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New Releases: Week of 3/13

/ Mar 13th, 2016 No Comments

Pokkén Tournament

Spring has sprung bringing with it some heavy hitter new releases. This week marks the beggining of the PlayStation Store’s Launch Party, which will bring us interesting indie titles til mid-April. We also have two oddly dichotomous sports games, and the true fighting game hype coming out this week.

New releases this week include the return of mixed martial arts video gaming in EA Sports UFC 2, 2Dark Souls-like action in Salt and Sanctuary, going for the gold in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, getting hype in Pokkén Tournament, Sheltered comes out of Early Access for a full release on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and Dungeon of the Endless and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse come to Xbox One.

EA Sports UFC 2 – PS4, Xbox One – March 15

EA launched or re-launched a number of sports game franchise with the dawning of the new console cycles. Most of those franchises were less impressive than expected. EA Sports UFC 2 is another opportunity for EA to get mixed martial arts action correct. The second iteration in the UFC franchise promises better character likenesses and animations with new gameplay features, and a larger roster. New facial modeling, hair physics, better strike deformation upon impacts, and more animations aim to better capture UFC fighting verisimilitude.

EA Sports UFC 2

EA Sports UFC 2.

New gameplay features include a knockout physics system, which has physics-driven hit reactions and knockouts to deliver more visceral and unique knockouts. Grappling has been overhauled to give players the freedom of independent controls to grappling situations giving both fighters to interact in grapples. Aiding the grapple gameplay are better transitions with submissions. Defensive fighting has also improved with the ability to control a fighter’s head movement to avoid fierce strikes to the head, and a better blocking and parrying system make it possible to tangle with aggressive fighters.

EA Sports UFC 2 comes with a wide variety of modes to compete in from the straight forward KO Mode to the Live Events predictive mode, and even building your own UFC Ultimate Team.

Salt and Sanctuary – PS4 – March 15

In Salt and Sanctuary, you are a shipwrecked sailor stranded on an island unaffected by the centuries of perpetual world war. This island is no safe haven, it feels more like purgatory. It is teeming with hostile creatures out for your neck. Corpses re-animated wander the island looking for fresh meat and more unspeakable evils dwell beneath. Pick up a weapon and defend yourself, but make sure to head toward the salt-worn dwellings on the island and work with the other stranded travelers to find some form of sanctuary on this unfriendly place.

Salt and Sanctuary

Salt and Sanctuary.

Combining Ska Studios’ flair for stylistic 2D side scrolling action, RPG mechanics, and “Soulslike” approach means you’ll have your work cut out for yourself trying to survive in Salt and Sanctuary. The game features over 600 weapons allowing for a wide variety of builds to brave the monstrous enemies of the island. Utilize different weapon move sets, air attacks’ hang time, and rolling doges to best unfathomable horrors. Salt and Sanctuary features a unique take on co-op and PVP in the form of sellswords.

Sellswords can be summoned and hired at sanctuaries allowing another player to choose a character in their roster to join you in the hunt. Playing with a second makes enemies tougher both in health and attack power. PVP takes a different approach in the Egg of Wrath, which can be crushed while summoning a sellsword to initiate an intense PVP battle. It can even be used during a boss battle to make it a battle royale.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – 3DS – March 18

The Olympic Games are coming up and finally world class athletes are coming back to video games. Everyone’s favorite sports stars Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog are lacing up and gearing out for the 2016 Olympic Games in beautiful Rio de Janeiro. This gives players around the world another opportunity to tackle the summer games with characters from the most popular video game franchises around.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

No, they won’t be taking on FloJo (although you can make a Mii version of the track legend), but competing against over 40 characters from both Mario and Sonic’s universe including Birdo, Vector, Larry, Blaze, and more. Don’t worry everyone’s favorite competitor Waluigi will be competing. Players will be able to participate in over fourteen Olympic events include football, golf, archery, boxing, beach volleyball, table tennis, rhythmic gymnastics, and much more. Also enjoy the Road to the Olympics (or regular events) as your Mii character. Choose between Sonic or Mario, train, and explore Rio while trying to solve some of the mysterious happenings in the town.

Pokkén Tournament – Wii U – March 18

Forget Street Fighter V, the true hype is finally coming out with the release of Pokkén Tournament. In the game you can battle online (friendly or ranked) or against friends at home as one of sixteen Pokémon like Pikachu, Weavile, Luacrio, Charizard, and more. While turning the Pokémon series into a fighting game seems like a weird move, the gameplay is focused on action allowing players to perform techniques and special moves from the series. Players can also Mega Evolve by building up meter in the “Synergy Gauge”. Support Pokémon like Evee, Lapris, and more, will come to the aid of battle Pokémon to give them some extra help in a fight.

Pokkén Tournament

Pokkén Tournament.

Pokkén Tournament has a story mode in the form of the Ferrum League. Players will become a trainer trying to reach the top of Ferrum League. Winning battles in this mode unlocks additional support Pokémon and selectable stages. The Ferrum region is special because of Synergy Stones, which connects humans and Pokémon in a unique way. Ferrum Battles are not meant to test a Pokémon’s strength but a trainer and their Pokémon’s Synergy. As players battle their way through the Ferrum League they will increase their rank in order to become one of the top 8 trainers in the league.

By battling through the Ferrum League, players will discover the existence of a new Pokémon, “Shadow Mewtwo”, and eventually battle it (launch copies will include a special amiibo card of the character to unlock it immediate for play).

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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