Sharp-toothed stealth action
This week, will it be love at first bite with DARK on Xbox 360? Meanwhile, Project X Zone sonic booms onto 3DS and Painkiller’s Hell & Damnation is unleashed on PS3. Colin McRae Rally also speeds onto iPad, while MetalStorm: Aces take the pace to supersonic proportions on the same system
DARK | Xbox 360 | Action | £27.99
When it comes to console horror action, zombies have probably ruled the roost so far. Now though, it seems the world’s renewed obsession in all things vampiric hasn’t gone unnoticed either. Enter DARK, a smoothly executed stealth action title slips you into the role of the ultimate killer... a vampire. Here, you’ll stalk your enemies from the shadows, then use powerful vampire abilities to attack and silently dispatch them! DARK delivers an exciting world full of blood and darkness, in which the hunter can become the hunted at any time. As the engaging storyline unfolds, you’ll continually improve your character by developing powerful skills to aid you in remaining unobserved, or make light work of those unfortunate enough to take too keen an interest in you. Moving silently through the stylised futuristic cityscape, rendered in gorgeous cel-shaded graphics, you’ll wonder why the vampire genre hasn’t been exploited further before, when the concept of stealth and combat is so suited to the fang-toothed freaks of the night.
Project X Zone | Nintendo 3DS | Fighting | £21.99
Bearing in mind the far-flung fantasy destinations that the 50-odd characters hail from in Project X Zone, it’s a minor miracle that the developers have managed to brew such a potent cauldron of tactical RPG action. Nearly 30 historic game franchises by three of Japan’s most prolific video game companies - Sega, Namco Bandai and Capcom - are represented, and you must pick a team of two characters known as a Pair Unit to explore the world within the game. An additional character known as a Solo Unit can be combined with the pair to assist in combat - and boy, you’ll need them, as a plethora of epic battles is waiting to erupt at any moment’s notice. Aside from the exploration within each chapter, which plays out smoothly, it’s when the fighting chaos begins that X Zone truly comes to life. You’ll have to master an array of screen-busting moves including Solo Attacks, Support Attacks, Cross Hits, and Finishing Moves to defeat a multitude of foes. It is all played out with staggeringly sharp animations, colourful palette and cocky hero humour that gave the characters games such as Street Fighter such personality and longevity. An excellent strategy title.
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation | PS3 | Shooter | £33.99
The original Painkiller was released nearly a decade ago, but many gamers still fondly remember the visceral action offered by this dark and disturbing arcade shooter that challenged you to simply blast everything and anything around the beautifully realised game world with a series of increasingly powerful weapons. And it’s very much more of the same in Hell & Damnation which, powered by the world-renowned and highly-respected Unreal Engine 3, succeeds in recreating - and arguably surpassing - the sensations and hardcore gameplay of the original. Keeping true to the old-school FPS ideology, you’ll need lightning-fast movement to get into the heart of the fast-paced gameplay, and polished performances in the different stages will reward you with additional abilities to help conquer the stunning enormo-boss fights that will require a fine-tuned trigger finger as well as a wee bit of guile. It’s a classic shooter, remastered for the console generation, and well worth a slice of your precious game-time.
Colin McRae Rally | iPad / iPhone | Racing | £2.99
The Colin McRae series has experienced an interesting transition over the years, moving from serious racer to souped up arcadey four-wheeled action. This may have turned some of the early fans onto other racing fare, but this iPhone and iPad iteration returns to the series’ roots, leaning heavily on the PSone’s Colin McRae Rally 2.0 with some graphical enhancements. The controls are as sharp as they ever were, irrespective of whether you use the tilt or button controls, which will bring long-held memories flooding back as you perfectly drift around the grubbiest of corners and tackle the tightest of off-road stages. A few of the features have fallen by the wayside, perhaps as a means of keeping a somewhat arcadey feel for smartphone gamers, but fans of the early titles will revel in this opportunity to burn rubber on the tracks that taught them everything they’ve ever needed to know about how real racing should be done in a virtual world.
MetalStorm: Aces | Pad / iPhone | Action | FREE
It’s time to take to the skies in a stunning new airborne action shooter, where glorious 3D in-game graphics and super-smooth 2D cut-scenes offer up the kind of pocket arcade action we used to only expect on the big arcade machines many moons ago. Pumping ten pence pieces into those machines could quickly drain your funds, and now, amidst the online multiplayer dogfights and campaign missions you’ll discover how MetalStorm: Aces could do a similar thing. While free (and extremely enjoyable) to play, the game dishes out a virtual barrel roll to shake the loose change from your pockets as you must pay to upgrade your fighter jet more quickly than regular progress allows. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but if your competitive streak stretches to wanting to become the Top Gun amongst your online pals, it won’t be long before you break out the wonga to pimp your plane.