Good Game is a weekly column about the latest news in video games and casual gaming.
Elemental: War of Magic (PC) — The much-anticipated indie Baldur’s Gate-meets-Civilization 5 strategy game has generated both positive reviews, and some controversy related to a few bugs that have yet to be worked out.
With singleplayer, sandbox, and multiplayer modes, Elemental is sure to interest anyone who likes tactical PC gameplay in a fantasy RPG setting. You just may want to wait a week until it’s completely patched.
Mafia II (Xbox, PC, PS3) — I haven’t had a chance to play this yet, but the reviews are all over the place. A few themes emerge: the storyline and character development is solid but the gameplay is pretty linear, despite the open-world setting.
The 1940s environment adds flavor to the game, but there doesn’t appear to be much to do in the world outside your main mission, so you spend most of your time in the world driving from one mission to another. But if you’re looking for a new game to tide you over until the onslaught of releases in the fall, this might be a good option.
James Cameron’s Avatar (iPhone/iPad) — This isn’t exactly a new release, but Gamesoft’s Avatar game for iPhone and iPad is only $4.99, and definitely worth buying!
This is one of the best games I’ve played on the iPad. The graphics are gorgeous, and the gameplay is fun, interesting, and very intuitive. Frankly, it’s much better than the Avatar console game, and costs much less.
BioShock 2 "Minerva’s Den" (Xbox , PS3, Aug. 31) — 2k has announced Aug. 31 as the release date for their final DLC. Set in the previously unseen technological section of Rapture, "Minerva’s Den" expands the BioShock 2 singleplayer game, introduces a new type of Big Daddy and new Splicers, and allows players to find almost all of the plasmids and tonics from the main game.
If you’re not sick of Rapture yet, this DLC should be fun.
Dragon Age: Origins "Witch Hunt" (PC, Xbox , PS3, Sep. 7) — More Morrigan!
The just-announced (and final) Dragon Age: Origins DLC picks up a year after the defeat of the Archdemon at the end of the game, and revolves around the fate of your dark and mysterious former companion Morrigan. I can’t wait! Get all the DLC details here.
Mass Effect 2 "Lair of the Shadowbroker" (Xbox, PC, Sep. 7) — Sep. 7 is going to be busy for gamers! In addition to the Dragon Age "Witch Hunt," this much-anticipated DLC revolving around the alien Liara will be also be available for download that day.
Although it’s not clear yet if Liara can join your squad and participate in the primary mission of ME2, the DLC does provide the option to continue your relationship with Liara, and gives you the Shadow Broker intel center, new research, and five new achievements. As Danielle Riendeau wrote about the news in The Weekly Geek yesterday, "So far, the DLC packs have been well worth the time and spacebucks, so if BioWare makes good with a decent mission and some Liara smooching, I will be a very happy camper."
In related news, Joanna Bylo And Chris Hutchison of Dark Star Photography just did a cool photoshoot of ME 2 character Miranda Lawson (featuring a Polish model, not Yvonne Strahovski — sorry, Chuck fans). Great job on the desolate set and the photoshopped special effects!
Check out all the photos here.
News and Announcements
Portal 2 (Xbox, PS3, PC, Feb 9, 2011) — Valve released new gameplay footage of the puzzler game, which picks up a number of years after the events of the original, and requires players to use new physics-based mechanics to defeat the AI overlord of Aperture Science. The video also introduces you to your sidekick Wheatley.
This sequel has been getting a lot of good buzz; I’m looking forward to playing the first one to find out what all the fuss is about. If you’re a fan of the original, let me know why in the comments.
BioShock Infinite (Xbox, PS3, PC 2012) — Machinima did a very funny "literal video" of Irrational Games’ trailer for their upcoming game set in a city in the sky.
"Tell a baby to talk to the hand." Nice.
Rock Band 3 (Xbox , Oct. 26) — Harmonix released a trailer this week showing off the new keyboard peripheral.
The full set list was released, too, and I’m really looking forward to playing Rilo Kiley’s "Portions for Foxes," Joan Jett’s "I Love Rock ’n Roll" and Amy Winehouse’s "Rehab."
The list also includes several songs from the ’80s and ’90s. Between Tears for Fears’s "Everbody Wants to Rule the World," Whitesnake’s "Here I Go Again," and Night Ranger’s "Sister Christian," I’ll be tempted to pull my old prom dresses out of the closet and wear them while I play the game (until I remember what they look like — what was I thinking?!).
The only thing that would make my Rock Band walk down memory lane truly complete is some Rob Base, MC Hammer and — for the lip-synching irony alone — Milli Vanilli. Girl, you know it’s true!