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WarpZone: Taking a look at 'Arkham City,' other upcoming releases

WarpZone: Taking a look at 'Arkham City,' other upcoming releases

By Benjamin Davis, Contributor | Posted - Oct. 10, 2011 at 12:12 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — October brings loads of games, but are they all good? Here is a list of some of the games hitting shelves Oct. 16-22 and what to expect from them.

This week brings "The Dark Knight," a cartoon dragon with pointless toys, and another music game that no one will buy. There's no shortage of new games for the week, but what’s right for you and your family?

Batman: Arkham City

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Rating: Teen (13+) - Alcohol reference, blood, mild language, suggestive themes, use of tobacco, violence

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Action

“Batman: Arkham Asylum” was a pleasant surprise as the first good Batman game. It combined fantastic gameplay with an intense story. Best of all, it was not Adam West’s version of Batman.

The only problem with the original was that it felt like it played itself, even on the hardest difficulty. Rock Steady has heard the complaints and brings “Batman: Arkham City,” one of the most anticipated games of the year. Gameplay promises to be harder and more engaging with new gadgets and more areas to explore.

Arkham Asylum has become overrun by the criminally insane, and Gotham’s new mayor has walled off part of the city to house all of the criminals. The only one who realizes this is a bad idea is the Dark Knight.

Players who are teens and older will be ready to take the cape of Batman, but the themes and violence will be a little much for kids.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, PC, Mac

Rating: Everyone 10+ - Cartoon violence

Release Date: Oct. 16

Genre: Adventure

This week starts with one of the cruelest ideas marketed to children since the Power Ranger Power Bikes. Spyro, one of video gaming’s greatest heroes, is back in a new adventure with loads of new heroes to help him — except, there’s a catch: The game requires toys.

Plastic figurines will raise the initial buy-in by $10, but Activision promises it will be worth it. Somehow, the toys track your characters’ progress in the game. Then, when you take the toys to a friend’s house, you can battle with your characters in arenas or play cooperatively in the game.

Unfortunately, these ideas have never resonated with gamers. It might be fun for a few weeks, but the toys will end up in the attic. The game is marketed directly at younger children, but there are better toys and games that will last a lot longer than this.

National Geographic Challenge!

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii

Rating: Everyone - Acohol and tobacco reference, mild suggestive themes

Release Date: Oct. 17

Genre: Trivia

Speaking of games that will collect dust within a month of their release, “National Geographic Challenge!” tells the story of how the world was discovered in a four-player competitive conquest. Just like in real life, up to four people can conquer the world through answering trivia questions about it.

"Professor Layton and the Last Specter" Nintendo DS
"Professor Layton and the Last Specter" Nintendo DS

As a trivia game, it's good for the whole family and can make family nights fun, but don’t count on the kids getting excited when you bring this home.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter

Platform: Nintendo DS

Rating: Everyone - Alcohol reference, mild suggestive themes, mild violence, simulated gambling

Release Date: Oct. 17

Genre: Adventure/Puzzle

The professor hasn’t seen much change in the past few games he has been in. Follow Professor Layton and company as he must get to the bottom of a mystery by solving riddles with his superior intellect and his British charm.

The games are fun, the puzzles are hard, but if you’ve owned one, you’ve seen all that Professor Layton has to offer.

Tropico 4

Platform: Xbox 360

Rating: Teen (13+) – Alcohol and tobacco reference, mild suggestive themes, violence

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Real-time strategy

“Tropico 4” has been on the PC since September, and now Xbox 360 owners can enjoy the console port.

In this mildly-offensive strategy game, players assume control of the benevolent or tyrannical El Presidente as he leads a Caribbean island to prosperity or ruin.

Many stereotypical caricatures of world leaders will try to sway the player’s decisions, but through the 20 missions, the fate of the island rests in the hands of El Presidente.

The biggest complaint has been that “Tropico 4” is too similar to “Tropico 3,” but for players who have not played the third iteration, this is one of the funniest, best strategy games on the market.

This game is best for teens who will appreciate the difficulty of the gameplay and not be influenced negatively by the sarcastic and irreverent humor.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

Platform: PlayStation 3

Rating: Everyone 10+ – Crude humor, fantasy violence, language

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Platformer

Qwark has been accepted for an award. Dr. Nefarious plans to ruin the ceremony. Ratchet and Clank are there for some reason. Unfortunately, Dr. Nefarious’ evil machine has turned on its master. Now, all four must work together to save the world.

The gameplay gets chaotic with four players on the screen at once. All four players must cooperate to solve puzzles, but there will be plenty of competition for a high score at the end of each stage.

"Pet Zombies" Nintendo 3DS
"Pet Zombies" Nintendo 3DS

This game will be good for most of the family, but is not appropriate for young children with its mild language.

Pet Zombies

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Rating: Teen (13+) – Animated blood, crude humor, fantasy violence

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Virtual pet

As kids outgrow their “NintenDog” games, they need a new virtual pet to love. Why not a zombie?

It’s a good idea in the board room, but no one will buy it.

This game is not appropriate for children, the only audience for virtual pet games. It was geared for teens and above, who would rather destroy zombies than grow them.


Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Rating: Teen (13+) – Lyrics, mild cartoon violence

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Music

“Rock Band 3” was the first game to actually teach gamers how to play real instruments like the guitar, keyboard and drums with its Pro Mode. It was such a colossal failure that MTV Games sold Harmonix.

Unfortunately, Ubisoft hasn’t learned a lesson from this and pins its hopes on “Rocksmith.” In this music game, there are no plastic peripherals. The game is only played with an electric guitar and amp, so players can actually learn to play the guitar.

Parents should review the tracks before buying this, but with the huge price ($80 for the game, electric guitar not included), it will probably fail.

PowerUp Heroes

"PowerUp Heroes" XBOX 360 Kinect
"PowerUp Heroes" XBOX 360 Kinect

Platform: Xbox 360 Kinect

Rating: Everyone 10+ – Fantasy violence, mild suggestive themes

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Fighting

The Kinect has been one of the best-selling peripherals to play one game ever released on a console. Unisoft wants to change that with its upcoming “PowerUp Heroes,” an avatar-based fighting game. Turn your Xbox 360 avatar into a super hero and fight other players online with motion-based controls.

The last Kinect fighting game that Ubisoft released was broken. Nothing worked the way it should have. Hopefully, Ubisoft has learned its lesson and made a game that actually works.

The art style and idea are fantastic, but if this game does not control properly, Ubisoft is back to the drawing board, and gamers are back to “Dance Central.”

Ben 10: Galactic Racing

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 2

Rating: Everyone – Comic mischief, mild cartoon violence

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Kart Racing

D3 Publisher is known for the shovelware (cheaply made games that feel like a punishment to play) it puts out every month. But Cartoon Network has faith in the company to put out a game based on the characters from one of its most popular franchises.

“Galactic Racing” feels like any other kart racing game (“Mario Kart,” “Blur,” etc.), but as a TV show tie-in, it works. Collect power ups and use them to stop your opponents and speed to the finish line.

It’s not as sleek as “Mario Kart,” but for fans of the “Ben 10” series, this is a good diversion between episodes.

Everybody Dance

Platform: PlayStation 3

Rating: Teen (13+) – Lyrics, sexual themes

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Music

For people who need an alternative to “Just Dance 3,” Sony is releasing “Everybody Dance,” a clone of “Just Dance” in gameplay and style.

This game features a 20-player party mode and 40 tracks, including Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing,” Jay Sean with Lil Wayne’s “Down,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again,” Rihanna’s “Rude Boy,” Sublime’s “Santeria,” and many more.

"Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken" Playstation network
"Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken" Playstation network

Like all music games, parents should review the track list before buying this for their children.

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken

Platform: PlayStation Network

Rating: Mature (17+) – Blood and gore, intense violence, language

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Platformer

For adults looking for violence and humor, “Rocketbirds” is here. The gameplay is unoriginal, the art style steals from “Angry Birds” and the features are sparse.

However, it’s still worth picking up, just for its story. Chicken commandos must stop the evil Penguin regime as it raids peace-loving Albatropolis. And when the single-player story is finished, there is a completely separate co-op story for adults to enjoy with a friend.

Note the word “adult.” This game is not appropriate for children in any way.

Motion Explosion

Platform: Xbox 360’s Kinect

Rating: Everyone – Mild cartoon violence

Release Date: Oct. 18

Genre: Action

"Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One" Playstation 3
"Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One" Playstation 3

This game is almost identical to “Kinect Adventures,” except that it can support up to four players at once and costs $40 extra. I can see no reason to purchase this game unless parents need to have something for the whole family to play together.

Final Word

This week, “Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One” looks best for family. However, the best game of the week is easily “Batman: Arkham City.”

Email WarpZone with story ideas or comments, and check out WarpZone on KWCR 88.1 Weber FM or download the podcast on iTunes by searching “WarpZone Show.” More game media can be found GameTaffy, a new outlet for WarpZone news and reviews.

Ben produces and hosts WarpZone on KWCR 88.1 Weber FM on Tuesdays from 3-4pm. The show focuses on gaming news and is available as a free download on iTunes by searching "WarpZone Show." Ben can be found online as "BenTheWicked"!


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