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After the holiday feast that was November, December is traditionally a month of fasting for game releases but there are still plenty of leftovers. Video Games Plus is here to feed you with more news and reviews. This week we go to the Batcave for news on “Batman: Arkham City” DLC, a look at a new trailer for “Spec Ops: The Line” and a review of “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”
New Arkham City DLC on the Way
To the Batcave, Robin!
Batman’s home away from home is reported to be part of new downloadable content coming December 20 for “Batman: Arkham City.”
Arkham City developer Rocksteady Studios announced the DLC on their Arkham City News Twitter account with a tweet that says: "Brand new DLC coming December 20th with all new Batcave. Jokers carnival and the iceberg lounge also available to download then!"
No other details have been officially released, including the price, but we’re anxious to find out more.
This will actually be the third in the downloadable additions to Arkham City. In the Robin Bundle Pack that went live two weeks ago, Batman’s sidekick was added to the fun with his own unique gadgets and special moves. The first DLC, the Nightwing Pack, was released a week after the game’s launch.
It’s no surprise that Arkham City has been blessed with lots of DLC. Last month, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced news that the game shipped 4.6 million copies in its first week on sale -- more than twice that of its predecessor, “Batman: Arkham Asylum.”
Trippy New “Spec Ops” Trailer
It sounds like “Spec Ops: The Line” shares more in common with the movie “Apocolypse Now” than “Call of Duty.”
When it was first announced, it was easy to dismiss Spec Ops as another Modern Warfare or Ghost Recon wannabe but it’s shaping up to be more than a little trippy as seen in a new trailer.
The plot of the campaign focuses on Captain Walker, a U.S. Delta Force soldier on a harrowing rescue mission to save the 33rd squad of the U.S. Infantry and a colonel who remained behind in war-torn Dubai. The army colonel’s name is John Konrad, an obvious homage to Joseph Conrad, who wrote “Heart of Darkness” – the novel on which Francis Ford Coppola’s mindbender of a war movie “Apocolypse Now” is based on.
According to publisher 2K Games, you’ll be facing fellow soldiers instead of the foreign insurgents and terrorists of most other war-based shooters, and “you and your men will experience madness -- A world shattered by the failings of great men.”
Exploring the psychology of modern warfare is heady stuff, and a thoughtful narrative has never been the strong suit of military shooters, we’re interested to see more from “Spec Ops: The Line” before its release this upcoming spring.
Review: "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim"
(Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Wanna be a mighty spellcasting wizard? Maybe you want to play as a feral werewolf who initiates a preemptive strike at a guild of werewolf hunters. Perhaps you’d like to inhabit the role of an elven blacksmith and alchemist with a talent for making cool potions and gear or a cat-faced pickpocket who breaks into homes at night and robs people of all of their valuables.
Sure, there’s a story in “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” something about an anonymous prisoner who learns they’re the last in a bloodline of dragonslayers destined to save the world, but at its heart, Skyrim is about getting completely lost in a rich fantasy world that offers hundreds of hours of compelling content. In fact, Skyrim publisher Bethesda brags that there’s over 300 hours of content packed onto one tiny disc if you involve yourself with all of the subquests available.
You can climb towers and try to bring down fire-breathing dragons with your archery skills...
In most games with long play times, much of the content is padded with grinding and boring fetch-this-item-and-bring-it-back quests, but there’s an incredible amount of variety in Skyrim. You can climb towers and try to bring down fire-breathing dragons with your archery skills, you can get married, get into a drinking contest or take sides in petty arguments between lovers. Or better yet, you can explore the nearly unlimited environments of the world itself. Where Skyrim’s predecessor, “Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” felt ripped from a generic Medieval fantasy world, this game world has a distinct Norse flavor filled with harsh mountain peaks, sparkling rivers, and Viking-like buildings and people.
Skyrim’s not for everyone. It’s obviously time consuming and the voice acting and animation of the characters still feels awkward, but If you’re a fan of open world role-playing games, burn your social calendar and pick up Skyrim right now.
For more from Ryan Smith, follow him on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter