Quiet times. Despite the suffocating humidity we've been experiencing lately (can you sleep? I can't), and the summer holidays kicking in, there's nothing new on the shelves this week. We were under the impression that Army Men: Sarge's War (the former 3DO title rescued by Take-Two) and Samurai Jack (a kiddy title from Sega) were due this week, but judging by the uniformly confused silence on the other end of the phone when we called around just now, and the Out Of Stock notices on every online store we've checked, both are still to come. But hey, maybe you'll have more luck than we did.
(Update: Stop the press and beat it with a stick! According to GAME and HMV, Army Men: Sarge's War is definitely out today on PC and Xbox, with a PS2 version due in a week's time. According to the blurb, you can expect "Full body deformation" amongst other things. Given the price - under 20 quid - it might well... um... We'll let you wrestle with the idea for yourselves.)
Aaaall of which isn't exactly conducive to a column called What's New. But we soldier on. It is, as we seem to have to point out quite a lot at this time of year, a very good opportunity to catch up on games you've missed, or that stack of half-finished titles perched dustily atop the television. We're giving up, frankly. Booze and BBQs seem to be the key. We had money to burn, but nobody wanted it. Their loss.
There is at least one thing we can talk about this week though, and that's Sudeki, UK-based Climax's Japanese-style Xbox RPG, which has been released in the States (couldn't we have had it first?) to a mixed reaction. It's a curious one, as you may already know - a typically Japanese RPG design (safe cities full of talky NPCs, spliced with combat and character-building, wrapped up in a sweeping drama that riffs on Final Fantasy and the like), developed thousands of miles from its natural environment.
And apart from one big number, the critics Stateside seem to be rather nonplussed, labelling it rather average, complaining that the story's "unsurprising and unrevelatory [sic]", and plants seeds in certain characters and plot twists that remain undeveloped. There's also a mixture of criticism and quirky appreciation for the voicing (which, unusually, is universal rather than just in cut-scenes or something like that), but apart from that the big hook seems to be the combat, which reportedly relies on an enjoyable and engaging mixture of timed combos and spellcasting. We do seem to remember enjoying the combat at one E3 or other, but whether that's enough to sustain it for tens of hours or not is something we'll only be able to tell you when the game turns up here.
With that, disappointingly, we're forced to conclude. So what, if anything, should you consider buying in lieu of any new releases? [A time machine? -Ed] We recommend checking out the summer sales. Play has a decent one here (and for other formats), and there are some decent discounts on Amazon too by the looks of it. Deus Ex: Invisible War for £12.96? SSX3 for less than a tenner? Can't be bad. Check out the full console and PC lists for more. And since we all like looking ahead, we feel like mentioning that you can pre-order Pro Evolution Soccer 4 over at Simply Games right now on PS2 and Xbox.
So then. Join us again next week, won't you, when perhaps somebody will deign to release some bloody games, eh?
- PAL Releases
- Army Men: Sarge's War (PC/Xbox)
- Key US Releases
- Sudeki (Xbox)