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New Releases for The Week of Flintlocks and Vibroswords

New Releases for The Week of Flintlocks and Vibroswords

windowsFirst up this week, Renaissance Heroes is a free-to-play team-based first-person shooter with an unusual setting. 16th-century Italy is a place that gets passed over frequently for action games. The Assassin’s Creed franchise makes a trip there, but otherwise it’s an untapped mine of compelling themes and amazing visual symbolism. A time of emergence and free-thinking, we don’t often see it as a place to go for heavy-hitting action and enemy blasting, but that’s just what this new game brings to the era. Players split into two teams (red and blue, naturally) and fight to take control of Leonardo DaVinci’s lost plans for The Machine, a device of unknown potency which could give the owner great power or simply kill them. The levels are all fantastically exaggerated, destructible Renaissance architecture, strewn with bonus pick-ups, hi-jump pads, and plenty of deadly obstacles, including bottomless pits, which seem to surround most arenas. The players weaponry is mostly novelty-sized, idealized versions of Renaissance gunnery, complete with ornate etchings, and flourished stocks. The player classes are designed to take advantage of these weapons in various ways and represent the roles we are used to in such games. Similar to Tribes, new players begin with only a subset of the classes and weapons in the game, and must either earn or purchase further options.

windows steamThe Crysis series is interesting to me because of its nearly fanatical devotion to high graphical fidelity. When discussing the Crysis franchise, one rarely hears about the plot or characters, one doesn’t mention the setting or the game-mechanics. Talk of Crysis is synonymous with GPU-crushing visual acuity. When the developers tried, for the second game in the series, to focus slightly less on how pretty the game would be, and more on making an actual game out of it, the fan uproar resounded. Thus,  Crysis 3 returns the series to its roots as a game which seems to be almost entirely about pushing graphics so hard that even the most costly rig is tested. I would hesitate to be a writer or a designer on the Crysis team—it’d be like designing pants for an evening news anchor. However, it would have one advantage: it would mean the ability to go totally crazy-face on said pants design, and no one would care. One would be free to be completely expressive without fear of losing one’s pant-design job. The promotional material, as expected, is all about graphics which will “melt down PCs”. All we know about the plot is that the protagonist is on a “revenge mission” through seven graphically distinct districts of a conquered New York City.

xbox ps3The Icrontic Spotlight this week is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. This game is the final result of the Metal Gear Rising project which was cancelled previously. The action follows Solid Snake’s companion Raiden, rather than Solid Snake himself, and so the gameplay is a bit of a departure. Unlike Snake, Raiden is not a sneaky fellow. He doesn’t hide from his enemies under cardboard boxes, he leaps at them, vibrosword flashing. Much of the gameplay will be similar to other third-person slashers, but for the added mechanic of what they’re calling Free Slicing Mode. Upon activation, the game freezes, and allows the player to choose exactly how Raiden will slice next, rotating one or more cutting lines in the air to direct his powerful sword swings. Using the mode draws on a recharging power reserve, a la the latest Fallout games’ targeting systems. Everything in the game is slice-able, and responds to the direction of the cut. Free Slicing mode can be used to disarm enemies, disable their limbs, or aim for specific weaknesses in armor. Against inanimate objects, the material will cut along the sword’s path, clearing obstacles, using the environment against enemies, or just slicing stuff up for the fun of seeing it get sliced up. The plot of the game serves as a “side-quel” to Metal Gear 3, in which Raiden does not appear, showing what the character was up to after we leave him in Metal Gear 2. Players will mark a transition in the personality and costume of the character through the progression of the game, which leads to the heavily redesigned version of the character that we see in Metal Gear 4. If you’re a fan of the Metal Gear series, or if you just like Fruit Ninja, but wish it came with higher stakes, this is one you’re going to want to give a try.

art metal gear rising logo

Following is a full list of this week’s announced North American releases:

ranaissance heroes artWindows

  • A Valley Without Wind 2
  • Crysis 3
  • March of the Eagles
  • Renaissance Heroes


  • World Heroes 2 Jet (!VC)


  • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

Xbox 360

  • Crysis 3
  • Just Dance Kids 2
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
  • S.D.G.T.


  • Crysis 3
  • Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance


  • Generation of Chaos: Pandora’s Reflection
  • Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi



  1. midga
  2. Basil
    Basil Nah man, Tim's all about vibroscrewdrivers.
  3. midga
    midga Well, I assume he'll eventually have to gauge up.
  4. Ilriyas
    Ilriyas God...damn...it
  5. midga
    Depending on who you talk to, that's exactly the case.
  6. CB
    CB What is going on here?
  7. Canti
    Canti I really wish they had just made Metal Gear Rising a new IP. It looks like fun but is in no way a Metal Gear game.
  8. CB
    CB I started thinking the same thing, bu that sparked an internal discussion about: What constitutes a 'franchise' of gaming, common mechanics, or a shared story-world?
  9. Canti
    Canti In this case it's mostly story. Metal Gear has always been about the story and nothing I've seen about Rising suggests the story is anything other than silly at best and just downright bad at worst. It's all about the super fast stabby stab stab and over the top giant robot fighting instead of having a great narrative. On top of that the story was complete at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4. There was nothing left for Snake or Raiden to do that had any bearing on the story had that developed up to that point. It seems entirely forced by Konami that this game was made under the Metal Gear name in an attempt to milk that cow until it's dry. I just don't see how this belongs in the Metal Gear universe. I think it could have easily done well as a completely new franchise but they felt that was too risky so they just slapped Metal Gear on the name and made Raiden the protagonist regardless of whether it makes sense or not.
  10. BHHammy
    BHHammy @Canti I see what you're saying, but I fucking LOVE Raiden's sequences in MGS4 so MUCH. The ability to play that and figure out what the heck Raiden's being doing all this time to get THAT badass...to the tune of what we saw in MGS4, cranked up to DMC degrees of crazy action? Sorry, but I'm freaking SOLD.

    I popped in the Two Best Friends Play of this game on youtube, and immediately dropped it on my Gamefly list right after the video ended. It hits so many of the right spots, while maintaining the degree of small details that I love the MGS games for.
  11. Canti
    @Canti I see what you're saying, but I fucking LOVE Raiden's sequences in MGS4 so MUCH. The ability to play that and figure out what the heck Raiden's being doing all this time to get THAT badass
    Two problems with that though.
    1. Unless they changed the plot (again) this game doesn't take place between MGS2 and MGS4. It takes place several years after 4 so unless there are tons of flashback sequences we may not get to learn much about what happened to Raiden after 2.
    2. Possibly the more important point because most people seem to have forgotten or not noticed this. We don't need to see how Raiden became such a badass between 2 and 4. Raiden already WAS a scary badass in 2 probably more so than Snake. You aren't aware of that during most of the game because Raiden had suppressed memories of his past because they were too fucking horrible to deal with. Solidus explains all that near the end of 2. Solidus had been training Raiden since he was like 10 to be a brutal killing machine and he was. He got the nickname Jack the Ripper because he had a habit of killing EVERYTHING. Sure you don't get to do all the crazy ninja shit in 2 because it wouldn't have fit in with the rest of the game and because you aren't supposed to know Raiden's past until way later but Raiden always was an unstoppable death machine.

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