By Jared Cornelius
Well friends it's finally here, this is the last full week of August. It's time to go outside and enjoy one last hurrah before the inevitable return of September puts you back in the swing of fall sports and school projects. I'm delighted however because September in New Jersey is a beautiful month with warm ocean water and sunny 70 degree weather with less tourists. However if you live in a region not water adjacent or the cartoon part of the state they filmed the Jersey Shore you might want to stay inside. For everyone who does want to stay inside we have a huge calendar for the week with something for everyone across almost all the consoles and as an extra special treat for the first time in this column, SPORTS!
Starting off this week why not try an oppressive and bleak experience on those shiny new generation consoles? Metro Redux from publisher Deep Silver contains the upgraded version of Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light in one convenient package. Based on the popular European Metro series of books set in Russia after the apocalypse where the surface has been poisoned by nuclear fallout and the only safe havens from radiation are underground subways and catacombs. Players assume the role of Artyom, who's tasked with reaching the underground Metro's central hub and warning the people against a force called, "The Dark Ones". Metro Last Light is a direct canonical sequel with players again taking control of Artyom after the ending of 2033.
The Metro series has been described as uniquely European, with the hardcore sensibilities of the STALKER series, however Metro Redux has three different play styles with Survival, Spartan, and Ranger. Survival mode gives players an experience closer to the survival horror genre with a scarcity on ammo and an emphasis on scares. Spartan mode plays more like your standard first person shooter, and Ranger mode is for the hardest of hardcore with resource scarcity, no HUD, and more powerful enemies. Metro received some positive praise on PC and last generation consoles for doing something different with the first person shooter genre, and with so many different ways to play, Metro seems like a good fit for anyone looking for an immersive experience. Metro Redux released Tuesday on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam.
On a scale of one to ten robot masters how much do you miss Mega Man? If you answered anything more than one robot master you might want to check out Azure Striker Gunvolt on the 3DS and 2DS this week. The 2D action adventure game sharing similarities with Capcom's blue bomber is no coincidence as Keiji Inafune and his new Comcept Studio were supervisors on the title. The game takes place in a future where people with psychic powers suffer oppression from the Sumeragi Group, your standard evil megacorporation who use psychics for their own means. Enter 14 year old hero Gunvolt who fights with the Quill resistance group against Sumeragi for the freedom of psychics. Gunvolt uses the psychic power of lightning against the games bosses with abilities including fire and magnetism, (any of this sounding familiar?) Azure Striker Gunvolt will also include a bonus 8-bit crossover with Inafune's successful Kickstarter game Mighty #9 called Mighty Gunvolt. It's more or less a Mega Man game without the license and two extra characters. Azure Striker Gunvolt is available on the Nintendo eShop this Thursday.
I'm back on the mashed up genre train this week with Lethal League. From Team Reptile, Lethal League is one part Pong and one part Street Fighter mashed up with a little bit of Super Smash Bros. The up to 4 player 2D fighting game revolves around players smashing an anti-gravity ball at each other in an arena. Every time the ball's hit, it goes at a faster rate with the ball exploding on a missed shot. With a colorful cast of characters that include a skateboarding robot and an urban alligator, Lethal League has a unique style. It also features couch and online co-op, and "banging beats by various artists." It's certainly a different take on the 2D fighting genre and it's available on Steam on Wednesday.
I could go back in time and just link to the past, when I wrote about the launch of Super Time Force for the Xbox One, or I could get my fingers back to work and tell you about its PC release with Super Time Force Ultra from Capybara Games. When time travel is invented the world immediately blows up and it's up to an elite military squadron called Super Time Force to put history pack together by shooting it. As previously described, STF is like the weird lovechild of Contra and Braid, with players being able to rewind and fast forward their game to avoid traps, bullets, and enemies. Each rewind also leaves you with a splintered version of that character who'll still do battle for you and will replay the level exactly as they were controlled to the point of the initial rewind. It's a little hard to get the hang of, but oozes charm and character. Its 2D pixel art gives the game a classic feel to go with its ultra-modern time controlled gameplay. Super Time Force Ultra's accompanied by new challenge levels and new characters with the same great 2D gameplay. Super Time Force Ultra released on Steam Monday, with the regular version available on Xbox One and Xbox 360.
It seems like The Walking Dead is on everything so why not expand everything to include Zen Pinball's fantastic Pinball FX2 series of tables? The table is actually based on Telltale Games first season of the serial adventure game released in 2012 and features Lee, Clementine and all your other favorite survivors. The table also includes samples from the series voice actors, some 3D zombie action, and locations from the game like the motel and bell tower. The going rate for Pinball FX2 tables seems to be about $3 dollars so why not skip that cup of chain branded house coffee and play pinball. The Walking Dead table for Pinball FX2 will be available on almost everything including all Sony platforms, PC, I0S, Wii U, Steam, Android, and Xbox 360 starting Tuesday.
Speaking of Telltale's Walking Dead series, the final chapter of season two is out Tuesday. This season of the game hasn't been as acclaimed as its 2012 game of the year predecessor, but fans of the first season won't be disappointed. For boxed copy fanatics like myself, box art's been leaked for the full season, so I'd expect that in the next few months. The Walking Dead season finale is available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, PC, I0S, and Android starting Tuesday.
Are you ready for some football!? Oh yeah, the NFL doesn't use that anymore because that guy's racist or crazy or said something about Obama I forget which, anyway Madden NFL 15 is out this week. The yearly update is getting its first real release on the New generation consoles, I love football, (go Eagles) but knowing these come out every year with minor upgrades kind of puts me off these games. Like JRPG's Madden falls into the, you know if you like this category of game. Madden NFL 15 released Tuesday on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
While we're talking about games (you know if you like this or not), Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth1 is available for PlayStation Vita's this Tuesday. It takes place in a world where goddesses embody the different generation of game consoles, so that's kind of nuts. It also features crossovers with various game characters from Japanese publishers like Namco Bandai and purports to have a, "joke filled story line". I'm skeptical of JRPG's in this day in age, I'd love one to come along and reinvigorate the genre but I don't think it's going to be this one.
In housekeeping news, Infamous Last Light got pushed to this week, so please read here for all the nice things I said about it. Also well wishes to the employees laid off from Sucker Punch last week, I've played all your games since Sly Cooper & The Thievius Raccoonus. I think you've done a terrific job producing quality games throughout the years and you're Sony's unsung heroes.
For me this week I'd really like to pick up Metro Redux, I'd had an interest in both titles last generation and with both in one package it seems like the right time to try them. I'm sure I'll also be picking up the Walking Dead Pinball table, it's been too long since I spent time with Clementine and Lee, and it also reminds me I should pick up the Guardians of The Galaxy table too. I'd also recommend Super Time Force Ultra, the Xbox One version is about the only thing worth turning the console on for right now is great for those who want a challenging experience.
As for me, you can always reach me on Twitter @John_Laryngitis, where I'll always say hi if you come seek me out. You can also check out my other regular column, Typing on The Dead: Bleeding Cool's Walking Dead recap, where we break down the newest issue. I also recently did an interview with Sam and Sara Ellis who did this month's backup in Adventure Time #31, we talked about everything from Lemongrab wanting to be loved to David Bowie's level of handsomeness. I've also wrote a preview of Crypt for The NecroDancer, which I've been talking about here for weeks, it's a fantastic game and you should go check it out.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from New Jersey's coast who regularly refers to school as "kid jail". If you'd like to share your favorite back to school stories, contact him @John_Laryngitis on Twitter.