After weeks and weeks (and weeks) of slow releases, finally we're getting back into the swing of things. New titles, big and small, are hitting almost everything, from the PC to the 3DS and, of course, both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Leading the pack, we have everyone's favorite plumber as well as a pack of shape-shifting robots. In addition, we're looking at a new entry in a classic counter-terrorism shooter and a PC release for one of the most difficult games in recent memory.
(Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Continuing from where Transformers: War for Cybertron left off, Fall of Cybertron chronicles the Autobots' and Decepticons' evacuation of the eponymous dying planet. In addition to the tight third-person shooter mechanics that made the first game so popular among fans of the franchise, the sequel introduces new abilities specific to each Transformer, providing a greater sense of individuality and personality to the many classic characters who are returning for another destructive outing.
Look, if you can't get joy out of changing from a bipedal, gun-wielding robot to a blazing fast car tearing down the battlefield at near-mach speeds, I don't think I even want to imagine you exist. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron will be blowing up a living planet on Tuesday, August 21.
Mario's back, and he's bringing with him a wealth of the classic, two-dimensional platforming action that spawned his popularity. The second brand new Mario platformer to hit the 3DS since its launch, New Super Mario Bros. 2 eschews the depth-warping, fixed-camera-3D levels of Super Mario 3D Land in favor of a more classic approach, collecting coins and items to boost your score/life count and help you navigate the stages, respectively.
And oh my will you collect coins! New Super Mario Bros. 2 demands that you collect more coins than ever before, facilitating this focus with new powers that allow Mario (and his brother, Luigi; there's a co-op mode) to turn simple bricks into coins, ripe for the picking. It's also worth noting that this is the first full 3DS game available for download from the eShop. It came out, both on the eShop and in stores, on Sunday, August 19.
(PC, PSN, XBLA)
We haven't had a new entry in the Counter-Strike series since Counter-Strike: Source, which came out back around the original launch of Half-Life 2. Once the premier competitive FPS series, Counter-Strike introduced at-the-time unique mechanics to its gameplay. Death, for a given round, was permanent, teams had objectives other than slaying all of their competitors (though that worked too), and money earned from performance each round could be used in the next to buy better equipment or a different loadout.
The latest, according to our own Josh Engen, does its best to combine the visuals of Source with much of the physics and many of the gameplay fiats unique to the original game, creating a CS Frankenstein's monster that may just work. Global Offensive will be out on the PC and PSN this Tuesday, August 21 and hit the XBLA on Wednesday, August 22.
Dark Souls came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360 late last year, to the chagrin of many a console gamer's sanity. It was a brutally difficult, expertly crafted game that pulled no punches whatsoever, allowing the player to make all of the mistakes they might desire. Its hand is less of a guiding one, more of a repeated smack up the backside of the head that only appears when one has already screwed up.
It was popular. So popular, in fact, that the PC gaming set felt they were missing out, and so began a petition to see the title ported over to the most variable of gaming devices. It worked, too. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition was announced and slated to include extra content that will also be released for the console versions as paid DLC. There's some annoyance over the port itself, which locks the game at 30 frames per second and a render resolution of 1280x720, but it should still be eminently playable, right? Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition comes out on Tuesday, August 21.
A top-down dungeon crawler, Legasista is very much a Nippon Ichi Software game. It has a quirky 2D anime art style and deceptively deep gameplay mechanics. There are systems upon systems in here, most obvious of which is the ability to switch between different characters on the fly while in the dungeon. In fact, something about this downloadable title seems oddly familiar, sort of like Cladun and Cladun x2…
Ah! It's from System Prisma, the makers of the dungeon crawling Cladun series! Well, that certainly explains a lot. The Cladun games were PSP releases and, while Cladun x2 eventually saw release on PC as well, they were very much portable titles, with a classic bit-art inspired style. Legasista is, by their standards, "high definition," though the characters one creates for oneself will have that glorious sprite look to them. It will be out on Tuesday, August 21.
Hidden Gem of the Week:
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure comes from a dark era in the history of fighting games. Released for the PlayStation and Dreamcast in 1999/2000 (depending on whether one lived in Japan or North America), it landed in a fighting game genre that was in the midst of a decline. It didn't do anything to revitalize the genre and sort of became lost in the shuffle (it didn't help that one of the two consoles it was released on was itself a commercial flop).
But JoJo's Bizarre Adventure bears some further examination, because it's one of the more unique things to come out of Capcom's late-90s development efforts. Based on a generation-spanning manga series, following Jonathan Joestar and his descendants, the game is set during the series' seminal third arc and so includes "Stands," physical manifestations of those characters' powers that enhance their offensive and defensive capabilities (not everyone's Stand has a direct, unique manifestation). It also had other unique features, such as "Clashing," which caused similar attacks to interact with each other rather than one gaining immediate superiority. This can sometimes result in a "Blazing Fists Match," which requires the players to mash on the attack buttons until one wins.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Version will be out on the PSN on Tuesday, August 21 and the XBLA on Wednesday, August 22.
Date: August 20, 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.*