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Game Reviews: Heavy Rain
Science-fiction writers have been imagining rocket backpacks for a century or more, so why don’t more games let us take to the sky? Capcom’s new Dark Void (PS3/360) aims to fill this...er…void by granting players a jet pack that lets them fly whenever they like for as long as they like. Expect arcade-like plane controls—it was made by the same team that developed the highly accessible Crimson Skies—and loads of frenetic third-person shooter action, both on the ground and in the air.
Outrageous. How better to describe Bayonetta (PS3/360), a game in which a sexy, bespectacled heroine fights demons on the face of a giant clock tower falling along the face of a mountain cliff, summons giant stiletto boots from the sky to impale her enemies, and casts off her clothes (!) which turn into an enormous, smoky dragon with a bite so powerful that it’s measured in gigatons? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing aloud as you experience this game’s unmatched over-the-top audacity.
The original Bioshock, with its Ayn Rand-inspired story and strangely sinister art deco-styled underwater city, was a milestone in game narrative and art design. Luckily for us, its successor (PS3/360/PC) offers up more commentary on the evils of extremism and hours worth of spooky new submerged settings to explore. Plus, we can now jump into a Big Daddy suit and enlist the aid of the franchise’s creepy/cute Little Sisters. Good thing, too, since the sequel’s new Big Sister baddies don’t go down easy.
God of War III
Kratos is back and madder than ever. Consider one scene in his latest adventure in which he grabs a foe’s head from behind, fingers slipping into his open, screaming mouth. His left hand covers one of his victim’s eyes, leaving the other free to bulge out of its socket and dart about in terror—until his head is torn from his neck in a crimson geyser. This PS3-exclusive is a supremely vicious bit of entertainment, make no mistake, and it ought to prove wholly satisfying to the series’ bloodthirsty fans.
One of the riskiest, most original games yet in this generation, the PS3-exclusive crime thriller Heavy Rain features unparalleled graphics, a uniquely organic control system that has players following on-screen cues to control their characters, and some of the most physical, atmospheric, and terrifying action sequences ever created for the medium, including one scene in which a woman is savagely set upon by masked invaders while trying to get to sleep in her apartment. This is a game changer, in every sense of the phrase. Don’t miss it.
No More Heroes 2
Wii games don’t get much more mature than this third-person brawler, a direct sequel to 2008’s critically acclaimed No More Heroes. Players once again take on the role of awesomely named protagonist Travis Touchdown as he hacks and slashes his way through hordes of enemies using a light saberlike blade and the motion sensitive Wii remote. New this time out are additional playable characters—including Travis’ twin brother—as well as a variety of transformations, one of which involves a vicious, mauling tiger.
Final Fantasy XIII
Japanese developer Square Enix has been teasing players with tidbits regarding its latest foray into the fabled Final Fantasy universe for years, and the wait is almost over. Aside from the to be-expected bar-raising graphics, this massive role-playing game promises an evolved active battle system with some real-time elements, incredibly powerful summoned creatures that are tied to each character, and a complex story that promises a minimum of 40 hours of play, not including side quests. Expect it March 10th for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
White Knight Chronicles
This beautiful role-playing game deftly mingles western and eastern culture, architecture, and costumes in a believable fantasy environment. You can play by yourself, switching between party characters and changing the battle tactics of your cohorts, or hop online and meet up with others for some 50 multiplayer quests on disc, plus many more available through the PlayStation Store. What’s more, the international release supports voice chat—a feature not available to the Japanese players who have been adventuring in White Knight Chronicles for the last year.
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