The lights are on
Crusader Kings II
any lord in Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East and carve your own
destiny in this historically accurate strategy/simulation. Paradox has
been making super-hardcore strategy games for years, but Crusader Kings
II has a chance to grow out of that tiny niche with a genuinely inviting
interface and a level of polish that has so far eluded the company. The
scope – Ireland to Arabia during the 11th through 15th centuries, with
detailed modeling of everything in the known world from the king of
Poland and his household down to individual fiefdoms and minor lords –
is as impressive as ever, but Crusader Kings II looks significantly more
playable for the average strategy gamer than any of its predecessors in
the Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, and Victoria series.
Few downloadable titles are as colorful and creative as Super Giant Games’ Bastion. The upcoming action RPG boasts a unique spoken narrative that dynamically incorporates your actions into the storytelling, and the gorgeous visuals have all been hand-painted by Bastion’s art director, Jen Zee. Thanks to tight controls and fast-paced action, the game is a fun to play as it is to look at. Bastion is poised to be the breakthrough XBLA hit of this year’s Summer of Arcade.
Gears of War 3
While the campaign looks to deliver the spectacle we've come to expect from the series, the most exciting news that came out of Epic is an enhanced
Horde mode that adds boss battles, a currency system, and an element of
tower defense as you and a group of friends shoot through waves of Locust
and Lament enemies. Players can build blockades, turrets, and even exchange currency in an effort to conquer the final wave. If you've already had your fill of Horde mode, the new Beast mode should mix things up by putting you in the shoes of the franchise's varied enemies.
Nintendo's new Wii U hardware has plenty of
potential, but the most impressive new tech on display at this year's E3 was the PlayStation Vita. From the crisp graphical power shown
in Uncharted: Golden Abyss to the PSN connectivity and level sharing
possibilities of Sound Shapes, this well-rounded handheld has every
feature request we could imagine. You can argue that game-centric
handhelds are becoming less relevant in the era of the iPhone, but Sony
is making a solid argument for its new system being worthwhile. With the
competitive $250 price tag for the WiFi version of the Vita, Sony
easily takes this category.