The Fourth of July has come and gone, but the celebration of America continues with the first real (well, videogame real) taste of football this season. Meanwhile, Konami celebrates the legacy of Big Boss and Solid Snake.
NCAA Football 14 (360, PS3)
Yearly sports titles like EA’s ‘NCAA Football 14‘ have a bad reputation for being, “Different number, same game.” Even worse in the case of ‘NCAA Football’ is that the series is viewed as the little brother of ‘Madden’. This time around, that reputation really seems to hold true. With features like “30 new option types” and “stumble recovery,” this is clearly an off-year for the series, especially when compared to last year’s Heisman Challenge.
Not only will the game have to wait until next year for a Xbox One/PS4 debut, but the only benefit it appears to have gained from last year’s ‘Madden’ is the ability to cut while running. Still, those who want to play with the latest rosters need to step up for ‘NCAA Football 14’. Let’s just hope that next year’s version makes up for the lack of advancement this year.
Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection (PS3)
Hot off the heels of 2011’s ‘Metal Gear Solid HD Collection’ comes ‘Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection‘. This new PS3-only edition takes the contents of the previous set and adds download codes for the PSone Classics versions of ‘Metal Gear Solid’ and ‘Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions’, as well as 2008’s ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’. Two graphic novels based on ‘MGS 1’ and ‘2’ from longtime ‘Metal Gear’ artist Ashley Wood round out the package.
All told, the collection boasts eight titles including the MSX versions of ‘Metal Gear’ and ‘Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake’, PSone versions of ‘Metal Gear Solid 1’ and ‘Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions’, the recent HD remakes (‘Metal Gear Solid 2: HD Edition’, ‘Metal Gear Solid 3: HD Edition’ and ‘Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition’), as well as the PS3 original ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Trophy Edition’.
Essentially a repackaging of other games, this collection has rankled fans who wished for some of these inclusions in the recent ‘Metal Gear Solid HD Collection’. In addition to the PS3, that version was also available for the 360 and, in a lesser form (without ‘Peace Walker’), for the PS Vita.
The most unfortunate aspect of these re-releases is that, as it stands, no ‘MGS’ title yet released has any firm plans for compatibility with either the Xbox One or PS4. Meanwhile, only one ‘Metal Gear’ title has ever really been remade, and that remake seems destined to remain compatible only with the Nintendo GameCube, early generation Wiis and open-source emulators.
Still, at a suggested price of $50, the ‘Legacy Collection’ is the grandest ‘Metal Gear’ box set to date and undoubtedly represents the legacy well. Personally, I have the collector’s version of the HD Collection and the collector’s version of ‘MGS4’, which means that I already have access to everything in this set. Konami needs to offer something more to get this collector on-board.
Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Brave New World (PC, Mac)
Nearly three years after its debut, ‘Civilization V’ shows few signs of disappearing from the PC gaming landscape. That said, ‘Civilization V: Brave New World‘ appears to promise new content without the major readjustments of last year’s ‘Gods & Kings’.
‘Brave New World’ adds nine new civilizations, eight new wonders, two new scenarios and multiple new avenues for the later stages of the game. The two new scenarios are the American Civil War and the Scramble for Africa, which should both be pretty attractive for history and geography buffs. While all of these additions may attract the interest of former players, they’re even more likely to draw those who have yet to take the ‘Civ V’ plunge. The other new additions in ‘Brave New World’ that may return lapsed players involve a revamped policy and ideology tree with new abilities, an expanded diplomatic option set to reinvigorate city-state interactions, and a new set of trade capabilities for economic and cultural growth.
Total Recoil (PS Vita)
‘Total Recoil’ is the rare port for the Vita that shows how badly the current market lacks a smartphone gaming platform with dedicated buttons. Before you can say, “Hey, wait, I can totally link a game controller to my phone and mimic a sensible control scheme,” that just doesn’t make a market.
iOS and Android have tons of developers, while the PS Vita has both touchscreen and a dual analogue stick and button set. The ‘Total Recoil’ game released to smartphones last year offered twin-stick shooting, achievement hunting, killstreak bearing, and special weapons only a touchscreen could love. The PS Vita port seems like the title has found the controls (dedicated sticks and shoulder buttons) that turn a simple game into one that makes sense to attempt. Still, the mobile achievements in either the iOS Game Center or PS Vita aren’t nearly as lauded as their console counterparts.
Deus Ex: The Fall (iOS)
When rumors of ‘Deus Ex: The Fall’ began to spread, fans of the series and of the recent ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’ got excited. Then Square Enix revealed that, while mimicking ‘Human Revolution’, ‘The Fall’ was destined for the iPad, a revelation that immediately dissipated a lot of interest in the title. However, when a playable form of the game was showcased at E3, a new excitement started to build.
With a combination of elements lifted from ‘Human Revolution’, and an approximation of the gameplay and controls of that game, ‘Deus Ex: The Fall’ is one of the more anticipated gaming titles for the next few months. I’m curious about this game, but mainly just to see how well it runs and controls. At $7, I might check it out.