What's New? (New releases roundup)
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Would anybody like to buy a brand new copy of Far Cry? I bought it the other day and those utter [impending lawsuits] at [online retailer X - two out of three monkeys prefer it to the leading brand] decided that I had ordered it twice. No it's not one of those funny situations where you get two and pay for one. It's one of those annoying situations where you get two and pay for both. So I've got a spare. Anybody? I can sign it. It won't be worth more, or more valuable to you, but untrained eyes will assume the signature has meaning and respect you for it.
(This is also a good trick for fooling spouses and significant others. "But dear, it's signed! I had to get it!")
Now, I know what you're thinking (particularly those of you still in brackets, who are thinking, "How would you know?"). You're thinking, "What the hell does any of this have to do with new games?"
Well... er... Not a great deal, unfortunately, but it does potentially win me back the £12 I spent on it, which I can then reinvest in some of the things below - particularly since EA certainly won't send me Battlefield 2. So in a way, it sustains this column. This whole industry. In a way, I am helping us all by trying to flog my spare copy of Far Cry. It's you with your negative attitude that's slowing us all down.
Anyway, there are some fascinating new games out this week. However only two are fascinatingly new, so we'll start with them.
Another Code: Two Memories (DS)
Another Code is the Nintendo DS's first serious story-driven adventure that isn't just a port of something released on the N64 or whatever. And it's come out in Europe first. We're slightly weirded out by that ourselves.
Unfortunately, it's not quite the brilliant little thing it might have been. Kristan, a veteran of many a point-and-clicker, took to this like a non-specific marsupial to its indigenous environment, pointing and indeed clicking - except with a stylus.
And then he realised it was a lot like other adventure games. A bit obtuse and frustrating; full of abstract puzzles that involve probing for a "hot spot" (try ENGLAND). And generally not quite what it might have been. His full review will be airing shortly, but in the meantime you might want to hold off whacking your wonga on the counter and see what he says.
(And Lucasarts: do not be put off re-releasing your entire back catalogue of point-and-clickers on the DS. It's a system that might as well have been designed for your games. And it's been long enough that loads of people who own DSes won't have played them. That disparaging-sounding stuff earlier about ports was a JOKE. We love ports. Give them to us. Or else.)
Destroy All Humans (PS2, Xbox)
Destroy All Humans, to get back to the other hand, is quite possibly a non-specific marsupial in m0t0rb1k3's clothing. So: better than expected. Okay so we've had high hopes for it ever since we found out that Pandemic Stu-Stu-Studios were handling it. But we know this one guy who was expecting it to be rubbish. He was wrong.
Basically you are an alien, and you go around trying to subvert humanity for your own ends - those being the need to extract some sort of brain-goo in order to recharge your PSP or something.
Anyway the long and short of it is that it's apparently a bit on the fun side - albeit held up rather than supported by its "goofy" world. A world where you can settle down and watch Plan 9 From Outer Space in a drive-in cinema place. A world where the accompanying music is plucked from or inspired by 50s B-movies. A world full of jokes about communism. A world where sentences needn't conform to known rules. A world Kristan's reviewing elsewhere on the site, like, today.
Not necessarily brilliant to play, as I understand it, but brilliant to be in.
With that, let's have a look at one of the other fascinatings, and then round things up and get our Pimm's on.
Battlefield 2 (PC)
Quite clearly the highest of high profile games out this week (and there are quite a few, presumably because publishers are trying to kick things out to fit in their second-quarter earnings reports or something equally cynical), Battlefield 2 is, in the view of our beloved Special K(ieron), a game that succeeds in its attempts to make you feel like part of a war machine.
In fact, I'm going to quote him, since there's an anecdote toward the end of the review that makes me smile a lot - and anecdotes sell games. Why ever else am I some £150 worse off having read PC Gamer's recent 150 Top Gaming Moments feature? Kieron's recollection concerns the new commander role, which allows one player to direct artillery and the like - and sounds similar to the idea utilised by Savage: The Battle for Newerth, a game I very much enjoyed:
"Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Commander and Squad-leader roles is that, in a very real way, they demand actual charisma. My favourite squad leader utilised the voice-over-net systems regularly, and his caring, encouraging tones ("Get down, Medic! I need you alive, man") forged one of my favourite memories of BF2 so far."
The only reason not to buy this, surely, is that your PC can't run it. So download the demo and decide if it can.
And The Rest
Conker: Live & Reloaded (Xbox) is exactly what it says on the box. So that's Conker's Bad Fur Day, the N64 game, "reloaded" on Xbox with some nicer graphics, and online Xbox Live gunnery. It's an odd mix. If you liked Conker, then you might find it worthwhile; but if you did like Conker then you already own Conker, so, er. Full review next week.
Of the other stuff out this week, Tekken 5 (PS2) springs to mind as something worth mentioning, but unfortunately it must have sprung rather hard and violently, because I can't think of anything to say about it. Big Mutha Truckers 2: Truck Me Harder (PS2, Xbox) is out and must be avoided to discourage rubbish and boring puns (yes I know I'm throwing non-specific marsupials in a rather cramped glasshouse here, but I don't care!). And there's a note on my pad which says, in relation to The Settlers: Heritage of Kings Expansion Disk (PC), "Applaud Ubisoft for calling a spade a spade". So yes. Ubisoft: have the clap.
Finally, there's just room enough to note that, yes, I did do What's New in a slightly different way this week. We want to change it around a bit, for some (obvious) reasons, but keep it the same, if that makes any sense. I was going to write a really clever-sounding document analysing it and all sorts and synergise it into shape, but I thought that wouldn't really be the right spirit for such a movement. So I decided to try something and ask what you lot thought. This is by no means the finished article. (If only because I've probably forgotten things which I'll need to hastily paste in later.) If you have any ideas for What's New, I'd love to hear them. Incidentally, suggestions along the lines of "jokes that are funny" and "relevance" are fine, as long as there's a broader context!
Unfortunately (for you) however, "a different writer" is not.
- PAL Releases
- Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action! (GBA, DS)
- Another Code: Two Memories (DS)
- Battlefield 2 (PC)
- Big Mutha Truckers 2: Truck Me Harder! (PS2, Xbox)
- Capcom Fighting Jam (Xbox)
- Conker: Live & Reloaded (Xbox)
- Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction (Xbox)
- Destroy All Humans (PS2, Xbox)
- Dynasty Warriors 5 (PS2)
- MX vs. ATV Unleashed (PS2, Xbox)
- RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! (PC)
- Tekken 5 (PS2)
- The Settlers: Heritage of Kings Expansion Disk (PC)
- Key US Releases
- We ain't seen NUTTIN'.