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June might be month of drought for video game releases, but at Video Games Plus the news and reviews never stop. This week, we have news on the Black Ops Vita game, the release date for "Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD" and other Summer of Arcade games, a trailer for "Darksiders II" and a review of "DiRT: Showdown."
'Call of Duty' for PS Vita Leaked
Oops, looks like the "Call of Duty" cat is at least partially out of the bag.
Activision had been keeping details of the upcoming PS Vita version of “Black Ops: Declassified” close to its chest, but online retailers Amazon and Walmart have posted information about the game.
Here’s the official description: “Before the future could be won, history had to be written. Exposing that story exclusively on PlayStation Vita, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified explores original fiction in the Call of Duty Black Ops universe with an all-new campaign of Special Ops missions. Optimized for gamers on-the-go, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified delivers the most intense handheld Call of Duty experience to date, including both Special Ops Story mode and Multiplayer combat tailored for the PS Vita.”
The game was temporarily listed with a December 31 release (we're guessing that will change), and priced at $49.69.
Death Rules in Darksiders II Trailer
“Darksiders II” should be pretty intense, if the latest live-action trailer/promo for the game is any indication. Filmed on location in Prague, it stars Scottish actor James Cosmo (from “Game of Thrones” and “Braveheart”), who is also providing voice work for the game.
Cosmo delivers a hoarse sermon in the midst of the apocalypse interrupted by…well, you’ll see. "Darksiders II" follows the exploits of Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in an action-packed tale that runs parallel to the events in the original Darksiders game. This epic journey propels Death through various light and dark realms as he tries to redeem the actions of his brother War, the horseman blamed for prematurely starting the Apocalypse in "Darksiders."
There will also be an extended director’s cut of the trailer which will be unveiled exclusively at Facebook.com/Darksiders. "Darksiders II" is scheduled to drop for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in August, with a Wii U version coming sometime down the line.
"Tony Hawk" and Others Get Summer Release
“Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD” leads the pack of this year’s bundle of interesting budget-priced titles for its Summer of Arcade promotion on Xbox Live. The schedule, announced this week, offers five very different kinds of games.
The Tony Hawk remake will kick things off July 18. For 1,200 Microsoft Points ($15), gamers will be able to experience a big dose of skateboarding nostalgia with this pimped-out “best-of” of the first two "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" games from the PlayStation One days.
The next week of Summer of Arcade will bring “Wreckateer,” a Kinect-title in which players use different kinds of cannons and catapults to knock down castles. Think of it as a Medieval version of “Angry Birds” with motion controls.
Things get darker, literally, on August 1 with the release of “Deadlight” – a bleak, sidescrolling action/platforming title involving yet another zombie apocalypse. Then comes “Hybrid” on August 8, a cover-based third-person shooter with a futuristic setting and fast-paced three-on-three multiplayer gameplay.
Finally comes “Dust: An Elysian Tail” on August 15, a beautiful looking cartoonish side-scrolling brawler.
Review: DiRT: Showdown
No manual transmission? No problem for “DiRT: Showdown,” which emphasizes slamming your foot on the gas and slamming into your opponent over the sim-heavy version of previous games.
Players hop into a variety of vehicles, including muscle cars, trucks, buggies -- even hearses -- and take them for a spin in a variety of races or events. In the single-player campaign, racers compete for place and are asked to rack up points or do as much damage to their opponents as possible. The Eight-Ball races, for example, involve speeding around figure-eight-shaped courses (the kind you might see in a child's toy race set) and the Rampage mode plays like a demolition derby gone wild. Knock Out literally puts racers on a pedestal or stage with the objective of ramming cars off of it to score points.
There’s even more game modes in multiplayer, many of which seem borrowed from online shooters, like "Deathmatch," "Capture the Flag," even the "Call of Duty"-like Domination mode. This is also the the series’ most connected game ever, offering split-screen multiplayer, eight-player online races, quick-fire party games and YouTube capability.
Serious gearheads may balk at the lack of realism, but those content with some motorized mayhem will find a lot to like in "Showdown," which is available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Of course, we think it'd be a better game with Travis Pastrana involved, but that's a different story.
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