World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (PC, Macintosh)– The latest installment for the multi-gazillion selling massively multiplayer online RPG. Mists of Pandaria introduces a new playable race called the pandaren and a new character class, the Monk. (Martial artist-type characters, of course, since the videogame industry’s conception of what a “monk” apparently comes entirely from old episodes of Kung Fu.) It opens up a new continent with a number of new areas for players to explore, new quests, new dungeons, and so forth. The expansion also raises the level cap from 85 to 90, reworks the talent system, and introduces a new form of gameplay called “Challenge Mode” in which your party tries to clear a dungeon of enemies as quickly as possible and receives awards based on how the game ranks your performance.
Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour (PC)– Expansion for Paradox Interactive’s World War II grand strategy game. Their Finest Hour includes additions such as expanded systems and options for Naval invasions and espionage, new large-scale strategic options, new tactics, and a custom game mode where you can adjust things like the military sizes, technology levels, and political alignments of different nations at the start of the game. Hearts of Iron is the one Paradox Interactive grand strategy series I haven’t played, so I can’t directly comment on its quality, but based on its reputation and Paradox’s track record with series like Europa Universalis and Victoria it should be well-worth looking into if you’re interested in a complex, large-scale military strategy game in the World War II era.
Tokyo Jungle (PlayStation 3) Downloadable PlayStation Network action game with an intriguing premise: You’re an animal struggling to survive in an abandoned post-apocalyptic Tokyo, completely empty of all human inhabitants. There are scores of different animals that can become playable, from chimpanzees to lions to crocodiles to the mighty Pomeranian. There’s a story mode, where you play as a variety of different animals in the course of the story and find out that what happened to humanity, and a Survival mode where you build up a pack of animals and just fight to stay alive as long as you can.
I have no idea if it’s a good game or not, but it’s neat to see a game with the sort of bizarre premise usually found in obscure indie PC games on the PlayStation 3. And which theoretically allows you to bring down a hippopotamus with a bloodthirsty horde of feral Pomeranians.
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