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Shop Watch January 2010

By Russ | January 3, 2010 at 5:58 pm

January starts out with a whimper and ends with a bang.

I ended 2009 playing Lost Odyssey and not Dragon Age. I accidentally saved myself into a corner, and the game had some bugs that kept repeating. A lot of it was my fault, since I was low on potions and could not heal anywhere; however, for NPCs to remain frozen in battle after your character has freed them is highly annoying. In my weakened state, I could not win and there are not battles to fight level up around. I ran into a similar bug in Mass Effect, where if I was in knocked down when Benezia summoned her troops via cutscene, my character would melt and eventually die or the game would freeze. Way to go Bioware.

I’ll pick Dragon Age back up after I’ve played another game or two. Until then, it’s part of the backlog.

Divinity II: Ego Draconis for the 360 and PC, shipping Jan. 5; unless you have it in your hand due to some shipment confusion. There is a demo on Xbox Live available for this game and it is hilarious. Not the type of hilarity that’s worth a day one purchase, mind you. Or even a purchase. But it is funny.

Sands of Destruction for the DS, shipping Jan. 12. Previously known as World Destruction, Sega changed the name for some reason. Probably because actual world destruction is considered unhealthy.

Windy X Windham for the DS, shipping Jan. 12. Graffiti Entertainment (Black Sigil) will be releasing this fighting game. What is such a title doing in the release list for RPGs? Well, the game is apparently set in Izuna‘s world. Remember Izuna? Atlus released naughty pictures of her and her adopted sister. There were also two games. I think.

Fable II: Platinum Hits for the 360, shipping Jan. 12. Microsoft and Lionhead’s flagship RPG series comes to bear a proud platinum logo. That’s not all; the game is supposed to ship with all available DLC, or at least the codes for it. Not bad, Microsoft.

Glory of Heracles for the DS, shipping Jan. 18. Nintendo is looking to make North American gamers bask in Heracles’ glory. This will be the first Heracles game in the series to jump the Pacific. It will be interesting to see how it does, since he does not rip off heads or anything gamers have remotely come to expect from mythology.

Korg DS-10 Plus for the DS, shipping Jan. 19. This is not an RPG. It’s just neat.

Shepherd’s Crossing for the PSP, shipping Jan. 19. The latest in PS2 to PSP ports, Shepherd’s Crossing is similar to Harvest Moon in terms of things to do and graphics. It’s been a big Best Buy bargain bin title for a long time. In Shepherd’s Crossing‘s defense, plenty of good games wind up there.

Shepherd’s Crossing 2 for the DS, shipping Jan. 19. I’m willing to bet this title has similar gameplay to the first, which does not seem to be a bad thing. Graffiti Entertainment also put out these games, making them this month’s most prolific RPG publisher.

Mass Effect 2 for the 360 and PC, street-dated for Jan. 26. The first big budget RPG of the year is also Bioware’s second entry in their Mass Effect trilogy and probably scads of cash for EA. I recently beat Mass Effect uno and was very impressed with the game when I was not melting. I hope Mass Effect 2 can give some of that same love. I’ll find out a year from now when it’s a Platinum Hit with all of its DLC included for $30 cheaper. Lesson learned, folks.

Shadow of Destiny for the PSP, shipping Jan. 26. This was a surprise: Shadow of Destiny being ported to the PSP? A strange move for Konami. Why the hell is there not a Suikoden I + II?

Tatsunoko versus Capcom Ultimate AllStars for the Wii, street-dated for Jan. 26. This is the third, non-rpg title to make it on this list. But it’s got Hurricane Polymar, the man who fights in a suit of memory plastic! That’s entertainment!

This past month saw the digital releases of Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos for the PSP and Final Fantasy VIII for the PSP/PS3. Both were released on the PSN.

Some Advice: Sands of Destruction and Shadow of Destiny may move fast due to a small print run, but it’s hard to say. Everything else will either have lasting power or drop in price quickly. Graffiti Entertainment’s three offerings seem ripe for the bargain bin. Glory of Heracles will probably last a few months and then not be seen again unless Nintendo decides to market the title later, like they did Professor Layton. I’d keep an eye on Heracles.

The Future: Looks like the Witcher console releases have been canned for now alongside the 360 version of Champions Online. There’s plenty of other titles coming out, such as Star Ocean: Last Hope and White Knight Chronicles on the PS3, or Final Fantasy XIII for the PS3 and 360, or Star Trek Online for the PC. Summer will see more Western-tyle RPGs with titles Alpha Protocol and Fallout: New Vegas; though Arcania is set to hit consoles in April. Portable gaming fans should also note a huge amount of games for both the PSP and DS being released during this time. It’s a new year, and the companies think you’ve got cash.

All games (with the exception of those marked as street-dated or available for download) will be in stores one day after their release. Release dates also tend to be shipping dates. All release dates are subject to change.

Topics: Shop Watch