Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Games of April 2012.

April is, shall we say, lean.  2012 hasn't seen a month so bare since January - but there are at least two titles worth checking out - four if you're feelin' adventurous.

April 4th
I Am Alive (PSN, 360)
Hype-O-Meter : Low.

I Am Alive - a title that's been in and out of development for the past four years - received a tepid but positive critical reaction when it dropped on the 360 in early March.  Still - new IPs rarely nail it right out of the gate, and I Am Alive seems like the type of title that requires actual hands-on time to judge.

I'm not hugely hyped for it - but I'll still be picking it up this Tuesday to see what a half-decade in development is worth.

April 17th
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention (PSV)
Hype-O-Meter : You scare me.

There are people who absolutely love the hardcore strategy RPG grindfest Disgaea franchise.  I'm not one of them - these games terrify me - but I pay attention when they speak, and the consensus is that Disgaea 3 is actually the worst game in the series.

Why Nippon Ichi decided to port this one to the Vita instead of 4 - which received a more positive critical reaction and did away with the heavily pixellated sprites in favor of slicker, higher-res art is beyond me.

Still - it's a Disgaea game and it's the first real RPG the Vita has seen in North America.  That alone makes it a reason to celebrate, for some.

April 17th
The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (360)
Hype-O-Meter :  Day one.

The Witcher has one hell of a reputation.  When it dropped on the PC last year, Witcher 2 snatched up more than a few GotY awards, and edged Skyrim and Dark Souls in many an RPG-specific brackets. What's the deal?

It's a gorgeous, rock-hard western-style RPG that - if reports are to be believed - actually is a game for adults that doesn't merely throw a bit of gore and nudity in our direction and call itself M for Mature. Reviews and previews suggest that The Witcher has a heavily branching plot, genuinely confounding moral conundrums and - well, yes - sex.

I don't spend much time on my 360 - but I'll definitely be spending time with this.


April 24th
Prototype 2 (PS3, 360, PC)
Hype-O-Meter :  Day one.

Radical Entertainment secured my allegiance when they created the phenomenal Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.  Prototype 2 did an admirable job of porting that remarkable experience to the current gen, but didn't quite attain the comfortable, slick combat of Hulk.

Prototype 2 is their second crack at the original-IP bat, and I have high hopes.  They managed an interesting science fiction setting last time - let's see if they can offer a great story.  They provided way-over-the-top action - let's see if they can turn that into truly thrilling gameplay again.

They offered a wonderful system of skyline-scraping locomotion - let's hope they left well enough alone, there.

* * * 

And that's April.  Not a very long list - but between I Am Alive, The Witcher and Prototype, there's enough to stay satisfied, without demanding so much attention it's overwhelming.  

I could get used to that. 

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