Congratulations, gamers. You’ve managed to the survive the summer.
The summer is always a relatively quiet season for video games, and 2011 was no different. The blockbusters were few, and the hype machine focused on fall and holiday releases. But boy, did the season go out with a bang in August.
Earlier this week, Square Enix released the sublime “Deus Ex: Human Revolution,” a game that simultaneously drew accolades and landed at the center of a controversy. The PC version of the game came bundled with a voucher for a full downloadable version from OnLive, which rankled retail chain GameStop. The corporation instructed employees to rip open boxes and pull the offending voucher instead of properly returning the games to Square. After a media firestorm, GameStop finally announced it was pulling the PC version from its shelves on Wednesday.
Thankfully, the move didn’t rob “Human Revolution” of its luster; in fact, it may have drawn some necessary attention to one of the year’s finest games. It was also somewhat fitting that GameStop’s ethical blunder occurred in conjunction with a game that is all about ethical and moral choices and dilemmas.
“Human Revolution” is the Daily News Game of the Month. True, it has its issues – namely, some shaky stealth artificial intelligence and a few missed opportunities to create a truly immersive experience – but by and large, it’s one of the finest RPG/first-person-shooter hybrids you will ever play. The golden-sheened art style is brilliant, the controls are responsive, and the story is thought-provoking – unrealistic, and yet ever-so-slightly possible in the backs of our minds.
Here’s a look at the rest of August’s top games:
“El Shaddai: The Ascension of the Metatron”
Ignition Games crafts a psychedelic world around some weighty Judeo-Christian subject matter, and the overall effect is beautiful to behold, fun to play, and surprisingly challenging. Protagonist Enoch runs around in designer jeans, and Satan saves your game by pulling out a cell phone in this original imagining of a Dead Sea Scrolls story.
We didn’t get our review copy of this late-July release until after the July Game of the Month selection, but once we cracked it open, we learned just how special “Catherine” really is. Atlus blends classic RPG decision-making elements with old-school puzzle-solving gameplay, resulting in a compelling and unique game. When the story lags, the gameplay keeps you pressing forward, and when the gameplay hobbles, the story keeps you invested.
“Fruit Ninja Kinect”
There is nothing complicated about “Fruit Ninja Kinect.” It’s a king-sized version of its iPhone cousin, tasking you with flailing body limbs to fruit that flies onto your TV screen. It’s slightly overpriced at 800 MS Points, but it will also provide you with plenty of addictive and silly party-game moments. And thanks to some new downloadable content, it actually has some variety now.
“Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension”
Sure, it’s a kids game, but “Phineas and Ferb” is one of the finest children’s games available. It flawlessly duplicates its cartoon inspiration’s art style and dialogue and contains enough witty writing to illicit laughs from adults, too.
What we’re itching for next month:
1. “Resistance 3” (PlayStation 3)
3. “Dead Island” (Xbox 360, PS3)
4. “Star Fox 3D” (Nintendo 3DS)
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