Summer is always a rough time for the video game industry. The fall and winter season is when the bulk of biggest video games are released, and the summer season is often let out to die and wither under the scorching sun. This year was no exception, but the week of August 18th will signify the end of the summer gaming drought of 2013.
5. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Blacklist is the sixth installment in the long running Splinter Cell franchise, and continues the story after the events of Conviction. Sam Fisher is now leading the counter-terrorism force Fourth Echelon, and must thwart a deadly group called The Engineers. One of the new gameplay systems implemented in Blacklist is Killing in Motion, which allows Fisher to skillfully take out targets while on the move. Multiplayer is also back in Blacklist in the form of the popular “spies vs. mercs” mode that has been in previous installments. For fans of the series, Blacklist looks to carry the Splinter Cell torch adequately.
4. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a huge hit, satisfying long time fans of the turn based strategy series while simultaneously attracting newcomers to the typically intimidating genre. With The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, 2K Marin is shifting the perspective of the XCOM series. Rather than acting as a commander in a turn based strategy format, you are directly placed in the battlefield, controlling a character in a tactical third person shooter. A big part of the action is directing your squadmates and giving them orders to more effectively deal with any given situation. Of course, because this is XCOM, permadeath is a factor, and you must intelligently monitor all your squadmates if you want your party to come out of each mission alive.
3. Disney Infinity
If any game is poised to make an obscene amount of money this holiday season, Disney Infinity is it. Disney Infinity utilizes the system that Skylanders made so popular – using different toys to bring in new characters into the game. While each unique Disney character has a different set of levels associated with that franchise, the toy box mode will allow different Disney properties to interact with one another. Power discs can also be placed alongside each Disney toy, adding in different enhancements that can buff up the character in game. Parents, your wallets are going to empty come this Christmas.
Divekick is the brainchild of Adam “Keits” Heart, a veteran of the fighting game community. As you might expect, Divekick lampoons the concept of the divekick, which is often regarded as an overpowered move in many fighting games. But in Divekick, the only thing you can do is divekick. Yes, this game only has two buttons: dive (which is a misnomer because it’s actually a jump) and kick. Every hit is a one hit kill, so careful consideration of your movement and placement is essential. Because Divekick only has two buttons, the game takes away the execution aspect of fighting games that is often a big hurdle for newcomers, and distills the game into a very fundamental and spacing reliant game. Divekick isn’t about memorizing combos; it’s about predicting your opponents and putting yourself in the best position possible. If you consider yourself a fan of fighting games, Divekick may be worth your time.
1. Saints Row IV
Did you think that the Saints Row franchise couldn’t get any crazier after Saints Row: The Third? Think again. Saints Row IV isn’t dealing with petty gang wars and street violence. This game puts you firmly in the White House and makes you President of the United States. Of course, as the President, it’s up to you to stop the deadly alien invasion, and you’ll have multiple super powers to deal with these extra terrestrial beings. And if super powers weren’t enough, maybe a dubstep gun will do the job. Saints Row IV promises to be even stupider than even Saints Row: The Third, and hopefully the series will continue to implement its insanity with a deft touch that made its games so memorable and hilarious.