Out This Week

Orcs Must Die! II

Vote For Omega Man

Zombies, orcs and—even worse—politicians dominate this week’s new releases.

By Drew Toal • July 31, 2012

Out This Week is a roundup of new games that are out this week. These listings don’t constitute an endorsement or a review of any sort. We also don’t pretend that this is an exhaustive list. If there’s a game on the horizon that interests you, share it in the comments.

Xbox 360—August 1

With all the effort that’s gone into portraying the zombie apocalypse the last few years, I feel like everyone is going to be really let down if humanity is ultimately wiped out instead by, say, global warming, SARS, or the second coming. Deadlight is a moody side-scroller that features some guy—sort of a bionic commando without the bionic arm or really anything bionic—who must fight his way across a blasted landscape filled with shambling hordes. People need to stop messing around already and just turn The Omega Man into a game so we can put an end to this zombie nonsense once and for all.

Orcs Must Die! 2
PC—July 30

I picture Surf Nazis Must Die, but with orcs instead of surf Nazis. That movie was atrocious in ways I’m still grappling with, although I agree wholeheartedly with the premise.

The Political Machine 2012
PC—July 31

Oh, great. As if being inundated by 24-hour cable news and election ads weren’t sweet enough, now we get to play through the farce of American politics ourselves. All of the meaningless bullshit that sways an election in the handful of states whose votes actually matter is yours to control. Play as President Obama, Mitt Romney, or any of the other impotent corporate shills that run our government. Spend the most money and make the other guy look like the bigger asshole in a race to the White House. I hope this didn’t come off as bitter.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Nintendo 3DS—July 31

So, these Kingdom Hearts games mix Final Fantasy and Disney characters? I don’t understand, but I assume all’s well that ends well when Sephiroth sticks his sword through Mickey’s eyehole.

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102 Responses to “Vote For Omega Man”

  1. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    The whole zombie zeitgeist is past Coo-coo bananas.  It makes me think of Bilbo speaking of the burden of the one ring; “butter scraped over too much bread”.  Except, y’know, about pop culture archetypes and not the slow, seductive poisoning of elemental evil.
       Of course the tenacity of the whole zombie thing is the often stated truth of them acting as mutable templates to express any of our existential fears, but it’s been a decade now and I’m ready to give another monster template a chance to shine.  How about mummies?  They have curses, don’t smell and the inclusion of Inca maiden sacrifices and Scottish peat bog men broadens the aesthetic beyond the Egyptian standard.

       Oh well.  How is Orcs Must Die! anyway?  Funny? 

    • Mookalakai says:

      Orcs Must Die was definitely a lot of fun, it has solid mechanics, a pretty nice mix between an action game and tower defense, although it relies too much on you manually killing the orcs, it would be better if it was more tower defense oriented. I thought it was actually kind of funny at times, it’s goofy and irreverent, and it’s only like 3 bucks now. The sequel doesn’t seem to add a whole lot except co-op, so you could safely try the first one for about 10 dollars cheaper and not miss much.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       I enjoyed it. I liked idea of a dumb jock Warlock defending against hordes of Orcs. I also find it semi-replayable. Maybe not over and over again, but definitely once or twice.

    • Ben Dunbar says:

       Let’s get some non-Japanese ghosts back up in the cultural subconscious. I’m talking Poltergeist, I’m talking Beetlejuice, hell, I’m talking Ghost! Just as long as it doesn’t skitter into frame and look like a scary lady, I’m on board!

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Personally I think the world is once again ripe for machines taking over the world. Machines that do not turn into toys, are played by Austrians or can be defeated by Keanu Reeves’ intellect.

  2. Alkaron says:

    Deadlight looks pretty sweet; but then I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic wastelands, zombie-infested or no.

  3. RidleyFGJ says:

    The Expendables 2 video game is also out on PSN this week!


    Hello? Is anyone there?

  4. Ben Dunbar says:

    Can we keep the Reddit-influenced political tripe out of game reviews? I get enough “ROMBAMA” stuff on my newsfeed.

    • Colliewest says:

      Normally I would agree with you, but when the game is called The Political Machine 2012 that could prove tricky. 

      • Ben Dunbar says:

         That’s fair, I’m just a little prickly. Seeing people intentionally disenfranchise themselves and then try to cover it up with conspiracy theory and the false-equivalency argument makes me feel like we’re all gonna die in a fire. So, uh, video games!

        • GhaleonQ says:

          Well, the (phenomenally talented) CEO often gets harrassed for his political views by random Internet people (perhaps the very same Reddit demographic!).  I don’t think he has a hand in the series, but his reaction to Internet folk and federal American politics is much the same as Drew’s.  I think that stays out of the game itself.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Wait, how is that reddit influenced? It looks to be a game about some of the worst parts of our political system, and unless it’s some sort of satire or whatever that’s kind of obnoxious.

      • Girard says:

         Just to be a contrarian, just because a game emulates something onerous in a straight-faced way doesn’t necessarily make it obnoxious or a bad game. Civ doesn’t satirize the concept of the marshal conquest of the globe, and is one of the greatest games ever.

        That said, this game does look kind of crummy.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          This is true. I don’t really care that much about this game in particular, I was just incensed at the idea of being upset about that sort of politics as “reddit influenced.” I just wanted to respond to that phrasing, mostly. I totally didn’t do a good job of that though.

          It’d actually be pretty neat to have a game where you ruthlessly exploit the campaign trail or whatever. This game looks pretty spotless though, what with the Mii like avatars for the candidates. 

        • HobbesMkii says:

           The 2008 version was okay. It’s like a half-tongue-in-cheek presentation. You hire “Spin Doctors” and the like, and run ads on political issues, and go on talk shows clearly hosted by analogues of real life people.

    • Graphite says:

      “Play as President Obama, Mitt Romney, or any of the other impotent corporate shills that run our government.”  Sounds pretty accurate to me.

  5. caspiancomic says:

    Kingdom Hearts is fucking 10 years old!? Fuck!

    You know, you’d think that as a major Sonic fan I’d be used to seeing a beloved franchise lose its footing as time went on, but this whole Kingdom Hearts thing still kinda stings. The first game was so good, not only in terms of excellent gameplay, but a surprisingly affecting story that had the original characters and their relationships anchor this otherwise wacky corporate cross pollination. When Square merged with Enix and they said they were making Kingdom Hearts one of the company’s tentpoles, next to Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, I was pretty overjoyed. But what have we had since then?

    Kingdom Hearts II was an improvement in every way on the gameplay front (if a little overstuffed), but the story was total nonsense, and had no logical or emotional presence. And all these crappy-pap sidestories getting released for everything to ever run on batteries is only making an already confusing mythology completely opaque. I heard that Birth By Sleep was actually really good, but the only handhelds I’ve played are Chain of Memories and 29357/2359 Days, and they both sucked super hard. I’ve heard that this game is intended to bridge KHII with the theoretical third instalment of the main series, but Nomura’s already said the team can’t start KHIII until FF Versus XIII is finished, and we all know that game is never, ever being released.

    One day I’d like to snatch up a PSP just to give Birth By Sleep a spin, to see if a Kingdom Hearts game can still pleasantly surprise me, and feel fresh and new and exciting like the first game did. It probably has the best chance of doing that, since as a prequel, it isn’t necessarily forced to tie itself into knots to try and incorporate the mountain of shit Nomura keeps writing into this series. And one day I’ll probably pick up a 3DS (for Professor Layton!) and then I’ll give this whole debacle a whirl. But I don’t know, man. This series is breaking my Heart.

    • Liam says:

       Birth By Sleep is the best Kingdom Hearts game. The gameplay is the best so far, the story works reasonably well and is relatively self contained, with only a limited amount of the bizarre bullshit that has dragged the rest of it down. Also, it has Leonard Nemoy in it. Re:Coded is quite fun too and is worth a try, if a bit different from standard Kingdom Hearts fare. You seemed to have played only the lesser of the recently released games so I can understand your viewpoint, but the series is still on good footing, and from what I’ve played of it, KH3D is keeping up the positive track record.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Huh, you loved Jupiter’s most recent title but hated Chain Of Memories?  They’re so, so similar!  Even the card system isn’t that far away from what’s implemented in the former game.  I’m surprised.

      And while I don’t buy the concept of “unimportant” series entries, Birth By Sleep is absolutely 3 in every sense: an advancement of the “normal” gameplay, aesthetics being echoed, the story moving forward.  Go for it.  I’d even go so far as to declare Dream Drop Distance 4, by other people’s standards.

  6. JohnnyLongtorso says:

    The Political Machine was a terrible game. I played it a couple times and got Obama to win Wyoming while losing Minnesota. That’s realistic. 1992’s Power Politics was the best presidential campaign game ever made, as far as I’m concerned.

  7. As someone who works with advertising I feel sorry for the guys who need to make Paradox game’s marketing. Not that they aren’t fun games, I love them, is just that is very hard to make something that looks like a geography class sound fun for the general public.