"Phew!" That's what all the publishers with games out this week are thinking, because as keen observers of release date trends well know, they've all been engaged in a kind of "reverse Gareth Barry" - trying to get out of the way of the real-life football World Cup, which kicks off on 11th June.
We've already had the likes of Red Dead Redemption, ModNation Racers and Split/Second: Velocity last week, and if you've somehow already finished those then there are several others hot prospects for this drizzly-looking bank holiday weekend.
Chief among them for my money is Bizarre Creations' Blur, which - in a rare feat of actually getting to review something - yours truly threw down a merry 8/10. The game's probably at its best when it's not trying to be a chaotic blend of Project Gotham and Mario Kart and instead configures itself around specific tasks and power-ups, but it's pretty excellent at whatever it's doing, and the social aspects - particularly the friend challenges - are likely to dominate willing racers' alert boxes for weeks and months to come.
Meanwhile, No More Heroes 2 finally pops up in Europe following its release in the US in late January, when it also picked up 8/10 on account of its satisfying lasersword-play and madder-than-a-bag-of-hammers premise and execution. It's also made by the wonderfully eccentric Goichi Suda, better known as Suda 51, who Ellie interviewed recently.
People who take their fighting a bit more seriously are also catered to, thanks to the release of UFC Undisputed 2010, apparently another beneficiary of our new "everything gets 8/10" strategy.
Alpha Protocol, put together by Obsidian Entertainment, is also out this week, although our review's embargoed until tomorrow afternoon. And we haven't even been sent Ubisoft's Pure Football, despite repeated requests, so presumably that's amazing...
Online this week there's... ooh! Doom II! That's Saturday morning sorted then.
This week in shops:
- Alpha Protocol (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
- Backbreaker (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Blur (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
- Clash of the Titans (PS3, Xbox 360)
- No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii)
- Pure Football (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Samurai Warriors 3 (Wii)
- Tropico 3: Absolute Power (PC)
- UFC Undisputed 2010 (PS3, Xbox 360)
This week online:
- Doom II (Xbox Live Arcade)
- Ben 10: The Rise of Hex (Xbox Live Arcade)
- Feel for Two (PS3/PSP minis)
- Fret Nice (PS3)
- Lead the Meerkets (WiiWare)
- Robin Hood: The Return of Richard (PS3/PSP minis)
- Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - Episode 2 (PS3)
- Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PS3)
- Supermarket Mania (PS3/PSP minis)
- Voodoo Dice (PS3, Xbox Live Arcade)
- VT Tennis (PS3/PSP minis)