"What is this new devilry?" asked Sean Bean of a pillar as a Balrog gurgled somewhere off through the arches. Were the noise to have been the arrival of October 28th's games, and Sean's inquiry to have been one as to the particulars of its make-up, however, the answer would been: well there's City of Villains, Call of Cthulhu and The Suffering, Sean. You can see them on the list below. Plenty of devilry there. Except that wasn't what Sean was after. And nor, probably, is it what you want, because there's so much out this weekend that it's ludicrous sticking to one subset.
Well, faintly ludicrous, but we've been further than that before so why not? City of Villains, or COV to people with limited breath, is the sequel-to-that-also-expands City of Heroes. Having risen through the ranks as a creature of virtue, you're now given the opportunity to undo yourself, skulking through the depths as a creature of, well, I was going to alliterate in the direction of 'Cruciferae' but I think those are flowers even though it sounds like 'cruciare', so let's just say you can be a BADDIE. It's entirely unlikely that first-day views of COV will make any sense, it being an MMORPG and all, but Cryptic's munificence is certainly worthy of praise: peeking inside the DVD Collector's Box reveals an artbook, all sorts of little figurines and more beside that. Looks better even than the full blooded COH Collector's Ed. we bought last time.
Cthulhu, pronunciation issues aside, along with The Suffering are much darker beasts. Where COV's probably more to do with panto-naughtiness, Cthulhu is literally and literarily Lovecraftian in its devilry, and darkly engrossing to boot. The Suffering's less exciting - more of a... "more of a" does the job really. Liked The Suffering? This is that with more.
There's evil all over the shop, actually. Makai Kingdom's another Nippon Ichi RPG export, brought to us by the kindly hands of KOEI, plumbing further into the dank Netherworld of Disgaea. Visually old-fashioned, it's clearly aimed at folks who agreed with Rob that Disgaea was momentous. Evil, evil... There's Marvel Nemesis on the DS and Without Warning, which features generic terrorists, but nobody's really espousing the virtues of either. If it's possible, Nemesis on the DS got more slagged than the console versions, and Without Warning, while not dreadful by any stretch, is thoroughly ignorable.
After that it all gets rather happy again (unless you count Dead to Rights II, which has been scoring badly despite letting you order a dog around, which seems to be the style these days). We can't imagine Dancing Stage: Mario Mix being anything other than giddy excitement, although that becomes easier to imagine when you glance toward the review aggregators and they all say things like "it's too easy and the song quality is inconsistent". Still, dancefloors are notable for their absence on the Cube, so it may be one to look to. Things, as ever, are brighter on the DS, which continues to demand its place in our jacket pocket on the way out the door thanks to Pac 'n Roll. Yes. Wonderfully, four hundred years later, Pac-Man's worth buying again. John said it was a solid effort, although he obviously said it in a far more entertaining and engaging manner.
And again with the PC. Cobwebs thoroughly dusted by the likes of FEAR, this week it welcomes the aforementioned COV, Starship Troopers, Star Wars: Battlefront II (also on PS2, Xbox, PSP), X3: Reunion and Vietcong 2. In saying that, they mostly sound a bit spasmodic in the delight-delivery, although we'll reserve judgement on Battlefront and X3 until we can issue some ourselves. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 though. It's out. You may recall we like this.
All of which plants us on the verge of shutting the hell up, with little left to say except: SSX On Tour is out on PSP, Tony Hawk's finally gets his American Wasteland on with the PS2, Xbox and Cube, and Operation Flashpoint makes its long-awaited appearance on Xbox - to acclaim, thankfully! Things are going well for the Codies lately - this one's relatively cheap, and in keeping with Bohemia Interactive's predilection for comprehensiveness, arrives with so many modes and campaigns and online options that it dwarfs the efforts of many of its tac-strat shooter chums. Certainly the recent pairing of Conflict: Global Terror and Rainbow Six Lockdown, which looked quite worn by comparison when they pitched up.
A bumper week then - and it's only going to get more interesting in seven days. Civlization IV? GTA Liberty City Stories? SingStar '80's? FIRE EMBLEM? It's like they know we're coming. It's also worth pointing out that Ninja Gaiden Black snuck out on Xbox Classics last week while I wasn't looking. It's surprisingly cheap, and should give the people more of what they want, assuming that's "the hard". Makes sense. I remember well, lying on my side, dead for the bazillionth time, sobbing into the stale recesses of my dressing gown at 11pm in the evening, reaching for the recently hurled Xbox pad with trembling fingers as the review deadline loomed ever closer, thinking about just how much more FUN the thing would be if it KICKED MY ARSE A BIT HARDER. It all ended happily though, so maybe I'll cry less this time.
- Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (Xbox)
- City of Villains (PC)
- Dancing Stage: Mario Mix (Cube)
- Dead to Rights II (PS2, Xbox)
- Duel Masters: Shadow of the Code (GBA)
- Kao Challengers (PSP)
- Makai Kingdom: Chronicles of the Sacred Tome (PS2)
- Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (DS)
- Operation Flashpoint: Elite (Xbox)
- Pac 'n Roll (DS)
- Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (PC)
- SSX On Tour (PSP)
- Starship Troopers (PC)
- Star Wars: Battlefront II (PS2, Xbox, PC, PSP)
- The Suffering: Ties That Bind (PS2, Xbox, PC)
- Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (PS2, Xbox, Cube)
- X3: Reunion (PC)
- Vietcong 2 (PC)
- Without Warning (PS2, Xbox)
Key US Releases
- Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (PS2, Xbox)
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP)
- Metroid Prime: Pinball (DS)