id Software’s RAGE provoked a bit of a sharp response from the developer’s fan base when it was first announced. There’s no multi-player (id themselves invented the term ‘death-match’ lest you forget, back when Doom was released) and it also features racing elements, which is something rarely fused into first person shooters. The developer’s response was that Doom 4 will cater for people’s death-match needs – they wanted to focus on giving RAGE a brilliant single player mode. And the racing? Although you can upgrade your vehicle and stuff, only two races in the entire game are compulsory. In an interview they claim that they’re designing it to be a frustration free experience, with plentiful health packs. The main character even has a defibrillator built into his armour to rise up back from the dead.
But is it any good? Put it like this: would id Software really piss off their incredibly loyal fan base? Eurogamer gave it an 8: “As a toy box full of things you can only do in games, Rage is warm-hearted and refreshing.” IGN gave it 8.5, awarding the graphics a perfect 10. Most people have described it as a mixture of Fallout 3, Borderlands and Mad Max. As well as the standard version there’s an Anarchy Edition with some extra weapons, amour and a new vehicle.
Whereas RAGE has been designed to be a smooth experience in terms of difficulty, Namco’s RPG hack ‘n’ slash hybrid Dark Souls is quite the opposite – it’s hellishly challenging, but all the better for it. Those on our Twitter feed who have been playing it simply can’t get enough. Reviews have mirrored this including 9s and 5/5s from just about everybody. Early purchasers will be treated to a special edition at no extra cost, with a bonus DVD and music CD.
The Cursed Crusade is certainly going to have trouble going up against Dark Souls. It’s a third person hack ‘n’ slasher with over 400 moves and 100 different executions. The trailer didn’t make it look particularly exciting but it did look fairly solid, although perhaps a bit too similar to the recent The First Templar, which most have already forgotten about.
Fans of basketball are well catered for this week too – NBA 2K12 bounces onto Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii and PC, while NBA Jam: On Fire Edition (which includes characters from SSX) misses retail and heads to Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. EA are also releasing the original Crysis as a download on consoles this week.
Power Up Heroes is Ubisoft’s latest Kinect-exclusive, and allows you to turn your avatar into a superhero and fight other superdudes online. The videos online don’t inspire much confidence. Tropico 4 may (or may not) but out this week on Xbox 360 too. Amazon says the 7th October but Play says 21st.
Finally, there’s Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 on DS. NGamer gave it 85%, claiming it to be one of the best spin-offs they’ve seen and praising the visuals and character design.
Next week: Forza Motorsport 4 (360), Kinectimals Now with Bears (360), Ace Combat: Assault Horizon (PS3, 360) Dead Rising 2: Off the Record (PS3, 360, PC), PES 2012 (PS3, PS2, PSP, 360, Wii, PC), Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition (PS3, 360), Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, DS), Spider-Man: Edge of Time (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, DS), The X Factor (PS3, 360, Wii), World Rally Championship 2011 (PS3, 360, PC) and Michael Phelps: Push the Limit (Xbox 360).