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Monday, October 22, 2012

New Releases: Week of October 22nd

Here's a look at what's new this week.

This week is sort of an unofficial beginning to the holiday release season. We'll see another AAA title (most of them sequels) just about every week from now until Christmas. Need For Speed, Medal of Honor, Assassin's Creed, Hitman, Far Cry - they're all on the way.

Better fasten your seatbelts, 'cuz it's going to be a wild ride from here on out.

This Week in PC Gaming

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Windows 8
Friday, October 26th | Price Varies

What is arguably the most important item on this week's list isn't a game at all. Windows 8 hits shelves on Friday, and you'd better start bracing for the impact now.

I installed Windows 8 RTM several weeks ago and used it as my main OS for a week. You can find details in the following posts:

Anyone who's been near a tech site in the last 6 months could tell you that Windows 8 is a pretty controversial subject. Gabe Newell called it "kind of a catastrophe," - not exactly a glowing recommendation. The desktop side of Windows 8 builds upon the immense success of Windows 7 and should immediately feel familiar, but that's not the problem. Two items in particular, the "Metro" UI (but don't call it that) and the Windows Store, seem to have everyone's collective panties in a bunch.

You won't find a Start Menu in Windows 8; in its place is a full-screen "Metro" Start Screen that is horizontally-focused and touch-friendly. While there's nothing particularly wrong with the new UI, it definitely feels tablet-centric. The design changes are a bold step forward for sure, but there's a strange disconnect that exists between the traditional desktop and the new non-Metro Metro UI.

The other bone of contention is the Windows Store. Many developers are worried that the store will eventually turn into an Apple-esque "walled garden," giving Microsoft the power to pick and choose what is listed and allowing them to push their own products over those of competitors. At this point these concerns are pretty much unfounded as far as Windows 8 is concerned, but I think people are more worried about a closed-off Windows Store environment in Windows 9 or 10.

Microsoft will be allowing users to upgrade to Windows 8 for $40 via an offer that runs from October 26th until January 31st. The low price tag definitely introduces another variable to the upgrade equation.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter
EA, Danger Close
Full release
Tuesday, October 23rd | $59.99

Medal of Honor seems to be all about authenticity these days. Both the 2010 series reboot and this week's Warfighter feature "tier one" operators involved in conflicts that are somewhat grounded in reality. Compare that to the Call of Duty series, which seems to have nukes and EMPs flying around nonstop, and you can see that EA and Danger Close are trying to approach the modern shooter genre from a different angle.

Warfighter uses the same Frostbite 2 engine as Battlefield 3, and comparisons between the two are going to be made frequently. While the game's visuals might look familiar, the audio might be the thing that sets it apart. MOH:WF (that's a mouthful) uses "acclaimed High Dynamic Range (HDR) audio, accurate weapon sound signatures and environmental audio effects" to make the battlefield sound as real as it looks.

As you can probably tell from the last link, the new MOH will utilize the Battlelog system from BF3. People pissed and moaned about BF3 launching from a browser, but I actually kind of like the setup; I can check out stats and modify loadouts when I'm bored without launching the full game. Another new feature that looks pretty cool is a forced "buddy system" that pairs players up in fireteams of two. In addition to being able to see your buddy through walls, the two of you share ammo and you'll gain bonus points for completing objectives together. Whether this system will produce actual objective-focused teamwork from a random team remains to be seen, but it's an interesting approach.

The MOH 2010 reboot wasn't exactly a hit, so Danger Close is faced with an uphill battle this time around. At least they have Linkin Park on their side.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Black Forest Games
Full release
Tuesday, October 23rd | $14.99

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams has roots that go all the way back to the Commodore 64. The original Giana Sisters game was a blatant Super Mario Bros. rip-off - just look at this screenshot. Nintendo obviously wasn't happy and threatened legal action, and the game was pulled from the shelves.

Twisted Dreams is the sequel to a Giana game from 2009 that, oddly enough considering the series' history, was released on the Nintendo DS. The current game went through both Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight to make releasing the title a reality.

GS:TD is a platformer in which the player controls Giana, a teenage girl trapped in a dream world. Giana has both a "cute" side and a "punk" side; switching between the two changes both the game world and the abilities and Giana's disposal. Destructoid has an in-depth preview of the game that makes it look pretty appealing.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Note: this list is not comprehensive but should cover most major titles. Check back every Monday for a new list of PC releases.


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