IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK
Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington Episode 2 "The Betrayal" now Available
The Betrayal, the second episode in the three-part Assassin’s Creed III – The Tyranny of King Washington downloadable content series, is now available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC
The Betrayal continues the next chapter in hero Ratonhnhaké:ton’s war against the mad King George Washington, taking gamers to Boston to find an unlikely ally. Ratonhnhaké:ton will discover a new ability - the power of the eagle - which empowers him to quickly fly across short distances and hone in on enemies for precise and brutal assassinations.
The final episode of Assassin’s Creed III – The Tyranny of King Washington: The Redemption will release on April 23 for the Xbox 360, and PC, and April 24 on PlayStation 3.
All episodes of the Tyranny of King Washington are available through the Assassin’s Creed III Season Pass, which is available for purchase for 2400 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE or $29.99 on the PlayStation Network and Windows PC. Season Pass provides access to all Assassin’s Creed III downloadable content packs. Each episode of The Tyranny of King Washington will be available for purchase separately as a single DLC pack for 800 Microsoft points or $9.99.
Saints Row IV Announced
Deep Silver announced that Saints Row IV, the ball-busting next chapter in the Saints Row franchise, is starting a party in your pants this Fall. In the next open-world installment of Saints Row, Deep Silver Volition continues the story of the Third Street Saints by elevating their status to the highest level – the leaders of the free world. In Saints Row IV, the head honcho of the Saints has been elected to the Presidency of the United States. But the Saints are just getting started. Now the larger-than-life insanity of the Saints series gets a new twist with a catastrophic alien invasion, and the aliens have transported the Saints to a bizarro-Steelport simulation. Wield gargantuan superpowers and fight to free humanity from alien granddaddy Zinyak’s mental grasp. Escape the simulation that’s trapped the Saints crew, or die trying.
Saints Row IV lets players delve into an arsenal of alien weaponry and technology that will turn each Saint into an ultimate entity of destruction. Utilize out-of-this-world superpowers to fight all the way to the top. With intensified action and enhanced customization, players can use their newfound superpowers and leap over buildings, outrun the fastest sports cars, or send enemies flying with telekinesis in the greatest, most insane installment of Saints Row yet.
Developed by Volition, Saints Row IV will launch on current-gen consoles and PC on August 20, 2013, in North America.
IN STORES THIS WEEK
Gears of War: Judgment (Microsoft) Rated M Xbox 360
Gears of War: Judgment” delivers the most intense and challenging “Gears” game yet, with a campaign that takes you back to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day – the defining event of the “Gears of War” universe – for the very first time, and tests your mettle in highly–competitive new multiplayer modes.
Available only on Xbox 360, the “Gears of War” series has sold more than 18 million copies worldwide. “Gears of War: Judgment” will launch worldwide in early 2013.
Set years prior to the events of the previous “Gears of War” trilogy, “Judgment” centers on Kilo Squad, a troop of soldiers led by Damon Baird and Augustus “The Cole Train” Cole. They are joined by newcomers to the “Gears” series Sofia Hendrick and Garron Paduk, as they attempt to save the besieged city of Halvo Bay from a terrifying new enemy.
Playable cooperatively with up to three friends on Xbox LIVE (four players total), “Gears of War: Judgment” depicts the planet Sera on the brink of annihilation by an unstoppable new Locust menace, giving you a new vantage point into one of the richest and most acclaimed sagas in gaming.
Marking a first for the “Gears” franchise, “Gears of War: Judgment” features a “Misson Declassification” system that lets players experience more challenging gameplay scenarios and achievements by uncovering critical information during the course of the campaign.
Walking Dead Survival Instinct (Activision) Rated M Xbox 360, PS3, PC
The Walking Dead video game takes the undead and brings them out of the AMC Emmy award-winning TV show and into console gaming systems in a new, terrifying way. Terminal Reality’s first-person action game will allow players to assume the role of the mysterious, crossbow-wielding survivor Daryl Dixon on an unforgiving quest to the supposed safety of Atlanta. The iconic walkers will relentlessly hunt down players like their television counterparts using a combination of sight, sound, and smell. As Daryl, players will need to tread carefully throughout each new area they explore. Once discovered, it doesn’t take much to attract an unstoppable horde of undead walkers, so every threat needs to be assessed, and every situation analyzed. No place is truly safe for Daryl as he makes his way through the Georgia countryside, alongside his overbearing brother Merle, in this new, post-apocalyptic world.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Nintendo) Rated E 3DS
Help Luigi overcome ghastly ghosts, mind-melting puzzles, and his own clumsiness in an all-new spooky adventure. Armed with his trusty Poltergust 5000—a ghost-catching vacuum cleaner—and all the courage of a wet napkin, the green-hatted hero needs your help to battle through five massive mansions full of hidden passages and bone-chilling challenges. Whether you’re charging up the new strobe light to stun a slime-tossing Gobber ghost, revealing illusions with the new Dark Light Device, or reeling in multiple poltergeists with timely button presses, you’ll need to use all of your paranormal survival skills.
Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate (Capcom) Rated T 3DS
The popular fantasy action franchise Monster Hunter is now one of the most iconic gaming series in the world selling over 21 million copies worldwide since the series began in 2004. Players take on the role of a hunter and are sent to explore a settlement within the Monster Hunter universe, completing quests on their journey to seek and slay monsters whilst improving their skills and earning equipment upgrades. With many challenging monsters and over 200 quests the latest edition to the series is set to be the most expansive offering to date. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate utilizes the functionalities of the Nintendo 3DS system to provide players with a truly intuitive hunting experience. The touch screen feature allows players to quickly access in-game books, weapons, field maps and mini games whilst the high quality graphics 3D visuals of Nintendo 3DS powered by the latest iteration of Capcom's MT Framework deliver a unique and stunning world for players to explore. Taking advantage of the portability of Nintendo 3DS, players can exchange their guild card that contains all their hunter's information with other players via StreetPass. Players can experience the world of Monster Hunter alone or in four player local play using Nintendo 3DS. Finding nearby hunters to adventure on quests with is now even easier via the local Nintendo 3DS search feature. Wii U players will be able to enjoy the hunt with Nintendo 3DS players via a local wireless connection. Gamers that own both a Wii U and Nintendo 3DS can take advantage of the inter compatibility of save data between the two consoles, taking the hunt from the living room wherever they go.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity (Nintendo) Rated E 3DS
Infinite Mystery Dungeons await you and your Pokémon friends on your quest to stop the forces that threaten Pokémon Paradise! Explore the infinite possibilities of Mystery Dungeons as they come to life with vibrant 3D graphics and detailed environments! Become a Pokémon and travel through a fantastic land inhabited only by other Pokémon! Enlist their help as you build Pokémon Paradise! There’s a new adventure around every corner as you battle and befriend Pokémon, collect treasure, and explore Mystery Dungeons that change each time you enter! Use the Nintendo 3DS Camera to discover Magnagates in the real world that lead to new Mystery Dungeons! Experience even more Mystery Dungeons with downloadable content available for purchase in the Nintendo eShop. Play with up to 3 other people and explore Mystery Dungeons together in Companion Mode!
Crysis 3 (Electronic Arts) Rated M Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Crysis 3 takes place 24 years after the events in Crysis 2 and once again puts you into the role of the hero named Prophet. Crysis 3 combines the jungle setting of the first game with the urban setting of Crysis 2 to create a literal urban jungle. The CELL Corporation has completely encased New York City under a giant nanodome, turning it into one, mammoth greenhouse. Trees and foliage grow wild where once cars and pedestrians owned the streets.
Once again Prophet minds his mission two-fold as he not only battles the Cell Corporation but also the alien race known as the Ceph. No problem because once again Prophet is outfitted in his in his incredible Nanosuit. The powerful exosuit allows Prophet to cloak himself, going virtually invisible as he stalks his foes. The suit now allows Prophet to hack into various electronic devices that you encounter. This can be used for mundane purposes like getting through a door, or offensive purposes when you gain control of enemy weapon turrets to turn their own firepower against them.
But the biggest upgrade to Prophet’s armament is his Predator Bow. This weapon can be used in conjunction with the cloaking ability to make Prophet an awesome killing machine. Regular arrows are enhanced with various special types such as electrical and end explosive tips. The fact that you can stay cloaked with the bow, while utilizing your guns makes you visible, almost makes your other weapons useless. This is both good and bad. On the plus side you become one badass hunter, capable of taking out most enemies with a single shot with regular arrows or blowing up a group to kingdom come with an explosive arrow. On the other hand it does tend to make the game almost too easy although you can of course increase the difficulty level. Combine with the fact that the Crysis 3 campaign is shorter than that of Crysis 2 and it makes for a game that can be over all too quickly.
While the Predator Bow is great the real treat of Crysis 3 is that it features more in depth character development than any previous entry. There’s an actual story here beyond that of just shooting enemies driven by the relationship between Prophet, former nanosuit wearer Michael “psycho” Sykes, and Skykes’girlfriend Claire. Sykes has been driven near over the edge by having the nanosuit violently removed from his and he’s hellbent on revenge. This adds an element to the game that was missing in the first two entries.
The game features seven different areas (i.e. levels) to explore and each offers tantalizing visuals that stand out even in a series noted for strong visuals. Details leap to life throughout accentuated by outstanding lighting and shadowing effects. It’s a big overall area to explore and thankfully the designers have provided a generous checkpoint system so there’s not too much repeated back-tracking. The controls are also flawless and allow you to swap out weapons and weapon accessories without going into the menu system.
There’s a lot of options in multi-player which accommodates up to 12 players on the console version. There are 8 different modes in all and 12 maps. Many of these are returning modes but one new one is Hunter Mode which pits two teams of players against each other. Your goal as a stealthed hunter is to eliminate as many operatives as possible; each operative you kill then joins you as a cloaked hunter. One by one, hunters stalk their fully armed enemies, whose main purpose is to stay alive long enough for the timer to run out.
While a bit shorter than Crysis 2, Crysis 3 makes up for this with a more enriching experience thanks to the characters and fantastic voice acting that brings them to life. Grade B+
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (Sony) Rated E PS3, PS Vita
You know, sometimes you just want to sit down and play a simple, fun videogame and that’s when you have to thank the gaming gods that for games like Sly Cooper Thieves in Time that keep traditional platform style gaming alive and well. This is the fourth game in the Sly Cooper series and the first developed by Sanzaru Games.
The pages of the historical Thievius Raccoonus, the account of Sly cooper’s daring exploits are disappearing and essentially erasing history. The brilliant turtle Bentley realizes that this could wipe out all of history and reforms the old gang including Sly, Murray, and Carmelita to help restore history by using his time machine. The game’s antagonist is a thieving skunk named Le Paradox who has travelled to the past to steal numerous relics and artifacts belonging to Sly’s ancestors.
This sets Sly and his friends on an adventure through time to retrieve the artifacts and restore the historical balance. Sly travels to historical eras such as Feudal Japan, the Old West, Medieval England, ancient Arabia, and even an Ice Age period where he teams with his ancestors. These ancient ancestors are new playable characters in the game and include Rioichi Cooper, a ninja; Tennessee “Kid” Cooper a gunfighter; and Salim Al-Kupar, a member of the Forty Thieves. Each of these characters have their own unique skills and abilities. Sly also gains access to new outfits when travelling to these areas which gives him new powers such as the ability to slow time or use arrows to hit switches or connect two areas with ropes for movement.
Exploration is encouraged over combat (except when it comes to boss characters) and Sly can enjoy finding and thieving his way through the vast, colorful levels. This is even more accentuated by the fact that combat isn’t particularly difficult or enthralling. The load times can be annoying but it’s one of the few real negatives of the game. Thankfully the different abilities of Sly’s ancestors keeps things interesting. While you can move straight forward and tackle the require missions to progress, you’ll miss out on a lot if you don’t fully search the levels and try to track down the voluminous amount of collectibles and hidden items. This makes the length of your game vary greatly. You could spend up to 20 hours playing the game if you choose to leave no stone unturned, or your time could be half that or less if you stick to the main mission goals.
While the play can be repetitive the wacky design of the levels, the number of playable characters, the vast array of powers and abilities, and the sheer volume of collectibles keeps the game fresh throughout. Sly is a blast to play and features many laugh-out-loud funny moments and some truly inspired dialog and voice acting. But perhaps the best feature of the game is that Sony has seen fit to bundle the PS3 and PS Vita versions together with their Cross-Buy program for a great low price.
While Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time might not present a daunting challenge for most older gamers, its still a lot of fun and a great game for kids. Grade B