The games of September 2012

Sizable sequels and downloadable originals highlight the month's offerings

September 11

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
EU: September 14

The Tekken series has been in something of a holding pattern of late, at least on the Namco Bandai side (we're not counting Street Fighter X Tekken), but we're curious to see if Tekken Tag Tournament 2 can shake things up a bit. Like the memorable PS2 and arcade original, the sequel notably focuses on team-based battles, though TTT2 adds elaborate team-up moves, plus you can play with a single fighter if you choose, even against pairs. Additionally, the game includes a Fight Lab training mode that lets you create a robot fighter with customizable moves, not to mention a huge roster to boot. Oh, and Snoop Dogg is in the game for some reason.

NHL 13

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
EU: September 14

With the only annual National Hockey League sim still on the market, you might think that EA Sports would kick up its feet and take a load off. Not so much this year, as NHL 13 introduces new tweaks like True Performance Skating and a refined A.I. system, as well as the ridiculously massive GM Connected mode. As we detailed in our recent preview, this sprawling online dynasty option lets up to 750 total players – that's a commissioner, GMs, and individual athletes on each team – choose a role and contribute to its progress via online matches, offline battles, co-op, and Coach mode. We're quite curious to see how such an ambitious addition plays out across a full season online.

Double Dragon: Neon

Platform: PSN, XBLA (Sept. 12)
EU: September 11 (XBLA: 9/12)

Who's ready for a reboot? Double Dragon: Neon marks the 25th anniversary of the iconic arcade beat-'em-up with a new downloadable entry that's heavy on bros, pastels, and plenty of '80s flavor. Luckily, the classic brawler franchise has been put into the capable hands of WayForward Technologies, which previously revived A Boy and His Blob and Contra with success, and the result seems to find the middle ground between the simplistic punches and flying kicks of the original with a handful of modern flourishes. And humor – reviving a fallen comrade has you rewinding a cassette tape by popping a pencil in the spool and rotating vigorously. Clever!

NBA Baller Beats

Platform: Xbox 360 (Kinect)

The Kinect enables some seriously oddball experiences, but even something like NBA Baller Beats seems totally wacky. It sounds like a basketball game, no doubt, and even requires you to use a real leather pumpkin – downstairs neighbors be damned. But at the core of it, this Kinect original is actually a rhythm game in disguise, as dribbling the ball translates into beat-matching gameplay. Despite the weird mash-up, it actually works quite well in practice, and it's meant to develop your dribbling skills in the process. On top of all of that, it has a banging soundtrack, with licensed songs from Skrillex, LMFAO, Gorillaz, and Kanye West. Hoops and hits! How can it go wrong?

Battlefield 3: Premium Edition

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
EU: September 14

Maybe it's just us, but we sort of expected that the $60 disc we bought last year would be considered a premium release. In all seriousness, though, this so-called Premium Edition of Battlefield 3 is named as such because it serves up the full original game and the newer Battlefield 3 Premium subscription service, which offers up access to extensive stat tracking and other bonus features in addition to built-in access to the full slate of downloadable content. For those who dodged last fall's popular shooter, it's an all-in-one way to get caught up and jump into action. For existing owners, however, there's really nothing to see here. Move along!

Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue

Platform: Nintendo 3DS, DS

Here's an odd one. Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue originally shipped on Nintendo DS in 2006, but like the film it's based on, the handheld adventure is being re-released in just a couple weeks. And this time around, it's also hitting the Nintendo 3DS in what we assume to be a slightly upscaled iteration. Expect mini-games and an interactive reef area in addition to the story mode, plus the 3DS edition arrives with 3D clips of the film in tow. Otherwise, available info is incredibly slim with the release on the horizon, so don't be surprised if it looks a whole lot like a DS game.

September 13

Fractured Soul

Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
EU: September 13

Many Nintendo 3DS games focus on the special-effect-wielding top screen and opt to save the bottom display for maps or basic touch interactions, but Fractured Soul – an ambitious downloadable action game coming to the eShop this month – has its own plans for the dual screens. Set in a pair of parallel worlds, you'll command a sci-fi hero across both, swapping on the fly to deal with the challenges and pathways provided on each, which should create some ridiculous scenarios. In addition to on-foot action, horizontal space shooting levels are also included, which will hopefully give this eShop original a fighting chance with 3DS owners.

September 14

Secret Files 3

Platform: PC
EU: September 14

Deep Silver and Animation Arts' successful point-and-click adventure series returns in the follow-up to Secret Files: Tunguska and Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis. Shunning a subtitle this time around, Secret Files 3 follows redheaded lead Nina Kalenkow through an action-packed quest to locate her fiancé, who in the trailer appears to be led away by armed soldiers from their chic pad. When we reviewed Secret Files 2 back in 2009, we praised it for "[embracing] silly conventions in a way many point ’n’ clickers shy away from," though the story let us down. Hopefully the third time's the charm in that regard with Secret Files 3.

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