Videogame Releases: Week of August 26th, 2012

Videogame Releases: Week of August 26th, 2012

For the second straight week, Megatron stalks the videogame world. The difference in that that this week’s Megatron is a Detroit Lion who may or may not be cursed for the season. We also get a sequel to one of the better MMOs, a peripheral-manufacturer’s stab at making a game, and a handful of other titles of interest.

Madden NFL 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSVita)

Madden NFL 13‘ arrives just before the real football season begins. The game boasts a new physics system, synthetic Twitter feeds, passing arcs, receiver awareness, and the new “Connected Careers” mode. While many will complain that the game should be rebuilt from scratch every year, the new physics system is a big deal and a big improvement.

The availability of a streamlined play-calling system wherein the computer recommends which play to run seems like a concession to the casual fan, and it allowed me to trounce the 49ers without much effort. But really, ‘Madden’ is for hardcore players. We’re talking about players who will be in the “Connected Careers” mode for twenty seasons trying to accumulate more passing yards than Brett Favre, or will be online trying to get the player card packs needed to dominate.

Side rant: EA produced approximately 5,000 annoying ‘Madden NFL 13’ videos with Mark Schlereth, Trey Wingo, Ray Lewis, Paul Rudd and several other awkward people, but neglected to make a single decent concise trailer. That is ‘Madden’ to me: quantity over quality. Rant over.

https://youtu.be/d0yoP9cmmis

Guild Wars 2 (PC)

These days, aside from ‘World of Warcraft’, we’re witnessing the death throes of the subscription-based MMO. Fortunately, the first ‘Guild Wars’ was remarkable for not charging a monthly fee in the first place. For ‘Guild Wars 2‘, the developer AreaNet has made the attractive move of having a persistent world. Hopefully, this will remove the unsatisfying disconnect often caused by completing quests whose results are immediately reset. A number of other decisions, like incorporation the Havok physics system, make ‘Guild Wars 2’ seem more like the kind of polished experience that a normal AAA game hopes to deliver. Personally, this kind of fantasy setting, stuffed to the brim with lore and MMO combat, isn’t what I’m looking for right now. But if it were, I’d give this one a shot.

Damage, Inc. – Pacific Squadron WWII (360, PS3, PC)

Mad Catz is a company that makes peripherals. In order to sell a new flight stick, the company decided that it would go ahead and develop a game to sell with it. That game is ‘Damage, Inc. – Pacific Squadron WWII‘.

The game leaves a rough impression. As I sifted through old Nintendo Power stuff, I came across an SNES game called ‘Wings 2: Aces High’. That was an awesome game, and I enjoyed ‘Super Strike Eagle’ for the SNES as well. ‘Damage, Inc’. makes me wish that I could recapture the fun of those old games, but it looks more like a title that was made in order to sell a peripheral.

Rock Band Blitz (XBLA, PSN, PC)

‘Rock Band Blitz’ takes the Harmonix series back to its roots, such as the BAFTA award-winning ‘Frequency’. ‘Blitz’ has no band peripherals, and puts its focus back on single-player. The player moves from track to track to activate notes, and can even find power-ups. The big problem with ‘Frequency’ and ‘Amplitude’ was being stuck with the songs that shipped with those games. ‘Rock Band Blitz’ come with twenty songs, but is cross-compatible with ‘Rock Band 3’ songs.

https://youtu.be/Dib0TzVSLyM

They Bleed Pixels (PC)

Take one part pixel-art style, another part action-heavy platformer, then wrap them up in an independent game starring a troubled young lady who goes demonic, and you have ‘They Bleed Pixels’. This game was planned for XBLA, and may still make it there in the future. The name alone suggests that this game knows what’s fun. I also really like the themed guest levels such as ‘They Bleed Ponycorns’ and ‘Ninjas Bleed Techno Dance Party’.

Journey: Collector’s Edition (PS3)

‘Journey’ quickly became the fastest selling PSN game in the West when it was released last March. ‘Journey: Collector’s Edition‘ brings all three of thatgamecompany’s titles (‘flOw’, ‘Flower’ and ‘Journey’) together on one disc, along with a nice set of special features. The extras include downloads of the soundtracks, PSN avatars and PS3 themes. Also included are developer commentaries for all three games. These titles share the characteristic of being less game-like than conventional games, and emphasize the experience and subtle narrative elements over challenging, antagonistic gameplay.

It’s also worth noting that ‘The Walking Dead, Episode 3: The Long Road Ahead’ has been teased as possibly graduating from certification in time for release this week, which sounds a lot like it’ll actually be next week. The first two episodes were excellent, and it will be hard to top the second. If you have access to a PS3, 360, PC or an iPad/iPhone, you should give the series a shot.

Finally, ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD‘ arrives on PSN this week. Coming just six weeks after the XBLA release, the PSN version probably doesn’t address the negative feedback that the 360 version has garnered. On the flip side, it looks like DLC that includes levels from ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3’ will be available in the future.

9 comments

  1. Chaz

    Guild Wars 2 is fantastic, one of the best MMOs I’ve ever played, they’ve really gone the next mile when it comes to eliminating the grind and keeping you engaged, I’ve put in about 20 hours so far and not once have I felt that the game is giving you tedious things to do, with nice rewards for visiting everywhere, looking at things and completing all the quests in any given area, it keeps you playing. The crafting system is phenomenal and really intricate, cooking takes a lot of time and gathering, everything from onions, potatoes, carrots and blueberries to using sugar, milk, yeast and so many other things to make your food, really takes this beyond just about any other game I’ve played that has this stuff.

    Dynamic Events keep you busy while you are exploring and completing quests, huge bosses pop up that leave major rewards for beating and everything is done with everyone in the area, it really brings you all together without having to make an effort, everything gives you experience, from picking berries to reviving any downed player, plus the elimination of the “holy trinity” for an MMO just leaves the game so open for anyone to play how they like. If you’ve never got into an MMO or are looking for something that is finally different than WoW or Star Wars, please give this a go, you wont regret it!

    • I am tempted to want to slap the all the people who are saying that Guild Wars 2 is different and really worth playing and to yell, “Don’t lie to me.” But the game is tempting. I like the environment design, and the world map’s beauty is indicative of the art style. The supposed balance of a better quest system and the random events in world make the game seem more like Rockstar than Bethesda. Very tempting.

      • I’m an Asura Engineer, and you can slap me all you want, but I played a lot of Warcraft, Warhammer, Ultima Online, Rift and of course Star Wars. I’ve done my fair share of MMOs over the years, but nothing I’ve played has combined all the best stuff from all of those that I just mentioned. Its easily been the best MMO I’ve played since WoW redesigned the genre.

  2. HuskerGuy

    Bought it and played for a couple hours last night. For the most part it seems to be a pretty faithful replication of the originals.

    I was able to get through all of the levels with Tony except for the last two. I wish there were a few more outside of the upcoming THPS3 levels (paid DLC). I have no idea if there are secret levels this time.

    I love the THPS2 levels much more than the THPS levels, that’s for sure. That said, I still f’n hate wall grinding the bells on School II 🙂

    I will be platinuming the game assuming the online features don’t blow.

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