This week’s videogame releases help us to cope with Napoleon’s return while begging the question, “Are you ready for some football?”
NCAA Football 13 (360, PS3)
The little brother to the ‘Madden’ franchise, ‘NCAA Football 13‘ is the first shot the world has at some football since the end of last season. This year, EA has blessed players with more than just incremental updates. New features include a new QB passing system, a revamped recruiting core for the Dynasty Mode, the ESPN bottom line, and the much marketed Heisman Challenge mode. Not to mention the addition of new stadiums and a host of college-centric details for the entire Football Bowl Subdivision – but not South Alabama, which did not confirm full acceptance to the FBS until recently. The Heisman Challenge mode lets players pick one of many past Heisman winners and then attempt to recreate the stats that led to that player’s selection as a Heisman winner. The sizzling detail for Heisman Challenge mode is being able to have the former Heisman winner on any FBS squad.
Ice Age: Continental Drift (360, PS3, Wii, DS, 3DS, PC)
Another highly anticipated ‘Ice Age’ movie hits movie theaters this week, which necessitates an equally anticipated tie-in game, ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift‘. The gameplay won’t break any new ground, but young players who are fascinated by the ‘Ice Age’ characters will probably love this game. The way that the ‘Ice Age’ characters constantly yell at the player and re-inform him or her to do something rudimentary like “Avoid the ice” obstacles seems like a poor design choice, and suggests a complete lack of trust that the player can remember simple concepts for longer than a second.
Quantum Conundrum (XBLA, PSN)
In stark contrast to the ‘Ice Age’ game, ‘Quantum Conundrum’ is fun for all ages. The PC version came out a few weeks ago, which I wrote about in a 60 Minute Hero post. With the title now releasing for the Xbox 360 and PS3, I’m sure that the quirky humor and wonderful first-person platforming puzzle mechanics will be a hit. In some ways, I consider this a less violent version of ‘Portal’.
Buying ‘Quantum Conundrum’ at launch for $15 is practically a steal. Be aware, however, that this game will have a large amount of DLC, which may cause some people to grumble. I bought the season pass for a few dollars more. That way, I can just enjoy the DLC without deliberating over new purchases each time.
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure (3DS)
Remember that time when Napoleon Bonaparte’s casket disappeared, only for Napoleon to reappear seeking the Dragon Crown in order to magically control the city of Paris? No? Well, ‘Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure‘ seeks to share the rhythm journey of Raphael in this magically besieged Paris.
This Sega-published rhythm action game has been out in Japan and Europe for some time. The gameplay is very much in line with a “Tap the screen every other beat” mechanic that at first seems diverting, but can become both addictive and challenging. Tap the screen on cue or else Raphael will be caught by the guards, dropping his rhythm until it hits zero and you have to restart the level. The incredibly bad voice acting is either a pro or con, depending on your tastes. Coupled with zany writing, the game’s dialogue features gems like, “You can’t possibly be Napoleon. He died two centuries ago.”
Rainbow Moon (PSN)
Developed by German studio SideQuest, ‘Rainbow Moon’ is a downloadable throwback to the PlayStation One era. With an art style completely appropriate for a Japanese RPG, ‘Rainbow Moon’ is half-casual, half-hardcore strategy RPG. This means controlling your characters on a grid in turn-based combat. The causal side derives from an accessible level of difficulty, but the hardcore side derives from a fifty-plus hour play-through time. This is the perfect kind of game to download on a sick day, and then never play again, lest you become too big of a fan. Kind of like Willy Wonka candy, enjoy with restraint.