Something really strange is happening in gaming right now. Just a few weeks ago, Konami and Arc System Works released their Contra-inspired sidescroller, Hard Corps: Uprising, with minimal fanfare. And it was amazing! After a long drought of games like it, its breakneck 2D shooting action was just what I needed. So imagine my surprise to find out that Moon Diver, the new game from Kouichi Yotsui, the creator of Strider, is out today. Like Strider, you spend much of the game climbing up walls and slicing enemies into pieces, except this time you can team up with three other people online. I don’t know why these developers decided it was time for a 2D action game revival, but you won’t hear any complaints from me. I’m anxiously awaiting my chance to press start when the game releases later today.
If you prefer your slicing to be single-player only, Dynasty Warriors 7 is out this week for PS3 and Xbox 360. Even if you’ve never played a Dynasty Warriors game, I think you know the drill at this point.
After what seems like an eternity in development, The 3rd Birthday is finally out on PSP this week. This game continues the story of Parasite Eve heroine Aya Brea as she battles the forces of (presumably) evil mitochondria. This time around, she’s got the ability to “zap” into other characters and take control of them as she fights through the streets of New York City. I’m pretty curious about this since I enjoyed the original Parasite Eve, although when you say “third-person shooter” and “PSP” in the same sentence, I start to worry about how well I’ll be able to shoot while trying to juggle the camera controls.
Finally, the final Mass Effect 2 downloadable mission, Arrival, goes live today. Without spoiling anything, it promises to bridge the gap in the storyline between Mass Effect 2 and 3. Now that all the bonus episodes are out, I might have to sit down finally have a marathon ME2 session so I can get caught up.
Oh, and lest I forget, DragonForce’s infamous “Through the Fire and Flames” comes to Rock Band 3 today. You’ve seen people melt their fingers off playing it on expert in Guitar Hero; now Rock Band owners get their chance. You can even play it in Pro Guitar mode. Here’s an idea of what to expect.
And one more thing… Nintendo released a new portable this week. Have you heard of it? The Nintendo 3DS is the successor to the much-loved DS and lets you play games in eye-busting 3D, without the need for special glasses. For our initial impressions, tune into Episode 6 later this week.
Until then, here are a few of the 3DS games that are out now and (probably) worth checking out:
Augmented Reality Games/Face Raiders (built-in) – These reality-warping games make use of the included AR cards and the 3DS’s camera to cause dragons to pop out of your coffee table, or to plaster your friends’ faces all over shootable targets, the latter of which sounds way more antisocial than it actually is. There’s not really an experience like this on any other platform, so definitely give this a try if you have the chance.
Nintendogs + Cats – If you’ve played Nintendogs, you probably know what to expect from this. Among the new features is an augmented reality mode that lets you view your virtual puppy or kitten in your real life surroundings. Just don’t let your actual pet find out.
Pilotwings Resort – It’s the Pilotwings we all know and love: Fly your glider or rocketbelt through rings and balloons and try to land on that target without incurring too many broken bones. Or more likely, try to land as hard as possible see if you can make your Mii scream like a lunatic.
Ridge Racer 3DS – It’s RIIIIDGE RACERRRR… in THREE DEEEE! Seriously though, you really can’t go wrong with Ridge Racer, and the 3D effects are supposed to be incredible.
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition – This is actually probably my pick for the top 3DS launch game, and that’s completely ignoring the 3D features. With this, you get the full version of Super Street Fighter IV, on a portable, with real online play. There’s an over-the-shoulder camera mode for really showing off the 3D effect and it looks incredible, but is kind of impractical for actually playing the game. Still, portable Street Fighter!
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars – This might be the sleeper hit among the 3DS’s launch games. Instead of a third-person tactical shooter like the console Ghost Recon games, it’s a turn-based strategy game that’s more in line with Advance Wars. Also it has cool character names like Richter, Saffron, and Mint, which is worth bonus points in my book. Also, Tom Clancy.