New Game Releases: Halo: Spartan Assault, Zen Pinball 2, Pokemon Bank


What’s that old saying about going out with a bang as opposed to a whimper? The slate of new releases for this last full week of 2013 isn’t following that script. It’s definitely more of a whimper.

Let’s face it: almost everything really cool is already out. People are almost done with their Christmas shopping, and what’s left is kind of the equivalent of holiday leftovers.

That’s left me scrambling for anything interesting to fill this space for the week. But I found a few things.

Hopefully Gaming Santa brings you everything you’ve wished for this year. If that still doesn’t satisfy your new game gluttony, here are the lonely couple of noteworthy new releases:

“Halo: Spartan Assault” (Xbox One) – December 24

OMG, a next gen “Halo” game! Oh wait… It’s just “Spartan Assault.” Well, yeah, sorry to get your hopes up. We’ve still got a wait ahead of us to see the franchise really do its thing on Xbox One.

In the meantime, this top-down, third-person shooter may at least give you enough warm, fuzzy “Halo” memories to tide you over. It should look and sound pretty sweet on Xbox One if nothing else. And I’ll probably still suck at it, like I do at every game in the series.

“Zen Pinball 2” (PS4) – December 24

OMG, a pinball game for PS4! Okay, no one is probably saying that in exactly those words—even my mom, and she loves pinball. This game includes boards based on Marvel comics, “Plants vs. Zombies,” “Street Fighter II” and more. It’s already been released for PS3, Vita and Wii U, but I suppose you need to leave no stone unturned when it comes to courting pinball fans.

Come to think of it, my kids, despite growing up firmly in the digital age, also like pinball. Must be one of those skip-a-generation things.

“Pokemon Bank” (3DS) – December 27

You’ve trained your Pokemon to be expert fighters, but can they handle deposits and loan applications? Find out here! Just kidding, of course. “Pokemon Bank” isn’t even a game per se, but a cloud storage system for stashing your pocket monsters. Again, I’m a little short on material this week.

Anyway, this bank allows you to store up to 3,000 Pokemon, and you can swap them between the “X” and “Y” versions of the most recent game. Apparently you’ll also be able to use it to transfer critters from some of the older games too. Will there be a fee to use it? Naturally. It’s a bank, after all.

Have a great Christmas week!