Who cares if March is over half over, there are a lot of releases and a whole new platform to talk about and we want to help you make good choices for you gaming time and your gaming dollar. We have assembled a list of the noteworthy games of the month. While some of our opinions may have changed for better or worse since the reviews started coming out, here are our original thoughts before they were tainted by cold, hard facts.
Week of Feb 28
- Beyond Good & Evil – XBLA
- Rift – PC
- Pokemon Black/White – DS
- Dawn of War II: Retribution – PC
- Fight Night Champion – 360, PS3
- PixelJunk Shooter 2 – PSN
- Vagrant Story – PSN
Week of March 7
- Dragon Age II – 360, PS3, PC
- Torchlight – XBLA
- MLB 11 The Show – PS3
- MLB 2K11 – Everything
- Yoostar 2 – 360, PS3
Week of March 14
Week of March 21
- Crysis 2 – 360, PS3, PC
- Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – Everything
- Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime – XBLA, PSN
- Swarm – XBLA, PSN
- Splinter Cell Trilogy HD – PSN
- Prince of Persia Trilogy HD – PSN
- Tomb Raider Trilogy HD – PSN
Week of March 28
Here’s What Has Our Attention this March
Dragon Age II
jmgist – I have prepared words in reference to Dragon Age II…words of praise and excitement. For this guy, on paper, it’s immediately a contender for Game of the Year honors simply due to Bioware’s sterling track record and my rich vein of affection for Origins. The demo didn’t do much to dissuade my lofty expectations, hinting at the kind of storytelling and interesting character dynamics that you expect from this developer. The much-ballyhooed, steroid-injected combat, while a bit jarring at first— I half expected a combo counter to appear onscreen while playing as the Rogue—is a welcome addition in my eyes, as some battles in Origins approached tedium with their glacial, MMO-esque pace. I don’t mind the franchise veering more towards “action” RPG as long as it doesn’t compromise the world-building and atmosphere, and thus far it seems like we might just be getting the best of both worlds. With all of that said, it’s time once again to go bathe in Darkspawn blood and bang all of my partymates. ENCHANTMENT?
JDevL – I’d be kidding myself if I thought I was going to get into Dragon Age II anytime soon. However, I recently became enamored with the original, so as soon as that “short” game is done, I’ll be moving onto the sequel. Although, streamlined a bit in comparison it is sounding like II is more suited for my RPG-lite tastes. Add plenty of blood, interesting characters, and a better art style and my excitement for the sequel will push me through any lulls in the first game.
Wizardtrain187 – Dragon Age 2 II has peaked my interest, but as I’ve mentioned in the past I have yet to complete Dragon Age: Origins. The March releases are starting to highlight the fact that my back log is way too long and that I need some vacation time to tie up some loose ends. However, like Shogun 2, should I happen to get through Origins and find a bit more time, Dragon Age II definitely has a chance of entering my Steam list in Early April or May. What can I say, Bioware is like a drug.
JPizzle151 – I feel that the military shooter genre is wide open this year…and ready for the wheel to be reinvented. Homefront is the first release in the genre with an, “I hope art will not imitate reality” storyline where the US has been invaded by The Greater Korea Republic in 2025. The US forces are scattered as the Korean occupation spreads across the country. The game’s story also touches on almost too-close-to-home issues such as the fall of the American economy, the bankruptcy of GM and gas at 20 dollars a gallon due to a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The game is written by John Milius (co-writer of Apocalypse Now and writer of Red Dawn). The story will also infuse real brands to help add a strong sense of emotion to the story. Multiplayer will feature 32 players online with infantry and vehicular combat. This game is THQ’s most pre-ordered game in its history and may set a high bar for Battlefield 3 or the as yet unannounced Call of Duty title, but there’s always the chance that it could fall flat on its face. I am very curious to see the reviews of this game or a demo before making a final decision. (Update: No thanks.)
GiffTor – Even though the early results are in from the immediately-post-review embargo and they’re looking moderate, I’m very, very interested in getting into Homefront. Even though it’s a “Game of March,” I doubt that I’ll get into it until April sometime because, well, there’s not enough time in the day. That said, everything that I’ve read about the storyline and the approach to guerrilla warfare against highly overwhelming odds really grabbed my attention. I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet, but the weapon-models look great and truthfully, I’m kind of ready for a set-in-the-future-but-not-the-raygun-future kind of game. Replaying Gears of War 2 has been nice, but I want to kill me some Totalitarian Commie Bastards for little Susie who had her childhood ruined. (Full disclosure: imagining L.A. in flames/being flattened by combat gives me the giggles.) (Update: Not getting this one, see the end of the podcast.)
Wizardtrain187 – Homefront reminds me of one of my favorite movies in Red Dawn, and from the gameplay videos and background info looks to carry that patriotic “retaking of what is ours” mentality through what looks to be a gritty and frightening campaign. Scary tends to be used to describe zombies, vampires and aliens but what Homefront looks to be suggesting is something that is even scarier in a semi realistic sense. Probably one of the few FPS games that I’m more excited for the single player component, but the multiplayer looks and sounds like it may be a satisfying alternative to the Call of Duty train that’s been sitting at the station for a few years now. (Update: Ugh!)
Dawn of War II: Retribution
Wizardtrain187 – Dawn of War II: Retribution, simply put, is what Dawn of War II should have been. Not only does 29.99 buy you six 5-10 hour long single player campaigns, but it also gives you access to a very diverse multiplayer with six unique races and 30 maps. Throw in co-op play on the single player maps and a horde like mode for three players called “Last Stand” and you have what I believe is one of the best values in PC gaming to date. It doesn’t hurt that Dawn of War II is one of the best looking RTS games out either.
JDevL – My curiousity for Dawn of War II: Retribution is purely based on Ethan’s level of excitement. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. However, when it’s compared to one of my favorite games of all-time (Warcraft III) and it’s a franchise (Warhammer 40k) that I’ve been watching from a distance for a while, I’m at high risk to give into temptation on this one. I tend to get overwhelmed by strategy games, but the lower unit count to Retribution tips the scales in my favor. As soon as there is a sale or one more solid sale’s pitch from Ethan, my wallet may open quickly.
Colefacekilla – WWE All-Stars WILL BE in my collection. I’m looking for that game to fulfill the need to have a wrestling game at all times, which hasn’t been the case since I bought Fire Pro Wrestling for the GBA back in the early 2000’s. Hopefully, it will bring joy to the hearts of the Cursed as it fondly brings back memories of the old WCW/nWO Revenge type of games.
JDevL – Now, I’m no Colefacekilla as far as keeping up with the “real” wrestling, but I have had my share of good times with pro wrestling games. WWE All-Stars brings back a roster I can get excited about and gets rid of the extracurriculars that keep me away from the Smackdown vs RAW series. I just want over the top moves with plenty of satisfaction when I hit the big moves. I want reasons to trash talk, and I want it to be easy to pick up and play for my friends so I have a reason to keep playing. This game will not be great, but it could be a hell of a lot of fun if done right. Plus, I heard someone call it the NFL Blitz of wrestling games. I smell what this game is cookin.
Best of the rest
Torchlight – JDevL: It may be more out of respect that I drop cash on Torchlight again. After putting 20+ hours into the PC version, I’m just cheering on Runic Games as they bring a seemingly PC-only game to the consoles. I also have a feeling that if they get it right, they will cut out all of the tedious parts of dungeon crawlers that bog me down. Plus if it is a success, you may see Blizzard change their tune with their upcoming Diablo 3 release. Pushing Blizzard to new creative heights can only be a good thing.
Beyond Good & Evil – JDevL: One of the greatest games of last generation that no one played remade for $10 on XBLA. That’s enough for me to try it out. Zelda fans should line up for this one.
Yoostar 2 – JDevL: It’s been a couple of months since I picked up a new party game. All you need to know is this game encourages drunken reenactments of popular movie scenes, plus it works with Kinect. I’ll be back for another take after another shot.
Total War: Shogun 2 – Wizardtrain187: I previewed Total War: Shogun 2 and really enjoyed the depth of the game, but it more than likely will not make the cut this month because I might be all strategied out after playing Dawn of War IIL Retribution. Still, Total War: Shogun 2 is a stunning game and if I have a long weekend coming up anytime soon it may just make its way back into my sights. Anyone who loved Civ 5 and loves feudal Japan needs to grab this game as soon as it gets out.
Fight Night: Champion – GiffTor: I only like baseball if I’m at the park watching it in person. I’m not Canadian, so I haven’t cared about hockey games since the genre peaked with NHL 1994/Mutant League Hockey. Even though it’s sacrilege, coming from southern Indiana, I think basketball’s sort of stupid; I’m avoiding Madden right now because it makes me remember that there may be no 2011/2012 NFL season and when I play FIFA or Winning 11, I normally put it down and go get my soccer ball and, you know, play I R L…so you might not think I’d get excited about the newest Fight Night entry, but you’d be incorrect. I LOVED Fight Night: Round 3 so much I destroyed a controller: not from smashing it, but from using so much pressure on the analog sticks throwing left hooks with my lanky middleweight southpaw, Spenser Paws. (Yes, he was named after my dog. Shut it.) I used to do Krav Maga and I love the art of pugilism, so when you combine those things with how great Fight Night: Round 3 was (hey, it had “Realistic Boob Physics,” too), I am psyched.
Rush’n Attack: Ex-Patriot – JPizzle151: The original Rush’n Attack on the NES is the quintessential, “Who brings a knife to a gun fight?” let alone an invasion of a Soviet base. As a kid, I loved this game despite its insane level of difficulty. Now Konami is set to release a reboot of this franchise similar to the recent Bionic Commando reboot from Capcom. The game looks great and the gameplay looks solid as well. If this game delivers, I want to see more revamped retro-reboots of the cult classics. Maybe a Life Force or Castlevania retro reboot could be in the cards?
MLB 2K11 – JPizzle151: MLB2K11 is 2K Sports annual entry into their baseball franchise. New features include a broadcast style presentation with the voice talents of Gary Thorne, Steve Phillips, and John Kruk. The game also has a feature called MLB Today, which is supposed to integrate statistics from the real pros, including hot and cold streaks. We will have to see how this works out in the long run. Batting is still tough, as is the pitching. Umpires have a random strike zone, making them closer to their real-life counterparts. The game also forces you to think like a manager and watch pitch counts. One wrong move can cost an entire game.
Crysis 2 – Coopopolopolis: As far as March goes I think the only game that sort of has my attention is Crysis 2. My curiosity of this game really just stems from all the hype the original got for PC as far as the visuals. I never actually saw it because I didn’t have a pc that could actually handle it so in my mind its kind of this unbelievable visual nerdgasm. The fact that they’re releasing Crysis 2 on Xbox has me a little excited just for what it could look like. Usually when I think of an engine that’s going to blow me away visually I immediately think of Unreal since nothing can really touch it. Therefore, I’d like to see what CryENGINE is capable of. I’m all for another great looking engine to make its way to the console to see how it can really push the hardware. I really know nothing about the story, but make it look good and give me some nice weapons and I’ll give it a try.
Giant Bomb (images)