I feel like I'm waking up from a month-long nap. After week upon week of nothing but DLC and smaller downloadable titles, game releases have begun again in earnest. Kicking off the year, we have some hugely anticipated titles from last year (and some that maybe have people scratching their heads, but that's cool too). There's something for fans of fighters, RPGs, and shooters alike:
Let's kick it off with the fighter of the hour: SoulCalibur V. Actually the sixth console entry in the Soul series, and the second of this generation, SoulCalibur V takes the unique step of moving its story ahead seventeen years. That means that many of the fighters have aged, trained protégés, and set down their weapons for this latest entry in the series. In addition to a roster composed of, by and large, new fighters (with a few of the classic, more ageless characters returning), SoulCalibur V boasts a faster combat system than previous entries in the series, with a combat mechanic not unlike the super moves of Street Fighter IV. It also boasts the presence of everyone's favorite Assassin's Creed character, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. SoulCalibur V hits shelves on Tuesday, January 31.
Y'know what really grinds my gears? Death. You can be having a perfectly good gameplay experience and then, one false input later, your character is on their back, staring through glassy eyes at the heavens. Or incinerated in a pit of lava. In Neverdead, this isn't really a concern. Hero Bryce Boltzmann isn't invincible, certainly susceptible to dismemberment and destruction, but he is immortal. Cursed to live forever, his body parts can be used as weapons and, even if reduced to merely a head, he can roll around unceremoniously on the floor until his inevitable regeneration. It's primarily a third-person shooter, but there are some action-adventure elements as well. Neverdead and its wise-cracking protagonist hit shelves on Tuesday, January 31.
I bought Final Fantasy XIII at release. Further, I bought the limited edition strategy guide, because it was this beautiful, hardcover ordeal. The writing inside is pretty awesome, too (seriously, one of the more pleasantly verbose guides out there). Thing is, the game it's designed for is sort of the last one that would ever need such a guide. Final Fantasy XIII was painfully linear, up until close to the end, but it really only opened up once you had beaten it.
That's the first thing its sequel aims to change. Final Fantasy XIII-2, though possessed of a similar battle system to its predecessor, features a different lead character (to name her might spoil elements of the original's story, for those who haven't played it) and, more to the point, a time-twisting, less-linear storyline that does its best not to simply throw the player down emotionless narrow corridor after narrow corridor. Final Fantasy XIII-2 will crystallize on store shelves this Tuesday, January 31.
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week:
Really, Shelby? A rhythm game? And a Kinect rhythm game no less? Before you lynch me, though, swing on over and take a look at the game's trailer. What's the first image that pops up on your screen? Well, it's a logo, yes, but a logo for a very specific company, one with which rhythm aficionados (and anyone who frequented an arcade in this millennium) should recognize.
Konami. The force behind Dance Dance Revolution.
Note that this game, Rhythm Party, is not merely DDR for the Kinect, however. If anything, it displays a greater connection to DS rhythm phenomenon Elite Beat Agents (the "localization" of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan) and its screen-tapping, stylus-sliding mechanics. Is it a brilliant, new frontier for the Kinect? No. A particularly inspired usage of its motion-tracking? Not really. Does it, however, look to provide an intuitive and engaging rhythm experience with some catchy techno beats and intense, if abstract, graphics? I think that last one alone should be enough. It's coming exclusively to the Xbox LIVE Arcade this Wednesday, February 1.
Date: January 30, 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.*