Pick & Play: June 3-9

Pick & Play: June 3-9

Greetings from E3! With those of us hitting the show floor registered and our appointments booked, we're just waiting for the festivities to get underway before we start hitting you with a full-force barrage of gaming news. Apparently, publishers are waiting for the same thing, because this week's release schedule is notably light. Only one truly major retail release is coming to shelves. While things will likely pick up next week, this temporary reprieve is something of a blessing for the journalists who, this week, won't have the time and/or ability to cover upcoming games. That said, here's what there is:

(PC, PS3, X360)

What does your gravity preference say about you? Inversion is a third person shooter with a co-op campaign, but that's nothing new. Gears of War popularized that trope back at the beginning of the console generation, following the resurgence of general co-op play begotten by the Halo series on the Xbox and Xbox 360. Both Army of Two games and even Splinter Cell: Conviction have put neat twists on this basic framework, but Inversion may present the most unique hook of all.

It lets you play with gravity. That, in and of itself, isn't new. Half-Life 2 gave players the gravity gun, which could be used to fling objects around the environment, but Inversion takes things a step further. Perhaps the best illustration of how it works: a column of light indicates a spot where gravity has been shifted so that objects will "fall" horizontally. A player chucks a grenade into this column, causing it to swing around a corner and explode next to an enemy who'd been hiding out behind cover. The potential for mind-bending gameplay is certainly present; we'll know if it pays off when the game hits shelves this Tuesday, June 5.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown

The Virtua Fighter house has been silent for far too long. Though arcade upgrades of the series' last numbered entry, Virtua Fighter 5, had made their way onto the scene in Japan, the console versions, released early in this generation, remained inert. The PlayStation 3 version didn't even possess online play. That changes with the release of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, which includes the tweaks of the most recent arcade release as well as its new characters, notably a return appearance by former VF3 one-shot, sumo wrestler Taka-Arashi.

Oh, and it's available as a download. It will not bust your wallet to own. Exciting? Our resident fighting game expert Angelo D'Argenio will have a full review of what is oft-regarded as the most technical 3D fighter of them all. We'll see if this latest edition deserves to hold that crown. Those who are eager to jump on the VF5 train can begin engaging in pugilistic shenanigans on Tuesday, June 5 on the PSN and Wednesday, June 6 on XBLA.

Madagascar 3: The Video Game
Madagascar 3: The Video Game
(3DS, DS, PS3, VITA, Wii, X360)

Another kids' movie, another licensed tie-in across every still-supported gaming platform in existence, right? While the PC is notably absent, both the DS and the 3DS are getting some love from the latest Madagascar game, which sees the core group of anthropomorphized animal friends gallivanting across Europe, engaging in circus-centric antics as they attempt to make their way back home to New York City. Will they make new friends along the way and grow closer to those they already have? Most likely. Find out for yourself when the game hits pretty much every platform in existence this Tuesday, June 5.

The Rest:

  • Art of Balance Touch! (3DS eShop; Thursday, June 7)
  • Cat Frenzy (DSiWare; Thursday, June 7)
  • Deadly Association (PC; Tuesday, June 5)
  • Rayman Origins (3DS; Tuesday, June 5)
  • Strategic War in Europe (PC; Friday, June 8)
  • The Sims 3 Katy Perry's Sweet Treats (PC; Tuesday, June 5)

    Hidden Gem of the Week:

    Bang Bang Racing
    Bang Bang Racing
    (PC, PSN, X360)

    I've never been the biggest of racing game fans, but I have fond memories of some of the genre's early days, when the focus was less on a realistic simulation of the driving experience and more on recreating the basic structure of an event, its core outline: cars going fast, trying to work around one another. Games like RC Pro-Am pop immediately into mind, with the overhead perspective mimicked in some of its spiritual descendants, such as the Micro Machine racing games from the PlayStation generation of hardware.

    And now, in this generation, we have Bang Bang Racing, originally a title for Android phones that is coming to more dedicated gaming hardware (as well as the PC) by way of digital distribution. With multiple vehicles over a wide variety of tracks and attractive graphics, Bang Bang Racing looks to bring that classic, "go for the gold" racing experience forward into the modern day, while maintaining its charming simplicity. Bang Bang Racing will be revving your engine on the PSN Tuesday, June 5; XBLA Wednesday, June 6; and the PC on Friday, June 8.

    Shelby Reiches
    Contributing Writer
    Date: May 28, 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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