Wow! We're suitably surprised. We knew Forza 2 was due out this week but there's actually a good line-up all round this coming Friday.
Wii owners who haven't bought a game since their flush of love might want to try the excellent Mercury Meltdown Revolution or the OTT charms of Pangaya! Golf with Style.
On handheld we're hopeful Brothers in Arms on DS will come up to Gearbox's usual high standards while Tony Hawk's Project 8 on PSP, although a little late to the party, is always good for some quick portable pleasure. Speaking of turning up late, PC gamers should rejoice that Halo 2 is finally available for Vista.
But it's the Xbox 360 that reigns supreme this week with the deep, luscious and capacious Forza 2 hitting shelves, and quite possibly hitting your social life too. But we also recommend you take a look at chart no-hoper WarTech: Senko no Rondo, a mech beat 'em up that's been getting great reviews in Japan despite the fact only half a dozen people over there own a 360. A very good week for the time of year, appreciate it.
The complete list of games released in the UK this week (08/06/07):
- Brothers in Arms, DS, Ubisoft
- Forza Motorsport 2, Xbox 360, Microsoft
- Flyboys: Squadron, PC, G-Stars
- Halo 2, PC, Microsoft
- Pangaya! Golf with Style, Wii, Nintendo
- Mercury Meltdown Revolution, Wii, Ignition
- The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff, PC, EA
- Tony Hawk's Project 8, PSP, Activision
- Trioncube, DS, Namco Bandai
- WarTech: Senko no Rondo, Xbox 360, Ubisoft
Forza Motorsport 2 (Xbox 360)
Forza 2 is so vast and customisable that it's going to be a while before we get down to the metal as it were. Initial impressions however are very favourable. The first thing you'll notice is that there's much more focus on the garage and if you're a grease monkey you'll really get a kick out of the copious number of add-ons, parts and workshop items available. But this isn't just cosmetic, out on the track any upgrade you purchase will have a noticeable and pleasing effect on your vehicles handling (much more so than the original Forza). There's no question it's got the tracks, the cars, the online features and the brilliant livery creation tools to elevate it above all other racers in terms of raw options but there's still that nagging doubt that the racing lacks a little soul. However, there's still plenty for us to unlock and thrash so stay tuned for CVG's review later this week.
WarTech: Senko no Ronde (Xbox 360)
You've got to hand it to Ubisoft: this game has about as much chance of making it money as Jade Goody being made foreign ambassador to Pakistan. But the company deserves kudos for publishing a niche title that will be greatly enjoyed by the few. Essentially it's a beat 'em up with robots but done with such style and panache that it almost occupies a category all of its own. There are tons of prismatic primary and secondary weapons, the ability to transform into a boss-style character and a crazy Japanese narrative (thankfully with subtitles). The offline campaign may be a bit short lived but there's an Xbox Live mode to cater for the Senko no Rondo hardcore. Probably one to try before you buy though.
Brothers in Arms (DS)
There aren't any decent FPS war games on the DS so we can't wait to see how Gearbox's superb WWII tactical shooter adapts to the format. The series is known for its fire and flank tactics and this will be a major feature, aided by touch-screen control of course. Weapons include machine guns, bazookas, sniper rifles and grenades and contextual movement will see players ducking for cover behind nearby objects. With 16 missions covering North Africa, Normandy and the rolling hills of Ardennes this DS iteration also brings something fresh by allowing players to commandeer vehicles such as a Sherman tank and a nippy recon car. The addition of a multiplayer arena with four-player Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch catered for over Nintendo's DS Wi-Fi infrastructure should make this very interesting indeed.
Pangaya! Golf With Style (Wii)
Known as Super Swing Golf in the US this is actually an adaptation of a popular fantasy MMO golf game called Albatross18 (or Pangaya in Japan and Korea). Explanation out of the way we should go on to say that it's been garnering positive reviews pretty much everywhere due to its heady cocktail of outrageous modes (such as Balloon Crash in which you have to burst as many floating balloons as possible while your opponent draws line on the screen to try put you off) and superbly designed courses. The motion sensing is well calibrated and with tons to unlock this bright and breezy 'sim' (we use the word cautiously) is the best golfer on the Wii so far.