By now you're used to us moaning about the fallow summer period, but the scary thing is, it's only just starting. Stay focussed and look on the positive side. As we've said before publishers often use this period to sneak out the odd triple-A title in the hope it will clean up due to the lack of competition. And while total sales are always more important than kudos a publisher knows that it has far greater chance of getting a ChartTrack number one now than at any other time of the year.
Take this week for instance which sees the release not just of one excellent game, but two. Shadowrun in particular is something to look forward to - it's Microsoft's first cross-platform Live game encouraging PC and Xbox 360 owners to fight it out and resolve the old chestnut of which is better, mouse and keyboard or controller.
Well, actually we all know mouse and keyboard is faster but there's nothing like a controller to make you really feel like you're squeezing a trigger. Then there's the superb Tomb Raider Anniversary, a trawl through Lara's best bits for those who prefer exploration and puzzling. Other than that this week is a bit limp, but - take a deep breath - next week: Forza Motorsport 2!
The complete list of games released in the UK this week (01/06/07):
- Code of the Samurai, PS2, Midas
- Heatseeker, PSP, Codemasters
- Herbie: Rescue Rally, DS, Disney
- Lucinda Green Equestrian Challenge, PS2, Empire
- Meteos: Disney Magic, DS, Disney
- Shadowrun, PC/360, Microsoft
- Smash Court Tennis 3, PSP, Sony
- The Shield, PS2/PC, Empire
- Tomb Raider Anniversary, PS2/PSP/PC, Eidos
- Wario: Master of Disguise, DS, Nintendo
- World Championship Poker Featuring Howard Lederer, Wii, 505 Games
Shadowrun (PC/Xbox 360)
We're really excited about this one, mainly because Microsoft has been putting mammoth amounts of effort into balancing the cross-platform online multiplayer features so PC and 360 owners can go head to head with a degree of fairness. From what we've played the combination of magic and technology works fantastically well and the game is chock full of interesting gameplay components. Multiple team mates can be resurrected, for instance, and while this reduces your magic 'essence' they'll be bound to you AND automatically transfer over a portion of the wealth they earn. Or how about turning into a puff of smoke so bullets can't harm you? With some fantastically novel weapons, the ability to glide around levels and three superb multiplayer games: Raid, Extraction and Attrition we'll be first in the queue when the Leaderboards fire up on Friday.
Tomb Raider Anniversary (PS2/PSP/PC)
Okay, so it's a year late (which is down to the fact the game was practically completed by Core Design before it was handed over to Crystal Dynamics, again) but Anniversary promises to be every bit as engaging as Tomb Raider Legend. The twist, of course, is that you get to explore many of the best chambers, levels and tombs from Lara's early adventures on PSone but they've all been given a massive makeover with modern technology (if you can call PS2 modern). New animations and acrobatic moves, improved gunplay, puzzles and monsters should ensure this is fresh even for the nostalgic among us. And with tons of bonuses to unlock like music, costumes, artwork and commentaries this should be a compelling trip down memory lane, with spikes.