This week, the tide of big videogame releases abates for the winter. That is, until the games that couldn’t quite make a holiday release begin to appear. In the meantime, gamers who haven’t yet played Telltale’s ‘The Walking Dead’ have even less excuse to put that off, and Suda 51 delivers some sizzling visual bacon.
The Walking Dead (360, PS3)
Let’s be clear here. This ‘The Walking Dead‘ is the disc version of Telltale’s five-part downloadable adventure game that has been available for PC/Mac/360/PS3 and iOS. (The fifth and final part – for now – was only recently released.) It’s completely different from the Activision FPS due at the end of the year.
This a tough game to discuss without spoiling the story. Even if you hate adventure games and you only have an iPhone, you should still play this game. By placing a time limit on a player’s decisions and dialogue choices, the game achieves a tension that really discourages indecisive actions. Choosing whether or not to lie, or how to broach a tough subject, or whether you’ll try to save a character that you dislike and is a constant pain – these are all big parts of the game’s suspense. At the end of each episode, the continuity is affected by the player’s choices. The player’s biggest decisions are set against everyone else who played while online in a clinically cold statistical readout. As great as the game is to play normally, getting one or two other people in the same room to watch and vote on choices makes it even more incredible.
007 Legends (Wii U)
‘007 Legends‘ arrives for the Wii U after being universally panned on other platforms. Criticisms lobbed against the game include it being rushed, passionless and devoid of the suave aspect that James Bond normally exudes. The critical failure of the game would seem to be the root of why the developer, Eurocom, is no longer in business. Eurocom was responsible for a half dozen Bond titles amid other licensed games. With Eurocom shuttered, buying this game would only support the developer in an academic sense. Once again, the James Bond videogame series has faltered painfully, and remains mired in the shadow of the N64 FPS classic, ‘GoldenEye’.
Black Knight Sword (XBLA, PSN)
From the hyper-stylized mind of Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture comes a game whose stunning Kamishibai art style defies description. In order to play this wondrous puppet show, a player needs to channel some old school ‘Ghosts’n Goblins’/'Mega Man’ skills. The only tragedy is how lousy the frankly annoying trailer is at exhibiting the game.
Black Sky: Infinity (PSN, PS Vita)
The shoot ‘em up (shump) game genre is pretty polarizing. Guiding the player’s tiny ship through wave after wave of enemies and their attacks can be fun for some and an obsession for others. ‘Big Sky: Infinity’ is a jubilee of color, where the twin analogue sticks of the Dual Shock 3 controller take care of the moving and shooting. Not only is the game a Cross-Play title for both current PS platforms, but it’s free for PS Plus members. Too bad that Nintendo doesn’t have anything comparable to the PS Plus program. An instant Wii U/Wii collection would be more than welcome.
Party of Sin (PC)
Did someone say four player, independently developed puzzle-platformer? NO? How about getting to play as anthropomorphized versions of the seven deadly sins? Yes!
This game seems very similar to the beautiful ‘Trine’ series. The gameplay is 2D sidescroller, yet still has a 3D appearance. Where ‘Trine’ allows on-the-fly swapping between the three protagonists, ‘Party of Sin’ allows that for all seven sins. The ability to swap characters while midair, in level, etc. is an addictive mechanic that has been overlooked for far too long.