Pick & Play: January 15-21

Pick & Play: January 15-21

The times, they are a-changin'. The post-holiday period appears to have become a haven for DLC, in which developers release additional content for titles that launched before the winter solstice. The theme of Pick & Play this week is additional content, because that's what's for sale. Let's start with the big guns.

Gears of War 3: Fenix Rising Map Pack
Gears of War 3: Fenix Rising Map Pack

I wasn't kidding about big guns. From the Lancer to the Torque Bow, Gears of War is a series defined by its distinctive arsenal and cover-based gameplay. When players have finished the story—or sometimes without even touching it—they move onto the multiplayer modes, both competitive and cooperative (I have a personal fondness for the latter). While the last Gears of War DLC, RAAM's Shadow was a story-focused affair that extended the game's campaign, Fenix Rising adds five new multiplayer maps the mix, all of which have ties to the history of the Fenix family, as well as the ability to "Re-UP" once one hits level 100 and start back at the beginning of the leveling tree, earning special, aesthetic perks for doing so. Does it sound like Call of Duty's Prestige? Yes, yes it does.

The map pack also includes new characters for multiplayer, such as a recruit version of Clayton Carmine. If you're looking to purchase the pack, it'll set you back a cool 800 MSP, but players who've already shelled out for the season pass need not worry; Fenix Rising is included therein. It'll be available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace as of Tuesday, January 17.

Saints Row: The Third - Genki Bowl VII
Saints Row: The Third - Genki Bowl VII

As noted in our review, one of the most distinctive, and all around best, side mission sets in Saints Row: The Third was the Dr. Genki Super Ethical Reality Climax game show. Players navigated a trap-filled madhouse while gunning down animal mascots and bipedal beer bottles, all in the name of earning cold, hard cash. In a game defined by its over the top nature, Dr. Genki is perhaps the greatest source of inanity and entropy therein, seemingly representing the moral decay of the world in which he exists, a world that is so insane it idolizes the 3rd Street Saints.

So now THQ is bringing you more of him, of course. Touting new vehicles, new missions, and new characters, Genki Bowl VII is Saints Row: The Third's first DLC pack. It centers around a Dr. Genki television special (the eponymous Genki Bowl) and involves massive balls of yarn, sad pandas wielding chainsaws, and a massive shark that rips mascots in half. It's safe to say that THQ knows their audience, whom they are indulging on Tuesday, January 17, when the content hits.


Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Rakghouls
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Rakghouls

If memory of the original Knights of the Old Republic serves, Rakghouls are sort of a Star Wars version of zombies. The Old Republic's first content update, though, is focused less on interstellar horror and more on expanding group content, while enhancing the client itself. The game's "Karagga's Palace" operation has been extended from a one-boss encounter to a five-boss one, along with additional cinematics to accompany the extra baddies. There's also the Kaon Under Siege flashpoint, which is intended to be the first part of a two-part story (second part slated for release in March). The update also rebalances PVP a bit and introduces anti-aliasing. Those with water-cooled powerhouses may now pump their fists. For paying TOR subscribers, the content update is completely free, and hits the servers on Tuesday, January 17.

The Rest:

  • Gran Turismo 5 XL Edition (PS3)
    - A reissue of Gran Turismo 5, crammed full of DLC; Tuesday, January 17.
  • Haunt (XBLA)
    - It's a whimsical, Kinect-based horror title from the studio behind Parappa the Rapper; Wednesday, January 18.
  • Stonekeep: Bones of the Ancestors (WiiWare)
    - A de facto sequel to PC classic first-person dungeon-crawling RPG Stonekeep; Thursday, January 19.
  • Gaia's Moon (DSiWare)
    - Playing in the vein of Flash titles such as Jetpack Man, it adds charming sprite graphics to the mix and same-system multiplayer; Thursday, January 19.

    Hidden Gem of the Week:


    A while back, there was a street sweeping simulator released for the PC. As most would assume, realistic janitorial duties do not make for an engaging gaming experience. Fast-paced 2D platforming in the vein of N+ and Super Meat Boy, with a smattering of Dishwasher: Dead Samurai-esque combat, however, could very well produce an enjoyable little gem. With enemies and obstacles themed after dust and goo, Dustforce puts players in the shoes of a gravity-defying janitorial team in this PC-exclusive action-platforming title. The graphics are charming and smooth, the plot is absurd, and the music sounds awesome. Buy it when it hits Steam this Tuesday, January 17.

    Shelby Reiches
    Contributing Writer
    Date: January 16, 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.*

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