Welcome to Getting Some Play — the spiritual successor to Sarah Warn’s excellent Good Game column — where we’ll take a look at the latest releases, news and developments in the world of video games.
We’re now in the true thick of October – and since we’re so close to the best holiday of the year (Halloween, of course), we’ve decided to compile a list of some of the best recent games for the season. So if you don’t have the dough for all of the newest hottest releases, don’t sweat it – you can find all of these horror-flavored gems for dirt-cheap these days.
For a serious treat, marathon these titles with age-appropriate beverages and plenty of candy. The scares are way better with a serious sugar rush.
Dead Space 2
Last January’s action-horror masterpiece is still an early contender for game of the year for plenty of folks who like their terror nasty, freaky, and set in space. The story is surprisingly engaging, the action fast and furious, and the deformed, creepy “necromorphs” are absolutely everywhere. Pick this up for the PS3 or 360, while Wii gamers should take a serious look at Dead Space: Extraction, a truly excellent on-rails shooter set in the same universe.
This game is possibly the weirdest release of the last decade. Ostensibly a survival horror adventure set in a bizarre, Twin Peaks-like small town, it’s one of the ballsiest, strangest, scariest and most hilarious games available on the 360. Be sure to play it on easy, and have a very open mind. This will take you for a ride.
This criminally underrated action/strategy title actually came out in October 2009, and it’s by no means a horror game, but it’s quirky sensibilities capture the goofy spirit of Halloween so well that it’s impossible not to include it on the list. Set in a world of heavy metal (the aesthetic of the entire game could have come from an ’80s metal-tastic album cover), with warring factions of rockers duking it out for supremacy, it’s the ultimate in cartoonish arcade costume drama. Plus, it has potentially the best voice cast in videogame history. You can find this for bargain bin prices on your PS3 and 360.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
For pure, psychological horror, you absolutely cannot beat this indie PC adventure, which, pound for pound, is arguably the scariest game to come out in the last few years. Check out the video to get a taste of the visceral thrills ahead.
No matter who you are, Double Fine’s insanely cute Halloween-themed RPG is a must-play for seasonal fun. You play as a band of adorable kids trick-or-treating in a world where monsters have taken over the neighborhood (and the mall, and the county fair). You collect a variety of costumes that allow you to transform into fearsome warriors, do battle with beasties, and gain tons and tons of candy. It’s cute, addictive, and capable of scratching every imaginable Halloween itch.
Remember in the last column, when I “warned” you about the sheer volume of promising games slated to come out on the 18th of the month? That still stands. Tomorrow, the following titles will drop: Batman Arkham City (multiplatform), RockSmith (multiplatform), and Obaku and Everybody Dance on the PS3. That’s perhaps one tenth of the games slated for launch, and likely the one’s you’ll consider spending your cash on.
If you are a platformer fan, or a gamer with little ones, you may want to check out Skylander: Spyro’s Adventures (on just about every conceivable platform) on the 16th, and Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One on the PS3 on the 18th.
Puzzle fiends can get Professor Layton and the Last Specter on the DS on the 17th, and strategy gamers on the 360 can look forward to the port of Tropico 4 on their home console on the 18th.
Next week has several potential gems as well, not the least of which is Dance Central 2 for the Kinect. The first title was the first must-own game for the platform (and almost inarguably the best dance game ever made), and the second incarnation promises simultaneous dance battles and an expanded track list.
Kirby’s latest adventure, Kirby’s Return to Dreamland is out on the Wii on the 25th, so get your thumbs warmed up now. Another hotly anticipated jaunt into the 2nd dimension is the downloadable PixelJunk: Sidescroller, the latest in Q-games impeccable series of 2D titles. It’s also on tap for the 25th of the month on the PS3.
One game you may very well have missed on the Wii – the “hard R” rated House of the Dead: Overkill is getting an HD overhaul on the PS3, also slated for the 25th. Trust me when I say playing this puppy is like experiencing the original double feature Grindhouse on speed – it’s a hilarious, violent, totally off the wall experience, and definitely worth a second look on Sony’s home console.
Similarly, Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is a hyped up HD version of last year’s phenomenal Wii FPS (and re-imagining of the classic N64 masterpiece). It’s out on Halloween day for the PS3 and 360.
That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for much more in the upcoming month!