If you love even one single thing from the 1980s, then you owe it to yourself to check out ‘FarCry 3: Blood Dragon’. That, along with what has to be the most anticipated PS Vita game by far, means that this week is stacked with misfit videogames not to be missed.
FarCry 3: Blood Dragon (XBLA, PSN, PC)
Just about everything going on in ‘FarCry 3: Blood Dragon‘ is a retro-futuristic explosion of solid awesomeness. The game is a standalone (downloadable) title built on the ‘FarCry 3’ engine by some empowered members of the ‘FarCry’ team. The game’s story bear little to no resemblance the previous ‘FarCry’ titles, as it channels 1980s-era sci-fi actioners. “The apocalypse has had an apocalypse,” and it’s up to the Michael Biehn-led cyber-commandos to liberate the land from Omega Force. That, plus neon lasers.
The gameplay maintains the ‘FarCry’ first-person open approach to enemy installations, and the ’80s cheese is piled high. For once, the team had the freedom to make something that’s both original and familiar. Many people who lived the ’80s can play back that special bit of magnetically encoded data contained within the game’s strip of tape, and for those, this title is a must-buy.
Soul Sacrifice (Vita)
Keiji Inafune, creator of ‘Mega Man’ and several other excellent Capcom franchises, finally brings his much anticipated ‘Soul Sacrifice‘ to bear upon the world. At first glance, the game might seem like just another third-person brawler, but the sacrifice dynamic is an enthralling concept. Deciding whether to save or sacrifice enemies and allies yields different rewards, which, as the difficulty moves up, become ever more important. The game supports local and online co-op for up to four players, which is a demanding experience once begun. Those with a Vita owe it to themselves to at least download the recent demo, which can easily yield hours of play.
Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut (PS3)
‘Deadly Premonition’ is a really tough game to explain. When it came to the 360 in 2010, it instantly divided audiences. The budget origins of the title belie its incredible genre-defying experience. Nevertheless, the incredibly odd mixture of dark humor, horror survival and free-roam design is bound to lose a few players before the second hour of gameplay is up. Playing as an FBI agent, players attempt to unravel the mysterious town of Greenvale with a quality that is (dare I say) reminiscent of ‘Twin Peaks’. Fortunately, the cult hit is now ready to hit North American PS3s in the form of ‘Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut‘. Some of the crumminess in the visuals and control style has been cleaned away, while some content and stereoscopic 3D has been added, which means that this “Director’s Cut” is considerably better than most supposed Director’s Cuts.
Zeno Clash II (XBLA, PSN, PC)
With the first ‘Zeno Clash’, ACE managed to astound many, including Valve, with the ambitious and striking first-person brawler that infused an RPG with multiple gameplay types. ‘Zeno Clash II’ presumably builds upon the first game’s simple “Enter a level and clear it by beating everything to a pulp” formula with a new plot to drive the player to greater heights of combative ability. PS3 players get a chance to try the budding franchise for the first time, and all platforms should expect a more polished experience that replicate’s the first game’s action and crazy story.
Leviathan: Warships (PC, Mac, iOS, Android)
Gut-check: Can you handle a strategy game that offers a ridiculous level of per-player fleet customization and also offers competitive head-to-head play across computer and smartphone platforms? No?! Fortunately, ‘Leviathan: Warships‘ also offers a significant single-player campaign. This is a turn-based strategy game that harkens back to days of ‘P.T.O. II’, even if it’s visually more like ‘Supreme Commander’. The planning phase for a game like this may just top 99% of current popular games in terms of player absorption. Just be forewarned that it may take a few tries to learn some very obvious and painful lessons.