The games of October 2011

October is the busiest month of the year. At least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves now, while we pretend November isn’t a thing that’s happening. November’s release list is even larger than this month’s, which is so large that reading this is taking valuable time away from everything you want to be playing. We feel bad for anything braving the storm without a major publisher behind it. We’re also hoping those games wind up as secret gems.

October 4

Dark Souls

Platform: Xbox 360,PS3
EU: October 7

If nothing else, Demon’s Souls’ “spiritual sequel” (read: totally a sequel, but don’t tell Sony, who had exclusivity rights on the original, only to see the follow-up also hit 360) gets one thing right: Dark Souls doesn’t have any stupid punctuation. Everything else, though, is pretty much the same as it ever was. The atypical action-RPG is hard as balls and doesn’t care how you feel about it. Making a game like this takes serious stones. It’s entertaining and satisfying, but its appeal is limited. Those of us who love it tend to love it way too much, though. This is a merciless RPG for a very specific type of masochist, so don’t go in expecting easy combat and sweet loot. Here’s a simpler breakdown: Dark Souls is to RPGs what Ninja Gaiden was to action games. Good luck.


Platform: PS3
EU: October 5

We don’t rightly understand Eufloria. Sony’s touting it as a strategy game, but it looks like a drug-induced hallucination. Either way, we’re in love with the minimalist look and trippy gameplay, which appears to deliver more of what we love about the unique weirdness found on PSN. Those games rarely disappoint, and it’s nice to see something so very different as the fall ramps up.

Just Dance 3

Platform: 360, PS3, Wii
October 11

Ubisoft’s getting the jump on Harmonix’s Dance Central 2, and as easy as it is to hate on Just Dance, this series sells embarrassingly well with each release. It’s not without good reason, either: the games are actually quite good. Now they’re branching out beyond the Wii, and stands to benefit hugely from the accuracy that comes with Move and Kinect. The choreography is as crazy as its acid-trip aesthetic, which is largely what makes it so fun. That and the beers. Be careful, kids.

NBA 2K12

Platform: PC, 360, PS3, Wii, PSP
October 7

Hey, surprise: This year’s sports thing looks, plays, sounds, is presented and is generally better than last year’s version. We dug the overall newness of NBA 2K12 after our recent hands-on, but not for many modern reasons. OK, sure, the nitty-gritty got the necessary minor refinements. The respect for basketball history, given to us in various gameplay forms, is the reason 2K’s b-ball is the definitive version – not just because EA (once again) opted against releasing a real NBA sim.

NBA Jam: On Fire Edition

Platform: 360, PS3
October 5

Well, an arcade game is better than nothing, and at least Jam is a known quantity – but the On Fire Edition of the classic arcade baller probably won’t pull fans away from the “real” basketball experience this fall. Also, EA hasn’t had a truly great NBA Jam release yet, so we’re a little skeptical about this one. But hey, at least it’s got honey badgers.

Orcs Must Die!

Platform: PC, Xbox Live Arcade, PSN
EU: October 5

Remember Ensemble Studios, the cats who made Halo Wars before getting shut down? Some of those folks have since been working on Orcs Must Die!, a game whose annoying punctuation doesn’t reflect its clever ideas. It’s another tower defense downloadable game, built on similar foundations to Trenched and Toy Soldiers — you take an active role in the strategic combat. It looks like goofy fun, and we’re behind it if only for the gorgeous Disney-movie-meets-ultraviolence themes. Fortunately, the medieval traps (arrows that spring from the wall, spikes shooting from the ground, etc.) come in a wide enough variety that the campaign should be worth replaying for perfectionists.

Payday: The Heist

Platform: PC, PS3
October 7

Payday highlights the uglier side of bank heists. Never mind methodical planning; this is what it’s like to play Heat, after a robbery goes to complete shit, and you and your bros need to get the flock out of there alive. Action is the star of this four-player co-op heist game, and much as robbery nerds may scoff at the spin, it looks to get a lot of what we love about these situations right. It’s about the thrill and tension of a getaway, not the mastery and stealth of the cash-grab. Each stage is meant to play out dynamically, meaning you’ll rarely have the same experience, yadda yadda (you’ve already heard the PR speak for this kind of thing). In short, unpredictability is key to Payday, and that’s fine by us.


Platform: PC, 360, PS3
October 7

The post-apocalyptic FPS from id finally arrives after many a long year not knowing exactly what it was. Now we have a pretty good idea, and it’s a mix of “yeah whatever” and “damned impressive.” Yes, there are guns, as well as dudes to shoot with ’em during pretty standard, RPG-style quests. Yes, the world is brown, brown, brownest-brown brown. Cars, big open areas to drive ’em in, mutated men, etc. – you get the picture. Here’s the thing: id gets FPSes, there’s no denying that. And Rage just feels fantastic. The weight of our movement, the harsh pounding of each gun and the impact of the bullets on the highly mobile, atypical, melee-centric enemies add up to something different despite the seeming genericalness of it all. Plus, the end of the world is goddamned beautiful. We can’t wait to explore and make a mess of it.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Platform: 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS
October 28

Edge of Time may look like eliminates the most interesting aspects of its predecessor, Shattered Dimensions, especially with its exclusion of Spider-Man Noir. However, the trimming back is for the best. It gives developer Beenox the room it needs to focus on a specific Spidey story, which sees a future wall-crawler working to save the life of a present-day Peter Parker. It is, like Dimensions before it, a clever means of letting us play as a couple different versions of Spider-Man. Hopefully it has a stronger sense of itself than Dimensions did, because that game came oh-so-close to magic. Beenox knows its web-head, though, so we’re hopeful.

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