Coming Soon! 10/22/2012

Missed me? So did I (long story). All that matters now is that I’m back, and just as depressing as ever. No amount of meds can fix this busted ass brain of mine. Shall we get on with it?

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

Forza Horizon (Xbox 360)

Tuesday October 23, 2012

Ever wished the Forza series would go open world? Well, you just got your wish. Forza Horizon takes the Forza racing engine and basically dropped it into the middle of Burnout Paradise. The fictional Horizon racing festival acts as the backdrop to you going about an expansive open world. Here you can join official racing events or venture out to the nearby town for street races and other challenges. If you’re in a more exploratory mood, you can just drive around looking for secrets and shortcuts. If you search hard enough, you can find abandoned cars, which is Horizon’s way of doing hidden items except with cars, waiting for someone to come along and restore them to brand spanking new.

Just about everything one associates with Forza is included here like car customization and car handling, and yes, it has the rewind feature as well. Unfortunately Horizon doesn’t have everything. Some notable absences include the lack of mechanical damage and the ability to tune parts of the car. These sounds kind of important to me, but given how we’re not exactly racing on tracks or anything, I have a feeling people won’t mind their absence.

Despite the more laid back structure here, Horizon looks to be far more on the simulation side of the spectrum regardless of the open nature. Is it me, or does adding an open world structure to any genre make it more awesome? Let’s see if the formula still works for something that was meant to be more simulation than arcadey.

 

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS)

Sunday October 28, 2012

Another year, another Call of Duty Professor Layton game. We’re on to the fifth entry or, for those in the know, the second entry in the prequel trilogy. This time around, Professor Layton investigates the mystery of the Masked Gentleman who prophesized the destruction of an entire city, which will be brought about by nothing more than the mask itself. I would start pointing out the various new features or mechanics of this sequel, but like the other franchise I accidentally named back there, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask doesn’t appear to sport anything new at all save for the 3-D graphics and the 3D models for every character instead of the flat 2D animations of the past. Like before, Layton and his gang, Luke and Emmy, goes around solving random ass puzzles ranging from logic puzzles to more visual oriented puzzles. Nothing has changed. Don’t ask me why, but after four games and a movie, I’m still okay with that.

 

Honorable Mention

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS, Vita)

Tuesday October 9, 2012
The visual novel genre still doesn’t exist around here, but that doesn’t seem to stop Aksys Games from trying does it? They started pretty strongly a couple years back with 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. Now they’re trying again with its sequel.

Like Jigsaw of the Saw movie fame, Zero returns once again to inflict his (her?) twisted Nonary Game on a new set of folks, along with some from 999. Where as 999 focused on a more numerically focused puzzle, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward looks like it will be testing its players/victims virtues. In each test, its participants are separated into teams, but each team member has the option to ally with their partners or betray them. Depending on their choices, each team member is either awarded points or penalized. If anyone ever hits zero, they die.

Aside from the different set of characters and the new location, Last Reward doesn’t look like it will deviate from the formula set in place by its predecessor. You have story segments where you mostly read what’s going on with the occasional dialogue fully voice acted with a moving 3D model of the character speaking it. Then you move on to the puzzle segment where you have to piece together puzzles to ultimately open the locked door.

The one big change here involves a kind of a time rewind mechanic. 999 had six endings with one being the canon/happy ending. Last Reward features over 20 depending on the choices you make along the way. With this many, the game gives you the ability to rewind back to any number of choices you’ve made along the way. Don’t worry about forgetting which decisions you’ve made though. The game conveniently charts your decisions.

I get it. Games shouldn’t be books. The two couldn’t be more disparate if they tried, and yet the genre has been incredibly successful over in Japan. Some games of the genre has even become as revered as other well-known games over there. Given their fervent adulation for the genre, one can’t help but wonder if we’re missing out on something wonderful.

 

Coming This Week

Tuesday October 23, 2012

Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

The Dangerous Hunts series has become Cabela’s experiment in making a story driven hunting game. This year’s edition looks to combine two incredibly disparate elements: Call of Duty and Nintendo’s Vitality Sensor. Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 will come with the Fearmaster gun peripheral, which literally has a heart monitor installed on the forestock (the handle of the shotgun you slide to pump the shotgun). If your heart is racing, your on-screen aim becomes unsteady and blurry until you’ve calmed the hell down. Or you could get the standalone game and basically play Call of Duty with wolves and bears in the forest instead of terrorist in sandy and rocky locales. Happy hunting.

Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

Yes, Cabela is actually releasing two hunting games in one day. Or are they? These hunting games just keep getting more and more realistic. So much so that this one includes the ability to pause the game, view the map overhead, place waypoints, and even draw out your path to the target for maximum sneakiness. That deer never had a chance.

Just Dance: Disney Party (Xbox 360, Wii)

Back when Disney did their annual summer animated movie/musical, they created some pretty catchy tunes. A whole Just Dance consisting of those might’ve actually made me want to buy this. Until I saw that a majority of the 29 songs on the disc is from Disney TV shows with only a sprinkling of their movie soundtracks. I guess this really is for the younger audiences.

Medal of Honor Warfighter (Xbox 360, PS3)

Ever since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s massive success, everyone has been chasing the proverbial Call of Duty pie. None have been more apparent than the “revival” of the Medal of Honor series. What does this series bring to the table that COD doesn’t? It brings a touch of realism with a more grounded storyline that doesn’t involve something the likes of Russia invading the entire civilized world at the same time. Aside from that though, absolutely bupkus. From the looks of the various trailers and previews, this one will be keeping up the status quo of riding on COD’s coattails.

Killzone Trilogy (PS3)

Continuing Sony’s incessant need to compile a series into one retail package, here we get the Killzone series despite the fact that the two latest iterations came out on the PS3. At least the first Killzone is being rereleased in this package with a full 720p makeover and trophies for those who still care about trophies. Or you could just go to the PSN store and download the updated Killzone and save yourself the trouble of having to put in the disc to play it.

Imagine Fashion Life (3DS)

Why settle for one fashion game when you can have three? Here you can either be a fashion designer, a model, or an owner of an entire mall. If I own an entire mall, it would have a Wetzel’s Pretzel at every corner and all the water fountains dispenses Mountain Dew.

Style Savvy: Tredsetters (3DS)

Need practice with differentiating between bold clothing and perky clothing? Have no fear, Style Savvy: Trendsetters will help you out. This fashion game has you minding a fashion shop as random customers come in asking for a specific look. If you can put together the right outfit, they’ll buy it and pay you money, which you spend on your own wardrobe. Who needs food and running water when you’ve got style.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Vita)

Honestly, why does Sega continue to torture these poor innocent monkeys? Because no system’s library would be complete without a Monkey Ball title it seems, the Vita gets an obligatory title just to make sure these monkeys have a claim in Vita land. In Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz’s defense though, it does feature a rather strange level editor mode, which, as far as I can tell, is actually new to the series. You take a picture of an object, and then the game makes a stage out of it while you shake the Vita. The harder you shake, the more difficult the resulting stage. I can already tell you what the first thing people will take a picture of.

 

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