As the hurricane season gives way to the back-to-school season, the East Coast is surveying the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. She knocked out our usual Pick & Play curator's power, causing the somewhat ironic selection of a Canadian replacement columnist for Madden release week. Fortunately, we've also got a game about bacon and one that challenges players to tame the elements. What could be more Canadian than that?
(PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS)
It may be destined for next year's used game ultra bargain bins, but the annual Madden NFL release is a big event for sports game fans. Madden NFL 12 includes a suite of cosmetic and gameplay improvements, along with the expected updated team rosters. Mascots and cheerleaders have been added for all teams that have them, and an improved collision system creates more realistic tackle animations. There are new plays, A.I. improvements, and rule changes reflecting those that happened in real-world football. There's even a bit of social responsibility thrown in: players who suffer from concussions will not be allowed to return to the game. What else can we say about this release? Gamers are either Madden players or they aren't. For Madden fans, this week is sure to provide a happy kickoff to the virtual football season.
(PS3, Xbox 360)
Cowering behind indestructible cover? Carefully considered tactics? Bodycount cares not for these things. This arcade shooter by Codemasters is all about intense, bloody action. Players are encouraged to tear up the destructible environment and cause maximum carnage with the game's selection of powerful guns. With trailers featuring giant explosions, flying shrapnel, and falling bodies, Bodycount looks like good fun for players who enjoy running and gunning without all the fuss and muss. There's a conspiracy-laden storyline for the single-player campaign as well as co-operative and deathmatch multiplayer modes. Go ahead, blow some stuff up.
(PS3, Xbox 360)
Last year's DeathSpank games were fantasy action role-playing games with comedy courtesy of Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert. Although Mr. Gilbert has moved on to new challenges, developer Hothead hopes to continue his tradition with DeathSpank's first science fiction adventure, The Baconing. Following up on DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue, The Baconing has the meat-headed hero DeathSpank trying on all his magic undergarments at once, an act that summons DeathSpank's evil double, Anti-Spank. Anti-Spank soon unleashes an army of evil Cyborques that DeathSpank must vanquish. Featuring new worlds, tons of quests, and plenty of ridiculous enemies to punish with the Weapons of Justice, The Baconing should appeal to Diablo fans who also enjoy goofy humor.
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week: 4 Elements HD
Let's face it, who hasn't spent at least a few hours enjoying the addictive nature of a gem-matching game? 4 Elements HD brings gem-matching with a magical twist to the PlayStation 3, complete with optional PlayStation Move support. Unlike games such as Bejeweled in which gems are swapped around, 4 Elements involves freely drawing chains of same-colored jewels. This version of 4 Elements includes re-playable levels, global leaderboards, and a castle that can be upgraded as the player progresses through the game. At $10, it's an affordable back-to-school distraction that's good for a quick study break.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*