What Was New?!
Technology can only hold me back for so long.
They say you can't keep a good man down. Today I aim to prove that the same is true of bad men with "What Was New?", the lesser known sibling of our recurrent "What's New?" feature.
With such an epic shopping list flooding down the page away from the cursor (and, for fans of continuity, rain streaming down outside), it's difficult to know where exactly to start. However it's probably safe to say that Friday was Microsoft's day, with Project Gotham Racing 2 and Links 2004 headlining on Xbox/Live, NBA Inside Drive 2004 vying for shelf space with Sega's ESPN US sports line and Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna offering another self-contained quest-with-donkeys for fans of that hacky and slashy sort of thing.
Although Links 2004 caught us rather by surprise, we should have a review of that for you tomorrow. Originally the plan was for this afternoon, but we figured you'd rather have it done right than done quick now that the game is out. On first impressions it's Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 with the camera from Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour and online play - which is something we're prepared to ditch Tiger's vast bed of content in favour of. It's easy enough to pick up and subtle enough to be interesting, although there are rather too many "land the ball in the circle" challenges and our fatheaded clubs are having trouble with them. The commentary isn't a patch on EA's effort, either. Still, don't be too surprised if we rate this higher than Tiger after a few rounds on the Live Links.
PGR2 though we have covered and I'm personally very fond of it. Unfortunately though it seems Bizarre Creations may have taken criticism of the first game to heart, because they've tried valiantly (and not always succeeded) in opening the game up to a larger audience. On the other hand, the integration with Xbox Live is a benchmark for other titles to aspire to, and online racing with seven opponents on a regular broadband connection is a smooth and exhilarating experience, particularly rounding that final bend perfectly as some crazed Geordie rants in frustration over the headset. We'll be playing it for a long time to come.
Xbox also did mighty well out of the multi-platform pool this week. In fact, owners of Bill's box had the option of buying Crash Nitro Kart (which Kristan says is good), Gladius (which Ronan says could be good), Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (which we all think is shit), Secret Weapons Over Normandy (which looks promising) and XIII (which didn't look promising but looks better than we initially thought) over the weekend. Granted, PS2 owners were also able to pick those up, but then their only significant exclusive this week was Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, and although the D-Counter idea (that you have this all-powerful dragon on your shoulder, but that you only have a certain amount of time to complete the game and his attacks drain that timer) intrigues us, we can't really see it doing the business for Capcom when this week's charts pitch up sometime this evening. PGR2 and Links though stand a good chance.
Likewise we're not too sure how 1080: Avalanche has been received. Apart from a couple of US magazine reviews (including one we know wasn't based on much more than a fact sheet), the game certainly doesn't appear to be challenging SSX 3 or Amped 2 for plaudits. We'd like to tell you what we think, but we haven't received a copy yet. Anybody buy it?
Elsewhere it was a disappointing week for robots, with two Terminator games (both critically derided) and a cheeky PlanetSide expansion full of content that, according to a PlanetSide-playing friend of ours, ought to have been released for free, but it was a relatively good week for PC gamers, with the excellent TrackMania joining the standalone Dungeon Siege expansion and PC versions of Secret Weapons Over Normandy, XIII and Need For Speed Underground on the shelves.
Finally, since I probably won't get another opportunity to say this, I'd just like to apologise to the extremely hairy PS2 owner I saw buying Medal of Honor: Rising Sun in GamesPCElectroGizmo BoutiqueWorld on Saturday. I could have stopped you, but I was frightened by your unkempt look and wiry hair, and I didn't want to drop my wallet. In future, a lighter, neater cut will inspire me to step forward and say "Fellow gamer, do not smite thine self with the foul plague of focus group'd cynicism! Avail ye of Call of Duty instead and realise that nothing in the whole of Rising Sun comes close to the Stalingrad opening." Active hairdressing is the key to happier gaming.
- 1080: Avalanche (Cube)
- Beyblade: Super Tournament Battle (Cube)
- Bloody Roar 4 (PS2)
- Bloody Roar Extreme (Xbox)
- Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter (PS2)
- Combat Mission III: Afrika Korps (PC)
- Crash Nitro Kart (PS2, Xbox, Cube, GBA)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (PS2, GBA)
- Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna (PC)
- Dynasty Tactics 2 (PS2)
- ESPN NBA Basketball (PS2, Xbox)
- ESPN NFL Football (PS2, Xbox)
- ESPN NHL Hockey (PS2, Xbox)
- Gladius (PS2, Xbox, Cube)
- Links 2004 (Xbox)
- Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2, Xbox, Cube)
- NBA Inside Drive 2004 (Xbox)
- Need For Speed Underground (PC)
- Planetside: Core Combat (PC)
- Premier Manager 2003-2004 (GBA)
- Project Gotham Racing 2 (Xbox)
- Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown (PS2, Xbox)
- Secret Weapons Over Normandy (PS2, Xbox, PC)
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC, GBA)
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (PS2)
- Terminator 3: War of the Machines (PC)
- The Hobbit (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC)
- The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring (PC)
- Total Club Manager 2004 (PC)
- TrackMania (PC)
- Virtual Skipper 3 (PC)
- Warlords IV: Heroes of Etheria (PC)
- World Championship Snooker 2003 (PC)
- XIII (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Power of Chaos (PC)