This week's releases slink into retail under cover of darkness, striking fear into the hearts of many a gamer's wallet and schedule. The Dark Knight's second outing from all-star developer Rocksteady is upon us, joined by the fourth in a puzzle-solving professor's storied lineage.
(PS3, Xbox 360)
The big-enormous title of the week, Batman: Arkham City is the highly-anticipated sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum, also known as the first bat-game to make bat-gamers feel like Batman. Featuring a subtler form of detective vision, a huge world to explore and an expanded cast that includes additional playable characters, Arkham City is taking its formula to its logical and glorious extreme. Batman: Arkham City will be out Tuesday, October 18.
Cities XL has always been a series that follows in the spirit of the grand-daddy of all city-building simulations: Sim City. The 2012 edition promises over a thousand unique structures and 60 maps upon which to build their cities, which can be connected (or imported from the fully compatible 2011 edition of the game). If micromanaging a burgeoning metropolis appeals to you, this game is most likely up your alley. It hits the PC this Thursday, October 20.
(PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
So, you're a guitar hero, are you? Ready to form a rock band and carve out your own brutal legend of metal justice? Rocksmith puts that to the test, using a real guitar as its controller and offering a suite of tools and game modes that focus on building the real skills that contribute to playing the guitar, while still hoping to make the experience entertaining and rewarding. It will be available this Tuesday, October 18. Guitar sold separately (or in $200 bundle, 'twould seem).
(3DS, PC, PS3, Wii, X360)
Spyro's last attempted resurgence didn't pan out so well, turning the bright purple dragon's story into one of too-dark-for-children fantasy. With Skylanders, however, he hopes to return to his roots and appeal to the fan base for which he's best suited: your kids. Skylander, however, is something right out of a marketing major's most sordid fantasies. See, to use new characters in it, players must place that character's action figure on the "Portal of Power." While it's awesome that it provides a second purpose for your kid's sure-to-burgeon collection of Spyro toys, I can already hear your wallet crying out for the sweet release of bankruptcy. Think you have time to prepare? Too bad. The game came out on Sunday, October 16.
In the fourth Professor Layton title, and presumably the last for the Nintendo DS, players solve more mind-bending puzzles as they struggle through another of the professor's engaging mysteries. This time, though, the adventure takes place in the past. The Last Specter is all about the origins of Layton and Luke's professor/apprentice relationship, set three years before the events of The Curious Village. It will be stumping gamers this Tuesday, October 18.
Does the Ratchet & Clank series require any introduction? It's third-person platformer-shooting at its best, with tight controls and creative arsenals of powerful weaponry. The latest entry in the series takes the action into the realm of multiplayer, with four-player co-op. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One will be blowing up your hard-earned money this Tuesday, October 18.
(PC, PS3, X360)
I grew up on flight sims. Though the most prominent and game-like were generally those set in space (such as the seminal Wing Commander series), the best of the best in actual combat flight simulation was Jane's. Everything from AH-64D Longbow to F-15, in which the cockpit was so complexly accurate that the game allowed you to flip switches while paused, just because it was too much to expect one individual to do both pilot and co-pilot duties (yes, you could switch between the two cockpits). While the fact that J.A.S.F. is on the PS3 and 360 indicates a certain drop in the barrier to entry, seeing that old name brings back hope that the flight-sim will make a resurgence. J.A.S.F. will be out this Tuesday, October 18.
Kinect? Check. Aspirations of joining a super sentai squad? Maybe that was just me. As a kid, I always wanted to be a Power Ranger. I was already into martial arts and using those skills to stop the evil Rita Repulsa (and later Lord Zedd) just seemed like a worthy cause. While it may not be Super Sentai, PowerUp Heroes allows players to change their avatars into superheroes, with which they then conquer vicious foes (gaining their abilities in Mega Man-like fashion). PowerUp Heroes will be out on the Xbox 360 this Tuesday, October 18.
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week: Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken
I loved Shadow Complex. Not just for its slick graphics and fully explorable facility, but because it had incredibly satisfying 2D shooting action, accurate and skill-based rather than fast-paced and hectic. Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken, adds a layer of comedy to a formula seen in classic titles such as Flashback and the original Prince of Persia, with environmental puzzles and a cover mechanic ripped out of Bonanza Brothers, all broken up by the occasional set-piece battle. It's a PSN exclusive, and it's out this Tuesday, October 18.
By Shelby Reiches
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.*