Ten Games You May Haved Missed: Q1 2012 Edition
Like most of you, we here at Addicted-Gamers had our sights set, wallets ready, pre-orders filled, and schedules appropriately cleared for some of the most anticipated titles of the last three months. However, it’s sometimes easy to be blinded by the hype and totally overlook the fact that aside from Mass Effect 3, The Darkness 2, and Final Fantasy XIII-2 there were over one hundred other releases alone between January and April of this year. Feel like you missed something? Have you already saved the galaxy as Commander Shepard four times now and looking for something new? Well then sit back and relax as we go through and count out ten games you may have missed from Q1 2012…
1. King Arthur II: The Roleplaying Wargame
This sequel is the follow up to NeoCore’s King Arthur which released back in 2009 and made quite the splash with both critics and gamers. Mixing a Total War-like design with pen and paper roleplaying elements, the game delivered an experience unlike anything else out there at the time and since then. While the game’s shortcomings were many (bugs, balancing issues, etc), PC gamers still found enjoyment in the title for what it was. Improving on the original model, King Arthur II offered up a plethora of additions and tweaks fixing a lot of the bugs and glitches that plagued the first game as well as giving many elements a much needed overhaul. This sequel offers up a much larger and more beautiful campaign map, a totally re-worked army recruitment and province management system, much more in depth and exciting role-playing adventures and quests, and some desperately needed improvements to the real-time battle system. If you were a fan of the first game you’ll love this one and if you’re just looking for a strategy game that does something new and different look no further.
2. The Simpsons Arcade Game
If you grew up in the 1990s you no doubt came across this game at some point whether it was in a Chuckie Cheese or at an arcade in your local mall. I fondly recall dumping quarter after quarter into the game as I continuously found myself meeting a cruel end at the hands of Mr. Burns’ goons in the game’s second level: Krustyland Theme Park. Now nearly 11 years after its release gamers young and old can enjoy the very first, and best, Simpsons game ever made in the comfort of their own homes. If you feel like getting your nostalgia on with up to three other friends (and not have to jostle each other as you try and all fit together in front of the screen) you might want to check out this game on the Xbox Live Arcade or Playstation Network. Personally I’ve been giving some serious thought to trying my hand one more time in Krustyland.
3. Gotham City Imposters
If you’re like me you probably saw the little paper insert for this game’s beta when you picked up Arkham City and didn’t give it a second thought – instead your mind firmly concentrated on battling through waves of goons in that game’s titular city-scape. However if you take the time to watch some gameplay videos and such you may find yourself quite intrigued. A multiplayer-only game, Gotham City Imposters is an interesting mix of fast-paced Call of Duty like FPS action and sheer comedic lunacy. Up to 12 players choose either the Bats or the Jokerz and square off against each other in varied game modes using both conventional weapons and pure outlandish ones like a jack-in-box style grenade, a bazooka made out of PVC pipe, and a freeze-gun. In addition the player also has access to an arsenal of gadgets akin to the types seen in Batman comics and movies and can customize these gadgets along with their own character costumes. Those looking for a new online shooter fix with a wicked twist are sure to like this game.
4. Jak and Daxter Collection
Jak and Daxter is one of the core franchises that helped make Sony’s Playstation 2 the continued success that it is today. This collection, remastered in high definition, combines Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak II, and Jak III onto one Blu-Ray disc for use with the Playstation 3. In addition to being optimized for HD, all three games have been re-worked for higher frame-rates, stereoscopic 3D, and were given a couple of new improvements and features. Critically acclaimed, all three of these titles offer up some of the best platforming seen in the early 2000s and draws influences from other successful games like the Nintendo 64′s Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64. Jak and Daxter is also where Naughty Dog, now commonly known for their Uncharted games, found their next big hit after Crash Bandicoot on the Playstation One. This collection would be a great way to relive the trilogy again or experience it for the first time ever.
5. Shank 2
Shank 2 continues forward with the unhinged and grotesquely beautiful brutality that the first game thrilled players with. Like a twisted Saturday morning cartoon, the player controls Shank once again as he cuts through waves and waves of enemies using anything and everything he can get his hands on. A new combat system adds many new weapons and moves, improved visuals make the 2D world stand out even more, and a tighter control scheme aims to appeal to those gamers and critics who considered such a thing to be lackluster in the first title. Shank 2 also includes a new multiplayer component that sees two players survive as long as they can against hordes of enemies attacking from all sides. Coming in at $10 it’s hard to turn down something that could give you a bloody good time.
6. Crusader Kings II
Like most other Paradox Interactive games Crusader Kings II isn’t so much of a sequel as it is a remake or updated version of the original game. However the series itself does stand out as being one of the more unique and interesting titles of the developer’s beloved grand strategy series’ due to its focus. As opposed to Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, and Victoria this medieval-based strategy game not only has the player micromanaging their kingdoms, duchies, and counties but also gives an amazing amount of freedom on a personal level – allowing what are essentially role-playing elements to come into play regarding the player’s persona and their families. Genetic traits, friendships, relationships, and both macro and micro actions dictate how the game plays out on the grand scale. Being a sinful and generally unpleasant ruler who wildly throws people in the dungeon and assassinates rivals will no doubt find their kingdom divided – prone to civil wars and possibly even a target for elimination ordained by the Pope himself. On the other hand being a just ruler could mean years of progress, expansion, and peace for your kingdom. Playing out over hundreds of years, the campaign will have the player step into the shoes of each proceeding member of your family working your way to the end where each of your rulers’ prestige scores are added up and then ranked with every other dynasty in the game. Crusader Kings II will literally offer hundreds of hours of fun as each game feels entirely different from the next even when playing as the same kingdom/ruler over and over again.
Warp has the player control the adorable alien Zero as he attempts to escape from a top secret military research base. Using a series of powers, the most important of which is Zero’s ability to teleport, the player must navigate a series of puzzles and obstacles within the facility to evade capture and free other imprisoned aliens. In addition Zero can also teleport into living things (i.e. scientists and guards) and cause them to explode into a sloppy red mess. If you like the idea of a puzzler with some blood and guts give Warp a try.
8. Alan Wake
Yeah, yeah. We all heard about Alan Wake’s American Nightmare and the original game came out nearly two years ago but it wasn’t until February this year that another platform aside from the Xbox 360 got a taste of this psychological thriller. Despite being well received by critics and gamers Alan Wake didn’t make many waves when it first released back in May of 2010. Whether you can attribute that to a virtually nonexistent advertising campaign or because the game released the same day as Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption one thing remained clear: not many people got to experience this title. In fact, this got such little attention that Remedy Entertainment had to cut their additional episode DLC schedule short, give up any hopes of porting the game to the PC, and completely wiped the idea for a sequel from their minds. However thanks to the buzz generated by the arcade-only title American Nightmare Remedy gained momentum once more and greenlit the PC port for release in 2012.
In short the game follows the titular character as he searches for his wife in the town of Bright Falls. His task is anything but easy though. While during the day the quiet rural town is nothing remarkable at night things become a very different story as members of the community turn into shadowy monsters who want nothing more than to eviscerate you. Taking cues from the cult classic TV show Twin Peaks, the works of Stephan King, Silent Hill, and the Twilight Zone this game never stops going and keeps you pretty tense throughout – even when it’s daytime and you know the monsters are nowhere to be found.
This is a game PC users should not pass up. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it. You’ll also be helping Remedy decide whether or not to make a full blown sequel to the game as they have already expressed their interest in doing so in the wake of impressive PC sales.
9. Wargame: European Escalation
European Escalation is the perfect game for history buffs, Cold War-era junkies, and armchair generals. In a nutshell the game plays out World War Three – the seemingly inevitable (at the time) clash between super giants: The Warsaw Pact and NATO. Choosing between the two sides, the player then has the option of choosing which country they’d like to take control over: the United States, the UK, Western Germany, or France for NATO or the Soviet Union, Communist Poland, Czechoslovakia, or East Germany for the Warsaw Pact. Each nation and side has its own military strengths and weakness and their units reflect this – the game offers up over 350 unique land and air units across all eight nations. Using Europe itself as your battlefield the player squares off in a series of engagements using infantry, tanks, air support, light vehicles, and more on maps which can stretch up to 60 square miles. The solo campaign plays out real life events which could’ve taken a turn for the worse (i.e. full scale war) and the online component is where you’ll select your side, your nation, and square off with other live players.
10. Binary Domain
Coming from the same development team which created the Yakuza series, Binary Domain is a sci-fi third-person shooter set in Japan during the 2080s. Harking back to similar themes found in Blade Runner and The Matrix, the game deals with practical and philosophical arguments pertaining to artificial intelligence versus human intelligence and the ethical/non-ethical use of human-like robots. While there’s plenty of philosophy to go around though I’m sure most of the game will have you blasting away at the metallic beings instead of debating ethics with them. One of Binary Domain‘s greatest draws is that it uses voice recognition software in order to effectively process what the player is saying and then issue a command to a squad member. The game can apparently recognize six different languages though from what I’ve heard there are mixed results in relation to the voice commands. The demo for the game can be found on both the PSN and Xbox Live if you’d like to give it a shot. There is also a PC release coming down the pipe set for this April.
I hope you enjoyed the list and maybe found some games that piqued your interest! Keep an eye out for this feature at the end of every quarter to see what games you may have missed.