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Monday, September 24, 2012

This Week in PC Gaming: September 24th

It's Monday - time to look at this week's PC releases.

This week features soccer, shooting, Sherlock, pandas, and planetary warfare.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
Blizzard Entertainment
Expansion - requires WoW, BC, WotLK, Cataclysm, and active account
Tuesday, September 25th | $39.99

A small, unproven franchise from an upstart indie company, Blizzard's Mists of Pandaria might be this year's biggest surprise.

This one shouldn't have crept up on anyone since they've been airing commercials everywhere for weeks. The WoW website has a comprehensive list of changes and updates here, and I previously reviewed the 5.0.4 patch and gave a preview of the expansion a couple of weeks ago.

MoP goes live tonight at 12am PST/3am EST. I wonder how many students and employees will be missing in action tomorrow?

Battlefield 3: Armored Kill
DLC - requires BF3
Tuesday, September 25th | $14.99

This one has actually been out for a while now, depending on your chosen gaming system and possible "premium" status. EA is pushing the whole Battlefield 3 Premium thing pretty hard, and players who chose to throw down $50 in advance were able to play the Armored Kill DLC a couple of weeks ago on the PC. In addition, PS3 players saw the content a week before everyone else does, which left X360 and PC users at the back of the pack. Armored Kill finally sees a wide release tomorrow.

The previous DLC pack, Close Quarters, brought more of a Call of Duty feel to BF3 with smaller, indoor, infantry-focused maps. This time around DICE is going for all-out vehicle warfare, Battlefield-style. Armored Kill features four new maps with a bunch of new vehicles and one new game mode. "Tank Superiority" looks to be King of the Hill with tanks. Not sure how you can go wrong there.

I have BF3 and the Back to Karkand expansion, but I've held off on everything else since then. I haven't really put any time into the game lately and I feel like each new DLC pack might further fragment a shrinking playerbase. We still have two more DLC packs to go, so it might be worth waiting for some sort of Game of the Year or DLC bundle.

EA Sports
Full release
Tuesday, September 25th | $39.99

I'll be honest - I know next to nothing about soccer, known to the rest of the world as football or fĂștbol. What I do know is that last year's offering, Fifa 12, has a score of 89 on Metacritic. That's a pretty solid score for any title let alone a sports game.

According to the FIFA 13 page, the game features "five game-changing innovations which revolutionize artificial intelligence, dribbling, ball control and physical play." Apparently, it's also "the largest and deepest feature set in the history of the franchise." A lot of yearly sports releases end up being glorified roster updates, but if you're a serious fan it's probably worth the $40 price of admission. A PC demo is available here.

Pro Evolution Soccer 13
PES Productions, Konami
Full release
Tuesday, September 25th | £29.99

Not to be outdone by EA, PES Productions and Konami will enter the pitch with Pro Evolution Soccer 13 on Tuesday. The PES franchise began on the PS2 in 2001 and is still going strong today. According to the game's site, PES 2013 represents "realism on the pitch – with tactically demanding gameplay, constantly changing situations, and – of course – lots of fun!"

Again, I'm a little lost when it comes to soccer, but since they've got Cristiano Ronaldo on the cover they must mean business. Apparently the PES franchise holds exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League license, which is probably a big selling point.

I had trouble finding US pricing information, but £29.99 is roughly $48.50. There's a PC demo available here.

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes
Frogwares, Focus Home Interactive
Full release
Tuesday, September 25th | $39.99

Set in 1898 London, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is an open-world adventure game in which the player attempts to clear Sherlock Holmes' name after he's accused of a crime. The game uses the characters and settings from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes universe but weaves a brand new narrative.

I haven't played any of the Sherlock Holmes games, and to be honest they don't look like something I'd be interested in. With that being said, I'm definitely going to watch the premier of Elementary on Thursday, so that's got to count for something.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission
Bohemia Interactive, Rising Star Games
Full release
Thursday, September 27th | $49.99

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is a remake/reboot of a Carrier Command game from the late 80's. The modern version is produced by Bohemia Interactive of ARMA fame and focuses on control of an archipelago in a distant galaxy. I'm not familiar at all with the series seeing as I was two years old in 1988, but it seems like it could be an interesting blend of strategy and action. From the trailer below it looks like you can manage the battlefield from a strategic view and also choose to zoom in and control individual units in battle.


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