Remember that time when we had to retreat to the dark dankness of the Moscow Metro in order to fight over the few remaining scraps of humanity? Good, because this week, a last light is our only hope for salvation. Look alive, it’s time for this week’s videogame releases.
Metro: Last Light (360, PS3, PC)
From the ashes of THQ comes ‘Metro: Last Light‘, the sequel to ‘Metro 2033’. Developed by Ukraine-based studio 4A Games, the ‘Metro’ franchise is born of the post-apocalyptic world of author Dmitry Glukhovsky. The setting is a cross between a mutant-filled nuclear winter overground and freaky metro tunnels underground that survivors have made their homes.
The game’s story sees the player take the role of Artyom, a young soldier attempting to protect his metro station from mutants and from other humans. In the ‘Last Light’, Artyom will be forced to reconsider some of things that he did in the first game. As interesting as the gloomy story is, the game’s appeal is stronger when combined with its Russian origins and obsessive resource scrounging. Between acquiring bullets (which serve as both weapon ammunition and currency) and making sure that the character’s protective mask is stocked with fresh filters, the game sets itself apart from most shooters.
The first game was rough at times, which is a tough pill to swallow from a AAA shooter. With ‘Last Light’ being mostly done under the publishing eye of THQ, it’s likely to be rough as well. Yet because the game is more comfortable with its bleak environment than most contemporary titles, it may be worth the occasional rough spot. Hopefully, with renewed support, the franchise can continue on and ultimately reward players with a fully realized ‘Metro’ vision.
Sanctum 2 (XBLA, PSN, PC)
FPS met tower defense in ‘Sanctum’, but the game had its detractors. Many people felt that the game needed more content (as in more than three maps), and that its FPS mechanics weren’t fleshed out. Fortunately, it’s time to bring on version 2.0 in the form of ‘Sanctum 2’. The new game has sixteen maps that span multiple terrain types. Players can choose one of four shooter classes to play as and administer defense. That’s right, in the ‘Sanctum’ series, you build your defenses from first-person view, and then you fight directly against the giant insect-like aliens. This time, however, you can die, which forces you into a re-spawn situation.
For me, ‘Super Sanctum TD’, the throwback tower defense game released by ‘Sanctum’ developer Coffee Stain Studios on Steam to promote ‘Sanctum 2’, is more intriguing than the full-scale sequel. ‘Super Sanctum’ is included as a pre-order bonus for ‘Sanctum 2’, but only on PC.
‘Manhunt’ comes to the PS3 as part of the PS2 Classics line, which means that it’s a digital version of the same game that originally debuted on the PS2 in 2003, no more and no less. When it comes to re-releases, classic or not, Rockstar regularly runs into licensing issues, but in the case of ‘Manhunt’, the PS2 era violence might not be able to manage an HD re-release.
The game puts the player in the kill-or-be-killed world of James Earl Cash. It’s easily one of Rockstar’s most violent games, and also something of a cult hit. Granted, the PC version of ‘Manhunt’ is available on Amazon and on Steam, but it’s been just about ten years since the game first hit the PS2. Isn’t it time to see how a death sentence is really carried out in the world of ‘Manhunt’?
Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot (PS Vita, iOS)
If you can believe it, ‘Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot’ is all about a boy named Jacob. He does not get along with other kids, and his parents have sentenced him to summer camp. Fortunately, the elusive Bigfoot turns up, and somehow that means that Jacob and Bigfoot will join forces to tackle some puzzles. How those puzzles shake out remains a mystery, but supposedly the Unreal 3-powered game is meant to stretch the control scheme of Vita. How it will play out in the iOS version also remains a mystery. Admitting that, the charming art style and promise of an addictive puzzle game shows some potential that ought to be fun.
Dust 514 (PS3)
Let’s be honest here. On the one hand, the ‘Dust 514’ Beta was not a winner when first released, and even after improvements, the title remains a freemium game. The ebb and flow of a competitive shooter is not exactly where a lot of players want to be plied by micro-transactions. On the other hand, the PS3-only ‘Dust 514’ crosses over into the developer’s other game, the hardly known ‘Eve Online’. Being a part of ‘Eve Online’ makes ‘Dust 514’ dangerous. “Dangerous” as in the game may shallow up hordes of seemingly normal humans. For ‘Dust 514’, this means jumping into the conflicts of ‘Eve Online’, and this week it ratchets up with the ‘Uprising’ update.