Game makers gear up for holiday season: NBA 2K13, Resident Evil 6 and Pokemon

October 4, 2012

With the Wii U on tap for November and a new, slim version of the PlayStation 3, hardware may be the star of this year’s gaming show. But what good are shiny new consoles without games to play on them?

Christmas may be a couple of months away, but video game makers are releasing a few top titles that could make prime stocking stuffers. Or, you know, things to play this weekend.

NBA 2K13: For the newest installment of its NBA game, released Tuesday, 2K Games tapped some top talent to bring a new feel to the game: Jay-Z.

Contributions from the rap mogul permeate every aspect of this game. Yes, of course, there’s great music, but there’s also a better roster of players, thanks to Jay-Z’s involvement and his connections with the NBA.

For example, the game includes the whole 1992 Olympic Dream Team — from Charles Barkley to John Stockton — for the first time.

The game itself adds basic features that improve overall play. Dribbling in the game has changed and is mapped to the right-analog stick along with shooting, passing and other moves for better overall control. Certain players also get “signature skills” — abilities that make a player more valuable to his team. On the Xbox 360 version, gamers are also able to call out plays and strategies through the Kinect.

Reviewers have been raving about the new title, with IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey giving it a 9.1 out of 10 and saying it “might even be the best sports game of all, period.” The title is available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and will also be coming to the Wii U.

Resident Evil 6:A new Resident Evil also dropped this week — the sixth game to bear the name of the zombie-filled franchise, though there have been a slew of spin-offs.

Reviews so far have not been that good. The Associated Press slammed the title, with reviewer Lou Kesten complaining that it “lumbers along brainlessly” like the undead it features. Overall, he said, the title felt more like an action movie instead of a horror game.

The side-by-side play the franchise introduced in 2009 has survived to this iteration, which Kesten says is “fitfully amusing” with two players and is downright annoying when flying solo.

Entertainment Weekly reviewer Darren Franich also panned the newest installment, saying that the franchise has hit an “all-time low.”

Pulling no punches, he called it “one of the most repetitive, listless and utterly incoherent experiences ever produced by a major videogame series.”

The title is out on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Pokemon Black Version 2/Pokemon White Version 2: Nintendo went back to the Unova region for the latest installment of its Pokemon game, and that’s not all that feels familiar.

Pokemon fans are always eager to pick up the latest games in this series to, well, catch ‘em all — this title adds new game-specific Legendary Pokemon in addition to Pokemon from previous titles. For the most part, the company sticks to its tried-and-true formula, though it also throws in a couple of extra features that add a bit of spice to the mix.

It has new characters and new areas, and a post-game World Tournament that brings familiar faces back to battle. Other adds include PokeStar Studios, where gamers can show off their favorite Pokemon to an adoring movie audience — similar to the contests of past games.

Joystiq reviewer Kat Bailey also liked that the game added achievements — called medals in this title — that reward players for small wins throughout the larger game.

“This is a long overdue addition, especially given Pokémon’s notoriously obsessive-compulsive fanbase,” she said.

Pokemon Black Version 2 and Pokemon White Version 2 will be out Oct. 7, for the Nintendo DS.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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