This may be one of the most highly anticipated release weeks in gaming for the entire year. Sure, the holidays are always awesome, chock full of big releases like the latest Call of Duty and whatever else companies think will cause you to invite them into your wallet, but how often does a Blizzard game come out? Seriously, this is a cosmic scale event! And a new Rockstar title on top of it? In an established, mature, action-heavy franchise? We're dual-wielding crossbows and guns alike in this week's Pick & Play.
Does this one need any introduction? After over a decade in development and year upon year of feverish anticipation by its predecessors' rabid fan base, Diablo III is finally coming to PC. If you ordered the game digitally, odds are it's already sitting untouched on your hard drive, waiting for Blizzard to activate it so that you might convert its stagnant bytes into the latest hellish adventure in Blizzard's darkest of series.
While Warcraft and StarCraft have always carried serious and adult themes, as well as the occasional—or even more than occasional—humorous notes, Diablo is the company's goriest game by far, featuring demons and monsters of grotesque dimensions. Engage in multi-player combat with up to three of your best buddies and get in some fast-paced demon-slaying. Yes, Diablo III may be more forgiving and accommodating than its predecessors, but it certainly seems to feel like a Diablo title thus far. Diablo III finally unlocks on Tuesday, May 15.
(PS3, Xbox 360)
Another three? In the same week? Max Payne has been on hiatus for almost a decade and, in the ensuing years, bullet-time has become something of the past, an artifact of a bygone age. Max Payne 3 wants to not only bring it back, but enhance it. One of the core ways it intends to do so? Multiplayer.
Yes, in addition to continuing the somber and depressing tale of its eponymous character, both at home and in Brazil, Max Payne 3 contains a full-on multiplayer mode that, miracle of miracles, intends to make bullet-time a working thing with human opponents present. It uses what one might call a "line of sight" methodology, players affected only when they're in sight of someone who has activated it. Does it break online gameplay? Time will tell, but it's balanced against total abuse by existing only in short bursts. Max Payne's story continues on Tuesday, May 15.
(PC, PSN, XBLA)
An epic fantasy universe? Check. Intense and long-running rivalries between various houses that spurs political and social strife alike? Check. Cool swords and awesome armor? Check and check. Game of Thrones, the RPG, aims to be the game that everyone was hoping for when Game of Thrones: Genesis was first announced. While that was an abstract strategy title that looked at the world of Westeros on a grand scale, Game of Thrones the RPG aims to make things personal, as RPGs are wont to do, with an original story full of intrigue, honor and, of course, bloody violence. Game of Thrones hits on Tuesday, May 15.
(PC, PSN, XBLA)
The first episode of the official, side-scrolling sequel to Sonic's original Genesis adventures was met with lukewarm applause, plagued by less-than-intuitive level design and an odd physics engine that gave it a wonky, rigid feel that wasn't conducive to Sonic fans' sense of speed. SEGA claims to have listened, having reworked the physics engine for the game, which comes in the wake of Sonic Generations, itself having proved that a fun, well-controlled Sonic game is wholly possible, bringing the hedgehog back from the brink of irrelevance. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II also has Miles "Tails" Prower, for those who missed the two-tailed fox. It hits the PC and PS3's PlayStation Network Store on Tuesday, May 15. It'll be available on the XBLA the next day, Wednesday, May 16.
(3DS, DS, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)
In one of the strangest franchise adaptations of our time, Hasbro board game Battleship has been adopted into a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. As is required by unspoken merchandising law, a licensed tie-in game has been developed for almost all of the consoles and handhelds on the market (the Vita and PC are notoriously absent from the list). A punched-up version of the board game itself probably would have sufficed, particularly with online multiplayer, but Battleship's developers decided to take it in a completely different direction. Players fight off alien armies en masse in first-person shooter gameplay on the shore, but also take to the seas with naval vessels under their command, bombarding enemy vehicles with powerful shells. Battleship, in all of its licensed glory, hits pretty much everything on Tuesday, May 15.
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week:
Okay, why the hell does this game make the list? The old school laserdisc adventures are rote memorization at its purest, with gameplay that is, by definition, stagnant and a quest that can be completed in about ten minutes if a player knows exactly what to do. But, as far as the genre goes, Dragon's Lair was the classic, with stunning animation courtesy of Don Bluth. I mean, at the time, this was the absolute best-looking game you saw when you stepped into an arcade, so it was always worth a few quarters to see Dirk the Daring reconstitute from his skeletal self and pursue Daphne once more.
And now it's coming to the Xbox LIVE Arcade, where it will gain not only new life as a downloadable title, but new functionality by way of the Kinect. If the trailer is to be believed, players can expect to mimic the motions of Dirk as he works his way through the castle to Daphne's side, slaying the dragon and rescuing her once and for all (until the sequel). Please note: flame-shooting television is not included.
Date: April 23, 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.*