You would be forgiven for thinking that March this year is actually November if you judged a month solely by its game releases. This March sees an amazing list of releases that are normally reserved for Christmas sales, yet here we are, only 3 months after last Christmas and facing a month that will make the wallet of any self respecting gamer cry out for mercy.
Following hot on the heels of the February releases which included Marvel vs Capcom 3, the long awaited and ‘must buy’ Playstation 3 release of Mass Effect 2, de Blob 2, Bulletstorm and last, but by no means least, Killzone 3; here are the five main reasons for gamers to be as mad as a March hare.
Beyond Good & Evil HD
Xbox 360/Playstation 3 Developer:Ubisoft
Release Date: 2/03/2011
Beyond Good & Evil is an action adventure game originally released in 2003 to critical acclaim. Unfortunately, it tanked in the sales department with no small thanks to bad marketing and the lack of a target audience. Even so, it went on to win the game of the year award at the 2004 Game developers choice awards.
Beyond Good & Evil is widely regarded as a cult classic by gamers today and we’re sure that most of those gamers will be positively salivating at the imminent release of this classic in glorious High Definition. It will truly be high definition as well because this is not a quick and dirty HD port. This has been re-developed with the love it deserves and over 90% of the textures have been redefined (source: Destructoid ) which means that this is not just a HD port, it’s a true current gen game which is not surprising when you consider that the original was way ahead of its time.
For those who have never played the original, Beyond Good & Evil is a hybrid game that features puzzle solving, stealth, vehicle racing, platforming and adventure all rolled up into one enticing package. The story follows Jade, who is a photographer and makes cash by taking photographs of creatures around the world (Hyllis) in which she lives. Her main job, however, is to uncover a conspiracy which paves the way for a game full of unforgettable characters, cinematic plot twists and inevitable heartbreak.
If you’re one of the people who didn’t play this game the first time around then you really should give this HD release a try. If you’re one of those who did enjoy the original, then you’ve probably already decided to buy this. Oh and let’s not forget that a sequel is already in the works.
PlatformNation Anticipation – 5 out of 5 “A true gem with a new shine”
Fight Night Champion
Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 Developer: EA Sports
Release Date: 4/03/2011
Total punch control was and still is a great control system that forces players to think about their next move rather than mashing buttons and hoping for the best. The system was so good that EA implemented it in Skate and FIFA. The premise of the control system is simple; the left and right sticks control the arms of the boxer respectively and when mastered, a f lurry of unblockable punches and jabs that would put Muhammed Ali to shame could be uneashed with devastating results.
Although, truth be told, it could feel slightly awkward at times.
EA Sports have changed that this time around and the new control system in Fight Night Champion will be more fluid and all about the angle that the stick is pushed in rather than the back then forth then circle around of its predecessor. There will be more punches available and instead of giving ourselves thumb cramp by circling the stick, a quick flick is all that’s required to unleash the chosen punch. It sounds like a definite improvement and can only serve to make Fight Night Champion feel more realistic and the fact that every punch will have degrees of distinction strengthens that opinion.
Screenshots of the game show that the graphics will be slightly improved, which is always a plus, but then Fight Night games have always had great models and superb effects that serve to make punching someone in the face feel almost as brutal as it is in real life.
PlatformNation Anticipation: 4 out of 5 “Punch drunk with excitement”
Dragon Age II
Xbox 360/Playstation 3 Developer: Bioware
Release Date: 11/03/2011
Anyone who has played Dragon Age: Origins will know that it is an epic game with a lot of replayability and some great DLC. A good playthrough could take an excess of 60 hours gametime and although some of the side quests could be quite similar, the game still seemed to feel fresh.
If there is any complaint with Dragon Age: Origins, it’s this: Although the writing is truly brilliant, a lot of the voice acting felt disjointed and unemotional. If some villagers have just lost their son to a demonically rabid one-legged half blind goblin called Bob, then we would expect them to be screaming and crying about the unfairness of it all and begging us to do something. Instead, they speak in tones so calm that we wonder if they were either lobotomised or they just didn’t like their son all that much, and if we don’t want to save him/avenge his death – they would have the attitude of ho hum, que sera sera.
This is actually somewhat of a problem aross the board with Bioware games, but the immense scope of their stories and dramatic content teamed up with the in-game action make it an almost irrelevant complaint. Like a young boy complaining that his ice cream is too cold – he’s still going to eat and enjoy every last morsel, but it’s a little cold for his liking.
Voice acting complaints aside, Dragon Age II promises to be just as epic as the first and our past experiences with Bioware games make this a pretty damn solid promise.
The story sounds like your typical fantasy fare; you are one of very few who escaped the destruction of your home and are now forced to fight for survival in a dangerous world. The action takes place over a decade so we can expect a pretty huge story in which you must find allies to help you claim fame and fortune. This is the story of your rise to power.
Here are some key features to look forward to. Taken from the Dragon Age II Homepage
- Embark upon an all-new adventure that takes place across an entire decade and shapes itself around every decision you make.
- Determine your rise to power from a destitute refugee to the revered champion of the land.
- Think like a general and fight like a Spartan with dynamic new combat mechanics that put you right in the heart of battle whether you are a mage, rogue, or warrior.
- Go deeper into the world of Dragon Age with an entirely new cinematic experience that grabs hold of you from the beginning and never lets go.
Discover a whole realm rendered in stunning detail with updated graphics and a new visual style.
Graphically, the game looks much improved from Dragon Age: Origins and the combat promises to be more responsive. This definitely looks like yet another of the mad March ‘must buys’.
PlatformNation Anticipation: 5 out of 5. “We’re already polishing our weapons”
Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 Developer: Kaos Studios
Release Date: 11/03/2011
We love new IP’s and always wish them the best of luck because they are a risk for any publisher. The likes of the Call of Duty franchise sell well because everyone knows exactly what to expect and the fan base is already well established, so the target audience is not guess work and all these things add up to Call of Duty being a license to print money.
Here then, we have a new contender to the FPS crown with a completely new IP.
Homefront is set in the near future of 2027 and the world as we know it is up the creek without a paddle. One of those dastardly EMP bombs brought American to her knees and she is now being occupied by the equally dastardly Koreans. High school stadiums are detention centres and malls are carparks for armoured attack vehicles.
Sounds pretty unbelievable, right?
Well, although the premise does require a sizeable suspension of disbelief it is penned by John Milius, who also wrote Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn, so with a pedigree like that we can definitely expect some great storytelling,
You don’t play an American soldier with the discipline and fighting skills taught by the army. In Homefront you play a resistance fighter more experienced in Guerrilla Warfare and hit and run tactics; rather than precise military operations. Homefront will have no real battlegrounds where you can call in airstrikes. The fighting will take place in suburban areas where the destroyed home of a once happy family will serve as your defence or a perfect ambush point.
Homefront looks absolutely stunning, and even though it is entering an already crowded arena, it definitely offers a fresh take on a stale genre.
PlatformNation Anticipation: 5 out of 5 “Apocalypse soon”
Xbox 360/Playstation 3 Developer: Crytek
Release Date: 25/03/2011
You have to feel sorry for Crytek. The sequel to the PC crushing Crysis isn’t due to be released until next month but it was leaked and is now being played by unscrupulous, eye-patch wearing, wooden legged, parrot owning skullduggerers everywhere. A jaded start for the game but we’re sure that the console version sales will more than make up for it.
In Crysis 2, New York is infested with alien nasties and if that wasn’t bad enough the long suffering New Yorkers have got a plague epidemic to contend with. So it’s all looking a bit grim and even the army is powerless against the alien nasties because beating them requires technology that doesn’t even exist. Or does it?
This is where you come in. You play a supersoldier (are there any other kind?) who is wearing the combat technology of the future – the Nanosuit 2. It’s, unsurprisingly, your job to fight off the aliens and save the world. No pressure then.
Here are some game features to look forward to. Taken from the Crysis 2 blog
- New York New York: Crysis set the visual benchmark for PC games that still stands today. Crysis 2 will redefine the benchmark on console and PC platforms, shifting their attention to the rich urban jungle of New York City.
- Amazing Aliens and AI: Challenging best-in-class AI with unique group coordination and group behaviour systems which give realistic responses to your actions.
- Nanosuit 2: Adapt your combat tactics by customising your Nanosuit and weapons in real time with revised modes, unlocking a variety of supersoldier abilities.
- Multiplayer: World-renowned multi-player shooter studio Crytek UK is going to reinvent multiplayer with the dynamic intensity of Nanosuit 2.By using Nanosuit technology the player has nearly unlimited ways to approach the dynamic combat environment.
As expected from Crytek, the graphics look lush, although the downside is what looks like a very dull brown/grey pallete which is a stark contrast to the vivid colours of the original games’ jungle backdrop.
The claim that Crytek will “reinvent multiplater” seems haughty, but there is a PC multiplayer demo scheduled for March 1st so they’re definitely confident about it. All in all, this is definitely one to buy.
PlatformNation Anticipation: 5/5 “Missing it would be a crisis”
So there, these are the games set to bankrupt you next month. Whether you remortgage your house or sell your firstborn to purchase them all is your own business. Other notable mentions set for March release are the PS3 exlusive Yakuza 4 (March 18th), a demo of which is available now on PSN+. The PC will see Total War: Shogun 2 (March 15th). What an amazing month.
Which games are you looking forward to and which will you be avoiding like the plague?