Full Release: Games


Once again, the number or new releases is a bit of a trickle when compared to weeks past. Mostly because everyone shot their loads during the big rush to get their games onto shelves by Black Friday a few weekends back. Though a new Zelda game is also enough to make anyone throw in the towel for the week!

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks – What really needs to be said here? It’s Link on a train, a combination that had many people screaming bloody murder upon first reveal. But guess what? Link turning into a wolf or simply on a boat got the same hotheaded reaction, yet it all worked out in the end (okay, so maybe all that sailing around in Wink Waker was not as fun as it could have been), and same holds true here. Unfortunately, if you weren’t a fan of the stylus-driven controls from Phantom Hourglass, you might not dig this latest adventure either. But take it for a spin anyway, since everything has been tightened up considerably since Link’s last DS outing. Also, no matter how stupid you think the whole train concept is, it’ll grow on you, trust me on this. And remember, Zelda this time is a ghost! As always, expect the unexpected, as well as the always-welcome standards: tossing that boomerang NEVER gets old.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories – The PSone original helped pave the way for survival horror with a more psychological slant, with part 2 still being the finest example of the entire genre to this very day. Too bad the countless sequels that followed failed to live up that standard; none have been particularly awful, nor outstanding I’m afraid. But when you kick things off in the latest entry, which is actually the very first game re-imagined but for the Wii, you just know that things are going to be a tad bit different; you’re asked various questions to help the game tailor the adventure to the player’s psychological profile, with the most intriguing question being: “Have you ever cheated on your girlfriend?” Unfortunately the jury is still out on the revamped control mechanics; everyone has long bitched about the lousy combat, which has been completely removed. Not sure if that was the best possible course of action I’m afraid.

The Saboteur – What happens when you combine the open-ended gameplay of Grand Theft Auto, the notion of injecting color into a lifeless, oppressed landscape, a la Jet Set Radio, and Nazis? You get the final game from Pandemic Studios, makers of Star Wars: Battlefront, Destroy All Humans, and the Mercenary series, all of which had its fans, but whom none were able to stop EA from cutting about 1,500 jobs last month, including everyone in the studio. Which is a shame since The Saboteur looks to be their finest offering yet. Just the very idea of tearing stuff up, not just for the sake of creating havoc like in every GTA clone out there, but to unite the masses in a meaningful manner is worth the price of admission alone. Though word on the street is that the end product is not as polished as it could be, no doubt of a result of people needing to get the product out the door before they had to exit it permanently.

PixelJunk: Shooter – The latest installment of the PS3’s ultra stylish, and ultra fun to play PixelJunk series is here at last (fans have been biting at the chomps to finally get their hands on the thing since it’s spectacular E3 2009 debut). And as the title implies, it’s you’ll be shooting at stuff! As K Thor noted last week, only now has the system been finally delivering the big-time, AAA titles that everyone’s been expecting since day one. Though early adopters figured out real quick the PSN is where it’s at, with the PixelJunk series being the crown jewel in many people’s eyes. The newest entry has you commanding a vehicle in subterranean environments and attempting to rescue survivors. The key to saving them from magma and water is to manipulate said elements, adding a puzzle component to the entire operation. Which top to bottom is as pretty as can be.

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