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New PAL Releases Roundup - 06/02/09

Pikmin, Chrono, R-Type. Turn back time!

Never go back. That's what they say. Presumably they're referring to things like the scene of the crime, old girlfriends-turned-stalkers and my PlayTV recording of Everton playing Liverpool on Wednesday. But once again, they are wrong, as the radiant feathers in this week's new releases cap prove, plucked as many of them are from the hind quarters of the beneficent retro swan that is the games industry's past.

Tip top of the list is Square Enix's DS version of Chrono Trigger, one of our favourite games of all time and recipient of a 10/10 score in last year's import review. It's a testament, then, to Criterion that the release of Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box - while very different - is not a substantially weaker destination for your hilariously devalued Euro-lucre.

Bundling DLC into repackaged editions that cost 30-odd quid might sound a bit naughty, but Criterion has spent the last year filling out Paradise City with everything from new cars and motorbikes to a host of new modes. So much so that we're going to review The Ultimate Box (focusing primarily on its brand new PC incarnation) to see whether it improves on its worthy 8/10 score just over 12 months ago.

Even the Wii has come over a bit backwards this week, and we're not talking about its wonky VHS shape and online shop with a loading screen. Pikmin, the first of the New Play Control series, takes an excellent game not enough people played and remakes it for the Wii's unique control system, with another tweak (a save system) to help overcome one of the original criticisms. The only thing that really counts against it, and the reason we felt it was 7/10 rather than higher, is the spectre of the much-improved Pikmin 2, which is due for the same treatment.

Nor can the download services escape the lure of treasure down the back of the sofa, with Lumines Supernova arriving on PlayStation Network today (finally - it came out in the US ages ago) and freshly 8/10-scoring R-Type Dimensions dragging Xbox Live Arcade out of its recent, relative funk. Otherwise it's relatively quiet out there, which is just as well because you'll catch your death, if you don't catch a snowball in the face first.

Next week, meanwhile, there's F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, ShellShock 2 and House of the Dead: Overkill to look forward to, assuming they're worth looking forward to. We'll get our reviews up as soon as possible.

This week:

  • Age of Empires: Mythologies (DS)
  • Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS)
  • Chrono Trigger (DS)
  • Disney's High School Musical: Senior Year Dance (Xbox 360)
  • Lost in Blue 3 (DS)
  • Lumines Supernova (PlayStation Network)
  • Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir (DS)
  • New Play Control! Pikmin (Wii)
  • R-Type Dimensions (Xbox Live Arcade)
  • Rise of the Argonauts (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  • The Times Crossword Challenge (DS)
  • Time Hollow (DS)
  • We Cheer (Wii)
  • XG Blast (DS)