Videogames highlights - March 2012
This is a pretty weird period for the gaming industry: the old Japanese stronghold is described as dying and closed on itself, the PC platform - that should theoretically be already dead ages ago from a gaming standpoint - is pointed at by the Epic veterans as the ideal place where to start developing new games, the renowned Smithsonian museum opens the doors of its long-awaited exhibition on the industry. Everything changes, even if it isn’t always for the better: “playing” with Dragon Ball Z on Kinect (Xbox 360) seems more like a wet nightmare than a dream come true…
Assassin’s Creed III
Completed the cycle of Ezio Auditore with Revelations, Assassin’s Creed is now about to introduce a new assassin with the fifth… third main episode of the series: as easily guessed from the introductory trailer, Assassin’s Creed III will be set during the American Revolution and will feature the Native American Connor - also known as Ratohnaké:ton - as the lead character. Development of the title lasted for three years, Ubisoft says, and the player will experience a much larger and richer setting thanks to the AnvilNext engine other than a new plot with characters from the American history , new weapons, custom features for the Wii U controller (…) and… the usual, shitty third-grade handling that Ubisoft retains for PC users more or less since the night of times. To be released on PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U on October 2012.
Development of a shooter featuring mechs is always a good news, but in the Hawken case it’s just a half-good news (from my point of view): made by the indie group Adhesive Games for Windows PC, this new FPS based on the Unreal Engine 3 will melt metal in four different multiplayer modes and with three different mech types - heavy, light and standard. The game will be free-to-play with the chance to purchase in-game customizations, will be out on December 2012 and will not contain any trace of single-player campaign whatsoever. Essentially a wasted opportunity, for a player insensitive to on-line dumbasses like myself.
A game with existential themes that lasts a few hours, doesn’t include violence and not even direct spoken communication between the eventual fellow travellers in multiplayer mode is either a little masterpiece or bullcrap. Journey is seemingly part of the former category: developed and released exclusively for PlayStation 3, the new title by Thatgamecompany tries to engage the player in a more deep and emotional manner than the gaming medium usually does. Critics said that the target has been hit, and the players have appreciated quite a bit too. Journey is available as digital download on PlayStation Network since March 2012.
Mass Effect 3
The third episode of BioWare space opera once again features Commander Shepard being busy saving the galaxy, fucking in space and kicking the ass of the ugly and bad aliens also known as Reapers. Mass Effect 3 promises the usual mix of action and role-playing seen in the second episode with the chance to import the old savegames (even those from the first Mass Effect) to affect the ending of the Shepard-centric trilogy. An ending that, the fact is known, brought quite a bit of controversy at par with the additional downloadable contents (DLC) available since day one. Controversy aside, BioWare sold and shipped a lot of copies for Mass Effect 3 and the game is available since March 2012 on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
Announced unexpectedly during the Game Developers Conference held the past March in San Francisco, SimCity is the new city simulator produced by Electronic Arts that at the same time wants to be a reboot of the renowned Sim-series by Maxis. Developed starting from a new advanced 3D engine supporting physics simulation called GlassBox, SimCity promises support for third-party mods and managing of “tens of thousands of units” (vehicles and people) at the same time, a multiplayer mode and not particularly harsh system requirements.
Of course, being a game from EA, the other side of the coin is the obligation to use the Origin client and to be persistently connected to the Internet even when one wants to play in single-player mode. Or better not: the connection will be needed only to launch the game, while Maxis tries to justify itself with the usual excuse of the game meant to be multiplayer-focused since the beginning. I’m sick: SimCity will be released on the PC in 2013, and I won’t even be bothered to download the pirate version of this nth EA crap.
The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition
If a giant full of shit like EA viscerally hates PC players, CD Projekt RED shows conversely how much the company respects the most important gaming platform that ever was and will ever be: previously announced as an Xbox 360 release, the Enhanced Edition for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has landed on the PC too as a free maxi-upgrade for owners of the game’s standard version. Available since April 17 on GOG.com, Steam or the game’s official site, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is the new, massive proof of affection of the Polish developer for PC users: Geralt is back slicing people and things escorted by bugfixes, new contents, extended cutscenes and multiple endings.
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