Out This Week

The Hip Hop Dance Experience

Answer The Call

There are rare earth elements, stickers, and Lego studs to collect.

By Steve Heisler • November 13, 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.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Nintendo 3DS—November 11

Mario, especially in his flat incarnation, is not content to be a mere “Sticker Guy-About-Town.” No, he must be the star, and this game reinforces that by requiring you to obsessively collect stickers until you’re a regular Mae Li Kwan (the person who holds the world record for largest sticker collection, as everyone knows). But what about Luigi? I’m sure he contributed a few along the way, right? Perhaps of the “ghost mansion” variety? No, this is all Mario, all the time. Is there a sticker for “Biggest Ego”?

The Hip Hop Dance Experience
Wii, Xbox 360—November 13

This is just like what real hip-hop dancers experience: Holding wands, alone in their apartments. And no, that’s not a euphemism, despite the inclusion of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).”

Call Of Duty: Black Ops II
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—November 13; Wii U—November 18

This is the first Call Of Duty title to take place (partly) in the future. It’s the year 2025, and China is at war with the United States because they won’t share any of their “rare earth elements” with us. Given how things are looking now, I’m assuming those “rare earth elements” include fresh water and government-rationed oxygen packets. Boom! You just got served with a reality check! This is me spinning my wheels because the overt military pageantry of Call Of Duty terrifies me. Bring on the stickers, I say.

Lego The Lord Of The Rings: The Video Game
PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360—November 13

I heard the slogan for this adorable retelling of the Peter Jackson movies is, “One 2-by-4 yellow block stuck to another 2-by-4 yellow block that simply refuses to be pulled apart, even though you’ve been trying for a few hours and have wedged your fingernail between them to no avail, to rule them all.”

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  • Effigy_Power

    Kudos for Tt-Games to simply take direct audio from the movie instead of getting voice replacements. While I am all for voice-actors making money, I don’t see the point in falsifying something that’s already basically done for you in perfect quality.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Holy poop that trailer was just awful. 

    • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

      serious question: what makes the annual release of licensed Lego video games any less terrible than the annual release of Call of Duty games?

      I’m not saying I don’t understand the appeal of Lego games, as many people adore their simplicity and the fact that they can share the experience with loved ones who don’t usually play video games but still…

      I was more nauseous seeing one of my favorite films turned into a Lego FMV than I was watching Guy Ritchie’s hyper-kinetic celebrity-focused commercial.

      • Effigy_Power

        I can’t really argue with that, they are actually both pretty terrible. I guess I am just more prone to condemn the CoD stuff than Legos, who still have sort of a nostalgic grip on me.

        • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

          Really though, I can’t blame you for condemning CoD as the Lego games aren’t selling astronomical quantities and causing every other publisher to put out mediocre copy-cat games…

          Just imagine, EA putting out “Mega Blocks: Warfighter”

        • HobbesMkii

          “K’nex: Bad Company 2″

        • Effigy_Power

          Duplo: The Heart of Darkness

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           Tinker Toy’s Rosy Rupee Land.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Not to coattail @HobbesMkii:disqus , but:

          K’nex Kinect

        • Maudib

          Jenga: The Shadow of Lincoln Logs

        • PhilWal0

           Meccano: Prepare To Die Edition

      • Enkidum

        Well, the Lego games are kind of fun, and don’t glorify warfare… Actually, screw that, they’re generally really fun.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Calladuty is pretty fun too, in the same mindless manner that the Lego games are fun.

        • Bad Horse

          I find both of them generally infuriating and tedious to play – the Lego games have design flaws that are now a full generation old – but only CoD makes me want to take a shower when I’m done. The militarism, the shitty online community, the relentless headache-inducing kineticism, the grayness, all uniquely unpleasant. 

      • Kevin Irmiter

        If you just look at it from standpoints of design and quality, they’re about equal. But CoD games take themselves SO seriously, and their fanbase is so obnoxious. And like you mentioned elsewhere, CoD has inspired so many obnoxious copycat games that I’m just sick of the genre.

        • The_Misanthrope

          Even if I wasn’t terrible at shooters, the whole MW/CODBlops/MoH/Battlefield subgenre of “realistic” military shooters is just something I find boring.  I will admit that some of the single-player campaigns are probably entertaining, but I just don’t get the appeal of the multiplayer aspect.  It just seems like some special kind of hell, playing the same thing over and over, run and gun, rinse and repeat.  And then there’s the damn sound-bites. The Madden games may have had the overly repetitive, groan-worthy “Maddenisms”, but they didn’t bore quite into the brain like MW3′s “UAV is Online” or “We’ve lost the lead!”.

          Of course, my biggest beef with these games is the dearth of escapism.  If you could be/do anything, why on Earth would you choose some nameless military schlub?

    • Electric Dragon

      The bit that made me laugh in the Codblopsii trailer was when the voiceover said “Rated M for Mature”. Might I suggest “Rated I for Immature”? Or “Rated T for Twelve Year Old Boys Who Still Think Homophobic Insults Are OK”?

    • uselessyss

      I actually think it’s kind of disappointing that they have the “real” dialogue.

      For me, the charm of the Lego games’ presentation was the fact that scenes from iconic movies were played out in pantomime, and that was funny. It was completely goofy, but in a way that was kid-friendly and easy to love.

      Now it’s more like I’m actually watching the movie, but the actors have been digitally replaced by CG Lego, which I find slightly less amusing.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

       I’m still fascinated that the toys this generation’s kids are playing with are effectively a perfected version of the toys my generation played with when I was a kid.
       I look at the Lord of the Rings Lego sets and have the objective understanding that if they were available when I was a kid I would stand mesmerized and rock still in front of the toy department shelves bearing a zealot’s vigilance.  At least until such a time as my mom dragged me off to JoAnn Fabrics for an interminable half-hour of trying to squeeze myself between bolts of cloth in a thin facsimile of entertainment.
       Star Wars has a figure for the Death Star bathroom attendant and there are no less than fifteen available versions of Optimus Prime.
       I guess Kung-Fu action grip is my generation’s legacy.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      I still unabashedly love Legos themselves, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Marvel sets included.  But I’m still weirded out by the video games based on a licensed property of a licensed property:

      http://pvponline.com/comic/2008/10/08/legofied

      It’s also reminiscent of the NewsRadio episode where Jimmy James’ autobiography sells poorly in English, gets translated into Japanese and is a hit, so is translated BACK into English as “Jimmy James: Macho Business Donkey Wrestler”:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMZtdLra24E

      • Bad Horse

        Especially since the Lego [license] games translate exactly none of the feel of actually playing with Legos. The Harry Potter ones came close-ish in terms of tone, but holding circle until something gets built is just…wrong, man. Minecraft is the real Lego game.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Yes!  Minecraft, Terraria, Starbound, and all of the other similar/clone games.

          The Lego Universe MMO seemed like it actually let kids build their own stuff to some extent too.

      • Electric Dragon

        I would definitely play Lego Super Karate Monkey Death Car.

      • Ack_Ack

        Jimmy James has fancy plans, and pants to match.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I still think Legos are great, even with all the recent Bionicle, Ninjago, etc. manifestations that my old age interprets as Weird and scary.
           But they don’t impart the same Asperger’s-style all-consuming intensity as a kid.
           However, my daughter has an interest in Duplo that I’m hoping to spin out into an interest in Lego as she gets a bit older.  I’ll definitely encourage that brand loyalty.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          We’ve already bought about five Duplo sets for our unborn daughter as well.

      • Fluka

        These somehow feel even weirder than the Star Wars and Indiana Jones ones.  Those are just movie -> Lego -> Game (two steps of removal from original property).  These ones are Book -> Movie -> Lego -> Game (three steps of removal from original property). We need some kind of postmodern version of an Erdos number to categorize properties by how far down the adaptation chain they’ve traveled.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          “Hey, I can’t wait to play that game that’s an adaptation of the movie which was a remake of the other movie that was based on the expanded novel based on a short story!

        • Fluka

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus You think they’ll make a novelization of it??

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           Baudrillard’s precession of simulacra might do the trick.

        • Fluka

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Thanks to this game, there’s a graduate student somewhere who just found a thesis topic!

        • Electric Dragon

          I propose: Lego The Producers (2005)!

          Play (fictional) -> Stage Musical (fictional) -> Movie -> Stage Musical (real) -> Movie -> Lego -> Game.

        • Effigy_Power

          I think we can do better. How about a game based on the abridged version of the book about the movie about Lego-LotR?

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           When I was an undergrad student, I suggested that Mario was the first image, Wario was the “Evil” second image, and that there must be a “Σario” (Sig-mario) who represented the third precession, and who was beyond good and evil and just kind of weird.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

         I’m a little ashamed at how hungry that Taco Town commercial always makes me. It’s probably because I am a disgusting person.

      • The_Misanthrope

         Since I’m pretty old at this point, I’m always a bit bothered when the source of a work becomes obscured by the success of another work that references/builds upon/ copies it (in short:  the “I didn’t know that was a book also!” syndrome).  I try to be patient and realize that everyone has to find their way through the tangled tributaries of pop-culture heritage, but when someone doesn’t even bother, it gets to me, especially since the internet makes it so easy to find out.

        But, on a less old-man-rant-y tip, I am reminded of the mind-boggling reasoning of making something like “Street Fighter:  The Movie: The Game”.:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4UdQVYkCZg

        Why was this necessary? 

  • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

    So how bad is Call of Duty going to smash previous sales records? Super bad? Or just, 14-year-olds are getting kind of tired of this bad?

    I honestly feel like Activision will be able to squeeze 2 to 3 more games out of the series before serious fatigue sets in, and by then the Vince & Zampella dudes who invented CoD will release their game and no one will buy it because they will be burnt out on military-shooters allowing Acti-Blizz to burn them one more time.

    • Jackbert322

      14 year old who’s never played a COD game right here! So yeah…I don’t have any friends.

      • Raging Bear

        If those kids try to make you play COD then they are not your friends!

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          “THIS is your brain.”  *shows egg*

          “THIS is your brain on Call of Duty.”  *writes “fuck you motherfucker” on egg*

        • Electric Dragon

          Friends don’t let friends play CoD.

      • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

        You’re 14? Jesus. That makes me feel both old and very impressed by the literacy and thoughtfulness of your commentary on the site. I mean, when I was 14, I spent most of my time—well, let’s just say I’m impressed and leave it at that.

        • Effigy_Power

          I want you to elaborate on that, if only to make you feel uncomfortable and awkward and deflect from the things the rest of us did when we were 14.

        • Jackbert322

          If you’re referring to ogling shock absorbers…let’s just say I make time for that too. Continuity between articles!

          Yeah, I’m 14. I’ve mentioned playing Uncharted and inFamous, and I’ve complained about not usually being able to play M games before, so in that range, now you know exactly where. But what if I could play M games whenever I wanted?

          *scene fades in*

          We see @Jackbert322:disqus , seated in front of television, outfitted with bluetooth headset.

          @Jackbert322:disqus : Bitch!

          *scene fades away*

          I’m gonna go thank my mother now.

          More fun facts:

          -I play with Legos

          -I’ve never called someone a racist or homophobic slur.

          -I watch Fraggle Rock.

          -I can talk to grown ups!

          -I like math.

          I get the feeling my peers PROBABLY find me eccentric.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          I think it’s safe to say that everyone here would rather hang out with @Jackbert322:disqus than any of our 14 year old selves.

    • Ack_Ack

      Here’s what I’m not clear on – isn’t Call of Duty just Modern Warfare with a different storyline?  Same graphics engines, same gameplay, same multiplayer experience.  Since most people get this for multiplayer anyway, isn’t it a bit of a waste to upgrade to the new game just for a few new multiplayer maps?  Or am I dumb?

      • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

        While the core gameplay of “Sprint til you see someone, shoot them before they shoot you, launch a helicopter.” has stayed the same, there are some substantial updates, such as how they handle how you equip weapons and perks and lots of other stuff I can’t remember.

        Polygon and Joystiq both have pretty in-depth reviews that explain the changes really well. If you’re into CoD I could see being excited but I question how long people can still be into CoD.

        • Bad Horse

          Since Goldeneye, there has always been a shooter franchise that has absolute multiplayer supremacy. It was Goldeneye in the N64 generation, Halo last generation, and now it’s CoD. The thing about being in this position is that you don’t have to innovate, or even release new content, for people to keep playing it. They develop inertia by virtue of being the thing everyone is playing. The only thing that can stop them is having something else ascend to dominance, and even then it’s not like people stopped playing Goldeneye or Halo.

          I thought Maddens would be released on a once-per-generation basis with annual reskins for $30 by now, but they keep selling those on disc at full price. Same principle.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Speaking of GoldenEye, I checked to see how long Judi Dench has played M…17 years!  I was in total amazement until I realized that Desmond Llewelyn played Q for 35.

  • Captain Internet

    I have a horrible confession to make. I succumbed to peer pressure, and now own a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I’ve played a little of the campaign, and it’s got the same tone and coherence as Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National convention. 

    The plot so far: because he was on a barge in Africa sometime in the early eighties, an angry old man is filmed having a rant about how China own all the magnets. Based on this, the guy who plays the bald Dad in Mallrats leads a group of high-tech soldiers on a base-jumping mission to Cambodia, where they find a giant lab hidden within a World Heritage Site. 

    After killing everyone there, they discover a scientist has been paid by an evil man to build a tiny floating computer. The scientist says “Quantum entanglement!”, and is then shot. The angry old man then has a flashback to riding a horse around Afghanistan with the bloke from Avatar.

    • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

      Tell me when you get to the part with David Petraeus or Oliver North.

    • ItsTheShadsy

      If there’s one thing that’s irked me about the CoD games, it’s the incoherency. The series has always been good about presenting multiple viewpoints and jumping between plot threads, but they’re making increasingly less sense as the stories get more complicated. It was bad enough with MW2 and the nuclear missile nonsense, but the time-skipping in Black Ops sounds like a nightmare.

      Why don’t they just cut the pretension and turn the game into a collection of cool military setpieces with no overarching plot threads? At least it’d be honest.

      • Captain Internet

        Well, there is that- it’s the multiplayer, which is genuinely a lot of fun, and doesn’t feature Tony Todd saying cocksucker very slowly after being handed what looks like a spark plug.

    • stakkalee

      That commercial up there shows zombies.  Are there really goddamn zombies in this game?  Radioactive zombies?  Actually, don’t tell me – I know the answer already.

      Fuck this game.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        There’s usually a zombie mode in the Treyarch CoD games, and they are super goofy. I think the last one had you playing as a bunch of presidents or something? I think maybe Danny Trejo was in one too. I honestly don’t care for these games, but I really don’t get the hatred that the internet has for them. 

        More than anything I blame Activision for running awesome franchises into the ground. THPS, Guitar Hero (which also brought the end of that whole genre pretty much) and even Call of Duty used to be great games that were generally well regarded. But then they started pumping them out yearly and everyone got sick of them. Of course this hasn’t happen’d to CoD yet, so we’ll see what happens there.

        • stakkalee

          True Story Time:Last weekend at my buddy’s house for the neverending Civ4 LAN game, my buddy says, “Hey, before we start, I wanted to show you this awesome zombie game.”  Me, trepidatiously, “OK, let’s see it.”  He throws in (I think) CoD: World At War and we play the (I think) Nacht Der Untoten map, where you’re stuck in a little farmhouse fighting off waves of zombies.  We play through twice, getting to the third level once, then the fourth level.  He turns to me and says “What do you think?” and I say “That was fun.  Let’s put Arkham City in.”  And, scene.

          I don’t hate these games, I just can’t see the appeal.  They blend into each other, and I really can’t see what innovation you can wring out of them – it feels like a cash-grab, frankly.  Like Homer Simpson said, “These are the people who saw an overcrowded marketplace and said, ‘Me too!’”  But zombies.  Ugh, zombies.  Is there anything more fucking played out than zombies?

    • Chum Joely

      Well damn, I don’t usually play shooters but this sounds fanTAStic!

    • caspiancomic

       I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I still have no idea if you’re being serious.

  • SteveHeisler

    John Teti himself wrote the headline for the front page of this article. He is a stud fiend, through and through.

    • Effigy_Power

      Proving once and for all that if we claim something often and loudly enough, it comes true.
      Everyone, did you know that @SteveHeisler:disqus will from now on do his Digest appearances in a Spiderman costume?

      • HobbesMkii

         While balancing in place on a unicycle!

      • Enkidum

        I will pay money if that happens. Like, all the money I happen to have in my wallet when it happens, which has a pretty high chance of being fat stacks, yo.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

         You know, I think I read that somewhere. Probably just in your comment. But the important thing is that I read it somewhere and now am certain it will come to pass.

        And will be horribly disappointed if it doesn’t.

  • JokersNuts

    Can’t wait to play some Lego Lord of the Rings this weekend.  I’ve been waiting for this one ever since they first started making Lego games.