After a typically quiet December and January, this month shifts into full gear with some major game releases. What the roundup this month lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality, as every platform has exclusives, some of them among the biggest they’ll see all year.
February is early in the year, and release dates tend to be a bit unreliable, so we wouldn’t be shocked if one or two of these games didn’t hit their target dates. That said, let’s take a look at this month’s releases in the CBR GAMES ROUNDUP.
Tenchu: Shadow Assassins (Wii)--February 3 (Website)
Original series developer Acquire has returned for the latest installment in this stealth action franchise. The game is set in feudal Japan, and follows ninjas Rikimaru and Ayame, who are trying to squash a possible rebellion against their lord. Each ninja has their own unique fighting style, and the game will make full use of the Wiimote and nunchuck controls to dispatch enemies in silent and brutal ways.
Deadly Creatures (Wii)--February 9 (Website)
In this twisted take on the brawler genre, players take on the role of either a scorpion or tarantula and battle against crickets, beetles, rattlesnakes and even humans. Motion controls play a big role in the gameplay, with each creature having special attacks and finishing moves that will be motion activated. Dennis Hopper and Billy Bob Thornton are lending their voices to the game.
House of the Dead Overkill (Wii)--February 10 (Website)
The first console-only “HOTD” game is a prequel to the popular light gun series. This game follows Agent G and his partner Detective Washington, who are investigating some mysterious disappearances when they cross paths with the undead. The game's presentation has a “Grindhouse” vibe to it, and with features like “Slo Mo-Fo” time, you'll be yelling “Thanks, G!” until the undead cows come home. And eat you.
The collector’s edition of “House of the Dead: Overkill” will come with a comic that serves as a lead-in to the game.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (PC/PS3/XBox 360)--February 10 (Website)
This sequel to the 2005 supernatural shooter picks up right where the last one left off, with a huge explosion that leveled an entire city. At the center of the event is a creepy psychic girl named Alma, who has the power to wreak havoc with a simple thought. In addition to standard shooter gameplay, a staple of the F.E.A.R. series is the ability to slow time down, giving players a chance to even the odds against some very savvy AI-controlled enemies.
A demo of “F.E.A.R. 2” was released on January 22 for the Xbox 360, PC and PS3.
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3/XBox 360)--February 10 (Website)
Don't let the name fool you, this collection is a heck of a lot more than just Sonic games from the Genesis era. Over 40 Genesis classics are featured, including “Shinobi,” “Comix Zone,” “Streets of Rage,” “Ecco the Dolphin” and “Decap Attack,” all for 30 bucks.
X-Blades (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)—February 10 (Website)
An action game in the vein of “Devil May Cry,” “X-Blades” is an update of a game that was released in Russian for the PC in 2007. Lead character Ayumi is a scantily clad, gun-sword wielding warrior who is trying to restore balance to the universe after mistakenly unleashing an ancient evil.
Street Fighter IV (PS3/XBox 360)--February 17 (Website)
After ten long years, the next true sequel in the seminal fighting series has arrived. While the game is sporting an updated art style and 3D look, “Street Fighter IV” retains the 2D gameplay the series has been known for. The game will feature a roster of 25 playable characters, online play, bonus stages and animated sequences absent from the arcade version. The collector’s edition will include an animated movie that ties into the game, as well as a Crimson Viper (Xbox 360) or Ryu (PS3) figure. Hadouken!
Comics fans may also be interested in the “Street Fighter IV” four-issue miniseries that UDON is publishing, the first issue of which goes on sale February 18. You can find out more at http://www.udonentertainment.com/blog.
Grand Theft Auto IV: Lost and Damned (Xbox 360)--February 17 (Website)
The long awaited first installment of DLC finally arrives for the Xbox 360 this month, and it takes the game in a whole new direction. The new content is focused on the biker gang “The Lost,” and players will take on the role Johnny Klebitz, a member of the gang. Johnny’s been in charge of the gang in its leader’s absence and has taken things in a kinder, gentler direction. When the old leader returns, he’s got some problems with how Johnny’s been handling things. Certain parts of the storyline will cross over with events from “GTA IV,” which players will experience from a whole new perspective.
The Sims 3 (PC)--February 20 (Website)
In the newest version of The Sims, players will be able to leave their homes and explore their entire neighborhood in what EA is calling the “Living Neighborhood.” Different people and events will be encountered based on when and where players decide to take their Sims out about town, and there won’t be long load times between indoor and outdoor activities. The character creator in this new version is a major step forward as well, and pretty much everything about the game is more customizable this time around.
The Godfather II (PC/PS3/XBox 360)--February 24 (Website)
The latest game based on the popular film franchise won’t be as beholden to the film’s plot as its predecessor was. The third-person action gameplay takes place in an open world, and additions to the old combat system include a squad mechanic as well as increased options for hand-to-hand combat. Multiplayer will include up to 16 players, and rewards earned in multiplayer matches will be able to be brought back into the single player game.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope (Xbox 260)--February 24 (Website)
The newest installment in the Star Ocean series takes place hundreds of years before the storyline of the original game. Main characters Edge Maverick and Reimi Saionji are members of the Space Reconnaissance Force, looking for a place for humanity to live in the wake of World War III. The combat takes place in real time, and the three-person party of past games has been expanded to four. Players will also be able to control their own ship and explore a number of other planets in the game.
Killzone 2 (PS3)--February 27 (Website)
Since the first trailer was shown at E3 2005, “Killzone 2” has been one of the most anticipated games on any console. The game’s story follows the previous two Killzone games, where a race of mutated humans called the Helghast launched an invasion of a planet in the International Strategic Alliance (ISA). This game has the ISA bringing the fight to the Helghast on their home planet. The first-person shooter gameplay includes a cover mechanic and will also make use of the PS3’s motion controls for certain actions. Multiplayer will include up to 32 players at a time, and will toggle between different game types (deathmatch, capture point, etc.) during the same match.
A demo of “Killzone 2” will be available on February 5 to those who preordered through GameStop. The demo will be made available to everyone else through the Playstation Network the day before the game launches.
That concludes this month’s CBR GAMES ROUNDUP. If we skipped your most anticipated game of the month, head on over to the boards and let us know! And remember to keep checking CBR News for exclusive interviews with publishers and developers. Until next month, good gaming!