As April closes out and May begins, we're left with another short release list, but one with at least a couple of highly anticipated titles. Our lead-off game particularly comes to mind, with its "MMO-FO" campaign, carried out by front-man Bas Rutten. It stands out as one of the more creative ways to pitch a new property to the MMO audience, which is notoriously hard to pull away from their existing game of choice regardless of what a new entrant offers. This week on Pick & Play, we have MMO-FOs, tactical WWII action, sixteenth-century commerce, and eldritch horror.
TERA Online is what happens when fast-paced hack-and-slash action makes its way into an MMO. With a combat system that eschews auto-attacks and queued techniques for button-based contextual combos and deft maneuvering, TERA aims to offer gamers who tire of palette-swapped variants of World of Warcraft an entirely new experience. That isn't to say that TERA looks anything like WoW; its color set and art design draw on the South Korean interpretation of Western fantasy made familiar by previous MMOs such as Lineage 2 and Aion Online. Releasing in both a regular edition and a collector's edition flavor, TERA Online hits stores and digital distribution on Tuesday, May 1.
(PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Real fast, when making a first-person shooter centered around snipers, those deadly ghost warriors who hide, unmoving, on the outskirts of the battlefield for hours or days, how does one make things interesting instead of monotonous? Sniper Elite V2's answer is to take the action into slightly closer quarters, with levels that have you traversing warzones and cautiously picking off the enemy as you go. If you're an accurate sniper, your deadly aim will be rewarded with slow-motion x-ray kills of your enemies, showing not only where they are hit, but what the damage will be, with bones shattering or splitting and organs pulverized into hamburger. This system is so exact that it will model parts of the body from the head and spine all the way down to the spleen and, of course, the family jewels. Take aim yourself when Sniper Elite V2 launches on Tuesday, May 1.
Perhaps fantasy action and WWII era shooting aren't really your thing. Maybe you prefer something a touch more cerebral, a little farther on the strategic side of things. Enter Port Royale 3: Pirates & Merchants—the latest in the Port Royale series of sea-faring business simulators/RTS titles. While the game includes a complex economic model and real-time, ship-to-ship battles like its predecessors, it's extremely open-ended, never shoe-horning the player into a specific role. Wish to trade goods from port to port? Rather be a pirate, terrorizing the Caribbean with your salty crew? The choice is up to you. Perhaps the aspect of Port Royale 3 that stands out the most from its predecessors, though, besides a shift in developer, is that it is slated to come to both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. As of now, however, only the PC version has a specific release date, sailing out this Friday, May 4.
What happens when cute and cuddly meets Fable's deadly and occasionally quite dark fantasy universe? Fable Heroes is a four-player co-op beat'em up, in which as many as four players (with A.I. partners filling any gaps in the party) travel from one side of a colorful themed map to the other, slaying familiar Fable beasties along the way and collecting gold coins. Fable Heroes also aims for variety, with a collection of minigames. But this is no Mario Party: the focus is squarely on the action. With a unique, board game-based upgrade system and dozens of upgrades, Fable Heroes promises to keep interested players busy for a long time after it launches on Wednesday, May 2.
A colorful two-dimensional arena combat game, Awesomenauts allows players to take command of one of a diverse group of mercenaries and engage in group-on-group shooting brawls online or in split-screen. More than anything else, it brings to mind the classic free-to-play Soldat, but given a graphical boost and a more varied character select, with abilities for each to use. Fast-paced and hectic, Awesomenauts does indeed look awesome. The only issue: though it is set to go, its publisher recently went belly-up and, in the wake of their publisher's bankruptcy, the developer is unclear on whether or not the title will make its release on the PSN Tuesday, May 1 or on the XBLA Wednesday, May 2.
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week:
It's an app-sized, turn-based RPG based on the classic Call of Cthulhu pen and paper rules. For those unfamiliar with this Lovecraft-infused gaming ruleset, it's notorious for either killing off or driving its player characters insane within the first session. It's a game that one plays for atmosphere, and not for accomplishment. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how a goal-based computer game interprets and utilizes said rules in an experience that aims to offer more than just intense frustration. Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is coming to the PC via the Intel AppUp center on Saturday, May 5.
Date: March 26, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*