New Releases: May 24 – 30th

Though not as punishing on your purse-strings as last week, there’s enough here to keep your local money-lender on speed-dial. Michael Thornton finally surfaces for a long overdue debriefing, while we also see a contender to the wonderful Split/Second: Velocity drive up to the traffic lights, engines a purring in challenge. Oh, and those sweaty, oily meatheads are back to pummel each other senseless.

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Blur

Release date: May 28th
Platforms: PS3 / 360
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Bizarre Creations

Synopsis: Taking the concept of speed-dating a tad too far, Blur marries the frantic culture of street-racing with another dangerous obsession: social networks. Concocting a heady cocktail of vehicular combat in real life locations, the social aspect comes from the ability to send email through fictional networks. Despite this quirky nod to this generation’s fixation with perpetual connectivity, the game plays very much like an arcade racer, with power-ups, shields and other very non-real elements thrown in to make the experience more scintillation than simulation.

Pure Football

Release Date: May 28th
Platforms: PS3 / 360
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Synopsis: You have to feel for studios out there pouring their hearts into football games, valiantly trying to compete with franchises that have cemented themselves into what is almost an untouchable cartel. The market is dominated by the “Big Two” (FIFA and PES), with anything else often discarded as an also-ran. Either way, details are a little scarce of the ground about Pure Football, leading us to to think that Ubisoft will be happy for it to just release and find its way into some homes through whatever nefarious tactics available. It does have 17 legendary players’ likenesses on board. That said, somehow we doubt Pele’s mug will be enough to tear people away from their constant diet of PES and FIFA. The camera in Pure Football is interesting, though, as it stays over the player’s shoulder at all times. Could be an interesting change to what we’re normally used to.

Backbreaker

Release Date: May 28th
Platforms: PS3 / 360
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: NaturalMotion

Synopsis: Surprisingly not a wrestling game, Backbreaker comes from developer NaturalMotion, a studio less known for actual game releases, and more for their animation middleware; software you’ve likely enjoyed in the past and possibly never even knew it. Does Euphoria ring any bells? Yes, the studio that granted licence to the likes of LucasArts so they could toss Stormtroopers around like jelly-fish in The Force Unleashed now have their own title.

Though a football game, NaturalMotion will unfortunately be unable to use actual team and players’ names from real world leagues thanks to EA’s kung-fu licencing grip on the data in question. What Backbreaker will have that EA’s rival American Football games will not, however, is the ability to deliver no two tackles ever the same. Whether the guys behind the tech have produced a game purely as an advertisement tool for their groundbreaking animation technology, or if they actually have a kick-ass football game in here among the impressive tech blurb, remains to be seen.

Alpha Protocol

Release Date: May 28th
Platforms: PS3 / 360
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Synopsis: Off and on again more times than a Katie Price wedding, we’re assured this time that, after numerous false dawns, Obsidian’s spy-RPG Alpha Protocol will actually release this week. We’ve covered Alpha Protocol at length over the last few months in giddy anticipation, but in case you’ve been living in a Soviet gulag for the last five years, anxiously waiting for your handler to call, here are the crib notes. You’re espionage new-fish Michael Thorton, and after a spy mission goes seriously tits up, you’re left dangling in the wind; betrayed by your former superiors who now want you dead. Exercising the “Alpha Protocol” – a wishy-washy procedure usually reserved by senior spooks – you go on a mission to unravel the conspiracy.

What attracts us to Alpha Protocol is the customisation and variance of choice on offer. The speech trees are promised to be revolutionary, and what’s better than going Jason Bourne on an endless array of henchmen without, you know, actually having to be Matt Damon. The plot also has more twists and turns than a gymnast after six cans of Red Bull. We find out if the Protocol lives up to its hype this Friday.

UFC Undisputed 2010

Release: May 28th
Platforms: PS3 / 360 / PSP
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Yuke’s

Synopsis: Literally getting to the punch before EA’s big hitting MMA title arrives(and likely goes on to own the genre forever), THQ’s surprise UFC smash of 2009 gets an inevitable sequel. Changes to the latest version include a revamped clinch mechanism and an overhaul of the ground grappling system.

For serious fight fans, Royce GracieJens Pulver and Dan Severn are all exclusive to the PlayStation 3 version. Trivia time: Royce Gracie is a legend in MMA circles. His father, Hélio, christened all his sons with names starting with the letter “R” because “R is a strong letter.” Bizarre.

Finally, the fact that the year is now at the end of the title (rather than in the middle as it was for UFC 2009 Undisputed) also suggests that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of this series. Yes! More meat!

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Please note: while every attempt is made to get both the dates accurate and every applicable game included, we are not infallible and mistakes will be made. Feel free to mention any omissions or corrections in the comments below. We’ll endeavour to correct the above and even thank you personally. We’re good like that. Finally, all dates are the official EU dates. Actual release dates in your country may vary to the dates shown above.

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