« | Main | »

Shop Watch February 2010

By Russ | January 31, 2010 at 10:23 pm

It’s February!  There are worthwhile RPGs that are not Mass Effect 2!  Are you ready to play non-Mass Effect 2 RPGs?

Because Divinity II: Ego Draconis just did not count towards much of anything.

In terms of releases, January turned its leaden beginnings to solid gold with the launch of Mass Effect 2Tatsunoko vs Capcom and No More Heroes 2 also hit the shelves for those looking outside the Xbox.

The digital distribution side of console gaming also saw some love.  Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment was released for both Xbox Live and the PSN on January 20 and 21 respectively.  The last Vandal Hearts games were on the PSOne, and for some reason Konami did not add these titles to the PSN store to cash-in on the series.  They still have yet to add Suikoden II, as well.  C’mon Konami – let me spend my money on you.

Xseed released Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance for the PSP on January 21.  An enhanced version of Valhalla Knights 2, the game offers faster leveling, a higher drop rate, extra quests and items, and limits the party to four PCs instead of six to move combat along a little faster.  It also adds the ability to warp from one area to another.  If you have ever played a Valhalla Knights game, the warping alone is a vast improvement.

This is the second column to utilize a new way to research release dates.  The previous way left out many decent titles and PC games.  I hope this direction is more accurate.  I will start a thread in the forum for this column, so let me know if you find mistakes.

I am also going to mix up the format a little in an effort to streamline the dates when titles are released.  When a game is released across several formats, the release from one format to another is not always the same.  For instance, video games are traditionally shipped out on Tuesdays and arrive Wednesdays, with the exception of titles that are street-dated.  Street-dated titles are shipped out earlier and are to be sold Tuesday morning, much like movie releases.  Live games are typically available on Wednesdays around noon, while the PSN updates on Thursday evenings.  If I am correct, downloadable PC games are available at 12:00 AM Tuesday morning.  Nintendo, trend breakers that they are, sometimes release games on Sundays.  Regardless, let me know if this format is better or if the previous format is preferred through the forums.

Titles shipping Feb. 2

Puzzle Chronicles, published by Konami (DS, Live, PC, PSP, PSN).  Konami delves into the puzzling world of puzzle RPGs with this title.  Don’t expect a simultaneous release across all platforms; some versions not labeled DS or PSP may arrive as late as Feb. 18.

Star Trek Online, published by Atari (PC).  This title is street-dated for Feb. 2.  Star Trek fans rejoice!  The U.S.S. Phallicious will be on the prowl for Klingon booty!  I have no clue why.  This game will more than likely garner intense attention for three months before people migrate back to WoW.  If it has enough staying power to last until The Old Republic is released, the two can fight in Mortal Subscriber Combat, complete with pointy-eared Vulcan wannabes gripping the necks of pointy-headed Darth Maul wannabes at conventions.  Regardless of attention, this is an anticipated release and kicks off February with a decent bang.  A Collector’s Edition is also available.

White Knight Chronicles: International Edition, published by Sony (PS3).  Despite being a PSN media darling, not even Sony’s website acknowledges the actual release date for this title.  In fact, unless you like news of how many awards Uncharted 2 has received, you would be hard-pressed to find any other information on Sony’s site.  This is my title of choice for February, because it has people who transform into giant knights and beat the snot out of each other.  The game mechanic of making an avatar and taking the avatar online to complete quests and then coming back to the main game is bonus icing.  The International Edition is more than just the game being in English.  There are rumors it may contain the DLC from the Japanese PSN store.  Fans of the Dark Cloud series might want to take note.  The online portion of the game has a Georama feature for creating your own little town.

Titles shipping Feb. 9

Bioshock 2, published by 2K Games (360, PC, PS3).  This title is street-dated for Feb. 9.  The first Bioshock game contained enough RPG elements to warrant some attention.  See what else Rapture has in store for you.  A Collector’s Edition is also available.

Dante’s Inferno, published by EA Games (360, PS3).  This is not an RPG.  It’s actually an excuse to laugh.  The PS3 has a Divine edition for some reason.  The only Divine thing about this game is the punishment it will bring to your mind.  There’s also a PSP version for some ungodly reason. Inferno? Divine? Ungodly?  I’m on a holy roll.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope International, published by Square-Enix (PS3).  It’s got English voices, Japanese voices, and extra content.  It is an International release after all.  It is odd to see once-360 exclusives hit the PS3 with extra content a la Tales of Vesperia.  What’s next, Infinite Undiscovery International?

Titles shipping Feb. 16

EverQuest II: Sentinels of Fate, published by Sony (PC).  This title is street-dated for Feb. 16.  I keep hearing DE-FEN-DERS OF THE EARTH! every time I read the subtitle.  It is nice to see that EverQuest II has enough of a hardcore subscriber base to keep releasing new content for it.  It reminds me that the MMO genre really is not as WoW dominated as one might think, and gives a little bit of hope for Star Trek Online released two weeks prior to this title.  A Collector’s Edition is also available.

Ragnarok DS, published by Xseed (DS).  Ragnarok DS has more in common with Children of Mana and Dungeon Explorer DS than its PC MMO counterpart.  Dungeons are randomly generated and the focus of the game appears to be the singular Mirage Tower.  Two other players can join the campaign over the wireless connection and help you make your way through all 50 levels.  The game does have a single player mode.  Combat in Ragnarok DS is similar to Ragnarok Online.

Korg DS-10 Plus, published by Xseed (DS).  This title was pushed back from last month’s column.  Slated for the same release day as Ragnarok DS, Korg DS-10 Plus has been announced with added features for DSi owners.

Titles shipping Feb. 23

Foto Showdown, published by Konami (DS).  Remember how Monster Rancher let you put in a CD and you’d get a creature based off of its data?  Foto Showdown does that but with pictures taken from your DSi.  That’s right – turn pictures of your cat into some sort of beast used for the purposes of glorified cockfighting without getting into trouble!  Insert Michael Vick joke here.

Last Rebellion, published by NISA (PS3).  The two main characters of this game inhabit the same body.  It looks interesting, but of particular interest to me is seeing if downloading free DLC from the Japanese PSN carries over to North American releases like it does the Japanese Xbox Live service.  RosenQueen, NISA’s North American store, claims these will ship out Feb. 18.  As usual, RosenQueen is offering a special bonus for pre-ordering through its website.  In this case, it is a full-sized poster complete with extra shipping costs.

Some Advice:  Skip Dante’s Inferno.

Last Rebellion may slip to a March release date.  Everything else should remain on schedule.  There’s nothing this month that seems to have the potential to wind up on some overpriced aftermarket, unless Ragnarok DS has a very small print run.  Star Ocean: The Last Hope International will probably have a price drop after some time.  Foto Showdown will fade into bargain bin obscurity.  Puzzle Chronicles will also be pretty cheap in a couple of months – that’s just the fate of all puzzle games not named Tetris DS.

Star Trek Online is a special case.  It’s hard to tell how much staying power an MMO has when so many of them tank very quickly.  It would be best to adopt early and play for the first few months when a massive amount of players are available and take it from there.

The Future:  Final Fantasy XIII will rule March’s roost for consoles, though the first retail expansions to Dragon Age may garner some late month attention.  Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver will usher in some glorious handheld March releases, such as Infinite Space and SMT: Strange Journey.  There’s also the Lunar remake at the beginning of the month.

April is three shades of nothing, as the titles scheduled for this month will probably be pushed back.  May has 3D Dot Game Heroes and possibly Front Mission and/or Nier.  June brings back the Western influence with some possible Alpha Protocol, Two Worlds 2, and Fallout: New Vegas.  I’m not holding my breath for any of those titles, and expect all of them to slip with their release dates.

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.  The views of this column do not reflect the views of RPG Land.

Topics: Shop Watch