The development team behind Dragon Quest, Dark Cloud, and Professor Layton joins forces with the renowned Japanese animators at Studio Ghibli to produce Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, a classically styled RPG designed to look like an animated movie. Players take on the role of Oliver, a young boy who heads off to a parallel world in the hopes of reviving his dead mother. A companion named Drippy guides Oliver through this new world, where a special book gives him magical powers, and he can recruit a variety of characters and creatures to join him in battles.
In Wrath of the White Witch players explore an expansive overworld map, uncovering secret locations, visiting various towns, palaces, and dungeons, and engaging in combat. The battle system combines elements of real-time and turn-based action, with combatants taking turns dishing out attacks, healing their party, and casting magic spells, but doing it while freely moving about the battleground and switching characters at will. All of the characters and creatures can be named, earn experience points, and learn new skills, and gamers can take control of them directly, or just set their tendencies and let the computer handle both sides of the conflict. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Anarchy Reigns is a futuristic brawler starring a cast of 16 gritty combatants, including characters from the developer's MadWorld. You'll choose fighters from one of two opposing sides, white and black, before engaging in fast-paced battles against multiple rivals at once. The story is told through a number of cinematic cut-scenes that introduce the combatants as well as offer up some banter between faction members. In addition to the single-player campaign, which has you fighting in a number of urban areas with computer-controlled teammates, Anarchy Reigns includes deathmatch, survival, tag team, and battle royale multiplayer game types. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Dogfight 1942 puts amateur aces in the cockpits of more than 25 American, British, and Russian fighter planes as they engage in intense aerial battles with the German Luftwaffe and Japanese fighter planes. Players can go on more than 20 combat sorties, including bombing runs, escort missions, and furious dogfights over Great Britain, Eastern Europe, and the Pacific Ocean. Gamers can join the action in both "Simulation" and "Arcade" modes, and deft piloting will earn players upgrades to their planes. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Retaining the open-world characteristics of Far Cry 2 while returning to an island setting similar to that of the original Far Cry, Ubisoft's shooter Far Cry 3 puts players in control of Jason Brody, a tourist who finds himself stranded on a lawless island where warlords and indigenous rebels have spent years mired in bloody conflict. Gamers can explore the jungles, swamps, mountains, and beaches of the island in a variety of ways, including speeding over land in jeeps, trucks, and ATVs, soaring through the air in hang gliders, and gliding across the water in speedboats.
As Brody attempts to reconnect with his girlfriend he will interact with a cast of unusual characters, come across more than 20 different species of wild and sometimes dangerous animals, and discover ancient ruins, shipwrecks, and caves. He can also earn money during his adventure by playing poker, racing, and winning shooting and knife-throwing contests. Players gain experience as they fight their way across the island, developing better stealth skills and combat techniques, and collecting plants and animal parts to craft new and improved items.
A separate co-op mode spins an entirely different story, as four crew members of a seedy cruise ship set out on a six-chapter campaign to track down the captain who stole their valuables and sold them out to pirates. Other multiplayer features include classic modes in which gamers team up to capture land or kill the most enemies, while the Firestorm mode finds two teams competing to turn opposing bases into raging infernos. Creative players can also design and share custom multiplayer maps using the included map editor.
IO Interactive's bald assassin comes to PS3 for the first time as gamers help Agent 47 avoid the police, eliminate those who betrayed him, and uncover a deep conspiracy in Hitman: Absolution. The developer's new Glacier 2 AI system was designed to mimic the wide range in intelligence, behavior, and response seen in real humans, while the trial-and-error gameplay of previous entries in the series has been replaced by a new AI attention meter that lets gamers know exactly how close other characters are to spotting Agent 47, so they can back off when needed.
As always, the build up to the kill is as much of the gameplay experience as actually performing the assassination, and the freedom to choose how to perform a hit is a direct result of how much players plan, observe, and listen, and how creative they feel. Hitman: Absolution rewards gamers for performing classic moves by allowing them to use the new Instinct mode, in which they see the world through Agent 47's eyes and can map out enemy patrol routes, spot weapons, and locate shortcuts or ways to escape. Players can also accomplish their tasks by donning a variety of disguises or impersonating victims, but doing so may elicit unpredictable reactions from other characters. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Based on the animated film of the same name, Rise of the Guardians finds gamers joining mythical childhood figures as they fight to prevent the Boogeyman-like Pitch from cloaking the world in nightmares and darkness. Players take on the role of Jack Frost, North (Santa Claus), Bunnymund (Easter Bunny), Tooth (Tooth Fairy), and Sandy (Sandman) as they battle nightmares through 3D levels based on locations in the film. Each character has unique abilities and weapons that can be upgraded, and up to four players can drop in or out of the action whenever they please. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed mixes up the kart-racing formula by adding vehicles that transform from cars into boats and planes. As in Sega's previous all-stars racing game, tracks are based on popular Sega games, such as Super Monkey Ball, Panzer Dragoon, and After Burner. Many of the previous game's favorite characters return along with a number of new ones, including Gilius Thunderhead of Golden Axe and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia. Even real-life NASCAR star Danica Patrick and the title character from Disney's Wreck-It Ralph make an appearance.
When racing through the World Tour mode users gain experience points that upgrade each character and unlock racing mods that alter each vehicle's abilities. Players can also gain experience in the multiplayer modes Grand Prix and Battle Arenas. Multiplayer supports up to ten players online or four players in local split-screen. A new weapon system has been developed as well that gives players a better chance at blocking and evading attacks from the opposition. ~ Jonathan Sutyak, All Game Guide
Gamers can join one of America's most famous WWII generals and re-create the march of the Third Army in History: Legends of War Patton. Players lead their troops on historically accurate missions across the Western European Theater, engaging in turn-based battles and taking on Attack, Defense, Infiltration, and Sabotage modes. PS3 gamers can earn Prestige Points to improve and enhance their soldiers and era-authentic bombers, tanks, and weapons, while multiplayer fans can join a friend for local hot-seat competitions. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Gamers return to Disney's land of forgotten cartoons for an action-packed adventure complete with new voice acting, musical numbers, and co-op gameplay in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. With the citizens of the Wasteland rebuilding after the events of the first game, earthquakes plaguing the landscape, and a supposedly reformed Mad Doctor promising to help clean up, Oswald calls on Mickey to help restore order. The 3D platforming gameplay once again finds Mickey solving problems and reaching special areas by using his paintbrush to apply either paint or thinner.
Oswald comes along for the ride, serving as a constant AI companion or allowing a second player to drop in or out of the action at any time. He carries a remote control that lets him either fight or befriend other characters, and he can also detach his feet or use his floppy ears to fly short distances. During the course of their adventures Mickey and Oswald will interact with dozens of other characters, including Horace, Big Bad Pete, and Gremlin Gus, and travel to locations like Disney Gulch and the new Rainbow Caverns. And expanding on a mechanic from the first game, the choices players make have lasting consequences that can alter the ultimate outcome of their adventure. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Activision's massively successful first-person shooter franchise returns to the shady world of clandestine missions and deniable operations, while for the first time adding in branching storylines and near-future combat in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The single-player story weaves between the exploits of original Black Ops protagonist Alex Mason in the 1980s, and those of his son David Mason in the year 2025. A Nicaraguan drug-lord and terrorist named Raul Menendez provides a timeline-spanning villain, with gamers witnessing his formative years and his ascent to power.
The early portion of the campaign finds players joining Alex Mason and other operatives as they fight proxy wars in Cold War hotspots like Central America and Afghanistan; actions that partially spur Menendez into forming his populist Cordis Die movement. The futuristic portions of the game occur after an electronic attack brings down the Chinese Stock Exchange, leading to a new cold war in which China stops exporting rare earth elements. Much of the new war is fought with cyber attacks, robots, and unmanned aerial vehicles, with Menendez antagonizing both sides into a larger conflicts in places like Los Angeles, Singapore, and Yemen. The branching storylines of new Strike Force missions take place in the 2025 portion of campaign, with the selection of one path locking out several other missions, and permanent deaths resulting in constantly shifting goals and conflict-resolution possibilities.
Set exclusively in 2025, the Black Ops II multiplayer modes remain a vital part of the Call of Duty package and have received a variety of upgrades and alterations designed to promote teamwork and make the action more accessible to newcomers. A new multi-team option expands the traditional squad-vs.-squad mechanic to include three or more teams, the Create-A-Class feature has been changed to allow for the creation of custom characters, and Kill Streak bonuses have been renamed Score Streaks to reward gamers for completing specific actions rather than simply offing a number of foes in succession.
Developer Treyarch has also included and expanded its popular co-op zombie action, with the Tranzit mode letting up to four players battle zombies and travel on foot or in a bus through an expansive landscape. The Survival mode asks gamers to defend a single area as waves of undead descend upon them, while the new Grief mode finds with two teams of four competing to see who can survive the zombie invasion the longest. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide