This post-Black Friday release slate of videogames is almost startlingly devoid of the big-time titles common to the weeks surrounding it. Fortunately, the seldom-mentioned ‘Mass Effect 3‘ brings some noise this week, and that noise emanates from Omega.
First, a brief side note: The Wii U goes on sale across Europe late this week.
Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (PS3, PS Vita)
Let’s start with the good: The ‘Ratchet & Clank’ series has done such a good job of establishing fun, colorful environments that merge mechanical and organic elements, with appealing characters and a light-heartedly epic storyline, that the game world can be quickly reshaped into a number of game genres.
This leads us to the bad: There are a dizzying number of ‘Ratchet & Clank’ games, many of which are spin-offs.
‘Ratchet &Clank: Full Frontal Assault‘ is a tower defense game built using the series’ game world. The action takes place from a third person POV, and the player is expected to run and gun while activating and earning new defenses. The focus of the game is multiplayer, but the lack of a real campaign and the recycling of the series’ many aspects is evident in the game’s value price and cross-play bundle.
This brings us to another “bad”: The game is being sold for the PS3 and includes the cross-play compatible Vita version for free. What’s bad about that is that the Vita version is not expected until January.
Mass Effect 3: Omega (360, PS3, PC)
Be warned: Discussion of this single-player DLC will contain some spoilers. One of the more effective and stunning scenes in the videogame medium was achieved with the Afterlife club on Omega back in ‘Mass Effect 2’. Fast forward to ‘Mass Effect 3‘, and Omega is inaccessible with Afterlife’s ice-hard Aria T’Loak diffidently displaced and pathetically hanging around the Citadel.
‘Mass Effect 3: Omega’ is undoubtedly the fight for Omega that ‘ME3’ withheld, and it’s also the exposition of Aria T’Loak that has been denied in two full games and a lode of DLC. Even so, I have to say I’m tepid about diving back into ‘ME3′ in order to play this DLC. I’ve not only beaten the game some six months ago, I’ve beaten the series, endured both Kai Leng and the controversy surrounding the series’ would-be ending. All that, plus the knowledge that this DLC will not be included in the upcoming trilogy releases, and that (at least publicly) it’s being denied to Wii U owners.
Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition (PC, Mac)
For my money, ‘Baldur’s Gate’ hearkens back to a time when the genre hadn’t been overrun by relatively goofy, panda-filled games. It also comes from a time when BioWare was clearly focused on the PC. With ‘Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition’, the ‘D&D’ classic is back with new content, a new interface, new party members, and a host of improvements designed to make the game friendly to modern platforms. OS X, and iPad versions are expected soon, while an Android Tablet version is also planned.
Sega Model2 Collection, Parts 1-3 (XBLA, PSN)
The first three of the planned five games that Sega announced as part of the ‘Sega Model2 Collection’ drop this week. Specifically available for individual purchase this week on PSN and XBLA are ‘Virtua Fighter 2’, ‘Fighting Vipers’ and ‘Sonic the Fighters’. The last two titles, ‘Virtua Striker’ and ‘Virtua On’, are not expected until next year. Each of the three Saturn era fighters will feature both online play and achievements/trophies.