Console Me #1

So what’s been up in the exciting world of console gaming this week? – The simple answer to that is; a hell of a lot! A big game that one company banked a whole load of money on has been released. A big game that could quite literally take your life over if you’re not careful is also available and a game in which you take to the sky has also hit store shelves. If you are the kind of person that “loves to play in the sandbox” then you have never been better catered for, but if you like to play by the rules then have no fear as you will have you fair share of games as well. RPG fans should remember this week for a while as 2 great RPGs are available to those that crave the genre (it has to be said one if them is a bit more niche than the other). Retro fans are catered for, fans of innovation will be happy and there are enough shooters released to have FPS fans giggling wildly. Spring may have sprung but the weather still is as unpredictable as ever so save yourself the bother of gaming outside; here what should be emblazoned on your TV for the coming week (if not a whole lot longer.)

This Week’s BIG Game

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Available on Xbox 360 and PC

This week sees the return of one of the biggest and most respected Western role-playing games of all time. The Elder Scrolls returns with its forth edition and a staggering array of huge improvements; not only do the graphics get a massive upgrade but accessibility is improved with a completely real-time combat system. When you couple this with one of the most detailed, expansive game worlds ever seen, it is quite easy to see why we would label The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion our big title of the week and maybe why we could be calling it our Game of the Year come the end of 2006. You can unravel the main quest at your own pace or explore the vast world and find your own challenges. Oblivion is a fantastic reason to want to buy an Xbox360 and an even better reason to be proud you already bought one. Make sure you come back to check out our in-depth review of the title which will be published in early April.

…And The Rest

The Godfather
Available on PS2, Xbox

Continuing on the never ending crescendo that is game-to-film tie in, or vice-versa, comes the much publicized and highly anticipated game (at least by some) of The Godfather. Ever since the release of the first 3D game in the GTA series it seemed obvious to many that sometime in the coming years someone would pick up on the Godfather’s popularity. Well finally the game is here and is helmed by EA. After countless delays and an extravagant development budget of over $800 million *gulp* players can finally step back into 1940s New York. Many of the events in the game are inspired by the highly regarded movie but many famous months have been left out (for the simple reason they don’t translate well for a video game). As early reviews show the game does not live up to the hype but at least it is better than 50Cent Bulletproof. If you are still undecided on the purchase then check out our review to help you make your decision.
(Read Our Full Review)

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
Available on Xbox360, Xbox

This week Ubisoft challenges us to experience what they boast is “the most gripping and famous battles of WWII through the eyes of a squadron commander and ace fighter pilot in a little game they have titled; Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII. In BASOWWII (acronyms are cool!) you will play though levels based on moments in history from the Battle of Britain, through the dramatic air combat of Pearl Harbor, the Midway fierce fighting, and way back to Europe, to the Battle of Berlin. Dominate the skies of Western Europe and the Pacific and bring back alive your squadron of Blazing Angels. Although this game is getting a release on a wide array of console the most talked about release is undoubtedly on the Xbox360 (partly due to the slight graphical update the game receives). Will not be the best game released this week but it should still be a whole load of fun if you choose to pick it up

Far Cry Instincts: Evolution
Available on Xbox

Yet another game from Ubisoft where they challenge themselves to see how many subtitles they can add to “Far Cry” before it starts to sound very silly. This is the first of two Far Cry titles released this week and this one takes pride of place on the original Xbox where Jack Carver returns home when he is approached by a dangerous and seductive femme fatale. Recruited to assist in the heist of a small Southeast Asian pirate enclave, Jack suddenly finds himself amidst the murder of a local magistrate and fighting feral warriors and pirates to survive.

Far Cry Instincts: Predator
Available on Xbox360

The second of the Far Cry titles released this week finds itself at home on Microsoft’s next-gen console where it also tries not to sound silly with its funny name. This title basically tells the same story as the Xbox release, in fact it is almost the same game. This new Xbox 360 version includes a revamped version of the highly rated Xbox game, as well as an all-new expansion named Evolution. You start Evolution with all the bestial powers you gained in Instincts, including one hit kills and night vision, and as you’d expect the graphics have been given a serious overhaul – not just in terms of resolution but also the complexity and detail of everything in the game from enemy soldiers to the beautifully rolling sea.

Available on GameCube

Even though military pinball does not seem like the most enticing game to be released in recent years it does peak people’s interest when they hear about it. In Odama the young general Yamanouchi Kagetora, intent on avenging his father’s death, has revived the most ingenious weapon ever to hit the medieval battlefield: the Odama, a gigantic ball powerful enough to destroy whatever it strikes, friend or foe. The game also supports the use of the Nintendo GameCube Microphone to direct their soldiers out of the Odama’s way and into the fray. This will be without doubt a very niche game but should be fun for the few that choose to play. (Now if I can just stop thinking of Battlestar Galactica every time I hear the game’s name!)

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
Available on PS2, Xbox

Feel the wind in your hair and the pull of the V12 as you power your way along the highways and byways, a girl by your side and open country before you. With blistering graphics, remixes of the original sound tracks and gameplay that demands one more play. Encounter the best that OutRun has to offer across 30 glorious stages, including the original OutRun2 and OutRun2 SP arcade stages – from the sun-drenched sands of Palm Beach to the charms of Cape Way and Ancient Ruins, which route will you take?
(Read Our OutRun Retrospective)

Taito Legends 2
Available on PS2, Xbox

Finally, for those that are a bit cash strapped here is this week’s budget release which can probably be picked up for a little over £10 if you do a little digging, Taito will forever be known as the company that gave birth to the gaming revolution with Space Invaders. However, since that gaming milestone in 1978 Taito have been innovators and pioneers in the history of arcade gaming, creating new genres and pushing gameplay to the limit. Contains games such as Darius Gaiden, Puzzle Bobble 2, Space Invaders DX, Elevator Action Returns, Rastan 2, Qix and many others covering three decades of gaming,

…Games You Probably Heard About Here First

As always, this week sees some truly weird titles get released. These games got little to no publicity and the company that created them probably forgot to issue a press release confirming their existence. The biggest WTF to hit store shelf this week is a little game for the PS2 from a company called Ghostlight titled “The Plan”. In The Plan you play as Robert Taylor, a notorious thief famous for organizing the most incredible heists around the world. Your close friend and greedy partner Stephen Foster sold you out to keep the bounty from your last robbery for himself. Sentenced to spend the last 4 years in a maximum security prison, your time for redemption has now come, it’s time for revenge! Now let me be the first to say this sounds like quite and interesting concept but as we all know when companies keep silent about a game it is never a good sign. Maybe it could be a sleeper hit; or maybe not! It seems that this time the plan quite unspectacularly did not come together. (The box art looks nice though, quite stylish)

The final game to make you go “huh” this week is “Franklin – A Birthday Surprise” which quite frankly is a big surprise to us. Having never, ever, ever heard about the game till about an hour ago we are not sure about what to make of it. It is quite obvious that the game is targeted at really young children. The platform levels scroll sideways and seem to have been designed to immerse the player in Franklin’s Universe. The mini games are small arcade type games, which are unlocked as rewards as players advances through the game. Incase you really need to know this is a PS2 release!

Well that’s the end of this weeks look into the world of console gaming. We will be back next week with more! Remember: All the games listed may be subject to change and could be delayed. If that happens don’t nag us about it! If you do we will just shout at you