 12, 2011; ESRB: Teen ; Official Website
The First Templar is an action RPG based on the search for the Holy Grail. While this theme has been touched upon by film so many times to the point of being a simply boring topic, the topic hasn’t been visited by gaming as much. However, The First Templar is less about the Holy Grail and more about the journey and that is what makes it a fun and compelling adventure. Read the rest of this entry
Available on: PC; Publisher: Viva Media; Developer: Black Lion Studios; Players: 1; Released: April 5, 2011; ESRB: Mature; Official Website
When gamers think about a military shooter, they generally think about first rate games like the Call of Duty or Battlefield series. Gamers think about these games because they are the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the Brad Pitt of military shooters; unfortunately for Black Lion Studios, their take on the military shooter genre is barely B list quality. Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops is like the red headed step child of Splinter Cell and Call of Duty because it tries so hard to mimic the in-game cutscenes that Modern Warfare does so well, and also the third person stealth action that is reminiscent of Splinter Cell. Although the attempt to create a hybrid of two successful franchises was a very admirable pursuit, it simply fails to grasp any kind of shock and awe that was apparent in any Call of Duty game and does not even come close to the gameplay level of Splinter Cell.
The upcoming week seems like a bust, with few games coming out and none that have been marketed or publicized too heavily. However, there are still some games coming out that you might have been on the lookout for already, such as Darkspore. It seems that downloadable games are going to take the spotlight this week, with some platforming action in Outland and flying witches in Trouble Witches Neo!. If these don’t interest you, take this as a chance to give your wallet or credit card a break!