April in Gaming

April 1, 2013

Today might be a joke, but April’s release schedule isn’t. Certainly quieter than March, April is not without a good few games worth looking into. If you’ve got any cash left over from stocking up on chocolate for family and friends (and yourself), here’s what April offers, as well as our top picks.

And if you’ve got no cash but plenty of chocolate, then know that the latter is not a suitable form of replacement economy. Not yet.

The arousing games of April

  • 01/04 – Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (Wii U)
  • 03/04 – BattleBlock Theater (Xbox 360)
  • 04/04 – Toki Tori 2 (Wii U)
  • 09/04 – Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (PC)
  • 10/04 – ShootMania Storm (PC)
  • 17/04 – Injustice: Gods Among Us (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U)
  • 20/04 – Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
  • 23/04 – Dead Island: Riptide (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
  • 23/04 – Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
  • 26/04 – Star Trek (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
  • 27/04 – Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins (3DS)

Adam Ghiggino

Star Trek is obviously my pick for this month, being the tragic Trekkie that I am. However, I also have reason this time to get excited. Over the last two E3’s I have attended, I’ve seen Star Trek shown off by Paramount and Namco Bandai, and both times the game has impressed. There are clear parallels that can be drawn to Dead Space or Gears of War, but the game gets the tone of the new re-booted timeline just right. There’s a balance between shooty action and comedy, with the sci-fi elements somewhat downplayed in favour of keeping the story moving and entertaining. It’s exactly what old Trek fans hate about the reboot, but if you liked 2009’s Star Trek, and you’re looking forward to Star Trek Into Darkness, this game seems like it’ll be the perfect complement.

Adam Shurey

There’s two games on my radar this month, Fire Emblem: Awakening and Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen. The latest entry in the Fire Emblem series is arguably one of the best so far. The series has made the jump to 3D on the Nintendo 3DS, and it’s a surprisingly natural transition. The development team have looked at what makes Fire Emblem good, and made sure to keep all the core elements intact. The gameplay remains largely the same, although the clashes between units now make use of 3D character models. New features include the ability to create your own playable avatar character, a modified relationship system (which even allows for partners to have playable children), and the ability for your units to team up during clashes in order to deal extra damage. It’s also the first 3DS game to support DLC, and there’s plenty of it, including the chance to recruit characters from most of the previous Fire Emblem games. So, Ike, Marth, Roy, and more are playable. Best of all, they won’t cost you a cent. Most importantly, there’s the brand new Casual mode. In previous Fire Emblem games, if one of your units dies, it stays dead permanently. The optional Casual mode in Fire Emblem: Awakening does away with that, reviving all your units at the end of each battle. It’s a great option to have, one that makes the game look less intimidating, and will help new players get into the series.

Meanwhile, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen expands on the original release by adding a large new island to explore, new enemies, new treasures, and a host of gameplay tweaks. It’s a great excuse for those who are yet to experience the game to jump in, and the game itself is a real gem, a shining example of how to take the RPG genre in an interesting direction. Check out my review of the original release for a more detailed look at the game.

Michael Kontoudis

So here we are in April, or as I prefer to call it, ‘time to catch my breath’. Again, there are a number of games vying for attention, but none that really capture my immediate attention, save for Injustice: Gods Among Us, which looks to be a very solid DC Universe-themed riff on the 2D mechanics of Mortal Kombat. I’m looking forward to seeing whether Netherrealm Studios can do the impossible and make me care about any DC superheroes beyond Batman or Superman. Perhaps I’ll end up ‘maining’ Aquaman. Who knows? Other than that, it’s time to settle down and sink my teeth into Bioshock: Infinite before some pot-bellied, gas-baggy rube comes along and spoils everything about it.

Jarrod Mawson

Quiet month ahoy. March did enough damage to my bank balance to more than make up for April’s absence of back-to-back must have blockbusters, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be neglecting the entire lineup. Injustice looks like it’ll be a decent Mortal Kombat clone, and Fire Emblem should warrant a look, even if I’m not well versed in the series. Star Trek is probably the only big blockbuster I’d bet my money on. Partially because Adam won’t shut up about it, and partially because it’s being headed by Digital Extremes, who delivered the excellent The Darkness II. Star Trek looks to have a whole loot of shootbang, but that’s okay, because The Darkness II proved Digital Extreme has the know-how to keep encounters interesting and varied, and the action itself involving and fun. But really, most of my attention for April is caught by Age of Empires II HD. I could not count the hours I’ve put into that gem if I tried, both LAN and solo. It’s truly a classic RTS from the genre’s golden age, and seeing it rebuilt with clean, HD visuals should more than warrant another playthrough.