By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back to Sweet Release! Bleeding Cool's weekly look at the new video games hitting store shelves and digital platforms. With Memorial Day coming up quickly here in the states which means the summer season will be upon us in no time. For a lot of us that doesn't amount to much, but for a whole bunch of you it means vacation time to be enjoyed in front of a high powered game console or PC. So without further ado, the game that will be the season's first official waste of 200 hours.
A long weekend means lots of time to play the new fantasy epic from CD Projekt Red, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The 3rd person action role playing game is derived from a series of Polish fantasy novels of the same name that's slowly but surely making its way into the popular lexicon. Players control "Geralt of Rivia" the titular Witcher, who acts as a sort of magical exterminator. Wild Hunt is the third game released and the second available on consoles. The series does have a rich back story, but the developers claim that knowledge of the prior games won't factor into Wild Hunt, but fans of the series will pick up on some subtle nods and story beats. Make your way through a huge fantasy world, purportedly built from the ground up for new generation consoles, full of monsters, bandits and the like.
One of Wild Hunt's big selling points has been a Mass Effect styled story system that factors in players choices into the larger world around them. Saving a village from a beast may seem like the right thing, but will likely have further ramifications and consequences later in the game. The Story is also very heavy on the European melodrama and has a close analog in the Game of Thrones series. If the tangential connections weren't enough, Charles Dance AKA Tywin Lannister plays the king. The series has a reputation for being a little convoluted between the thick story and hefty battle mechanics, including spells, combat, traps, and alchemy but CD Projeckt have again purported to simplified the combat and added a more comprehensive tutorial system. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on Tuesday.
Mario and company have been on a pretty weird tear lately with their announcement of mobile game development and the upcoming NX console, but I'm not sure if those are stranger than the marriage of free to play phone games and Nintendo's most popular mascot. Puzzles & Dragons Z + Puzzles & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition is the strange mash up of two very different powerhouse franchises into one mega game that hopefully not looking to take all your money. You may recognized Puzzles & Dragons from the top grossing section of iTunes. The popular free to play match three game that also has the insidious inclusion of monster collecting has grossed a ton of money for developer Gung-Ho Online and regularly does collaborations with everyone and everything including 7-11, DC Comics, and even Fist of The Northstar. Puzzles & Dragons Z packs in the elements from the mobile game while adding towns and villages along with a larger story narrative, don't expect a masterpiece, it's basically a lot like Pokémon. While Puzzles & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition adds a Mario themed campaign full of Koopas, Goombas, and presumably Mario. I'm a fiend for this type of match three game, I still love the original Puzzle Quest and I still play Marvel Puzzle Quest almost every day so I'm in to check this one out. Puzzles & Dragons Z + Puzzles & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition releases Friday for the Nintendo 3/2DS.
If OlliOlli wasn't enough proof that developer Roll7 was insane, here comes Not A Hero. A pixelated 2D run and gun shooter with a Gears of War styled stop and pop shooting mechanic. The game only gets weirder when you learn of its bizarre story about an assassin turned campaign manager trying to clean up the streets for a mayoral candidate, Bunnylord, an anthropomorphic rabbit man from the future with dreams of conquest. Not A Hero provides you with 9 different assassins to play as, all with different abilities through the cities three different districts to earn Bunnylord some votes. The action and shooting are fast paces as you might imagine and the controls are fairly precise which shouldn't come as a surprise from the developers of OlliOlli. Not A Hero is currently available on Steam.
I'm often wondering why certain franchises are popular. I can understand that games like Mortal Kombat have an over the top feel, or Forza Horizon's sense of freedom. However I always have trouble wrapping my head around the Hyperdimension games. The anime styled game series revolves around a group of girls who are the physical embodiment of video game consoles, with Sony, Sega, and others represented. So with that being said it sounds like an odd choice for a hack and slash action game, but that's what the folks at Idea Factory gave us, Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed. It's exclusive for the already niche PlayStation Vita and comes with English and Japanese voice acting. It's a fan service-y game that features the ripping of outfits, so I'd go ahead and say it falls into the, "you know if you like this" category of game. Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed released Tuesday on the PlayStation Vita.
That's all for this week folks, you can check out my other regular column, Typing on The Dead, where I review the latest issue of The Walking Dead. I also did some coverage from the Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention so maybe check that out as well.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from the Jersey coast who's excited for magical exterminators. If you'd like to exterminate, contact him on Twitter @John_Laryngitis.