January Gaming Guide

Ring in the new year with some highly anticipated gaming releases.

Erik Norrisby Erik Norris

January Gaming Guide

Welcome to the new year, gamers! It’s time to get back in the saddle after we’ve all grown (more) fat from stuffing our faces with holiday cuisines. It’s also likely that our wallets are a little thin right now. No worries, January is actually a pretty light month for gaming as we bounce back from the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few heavy-hitting releases to kick off 2011!

lost_in_shadowLost in Shadow
Developer: Hudson Soft
System: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: 1/04/2011

The beginning of the new year sees the release of the shadow-manipulating Wii exclusive, Lost in Shadow. In Lost in Shadow you play as a young boy’s shadow separated from his host body. Your objective is to reach the top of the massive castle you were cast down from and reunite with your tangible self. Over the course of Lost in Shadow you’ll solve puzzles scattered through the environment, as well as fight terrifying shadow beasts impeding your progress.

Check out some gameplay footage of Lost in Shadow.

Lost in Shadow is a Wii-exclusive action-platformer with a unique graphic style and gameplay hook: you can only interact with the shadows of the environment. However, concept isn’t everything. We’ve played a little bit of Lost in Shadow and it honestly didn’t blow us away, as the concept was quickly overshadowed by the monotonous gameplay. But the final retail release of Lost in Shadow could prove to be a different experience altogether and a fantastic Wii exclusive. Wii owners, keep your eyes on this one.

dcu_onlineDC Universe Online
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment (Austin)
System: PC, PlayStation 3
Release Date: 1/11/2011

A massively-multiplayer online role-playing game set in the DC universe. Brilliant! DCU Online is Sony’s latest attempt to wrestle some of that cheddar away from Blizzard in the MMORPG market. And with the talent involved in DCU Online, we think they might have a shot. Comic artist legend, Jim Lee, serves as the game’s Executive Creative Director, while comic writer extraordinaire, Geoff Johns, acts as the principal writer on the game.

Watch the glorious CGI intro.

If you’re looking for a new MMO to take your mind off all the cataclysming in World of Warcraft, DCU Online might be the ticket, especially if your a huge comic fan.

mass_effect_2Mass Effect 2
Developer: BioWare
System: PlayStation 3
Release Date: 1/18/2011

PlayStation owners finally get their crack at one of the best action-RPGs ever made; Mass Effect 2 hits the PlayStation 3 this month! For those not in the know, Mass Effect 2 was our third best game of 2010, and for good reason: excellent storytelling, memorable characters, streamlined and intuitive gameplay, and infinite replayability. 

Get ready for the epicness.

The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 even comes with a few extra bonuses. The game will come packed with all three of the expansion missions that sold separately on Xbox 360 — Kasumi’s Stolen Memory, Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker. Also included will be an interactive comic written and drawn by the folks at Dark Horse and narrated by Commander Shepard that catches PS3 players up on the Mass Effect story leading into Mass Effect 2. This interactive comic also lets players make the vital decisions from Mass Effect 1 that help shape your Mass Effect 2 game. Finally, Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 will look even better than it did on Xbox 360 since it makes use of BioWare’s updated graphics engine; the same engine that Mass Effect 3 will run on.

If you own a PlayStation 3 and have yet to give Mass Effect 2 a whirl, buy this game. No questions asked.

littlebigplanet_2LittleBigPlanet 2
Developer: Media Molecule (Sony)
System: PlayStation 3
Release Date: 1/18/2011

Sackboy returnith! LittleBigPlanet 2 promises to deliver even more of that “Play, Create, Share” mentality the LBP series is famous for. But LBP2 isn’t some cheap cash grab. This time around Media Molecule has really outdone themselves — including 50+ new levels for story mode, as well as an open source tool kit for gamers to create not only their own LBP levels, but their own video games to share with the world.

Witness the adorable cuteness of LBP2.

LittleBigPlanet 2 is a game that all PlayStation 3 owners should be excited for. It’s more Sackboy cuteness booming through your television, and that’s always something to be stoked about. Pick this one up if you own a PS3 and enjoy one of the best communities for user-created content ever.

Developer: Square Enix
System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 1/18/2011

The idea behind the third-person shooter Mindjack is that you play as an apparition that can freely transition and take over the body of anyone in the environment–gaining their unique abilities in the process. Oh, Mindjack also features cyborg apes! So, there’s that.   

Cyborg apes FTW!

Furthermore, Mindjack is unique in that the single player campaign and multiplayer component are intertwined. If you’re playing single player a friend can join your game and become one of the NPCs trying to kill you. This adds a whole new level of challenge to the game’s single player affair. It also makes the problem of dumb computer-controller A.I. obsolete. Mindjack isn’t on the top of our list in January, but the interlocking of single player and multiplayer mode, as well as the inclusion of cyborg apes, has our interest piqued. 

dead_space_2Dead Space 2
Developer: Visceral Games (EA Games)
System: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 1/25/2011

The sequel to Dead Space finally arrives in late January. Dead Space 2 picks up three years after the events set on the USG Ishimura and sees our physiologically fragile hero, Issac Clarke, once again caught in the middle of a necromorph outbreak. Only this time it’s not on a derelict ship, but on a massive space station city called “The Sprawl.” 

Welcome to a city worse than New York.

Dead Space 2 also comes with a packed-in multiplayer component that pits miners versus necromorphs in a dance to the death. We got a chance to check out the beta of Dead Space 2’s multiplayer, and while we never felt the franchise needed a social competitive mode to begin with, what we played was quite enjoyable. But jury is still out on whether or not it will captivate people enough to pull them away from their Halos and Call of Dutys. At least Dead Space 2 has the leg up on Halo and Black Ops for being the only game of the bunch to let you play as a creepy baby monster.

If you like games that will scare the shit out of you, Dead Space 2 is exactly what you’re looking for.