Sleeping Dogs (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)– A new entry in the open-world third-person action crime drama genre, with the twist that this time you’re actually an undercover police officer working to infiltrate the organized crime syndicates of Hong Kong known as the Triads. The gameplay is a combination of driving, gunplay, and hand-to-hand combat, with what looks like a more interesting combat system than many games in the genre- there’s a cover system during shootouts, there’s a greater emphasis on hand-to-hand combat and more detailed mechanics for it, and you can perform stunts like climbing through the window onto the roof of a moving car and leaping to another vehicle.
The game is set in present day Hong Kong, which should be a nice change of scenery from the usual American settings of games like this. I also like the premise because I generally don’t enjoy playing the bad guys in games, especially in this sort of open world game that tries to immerse you in the setting and make it seem like a real place with real people. I’m fine with it in games like the Saint’s Row series, where there’s a lot of overtly silly elements and the setting isn’t taking itself at all seriously- my Saint’s Row 3 character was almost literally a cartoon supervillain, and in that context it’s much easier for me to find villainy amusing instead of depressing.
So the heroic storyline of this game is a plus, at least for me. Then again, so is the fact that the first gameplay footage I saw included a sequence where the player was fighting Triad thugs in a factory and dispatched one of the bad guys by grabbing him and shoving him into an industrial blast furnace, so I’m not that nice.
Darksiders II (Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3) Sequel- or prequel, technically- to the hack and slash action/adventure game Darksiders from Vigil Games. It continues in the vein of its predecessor, with the player battling hordes of supernatural creatures as the Apocalypse rages across a devastated Earth. It’s been quite well-received, so if you’re a fan of the genre it should be worth a look.
Iron Brigade (PC) This was some pleasant news- this previously Xbox 360-exclusive tower defense/third-person shooter game game is now available on PC. You customize and command giant bipedal mecha, called “trenches,” in an alternate history where humanity is at war with a race of hostile robots called the Monovision that arose after the First World War. In each stage, must defend your base against wave after wave of hostiles by piloting your trench into combat while also setting up fixed weapon emplacements to help you hold the enemy back. It looks interesting and had a positive reception in its original Xbox 360 incarnation, so hopefully this PC port won’t disappoint.
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