Welcome to the latest edition of Level Up!
Welcome to the latest edition of Level Up!
IN THE NEWS
Zone of the Enders HD Collection Now Available
Zone of the Enders HD Collection is now available for download on Xbox LIVE Games on Demand and PSN for $34.99. The essential Zone of the Enders series features thrilling robot fights in a futuristic interplanetary setting. Players experience high-flying robot combat as they grab enemies, unleash a whirlwind of blade strikes and fire off guns from a distance, all while spiraling freely in open air. Partnering with legendary animation house Sunrise, Zone of the Enders HD Collection also includes a brand new opening animation, as well as fully up-resed renders of the opening animations from the original games.
The Elder Scrolls Online!
Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Online Studios today announced that beta signups are now open for The Elder Scrolls Online at ElderScrollsOnline.com. Interested gamers simply have to go to the website and register for a chance to play. Selected beta registrants will be granted early access to beta test the game. They will be among the first to experience this epic world with others in one of 2013’s most highly-anticipated releases. Timing and details of the start of playtests will be provided at a later date to those who register.
“We’re really excited to get the game into players’ hands,” said Matt Firor, game director of The Elder Scrolls Online. “We receive invaluable feedback through the beta process, and that helps us ensure that the game will be one of the best online gaming experiences ever offered -- one worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise.”
The Elder Scrolls Online brings the award-winning Elder Scrolls experience online for the first time. Using ZeniMax Online’s Megaserver technology, players will join one connected world with a built in social network that lets them stay up-to-date with everything their friends are doing. Megaserver technology avoids the hassle of shard selection and makes The Elder Scrolls Online one of the most socially enabled games ever created. Whether playing alone, or with hundreds of friends, players can develop their own style of play as they embark upon an epic quest across Tamriel.
The Elder Scrolls Online has been named one of 2013’s most anticipated games by numerous outlets including IGN, The Guardian, MMORPG.com and Ten Ton Hammer, and was recently declared “the next ‘true’ great MMO” by MPOGD.com. After experiencing hands-on gameplay this Fall, MMORPG.com described the game as “a perfect sauce of awesome.”
Max Payne 3 Deathmatch Made in Heaven Pack Now Available
Deathmatch Made in Heaven Pack, the final downloadable content pack for Max Payne 3, is now available for download on the Xbox LIVE, PlayStation Network, and PC. The Deathmatch Made in Heaven Pack brings new cooperative and competitive game modes to Max Payne 3’s robust multiplayer experience along with a new twist on Arcade Mode. The pack also features a wealth of new weapons, items, bursts, and grinds, along with new achievements and trophies.
The Deathmatch Made in Heaven Pack is now available worldwide for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE and $9.99 on PC and PlayStation Network in North America. The pack will be available to European PlayStation 3 owners on January 30. Players who purchased the Max Payne 3 Rockstar Pass can download the pack free of charge. The Max Payne 3 Rockstar Pass is currently available for 2400 Microsoft Points (Xbox LIVE) or $29.99 on PSN.
New trailer for Injustice: Gods Among Us
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment peeled back a layer of detail regarding the story for Injustice: Gods Among Us with the release of the newest trailer from the game. Showcasing a variety of DC Comics heroes and villains, fans for the first time will witness the high stakes drama that unfolds through the narrative.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is an all-new game in development by award-winning NetherRealm Studios. The title debuts a bold new fighting game franchise that introduces a deep, original story featuring a large cast of favorite DC Comics icons such as Batman, Bane, Lex Luthor, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Harley Quinn, Nightwing, Solomon Grundy, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and many others. Set in a world where the lines between good and evil are blurred, players will experience heroes and villains engaging in epic battles on a massive scale.
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
Fire Emblem: Awakening (Nintendo) 3DS
Fire Emblem: Awakening offers a unique blend of in-battle strategy, vast character customization, and 3-D cinematic graphics that appeal to a wide range of gamers. In this fantasy adventure for the Nintendo 3DS, you have the power to turn the tides of battle in an epic war against a dark dragon. Your fire-breathing foe threatens to destroy the entire empire with help from his armies of the undead. But, with your loyal crew of fighters, you could be the one to stop him for good.
In this game, you’ll join Chrom, brother to Ylisse’s empress and commander of its forces, in a fantasy world teetering on the brink of war. It’s your duty to guide a team of Ylisse’s finest soldiers - knights, mages, archers, and more - against the marauding Plegian bandits. To succeed, you will need to carefully choose the units you take into battle. As you lead your team through battles across maps that span entire kingdoms, your army will grow. Some characters are willing to join you quickly, while others may need more persuasion. Each character earns experience in battle, leveling up and gaining strength and abilities as they do so. It’s up to you to guide their moves, choose their weapons, and direct their attacks.
Create your own customized soldier and join a massive cast of interesting characters who all have their own stories to tell. Heighten your power on the battlefield by strengthening the bonds between your troops and even enlisting a friend of your own. Plus, with StreetPass and SpotPass options, you can access new items, characters, and maps.
Dead Space 3 (Electronic Arts) PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Dead Space 3 is a Third-Person Shooter with Survival-Horror gameplay elements that challenges players to work singly, or with a friend to stop the viral/monster Necromorph outbreak. The game features the return of franchise hero, Isaac Clarke and the necessity of his weapons making abilities and precision skill in using them against in order to defeat enemies. Other game features include, drop-in/out co-op support, the additional character John Carver, evolved Necromorph enemies, a new cover system, side missions, and more.
Dead Space 3 brings Isaac Clarke and merciless soldier, John Carver, on a journey across space to discover the source of the Necromorph outbreak. Crash-landed on the frozen planet of Tau Volantis, the pair must comb the harsh environment for raw materials and scavenged parts. Isaac will then put his engineering skills to the ultimate test to create and customize weapons and survival tools. The ice planet holds the key to ending the Necromorph plague forever, but first the team must overcome avalanches, treacherous ice-climbs, and the violent wilderness. Facing deadlier evolved enemies and the brutal elements, the unlikely pair must work together to save mankind from the impending apocalypse.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (Sony) PS3, PS Vita
Cooper: Thieves in Time is a single player, Stealth Action Platformer game exclusively for play on PlayStation 3. As in earlier releases in the series, the game revolves around the stealthy escapades of the raccoon, Sly Cooper, and his band of thieves. In addition, a special time-travel twist added to this iteration allows players to experience whole new levels of play, and a wealth of new characters.
The critically-acclaimed Sly Cooper series returns with an brand-new, epic adventure for the PlayStation 3 system. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time picks up where the 2005 PlayStation 2 release, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, left off. The Cooper Gang has split up, with Sly surprisingly giving up thievery for a more domestic life, and Bently being entrusted with the Thievius Raccoonus - the book that holds the history and skills of the gang. Unfortunately Bently also built a time machine, which seems to be causing the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus to disappear. As a result Sly's old pal Bentley, must round up the gang and set things right or the Cooper Clan legacy may disappear forever.
Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 (Tecmo Koei) Xbox 360
Kenshiro and over twenty other characters from the Fist of the North Star series are ready to unleash rage in another game from Tecmo Koei. Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 has Legend mode that covers the entire manga storyline from the Raoh Saga to the Land of Shura. Dream Mode has original storylines made just for the game that often focus on minor characters from the Fist of the North Star series.
DMC: Devil May Cry (Capcom) PS3, Xbox 360, Rated M
DMC: Devil May Cry is a hack-n-slash adventure that shifts away from the world of the other games in the series for a re-imagining that had many long-time DMC wringing their hands nervously, but which turns out to be just the breath of fresh air that the series needed. Always a fun series, DMC wasn’t exactly one noted for its depth of storylines. But here in DMC: DMC, we get a much more refined and more mature storyline and I don’t mean as far as mature content but rather in being smartly developed and paced.
Dante and twin brother Vergil are Nephilim half-angel, half-demon hybrid spawn of Sparda, a demon knight and Eva, an angel. As Nephilim, they have the ability to destroy the Demon King Mundus. Knowing this, Mundus attempts to destroy them. He kills Eva but Sparda escapes with Dante and Vergil. Sparda returns to Mundus to prevent him from following after the children, and was sentenced to eternal torture. Now the brothers must team to defeat Mundus an end his reign.
Dante is once again armed with his sword, Rebellion, and his twin pistols, Ebony and Ivory. With these I hand Dante can pull off devastating combos in true traditional DMC style but developer Ninja Theory has not stopped at just giving fans the same old DMC gameplay as in previous installments. New to the series are modifiers to Dante's moveset, known as Angel Mode and Devil Mode, activated by holding down one of the trigger buttons.
Angel mode turns Rebellion into the Osiris, a scythe that can rapidly slice and dice the enemies and is great for dealing with a lot of foes at once. Devil mode unleashes the Arbiter, a much slower but much more powerful attack. These various modes also affect other parts of the game. When in Angel mode Dante can move much faster and in Devil mode he can slow down time. You can switch between modes instantaneously to create some truly awesome and darn near unending combos. Combos improve your style points and thus improve your mission ranking accordingly. The system is fast and fluid and takes a bit of getting used to but there’s an excellent training mode to help you along with that.
With five difficulty levels there’s definitely a game here for every player’s level of experience. This truly speaks to the incredible design of the game. There are a number of other elements in DMC's that also produce a great gaming experience: Pausing the game will display a timer which tracks how long you have been playing since the last checkpoint. This allows you to gauge their progress and decide if/when to use restorative items, or to suffer a score penalty and restart from a previous checkpoint.
The design of the enemies features a great variety and they feature some fantastic models. Oddly enough some of the boss battles are less than inspiring and still seem pulled out of the previous games in the series. The 10 – 12 hour campaign doesn’t suffer from too many problems. There is some camera lag when the action gets too harried and the combat system can be cumbersome at times but these are minor in the overall scope of things. Grade A-
Tim Janson is a columnist and reviewer for Mania Entertainment. He writes Level Up, the weekly look at videogames and the horror dedicated column, Tuesday Terrors. Tim has written for Fangoria, Newsarama, City Slab Magazine, Twitch Film, and Cinefantastique. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA). Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.