The week before Mother's Day is upon us (remember, Sunday, May 13, for all of those out there with mothers) and, with it, only a couple of wholly new releases at retail. There's some downloadable stuff, too, yes. And even a port or two of some big titles. This stands by far, though, as one of the weakest weeks of the year. Perhaps nobody wanted their games to launch in such close proximity to next week's juggernaut. But we'll talk about that next week. For now, a very brief Pick & Play.
Who here remembers Warhawk? Okay, now, which of those who just raised their hands remembers the PSOne original game by the same name? For those whose hands just went down, the original Warhawk was a single-player, aircraft-based shooter that launched a dual-joystick peripheral and, if memory serves, had one of the stranger final bosses I've ever seen in a game. But weird was sort of a 90s thing, y'know?
I bring this up because, while the PlayStation 3 game of the same name, Warhawk, was a multiplayer-only ordeal, its de facto sequel, Starhawk, is not. The biggest release of the week, Starhawk features a full-on single-player campaign in addition to its highly anticipated multiplayer, while taking the massive battlefield action of its predecessor in a sci-fi direction. It'll be on store shelves this Tuesday, May 8.
Minecraft isn't so much a game as a phenomenon. To date, though, it's been available exclusively on PC and, for the dozen of them who have it, the Xperia Play PlayStation-branded phone. While the mobile version was pared down, though, the upcoming XBLA release of Minecraft aims to, at least functionally, be an almost-full-fledged port of the original game, while adding more in the way of tutorials to ease the unfamiliar into the play experience. It also features a simplified, easier to navigate crafting system, which takes some of the guesswork out of crafting by providing recipes and requirements for items one wishes to create. Does this diminish that joy of discovery? We'll be sure to let you know in our review. As for the game, it hits the digital storefront on Wednesday, May 9.
The name doesn't tell, but Warlock: Master of the Arcane takes place in the same world of Ardania that the Majesty series featured. Here, though, the action is set on a turn-based grid, with a focus on freeform conquest. It's almost like a fantasy version of Civilization, with players taking command of a mage who seeks to defeat the rest, allowing one to claim the world either for a chosen god or oneself. If turn-based strategy is your thing, Warlock has your number. It hits Tuesday, May 8.
Already out for two months on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Street Fighter X Tekken combines two of your favorite fighting franchises in all-out, two-on-two brawls. A rare team-up between Capcom and Namco sees the best of both Street Fighter and Tekken duking it out in a modified version of the Street Fighter IV engine. There's been some controversy over Capcom's decision to lock away future downloadable content on disc, but that doesn't directly detract from the game itself being a fun and fast-paced fighter that remains highly technical despite its campy nature. For those who haven't yet played it, it hits the PC this Friday, May 11.
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week:
It's hard to pick what the strangest and/or most compelling feature of Datura is. Perhaps it's the game's Move support, so rarely used successfully for a sense of immersion, or the title's choice-focused nature, which allows players to do, on some level, what they want to do rather than just what the plot expects of them. Or, perhaps, it's the surrealist nature of the title, set in an arboreal wasteland at its start, with butterflies and flies alike intermingling in the air, a thick fog over the forest floor.
Named for a plant that possesses extreme hallucinogenic properties, Datura is meant to be, in the designer's words, "ambivalent." People keep datura as a houseplant because of its beauty, but the toxic nature of the flower precludes it from being touched. It is, simultaneously, both beauty and the beast. In the same way, Datura allows its players to do good or ill, to brighten the forest and lift the fog or dim it, work toward a darker purpose. It brings to mind the classic adventure game Myst, but with that extra touch of freedom, the element of choice that was never present in that game.
Date: May 7, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*