Summer is here. The sun is out and evenings should be spent basking in its warmth and glory, taking in the clean, revitalizing air and wearing three quarter length shorts or something. At least that’s the theory.
But one can hardly spent the month’s entirety frolicking around in loose sandals, dripping ice-cream on luminous pink t-shirts or building up the courage to spend an ambitious evening in the forty foot’s ice cold waters.
So if you’d like to play the occasional video game, here are five to keep an eye on…
The First Templar
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Released: May 12th
Now I’m not saying this will be a fitting counterbalance to the highly excellent Assassins Creed series. I’m not even saying this will be any good. I’m merely observing that this might have some potential, and if nothing else, it could satisfy your Hack and Slash quotient for May.
Choc full of gory kill animations, platforming, dialogue options and an always welcome co-operative mode, Haemimont Games could
be one to keep an eye on.
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Released: May 13th
How could you not know the recipe at this stage?
Take popular Danish building block toys, substitute in suitable pop culture series (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Batman etc.), add in basic platforming, some combat, a drop in drop out co-operative, a plethora of charming, amusing and recognizable characters (70 in this particular edition) and blend together with a sense of whimsy and 480 quintillion collectibles. Serve to children and adults in search of nothing more than an amusing few hours.
Developer: Splash Damage
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Released: May 13th
Do you remember Mirror’s Edge, one of the most important games no-one played? Of course you don’t. Anyways, Brink, with its free running tricks, drastic jumps and daring slides, is a lot like a diluted version, spliced with Team Fortress DNA and a whole host of welcome customization. And weird faces.
Yes, it’s probably just another FPS. And yes, chances are high that the single player campaign is nothing more than an extended tutorial on how to participate successfully in its extensive online multiplayer. Without doubt, Bethesda would love a title which could replicate but a fraction of the loyalty and fanfare each annual COD rakes in for Activision.
But we must admit, the prospect of adding in so much dynamic movement (jumping, vaulting, skidding, ducking, climbing, sweeping, wall running etc) into an increasingly tired old Team Deathmatch approach seems like a breath of fresh air. Plus, if you’ll recall, Team Fortress was a lot of fun.
PS3 owners take note; if the PSN is still down at the time of purchase ,and it’s expected to be, expect severely
restricted functionality from Brink. Unless it features NPC Bots, which it probably wont.
I miss bots.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Developer: CD Projekt
Publisher: CD Projekt
Released: May 17th
May’s big exclusive for PC fans, the Witcher returns triumphantly in this eagerly awaited tale of corruption, political coos and villains getting offed in a variety of unpleasant methods by its sword wielding, silver haired protagonist.
Featuring a complex, customizable combat system, the Witcher 2 boasts the standard RPG tropes (boost that stamina, feel the burn!) yet combines them with the fluid animation and input of an action title.
With shirtless fisticuffs, high end specs, a rich narrative to unravel, a world of intriguing NPCs and a joyously wide range of dialogue options to explore (please note, a fireball to the face is technically a mode of communication) CD Projekt is hoping to magic 2007’s cult smash into a massively successful mainstream franchise.
PC users can find out if they’ve managed this in another few days. From the looks of things though, they might have.
Developer: Team Bondi, Rockstar Games
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Released: May 20th
MotionScan: where actors are recorded by 32 cameras to capture facial expression from every angle, resulting in thoroughly believable, convincing performances.
Combine this staggering (if a little creepy) piece of tech with a winding narrative inspired by iconic Noire filmmaking, Rockstar’s penchant for crafting authentic, living sandbox worlds, and an open ended challenge to your detecting skills, and Rockstar is set to put their stamp on 2011’s summer as surely as they did in 2010’s with the wildly successful Red Dead Redemption.
You fill the loafers of one Cole Phelps, army veteran who rises through the ranks of the Los Angeles police force, starting as an average beat cop and sleuthing his way into juicer departments such as homicide, vice and arson.
What sets L.A. Noire apart, besides being the first game ever to feature at the Tribecca Film Festival, is its focus on detective work and initiative over the standard gunplay and violence. Rest assured, there’ll be plenty of the latter, however it seems Rockstar is hoping to drag the public’s conception of gaming, kicking and screaming if need be, from a plaything of immature fanboys to a legitimate past-time of adult sophistication.
Let’s just hope the public give it a decent chance and don’t get bored to death looking for clues or chasing up dead end leads when they could be fragging noobs on virtually any other game.
The seven year old Sherlock Holmes in all of us is crying out for this to succeed. Just this once, let’s make him proud.