The new year brings with it an immediate shortage of new videogames. Yet even in a MadWorld, or a not too distant future, or a time and place where Shaq is in shape, there will be games.
Anarchy Reigns (360, PS3)
Continuing the legacy of ‘God Hand’ is ‘Anarchy Reigns‘, which is being released in Western regions some seven months after its Japanese debut. Fans of the aforementioned ‘God Hand’ or the more recent Platinum Games’ ‘MadWorld’ and ‘Bayonetta’ should be first in line for this budget beat ’em up. Be forewarned, however, that the single-player consists of two short campaigns, and the multiplayer is more quantity over quality. Still, games that can balance frivolity with brutality are few and far between.
Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable (PS Vita)
Vita owners (that’s right, both of you), rejoice! Raise the shout “E-D-F! E-D-F! E-D-F!” ‘Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable’ is, as its namesake suggests, a Vita version of the budget classic, ‘Earth Defense Force 2017’ for the Xbox 360. Just watching the trailer (which happens to look more PSP than PS Vita) brings back a flood of fond memories of level after level of cooperative struggle against the giant insects, robots, mechs, drop ships and arachnids attacking the Earth of 2017. Despite a visual downgrade of the sparsely-detailed yet enemy-packed levels, this version purportedly is less likely to suffer huge frame rate drops. The game also features another ‘EDF’ character, Pale Wing. Finally, the game supports four-player online play. Remember the scenes from ‘Starship Troopers’ where the characters become separated on Planet P? If not, this game will remind you. If you can get four people playing together, I dare you not to have fun.
Shaqdown (iOS, Android)
Featuring a Shaquille O’Neal far more fit than has ever been seen on planet Earth, ‘Shaqdown’ presents a story of singular vision. That vision, for those who would see it, is of a lone figure, the justice bringer, a.k.a. Shaq, fighting against the humanity-enslaving mutant zombie hordes. Granted, this side-scroller is unlikely to garner multiple BAFTAs. Nevertheless, Android and iOS players who buy copies will be able to regale their friends with tales of “jump shot,” “free throw,” and the legend of Shaq Fu.