"What's new!" they all cry, like dementedly exuberant children's TV presenters discussing current events in mobile phone chic and McDonald's Happy Meals [did you think this intro through at all? -Ed]. "What's new?" I respond, wearily consulting half the interweb in an effort to figure it all out for myself. "Oh! There are actually some good games out today!" "Halleluiah!" comes the response, as everyone ignores my advice (nay, instruction) to go out and buy Golden Sun: The Lost Age and instead troops home with Jedi Academy or Conflict: Desert Storm II.
Still, those aren't bad options, and today is really about options. Everyone's catered for. There's that fantastic new handheld RPG (an extension of the magnificent Golden Sun that Ronan correctly identified as being fandabbydoozy all the way back in July), the best rally game that's out at the moment in Colin McRae 04, a 'by-the-numbers but without the brain meltingly obtuse puzzles' sequel to Jedi Knight II, dubbed Jedi Academy, and, surely the finest option of the lot, the videogame sequel to one of the bestest 'inside a computer' movies ever, Tron 2.0.
Yes, today truly has it all. But where would any gamey Friday be without also-rans? Conflict: Desert Storm II, for example, which is a difficult one to call for various reasons. First, it's had some oddly diverse reviews written about it. Some (notably the ones which arrived first, ho hum) were all smiles and 80 per cents, while others were a bit down on SCI's return to Baghdad. And second, the demo was a bit short. We'd love to tell you what we think, but SCI hasn't sent us a copy yet. We'll let you know when they do.
Then there's Chrome, which is getting a mixed reception, AquaNox 2, which is getting a distinctly negative reception, and Rugby 2004 from EA, which we're going to write about very soon (because, let's face it, rugby is one of a very few sports still crying out for top videogame representation). Filling out the last few gaps in our shopping basket are Gun Metal (a cheap PC port of Rage's Xbox title), Lego Drome Racers (don't bother), Freestyle: MetalX (don't know) and London Racer World Challenge. We appreciate the London Racer brand being used here, despite the game barely touching on the English capital, because it serves as a beacon to wary consumers: "don't buy me," it says, "because I'm really diabolically awful." Cheers chaps.
Looking forward to next week it's clear we're going to be forced to write more words to fit everything in. Apart from Freedom Fighters (which we'll be making another futile attempt to recommend to the cynics amongst you), and a new handheld Kirby game slipping out of Nintendo, we're also expecting Soul Calibur II, Tiger Woods 2004 and ZOE 2 amongst other things. And [expletive] us sideways if that isn't a good reason to save your pennies. Till next week!
- AquaNox 2: Revelation (PC)
- Chrome (PC)
- Colin McRae Rally 04 (PS2, Xbox)
- Conflict: Desert Storm II (PS2, Xbox, PC)
- Freestyle: MetalX (PS2, Xbox)
- Golden Sun: The Lost Age (GBA)
- Gun Metal (PC)
- Lego Drome Racers (Cube)
- London Racer World Challenge (PS2, PC)
- Rugby 2004 (PS2, PC)
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (PC)
- TRON 2.0 (PC)