Pick & Play: October 7-13

Pick & Play: October 7-13

It's a big week, with releases throughout of varying levels of notoriety and quality. There's freedom, compulsive monster-battling, strategic deliberation, and number-enhanced fisticuffs to be had along with quite a bit of what one might call "shovelware," indicating that a certain Nintendo handheld has finally hit its stride enough to see such "casual" titles. Even stripping away the lot of that less-than-savory filler, though, it's a substantial list of releases, with something to keep almost any gamer busy.

(PS3, X360, PC)

With art from the guy who designed Half-Life 2's City 17, the visuals are undoubtedly the most immediately striking thing about Dishonored. They ooze personality and ache to tell a story. The gameplay itself, while mission-based, offers tremendous freedom in how it's played, drawing on such games as Assassin's Creed, Thief, and particularly Deus Ex in the way in which it allows its player the agency to solve problems in a way that appeals to them. That isn't to say that you can get through the game without using your abilities to their fullest, but it's always nice to have choices, particularly when those choices are functional and, therefore, meaningful. Dishonored slays its way into stores on Tuesday, October 9.

Pokémon Black & White 2
Pokémon Black & White 2

I'm tempted to just remind you that "it's more Pokémon" and send you on your way. There is the neat little detail this time out, however, that Pokémon Black & White 2 are not newly colored entries in the series, nor are they an amalgam, special, or "definitive" edition of Generation 5 in the sense that Yellow, Crystal, Emerald, and Platinum were for each of their respective generations. They are bona fide sequels to the original Black & White, set in the same universe, taking place two years after the events of the previous game(s). That said, you're starting from scratch, here, though there is a Memory Link feature that allows your progress in the original Black or White to open up new events in this release. Pokémon Black & White 2 encountered store shelves this Sunday, October 7.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
(PC, PS3, Xbox 360)

It happened that, this generation, after years of cheap knockoffs with no legitimate entry in sight, XCOM's name popped up on the websites and pages of the gaming press. It was a first-person shooter, with a 1950s aesthetic, and die-hard fans were not pleased. They were at least temporarily appeased, however, when XCOM: Enemy Unknown was revealed. This one has the futuristic bent the players expect, but, more importantly, it serves up a return to the classic "tough decisions" sort of turn-based, strategic gameplay that defined the first game in the series. In a nod to that, the name is a fusion of the original game's European name (UFO: Enemy Unknown) and its North American counterpart (X-COM: UFO Defense). It will be beaming into stores this Tuesday, October 9.

Fable: The Journey
Fable: The Journey

Lionhead wants you to use the Kinect to fling spells, navigate ruins, outrun the land's destruction, and… Pet your horse? Yes, Fable: The Journey attempts to take the series' preoccupation with making you feel for something in it and gives you a horse. That horse is also your general means of transportation, so while it may not be as iconic as the bond between a boy and his horse in Shadow of the Colossus, it certainly aims to appeal to more than just the would-be groomers in its audience. Fable: The Journey rides into stores on Tuesday, October 9.

Of Orcs and Men
Of Orcs and Men

Dark fantasy with a twist? Of Orcs and Men posits that the strong, brutish Orcs are, in fact, merely rising up against a human empire that seeks to slaughter them and enslave their lesser, green-skinned goblin kin. You take command of this most archetypal of fantasy foes as you rend your way through fleshy pink things in the name of your people's freedom from imperial persecution. Your inverted fairy-tale begins on Thursday, October 11.

Retro City Rampage
Retro City Rampage

Is it just a Grand Theft Auto remake? Not on your life. Retro City Rampage is chock-full of references to classic video games, from its weapons to its levels and storyline. It also works in doses of general nerd culture, from bits that pay homage to science fiction television shows and movies all the way up to fourth-wall-breaking meta-humor. Retro City Rampage looks to be a violent, fast-paced, sprite-based overhead shooter, coming at you this Tuesday, October 9.

The Rest:

  • Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition (PC; Thursday, October 11)
  • Crazy Kangaroo (3DS eShop; Thursday, October 11)
  • Derrick the Deathfin (PSN; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock (Vita; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Dragon Ball Z for Kinect (Xbox 360; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Happy Wars (XBLA; Friday, October 12)
  • Harry Potter for Kinect (Xbox 360; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Imagine Babyz (3DS; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Jennifer Wolf and the Mayans Relics (PC; Thursday, October 11)
  • Joe Danger 2: The Movie (PSN; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Just Dance 4 (PS3, Wii, X360; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Machinarium (PSN; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Monster 4x4 (3DS; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Naughty Bear: Double Trouble (PS3; Monday, October 8)
  • Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise (PSN: Monday, October 8; XBLA: Tuesday, October 9)
  • Nurikabe by Nikoli (3DS; Thursday, October 11)
  • Pokémon Dream Radar (3DS eShop; Sunday, October 7)
  • Port Royale 3: Pirates and Merchants (PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Robot Rescue 2 (DSiWare; Thursday, October 11)
  • Spy Hunter (Vita; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Sunflowers (Vita; Tuesday, October 9)
  • Worms Revolution (PC, PSN, XBLA; Wednesday, October 10) DLC Slated for release this week:
  • Mass Effect 3: Retaliation (PC, PSN: Wednesday, October 10; XBLM: Tuesday, October 9)
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – Khyber Strike (PSN, XBLM; Tuesday, October 9)

    Hidden Gem of the Week:

    Code of Princess
    Code of Princess

    I first came across Code of Princess in the Atlus booth at E3. Everyone was in line for the free Persona-themed T-shirts the publisher was handing out, so I took the time to watch (and play) a few rounds of Persona 4: Arena, take in the video of Persona 4: Golden, and try out the limited demo for Zeno Clash 2. There were a couple of 3DS units just hanging out on a display, though, and I didn't recall any 3DS Atlus titles in the works, so I popped over.

    After scrolling through a few Japanese menus, I was well on my way to bashing foes in with an agile character in classic, 2D beat 'em up form. Except, wait, I could hop between three different "tiers" of the level, moving in and out of the foreground and background while the primary control remained on a 2D plane. This seemed familiar from somewhere. Around the point when I leveled up, I figured it out: this was Guardian Heroes! With some of the team behind that classic Saturn brawler working on Code of Princess, it isn't wholly surprising that the gameplay, and even the art style, comes across as a spiritual successor to that classic beat 'em up on that most maligned of SEGA consoles.

    Shelby Reiches
    Contributing Writer
    Date: October 1, 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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