New Game Releases for the Week of 8/14: Open Worlds and Dead Worlds

The Wii gets an RPG, fighting crime (and sometimes committing it) in Hong Kong, trying to fix the end of the world, and collecting all the coins you possibly can in this week's new releases.

Title: Sleeping Dogs

Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360

True Crime, who? I know I keep coming back to Sleeping Dogs's origins as a cancelled True Crime sequel, but not to put the game down--everything developer United Front Games has shown off so far has been heads and shoulders over the po-faced GTA clones of the True Crime series. Consider it being pleasantly surprised.

And since Rockstar is operating under radio silence for the time being with GTA V, this might be the kind of raucous open world game to tide you over in the meantime. But I'll submit, it's more than that. As Rockstar continues to work in their "games about America" phase (including GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption), it might be worthwhile to spend your time with a title that going somewhere else thematically. I don't know if United Fronts has set out to make a "great work" or whatever, but its Hong Kong cinema-inspired story is mining territory that no one else really is at this point.

Title: Darksiders II

Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Loot's the name of the game in Darksiders II. Well, loot and climbing. That's my impression five hours into Vigil Games' sequel. And that's not a bad thing at all here (although we'll see how I feel after a few more hours of this). THQ has set out to make a dungeon crawler with a God of War play style and as it stands, there's a lot of boxes checked off in the categories of "things I like," while telling to story of Death's efforts to save his brother, War.

The one thing the game does exceptionally well is communicate scope and scale, but I'll get into what works (and some of the things that don't) when my review is ready.

Title: New Super Mario Bros. 2

Platform(s): 3DS

The plumber's latest adventure doesn't deviate too far from what we know and love about Mario games, according to Jason's review--in fact, the biggest the addition is the emphasis on collecting coins over simple platforming. Now depending on where you stand on Nintendo's savvy and sometimes regressive exploitation of their catalog of characters, this is a good thing.

Still, I'm hoping that for the Wii U, the publisher makes another dramatic statement a la Mario Galaxy that will remind us that besides being the company with all of the best characters, they're home to some great designers, too.

Title: The Last Story

Platform(s): Wii

Your Wii is probably feeling a little unloved right now (and might be moreso if the Wii U drops in November). In the meantime, there's always Mistwalker Studios' The Last Story to tide you over. This one almost didn't make it to the U.S. until Xseed stepped in and offered to handle localization chores for the latest from former Final Fantasy honcho Hironobu Sakaguchi. It's an odd one, this, featuring cover-based combat with the typical, Sakauchi-led sweeping, epic feel.

Are you going to check it out?

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