TRISTAN Ogilvie reviews the latest games including XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Pokemon and Way of the Samurai 4.
XCOM: ENEMY UNKNOWN [MA]
PC/PS3/Xbox 360, $69.95/$89.95
A re-imagining of a classic PC strategy game from the mid-90s, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is built around the Earth’s defence against an alien invasion. The player must decide which technologies to research and produce to best combat the alien threat, but it’s not all about resource management: the skirmishes themselves are grippingly tense fireworks displays within satisfyingly destructible arenas. It might not quite reach the tactical depth of the original but it’s a superb strategy game in its own right. Out now.
POKEMON WHITE/BLACK VERSION 2 [G]
Nintendo DS, $59.95
The latest and likely last DS iteration of the Pokemon series features 300 characters to collect and supplemental modes such as the ability to make your own animated movies. It’s not different enough from its predecessors to attract new players but there’s a ton of obsessive compulsive collecting for existing fans. Out now.
HELL YEAH! WRATH OF THE DEAD RABBIT [M]
Ash, the prince of Hell, must kill 100 monsters in this 2D platformer. Unfortunately, sharp graphics and catchy music soon give way to frustratingly loose controls and repetitive level design. Are funny dialogue and a fair few weapon modifications to unlock enough to warrant a purchase? Hell no. Out now.
WAY OF THE SAMURAI 4 [MA]
There is no shortage of open-world action games but Way of the Samurai 4 changes things substantially by allowing you to roam freely around a feudal Japanese setting in the 1850s. But while the game world feels fresh, the combat largely consists of button-mashing and repetition, making for a samurai game that doesn’t quite cut it. Out now.
ANGRY BIRDS TRILOGY [G]
It has made public transport a little easier to bear on mobile phones, and the hugely successful bird-flinging game is now available in lounge rooms. Packing the original game plus Seasons and Rio, Angry Birds Trilogy features more than 600 stages to complete. But don’t bother with the optional motion controls because all precision gets flung out the window. Out October 31.