February 2011 recap: racing, fighting and shooting our way through the month
This time last year, we’d just seen the releases of high profile titles such as BioShock 2, Dante’s Inferno, Heavy Rain and the North American and European releases of White Knight Chronicles and Star Ocean: The Last Hope International. In 2011, February was just as busy as last year, if not more so, with a huge number of games both released and announced.
At the beginning of the month, Namco announced a partnership with From Software, along with an original IP called Dark Souls, the spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed PlayStation 3 exclusive role-playing game, Demon’s Souls. February also brought an announcement of The Darkness II, and further details on highly anticipated titles such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Battlefield 3.
It wasn’t all good news though, as Activision announced the unfortunate discontinuation of the Guitar Hero and DJ Hero brands, as well as the cancellation of True Crime: Hong Kong. It’s a sad sign of the times, and we hope that all of the employees who have been affected by this decision get back on their feet soon.
The massively bug-ridden online racing game
If there was ever an example of a game whose developer bit off more than it could chew, it’s Test Drive Unlimited 2. The first major release of the month, it’s not just a racing game, but a completely social and interactive experience. However, by attempting to do too many things at once, it doesn’t really nail any of them, and upon release the online portion of the game was virtually unplayable.
We can’t be too harsh on TDU2 though. Developer Eden Games is currently working on a patch to remedy the game’s many issues, and, by way of an apology, it has even been announced that the first premium DLC will be released for free. The game’s vision and scope is truly awe-inspiring, and it still has the potential to be a great experience once the aforementioned issues have been sorted.
The fighting game fans have been waiting over a decade for
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for the Sega Dreamcast was released in 2000, and is widely regarded as being one of the greatest fighting games ever made. Regardless, this is the game that Capcom needed to match with the next title in the series, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, which released a few weeks ago. But did they manage it?
In a word, yes. The developer succeeded in the difficult task of making a fighting game that appeals to hardcore fighting game fans, but also does not exclude newcomers to the genre. Everything has been included (or excluded) for a reason, creating a game that has clearly been very carefully and lovingly designed, and is a must-own for fans of the genre.
Guerrilla Games gives a master class on how to make an FPS
Along with LittleBigPlanet 2 last month, Killzone 3 has got Sony off to a terrific start to what promises to be the year of the PlayStation 3. Released on the 25th in the PAL territory, Killzone’s third iteration improves upon its predecessor in every way, with more responsive controls, a tighter story and single player campaign, and arguably the best graphics of any game, well… ever!
The online multiplayer alone will easily keep you entertained for months, with classes that vary enough to actually feel significantly different from each other, and a huge range of locations. The Botzone is also a great addition, and serves as a neat stepping stone between single player gameplay and online multiplayer.
Also noteworthy is the ability to play the entire game in stereoscopic 3D and with the PlayStation Move controller, both of which greatly increase the player’s immersion. The game was built from the ground up with these features in mind, so neither of them feel tacked on or gimmicky, and will no doubt greatly improve your accuracy if given a chance.
Shooting, swearing, and all-round awesomeness!
Also released on the 25th was fellow first person shooter Bulletstorm, developed by People Can Fly and Epic Games. If you can put up with the excessive violence and (it has to be said, often hilarious) toilet humour, you’ll find a game that is not only surprisingly fun, but goes one step further and brings a level of genuine addictiveness that is rarely seen in the genre.
All of Bulletstorm’s weapons feel unique and fun to use, and the game’s 131 skill shots reward the player for experimenting with these tools to achieve unusual kills. As well as having awesome gameplay, Bulletstorm is also incredibly pretty, and obviously boasts huge production values. Expect a full review from PS3 Attitude very soon.
So many games!!!
But that’s not all! Other games of note released in February included de Blob 2, the sequel to the awesome Wii-exclusive platformer, and the combat-heavy Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll, the latest game in the Zill O’ll series of role-playing games.
The PlayStation Network also received a healthy batch of new titles, such as Tales from Space: About a Blob, and The UnderGarden; the developers of both of these games were kind enough to grant PS3 Attitude an interview, giving an insight into their respective development processes. Other PSN game releases included Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 and Explodemon, which rounds off February’s recap.
We’re not sure our wallets can take the strain of another month like that, so we sure hope March doesn’t have as many high-profile releases as February! What’s that? It has more?! Oh dear.