Week in Arcade: Counter-Strike, Jo Jo’s Adventure, Expendables 2

Out of the Summer of Arcade comes this trio of backlogged XBLA efforts, one hitting the $20 price ceiling.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Once Xbox Live was shuttered for the original Xbox, so was the console version of Counter-Strike. In steps Global Offensive, a modern spin on what remains one of the most popular PC shooters anywhere. This edition feels heavy, movement bogged down by slow moving reticules and a stickiness to objects that is wholly unappealing. Still, encounters are intimate, with small player sets and objectives that keep combat contested for the duration of these multiple round matches. A selection of weapons and funds to purchase more for the winning team creates tense, strategic stand-offs in the right hands, certainly a cut above the standard run ‘n gun philosophies of other shooters. The main question? Can this online shooter prevail where so many XBLA FPS titles have failed?

Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure

The “HD” part of this release is a gaudy mess, blurring the sprites but attempting justification by adding sketch lines. It’s a crying shame because Jo Jo has some of Capcom’s best sprite work from this era, eccentric and kooky. Still, it’s a wonder why Capcom see $20 in this digital release, but not for any of their Street Fighter offerings. Someone is testing the waters. It’s a great fighter with a supernatural edge to the characters, although aside from online play and garish filters, nothing has been done. Again, why is this $20?

The Expendables 2

Of all the things Expendables 2 is missing, the last thing on that imaginary list should be decent weapons. As a modern throwback to the likes of Ikari Warriors, this dud limits ammo and creates weapon selections that barely register. You simply don’t take a sniper rifle into a rapid fire, mass numbers top down dual analog shooter. Nor pistols. Or a bunch of throwing knives, Miniscule weapons like a shotgun sort of “get it,” and so does the SMG. But, with four players, each is locked to a specific character. Someone is getting stuck with the crippled weapon selection. Bland visuals and stuff voice acting don’t help.