This Week in Gaming: Galactic 4X (eXamine, eXfoliate, eXclaim, Xylophone)

twig may 15 2015 invisible inc
“New release” is a much fuzzier term these days when it comes to video games. Invisible, Inc. and Galactic Civilizations III have been available for months in Early Access builds, but are only now officially out. Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains came out in Japan two years ago, but only now is arriving on Western shores. Project CARS is newly available for consoles, but hit PCs last week and had similarly been circulating in Early Access prior to that. Whether new to you, or just newly polished, all these games offer something exciting.

What will you be playing this week?

Invisible, Inc.

Windows/Mac/Linux (May 12)
This is a tactical, turn-based stealth game from the fantastic Canadian indie studio Klei Entertainment, which previously brought us excellent games like Don’t Starve and Mark of the Ninja. It takes heavy inspiration from XCOM, but instead of armored marines and blasting aliens, it’s stealthy spies and corporate espionage.

Missions maintain tension with an interesting risk/reward system wherein the longer you will want to explore the procedurally generated levels completely to steal everything not nailed down, but the longer you take, the more guards are called in to find you, making your escape much trickier.

Project CARS

PS4/Xbox One (May 12)
Literally titled on every level, CARS is actually an acronym Community Assisted Racing Simulator, because British developer Slightly Mad Studios relied heavily on its community for both the funding and development of the game. It will include over 67 drivable cars and over 52 race tracks for a variety of motorsports and gameplay modes

The emphasis in Project CARS lies squarely in realistic simulation and a sandbox approach, with no cars or tracks gated off behind unlock requirements when you first play the game. Weather and lighting are simulated live, and it even features a dynamic tire physics model sure to get hardcore gear-heads excited.

Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains

3DS (May 12)
First released in 2013, Attack on Titan rapidly became one of the biggest anime phenomena in years — just swing by any geeky con these days and count the number of people cosplaying as members of the Scout Regiment if you need proof. It tells the story of a world ravaged by mysterious, humanoid giants that have terrorized humanity into hiding behind great walls, and the sword-wielding Scouts who take them on.

Fans of the anime and manga will love the chance to strap on an ODM (Omni-directional Mobility Gear) and zip through the air, battling giants many times their size. Humanity in Chains first came out in Japan in 2013, and is coming west now to match the series’ growing English-language following.

Galactic Civilizations III

Windows (May 14)
For fans of strategy games, the name says it all: it’s like Civilization, but in space. Galactic Civilizations has earned a place as one of the leading franchises in the genre of space 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate), allowing you to take command of an alien race, starting from your modest home world and expanding to colonize a galaxy-spanning empire through warfare and diplomacy.

The series first launched in 1993, spawning a few sequels. Developer Stardock rebooted the franchise a decade later in 2003, so this is the third iteration of the series’ latest life. After over two decades of working in the genre, Stardock has picked up a thing or two, and so this promises to be the best entry yet.

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