The beginning of March means the return of the CBR Games Roundup with a look at this month’s upcoming video game releases. The first few months of 2010 have been littered with games that were pushed out of 2009, and this month is no exception, with “Calling” and “Just Cause 2” among those initially slated for last year. Baseball season is around the corner, and both Sony and 2K’s annual MLB installments arrive this month. Shooter and RPG fans will also have plenty to keep them busy, as “Final Fantasy XIII,” “Dragon Age Origins: Awakening,” “Battlefield: Bad Company 2” and “Metro 2033.”
As always, please remember that the Games Roundup is not inclusive of every title being released this month, and release dates are always subject to change.
Mega Man 10 (PS3/Wii/Xbox 360) – March 1 – Website: http://megaman.capcom.com/10/
Capcom’s 8-bit hero is returning for another round of robot-battling goodness this month. Much like the the very successful “Mega Man 9,” this game was deliberately designed with the aesthetic of the original Mega Man games of the NES era, from the sprite-based graphics to the chip tune soundtrack. The story in “Mega Man 10” involves an outbreak of a virus called “Roboenza,” forcing Mega Man to form an alliance with Dr. Wily and battle the infected robots that are trying to take over the world.
“Mega Man 10” will release on WiiWare March 1st, with the PS3 version coming March 11th and the Xbox 360 version arriving on March 31st.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 (PC/PS3/XBox 360) – March 2 – Website: www.badcompany2.ea.com
The original “Battlefield: Bad Company” was well-received back in 2008 and showed a lot of promise, between its destructible environments and the variety of classes, weapons and vehicles that were available to players. This time around, developer DICE has taken the lessons learned from that game, as well as the success of “Battlefield 1943,” to craft a game that could become the next big online shooter. “Bad Company 2” features a full-length single player campaign, as well as up to 24-player multiplayer. The four main classes (Recon, Engineer, Medic and Soldier) can be customized with dozens of weapons (which can be further customized), gadgets and specializations to fit the player’s style.
Players who purchased “Battlefield 1943” will be able to get codes that unlock three of the game’s weapons for use in “Battlefield: Bad Company 2.”
MLB 10: The Show (PS3/PS2/PSP) – March 2 – Website: http://www.us.playstation.com/PS3/Games/MLB_10_The_Show
Sony’s first-party MLB franchise returns this month with new features, new ballparks and a host of other tweaks to last year’s version. The All-Star Break will be included in season modes, and will feature The Home Run Derby and The All-Star Futures Game. This year’s game is more customizable as well, allowing players to be able to assign stadium music to the whole team, as well as edit walk-up music and fan chants. The popular career mode “Road to the Show” will have new pitching and fielding training areas, and will include the All-Star Break features as well.
In addition to all of the major league stadiums, “MLB 10” will also have some classic parks like Crosley Field, The Polo Grounds and Griffith Stadium.
MLB 2K10 (PS3/XBox 360) – March 2 – Website: http://2ksports.com/games/mlb2k10
2K is also back this month with their annual MLB installment, and this year’s edition puts a lot of emphasis on the battle between pitcher and batter. The “Batter’s Eye” gives hitters a quick look at the location of an incoming pitch. How often a player gets that glimpse depends on how skilled they are as a hitter. On the pitcher’s side, the pitch analyzer will show players the motion they made when throwing a pitch, and how far off it is from the ideal motion. Bad pitches can get a pitcher rattled, making it more difficult to throw accurately.
Last year’s season and online modes are joined by a new ‘My Player Mode,’ which allows players to create a new player and guide them through an entire career.
Calling (Wii) – March 9 – Website: www.callinggame.com
This horror game from Hudson revolves around a mysterious website called “The Black Page” that draws those who visit it into a dark world inhabited by spirits. “Calling” takes advantage of the Wii controls by using the Wiimote as a cell phone through which spirits talk to the player. The Wiimote also functions as a flashlight in the game, which players will use to explore the different locations they find themselves in. The story in “Calling” will be experienced through four different characters, each with their own motivation for coming to “The Black Page.”
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3/Xbox 360) – March 9 – Website: http://www.finalfantasyxiii.com/
Square Enix’s latest epic RPG debuted in Japan back in December and finally makes its way to North America in March. The game takes place between the surface world of Pulse, and the floating city above it called Cocoon. “FFXIII’s” story is filled with political conflict, mechanical beings, magical crystals, and a struggle that could bring about the downfall of humanity. The game features a battle system that assigns roles to each character in a party, which grants them certain abilities in combat. Combinations of different roles can be swapped during combat, giving players the ability to respond to changes in a battle. In lieu of a traditional experience system, “FFXIII” rewards players with points that can be used to purchase new abilities or increase attributes.
Yakuza 3 (PS3) – March 9 – Website: http://www.sega.com/yakuza3
A little over a year after it debuted in Japan, the latest game in the “Yakuza” series makes its way to North America. “Yakuza 3” continues the chronicles of series star Kazuma Kiryu, and this chapter begins with Kazuma having settled down in Okinawa to run an orphanage with his adopted daughter. He gets sucked back into the world of organized crime when a local yakuza clan pressures him to sell the orphanage so the property can be developed into a resort. Gameplay is a mixture of action RPG, brawler and minigames (various card games, golfing, billiards, etc.). Some of the new features added since “Yakuza 2” include the ability to toggle a first-person mode and the “Seamless Battle” system that eliminates loading between the adventure and battle modes.
Command and Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (PC) – March 16 – Website: www.commandandconquer.com
The epic conclusion of the Tiberium saga arrives this month with the fourth installment of EA’s popular real-time strategy franchise. Billed as the final chapter to the “Kane” saga, the game’s storyline deals with the ongoing war over Tiberium, an alien crystalline substance that is both a valuable resource as well as a scourge that has mutagenic effects on the organic life it comes into contact with. The gameplay has been changed from previous installments in that resource gathering is no longer necessary in order to create units – gathered resources will be used to purchase upgrades instead. Players will also no longer need to obliterate an enemy’s entire force to win, as the emphasis has been shifted to controlling certain points on the battlefield.
EA and Ape Entertainment recently announced an upcoming motion comic tied to “C&C4,” a teaser for which can be seen over at the game’s official website.
Dragon Age Origins: Awakening – Website:(PC/PS3/XBox 360) – March 16 ( HYPERLINK “http://dragonage.bioware.com/awakening” target=”_blank”>http://dragonage.bioware.com/awakening
The first expansion to Bioware’s popular fantasy RPG will open up a new area of the world of Thedas for players to explore and adventure in. The story will pick up after the end of “Dragon Age: Origins,” and will have players trying to build the ranks of the Grey Wardens as well as deal with a new Darkspawn threat and a mysterious foe called “The Architect.” The level cap of the original game will be raised, and players will be able to import their existing Dragon Age character or create a brand new one. New equipment, spells and potential party members will also be featured in the expansion.
IDW is currently working on a comic based on the Dragon Age universe, co-written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. The first issue of the series is slated to arrive in April, and will be published under the new EA Comics imprint.
God of War III (PS3) – March 16 – Website: http://www.godofwar.com/
“God of War” fans have been waiting since the PS3’s launch for Kratos to arrive in all of his HD glory, and now he’s finally here. While the recently released “God of War Collection” whet fans’ appetites, “God of War III” is the first entry in the franchise to take full advantage of the PS3. The storyline will pick up from “God of War II,” and follow Kratos’ quest to destroy Olympus. The core combat mechanics in God of War III are similar to previous games in the series, and Kratos will be able to wield a new weapon called the Cestus, a giant pair of lion-headed gauntlets that can be used for everything from grappling hooks to a battering ram.
WildStorm is launching a new “God of War” comic series in March as well, written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino.
Metro 2033 (PC/Xbox 360) – March 16 – Website: www.metro2033game.com/en
Based on a popular Russian novel, “Metro 2033” is a first-person shooter that takes place in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where most of the survivors live within the vast underground metro system. Metro stations have become the new cities, and venturing outside of them means running into mutants, ghosts and other horrors that live in the darkness. Players take on the role of Artyom, a man whose mission is to travel to the other cities and warn them of a coming threat. The journey will take Artyom through the underground tunnels as well as to the wastelands above.
Just Cause 2 (PC/PS3/XBox 360) – March 23 – Website: www.justcause.com
In the original “Just Cause,” Rico Rodriguez rained chaos and destruction upon the island of San Esperito in his mission to overthrow its dictator, and “Just Cause 2” will unleash Rico upon another tropical island in need of a change in leadership. Much like the first game, “Just Cause 2” features an open world that players can tackle any way they want. Rico will have a wide array of tools at his disposal when taking on enemies, including a double-sided grappling gun, grenade-launching handgun and laser guided rocket launcher. He’s also equipped with a parachute for base jumping off buildings and vehicles, and using the parachute in conjunction with the grappling gun will allow players to slingshot all over the map.
Red Steel 2 (Wii) – March 23 – Website: http://redsteelgame.us.ubi.com/red-steel-2/index.php
This sequel to one of the Wii’s launch titles bares very little resemblance to its predecessor. The character, story, setting and overall art style are a departure from the original game, and developer Ubisoft has opted to get rid of the multiplayer option in order to focus on crafting a more solid single player experience. Players will take on the role of the Swordsman, a mysterious loner in a desert-based metropolis. The Swordsman is looking for revenge after a group called the Jackals killed most of the members of his clan. As in the first “Red Steel,” the combat is a mixture of sword and gunplay, however the Wii Motion Plus has been incorporated in “Red Steel 2,” making for much more precise controls than the first game.
SMT: Strange Journey (DS) – March 23 – Website: www.atlus.com/strangejourney
The latest offering in the Shin Megami Tensei series will offer something both familiar and different to fans of the series. This RPG puts players in the shoes of a United Nation research team member, sent to the South Pole to investigate a mysterious black hole that has appeared there. Fans of the SMT series of games will feel right at home with the gameplay, which includes collecting and combining demons that can be summoned during combat.
That brings the Games Roundup for March 2010 to a close. Stay tuned to CBR for creator and developer interviews, and head over to the boards and let us know what games you’re looking forward to playing this month.