It’s another full week for big videogame releases. ‘Elder Scrolls’, ‘Batman’ and ‘MLB’ are just some of the franchises with new titles on tap.
Elder Scrolls Online (PC, Mac)
One unstoppable force in gaming over the last decade or so has been punctuated with titles like ‘Skyrim‘, ‘Oblivion’, and ‘Morrowind’ – each bearing the ‘Elder Scrolls’ name and particular vision of first-person, free roam RPG play. Those of course were single player games. ‘Elder Scrolls Online‘ seeks to bring the freedom, questing, lore, etc. of the series to an online massively multiplayer stage. That will likely mean diluting the singular focus for the sake of an MMO environment, but for many the draw of ‘Elder Scrolls’ will be inescapable.
Xbox One and PS4 versions due later this year.
MLB 14: The Show (PS3, Vita)
Sony’s ‘MLB’ series is not only the end-all/be-all for baseball videogames, it’s also easily the highest rated sports title. With ‘MLB 14: The Show‘, the biggest deal is the PS4 version set to follow next month. Beyond that, the series will now support year-to-year save transfers, which is huge for fans of the “Road to the Show” player creation mode. The game also has an ability to share the franchise mode with other players in Online Franchise Mode. That’s a really intriguing feature and sounds great for groups of fans. The PS3, PS4 and Vita versions all support cross-save. For new players, there’s a dynamic difficulty that can scale the game as the player improves.
Mercenary Kings (PSN for PS4, PC)
‘Mercenary Kings‘ looks like a blast for fans of games like ‘Contra’ and ‘Metal Slug’. The art style and co-op options give this run-and-gun its most obvious distinct characteristics. The PC version was released last week, but since the game is a PS Plus title, I had to wait until now to dive in.
Batman: Arkham Origins – Blackgate Deluxe Edition (PSN for PS3, XBLA for 360, PC)
The ‘Batman: Arkham Origins – Blackgate Deluxe Edition‘ is the console version of the Vita/3DS title that promised more than it could deliver. (Read that review here.) By moving to consoles and the PC, the game’s resolution has been bumped up and the sound has been remixed for 5.1. This should make the Deluxe Edition worthy for hardcore ‘Arkham’ fans. Of course, some current owners (say of the Vita version) aren’t thrilled by the cheap rereleases of former exclusives.
Ragnarok Odyssey ACE (PS3, Vita)
Fans of ‘Ragnarok Odyssey’ should know that this enhanced version adds a new Tower of Yggdrasil dungeon among other skill and class additions. For everyone else, ‘Ragnarok Odyssey ACE‘ is a RPG/dungeon crawler that can be played on either the PS3 or Vita (with cross-save).
FTL: Advanced Edition (PC, iOS)
One of my favorite games (and serious time-sinks) is the roguelike, last-ditch space mission ‘FTL’. Take your ship and crew and start making the jumps. Each stop likely means desperate combat, but also the chance to upgrade the ship in preparation for the final battle. I tend to let the all-human crew morph into representatives from each race through attrition and bartering, and then make the most of their skills. (Sometimes those boarding parties I send out just don’t make it back.)
‘FTL: Advanced Edition‘ not only adds a new race and ton of mind-bending features (forget a Med Bay, the Clone Bay will replace hurt crew), it also marks the debut of the game on tablets. Too bad it’s been ages since a decent ‘Star Trek’ game made use of the “Send all power to the weapons” balancing system that is so well utilized in ‘FTL’. The Advanced Edition is available as a free update for current owners.