Video Games You Missed: Summer 2013

Summer has come and gone, and with the Christmas months approaching it’s time to get ready for the next generation consoles and games. But that’s not to say there aren’t a few summer gems worth checking out if you haven’t already gotten the chance. Here’s some games to hold you over until next gen games and consoles hit stores shelves.

Project X Zone

Namco Bandai, Capcom and Sega all had a baby together, and it’s more than a handful. This crossover tactical role-playing game packs quite a punch and stars many recognizable characters such as Mega Man X, Jin Kazama from Tekken and Kurt Irving from Valkyria Chronicles III.

The gameplay revolves around a simplified combo system in which players chain together devastating combos against foes with the use of a two-man team and supporting character. The combat doesn’t take much to pick up, but in order to achieve the best, most damaging combination of attacks it will take creativity and the willpower to test each and every possible characters alongside each other.

The game features more than 200 iconic characters and fans of the three game companies will be pleased to see some familiar faces in the fray. Project X Zone is a complete fan service and isn’t the first of it’s kind, with Namco X Bandai released on the PS2 in 2005, but that’s just fine with more than 50 gameplay hours, full Japanese voice acting, unique special moves for each character and a great soundtrack to compliment fast fighting.

The game’s only weak point is its storyline, which is to be expected when a game brings together so many characters together from multiple universes. There’s only so much a game company can do to explain how Ryu could possibly be Shoryukening, a bad guy into the blade of a God Eater, but hey, you’ll be having too much fun beating up baddies to make sense of the game’s logistics.

Project X Zone is a fanboy’s wildest dream and a gateway video game for anybody who wanted to play a Sega, Namco Bandai or Capcom video game. And let’s be honest. Who hasn’t wanted to see Dante fight with Arthur from Ghosts n’ Goblins? This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Diablo 3 (Console)

Chances are, if you own a computer you’ve either played or are playing one of the Diablo games. After all, the PC release of Diablo 3 has been available for a while now, but just recently the game had its console debut. This brought about the ability to play locally with three others. Not since the days of the PS2 and Champions of Norrath has there been a local four-player dungeon crawler, and I have to admit I’m glad to see the genre back.

To get the full effect, I played with three other players and I’m pleased to report that it’s as fun and action packed as Norrath used to be back in the day. Grinding out levels, arguing over the best gear and poking fun at the cheesy dialogue with your best friends on one screen is possible again and it’s everything I remembered it to be and more. Oh, and also gamers get the opportunity to use jars of spiders as weapons with the witch doctor class. I haven’t had so much fun since controlling flaming skeleton armies in Diablo 2.

If you have three willing friends and four controllers laying around I would suggest renting this game and powering through it within a week because it’s short and many might regret putting down $60 for a game they might only play through once for less than 10 hours. The co-op is fun, but just as I found with Champions of Norrath and Marvel Ultimate Alliance after the game is completed once, there’s not much drive to play through again. Diablo 3 gets a 7 out of 10.

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team

With 2013 being year of the Luigi, it probably comes as no surprise that the green guy sees some love in the newest installment in the Mario and Luigi series. If you’ve played any of the Mario and Luigi games there won’t be much about Dream Team that will surprise you. If you haven’t tried any of the games though, this would be a great place to start.

Actually, regardless of your history with the franchise, this game is worth a try. Every aspect of this game is enjoyable. The music, as it is in most Nintendo games, is upbeat and paints a colorful picture of the surroundings Mario and Luigi trek through. Nintendo was so pleased with the soundtrack that after the game is completed(a 40+ hour endeavor) there is a sound mode that can be accessed from the game’s main menu.

There are numerous treasures to be obtained to give your characters a boost, a few side quests, fun dialogue, engaging attacks and not one villain, but two to overcome by the game’s close. While the story can be corny at times, it’s at least imaginative in that players will be asked to not only explore a physical world but a dream world that exists in the minds of NPCs who populate the environment, hence the title. Mario and Luigi are showing off their colors in full form in this whimsical RPG, so pick up a used copy of this gem at your local Gamestop and get ready to hop, smash and hammer your way to that lovably, helpless princess in pink yet again. The plumber brothers get a 9.5 out of 10 in this dreamy adventure.

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix

With Kingdom Hearts 3 finally announced and plenty of installments in the franchise to be revisited, Square Enix dropped Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix on store shelves in September. The collection gives fans the chance to play Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, a game previously only available in Japan, and the PS2 version of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.

Final Mix offers more cutscenes to help flesh out the story, a higher difficulty for the challenge-seeking gamers, trophies, new items and fresh keyblade attacks. There’s also a theater mode for the DS game Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 that paints a fuller picture of the Kingdom Hearts universe and helps segway players from the first to second major game in the franchise.

Fans of the series will enjoy having a PS3 version to call their own, but anybody who owns these games on their original systems might want to hold off. This blast from the past gets an 8 out of 10. And although it’s too late at this point, gamers who preordered the HD remix got an artbook in celebration of the game which shows a few preliminary sketches of Sora and other in-game characters.

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