By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back gentle reader, it's time for another roundup of those video game disks that all the kids like so much. While last week re-packaging and last generation consoles were all the rage this week is skewing a bit more towards the strange. The overarching theme this time seems to be cult favorites, from cheesecake anime ladies, hardcore strategy, and Kinect games. One developer was super busy with two games on this week's calendar, so let's lead off with a title that by all right shouldn't exist. Honestly, it might actually be a Doctor Who styled time paradox.
Bayonetta 2 is the insane 3rd person combat game from the equally insane Platinum Games. The studio comprised of former Capcom cast offs made a name for themselves in the early 2000's under the banner of Clover Studio with games like Viewtiful Joe, Godhand, and Okami. Platinum was one of the only Japanese developers actively reaching out to an American audience last generation with games like Vanquish and ultimately came up with a cult hit for Sega in their Bayonetta franchise. The utterly bizarre story revolves around the titular Bayonetta, a witch with guns in her shoes and magic hair that composes her skintight cat suit.
The game features fast paced over the top 3rd person combat reminiscent of the Devil May Cry series and weird Japanese sensibilities including a strange story about angels, cheesecake characters, and tough as nails gameplay. The real interesting story was that Sega had no interest in publishing a sequel so Nintendo stepped in and decided to release the game. They've also been so kind as to include the first game on the disk along with a bunch of Nintendo themed costumes. Bayonetta 2 releases Friday exclusively for the Wii U.
The long running Civilization series is branching off into a new direction this week by going into space with developer Firaxis's Sid Meier's Civilization Beyond Earth. The strategy series has mainly been about building a functioning civilization by choosing a nationality and play style, but Beyond Earth looks like it's going a little Wayland-Yutani by having players choose one of 8 corporate sponsor and heading out to navigate the stars. This iteration of Civ has you exploring multiple worlds in your galactic adventure, and adds new features like the advanced upgrade technology web, orbital defense, and unit customization. Cid Meier's Civilization Beyond Earth is available for PC on Friday.
Hey, you got Animal Crossing in my medieval fantasy! Hey, you got medieval fantasy in my Animal Crossing! That's basically the gist of Fantasy Life from developer Level 5. Fantasy Life has you play across 12 classes including mercenary, cook, miner, and alchemist and tasks you with completing mini-games and challenges to unlock items for your characters. The game looks like it gives you a ton of customization and even offers you in home decoration just like Animal Crossing. Players are encouraged to use their resources across characters with a miner digging up ore, forging it as a blacksmith, and doing battle with the sword as a paladin. The combat seems like its Legend of Zelda light and the art style is all about stylized "chibi" characters with a bit of Akira Toriyama's Dragonball. You might remember Level 5 as the developers of Ni-No Kuni and the Professor Layton series so with that pedigree behind Fantasy Life I think life simulator fans might have a new gem on the horizon. Fantasy Life is available Friday for Nintendo 3/2DS systems.
It's starting to seem like one of these is coming out every other week, but Koei is releasing another in the long line of Warriors games with Samurai Warriors 4. The Omega Force developed 3rd person hack and slash title task you with completing objectives on a sprawling battlefield while mowing down wave after wave of mindless enemy combatants. This version of the game focuses on a fictional feudal Japan with over 55 characters, a new Battle mode, and a Chronicle mode that interfaces with the create-a-character system. In the last month and a half they've released the similar Warriors Orochi 3, and Hyrule Warriors so take your pick of flavors if you're into this series. For super-fans, Samurai Warriors 4 also comes in a special edition bundle with limited edition packaging, soundtrack, anime Blu-ray, and some downloadable content. Samurai Warriors 4 released Tuesday on the PlayStation 4.
A 3D Realms game is coming to consoles this week but don't worry it's not Duke Nukem. First person shooter, Shadow Warrior, from developer Flying Wild Hog is making its way to new generation consoles. In the 90's 3D Realms were one of the first person shooter kings and came to prominence with their flagship Duke Nukem games, but also found success with Rise of The Triad and Shadow Warrior. Now over 15 years later Flying Wild Hog is looking to introduce a new generation of players to series protagonist, Lo Wang. The series revolves around Wang, an assassin who comes into possession of a powerful sword that entangles him in some magical business. The games big hook is its first person melee combat with the sword playing a big role in battle, of course the standard series of other first person shooter weapons come into play as well. Also be prepared for dick jokes, this game seems to have a lot of dick jokes. Shadow Warrior is already available on the PC, but released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Tuesday.
Remember that vestigial tail we called the Kinect on the Xbox One? I thought not, anyway Microsoft has seen fit to finally put out a game for it now that the Kinect isn't a mandatory piece of hardware. Disney Fantasia Music Evolved is a Kinect music game from Rockband progenitors Harmonix. The game has you interacting with objects on screen to make musical notes and sounds accompanied by classical Disney music and modern pop hits too. Fantasia plays off the lore of the classic Disney animated musical with your conducting and play changing the world with the music and from what I've heard it actually works well with the motion sensing technology. This might be one of those drunk party games or may be great for families and music lovers, but now that the Kinect's been neutered I wouldn't expect to see this at $60 very long. Disney Fantasia Music Evolved released Tuesday for Xbox One with a mandatory Kinect requirement.
As someone who really enjoyed Avatar: the Last Airbender it seems a shame that Nickelodeon treats that series and The Legend of Korra like redheaded stepchildren. Between the banishment to the internet, an awful whitewashed movie, and a series of crappy video games they can't catch a break, until now that is. For some reason Activision has seen fit to treat fans to a Platinum Games developed Legend of Korra downloadable title. The 3rd person action adventure game sees Korra doing battle utilizing the four elements in what looks a bit like a cel-shaded less insane version of Bayonetta. Platinum also worked with the animated series writing staff for authenticity, giving the game an original story and included a hardcore mode for their more masochistic fans. The Legend of Korra is available Tuesday on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC with Xbox One and 360versions available Wednesday.
In our indie game spotlight this week, we're going back to classic 2D brawling with developer Secret Base's Devil's Dare. In what looks to be a loving tribute to both arcade brawlers and 80's sci-fi and horror, Devil's Dare has you choose one of four characters with distinct inspiration from 80's coin sync games. From Kingston and his "Golden Axe" to Jackson's teenage ninja appearance the games pixelated visuals convey its classic dedication and is accompanied by an arcade style perma-death system that requires you collect cash from fallen enemies to use on continues or power-ups. Devil's Dare released Tuesday on Steam.
That's all for this week folks, don't forget you can catch my other regular column, Typing on The Dead, where I dissect the newest issue of The Walking Dead. Until next time, Stay Gold!
Jared Cornelius is some guy from New Jersey's coast who's strange when people are stranger, if you're a stranger, contact him @John_Laryngitis on Twitter.