Shhh… Is everyone who picked up a Vita happily distracted playing their shiny, new handheld? Good, let’s talk about some of the non-Vita games coming out this week, including something that could shake up the whole industry.
The first big release this week is none other than EA’s snowboarding game, SSX, making its HD debut. If you’re a series veteran, you should already know what to expect. Despite early previews stirring up fears that the series was adopting an uncharacteristically dark and gritty tone, this new SSX is pretty much the same, light-hearted, trick-laden action that was a smash hit last generation, just with a fresh coat of paint and a leaderboard system called RiderNet, similar to Need for Speed‘s Autolog. Traditional multiplayer race modes are a glaring omission, but EA seems to hope that RiderNet and ghost races will make up for that. Check out the demo on XBLA or PSN if you want to see what it’s all about.
Next up is Sega’s Binary Domain, directed by Toshihiro Nagoshi, the man behind the Yakuza series. Instead of kicking Japanese gangsters in the face, you’ll lead a squad of futuristic soldiers against hordes of rebellious robots. The shooting action is fun, if a bit unremarkable, but Binary Domain has been drawing the most buzz because of how it encourages you to maintain relationships with your squadmates. Issue sound orders and establish a rapport with them and they’ll be glad to watch your back. Get on their bad side (or accidentally shoot them) and your squad’s performance will suffer. It’s an unusual mechanic to bring to this genre, but it’s definitely helped set the game apart in the ever-crowded shooter market. Again, try the demo if you’re skeptical (out on both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network), and if you really want to be immersed, try shouting out orders over your headset.
Been holding off on last year’s surprise-hit reboot of Mortal Kombat? Now might be a good time to jump in with the Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition, which includes the full game, all of the DLC, and, among other extras, a download code for the 1995 film, which—if you’ll recall all the way back to episode 34, Paul and I declared to be the best video game movie to watch if you absolutely had to watch a video game movie. Please, though—don’t let that be what sways your purchasing decision. (And also, if you just want to play a fighting game and aren’t particular to MK, might I suggest Soulcalibur V?)
Finally, it’s Killzone 3‘s one-year anniversary this week, and Guerrilla Games is doing something weird to celebrate: They’re releasing the standalone Killzone 3 Multiplayer onto the PlayStation Network for free. You’ll be able to play the full multiplayer mode (including all maps and DLC) and rank up to Sergeant I, at which point you can unlock the full version for $15 ($7.50 for PS+ members) to continue playing. It’s pretty surprising to see a triple-A title go this download-only, à la carte route, and you can be sure that publishers beyond Sony will be watching how Killzone 3 Multiplayer performs. With many players ignoring entire sections of these big games—either only expressing interest in the campaign, or ignoring it and going straight to the multiplayer—they might be able to grab a few prospective buyers off the fence by letting them pick and choose.
What form is your gaming taking this week? Are you an SSX vet who’s been waiting years to return to the slopes, or a Killzone noob who wants to see what it’s all about? Would you be up for buying games in campaign or multiplayer-only pieces? Let us know in the comments!