Hot Games of the Week Reviewed: June 30th

Your old buddies Dante and Dr. Mario are stopping by to say hi during summer break, bringing revamped versions of their classic games to current consoles. You can take your sword and dual-wielded guns to slaughter demonic enemies in the former (Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition) and pop a stream of tumbling pills to knock out viruses in the latter (Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure). Another old favorite showing up for the first-time on a new console is Planetside 2, a free-to-play first-person shooter MMO that jockeys for space on your hard drive.
Reviews by Phil Villarreal. Phil is an authorblogger and Twitterer. Publishers provided review copies.

Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure

(3DS, $10, Everyone)

Ever fond of going back to the well, Nintendo brings back the addictive puzzler Dr. Mario for another go-round on its hot-selling handheld. You rotate and arrange falling pill-shaped blocks, Tetrist style, matching colors to viruses that vanish once you connect four similar colors. The hook this time around are power-ups called Miracle Cures, which clear out large sections of viruses quickly.
You can play the unchanged classic version, swap out skins to have Luigi take over the stethoscope, or try out the faster-paced Virus Buster mode. After you’ve tired of topping your high scores, you can try your hand at online multiplayer, which is well-paced, lag-free and just about always filled with competitors worldwide. There’s not quite enough here to justify a $10 buy-in if you’ve already got a version of the game you’re happy with, but it’s worth a download if you haven’t touched the game since the Game Boy Advance days.

Planetside 2

(PS4, Free, Teen)

Daybreak’s free-to-play MMORPG first-person shooter has built up a sizable base of PC gamers, and now joins the slim selections of similar games available on consoles. It’s a natural fit on the PS4, thanks to well-honed, Killzone-style controls and an approachable interface that isn’t bogged down in menus and commands in the manner of many MMO PC ports.
You can stalk, hunt and blast away enemies to your heart’s content for free, with no PlayStation Plus membership required to jump in. As is the case with all “free” games, there is plenty to buy to bulk up your gear and firepower, and obsessives who go that route can save some money by sticking with the optional $15-a-month subscription model, which offers up credits, priority server access, resource boosts, entry into double-XP weekend events and discounts. It’s a credit to the developers that the game doesn’t force you to cough up cash to have fun. Of course, those who want to compete at elite levels tend to pay up regularly.

Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition

(Xbox One, PS4, $25, Mature)

Buy Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition on Amazon here

Capcom has not been shy about sweeping out its stable of last-gen top sellers for remastered rereleases on current-gen consoles, and 2008’s Devil May Cry 4 is next in line. The last of the traditional demon-slaying shoot-and-slash-em-ups before the series reboot is fun and refreshing, although showing its age as well. An antiquated checkpoint system and camera make the struggles with the mechanics as tough as anything Satan is able to throw at you in the game.
Helping the wise-cracking white-haired demigod, and his brooding sidekicks Vergil and Nero, brutalize the forces of evil is still as entertaining as ever. The goal is not only to mash through the disposable enemies, but to do it with style, racking up combos with flair. A pair of new modes, dubbed Turbo and Legendary Dark Knight, ratchet up the speed and difficulty considerably. The discounted price makes the game an appealing pick-up.

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