This week’s new releases! February 28th – March 6th
Well it looks like this is going to be one to remember If you like RPGs as just about every type of ‘em seems to be getting some coverage this week. First up we’ve got the unrelenting juggernaut beloved by the hardcore and casual alike, Pokemon for the DS. As per tradition it comes in one of two flavors: Black or White, with each containing a hand full of exclusive monsters that can’t be obtained in their counterpart. This time around there will also be a large amount of aesthetic differences and an exclusive new area for each side, namely the Black version’s dominating Black City and the White version’s peaceful White Forest. To the casual eye there’s not a heap of difference between Black/White and the previous editions of the franchise; it’s still the same easy to play but surprisingly deep RPG its always been, just now with a new lick of paint and a whole plethora of new monsters to catch. If that’s not enough to get you exited then I think Pokemon might not be your thing anyway.
If you’re more into cute anime girls than cute anime monsters then perhaps you should instead focus your attention on the latest RPG from Idea Factory: Hyperdimension Neptunia exclusive to the PS3. Mechanically it’s just another run of the mill ultra grindy JRPG, but Instead of the usual spiky hair teenage boy with magical powers on a quest for friends/acceptance/revenge/answers, Neptunia actually has a pretty interesting story setup. You take the role of the Console Patron Units who are the physical embodiments of the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, the unreleased Sega Neptune and a few Japanese game companies, who unsurprisingly for a JRPG all look like well endowed teenage girls. Their quest is to transverse the dangerous world of Gamindustri (see what they did there?) in order to battle the dark forces of… DS Piracy. While the gameplay is no doubt going to bore the uninitiated out of their minds, the unique and surprisingly topical story premise might be enough to ensnare those who would normally snub these kinds of games. Well, it certainly worked on me anyway.
On the less cutesy side we have the latest in the German produced action RPG series Gothic with Arcania: Gothic 4 for the Xbox 360 and PC finally making its way to our shores. Reviews of the title have been pretty negative thus far, many citing that this entry in the series has apparently been significantly dumbed down to appeal to the more casual console gamer audience. Whether that will translate into poor sales is another thing entirely as previous Gothic games have really failed to catch on over here anwyway, so perhaps takeing a more Fable like approach might end up serving them better.
On the other hand your “serious” RPG needs might also be filled by the latest “I can’t believe it’s not World of Warcraft!” MMO Rift, which is of course exclusive to the PC. Judging by the average life cycle of fantasy MMOs these days I can’t say I would encourage anyone to pick it up right now; at best it will probably go free-to-play within a year.
If none of this swords and sorcery or Japanese craziness floats your boat then fear not! Because in the grim darkness of the future, there is only WAR (and grim darkness). More specifically, Dawn of War 2: Retribution for the PC, the latest in Relic entertainment’s series of brutal RTSs based on the ever popular Warhammer 40K universe. This stand alone expansion pack sees a host of mechanical tweaks as well as a new campaign for each of the 6 playable factions, including the newly implemented Imperial Guard. Still no Tau or Necrons though, so I think I’ll be waiting until Retribution pops up in one of Steam’s crazy sales.
This week also sees the belated European release of the uDraw peripheral and its assorted games for the Nintendo Wii. Don’t get too exited and start throwing away your “real” graphics tablets just yet, it’s probably going to be just another Wii add-on that will only get used once or twice at most before it’s relegated to the back of the cupboard for the rest of eternity. But I’m sure that won’t stop it selling boat loads though, or stop its games clogging up the retail charts for a week or two. I guess that’s just the way things are these days……. If you excuse me, I’m just going to go cheer myself up by planing how to turn a sentiant trash bag into an unstoppable engine of destruction. A good stat filled week to you all!
Fight Night Champion (PS3/Xbox360)
Busy Scissors (WII/DS)
Arcania: Gothic 4 (PC/Xbox360)
Hidden Photo (DSi)
uDraw GameTablet (With uDraw Studio)
Pictionary (uDraw GameTablet Compatible)
Dood’s Big Adventure (uDraw GameTablet Compatible)
Warhammer 40000: Dawn Of War II Retribution
Warhammer 40000: Dawn Of War II – Complete Collection
Elements Of War
Borderlands: Game Of The Year Edition (Mac)
Battlestations: Pacific (Mac)
The Hidden Mystery Collectives: Awakening 1 & 2
Nightmare Adventures: The Witch’s Prison
Star Wars Mac Pack: Empire At War & Knights Of The Old Republic (Mac)
Star Wars: Jedi Knight Gold Pack (Mac)
Championship Manager 2010 (Mac)