It's always been trendy to joke about the games industry's obsession with shooting things in the face, but it really isn't the answer to everything. Just ask Shadow the Hedgehog. Happiness is not just a warm gun.
Fortunately the world's first-person shooter developers long ago figured this out, and decided that happiness also required experience points, and intensity, and "oscar mike" and "danger close" and "good effect on target". More than anything, it also required polish.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is the latest example of this approach, and it turns out it's a fantastic example. "It's the high bar it sets for a genre mired in complacency that makes it so invigorating," we said the other day. Polish, tangos, you name it; it's in there. Oh, and there's a plot.
(By the way, thanks to excellent review code availability we were also able to get our Bad Company 2 face-off ready quickly, so you can even make an informed choice about which version to buy. Win!)
This week's other sequel (ha ha) is the also-invigorating Supreme Commander 2. While the single-player game's a bit ropey, the multiplayer is great fun. Existing fans may be divided by Gas Powered Games' approach but those who are seduced by SupCom 2's charms regardless may live happily ever after.
Other highlights of this week's release list include Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (was it delayed by a week again? Grr) and Assassin's Creed II and Silent Hunter 5, strapped to both of which is the PR apocalypse that is Ubisoft's new DRM measures.
As discussed on last week's podcast, there are some good elements to balance out the mental always-connected/boots-you-back-to-savepoints stuff, but few will perceive them against the backdrop of DRM. Expect that one to run and run.
Finally, don't forget that Final Fantasy XIII is out next Tuesday, 9th March. Our review and face-off will be online tonight at midnight.
This week in shops:
- Alice in Wonderland (DS, Wii)
- Assassin's Creed II (PC)
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
- Imagine: Journalist (DS)
- Picross 3D (DS)
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (PS2, PSP, Wii)
- Silent Hunter 5 (PC)
- Supreme Commander 2 (PC)
- Final Fantasy XIII (PS3, Xbox 360) - Tuesday, 9th March
This week online*:
- Bit.Trip Void (WiiWare)
- Mega Man 10 (WiiWare)
- Toy Soldiers (Xbox Live Arcade)
- Zaxxon (Virtual Console)
*This list will be updated with PSN and DSiWare releases once announced.