Pick & Play: September 2-8

Pick & Play: September 2-8

There's really no cause to go to the store this week, unless you're planning to pick up some Microsoft Points or PlayStation Store vouchers. With a complete absence of a retail presence, the gaming industry lazily slides into the Labor Day week, providing a brief lull after the last few major releases, allowing gamers a bit of breathing room before hitting them hard with the Fall juggernauts. It's not a completely empty release week, though, with some exciting downloadable titles up for grabs and a surprising wealth of DLC for others.

Mark of the Ninja
Mark of the Ninja

When you think stealth gameplay, what comes to mind? In the Metal Gear Solid titles and older editions of Splinter Cell, it typically involved creeping through the shadows, snapping to walls and staying out of sight, carefully watching enemy patterns and, eventually, moving in hopes that they wouldn't be able to see you. Even in the faster-paced Splinter Cell: Conviction, the "area of effect" for any action you take, be it running or shooting out a light, is uncertain. Will the enemy react or no? Am I going to be within their range of sight?

Mark of the Ninja aims to take the guesswork out of that. A side-scrolling stealth platformer, it is completely blatant about where an enemy's range of detection stops, as well as how wide a radius a given action affects. Take out a streetlamp, for example, and a bright circle will show, beforehand, how far that sound will travel. Are enemies within it? Then they'll react. The player, as well, is a silhouette when hidden, given color when exposed. It's a tremendously interesting new take on stealth, and one that appeals to the impatient ninja within me. Mark of the Ninja hits the XBLA on Friday, September 7.

Zen Pinball 2
Zen Pinball 2

The PlayStation counterpart to the Xbox 360's Pinball FX gets a sequel and, this time out, the Vita gets in on the action. Yes, Zen Pinball 2 is a one-time "purchase" playable on both the PlayStation 3 and Vita. In fact, "purchase" is something of a misnomer, as the game itself is more of a platform, available for free. It's the tables themselves one must pay for, though if one has already purchased the first Zen Pinball and DLC for it, that DLC will function with Zen Pinball 2 as well, importing automatically.

So what does it add? Improved physics and graphics as well as a social system upgrade, more trophies, and a new UI. Also, for those with a Vita, this is their first chance to get their hands on the game. Zen Pinball 2 hits the PSN on Tuesday, September 4.

Dogfight 1942
Dogfight 1942

Two air combat games in as many weeks? Well, according to our own Robert VerBruggen, last week's attempt is one that players should approach with caution. This time out, though, we're looking at a downloadable title. One that certainly appears to be taking a more arcade-friendly approach to the genre, with a cinematic flair.

With 20 aircraft and a lock-on mechanic about 50 years ahead of its time, Dogfight 1942 has the explosive, high-octane World War II dogfighting you never knew you wanted. Aircraft come apart in midair as they're pumped full of lead, wings splintering off as fuel ignites around them. Hopefully the gameplay lives up to the promise this time out. We'll know for sure on Wednesday, September 5.

The Rest:

  • Balloon Pop Remix (3DS eShop; Thursday, September 6)
  • Knight Age (PC; Monday, September 3)
  • Shad'O (PC; Tuesday, September 4)
  • Suzuki TT Superbikes: Real Road Racing Championship (PSN: PS2 Classic; Tuesday, September 4)

    DLC Slated for release this week:
  • Battlefield 3: Armored Kill (PSN; Tuesday, September 4)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Collection 4 (XBLM; Thursday, September 6)
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Hearthfire (XBLM; Tuesday, September 4)
  • The Sims 3 Supernatural (PC; Tuesday, September 4)
  • Trine 2: Goblin Menace (PC; Thursday, September 6)

    Hidden Gem of the Week:


    Coming off of a ten-year development cycle and a tremendously belabored localization process, Inquisitor is an isometric action-RPG that originated in the Czech Republic, notable as much for the fact that it's actually coming out as for any particular element of its design. It doesn't do much to break new ground, but that's not the point: this is an unabashedly old school, hardcore RPG.

    Set in the thirteenth century against the backdrop of a world-ending cataclysm, players are tasked with killing monsters and weeding out heretics in the name of the inquisition. The former is mostly what you'd expect, but the latter involves collecting evidence, making arrests, and potentially torturing individuals to extract confessions. All of this in a game that adamantly refuses to hold your hand, demanding that you explore, of your own volition, if you hope to uncover the truth of any given situation and complete your quests.

    Shelby Reiches
    Contributing Writer
    Date: August 27, 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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