This week: Orc-ward ramblings about supermodels.
Of all the worlds we'd rather inhabit (and there are quite a few - Disneyworld, World of Leather, whichever world it is they're using to hide the geek-loving supermodels), the worlds of Star Wars and Warcraft are certainly high up on the list.
On a quiet night in, that is. We don't really want to live there or anything. (Okay so we'd all like to live on the geek-loving supermodel world, but for once let's stick to the topic at hand.) [Clears throat] We wouldn't want to live in either Azeroth or that most heralded of galaxies some way off. Most of the significant people we've encountered during our electro-travelling in both realms either wind up dead or stand around waiting for us to arrive so they can start spouting nonsense and sprouting horns, fangs, absurd facial appendages and worse, which doesn't exactly leave us sprinting for the nearest estate agent's. But, given the choice between living in a world ravaged by wars involving orcs, droids, knights and laser-sword-wielding religious zealots in capes and watching crap like Vertical Limit on TV on a Thursday night, well...
Fortunately, by the time you read this, we'll all be able to up sticks and at least visit Azeroth or a galaxy far, far away. Assuming you're not living outside Europe or the US, that is. And assuming you have £30-40. (And assuming you're not living in the supermodel world, because, while lovely, they're still sorting out basic societal infrastructure and synchronising videogame distribution with Earth is probably some way off.) But, in essence: that's right. After a courtship to rival Charles and Camilla's - amidst a similar level of public unrest, as it happens - the World Of Warcraft has opened its borders to Europe, while the Knights Of The Old Republic are back to betray your true morals by letting you apply face-paint and cosmetic horns and talk like Peter Serafinowicz instead of helping old alien grandmothers across the road.
Both games arrive under a weight of serious hype. World of Warcraft, the fan-orcs will tell you, proves that Blizzard can achieve pretty much whatever it sets its fantasastic little heart to - stay tuned for its chartered accountancy simulator - but its arrival also has us biting our nails over the stability of the tech. Few, it seems, would question that WoW manages to uphold the Californians' famously high standards - with its beautiful world, sensible design decisions and fine balance - but there are a few who would like to know whether the datacentre peons have figured out how to stop the plugs falling out of the walls yet. I've got the brain! Nuh-uh!
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, meanwhile (having escaped the indignity of sporting the clumsiest moniker of the week thanks to the last-minute addition of "The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Attack of the Twonkies", which is so silly it probably needs a double-length DVD case), is another hugely satisfying KOTOR game, which so enthralled dear Kieron that he forgot to knife himself in the face for three days. A few simple improvements - eliminating a lot of fiddling around menu systems, allowing you to get the most out of items you don't need by breaking them down to their base elements and rebuilding, etc - set the tone, and apart from a gentler than expected difficulty curve and a disappointing ratio of bug-shaped kinks to kinky bugs, you will get your money's worth. [Waves hand forcefully.]
Back to the real world, though, and if you do happen to know any kinky bugs and also happen to own a PlayStation 2 you can now call them up with EyeToy: Chat and talk to them about how you wish you had an Xbox or a PC so you could play KOTOR2 and World of Warcraft. It's actually not much more than a tenner without the bundled camera (£29.99 if you still don't own an EyeToy, mind), but we'll leave you to think of a use to justify that; just remember to draw the curtains when you do.
Whether you'll want to call your mates up on the big-screen and chat about Demon Stone, Capcom Fighting Jam, King Arthur or any of the other games out this week though is another matter. If you're not interested in hanging out with orcs and Jedi, there are some curiosities - the PC port of Psi-Ops ought to be good, unless someone's screwing with our heads - but unless you're tempted by another Megaman game, you're probably better off saving your pennies for games due out later in the month. Mercenaries, for example.
Or, if you must spend, you could sling some money across the Atlantic and pick up Death by Degrees. It's probably better than death by digression at the hands of What's New, after all. Speaking of which - time to drum some monkeys.
- PAL Releases
- Astro Boy (PS2)
- Capcom Fighting Jam (PS2)
- EyeToy: Chat (PS2)
- Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone (PC, Xbox)
- King Arthur (PS2)
- Megaman X8 (PS2)
- Pop Life (PC)
- Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (PC)
- Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (PC, Xbox)
- The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Attack Of The Twonkies (PS2, Cube, GBA)
- The House of the Dead III (PC)
- Transport Giant Add-On (PC)
- World Of Warcraft (PC, Mac)
- Key US Releases
- Death by Degrees (PS2)
- NBA Street V3 (PS2, Xbox, Cube)