So the long summer gaming drought beckons with the juicy releases held back until Christmas, or, in the case of Mass Effect 3, to next year (sob). No need to cry though, it just gives you more time to get excited about the exciting games which are coming sooner rather than later, here are This Is Entertainment‘s top picks…
Red Faction: Armageddon – Released: 10 June
Premise: You are Darius Mason, grandson of the sledgehammer-wielding liberator of Mars Alec Mason, a man who has none of the wealth power and fame you might expect from his ancestry. The year is 2170, and the surface of Mars has become uninhabitable and driven its inhabitants underground. Unfortunately, having moved below they soon discovering there is another threat on Mars, an ancient race of Martian aliens which Darius uncovers and quickly spread through the settlements.
What’s in the box?: As well as the single player campaign, which is reportedly more focused and linear compared to the game’s predecessor, Guerilla, there is a cooperative multiplayer mode, which sees you protecting structures from the alien masses and destroying them in increasingly ridiculous amounts with the games diverse weaponry. Oh…plus the most detailed destruction engine gaming has to offer, nuff said.
Why should I be excited?: THQ seem to have taken criticism of the previous game on board and put some effort into writing a story for this chapter. Darius seems suitably tooled with a bit of sarcasm to counteract the hopelessness of his situation and every other aspect of the game has been tooled up, the walkers, for example, are far beefier and better equipped than before. Best of all is a great bit of original weaponry called the Magnet Gun, which fires in two shots and then attracts the two points together, with some seriously destructive and hilarious results. If you fancy a go yourself, there’s a demo up on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Released: 26 August
Premise: You are Adam Jensen, a private security officer with Sarif Industries, until he suffers a horrific accident and is implanted with biomechanical augmentations. Essentially he’s a Six Million Dollar Man figure, and as you progress you slowly gain control of more of these augmentations, depending on how you play the game. There are four main avenues: Combat, Stealth, Technology and Social, each has its own play style, which are fairly self-explanatory. The game is a prequel to the founding game of the series, Deus Ex, which was released back in 2000.
What’s in the box?: Being a single player-only game, there’s a lot of depth in the story and range of different ways to complete each area or mission, depending on your augmentations. For example you might like to blaze through the game killing everyone in a balls-out display of Matrix-like skills, or you might want to sneak about and charm your way past your would-be attackers with your silver tongue. Expect plenty of collectables, unlockables and endless playthroughs necessaries to exhaust all possibilities of how the story will unfold, though the overreaching story will remain the same, and lead into the events of the original Deus Ex.
Why should I be excited?: The original game was heralded as unbelievably fantastically amazing for its time, and this sequel has been worked on meticulously since 2007. The visual style from the screenshots and trailers looks fantastic, constantly referred to as ‘steampunk’, but think of the Matrix and you’re 3/4 there. The enemy AI is also something which the series is famous for, and will react to how you play precisely, meaning every player will have a unique challenge.
Gears of War 3 – Released 20 September
Premise: You are Marcus Fenix (and co) in the third in the series of this head-stomping chainsaw-swinging shoot-a-thon, in which Marcus has to save his world from the combined threat of the Locust and their mutated brothers the Lambent. Eighteen months have passed since the fall of Jacinto at the end of the last game and the survivors are stranded on an island, frankly so far Marcus and the COGS have done pretty badly at putting a stop to these pesky Locust creatures.
What’s in the box?: King of the Gears (in the real world) Cliff Blezinski has said that there is a real focus on multiplayer this time around, which explains the inclusion of four player cooperative play in the campaign (though really this was an obvious step). On top of this new features wise we have a mechanised suit, as if the Gears needed to get any more beefy, and also female members of the unit make an appearance for the first time. Add in new enemies and modes and you’ve got yourself a whole lot of trouble on your hands.
Why should I be excited?: As if the return of John “Bender from Futurama” DiMaggio to provide Marcus Fenix’s voice, there is also a new weapon specifically designed to even up the multiplayer – the sawed-off shotgun. Hardly the most ingenius of weapons, but it does offer a near instant kill at point blank range, meaning people could well be constantly running at you flailing wildly, but the point is it should give newcomers a chance. Also there is a digger launcher, which fires a projectile through the floor and under cover, meaning those who hide in cover continually are no longer safe!
Batman: Arkham City – Released: 21 October
Premise: You are Batman! After Arkahm Asylum was freed from the Joker and Poison Ivy’s clutches in the first game, the Warden took all the credit for your hard work and expanded the Asylum from Arkham island to create a criminal-filled suburb of the city, walled off from the rest of Gotham, And to top it all off, Doctor Hugo Strange has discovered that your secret identity is Bruce Wayne…
What’s in the box?: Sticking with single player, expect more impressive visuals from the guys at Rocksteady. There will be more stealth and action and villains aplenty with Harley Quinn, Riddler and Joker returning, while Hugo Strange, Victor Zsasz and Calendar Man will also appear, the latter doing different things depending on the literal calendar year. There’s been work done on the combat so that things are less repetitive and there will be more of a gang element to the enemies.
Why should I be excited?: Other than the prospect of being Batman again and how awesome that is. Rocksteady have also augmented (there’s a lot of it going around…) their fantastic Detective Mode into the main display, to avoid people playing through having to turn it on and off all the time, and you can also use gadgets like the batclaw in the middle of fights, which should mix things up with quite amusing results. Also the setting of Arkham City is far larger than the Asylum and is all available to explore from the outset, and you can do it even more easily now that Bats can dive mid-glide and then fly back up to gain height and fly further.
James Michael Parry