It's a quiet week for new releases in Europe - largely on account of the fact that everybody in the games industry is busy preparing for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which kicks off in Los Angeles on May 12th. Before that though we have press conferences, private events and all sorts of other excitement to navigate, so the list is, for once, understandably sparse. Indeed, most of the journalists you'd expect to be writing about the games are on their way out to LA today or over the weekend, or busy "gearing up" for the show - a process which roughly translates to running around like headless chickens trying to secure all sorts of... you know... dealies.
But hey ho, we're still here (for now), and as a result it's our job to inform you that you can go out today and buy the following games. One of them is Cy Girls from Konami, which is distinctly bad, but another is the GameCube version of Pool Paradise, which is distinctly good, assuming you're willing to shell out 20-odd quid for the chance to play pool in the privacy of your lounge. Hey, at least you can't get arrested for drunkenly breaking cues over people's heads...
More likely to trouble the top of the charts though is Electronic Arts' European Championships tie-in UEFA Euro 2004, which is available on PS2, Xbox and PC starting today. As we told you some time ago, there's no GameCube version, which is a shame, but as this is little more than a Euro 2004-flavoured edition of the recent FIFA Football 2004, we have a feeling Cube owners will be able to survive relying on their copies of that. Or their imported copies of Winning Eleven 6: Final Evolution, which despite the generational gap are probably still the better bet.
Still, don't take our word for it - there's a PC demo available to help make up your mind, and other than that the only thing to note is that this is the only official game-of-the-tournament. All other football games with suspiciously similar tournament options are just unofficial approximations. If that matters to you, the choice seems obvious...
Transformers! Robots in disguise! (Try to sing it repeatedly without laughing.)
Arguably more exciting even than Euro 2004 though (however hard it may be to believe), is the launch today of Atari/Melbourne House's Transformers title for PS2, one of the finest looking games we've ever seen the hardware coaxed into producing. You can read what we thought about a recent preview build here, and hear Melbourne House's Andrew Carter telling us how the developer managed to do it all in this week's interview. Atari's putting a lot of faith in this one, and despite the fact we're closing in on the first anniversary of the depressingly substandard Enter The Matrix game's release date, it could prove to be this week's best bet. Expect a full review very soon - possibly even before E3 kicks off next week.
Quiet though it may be in Europe, ironically the prospect of E3 hasn't shut things down across the pond, where US gamers have been treated to a series of exciting titles, not least of all the release of Xbox Live-enabled RalliSport Challenge 2 on Xbox (due out here on May 21st). You can expect to hear what we think of that very soon, but it's already picking up high scores. Red Dead Revolver meanwhile (due out here 28/05) isn't doing quite so well, fetching some average scores despite Rockstar's obvious faith in the franchise (which could well spin off into a trilogy). If you've been to an American games website this week you'll also realise that Koei's Samurai Warriors has been released, and although it's only picking up 7s and 8s, the consensus seems to be that it's a fitting spin-off from the Dynasty Warriors franchise. EA should publish that one over here in the near future.
Finally then (excluding Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, which is also out here this month), we're left with La Pucelle: Tactics, which is notable because it's the latest title from Nippon Ichi, the creators of critically adored PS2 RPG Disgaea: The Hour of Darkness (due out over here from Koei later this month). Although we've only heard of a couple of reviews, they were both high scores, and if we can find a copy while we're in LA next week we'll certainly bring it back and let you know what it's like.
E3-time! Transat-lan-tic flights!
Otherwise, this week you'll have to make do with what you've got. And if that isn't an appealing prospect then you can always buy a plane ticket and try and blag your way into E3 next week. You'll probably fail, but you'll have an adventure on the way, and who knows, you might run into some celebrities. Last year we saw Ron Jeremy at the airport. True story.
- PAL Releases
- Cy Girls (PS2)
- Pool Paradise (Cube)
- Transformers (PS2)
- UEFA Euro 2004 (PS2, Xbox, PC)
- Key US Releases
- La Pucelle: Tactics (PS2)
- RalliSport Challenge 2 (Xbox)
- Red Dead Revolver (PS2, Xbox)
- Samurai Warriors (PS2)
- Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain (PS2)