CBR is back with the monthly GAMES ROUNDUP, highlighting the video game releases for April 2009. While March was dominated by major franchises ("RE5," "Halo Wars," "Resistance: Retribution," "GTA: Chinatown Wars"), April presents a more balanced crop of games, with some sequels and some interesting new properties.
As we've mentioned before, this list is not inclusive of all the month's games, and release dates are subject to change. Now let's see what this month has to offer!
Samurai Showdown Anthology (Wii)-April 7 (Website)
Released last month for the PS2 and PSP, "Samurai Showdown Anthology" makes its way to the Wii in April. Fans of SNK's weapons-based fighting series have a lot to love about this anthology, which contains seven Samurai Showdown games. The collection includes "Samurai Showdown 6," which is being released in America for the first time.
Godfather II (PC/PS3/Xbox360)-April 7 (Website)
In this sequel to 2006's hit game, a new character, Dominic, is tabbed by Michael Corleone to take over as New York don after the character from the first game, Aldo Trapani, dies. Dominic must deal with rival families in New York, Miami, and Havana as he tries to expand the power base of the family. While the game is inspired by the plot of the movie, it also deviates from it quite a bit.
"Godfather II" introduces some new game mechanics to the series, including a squad mechanic, and the "Don's View," a map of the game world allows players to strategize how best to approach objectives in the game. In addition single player campaign, the game will feature online multiplayer for up to 16 people. Rewards that players earn in multiplayer will carry over to the single-player game.
Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (PC/PS3Xbox 360)-April 7 (Website)
Riddick fans will be getting a lot of content with this one, as the game will feature the entire "Escape from Butcher Bay" campaign, as well as the all-new "Assault on Dark Athena" campaign. "Assault on Dark Athena" picks up right where "Butcher Bay" left off, as Riddick is captured by a mercenary ship and must fight his way off of it.
In addition to remaking the original game with enhanced graphics and adding the new single player content, "Dark Athena" will also feature a multiplayer component. The highlight of multiplayer is the "Pitch Black" mode, which takes place in a level shrouded in darkness. One player will take on the role of Riddick, who can see in the dark, while other players will be mercenaries with guns and flashlights, trying to locate and take down Riddick.
Ninja Blade (Xbox 360)-April 7 (Website)
Developer From Software describes the experience of "Ninja Blade" as "action game meets movie." The story involves a parasitic invasion of Tokyo that is causing normal people to turn into bloodthirsty monsters. Players will take on the role of a ninja in a special squad that has been sent in to deal with the infected. One of the main features of the gameplay is interactive quicktime events, where players have the ability to affect the outcome of in-game cut scenes with timed button presses.
For those looking to get a sneak peek at the game's storyline, an online web comic is being released in weekly chapters over at www.stoptheinfected.com.
Flock (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)-April 8 (Website)
In this unique downloadable game from Capcom, players control a UFO charged with herding animals to the mothership. The puzzle-based gameplay will require players to navigate animals over, around and through obstacles, using a variety of different methods. There are over 50 levels in the single player campaign, and a map editor will allow players to create additional levels.
The Dark Spire (DS)-April 14 (Website)
Atlus' first-person dungeon crawler for the DS has "old school" written all over it. Players will assemble a party and explore a massive dungeon set in a wizard's tower. A unique feature of the game is the ability to choose one of two presentation styles. In "modern mode," the visuals are presented in a 2D comic art style, with colorful menus. In "classic mode," the style is black and white and the dungeon is presented in wireframe format, with barebones menus and character portraits.
Velvet Assassin (PC/Xbox 360)-April 14 (Website)
Inspired by real-life spy Violette Szabo, players will take on the role of Violette Summer, a British spy during World War II. Violette is lying in a hospital and having dreams about past missions and experiences. Players will take control of Violette and infiltrate Nazi controlled areas to fulfill a variety of objectives, from marking bombing targets to delivering cyanide capsules to captured operatives. The game puts a heavy emphasis on stealth, and there are over 40 "Silent Kills" that Violette can perform when sneaking up on enemies. The game also features a slow-motion mechanic activated by Violette's use of morphine in the game.
Peter Chung ("Aeon Flux") created a digital comic that ties-in to the game, which is available to those who preorder "Velvet Assassin" through GameStop.
ExciteBots: Trick Racing (Wii)-April 20 (Website)
Racing fans may remember "Excite Truck," one of the Wii's launch titles, and a spiritual successor to the old NES "Excitebike." Well, the series is evolving again, as "ExciteBots: Trick Racing" will have players racing robotic insects and animals. These robotic racers will be able to transform via power-ups into different modes during races, and there will also be in-race mini-games that include bowling, darts, and making sandwiches by driving your racer through different ingredients. Up to six players will be able to race together online.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 (PS2/PS3/Xbox 360)-April 21 (Website)
Koei's very popular "Dynasty Warriors" series returns with its second Gundam game. The game combines the massive battle action of the "Dynasty Warriors" games with the popular "Gundam" anime series, taking storylines from the show and allowing players to experience them firsthand. Players can choose to play a number of characters from the anime, and the number of playable mobile suits in the game is over 60, a huge increase from the first game.
Well, that about wraps it up for 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 for exclusive interviews with publishers and developers. Until next month, good gaming!