October has arrived. Just the very mention of that month sends shivers down my spine. Why? One would think that November would be the month with the most releases, but they’d be wrong. My metrics have shown me that October is the true month of madness when it comes to sheer volume of releases. Time to stock up on my Jolt colas. Thankfully, it has a rather tame start.
Remember. Release dates are quite literally made at the whims of the publisher. The following are subject to change without any warning.
Releases To Watch For This Week
Pokémon Black Version 2, Pokémon Black Version 2 (DS)
Sunday October 7, 2012
Great. Another Pokémon rerelease the likes of Pokémon Platinum or Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver. So why the “2” in the title? Turns out, this marks Pokémon’s first ever true, traditional sequel.
Set two years after Pokémon Black/White, you play as a new trainer who also finds him or herself entangled in Team Plasma’s plot to take over the world (again). Those who have played the first will be familiar with most of the locations, but they’ll also notice that much of it has changed. On top of that, Version 2 offers new locations as well, which comes stocked with classic Pokémons that was previously unavailable for your capturing pleasure.
If you’re still waiting for a truly different Pokémon experience to come along, keep waiting. Nothing about this sequel deviates from the classic Pokémon formula of collecting all the Pokémons and winning badges from various Pokémon Gyms to show the world that you are the best Pokémon trainer of them all. And yet each franchise outing just keeps on selling. Obviously Game Freak is doing something right.
Resident Evil 6 (Xbox 360, PS3)
Tuesday October 2, 2012
Do you remember when Resident Evil was actually about scaring the crap out of you? I get the feeling not even Resident Evil remembers that anymore.
Set 10 years after the events of Resident Evil 5, RE6 follows the story of Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, and Jake Muller as the world faces the threat of a new virus known as the C-Virus. Each character’s plotline will highlight a different facet of this ongoing threat with ostensibly very different atmosphere.
Leon’s campaign appears to hearken back to the olden days of the series given how the trailers have never shown him with anything more than a handgun. Moreover, he always seems to be in some rather dark areas like a big mansion at night or underground in a subway tunnel.
Chris on the other hand gets to shoot machine guns and other heavier firearms presumably with a squad of guys with similar firepower. Instead of a creepy atmosphere like Leon’s settings, Chris will be shooting large numbers of zombies(?) in a the rather well lighted streets of China.
Jake, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have much in terms of firepower. Instead trailers have shown him using hand-to-hand combat and not much else. His campaign appears to be set in broad daylight in some ruins of some kind.
One has to wonder if the series is standing on a sort of a crossroad. One leads to RE’s past when the series emphasized the horror aspect of the Survival Horror genre while the other takes the series towards the more action oriented direction that RE4 started heading towards and RE5 clearly continued upon. Instead RE6 appears to simply take both directions as well as create a new one as evident by Jake Muller’s side of the story. It all makes me wonder as to what Resident Evil 7 will look like after this.
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (Xbox 360)
Tuesday 2, 2012
Never heard of this game? How about the original game that this was based on that came out in 1988? No? Well stay awhile and listen to this tale of a Strategy game that’s also a vehicular Action game with a sprinkling of first Person Shooter.
As the name implies, you spend the bulk of your time managing a futuristic battleship carrier on your quest to take control of an archipelago. Your enemy also has a similar battleship and will be trying to do the same thing. Each island you control becomes a resource either as a production facility, a defensive stronghold, or a stockpile facility that stores materials or units created by your production facilities. From the carrier, you will be able to map out attacks by every one of your eight units on board your carrier right down to what types of armaments each unit will be carrying into battle. You could sit back and wait for them to be victorious, or you could take direct control of any one of them.
When controlling a unit, the perspective switches to a more familiar over the unit view or in cockpit view. From there you can deviate from your plans hopefully to change the tides of battle or just because you can.
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission does feature a story, and occasionally you would control the captain of the carrier as he and his squad must complete mission on foot. Based on the trailers I’ve seen, don’t expect Uncharted levels of animation out of these segments.
Console gaming does not have a very stellar record when it comes to Real Time Strategy gaming, and actually having one come out right at the start of blockbuster season of video gaming takes guts to say the least. Unlike most RTS where you control tens of units all over the map, Carrier Command’s more focused approach of basically nine units could give this an edge over other RTSes that have tried to succeed given the console’s limited inputs over the mouse and keyboard. Also the ability to play as a unit also adds an element of action that most console games just can’t seem to live without. Let’s hope somebody takes note of this and gives it a shot.
Coming This Week
Monday October 1, 2012
Crosswords Plus (3DS)
You know how I know that StreetPass is awesome? When the mere mention of its usage in a game as trivial as this collection of Crosswords puzzles actually catches my eye. Players can share bonus puzzles they receive from playing with other players via StreetPass. Of course the challenge will be actually finding other people who would buy a retail version of something that undoubtedly anyone can buy and play on their iPhones at a third of the price. Good luck with that.
Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone! (3DS)
Can’t stand drawing nothing but stick figures? Pick this up and teach yourself the basics of drawing with the in-game tutorials. You can even share your masterpieces online or with your friends. But stick figures are fine really. Besides, you’d be invaluable in a game of hangman.
Tuesday October 2, 2012
NBA 2k13 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP)
The king of video game basketball sims is back, and for another year it reigns unchallenged. As a bonus it even has an NBA season with it to boot! This year’s edition amps the already top-notch series features by including more legends, the 1992 and 2012 Olympic teams, a revamped and deeper career mode, and lastly an all-new dribble mechanic. The NBA 2k series has, in the last few years, set a precedent for sports sims and 2k13 just continues to grow the legacy of this great basketball king.