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The Month Ahead: August 2011's videogame releases
by Andrew Testerman

Wondering what to play this month? Andrew Testerman has a list of the major upcoming titles to get you through August 2011. All dates are North American releases, unless otherwise stated.

August is here, and summer is coming to a close. The gaming landscape is as arid as ever, but even as we look forward to autumn and its big releases, there are still a few choice titles released this month worth getting excited about. Read on to find out what you should be playing during the winding-down days of summer.

2nd August

Kicking off the month is NIS America’s Bleach: Soul Resurrección, an action hack-and-slash based on the popular animé and manga series. Players control up to twenty-one characters from the series, including mainstays like Ichigo, Rukia, Uryu, and Toshiro, as they fight to kick the ever-loving crap out of the Arrancars. Soul Resurrección sports a combat system that borrows from crowd control-heavy titles like the Dynasty Warriors series, and also features an upgrade system based on the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X. Soul Resurrección uses stylish cel-shaded visuals to match the look of the show, and fans can expect both English and Japanese voices throughout.

9th August

This week, you can look forward to nothing. That’s right, there are absolutely no major game releases scheduled for release for the week beginning 9th August, 2011. If you’re still looking to get your game on for the week, you could always check out this year’s crop of Xbox Live Summer of Arcade titles, or perhaps content yourself with replaying some of 2011’s other noteworthy downloadable games. Either way, you won’t be getting anything new this week.

16th August

After being delayed at the eleventh hour, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is finally seeing a stateside release, with a European release soon to follow. We’ve since had time to go hands-on with El Shaddai and are more excited than ever to tear into this game when it finally drops. The art direction is miles above the average bronze-and-dirt-coloured next-gen title, and the combat is visceral and satisfying. In addition, El Shaddai also features several sidescrolling stages, which help break up the action. Very Japanese and very fun, we’re hoping that El Shaddai will benefit from its mid-August release.

Speaking of very Japanese, this week also sees the release of No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise, a port of Grasshopper Manufacture’s 2008 Wii cult classic. For those who don’t remember, gamers take control of Travis Touchdown, an otaku slacker whose goal is to become the number one assassin in the world. Using a light sab... erm, 'beam katana', he bought online, Travis must hunt down and kill a list of ten assassins in order to reach the top rung of the United Assassins Association. Heroes’ Paradise features upgraded HD visuals and PlayStation Move support, as well as more missions, side jobs, and various gameplay fixes from the Wii version. Gamers who missed out on No More Heroes on the Wii should book a one-way ticket to Santa Destroy, and fans of the first game should plan on a return trip.

23rd August

A prequel to Eidos’ much-loved, open-ended shooter-RPG, Deus Ex: Human Revolution promises to bring an even greater breadth of gameplay styles and options than ever before. Set twenty-five years before the events of Deus Ex, Human Revolution follows Adam Jensen, a private security officer forced to undergo drastic physical augmentations after an attack on his company left him incredibly injured. Human Revolution offers five gameplay types for players to mix and match: Combat, Stealth, Hacking, Exploration and Social. Players can choose to concentrate on one style for a focussed experience, or use a combination to craft their own experiences and solutions. Expect Deus Ex’s signature thematic blend of conspiracy theories and philosophical overtones as well. Gamers in love with taking ownership over how they play will want to give Deus Ex: Human Revolution their undivided attention.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked is the first major RPG for the 3DS, and judging from its predecessor’s pedigree for handheld role-playing, we’re hoping it’s not the last. Telling the story of the last seven days on earth, Devil Survivor Overclocked follows a group of Japanese teens as they attempt to discover and halt what is bringing about the world’s demise. Like previous games in the series, Devil Survivor Overclocked hopes to draw players in with its layered story and multiple endings, as well as its tactical, demon-focussed combat. Devil Survivor Overclocked is an enhanced port of 2009’s Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, and adds more than just upgraded graphics; new voice work is added to the game’s proceedings, alongside an expanded epilogue similar to 2008’s Persona 3 FES. Devil Survivor Overclocked’s mix of modern, supernatural art direction and team-based tactical action should give handheld RPG fans a satisfying experience.

30th August

Developed by the creative mind behind 2005’s Black, Bodycount is a new FPS from Codemasters featuring fast-paced gameplay and big explosions. It takes some serious guts to release a new shooter IP in the console space, but Bodycount is hoping to distinguish itself from its genre compatriots; it applies a heavy focus on destructible environments, letting players tear through cover to get to tenacious opponents, and utilises a cover-lean mechanic for taking cover. Similar to People Can Fly’s Bulletstorm, Bodycount also emphasises chaining together combos of skillful kills, and players can purchase upgrades based on how well they perform during the level. For those curious about Bodycount, Gamer’s Guide to has an exclusive interview coming up in the next few weeks with the game's Art Director, complete with answers to the questions you wanted answering.

Annual sports games have a tough time staying ahead of the curve and delivering a solid, fresh experience year-in and year-out, but fans of the Madden NFL franchise will have plenty to be excited about with this year’s Madden NFL 12. Casting aside the focus on gimmicky additions, EA Tiberon is fixing legacy issues that have plagued the Madden series for years, like magnet tackles and catching. EA Tiberon is also overhauling the Franchise mode, which has gone several years now with few additions. Throw in a better, TV-style presentation and more small on-field details, and this looks like the Madden game football enthusiasts have been longing for.

PC gamers have had several hard months without a major release (but hey, those Steam sales helped tide you over, right?). August sees at least one title find its way onto store shelves. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is a Second World War FPS, but with so many modern military shooters being released, the 1942 Stalingrad setting seems more fresh than it once was.

Developer Ignition Entertainment is striving to make a more realistic shooter in the vein of Operation Flashpoint, with a lack of regenerating health and the addition of hyper-lethal bullets. Red Orchestra 2 focusses on the battles between Russia and Germany in 1942 and 1943, and it’s likely that the brutality of the Stalingrad battles will help this title earn every inch of its M rating. A challenging, focussed shooter at a budget price, Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad should satisfy Second World War history buffs and hardcore PC shooter fans alike.

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- Andrew Testerman

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