The games of August 2013

August 13 (Cont'd)

Europa Universalis IV

Platform: PC

From Paradox Interactive comes this fourth entry in the Europa Universalis strategy franchise. As in previous games, players will be handed the reigns to their own empire and granted the tools to grow their nation into a worldwide super-power by trading, fighting, and manipulating neighboring allies and foes.

This time around, the new Monarch Power will allow players to define their leadership style and, as a result, see their empire flourish according to their penchant for bloody war or peaceful diplomacy. A new trade system, deeper diplomatic options, and the ability to interact with a litany of historical figures will also assist players in achieving world domination.

Payday 2

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Overkill Software returns to its heist series with a sequel that looks to improve on its co-op cops-and-robbers outing in almost every respect. Once more, friends will team up and carry out elaborate heists for a number of shady contacts. Teams will have the freedom to approach each mission from various tactical angles while individual cohorts will specialize in four distinct professions, including The Enforcer, The Ghost, Technician, and Mastermind.

In addition to enhanced weapons combat, a refined stealth system, meatier player customization, and the inclusion of missions assets, Payday 2 will come armed with AI designed to react to every strategic move. GR went undercover with the criminal element earlier this year. Find out how we scored in Watch your robbery plans do down the crapper in Payday 2.

Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff

Platform: Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS, Wii, DS

Disney's Phineas and Ferb are bringing the cool to Nintendo and Microsoft systems. Based on the animated TV show, Phineas and Ferb's video game odyssey will see the pair collecting totally radical treasures for the Museum of Cool while putting the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz out to pasture.

The adventure will play out in two modes: Action Mode, starring Perry the Platypus (a.k.a Agent P) on a quest to shut down Dr. Doofenshmirtz lab; and Exploration Mode, starring Phineas and Ferb themselves as they travel to the moon and back for cool swag in their All-Terrain Transformatron Vehicle (A.T.T.).

Rune Factory 4

Platform: 3DS

Ransack dungeons, pose as royalty, and rule your own town in this sixth entry for the Rune Factory series. As in previous chapters, the Harvest Moon spin-off has players taking care of town duties while unraveling a plot concerning mistaken identities and terrifying evils. For the first time in the Rune Factory series, would-be heroes will choose between the male character Lest or the female character Frey right from the start.

Rune Factor 4 will stick closely to the series' sim-adventure theme. New additions include the ability to wear pajamas (finally!), have slumber parties (phew!), broaden their romantic options (Oh yeah), and enjoy other town building responsibilities. Unfortunately, the August release date is only a placeholder for now, and it's likely you'll have to wait until September to enjoy developer Neverland Co.'s next Rune Factory offering.

August 14

Charlie Murder

Platform: Xbox 360

The punk rock apocalypse has begun, and it's fallen on the rowdy headbangers of the Charlie Murder brand to kick, punch, and rock their way to salvation. Developed by James Silva at Ska Software (The Dishwasher, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMB1ES 1NIT!!1), the four-player title stars Charlie Murder, Lester Death, The Rexecutioner, Tommy Homicide, and Kelly “SkeleKitten” Skitten in a cartoon side-scroller that will offer a mix of RPG and traditional smash-and-dash mayhem.

August 18

Disney Infinity

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, 3DS, Wii
EU: August 20

Jack Sparrow, Lightning McQueen, Wreck-It Ralph, and Buzz Lightyear are just a sampling of the Disney heroes tapped to appear in this all-star action-adventure. Taking its cues from the lucrative Skylanders franchise, Disney Infinity will require players to place real-world Disney figurines onto its 'Infinity Base' to transfer their favorite characters into the game. Once scanned, players will be able to run wild in Toy Box world, a fully customizable sandbox wherein any and all figurines can be used; or Play Set Mode, in which players can upload worlds based on Disney and Pixar franchises via world discs, and experience new adventure with franchise-specific characters.

Disney Infinity will ship with three figurines, including characters from Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Incredibles. Additional play sets, featuring characters from Cars and The Lone Ranger, will also be available to buy; and future play sets from movie series like Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, and the Nightmare Before Christmas are on arrival. GR toyed around with Disney Infinity at San Diego Comic Con. See why we're excited to try the real deal in our preview, Disney Infinity's toy box has endless possibilities