The Week Ahead - 04/05/07
28th Apr 2007 | 08:14
There's no question that May through July are the slowest months in the games industry but it does give publishers a chance to sneak high profile games out when there's very little competition. So what you're likely to find from now until the end of the summer is at least one great release among the budget retro collections of the world.
This week it's the turn of Metal Gear Solid on PSP to shine. This really is a well-thought out piece of portable bliss with a new dynamic allowing you to build a 100 strong army.
Other notable releases include the quirky Eledees and the first ever localisation of Final Fantasy III. With summer blockbuster Spider-Man 3 playing a supporting role this really isn't such a bad week after all.
The complete list of games released in the UK this week (04/05/07):
- ATOM, PS2, Blast! Entertainment
- Diner Dash, DS/PSP, Eidos
- Eledees, Wii, Konami
- Final Fantasy III, DS, SquareEnix
- Kings Quest Collection, PC, Sierra
- Leisure Suit Larry Collection, PC, Sierra
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, PSP, Konami
- Police Quest Collection, PC, Sierra
- Space Quest Collection, PC, Sierra
- Spider-Man 3, PC/360/DS/Wii, Activision
- Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, PS3, EA
Portable Ops (PSP)
The Metal Gear Ac!d games were a bit of a departure for the series but we're back on familiar ground with this cracking Snake adventure complete with sneaking, throttling, cardboard boxes and camouflage suits. But there's a brilliant new squad building feature in this PSP package that gives it a fresh and deep slant on the series. You can recruit up to 100 soldiers by dragging them back to your van and assigning them to one of four teams: medical, technical, sneaking or spying. You can play as any of your soldiers and because they all have individual stats, names and skills you build up quite a connection with them. Despite some fiddly controls this is Snake back at his best. You can read the review here.
Easily one of the best uses of the Wiimote yet Eledees tasks you with finding the mischievous Elebits, source of the world's power. You do this by taming your environment with a gravity defying wand. At first only tiny objects like nails can be manipulated but as you grow in strength and get out into the yard you'll be yanking fences and vehicles about in your search for the Elebits. It's uproarious fun and the destruction you leave in your wake is wonderfully gratifying. Recommended.
Spider-Man 3 (360/PC/DS/Wii)
The recent Spider-Man movies have been the most successful superhero flicks of all time and Treyarch has done a tremendous job translating the action to video game form. While we haven't played finished review code yet everything we've seen so far suggests this will be as good as, if not better, than previous instalments. The emphasis is on a free-form structure within a beautifully recreated Manhattan and Spidey's move and combat list has also been expanded. Though there are lots of game specific missions and crimes key events obviously follow the plot of the movie including encounters with Green Goblin, Venom and Spider-Man's transformation into 'Black Suit' Spider-Man. Probably not destined to be a classic but it'll be fun.
Final Fantasy III (DS)
Released on Famicom back in 1990 Final Fantasy III was the first in the series to introduce the splendid job change system. It was also the only game in the Final Fantasy cannon never to get localised. So it's been a long wait for fans and with this fresh port to DS you get new cut-scenes and a graphical overhaul from 2D sprites to 3D models. Other than that it's business as usual with oodles of random encounters, stat boosting fights and item gathering. The plot is weak and some of the adventuring a bit on the sluggish side but there's no denying the game retains its original charm. RPGers will love it but casuals will find it all a bit hard going.
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom (PS3)
We included this one merely because it's the only PS3 release this week and there's not much else to mention anyway. If you're the sort of person that enjoys pressing a couple of buttons repeatedly for hours on end then this may appeal, to everyone else its just another cliché ridden dungeon crawl adventure, and a poor one at that. You can choose a Mage, Warrior or Scout and have to defeat foes as exciting as spiders, rats and skeletons but there's not much skill involved, just tapping a couple of attack buttons relatively quickly. It wasn't an impressive visual feast when released in the US last year and it still isn't now. If you still fancy it, you can read the review here.