And so it ends. The first truly barren spell of the year has come to a close, prompting the release of a thumbless-handful of new and ported titles across the board. Meanwhile, fans of continuity will be pleased to hear it's cold but not snowing outside my window.
Most exciting amongst this week's releases by some people's reckoning is Take-Two's long overdue console port of Mafia. You can read what Gathering vice president Graeme Struthers thinks of the new PS2 and Xbox versions here, and look forward to Kristan's review early next week. Having watched him complete the PS2 version though, in my view there's quite a lot to say against it. We'll have to see how that matches up with his thoughts next week though, eh?
Another game we seem to agree on is EA's NFL Street - neither of our copies has left its shrink-wrap yet. What can we offer on this one? Neither of us knows a thing about American football. Well, not a useful thing - although the Simpsons Superbowl roadtrip episode is one of the finest ever ("The Catholic church. We've made some... changes...", Dolly Parton, Vincent Price, etc). And we certainly can't cope with some NBA Street-like pollution of rules we don't understand anyway, despite EA's best efforts to tell us what it's like. It's "stylised, attitude energised," apparently, not to mention "hard-hiting, high-flying 7-on-7 action". Woo! Fans of such egg-whipping pursuits will no doubt be pleased to hear, however, that it's scoring very highly in the land of yellow alerts.
Also from EA this week we have Looney Tunes: Back In Action on PS2, Cube and Xbox. Upon brief inspection this seems to be a pretty basic, childish platformer with some amusing dialogue from Bugs and Daffy. Granted it's nothing special, but it brought a smile to my face. "A Hollywood executive who's secretly evil! Should we be surprised?"
Finally then, this week's wildcard is probably Arc: Twilight of the Spirits, published by Sony and PS2 only. A 60-hour RPG according to Sony, it's been hitting the back of some nets, but not everyone's sold on its brilliance. As with a lot of big RPGs, we'll get to it if we get a chance, but we're not promising anything. Obviously, however, it's ripe for you lot to write about it in time for the next instalment of Reader Reviews, the publication of which seems to have slipped into something of a routine over the last couple of weeks - something I'm keen to stamp out by accidentally reformatting my hard disk over the weekend. (Aside: I figure if I joke about accidental reformatting now, then it's less likely to actually happen while I'm busy slotting processors into new motherboards and trying to flash BIOSes so they can sound off when I use the case as a footrest.)
Now, before I slip into an unbreakable cycle of total irrelevance, there's just enough time to take a look at the week ahead, which promises to be a big one by recent measures, even if the payload is rather less exciting than it was originally shaping up to be. With Deus Ex: Invisible War amongst others banished from February 6th and further off into Q1, it'll be up to the likes of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II, Sonic Heroes, Sega GT Online and X2: The Threat to get us excited next week, with Legacy of Kain: Defiance and the reportedly hugely disappointing Rogue Ops also in the mix. Expect to hear about at least a few of them in the coming days.
- Arc: Twilight of the Spirits (PS2)
- Looney Tunes: Back In Action (PS2, Cube, GBA)
- Mafia (PS2, Xbox)
- NFL Street (PS2, Xbox, Cube)