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New PAL Releases Roundup

DiRT 2 PC! COD Classic! Blue horse!

So then, with the not inconsiderable exception of Zelda Trains next week, after tomorrow the shops are basically done with new game stock for 2009. Even the internet shops won't exactly be heaving - although PSN has a nice pairing of PixelJunk Shooter (10th) and Blue Toad Murder Files (17th) to look forward to.

But are we going out with a bang or a whimper? It's the question no one's asking, but it's the answer with which this obligatory page is concerned this morning, and the answer is probably "Yes".

Bang: Colin McRae: DiRT 2 for the PC. The console ones came out months ago, but don't let that put you off, PC gamers: Codemasters' handsome rally racer combines the modern day trappings of Kenneth Block and his ilk with the historical wit and composure of the Colin McRae series. It's a bit "gnarly", but you can always close your eyes and shout "hitpoints!", "autoexec.bat!" and "old jokes you've stolen from RPS!" to pass the time during voice-overs.

Whimper: James Cameron's Avatar: The Game. I really wanted to like this. My support for blue horses is thoroughly documented on this website. But despite a quite lovely world and an intriguing premise, Avatar doesn't really follow through, delivering a couple of limp campaigns that branch away from an initial twist that seems a bit bonkers in hindsight.

Bang: Call of Duty Classic (review soon, retrospective elsewhere). It may just be the first Call of Duty, but on PSN and XBLA, and it may cost a whopping tenner, but this is the sort of nostalgia worth revisiting, not least because it reflects a period when FPS games based on real-world conflicts actually suggested they were s*** places to be, and not slightly incomprehensible large-scale episodes of 24 with sexy choreography.

Whimper: Tony Hawk: RIDE. Say what you like about Avatar, at least it works. Blue horse blue horse.

Verdict: Well, it's not exactly October 2008, is it. Oh well, not everyone ran away from Modern Warfare 2, and quite a few of them did well. And Zelda Trains is out next week. Blue horse!

This week in shops:

  • Colin McRae: DiRT 2 (PC)
  • Flips (DS)
  • Girls Life Sleepover Party (Wii)
  • Horrid Henry: Missions of Mischief (Wii)
  • Imagine Beauty Stylist (DS)
  • James Cameron's Avatar: The Game (DS, PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360)
  • Petz Nursery (DS)
  • The Saboteur (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
  • Tony Hawk: RIDE (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
  • Your Shape (Wii)

This week online:

  • Call of Duty Classic (PSN, XBLA)
  • Foto Face: The Face Stealer Strikes (DSiWare)