It's an exciting week for fans of videogames. Not least because, now that we have solved the volcano problem once and for all (by changing the rules about how much engine-destroying ash it's okay to fly into), press trips will stop being cancelled so we'll be able to write about more exciting games. But also, obviously, because this is a lean, powerful week for new releases. If there is octane, it is high.
The headliner this week is clearly Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption, recipient of all sorts of monster review scores including our own very chipper 8/10 write-up. It's slightly simplistic to describe it as the very successful Grand Theft Auto template transplanted to the Wild West in the early 1900s, but it's not that unfair. For example, yesterday I was attacked by some guys in the countryside, and in the process of expertly taking them out I managed to shoot my own horse in the head while riding it - but it all worked out fine, because I could then skin it for bonus horsemeat.
Red Dead is flanked on the shelves this week, of course, by the long-awaited and similarly 8/10-scoring Split/Second: Velocity, a racing game where you have no time to worry about the next apex because you're too busy trying not to get flattened by a wrecking ball or smashed in the face by a plane.
Another option for racing fans is United Front's 7/10-scoring ModNation Racers, a solid if unspectacular kart racing game made more interesting by a wealth of customisation features that allow you to craft your own tracks, cars and avatars.
With Gemma Arterton lighting up the silver screen in the new Prince of Persia movie (apparently Jake Gyllenhaal's in it too), Ubisoft has also released its sort-of-matching videogame, Forgotten Sands, although we weren't that keen on it despite the obvious influence of The Sands of Time. You've got to admire the scheduling at least.
Less so, it must be said, with another 8/10-scorer, Jam with the Band. We're very pleased to see it, since it's lovely, but it did come out in Japan in June 2008 - the sequel to a game that came out in December 2004 and never made it out here.
This week in shops:
- Jam with the Band (DS)
- ModNation Racers (PS3, PSP)
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (DS, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360)
- Red Dead Redemption (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Split/Second: Velocity (PS3, Xbox 360)
This week online:
- Aqua (Xbox Live Arcade)
- Coconot Dodge (PSP minis)
- Metal Slug XX (Xbox Live Arcade)
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations (WiiWare)
- Robin Hood: The Return of Richard (WiiWare)