The addition of the letter ‘R'
has been a tremendous success. That was really all that was missing from the title of this web column. I walk into my game store with confidence now, giving nods all around to the staff, even the odd chest bump. People like the ‘R', it is just a good solid letter.
This week I was mercifully spared from games that are straight up crap, but instead I found myself wading in the familiar goo of German and Japanese losers thanks to a pair of high profile World War II releases. To the good people of Germany, I am so sorry for the possibly hundreds of thousands of digital homicides I have committed in the name of freedom.
And something tells me there is no end in sight. Now, onward!
World War II Games of the Week
It's somewhat pathetic that we can make an entire category out of World War II games. Sure, we get it, WWII was awesome, and tons of fun (except for the, ya know, 50 to 70 million dead), but is there really anything else worth making a game about? Maybe a SIM game where you deliver papers to various war staff members? Oh! Oh! You could be a factory worker in Ohio and see how many rivets you can punch, then start a recycling drive! That would be sweet. But there is no end in sight for the genre, and this week just proves that with two fairly big releases.
Velvet Assassin (Xbox 360, PC)
In Velvet Assassin
you play as a British assassin deep inside enemy territory. You move through Europe, mixing stealth and action as you assassinate Nazis and complete objectives. (Do you think modern day Germans hate video games since they are the expendable enemy in roughly 7,000 games?) The game itself is solid and there are a few interesting twists as far as the story, but the star of this game is the unique kills you can pull off on enemies.
Unfortunately those same enemies are quite possibly retarded, as they have all apparently decided to live life fast and loose and never bother with little things like looking to their right or left. It mars the game a bit, but the real drawback of the action is that it is YET ANOTHER WWII GAME! Enough! I have German friends! I don't want to massacre their grandparents anymore!
(Xbox 360, PC)
The second WWII game of the week is more interesting. Battlestations: Pacific
is actually kind of cool, but again, the WWII setting is old. You take control of an entire battle and command a fleet worth of Navy ships and planes, but the real joy of this game is that you can play it multiple ways. If you want a strategy game where you watch the battle unfold as you command your forces as a God, you got it. If you want a more hands on experience, go ahead and take control of bombers and fighters and wreck fools! All in the name of freedom and junk, of course. Most of the games happen online, which keeps it fresh. This really is a solid game, but how about Battlestations: Trafalgar
? Maybe Battlestations: Pirates!
Just for a little variety.
Value Game of the Week
Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon (PS2)
I rented this game for three reasons: First, PS2 is still the most played console in the world, and thus deserves some sweet, sweet love. Second, I played the original Devil Summoner
and thought it was one of the best, most underrated games of 2006. Third, the name F-ing rocks. Look at that rad title! How can you not be at least tempted to pick it up and check it out! More than that, the game retails for roughly $35, and since it is an RPG in the classic sense, you're gonna get your money's worth.
As I was saying, a traditional JRPG (that'd be Japanese role-playing game)
in every sense, from the turn-based action to the inappropriate Japanese views on women, you are looking at 30-plus hours of solid gameplay, not counting all the various side quests and mini-games that frequently prop up titles like these. You play as a demon detective (an oddly frequent motif in Japanese video games), and you are given a new case. While this is a sequel to the original game, it offers its own story so you don't have to know the original to appreciate the demon ass-kicking goodness that this one offers. Dust off your PS2 and kiss 30-40 hours of your life goodbye.
DLC of the Week
Fable 2- See the Future (Xbox 360, PC)
Despite the release of a new Star Trek
game based on the movie, which is available as a download on Xbox arcade and PC, the DLC of the week has to go to Fable 2's: See the Future
. For roughly $6, this DLC expands the Fable
game, and when paired with the earlier DLC, Knothole Island
, it forms a massive game that can take more than 40 hours to begin with. It just keeps getting bigger.
Sure, judging by the billions of people that saw Star Trek
over the last week, there is probably some interest in that game too ( it's fun to play with your Trekkie friends, doing everything in your power to deny the Vulcan farewell of “Live long and prosper,” by making sure they live short and add to your kill count) but Fable
is a rock solid game that you owe to yourself to play. Throw in to reasonably priced DLC packs, and it just gets better and better.
HOT COFFEE AND NEWS
- The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is developing a new videocam that will allow you to control your character through your own movements. Neat in theory, but next thing you know, I will have to actually stand up to turn on my TV too. Barbarians!
- Microsoft squashed rumors that the PS3 would soon be getting the Grand Theft Auto 4 DLC, The Lost and the Damned later this summer according to Computerandvideogames.com. Microsoft spokesmen issued the following statement, “Neener, neener, neener. Thank you.”
- The web came alive this week with the excited squeals of nerdgasms when Gamespot broke the news that the George R.R. Martin series of books, “Song of Ice and Fire”, will be coming to a system near you. This news follows the confirmation that HBO will make a series based on the books. Go ahead, take a moment nerds. Breathe...
- Not content to make mediocre movies that fall into the “shiny” category, Jerry Bruckheimer has decided to step into the gaming ring. LA Times reports that the producer of such intellectually awe inspiring movies as The Rock, Con-Air, and Armageddon, will soon be bring his brand of ridiculous plots, scantily clad women, and tons of ‘splosions to the video game world.
- Good news for 360 fans that aren't all that into this whole “real life” thing, as G4tv confirms that Lord of the Rings Online might soon find its way onto the 360. The battle for the one true console continues.
- Bucking the current economic blue screen of death as far as retail sales go, Digi Times reports that handheld sales are up 4.9% on all systems, and 8.2% in terms of revenue. With a new PSP and DS both targeted for later this year, it is entirely possible that video games might end up saving the (economic) world. If so, please watch for Jack Thompson to disappear in a puff of logic.