A ruinous week of summer videogame releases is upon us. Fortunately, a few re-releases, including one set in a galaxy far, far away, help to bolster this week’s lineup.
Heroes of Ruin (3DS)
Square Enix continues its tradition of cooperative fantasy games on Nintendo handhelds with ‘Heroes of Ruin.’ On the surface, ‘Heroes of Ruin’ brings third-person hack-and-slash play to the 3DS, allowing a portable need to loot items and gear, customize a hero, and in general, raid dungeons. This is diverting enough for, say, a layover in an airport, but the heart of this game is in the multiplayer mode.
Group up to four people locally or online and the game’s true purpose will become clear. The ‘Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicle’ titles for the DS, ‘Echoes of Time‘ and ‘Ring of Fates‘, were excellent local multiplayer games, which bodes well for ‘Heroes of Ruin’, even if it skews more towards a ‘Diablo’ style of dungeon crawling. The game’s difficulty scales based on the number of players, so playing cooperatively should be both challenging and fun.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I & II (PC)
This is a perfect week to release the ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Collection‘, which bundles the first and second games together for the PC. ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ was an instant classic when it was released for the original Xbox. For some fans, BioWare succeeded where countless other ‘Star Wars’ adaptations failed by delivering a compelling story in a fascinating universe. At the same time, the game also engaged players with a light/dark morality system, and signature BioWare conversation and combat systems. Developed by Obsidian, the sequel, ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords’, was a letdown in the sophomoric slump sense. Too many party members, a rushed endgame, and a story far too wrapped up in the events of the first title mar what is still a good game that few have a had a chance to play despite the launch of ‘The Old Republic’ MMO.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD (XBLA)
‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD’ is both a great introduction to the series at its best, and very nostalgic for fans of the first two titles. The closest that I’ve ever come to playing a Tony Hawk game was the skateboarding mode in ‘Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance’, which was pretty awful. Even so, I may give this download a shot. The levels were chosen after Tony Hawk asked his Twitter followers which levels they’d like to see. The gameplay has been honed from Neversoft’s original code, while the animation has been brought up to date and in line with the HD makeover. PC and PSN versions are likely to follow in the next month or two.
‘Dyad’ is all about surreal and psychedelic rhythmic gameplay. ‘Dyad’ is also difficult to separate conceptually from ‘Rez’. The player controls a luminescent squid-looking creature, which proceeds down a roughly tunnel-shaped luminescent playing area. As the player times the squid creature’s hits with the stream of psychedelic targets, lights and sounds are activated, which cause the playing area and soundtrack to increase in psychedelic activity. Behind all the rad visuals is a tight three-hit system inspired by ‘Tetris Attack’. It would seem that ‘Dyad’ seeks to combine trippy visuals and tones with familiar puzzle game mechanics. Time will tell if this game has a worth beyond its similarities to ‘Rez’.