There's more horror to be had this week, but the focus seems to be on blood and gore in a general sense, with a much-beloved action series making its excessively violent return. Additionally, there are giant robots, a kid with some wings, and Japanese history. It's a diverse list this week on Pick & Play!
(PS3, Xbox 360)
A more action-packed Resident Evil story than in games past, Operation Raccoon City takes us back to 1998, during the T-virus outbreak in Raccoon City that served as the framework for Resident Evil 2 and 3. Umbrella is back in the picture, with players taking on the roles of members of a company taskforce charged with destroying all evidence of Umbrella's involvement. Alternatively, they can play as a United States Spec Ops force, attempting to expose Umbrella's involvement in the outbreak.
Whether in its single-player campaign or its multiplayer modes, Operation Raccoon City is a fast-paced third-person shooter, offering greater freedom of movement (and at a faster clip) than in Resident Evils past. Will this work in its favor or simply turn it into Lost Planet: Resident Evil Edition? We'll know when the game comes out this Tuesday, March 20.
(PS3, Xbox 360)
The latest from Team Ninja, Ninja Gaiden 3 is an attempt to refocus a series that has, until now, been entirely about its core gameplay into something with broader appeal. Aspects of the game's fighting engine that have been present since the beginning, such as the ninpo charges and essence, have been foregone in favor of a more cinematic approach that includes close-up "bone and steel" sequences to complete lethal attacks on enemies through de facto quick time events.
Included along with Ninja Gaiden 3's gameplay alterations is a greater emphasis on story, perhaps giving Ryu more than half a dozen lines over the course of its run. Some fans of the previous entries may already see the game as a betrayal of the ideals that shaped the last two, but I'm curious to see if what they've made is a compelling experience in its own right. Ninja Gaiden 3 will hit store shelves on Tuesday, March 20.
One of the most highly anticipated 3DS games since the system's initial reveal, and now bearer of a perfect score from Japan's famous Famitsu magazine, Kid Icarus: Uprising is the oft-demanded sequel to classic NES title Kid Icarus. The modern incarnation throws Pit into a combination rail-shooter/3D action game, both elements extremely fast-paced. Additionally, there's both a multiplayer mode and an AR card game, expanding the title's playability beyond its core campaign. Kid Icarus: Uprising flies onto the 3DS this Friday, March 23.
(PS3, Xbox 360)
Perhaps last week's Silent Hill: Downpour was your introduction to the long-running survival horror series. Alternatively, you could be a longtime fan who's been playing the games since the beginning, but has trouble revisiting some of the series' earlier entries either due to broken hardware or a distaste for their now-outdated graphics. In either case, the Silent Hill HD Collection provides graphically updated versions of Silent Hill 2 and 3, often hailed as the two greatest entries in the series. Silent Hill 2, in particular, is often referenced as the definitive Silent Hill experience. The collection creeps into stores, Pyramid Head and all, this Tuesday, March 20.
Is it an expansion? Sort of, although Fall of the Samurai, unlike its Rise of the Samurai predecessor, is a standalone experience. With action set 300 years after the base Shogun 2 game, Fall of the Samurai introduces Western forces to the mix, and with them the technological advancements they brought to Japan after it was "opened" to the West. Guns are more prevalent and railways have been introduced as a means of rapid transit. Further, settlements can grow into large cities replete with factories. Industrialization in a Total War game? Apparently. The samurai will fall on Friday, March 23.
(PS3, Xbox 360)
From Software hit it big with Demon's Souls' surprise success and, soon enough, followed up with Dark Souls. But the company first made famous by its mech combat titles has been surprisingly quiet about the future of its central franchise, Armored Core, since the release of For Answer in 2008. Four years later, Armored Core V is finally hitting shelves, with a team-based multiplayer mode and everything! If you've played Armored Core games in the past, you know the basic drill: Build your mech, take it out on missions to earn money for better parts, rinse and repeat. The mechs are smaller this time out, though, and the environments are more complex to increase the value of tactical thinking over light-speed finger-work. Armored Core V will be out this Tuesday, March 20.
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week:
Ys: Oath in Felghana is not a new game. It came out in the US in 2010, as a PSP title, but had initially been released in Japan as a PC game back in 2005. A remake of Ys III, Oath in Felghana's history stretches all the way back to old school NEC PCs and the Famicom. This is the first time, though, that a PC version of Ys will be getting an official release in the U.S., and it's well worth a look.
Oath in Felghana, as with most modern Ys games, plays like a fast-paced Zelda title with an RPG core. Adol Christin, the series' protagonist, flits to and fro about the screen, a flurry of steel and magic. As he rends enemies limb from limb, he gains experience and levels up. This is a relatively big deal in Oath in Felghana, since Ys games are "small numbers" games, where a minor stat increase can have a noticeable effect on gameplay. There is a limited array of equipment, but it's all upgradeable using the village smithy, as long as one has the materials. With a compelling narrative and enjoyable characters to drive it along, as well as gorgeous sprite-based models against 3D environments, Ys: Oath in Felghana is an action-RPG that fans of the genre should not miss. It hits the PC today, March 19.
Date: March 19, 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.*