This might go without saying at this point, but if you stop by your local games retailer this week to check out the new releases, expect to see familiar franchises from wall to wall. I know that the games industry loves to stick to their tried and true series—this generation more than ever—but even I’m a little surprised at the extent to which they’ve done it this week.
I’ll give Nintendo a pass here with Kid Icarus: Uprising, since it’s the first Kid Icarus game in over 20 years, and during those two decades, legions of fans have been bafflingly vocal about a sequel to that ancient NES game which—if you ask us here at VGHangover—was pretty severely overrated. Nintendo (specifically, Masahiro Sakurai of Super Smash Bros.) has answered their pleas, though. The game bears absolutely no resemblance the original NES platformer; it arrives triumphantly in 2012 as a third-person, off- and on-rails shooter along the lines of Space Harrier or Sin and Punishment. From what I’ve seen, the graphics look gorgeous and the shooting looks like it could actually be pretty fun.
The dark horse, though, is the game’s (online enabled!) multiplayer. Sakurai has clearly brought his expertise in designing frenetic, addictive versus modes for his 3DS debut—Uprising‘s multiplayer looks similar to the team-based, over-the-top action of the Gundam VS. Gundam games that are currently taking Japan by storm, except throw in some of the showier aspects of Dissidia: Final Fantasy and some good old Smash Bros. sensibilities and I can see a lot of people getting seriously into this. If all of those elements are hard to process together, check out this overview video with Sakurai himself (or, at least, his interpreter) doing the play-by-play for a multiplayer match.
If you prefer your multiplayer games a little more M-rated, there’s Capcom’s Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City to give you your shooter fix. The premise is unique: Players take on the roles of either the Umbrella Corporation’s militarized clean-up teams as they try to cover up the outbreak of the T-virus, or the U.S. special forces as they attempt to bring Umbrella to justice. Meanwhile, both sides are being accosted by zombies and other famous Resident Evil monsters… obviously.
Operation Raccoon City comes from developer Slant Six, who was most recently responsible for SOCOM Confrontation, so expect strategic, squad-based gameplay—certainly a departure from the usual Resident Evil formula. I’d say to approach this one with extreme care because of the Slant Six name; while Confrontation‘s gameplay concepts were solid, it had the unfortunate distinction of being one of the clunkiest and most glitch-infested games this generation. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt, considering how long they’ve had to put Operation Raccoon City together, but, as you would in the middle of a zombie-overrun city, it’s probably a good idea to use caution.
The last big title on my radar this week is Konami’s Silent Hill HD Collection, announced last year in their PS2 revival fever, alongside the Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders collections. Silent Hill is by far my favorite horror series, so an HD collection sounds great!
Things get weird, though: The collection only includes Silent Hill 2 and 3. I can understand the omission of the first Silent Hill, since it likely would have been trickier to bring a PlayStation 1 game into a 1080p world, but then what about the PlayStation 2’s Silent Hill 4: The Room? It may have garnered less praise from fans than its predecessors, but it’s still a fine horror game in its own right. In the end, you’re left with a strange, middle sample of the Silent Hill series, before Konami turned over the reins to a Western developer and the review scores started tanking. It’s not a bad collection by any means—SH2 and 3 are both excellent games. It just could have been so much more.
Lastly, in the way of sequels, there’s Armored Core V, the latest of From Software’s mecha combat games, and Ninja Gaiden 3, in which Ryu Hayabusa evidently starts having second thoughts about the thousands of limb severings and decapitations he’s committed over his last couple games. Come on, Ryu—there’s no time to get all emo. Ninjas are just supposed to flip out and kill people, remember? You’re just doing your job.
Are you glad to see some familiar names back in the game lineup this week, or do you have sequel apathy? Did your favorite Silent Hill make it into the HD collection? What’s the deal with ninjas, anyway?? Give us your thoughts in the comments!