Out This Week

Dark Souls

Die Trying

Whether it’s the fast deaths in a modern series, or the slow death of an old series, it’s a deadly week of new releases.

By Steve Heisler • August 21, 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.

New Super Mario Bros. 2
Nintendo 3DS—August 19

According to Wikipedia, this is the 17th entry into the Super Mario Bros. franchise. I know! It’s hard to believe that Nintendo would capitalize on its past success by introducing some minor new feature into the old formula! Especially to rack up a few more sales on its worst system since the Virtual Boy! What are the odds of that happening?! Is this NINTENDO we are talking about?!? Because I don’t even know anymore!!!!! MARIO TURNS THINGS GOLD OR SOMETHING IN THIS ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition
PC—August 24

This add-on to Dark Souls—which includes new bosses, areas, and equipment—doesn’t pussyfoot around the reality of the haunting medieval RPG from whence it came: “You will die,” it insinuates in its title, and by “insinuates” I mean states explicitly. It sounds terrifying, sure, but having dumped almost infinity hours into the game, I can state that without the fear of death, one would not truly live. Consequently, I spent most of my time in Dark Souls painting watercolors and calling my high school friends to tell them I love them.

Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—August 21

I don’t know about you, but when I think about robots bashing each other with swords, I think about the band Puscifer—fronted by Tool and A Perfect Circle lead singer Maynard James Keenan—and a rendition of its moody acoustic track “The Humbling River.” Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron is this year’s Garden State.

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game
Board game—mid-August
Pilot Cards

This new board game from Fantasy Flight Games effectively captures the thrill and excitement of X-Wing-on-X-Wing combat: Looking at cards. Oh, and mounting miniature recreations of ships on top of pegs with elaborate instructions. Oh, and using the “range ruler” to ensure you fired a direct hit. (Remember, always measure from the base.)

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842 Responses to “Die Trying”

  1. duwease says:

    Well.  And here I thought WarioWare would be the first series to feature pube trimming as a mechanic..

    • John Teti says:

      Hi, just so people don’t think duwease is insane, I want to note that there was indeed a pube-trimming joke in an earlier draft that got cut because it was a bit too raunchy. (It wasn’t supposed to see the light of day, but I clicked the wrong button in the CMS. I don’t even know why that “insert pube joke” button is there, to be honest.)

      It should also be noted for the record that Steve has lodged a formal protest against my no-pube-trimming-jokes policy.

  2. Brainstrain says:

    “…just because the problem is ‘Transformers 2’, that doesn’t mean the solution is ‘Garden State’.”

    “Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron is this year’s Garden State.”

    Sheeeeesh. That’s just… sheesh.

  3. Dark Souls is the game that restored my faith in Japanese Developers. Everything I loved about the Japanese games of my youth (weirdly misappropriated versions of Western Religion and History, Obsession over Item stats, hardcore monsters and indepth combat that didn’t involve holding down the left trigger to aim down the sights) was there and packaged in a vibrant world with unforgiving rules.

    And don’t even get me started on the PVP…

    • rvb1023 says:

       Can we turn this into a Demon’s/Dark Sould appreciation thread?  Did those games turn out to be just the most pleasant surprise upon release or what?

      PC people, if you haven’t tried it already and can get a rig to run it, do yourself a favor and play Dark Souls.  Yeah I know Games for Windows sucks but bite the bullet this one time.


        It truly is the secret sleeper hit of this generation. A weird tossed-off Japanese game that Sony didn’t even want to publish in America that now has a sequel coming out on PC following an online petition! Crazy.

        Also, as someone who is about to get married, I find myself ashamed to admit, I think more about what my main pvp character is going to wear than what I’m going to wear in my wedding. Do I go Havel, Crimson or Smough set? Maybe Brigand for the light-weight?

        But seriously, there’s a whole meta-game in this game of trying to get the best possible armor and the perfect balance of stats.

        • Enkidum says:

          Dude, for the wedding you wear a black suit. Tux if you can afford one / want one. That’s about it, unless you want to be interesting.

          So yeah, think more about what you’re going to wear for PvP because it’s a legitimate question.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I am getting it in two days, so I am appreciating all over the place. With blood on goat-skulls and strange screaming in tongues and a general feeling dread about the game kicking my ass.

        • Oxperiment says:

           The game kicks your ass only sparingly, unless you charge in all willy-nilly like. Except for those times where it feels like they just set up rooms to simulate the experience of a 3v1 gank session.

          Which is in preparation for the actual experience of getting ganked in PVP later in the game. But never fear! If you keep moving in the game (and there’s always a new door to unlock, even if you have to retrace your steps) eventually you can take those same bastards on.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        I can’t appreciate Demon’s Souls too much (as in, I didn’t like it at all) – but MAN Dark Souls is good. One of the few games I had to take a break from despite enjoying every minute of it.

         Damn, I really need to go back and finish it…

        • Girard says:

          Can you talk a bit about what was so different between the two that make you feel so differently about them? As I’ve never played either, I’d assumed they were pretty similar.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          For you, what is the distinguishing characteristic that makes Dark Souls awesome, but Demon Souls not… Awesome… Notsome?
          Because I want to play Dark simply because the art style is fantastic, but I just didn’t have the time to get into Demon Souls.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           @paraclete_pizza:disqus & @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus

           Demon’s Souls is mostly linear, while Dark Souls almost always has a few different places you can choose from to explore (even if going to some of them is a bad idea – but finding that out is part of the fun!)
           Mixed with the pretty unforgiving difficulty of both games, that means that if you hit a wall on Demon’s, it’ll feel more like a grind than on Dark Souls, where you can simply head out on another direction and get better both within the game and without.
           Also, because it’s open, there’s more of a sense of exploration and discovery on Dark Souls, and that’s something I’ve always been an absolute sucker for. The world in both is stunning, but the way the interlocking paths open up to new vistas on Dark Souls is nothing short of masterful.

        • doyourealize says:

          I was out of internet range for a few days, so I missed this thread, but I was just wondering which game you played first, @dreadguacamole:disqus . Dark Souls is far and away the better game, but Demon’s Souls is so special just because there wasn’t anything else like it when it came out. So I could see why anyone who played Dark Souls first would be turned off by Demon’s Souls. This might also help @paraclete_pizza:disqus and @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus , but where Dark is sprawling and magical, Demon’s is gritty and in-your-face. Neither game presents a welcoming environment, but hanging around in Dark’s Lordran is certainly more inspiring than Demon’s’s (how do you write that?) Boletaria.

          The mechanics in both games are fairly similar, with some minor changes (for the better) in Dark Souls. For example, in the first game you could stockpile healing grass to use whenever you needed, whereas the second game gives you one healing item (and another very rare item) that you can refill to a limited number of uses. In the first game, you lose half your HP when you die, but the second game doesn’t penalize you with HP loss. The first game contains magic points, while the second gives a certain number of castings per spell (renewed at bonfires). The major changes come in the world you inhabit. Like Dreadguacamole said, Lordran is connected and wide open, while Boletaria is splintered and more contained (although there is still room for path experimentation).

          The only area I would say is better in Demon’s Souls is the multiplayer, but I might be saying that just because I’m still toying with Dark Souls MP, and don’t really know if I understand it fully yet. All the different options are compelling, though.

          So it depends on what turned you off about the first game. If it was difficulty and gameplay, you’re probably in for more of the same in Dark Souls. But if it was level design, you might enjoy it. I’d definitely recommend Dark Souls to anyone even if you didn’t like the first game. Even though it’s just as punishing, the grandeur of Lordran might be enough to convince you to stay.

      • goawayinternet says:

        Consider it appreciated.  Pretty much reignited my love of gaming.  I’ve beaten Dark Souls probably 5 times over already, but I’ve already prepurchsed it for the PC.  I may fire up Demon’s Souls, I’ve been having a lot of difficulty with it.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

         I appreciate the hell out of Dark Souls and, if I ever get my act together, I’ll appreciate the hell out of its ending and the new DLC one day.  I’m pretty close to done with my last-hurrah sightseeing tour of Lordran–took out Moonlight Butterfly and Sif for funsies–and ready to start my second attempt at assaulting Anor Londo.

        Still, as much as I love Dark Souls, it is quite the withholding lover.  I’m not just referring to the hope or charity it tantalizing keeps taunting the player with, but I’m also talking about knowledge.  The game seems to assume that you’ve played Demon’s Souls before now, so it’s not going to spend a lot of time bringing you up to speed.  It doesn’t bother me too much, having been raised on that kind of “figure it out yourself” barely-helpful game (or one with a poorly written/translated manual).  Plus, the internet fills in any gaps in knowledge I might have.  Still, I would recommend any newbie players learn the undocumented skills of jumping and sniping.

        One area I’m pretty glad that the game withholds is the story.  There’s just enough to give it structure; It doesn’t have a ton of cutscenes to hammer home the story.  You get the impression that some bad shit went down in the once-great Lordran and that you are a Chosen Undead (not the only one, though) that will save them all…or send them further to their doom.  The wheres and whys of the story are in the smaller details, like the decaying brickwork or the super-creepy but penitant Egg Carriers.  It’s a good example of well-done interactive storytelling, trusting the player to discover the world for herself.

        I’ve barely gotten into it, but I am really impressed by the wealth of Pvp/Co-op options, too.  It can range from the you-had-it-coming policework of the Darkmoon Covenant to the super-dickery of the Gravelord Servants.

    • Ghostfucker says:

      Really want to get Dark Souls, but I fear that it won’t run well on my out of date laptop (I hear it’s a bit of a creaky port). I’ve been able to run the Asscreeds and Deus Ex : HR without too much trouble, but not sure about this one…hope there will be a demo.

  4. George_Liquor says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the 3DS; at least not Virtual Boy-wrong. Turn off the gimmicky 3D effect and you’re still left with a perfectly competent portable gaming platform. Unfortunately, the market for perfectly competent portable gaming platforms just isn’t very strong these days, so we’re getting warmed-over versions of popular franchises the publishers know are ‘safe’ enough to turn a profit.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Genuine question, since I’ve been considering picking a 3DS up for some of its future releases. With the 3D off, what really differentiates the 3DS from an original flavour DS? Is the hardware that much more powerful? Is the video or audio quality better? Is the online shop enough of a draw? Is it backwards compatible with the DS? I’d just like to know if I’m going to get as much use out of it as I ended up getting out of my beloved DS, or if I’m going to end up exclusively playing Professor Layton, Kingdom Hearts 3D, and what may well be a The World Ends With You sequel.

      • George_Liquor says:

        In terms of graphics, the 3DS is much more advanced than the DS. I’d say it’s comparable to the Wii, at least. The 3DS sounds as good as any other modern game console too, particularly if you use earphones. The on-board speakers are low-volume & tinny, but they can produce a fairly convincing surround effect in most games. As far as I know, the 3DS can play all DS carts and DSiWare games, and you can transfer your DSiWare games directly to it, as long as both are connected to WiFi.

        Is it worth the upgrade? I dunno, I’d say it depends on whether you’re coming from a DS or a DSi. I bought it because the price was right, and because I hadn’t purchased a new portable game system since the original Game Boy. Sure, the 3D effect is gimmicky and fickle, but it does actually *work*, and some games, like Super Mario 3D Land, use it fairly well. 

      • tracer_bullet_private_eye says:

        Coming in late to say I am a little pissed that Square Enix made a countdown site and everything just to tell us: “Psych, we’re not making a sequel, we’re just repurposing the game as an Ipod/Ipad app.” On the bright side, I suppose the fact that they are trying to drum up interest means that they are going to make a sequel… eventually.

  5. Travis Stewart says:

    Does the “Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game” mention mean that the Gameological Society is keeping an eye on the tabletop stuff too? That would be pretty neat, especially with quite a few publishers putting out new games or editions over the next few months.

    • boardgameguy says:

      agreed.  i’d love to see the gameological point of view on tabletop games

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I am out of the tabletop-miniature scene for a few years now, but I’d love to see what’s happening there. I still have about $3000 worth of miniatures flying around, many of which aren’t even painted, and a bit of hype about it would probably make me pick that up again…
      …which is funny, because I’ve been thinking of building a small Mordheim table.

    • Xtracurlyfries says:

      I love Fantasy Flight, but that game looks rather silly, not to mention about 20 years too late.

      But yeah, a second for more tabletop stuff here. I generally play about 50-50 video games and tabletop games myself so it’d be nice to see a mix.

  6. Merve says:

    Huh? That’s odd. Is Disqus acting up again? All the comments that I made on this article have disappeared and a number of perfectly reasonable comments have been flagged for review.

    • John Teti says:

      No idea what’s happening here. Trying to figure it out, sorry.

      Edit: Seems like Disqus was wantonly marking comments as spam. I’ve never seen it do that before. It appears to have calmed down for the time being.

      • Merve says:

        Thanks for looking into this. I know that Disqus can be a pain.

        (Maybe Disqus has finally achieved sentience and is censoring posts that are critical of it.)

      • Cornell_University says:

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    • Enkidum says:

      You’ve gotta stop it with the pube-trimming jokes…

    • caspiancomic says:

       For a few hours this morning (between midnight and around 3 am EST, don’t ask me why I was awake) Disqus shit the bed entirely, with comments sections across the internet up and vanishing. If the whole system is behaving strangely, it might be related to that.

    • Fluka says:

      Between Spacemonkey’s premonitions, the disappearing pubes joke, and general Disqus fuckery, I’m pretty sure we’re dealing with a rip in the space time continuum at this point.  

  7. dreadguacamole says:

    Or stop censoring them. See what you did, Teti? You’ve taught Disqus how to censor! We’re all screwed!

  8. GhaleonQ says:

    Disqus is working!  You all should buy System Prisma’s Nippon Ichi-published top-notch Legasista/Labyrinth Tower Path Legasista today.  Both of them and Chunsoft are the only ones consistently putting out creative dungeon crawlers.

  9. shouji694 says: