‘METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE’ (M)
The “Metal Gear” series has been known primarily for its stealth gameplay, secondarily for its borderline incomprehensible plotlines and lastly for its occasionally over-the-top action. If you’ve always felt that hierarchy should be reversed, then this spinoff was made specifically for you. No under-the-radar infiltrations are to be had here. In “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance,” full-frontal melee assaults of impossible speed and startling brutality are de rigueur. This game’s resident badass is the cybernetically enhanced swordsman Raiden (who has done a remarkable job rehabilitating his image since we all first hated him back in “Metal Gear Solid 2”). In contrast to longtime series protagonist Snake, Raiden is all about flashy, theatrical moves and hack-‘n-slash combat, and this game has been specifically tailored to suit his skillset.
Everything you know, love, or hate about the “Metal Gear” series is irrelevant. The gameplay here is much more reminiscent of “Devil May Cry.” Raiden gracefully dispatches his cyborg foes with a series of balletic combos, ultimately building to a visually stunning finishing move, with which players can slice apart their adversary (in slow motion, of course) in any configuration they choose. In the midst of these vivisections, you can even withdraw your enemy’s robotic spine and use it to restore health. It’s all very stylish and cool, but apart from the combat, “Revengeance” isn’t that interesting. The backdrops aren’t as varied or imaginative as those found in “God of War” or the recent “Devil May Cry” reboot. And newcomers to the “Metal Gear” series are likely to be confused by the story. Come to think of it, veterans of the “Metal Gear” series are likely to be confused as well. But if all you’re looking for is to reduce warmongering cyborgs to thinly sliced deli meat, then look no further.
‘OMERTA: CITY OF GANGSTERS’ (T)
It’s Prohibition-era Atlantic City, and you’re fresh off the boat from Sicily with a whole city to corrupt. That’s the premise of “Omerta” — a game that alternates between citywide resource management and quaint, turn-based gun battles in the streets. Setting up speakeasies, running protection rackets and laundering money will help you slowly take over the city. Emphasis on “slowly.” You’ll spend half your time idly waiting for your illicit activities to generate enough revenue for you to move on to the next illegal venture. In the meantime, frustrating shootouts with rival gangs and law enforcement will kill everything but the wait.
‘BRAIN AGE: CONCENTRATION TRAINING’ (E)
Like its two predecessors, this third “Brain Age” game presents you with a series of mind-boggling mini-games in an effort to make you regularly exercise that big cognitive muscle in your skull. It’s a workout regimen that the game, perhaps, takes a bit too seriously. Resorting to simple extortion, the game locks away its most entertaining mini-games, forcing you to complete several daily grey matter workouts before the best stuff becomes available. So be prepared to grind through multiple days of play sessions where you’re tasked to memorize math problems while providing the solution to an equation you saw four previous math problems ago. CV