My Summer 2014 Video Game Guide appeared in a recent issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Here it is reprinted for your reading pleasure:
is the time for baseball, backyard barbeques and trips to the beach. But when
it’s time to come inside and cool off, you may find yourself wanting something
to do other than watch TV, read a book or—gasp!—do chores.
here are 10 hot new video games you can play in the cozy comfort of your living
room or man cave. Certain titles are available now while you’ll have to wait a bit
for the others. As always, release dates are subject to change.
BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma
3, PlayStation Vita
Now for PlayStation 3
Date: June 24 for PlayStation Vita
for PlayStation Vita
fifth title in the “BlazBlue” 2D fighting game series, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma adds five new characters—Amane, Azrael,
Bullet, Izayoi, and Kagura—bringing the total number of combatants to 24. Each
of the returning characters has new moves and abilities, meaning that even
veterans of the BlazBlue wars will
have new techniques to learn.
action, which has been sped up for “faster, more enjoyable gameplay,” is set
after the events of BlazBlue: Continuum
Shift. The disc boasts 11 different modes, including Arcade, Survival,
Networking (online) and Story, the latter of which features multiple endings
and more than 30 hours of gameplay.
3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360
Focus Home Interactive
for PlayStation 4 and Xbox 360
Bound by Flame is a fantasy
role-playing game in the truest sense of the genre. As a mercenary possessed by
a fire demon, players, after creating and customizing their male or female character,
must decide throughout the game to perform heroically or succumb to the dark
side. As the action intensifies and the enemies and obstacles get more
difficult to overcome, players will be tempted to forfeit part of their soul in
order to access powerful demonic traits. By acquiring or rejecting the demonic
properties, the player’s character will change in appearance.
are fought in real time, and players can create new items, improve their
weapons and armor and upgrade their skills in terms of combat, assassination
and fire magic.
adventures of Kirby, Nintendo’s pink, animated puffball, date back more than 20
years to Kirby’s Dream Land (1992)
for the Game Boy and the fittingly titled Kirby’s
Adventure (1993) for the NES. The latest iteration, Kirby Triple Deluxe, finds our ravenous hero on a quest to rescue
the kidnapped King Dedede.
classic, side-scrolling platform action remains intact, but Kirby can now jump
from the foreground to the background, and he can eat a Miracle Fruit seed to
transform into Hypernova Kirby, who can gobble giant objects. New mimicking
abilities include beetle (impale enemies), archer (fire arrows in all directions)
and circus performer (roll over enemies, juggle flaming bowling pins and wield
exploding balloon animals). “Kirby Fighters,” which is similar to Super Smash Bros., and a rhythm game
called “Dedede’s Drum Dash” supplement the main story mode.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Date: Available Now
in theme to Philip K. Dick’s 1962 masterpiece, Man in the High Castle, in which the Allied Powers lost World War
II, Wolfenstein: The New Order takes
place during the 1960s in a version of Europe in which the Nazis maintain a
stronghold over the entire world. What this setup amounts to is a single-player,
first-person shooter in which the gamer must battle robots, destroy giant super
soldiers and infiltrate Nazi strongholds, with the ultimate goal of defeating General
Wolfenstein: The New Order is the ninth
game in the series, which dates back to the 1981 computer classic, Castle Wolfenstein.
3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U
Date: Available Now (Wii U version in the fall)
epic, open-ended “sandbox” game, Watch
Dogs puts users in the role of Aiden Pearce (voiced by Noam Jenkins), a
hacker who can perform such dubious feats as control traffic lights (to create accidents),
tap into surveillance cameras, disrupt police radio networks and access the
cell phones and personal computers of private citizens. Armed with a baton and
more than 30 different firearms, Pearce can also unleash vigilante justice on
an assortment of bad guys.
action plays out in a near-future Chicago that is controlled by a vast network
of computers known as the Central Operating System (CtOS). In addition to the seemingly
endless one-player option, which lets Pearce commander more than 65 vehicles,
the game includes an assortment of multiplayer modes.
3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Date: Available Now
for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Murdered: Soul Suspect, you are Ray
O’Connor, a Salem, Massachusetts police detective who must solve a murder.
There’s only one catch: you are the one who was killed (the basic scenario
evokes Ghost, the 1990 film starring
Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore). Luckily, as a denizen of the afterlife limbo
world called Dusk, you have supernatural powers, including the ability to walk
through walls, teleport and possess people to read their minds. You’ll also battle
demonic spirits, search for clues, solve puzzles, interrogate ghosts, collect
items and participate in various side quests.
of Beyond: Two Souls may enjoy this
third-person adventure thriller.
City Interactive Games
Date: Available Now
as “the first truly modern World War II first-person shooter,” Enemy Front promises to be far less
linear than most games in the genre, letting players explore open-ended levels
with an unusual degree of freedom. The protagonist is American war
correspondent Robert Hawkins, who can equip more than 25 weapons as he battles
alongside Resistance Fighters against the Nazi scourge. Various fighting styles
are featured, including intense combat, sniping, stealth and sabotage.
isn’t pretty, as they say, but the makers of Enemy Front beg to differ, citing their game’s “stunning visuals”
and “breathtaking European locales,” including France, Greece, Norway, Poland
Rating: Rating Pending
which stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the violent, mixed martial
arts competition that was controversial during the 1990s (it officially began
in 1993) and has since become a mainstream sport. Developed by the team
responsible for the Fight Night
franchise, EA Sports UFC aims to capture
the excitement of the real deal without harming a hair on anyone’s head.
with boasting such UFC fighters as Chuck Liddell and Ronda Rousey, the game
features the late, great Bruce Lee, who never fought competitively, but is
widely regarded as one of the greatest martial arts practitioners of all time. To
capture Lee’s image, the developers used a life mask from the 1960s Green Hornet television series, in which
Lee played Kato.
by Codemasters, a British company that’s been making racing games for more than
a quarter of a century, Grid: Autosport
lets gearheads race more than 100 routes across 22 diverse locations, ranging
from Sepang to San Francisco. There are five different types of events: Endurance
(lengthy road racing), Open-wheel (similar to formula-1), Street Racing (turning
sharp corners while driving modified cars), Touring (racing on various
professional tracks) and Tuner Competitions (featuring drifting, time attack
and traditional racing).
to Codemasters, Grid: Autosport will
be an improvement over Grid 2 by
featuring “a more authentic handling style” and by “returning to an in-car
of play include Career, Time Trial, split-screen two-player, multiplayer online
3, PlayStation4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Terror specialist Shinji Mikami is the brains behind The Evil Within, a survival horror title
that the developer says will be even scarier than the games in his groundbreaking
Resident Evil series, which debuted
in 1996 for the original PlayStation. As detective Sebastian Castellanos,
players use traps, guns and other weapons to battle undead creatures in a
nightmarish world that “warps and twists around you” (the environments change
in real time).
To help keep things claustrophobic, desperate and
downright frightening, ammo is scarce, enemies are tough and there are numerous
instances where the player’s best option is to run away and hide, oftentimes in
a cramped, uncomfortable space.