I’m fairly certain that every Rocket Chainsaw staffer is in panic mode, because damn look at all these video games. We’ve got plenty to play and review, and most interesting is how many of these are “kind of a big deal”. Reboots like Tomb Raider will set in stone the future of the series, meanwhile Gears of War: Judgement and BioShock Infinite are there continue their legacy franchises. The likes of Sim City are also quite interesting, as they return a long dormant series to the limelight.
We’re sure you’ve got more than enough on your plate, too. Here’s the list of what March is made of, and what our best picks for the month are.
- 05/03 (Street date broken, out now) – Tomb Raider (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- 07/03 – Sim City (PC)
- 08/03 – Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (PlayStation 3)
- 08/03 – Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- 09/03 – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (3DS)
- 12/03 – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (PC)
- 13/03 – Darkstalkers Resurrection (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- 14/03 – God of War: Ascension (PlayStation 3)
- 15/03 – Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory (PlayStation 3)
- 19/03 – Gears of War: Judgement (Xbox 360)
- 22/03 – The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U)
- 22/03 – Dead or Alive 5+ (PlayStation Vita)
- 22/03 – Resident Evil 6 (PC)
- 22/03 – Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U, 3DS)
- 26/03 – BioShock Infinite (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- 28/03 – Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- 28/03 – Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PlayStation 3)
- 28/03 – Luigi’s Mansion 2 (3DS)
- 28/03 – Lego City Undercover (Wii U)
- 29/03 – Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- 31/03 – Metro: Last Light (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) UPDATE: Metro: Last Light has been re-dated for mid May.
- 31/03 – Lost Planet 3 (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- 31/03 – HarmoKnight (3DS)
March is simply packed with high quality titles for gamers to sink their teeth into. It’s a big month for me, with no less than 6 must-have games. Getting the month started is Tomb Raider, a reboot which is looking as though it’ll be exactly the revival that the series needs. Guardian of Light was a good effort, but this year’s game is the one that will really bring the franchise back into the limelight, I think. Next up is Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, the latest JRPG in Gust Corporation’s strong Atelier franchise. Ayesha looks to be a nice change of direction for the series, bringing a somewhat darker atmosphere, and some much appreciated changes to the standard formula. With more items to gather, more detailed alchemy, and an improved battle system, the game should be an enjoyable adventure. Releasing on the same day is Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, CyberConnect 2’s latest entry in their series based on the highly popular Naruto franchise. Although the previous game (Ninja Storm: Generations) was a bit of a flop, Ninja Storm 3 intends to return the series to the heights of the excellent Ninja Storm 2. The game is packed with epic, over-the-top battles against huge enemies, and the solid exploration and combat we’ve seen in the past. It’s sure to be a great experience.
The second half of the month brings us the long awaited Bioshock Infinite. I’ve been a fan of the series almost since day 1, as I found myself completely immersed in the fascinating world and atmosphere of the underwater city of Rapture. I felt that Bioshock 2 expanded on the concept quite well, and it also brought a surprisingly enjoyable multiplayer mode to the table. Bioshock Infinite is breaking away from the first two games by introducing a brand new setting and cast of characters, and I love what the team have done. The flying city of Columbia looks like an amazing environment to explore, and the gameplay looks more engaging than ever before. I can’t wait to get into it. Meanwhile, Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a game that many of us have secretly wished for over the years since the original game’s release back in 2002, and it’s shaping up well. Luigi gets to be the main character once more, and there’s mutliple mansions to explore this time, each of which is filled with ghosts for him to hunt down. There’s also online multiplayer for teams of ghost hunters to work together, which should spice things up too. Although it ultimately may not end up reaching the heights of the original game, the world of Luigi’s Mansion is one that I’m looking forward to returning to. Wrapping up this month is HarmoKnight, a downloadable rhythm game that will be appearing on the Nintendo 3DS’ eShop. HarmoKnight cleverly mixes rhythm gameplay with platforming to create a fairly unique side scrolling game. With a wide variety of challenging stages (including a couple of Pokemon themed ones, for the fans out there), the game looks like it’ll be a fun musical experience.
And so, the embarrassment of riches continues onward and upward through March. There’s truly almost too much to play, but I’m very excited for Crystal Dynamics’ take on Lara Croft in this month’s Tomb Raider, which I’m hoping is not merely just a satisfying palette cleanser of the vomitous acidity of Aliens: Colonial Marines, but also an exciting, thoughtful adventure. Following that, though, it’s all about God of War: Ascension and Bioshock Infinite, both of which are sequels, one of which is a known quantity. You know where you stand on Kratos and Sony Santa Monica’s blood-soaked take on Greek mythology by now, and for my part, I’m still intrigued to see if the developer can one-up its predecessors. I contrast, I don’t know much about Ken Levine’s opus, save that I can’t wait to play it and find out more about the flying City of Columbia and its secrets. Yes, this is going to be a busy and exciting March.
Also Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. I love me some Sly Cooper… and thieves. Especially in time.
There’s really something for everyone this month – Xbox owners are getting the latest instalment in the Gears of War franchise, Sony fans are getting a new God of War, Wii U early adopters are finally getting the much-anticipated LEGO City Undercover, 3DS has Luigi’s Mansion 2 and even PC gamers are getting Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. On top of that, there’s plenty of multiplatform content that looks ripe for the picking, such as Tomb Raider and Metro: Last Light. My pick of the month is probably SimCity, though, having played it at several preview events I can tell it’s going to revive interest in the addictive franchise.
Sim City. Sim City. Sim City. Sim City. Sim City. I grew up with the franchise, and wasted many a lunchtime at school playing the original on a dinky little Mac Plus. Since then, I put endless hours into Sim City 2000 and later Sim City 4 (I skipped 3000 as I didn’t have a computer that could run it at the time). I’ve also toyed with the Cities XL series, and while they’re good, they lack that polish and magic that makes Sim City such a great way to kill several days. The promise of a gridless city (curved roads!) and simulations that take advantage of modern computing hardware have me more excited for a game than I’ve been in a long time. If I suddenly fall off the internet for, say, a year, then this will be why.
Q1 is the new Q4, or so it seems with 2013’s March release list. Some of these games have been flying high for a while, such as Tomb Raider, The Walking Dead, Bioshock Infinite and, of course, SimCity. Some of these others though? Not so much. I wasn’t even aware Darkstalkers Resurrection would be getting an AU release, nor did I realise games such as Gears of War: Judgement, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, Lego City Undercover, Metro: Last Light and Lost Planet 3 were ready to be sold. It might be a case for the more the merrier as if there’s ever been a month to showcase the diversity of the video game landscape, this is it. My picks for games this month? Too many to list. Will your wallet be haemorrhaging cash? Mine will.
Come March, I’ll be gearing up and passing judgement on the latest instalment in the war against the Locust. Possibly the very last Xbox 360 exclusive, Gears of War: Judgement stars Cole and Baird in a prequel set before the original trilogy. While fans know the ultimate end to the story, experiencing Emergence day first-hand and returning to fight the Locust is sure to one hell of a ride. It shall be interesting to see how Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly handle the cover-based shooter under the watchful eye of Epic.
My oh my, what a wonderful time for those who love gaming. For such an early part of the year, people are spoiled with many quality titles across all consoles. For me, the standout is easily going to be Bioshock Infinite. One of the most ambitious gaming series in recent memory, marrying philosophy and a morality play with unique settings, Infinite sees the action go literally from the deep sea to the high skies. Toying with the art deco aesthetic of previous games, expect Infinite’s new setting to involve many, many airships. Which is certainly not a bad thing. At this point the creative team are being very coy as to whether Infinite takes place within the same universe as the first games, though in all likelihood the answer is probably a yes. For all we know we may just run into a very young Andrew Ryan and plant the seed in his head for what would become rapture.
Outside of Bioshock Infinite, Luigi’s Mansion 2 is definitely on the radar. Taking its cues from the original GameCube game, it could end up being something of a sleeper hit for the handheld console that is the Nintendo 3DS.
Despite March being absolutely loaded with titles compared to February, there’s less I’m sure about than the previous month, though probably more that warrants more than a passing glance. I guess I’d call March a month of unknowns, littered with games I’m interested to try but for one reason or another, usually the absence of dedication to the franchise or a concerning development cycle, don’t jump out to me as must haves like last month’s Revengeance (and the disappointingly delayed Rayman Legends). BioShock Infinite, Metro: Light Light, and SimCity probably fit this category better than anything else. Though I’m not raving mad over the last two games, the BioShock series has been worth the investment, and Infinite‘s sky-high Americana steam punk setting should deliver. I just hope the lengthy development time, plagued with delays, has done more good than harm for the project. Last Light‘s Eastern European flair and dark gothic art direction, coupled with the team’s trademark hardware melting rendering engine, means Last Light will at the very least be a gorgeous (if haunting) walking simulator. I do hope the gameplay is taken to more impressive and interesting places, as the original Metro was to me a poor man’s STALKER with weak shooting and other gameplay mechanics. SimCity is a bit more upfront: I’m a long term fan of the series, but I’m worried that EA’s business model, and arguable downscaling of the design, will impact the project. Fingers cross! Other games like Resident Evil 6 for PC, Tomb Raider, Mirror of Fate, and God of War: Ascension warrant a mention, but I won’t be rushing out the door to get them. Not unless I’m blown away by positive impressions.
In fact, the only big pick I have for March is Luigi’s Mansion 2. It looks like solid, goofy fun with the lean, mean, green machine. Plus my 3DS is due for a workout.
What are you looking forward to in March?