Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Platform: 360, PS3
EU: October 14
This marks the first
time the Ace Combat franchise has bothered to try anything truly new beyond the
"dude, what if airplanes were like ‘pew-pew’ at each other?" concept.
Choppers, for example, are a primary mode of murder, transport and more murder.
Zipping around in jets has fundamentally changed in Assault Horizon, too.
Combat is about more than painting a lock-on tool across a wave of jerks and
letting missiles fly. Chases are a large part of each intense battle. Sometimes
you'll slip into an automated “dogfight” pursuit in which you’ll make only minor
adjustments to your movement, freeing up your focus so you can turn a sleek bit
of metal into a flaming wreck. Ace Combat also looks shockingly good this time
around -- buildings are breakable, the world is more convincing than most are
in this genre, and the 3D characters have far more detail than the series’
usual still-image dorks.
EU: September 30
Metroid, and now Metroid has inspired Alien. Aliens: Infestation is a 2D, side-scrolling,
exploration-heavy adventure from WayForward, the same folks behind Contra IV
and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. They've got a strong track record when it
comes to old-school, homage-y kinds of games, so don't be surprised if this is,
uh, surprisingly good.
The Cursed Crusade
Platform: PC, 360, PS3
EU: October 7
hack-and-slasher is almost certainly dead in the water with Skyrim releasing so
soon afterward, which sucks -- it's actually pretty good. The premise of cursed families, Crusade-era
escapades and co-op executions gets our motor running, but this is sadly doomed
to be buried beneath a storm of bigger, more heavily marketed games. It would
have been much better off bringing in the New Year if it couldn't make the
summer cut. This is one we're already adding to our backlog.
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Platform: PC,360, PS3
EU: October 14
Frank West for $40?
We're more into this than the co-op Case West release, if only because Off the
Record brings back Frank's PP. No, perv, we’re talking about the Prestige
Points for photos. Arranging the undead in precarious and hilarious positions
nets you huge points, so long as you grab a Polaroid. Snapping pictures as a
photojournalist is a big part of why we loved the (flawed) first game, and we
missed it in the (similarly flawed) sequel. The gameplay (and flaws) of Off the
Record are pretty much what we've come to expect from the series, but the new
story, settings, psychos and shutterbugging will bring us back for more Dead
EU: October 14
say that Forza 4 will be "unlike anything before it." Truth bomb: This game will be a lot
like Forza 3. Sorry to be so reductive, but it's hard not to be; these games
rarely change in many meaningful ways. Hang on, stop commenting! Give us a
second to lather on the love, all right? For the intended audience, this rocks.
Forza's driving, career structure and graphics are always phenomenal, and the
minor changes are all car nerds will need to reinvigorate their interest in the
franchise again. There’s more of what's worked in the past, but prettier and
better-er. Why not? We could, and probably will, sink 100 hours into this
thing. Short of some kind of miracle, though, we sure as hell won’t be doing it
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns
It's like the DS
version, of which we said...
Harvest Moon fashion, light conflict – this time, two towns feuding over whose
culinary expertise is superior – fuels your farming. We plan on growing hella
tomatoes to buy a house that'll impress a lady. Then we're gonna marry that
lady, milk some fat cows and cook until everyone in both towns realizes we're
better than everyone else. This will unite the towns. Hopefully in harmony, and
not in a way that means they'll try to cook us. That'd be a hell of a Harvest
Moon plot twist, though. We expect a lot of what's worked for this series in
its 28 billion predecessors, which is fine. We're suckers, and we accept
...except now it's in
Hulk Hogan's Main Event
We're still wrapping
our head around the first Kinect-only wrestling game. Hulk Hogan's Main Event
reacts to gestures, which involve kicks, punches, half-assed suplexes and such,
to register the ass-beatings you'll lay on the caricatured brawlers. It
functionally transforms your body into a Wii Remote, watching what you do and
loosely mimicking your motions on screen (poorly, if it hasn't shaped up since
E3). We want to love you, Hulk, but not until we see that your game is more
than just a bunch of minigames with a character creator.
Kinectimals: Now With Bears
EU: October 14
The $15 disc or DLC
expansion to Kinectimals is, like, Kinectimals... but... with bears. You pet bears, play with bears,
take care of... bears. We're inclined to hate those furry bastards because
they're haunting and dangerous. Even the little babies aren't to be trusted. Keep
an eye on your kids while they play this. Maybe scare 'em a time or two just to
teach them a lesson about bears. Bears.
Might & Magic Heroes VI
EU: October 14
We've seen this pop up
on Steam every day for the past year, so it's been hard not to keep up with
Might & Magic Heroes VI. Naturally, we're pretty stoked as a result. It
functionally turns its back on a lot of what its predecessors did, simplifying
resource management and other micromanagement-y things by giving us much less
of them. That gives us more time to spend on its
action-RPG-meets-turn-based-tactics gameplay. Each movement lets us hunt loot and
monsters, attack and explore as heroes of a legendary dynasty. It's the kind of
turn-based game that could get non-turn-based folks into the genre, really.
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
EU: October 12
We must be transforming
into children, because we're genuinely interested in Double Fine's Sesame
Street Kinect game. It looks silly and dumb in all the ways we should want to
make fun of. The game is a strange collection of mini-games with bodily
flailing in front of a Kinect, so we should extra-hate it. However, Cookie Monster is
such a key component of our childhood (it explains the fat) that was
just...can't. Once Upon a Monster is adorable,
and you're a heartless beast if you think otherwise. Tim Schafer and co. are
gearing it toward kids, naturally, which is a great corner of the Kinect market
to appeal to, so we suspect this will actually do fairly decently despite the
onslaught of everything else.