September is here, and the floodgates have opened. There are a staggering amount of video games hitting stores this month, and the CBR GAMES ROUNDUP is here to highlight some of the releases for the next 30 days. It's a good month for superhero games, as “Champions Online,” “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2” and “TMNT: Smash-Up” are all dropping in September. There's also some big franchise releases this month across all different genres.
Keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive, and release dates are subject to change. Now, lets dive in to this month's games.
Champions Online (PC)—September 1 (Website)
Cryptic’s long-awaited new superhero MMO finally launches for PC this month. “Champions Online” uses the world of the classic “Champions” pen-and-paper roleplaying game, and features storylines written by comic book scribe John Layman (“Chew”). Characters from the “Champions” universe will be featured as NPCs in the game.
CBR News interviewed John Layman a while back about his work on the game, and you check that out right here.
Guitar Hero 5 (PS2/PS3/Wii/Xbox 360)—September 1 (Website)
This year’s “Guitar Hero” iteration sports a lot of the same features as “Guitar Hero: World Tour,” as well as some new ones. Among the features debuting this year is the ability for bands to play more than one of the same instrument at a time (two guitars, two drums, etc.). Drop-in/drop out play will also be supported though “Party Mode,” and the entire songlist will be available to players from the start of the game, so no unlocking is required.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)—September 1 (Website)
From the makers of “Odin Sphere” comes this action roleplaying game that takes place in feudal Japan. Players can choose one of two playable characters—a princess or a ninja—and battle their way through over 30 levels of mythical creatures. Main combat involves different types of powerful swords, which players collect over the course of the game. The game has modes that focus on either combat or level advancement, depending on what the player wants the focus to be.
Section 8 (PC/Xbox 360)—September 1 (Website)
South Peak’s upcoming shooter aims to inject a little variety into the futuristic sci-fi genre. Players will take on the role of Alex Corde, a soldier in the Eighth Armored Infantry. Corde and his teammates are sent in to deal with a group called the ARM of Orion, who are taking over planets on the outer edges of the colonized system. There is a great deal of character customization in the game, from weapon loadouts to character abilities. Multiplayer will allow players to drop in anywhere on the map, as opposed to just having fixed spawn points.
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny (PSP)—September 1 (Website)
“Broken Destiny” intends to take the “Soul Calibur IV” experience and bring it to the PSP. All of the regular characters from “SCIV” will be in the game, and instead of “Star Wars” characters in “SCIV,” “God of War’s” Kratos will the guest character. The game will feature ad-hoc multiplayer in addition to all the single player modes, and the character creator is rumored to be deeper than that of “SCIV’s.”
Colin McRae Dirt 2 (DS/PS3/PSP/Wii/Xbox 360)—September 8 (Website)
This follow-up to the 2007 racing game will feature the late Colin McRae, and the game will have a Colin McRae Memorial Challenge event in his memory. The tribute is one of many new race events in “Dirt 2,” which also includes a World Tour mode, where players travel the world in an RV and race through jungles, cities and stadiums around the globe. Eight-player online multiplayer will accompany the single-player campaign, and a multiplayer demo of the game is currently out on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
The Beatles: Rock Band (PS2/PS3/Wii/Xbox 360)—September 9 (Website)
Harmonix, EA and MTV are pulling out all the stops for the Beatles version of the popular music game. The game will ship with 45 songs from the Beatles catalog, and Beatles-themed instruments are also being released alongside the game. In addition to the songs, several of the more iconic venues the Beatles performed at will also be featured in the game, including the Ed Sullivan Theater, Abbey Road Studios and the Cavern Club.
Dungeons and Dragon Online: Eberron Unlimited (PC)—September 9 (Website)
Another big MMO launching on PC this month is Turbine’s game based on the world’s most popular roleplaying game. “Eberron Unlimited” is a subscription-free update to “DDO” that allows players to join the game and experience much of its content for free. Subscribers will have access to additional content, which included races and classes that free players will need to purchase to unlock.
CBR News spoke to Kate Piaz in July about the changes to “DDO” and what “Eberron Unlimited” will be offering players for free. You can check out that interview right here.
NHL 10 (PS3/Xbox 360)—September 15 (Website)
EA’s annual hockey installment will be sporting a few new features this year. Two aspects of the game receiving overhauls are the fighting system and the play along the boards. Fighting will now take place in the first-person perspective, and fights can be initiated after the whistle blows. With the “Battle on the Boards” feature, players can make kick passes out of the pile, and pin opposing players while fighting for control of the puck.
NHL 2K10 (PS3/Wii/Xbox 360)—September 15 (Website)
2K Sports also returns this month with their hockey title, and the developers have put a lot of focus into the online experience for this year’s version. One of the highlights is the “Create-a-Team” mode that allows you to create your own team right down to the uniforms and compete against other created teams online and in franchise mode.
“NHL 2K10” is also the only NHL game appearing on the Wii console this year, and it will have full online support, including leagues, tournaments and support for both the Wii Motion Plus and Wii Speak peripherals.
Need for Speed: Shift (PC/PS3/PSP/Xbox 360)—September 15 (Website)
This installment of the “Need for Speed” franchise is aptly titled, since it features a shift from the arcade style of previous entries to more of a simulation style of racing. The game is very focused on the driver, and the cockpit view will react to the physics the driver is experiencing when cornering, braking, etc.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (DS/PS2/PS3/PSP/Wii/Xbox 360)—September 15 (Website)
The sequel to the popular Mavel-based beat ‘em up will be taking its storyline from some major comic events this time around. The “Civil War” storyline will be the main narrative backdrop for the game, and heroes will be taking sides around the Superhero Registration Act. The big addition to the gameplay this time around is the “fusion” mechanic, which allows heroes to combine powers for new effects.
Vicarious Visions’ Dan Tanguay spoke with CBR recently about incorporating the “Civil War” storyline into the game, and you can read what he had to say right here.
Scribblenauts (DS)—September 15 (Website)
The creators of “Drawn to Life” and “Locke’s Quest” have created the closest things to a “Mad Libs” game we may ever see. “Scribblenauts” is a cross between a side-scroller and a puzzle game, in which players complete levels with the help of objects they summon into the game by typing their names. The database of objects for the game is immense, and even things like Cthulhu and Keyboard Cat are in there. The game is packed with over 200 levels, a level editor and a “free play” mode that just lets players summon things and fool around with them.
WET (PS3/Xbox 360)—September 15 (Website)
This third-person shooter puts players in the role of Rubi Malone, a mercenary who takes a job that turns out to be more than she bargained for. The game is presented in ‘70s action movie style, and Rubi uses a combination of swords, guns and acrobatic moves to take down enemies. Eliza Dushku (“Tru Calling,” “Dollhouse”) provides the voice of the lead character.
Shin Megami Tesnei: Persona (PSP)—September 22 (Website)
This remake of the original “Revelations: Persona” will include a several new features, including a fully relocalized script, new cutscenes and music. The story follows high school students that are trying to stop a demonic invasion of their city with the help of “Personas,” creatures they can summon to do battle for them. The game will be released as both a UMD and a download through the PlayStation Store.
Katamari Forever (PS3)—September 22 (Website)
Released in Japan back in July, “Katamari Forever” is a combination of levels from previous Katamari games, as well as new levels and some new gameplay elements. Katamari involves the Prince of All Cosmos rolling a ball around levels to collect as much junk as possible in order to rebuild stars and constellations.
Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360)—September 22 (Website)
In this standalone expansion of “Halo 3,” players will be filling the shoes of a rookie UNSC soldier as opposed to Master Chief. The events of the game take place on earth prior to those in “Halo 3.” The campaign will follow the rookie soldier as he tries to find out what happened to his missing teammates amid the wreckage of the fictional city of New Mombasa. The campaign has more of an open feel than previous installments, as players will be able to choose how they explore the city in looking for their teammates.
On the multiplayer side, in addition to campaign co-op, the game will include all of the previously released “Halo 3” multiplayer maps, as well as three new maps. As has become a standard feature for shooters now, “ODST” will also have a “Firefight” mode that pits four players against wave after wave of enemies.
TMNT: Smash-Up (Wii/PS2)—September 22 (Website)
Smash-up was developed by some of the former members of Team Ninja and Game Arts, who worked on “Super Smash Bros. Brawl.” Gameplay is similar to “SSBB,” with characters from the TMNT universe battling it out on various stages that have interactive elements like traps, giant crocodiles and more. Mirage Studios animated the cut scenes for the game, which also features a story written by TMNT co-creator Peter Laird.
Dead Space: Extraction (Wii)—September 29 (Website)
The “Dead Space” universe is expanding onto the Wii this month, as this first-person shooter will serve as a prequel to last year’s game. Writer Antony Johnston (“Wasteland,” “Dead Space”) provided the story for the game, which will delve into what happened on the mining colony of Aegis VII and the USG Ishimura during the initial days of the Necromorph infestation. The game will allow two-player co-op through the entire campaign.
CBR spoke with the game’s Executive Producer Steve Papoutsis about how “Dead Space: Extraction” is not a typical on-rails shooter. You can find that interview right here.
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (DS)—September 29 (Website)
Square Enix’s popular Disney-based RPG gets a new installment for the DS this month. “358/2 Days” takes place between the events of “Kingdom Hearts” 1 and 2, and will see main character Roxas explore the worlds of previous games as well as worlds created specifically for this game. In addition to the single-player campaign, “358/2 Days” will also have mission-based co-op for up to four players. The other major addition to the gameplay is the “Panel System,” which manages magic, levels, items and abilities though panels that players equip before embarking on a mission.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)—September 29 (Website)
The PS3 gets its own version of “Ninja Gaiden 2” this month, complete with a whole bunch of new goodies. New playable characters, improvements to the camera system, online co-op and trophy support are a few of the features that make “Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2” much more than just a port of the original.
Spyborgs (Wii)—September 29 (Website)
Spyborgs is a co-op beat ‘em up that involves cybernetic agents tracking down a teammate that’s gone rogue. Players choose two agents from a team of three and battle their way through robot armies and huge boss battles. Single players can switch on the fly between characters, and combat takes advantage of co-op with team-based finishing moves. The game will also feature upgradable weaponry as well as an achievement system that unlocks additional content.
The official site features animated webisodes and a digital comic that delve into the game’s story.
That’s a wrap on a huge month of game releases, and this list is nowhere near all-inclusive. It’s only going to get crazier as we head into October and November, so check back here in 30 days for the next edition of the CBR GAMES ROUNDUP.