Let's get ready to rumble! This week's slate of new releases is a battle of timed exclusives, with each of the next-gen platforms (yes, that includes the PC) ending some dry spells and getting some strong offerings.
Pickings have been very slim for the PlayStation 3 since its launch, but that all came to an end today, as Virtua Fighter 5 kicked down retail doors. The first fighting game for the PS3, Sega's Virtua Fighter 5 features one-on-one fisticuffs with a roster of 17 brawlers. Once a PS3-exclusive, Virtua Fighter 5 will also duke it out on the Xbox 360 later this year.
Those who want to hurl cars, bound through cities, and clean up the streets in Realtime Worlds' latest better have an Xbox 360. Gamers can only lay the smack down in Crackdown, also released today, on Microsoft's newest console. In the game, players suit up as cops who gain superhuman abilities and bust gang lord after gang lord. The game also includes keys to access the multiplayer beta of some other game (the name escapes me at the moment).
Over in Wiiville, Sonic the Hedgehog gets the motion-sensitive treatment in Sonic and the Secret Rings. Sure, gamers will control the blue blur as he runs around exotic worlds collecting rings, but this time, they'll do it while moving the controller around! The game also features a multiplayer component for up to four speedsters in 40 minigames. Sonic has already rolled onto next-gen platforms, but Wii owners are hoping this version fares better than Sonic's debut on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
For the keyboard-and-mouse crowd, the latest from Chris Taylor's Gas Powered Games also hit shelves today. Supreme Commander, the spiritual successor to the classic Total Annihilation, is a real-time strategy game in a science-fiction setting. Gamers will control air, land, and sea units and make use of the strategic zoom feature, which seamlessly lets players change their view from a close-up of the action to a macroscopic level.
While not exactly a timed exclusive, the Xbox 360 version of NBA Street Homecourt (out today) wins the tip against its PS3 counterpart, which laces them up on March 6. It's the debut of the Street series on next-gen consoles and features the kind of acrobatic balling usually reserved for mascots bouncing off trampolines during halftime shows.
On the console downloads front, two of the big three are dishing out offerings for their consoles. Nintendo released Streets of Rage, The Legend of Kage, New Adventure Island, and Donkey Kong Country for the Virtual Console on Monday. On Thursday, PS3 owners will be able to browse the PlayStation Store for Q*bert and flOw. No games are planned for release for the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade this week.
FEBRUARY 19, 2007
American Billiards (PC)
American Conquest Anthology (PC)
Streets of Rage (Wii via Virtual Console)
Donkey Kong Country (Wii via Virtual Console)
New Adventure Island (Wii via Virtual Console)
Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner (PSP)
Legend of Kage (Wii via Virtual Console)
FEBRUARY 20, 2007
Virtua Fighter 5 (PS3)
Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii)
NBA Street Homecourt (X360)
Supreme Commander (PC)
Backyard Basketball 2007 (PC)
Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja (DS)
Metal Slug Anthology (PSP)
Arena Football: Road to Glory (PS2)
Lumines Plus (PS2)
F-24: Stealth Fighter (DS)
Meteos: Disney Magic (DS)
M.A.C.H. Modified Air Combat Heroes (PSP)
Micro Machines V4 (DS)