My intro spiel is getting shorter and shorter with each passing month. Not that this transition will be lamented exactly. Ultimately it equates to more exciting titles and fewer inane pleasantries from the analyst who should really be scrutinizing the month’s releases...
But before we start: How’ve you been? Are those new shoes? That weather eh? No accounting for it!Title: Army of Two: The Devils Cartel
Developer: Visceral Games, EA Montreal
Released: March 29th
In an attempt to grow its fanbase (or neuter its appeal) tag-team dudebrahs Salem
have been demoted to the secondary cast in favour of imaginatively named duo, Alpha
. Yet where co-operative bromance has been excised, refined mechanics, robust tactics and specialized Overkills
have been transplanted.
Sutured together with expansive multiplayer, destructible environments and (in the interest of fairness) restrained comedy, The Devil’s Cartel
represents a Frankenstein attempt to re-energize a brand without sacrificing the IP’s heart.
Just the liver, lungs and worthless appendix! Dios Mio!!!Army of Two Preview!Army of Two Interview!Title: SimCity
Released: March 8th
Those unchallenged by the rigors of everyday life (labour, maintenance, refuelling, passing politically insensitive judgements) should leap at the chance to become Mayor of Mayorville as Maxis
return, all triumphant-like!
Minds beyond the simple thrills of 156 hit combos or splitting foes from groin to gullet with a cucumber sandwich (Kratos
doesn’t do will with afternoon tea) should relish juggling emergency services, traffic flow, power distribution, social welfare, ancillary modules, tourist attractions, malfunctioning truckasaurus (truckasauri?) and the inevitable meteor shower every major metropolitan area endures on an annual basis.
Not unlike Tumblr
, expect to lose hours of your life scrolling through Data Visualisation, amending errors, righting wrongs and giving the disgruntled citizenry something to really complain about!SimCity Preview!SimCity Interview!Title: Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
Released: March 12th
-a-sequel finally swarms onto PCs this month. The previously blunted Queen of Blades
leads this charge, with a 20 mission campaign focusing on the unappetising Zerg
race and Sarah Kerrigan’s
gradual acceptance of her renewed human form.
Fittingly, Real Time Strategies have always acted as a halfway house between fans who can’t decide if their spare time should be spent with 7. or 6.
It’s also got spaceships, which is a boon not matter the genre. No matter the genre!
With Command and Conquer’s
conspicuous absence of late, and Blizzard's
reputation for brightly coloured time sinks, Heart of the Swarm
should see many an angry fan screaming down their webcam for years to come.Starcraft II Review!
4.Title: Gears of War: Judgement
Developer: Epic/ People Can Fly
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Released: March 22nd
Relatively appealing premise with Judgement
Imagine all that snappy cover-to-cover combat. The sandbag hop. The blind-fire. The grenade takedowns. The Lancer
Now imagine rather than those two personality vortexes; unfeeling bandana ex-con
and only-momentarily-fazed-by-euthanizing-my-wife Hispanic
, you get the more agreeable caricatures; scathing sarcastic techie
and mildly offensive clichéd black athlete.Baird
and Cole Train
have been itching for a stand-alone since stealing the show in 2006. And with Bulletstorm
devs, People Can Fly
, co-chairing this effort, Judgement
may just boast that twinkle of self realisation a series as gratuitous as Gear of War
should have had since inception.
Whether or not this is the final Gears
remains unclear. But with improved multiplayer, fresh developers and a likeable cast, that this might be ultimate Gears
is less ambiguous.Gears of War: Judgement Hands-On!Title: God of War: Ascension
Developer: Sony Santa Monica
Released: March 13th
Immune to both death and the calming effects of green tea, Kratos is still
on his decade long rage bender. Content to crunch underfoot anyone/thing he encounters because he has literally nothing better to do (like making amends), God of War
breaks the mould by offering multiplay for the first time. Single player enjoys something of an overhaul too, enabling Kratos
to imbue his chained Blades of Chaos
with elemental power or wield collectable sub-weapons for a limited time.
But does Kratos
as the kind swayed by bells and whistles? Thus the draw of SCE Santa Monica
’s Deicide’em’up remains it’s protagonist’s indomitable fury. True GOWIII
proved even the appeal of such primal rage has its limits, but as a saga precursor, Ascension
has the chance to strike an emotional cord!
You know, among all the spinal cords inevitably snapped along the way...God of War: Ascension Hans-On!Opening 30 Minutes of God of War: Ascension!
2.Title: Tomb Raider
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: March 5th
(I very nearly gave Lara
the Hot Spot this month. Maybe I should have. But the article’s written and I’ll be damned if I’m going to the bother of copy/pasting a chunk of text! So she’ll have to live with it. Or open my neck with an arrowhead...)
How better to re-invent a character than returning to her roots, stripping away that bristling confidence, throwing her into perilous environs and forcing her to save her own life? Crystal Dynamics
obviously reckoned chucking in opportunities to plunge the business end of a mountaineer’s pickaxe through the clavicle of an unsuspecting foe was the superior approach.
A third person survival, action title with open world RPG notions, Tomb Raider
offers impressively varied gameplay and is a far cry from her days pumping shotgun rounds into a rampaging T-Rex while somersaulting from the roof of an Atlantean shack!
A more thoughtful, polished, varied game you won’t find this month.
Unless of course 1. gets its act together good and proper...Tomb Raider Review Rundown!
Tomb Raider Hands-On!
1.Title: Bioshock Infinite
Developer: Irrational Games
Released: March 26th
Irrational Games’ Ken Levine
has a big mouth. Then again 2K
are giving him a lot of cash.
The world waits, breath baited, to see if he can slot Money B in Mouth A!
He probably will. God knows he’s done it before, pioneering a certain subversive, subterranean System-Shock
successor that went on to garner such universal acclaim that every time I so much as suggest that Bioshock
is even the slightest bit overrated, I instinctively leap to the side lest a vave of concussive fanboy hatred pulverizes me!
That said Infinite has
been plagued with delays, media blackouts and broken promises. And for all the talk of how Columbia
soars over Rapture
, the Skyhook
will revolutionize fast travel or Elizabeth
will fundamentally alter first person shooting, perhaps we’re just looking at shades of lighter blue, corridor sequences and the occasional involuntary QTE.
I hope not. I want
games to be good. So that when I play them, they’re good. The arithmetic isn’t challenging!
But when it comes to Bioshock: Infinite
, I have a doubt.
Right now it is a seed.
And I pray to the 9-Ironed corpse of Andrew Ryan
that the tumultuous rapture of Irrational’s next title blows it clear before it properly takes root.Bioshock Infinite – Interview!