Release Chat: Week of 14 / 9 / 09

In which Stew contemplates what games are being released this week...

The nerd in me wouldn’t rest easy unless I started by drawing your attention to Majesty 2. The original Majesty was one of the most original spins on the fantasy strategy game that nobody played. Rather than the usual base building and unit creation, in Majesty you have no control over the inhabitants of your town. You’re just their king after all! Instead you tag enemies and lairs with rewards, set the price of ale at the tavern, and initiate discount adventure training schemes in order to entice some your more burly inhabitants to pick up a sword and do your bidding surreptitiously. The original looked pretty shabby, but what it lacked in polish it made up for in pizazz. Let’s hope the sequel can do the same… but actually sell! Now, on to the biggies.

WET is a slow-mo, acrobatic shooter in the grindhouse style. Initial impressions from the demo suggest that it’s an absolute blast, but like all other games in this genre, it has a very unforgiving control scheme, making it a hardcore game through and through. It’s the kind of game that would be fantastic as a spectator watching an expert play. It also suffers from intolerable simon-style QTE play (Press X now to not die!), a form of non-gaming so shallow that it should have been consigned to the room 101 of game design a long long time ago.

I normally wouldn’t mention the Need for Speed series, because there’s nothing I can tell you about it that you don’t already know. They release one every six months, and it’s got cars in it. I’ll make an exception for ‘Need For Speed: Shift‘ though, because it’s made by a UK based developer, and it presents a slightly different take on the series, shifting (geddit) the focus from arcade speed racing to technical drifting.

Now, we all love Pixar. Of that there is no doubt. But as I was perusing the release lists this week, noticing Toy Story Mania!hidden amongst the Wii games, something struck me. Drawing from a team who have bridged the generation gap with every one of their universally appealing movies, why has no developer managed to produce a Pixar related game which has managed the same feat. Games based on their movies are always unashamed cash-ins aimed squarely at kids. This one is no exception… yet another mingame compilation.

Speaking of mingame compilations (or Compilati, to use the correct plural), and continuing from last weeks Oddball Release series, the award this week absolutely must go to ‘Queen Teen: The Clique‘. Even the name alone is probably enough to send a cold wave of revulsion shooting down your veins, challenging you as the new kid in school, to climb your way up the social ladder and be accepted by the eponymous ‘Clique’. Fail, and your punishment is far worse than an abstract ‘Game Over’ screen. You’ll find yourself sitting alone fifteen years later, forever plagued by the need for answers as to why you weren’t accepted. Mind riddled with mental illnesses, you’re a withered husk… spending your Sunday watching re-runs of reality TV shows and writing about upcoming videogame releases for the internet. ; )

Same time next week,