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by Mike Schiller

31 Mar 2008

Wow.  When the DS only has two releases for the week, you know things are slowing down.

Somehow, March was a tremendous release month, with a whole pile of huge names and little sleepers to keep things lively throughout the month.  April, on the other hand, looks to be one long wait for Grand Theft Auto IV.

Still, that’s not to say (entirely) that there’s nothing of note coming out this week.  Anyone who still hasn’t tried Call of Duty 4 is officially out of excuses.  Look—I know it was a hugely popular game, but I also know that the WWII-Shooter subgenre is utterly uninteresting to a large segment of people.  Generally, I am one of those people.  As such, I don’t know if it’s the removal of the brand from WWII or whether the drama and execution of the game is just that good, but…I had two days with Call of Duty 4 before I sent it out for review, and I swear to you, I could not stop talking about it for a solid week, until I actually picked it up.  It’s an incredible game, even if the genre is not one that you care to dabble in on a regular basis.

Even so, a few new maps does not a Game of the Week make, and thus, I must bestow the honor on Overclocked: A History of Violence for the PC.  A few of us here in PopMatters Multimedia drool like idiots whenever a point-and-click adventure game comes along, and Overclocked is just such an adventure.  Not only that, but it’s an adventure that may actually appeal to the survival horror crowd as well.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

...step into the world of Overclocked as former army psychiatrist, David McNamara. You are called to the Staten Island Forensic Hospital in New York City to consult on a case that requires your expertise in forensic psychiatry. Tasked with exploring the minds of five young men and women who were found scared, screaming, and without memory, you make alarming discoveries as you begin to cautiously probe the psyches of your young patients…

Sounds interesting, right?  If the game can pull off the dread and moodiness that the description inspires, it’ll be fantastic.  Of course, that’s a big if. 

Are you looking forward to any of this week’s releases?  Check ‘em out after the jump.

The only Overclocked trailer we could find

by Mike Schiller

23 Mar 2008

There’s something satisfying about taking a look through a list of games, finding a name that means nothing to you, looking up that name, and suddenly becoming utterly, hopelessly intrigued by the story behind that unfamiliar name.

The name this week: Opoona.

Even if you love gaming, you live and breathe it, you spend hours every day playing, studying, reading, and writing about games, it’s entirely possible that Opoona escaped your notice.  For one, it’s on the Wii, an utter shovelware dumping ground of late, one where prior research is becoming absolutely necessary in buying games if only for the sake of avoiding things like Ninjabread Man and Anubis.  Something with as impenetrable a title as Opoona is bound to be overlooked, assumed to be not worth our time.

Still, there’s more to the story.  Opoona is like the Zak and Wiki of Japan, well-received on a critical level but utterly ignored by the public.  It’s an adventure/role-playing experience, apparently moderately long on the first playthrough and utterly gargantuan if you are to complete all of the objectives.  The unique, cute, perfect-for-the-Wii art design is by a Dragon Quest alum, which is another mark in its favor.  It’s innovative in its control, even for the Wii, featuring the first Nunchuck-only control scheme to be found on the system.  Still, its highly Japanese flavor and the relative commercial flavor of it can’t have made it a probable candidate for Americanization.

And yet, it’s on its way.  This week, even.

One should almost want to buy Opoona on principle, assuming that those critics who reviewed it upon its initial Japanese release knew what they were talking about.  It’s the sort of game that could help to legitimize third-party software on the Wii, the type of game that could stifle the detractors who assume that the Wii is only good for games created by Nintendo itself, with the occasional exception of the inexplicably popular set of mini-games (hello, Carnival Games).  Sadly, there’s a good chance nobody will buy it.  Prove me wrong, America.

Elsewhere, the action/role-playing of Crisis Core will likely give the Final Fantasy VII junkie set something to do for a month, and anyone up for a little bit of “Global Conquest” might do well to check out the new Command & Conquer 3 expansion.  Dark Sector looks like it may put some new spins on the FPS, and hey, if mini-games are your thing, there’s always Summer Sports.  The full list of this week’s releases is after the break…

by Mike Schiller

17 Mar 2008

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and guess that when you look at this week’s list of releases, there’s going to be one game that sticks out: Rainbow Six Vegas 2 releases this week, another entry in the inexplicably successful line of Tom Clancy games.  Ubisoft has gone ahead and said that Vegas 2 will be the last entry in the Vegas line of Rainbow Six games, but it’s hard to feel any sense of climax or finality when there will be more Rainbow Six games.  There will be more acronymical Tom Clancy games (GRAW, RSV, GRIT, SCDA, and so on).  We just won’t be slinking around casinos anymore.

So what’s the real star this week?

Condemned 2 looks like it’s at least as visceral as the somewhat overlooked first installment, even though Greg Grunberg isn’t involved this time around (because, I mean, Greg Grunberg.  That guy’s been excellent since at least Alias).  There’s a free ad-supported PC dance mat game that’s finally hitting wide release this week called Dance! Online, and the production quality is actually pretty impressive for free software.  You can use your keyboard, too, in case breaking a sweat isn’t your thing.

Still…Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword.  Have you seen some of the previews for this thing?  I always end up seriously impressed when a developer takes the Nintendo DS and makes it do things it was never meant to do, and Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword makes that underpowered little DS look almost PSP-ish.  The cinemas look true to the classic original, the gameplay looks innovative (swordfighting with a stylus is always good), and it’s a Ninja Gaiden game, so you know you’re going to be giving your DS the finger and throwing it at walls at some point.  This is a good thing for you, because you need a challenge, and for Nintendo, who will profit from all of the new DSes you have to buy because your old ones are in a thousand pieces on the sidewalk outside your house.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Diary Girl, a password-protected diary/PDA for your DS, which actually allows voice chat, which in turn means it has at least one leg up on Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  To this I ask: when do we get Diary Boy?

The scheduled releases for this week are after the jump.

//Mixed media


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