New Releases: 8th – 15th March

Another week, another megaton title. Just as Battlefield: Bad Company 2 excited us last week, our frenzy levels are reaching new heights with this week’s massive release: Final Fantasy XIII. It’s the culmination of many years’ hard work, countless reveals and one massive upset at E3 when the title was announced as also coming for the Xbox 360. PS3 zealots have finally calmed down since then, with most actually happy that their counterparts across the divide can at least get to experience such a great title for themselves.

It’s not all Final Fantasy XIII this week, though by looking at the other slim pickings on offer you can understand why rival publishers have wisely chosen to just hand this week to Square Enix on a platter. Not much can contend with the unstoppable hype machine of a Final Fantasy title.

We do get a couple of downloadable titles and a Western only re-release of Resident Evil 5 with all the trimmings. Conscious that it’s a lean week, we’ve also thrown in a Mini which we think looks great. There’ll be other Minis release this week no doubt, but this one deserves the spotlight a little.

Tuesday:

Final Fantasy XIII

Release date: March 9th
Platforms: PS3 / 360
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix

Synopsis: Considering Final Fantasy XIII first made its appearance at E3 2006, you don’t need us to tell you that the game has been in development for a long time. Square Enix’s flagship title, Final Fantasy is a cultural phenomenon, and not just in Japan any more. Mixing the usual motifs of friendship, sacrifice and usually a nauseating dollop of ecological awareness, XIII is big on spectacle. It also has caused numerous tremors in the gaming world since its announcement, from the numerous reveals throughout its life-cycle, the shock of a 360 version, and even now with review scores wavering between poor (EDGE) and glowing (Official US PlayStation Magazine). If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, spoiler free, honest critique of what we think is a great – if perhaps flawed – Final Fantasy, then look no further than here.

Wednesday:

Scrap Metal

Release date: March 10th
Platforms: 360
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Slick Entertainment

Synopsis: Scrap Metal is a top-down racing XBL title with attitude. One part Twisted Metal, one part PixelJunk Racers, there are 60 races and 20 unique vehicles (all customisable) to choose from. There’s also a 3D mode. You can’t argue with that.

Thursday:

Rocket Racing

Release date: March 11th
Platforms: PS3 / PSP / 360
Publisher: Halfbrick Studios
Developer: Halfbrick Studios

Synopsis: Released as a Mini (though also available on XBL), Rocket Racing is another top-down racer this time big on colour and grinding. This is one game that just makes sense when you see it in action. So …

Mega Man 10

Release date: March 11th (PS3) / March 31st (XBL)
Platforms:  PS3 / 360
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Inti Creates

Synopsis: The Blue Bomber is back! This time with some new playable characters (Bass!) and a robotic virus that threatens to take over the planet. Mega Man has a long history (after all, this is his tenth outing), and has racked up a serious amount of followers over the years. MM games are rarely easy, though this time out the developers have purposely included an “Easy” mode for those of us who were just not built for pixel-perfect jumping.

Friday:

Resident Evil 5 – Gold Edition

Release date: March 12th
Platforms: PS3, 360
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom

Synopsis: Released only in the West, Resident Evil 5’s Gold Edition is the standard zombie-blastin’ game along with both DLC episodes “Lost In Nightmares” and “Desperate Escape.” It also contains two new costume packs and eight playable characters for Mercenaries mode. A nice bundle for anyone crazy enough not to have already picked up Resi 5 last year.

We should note that the 360 version doesn’t actually come with the content on disc. Instead you will get a token to download the extras via DLC.

Yakuza 3

Release date: March 12th
Platforms: PS3
Publisher: Sega
Developer:  CS1 Team

Synopsis: The Yakuza 4 demo might be on the Japanese PlayStation Store right now, but Europe is still playing catch-up in the Far East organised crime stakes. Quintessentially Japanese with sandbox exploration and the ability to get into some massive scraps, Yakuza 3 is often likened to GTA in Japan and a spiritual successor to the illustrious Shenmue. Whatever your take on it, just be happy that it’s coming out at all, with Sega stating for a long time that a Western port was never on the cards. Then we all kicked up a stink and started tattooing our bodies with crazy dragons and obscure kanji in protest, and would you look at that … they listened after all.

Ben 10: Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks

Release date: March 12th (maybe)
Platforms: 360 / PSP
Publisher: D3Publisher
Developer:  Papaya Studio

Synopsis: We’re not even sure if this is actually out this week. One retailer says yes. Another says “What?” Either way, if it is out, “don’t give it to anyone under 8 years of age.” At least, that’s what the game’s wikipedia page states. Like we were even dreaming of doing otherwise.

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You can show your appreciation of TSA and buy most of the above here.

Finally, we stated that Way of the Samurai was making its long awaited appearance last week. According to our calendar, it was. However, it looks like something went a little awry at the last minute and Way of the Samurai is actually coming this week on the 12th instead. These things happen.

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.