It’s another thin week for game releases, alas. With the holiday season still just far enough away that the big releases haven’t dropped yet, and the looming spectre of the Xbox 360 launch still more than two months off, nobody seems to have much to bring to the party in terms of new releases here in the dwindling days of summer.
The only real premiere release scheduled this week is Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the PSP. The game takes us back to the gang-ridden Gotham of GTA3, but with an all new storyline and some gameplay improvements over that title. Also on handheld this week is Dynasty Warriors Advance, which should have been one to look forward to, but all indications is that it should go find a convenient corner and commit seppuku for sullying the name of the franchise. There are a couple of racing titles for the consoles this week, with the ’06 version of NASCAR’s game and the third installment in Xbox’s motorcycle franchise, MotoGP 3, but that about rounds things out.
For those of us that remember when controllers had one big, bright orange button and most of our game-playing happened at the mall while Mom shopped for our school clothes, Namco drops Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary Arcade Collection across pretty much every platform this week. The collection brings together a slew of classic Namco arcade games to scratch any nostalgia itch you might have. Included on the full-console versions are Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Galaxian, Dig Dug, Pole Position, Pole Position II, Rolling Thunder, Rally X, Bosconian, Dragon Spirit, Sky Kid, Xevious, and Mappy, while the GBA version has a slightly more limited selection, but will include the big guns like Pac-Man and Dig Dug. Adding to the game’s retro credibility is a licensed soundtrack of early- to mid-80s arcade standards, from Dexy’s Midnight Runners to Loverboy. Also, the full console versions feature a “virtual arcade” showcasing each of the games in its original cabinet. Perhaps the best part, though, is the $20 price tag for the whole shebang.
PC gamers? Suck it again. There’s another installment for Ultima Online, which I’m sure both the remaining players will be thrilled to get, and of course the hotly anticipated Taxi 3. There’s also a quirky French MMORPG called Dofus, and I’d like to take this moment to address the game’s developers directly. Seriously, guys…do you really think there’s a vast untapped market of PC gamers who want nothing more than to play Final Fantasy IV online with their buddies? With bad localization issues that make the plot and quests damned near impossible to follow? Polish the localization issues, and the game could be a lot of fun, but I don’t expect it’s $80/year worth of fun…especially when that’ll get me into World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars doesn’t charge at all.
Next week: RPGs! Tom Clancy! Hockey! Dogfights over the Pacific!