May 24 - May 28

You know what. Let's recap. With less than half of 2010 out the door, here are the games that have been released over what are traditionally some of the most dull months for gamers: Alan Wake, Red Dead Redemption, God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII, Metro 2033, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Heavy Rain, Bioshock 2, Mass Effect 2, Darksiders and, oh yes, now Super Mario Galaxy 2.

By comparison, the big titles from the first few months of 2009 were Street Fighter IV, Dawn of War II, Killzone II, Resident Evil V, Demigod and inFamous. I'm not saying that's an easily dismissed list, but somehow it really fails to inspire the same kind of awe.

I don't know exactly why I care about this. Keeping score about what comes out when is a totally pointless exercise. I might as well run around assigning arbitrary values of quality to the games. Still, it's kind of nice to get week after week of new games to play, unless of course you're a big Wii fan because Nintendo systems have been largely locked out of the glut.

This week, however, it's time to dust off that Wii as Mario Galaxy 2 hits store shelves. Try not to be surprised when you find out that pretty much every reviewer on the planet is positively smitten.

Also, of note this week, though is Mod Nation Racers for the PS3 which looks equally delightful.

PC
- Blur
- Making History II: The War of the World

Xbox 360
- Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers
- Blur
- UFC Undisputed 2010

PS3
- Blur
- ModNation Racers
- UFC Undisputed 2010

Wii
- Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers
- Kid Adventures: Sky Captain
- Let's Paint
- Pirates Plundarrr
- Super Mario Galaxy 2

DS
- Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers
- Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force: Herbert's Revenge
- Color Cross
- Dawn of Heroes
- Little Bears
- Monster Frenzy
- River City Soccer Hooligans
- Witch's Wish

PSP
- Hexyz Force
- ModNation Racers

Coming Soon -
- Crackdown 2 : July 6
- Starcraft 2 : July 27
- Mafia 2 (PC, 360, PS3) : August 24
- Metroid Other M : August 31

Comments

Anyone playing Galaxy 2 this week, feel free to talk with us in the catch-all.

"Mod Nation Racers for the PS3 which looks equally delightful."

Looks fun but not for $60. Just saying...

And it looks remarkably like Zero Gear, the indie kart racer on Steam.

By comparison, the big titles from the first few months of 2009 were Street Fighter IV, Dawn of War II, Killzone II, Resident Evil V, Demigod and inFamous. I'm not saying that's an easily dismissed list, but somehow it really fails to inspire the same kind of awe.

I don't know exactly why I care about this. Keeping score about what comes out when is a totally pointless exercise.

I'm going to go ahead and call this the Titanic Effect. James Cameron figured out in the late nineties when he released Titanic, that if you release a summer blockbuster off-season, and it's got weak competition, that you will totally clean up. Notice how he did the same thing with Avatar, and totally cleaned up. Would he have had success during the summer? Sure, but not to the same extent. There is always much more competition.

As for games, look at the games released in late 2009: COD: MW2, Dragon Age: Origins, Assassin's Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Borderlands, Uncharted 2, and other AAA titles. Even if you have a great game, why compete with that horde, when you can wait a few months, polish up, and release during the gaming drought and clean up? Although early 2009 was not quite as great a list as Sean pointed out, basically the same thing occurred as those games didn't want to compete against the late 2008 offering of Resistance 2, Gears of War 2, Mirror's Edge, Wrath of the Lich King, etc. By 2010, companies are catching on, and we're seeing absolutely fantastic offerings in Jan-May 2010.

From my own perspective, this works out fine: either more great games are produced with the expectation they'll make money no matter when they are released, OR great games are produced, don't make money and end up cheap on Steam. Either way, how can I complain?

Is Alpha Protocol not being released this week in the USA?

That one has been on my radar since Obsidian announced it way back when.

Luckily for me there is not much coming out that grabs my interest and I can spend some time chewing through the pile.

To be fair to the Wii, it has also gotten No More Heroes 2 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. That's not exactly a plethora of quality titles compared to the unseasonable monsoon of goodness the PS360 has enjoyed so far this year, but it's SOMETHING.

. . . a totally pointless exercise. I might as well run around assigning arbitrary values of quality to the games.

Oh no you di'n't!

I might as well run around assigning arbitrary values of quality to the games.

You mean like picking the best game a day before release?

Alpha Protocol is out this week in the EU, next week in the US. For some strange reason it just seems to have zero hype behind it, perhaps Obsidian have played the spy game too straight.

Has anyone tried the demo for Mod Nation Racers?

The track creation is super easy. I had a pretty fun track ready to race (though you can't race the track in the demo; just test drive it) in less than 20 minutes with scenery and everything.

Could wind up being the LBP of Go-Cart Racers.

Anyone else interested in Blur? I played the demo pretty obsessively for a couple of weeks. I wasn't any good at it, but it just felt fun.

I don't know exactly why I care about this. Keeping score about what comes out when is a totally pointless exercise.

Luckily, you've admitted that you really enjoy that pointless exercise.

I might as well run around assigning arbitrary values of quality.

Another one of your favorite pastimes!

I fear for the Fall and Winter season, though. Not because I imagine they will be empty, but because they, too, shall be stuffed to the brim.

As a child this sort of thing would delight me. I'd have so many games to play! The summer would be well spent now that I had the time to dedicate to them all! Yet now that is not the case. I am an adult and summer means one thing: the already crowded roads of South Jersey being flooded by pale folk from Pennsylvania and Delaware as they march to the shore, and insufficient air conditioning whose higher priority is saving money rather than saving myself from heat and humidity.

In years previous game studios didn't release summer games until August, right when it was time to prepare for school. Now the assholes wisen up, and I am left as an adult, unable to truly enjoy it (well, that's not necessarily true, seeing as I was too efficient at my temp job and will be leaving in two weeks since my assignment is complete. Who knows when I'll get a new job? At the same time, I'm back to not spending money in favor of using what I've saved for College loans. Being an adult is a bitch).

Arclite wrote:

Would he have had success during the summer? Sure, but not to the same extent. There is always much more competition.

It actually an interesting question as to what gives you a bigger bump, even more so for games. Does the lack of competition getting you that extra gamer dollar during summer outweigh the hordes of non-gamer family members spending their dollars during the holiday season?

ccesarano wrote:

the already crowded roads of South Jersey being flooded by pale folk from Pennsylvania and Delaware as they march to the shore

Happily, the pale, corpse-like flesh of the average Delaware resident, when taken in sum with the day-glo orange flesh of the average New Jersey resident, yields an average that comes out close to normal human skin! With sufficient mixing, a long-distance photograph of the Jersey Shore would simulate a large crowd of regular people!

Coldstream wrote:
Arclite wrote:

Would he have had success during the summer? Sure, but not to the same extent. There is always much more competition.

It actually an interesting question as to what gives you a bigger bump, even more so for games. Does the lack of competition getting you that extra gamer dollar during summer outweigh the hordes of non-gamer family members spending their dollars during the holiday season?

I'd wager the holiday season is more of a bump to games that aren't any good or that cater more specifically to groups that can't buy them for themselves.

Surely the summer is the time to play the games you bought in the valve christmas/new year sale?

Weird, with all those (apparently) early reviews I thought Modnation Racers already came out.

Blur is certainly on my "when price drops" radar.

Nathaniel wrote:

Anyone else interested in Blur? I played the demo pretty obsessively for a couple of weeks. I wasn't any good at it, but it just felt fun.

Yes. I loved the demo. I look forward to more multiplayer goodness so it's a Day One for me.

Now I'll just need to find time between RDR and MLB '10: The Show (which still rules the roost -- that game just won't quit).

From the NPDs, you'd rather be a middling game in November than a middling game in June or July.

In the July 2009 NPDs, the number 5 to number 10 games sold from 156,600 to 96,800 copies. In November, the numbers 5-10 games sold between 720,000 and 315,000 copies. Great games will sell anytime, and if you can be the only big release for a month, it'll help, but if you're not, then you're much better off during the holidays.

I've been looking forward to Mario Galaxy 2 since it was announced. There isn't a single game in the last two years that has me more excited. The only thing that could perhaps get me more excited would be a new Zelda game (and maybe not even that).

Wii owners have not been starved of games. Aside from SMG2 releasing this week, there's been Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, NMH2, Sakura Wars, Sky Crawlers, Red Steel2, Monster Hunter Tri, Fragile, and Trauma Team.

It's been a fairly hectic first half of the year, on all platforms.

Elysium wrote:

I might as well run around assigning arbitrary values of quality to the games.

I picture it less as running, and more as languidly swanning around with a half full martini glass.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, NMH2, Sakura Wars, Sky Crawlers, Red Steel2, Monster Hunter Tri, Fragile, and Trauma Team.

I suppose it's a matter of perspective, but that sounds like some solid examples of why the Wii goes pretty much unplayed in my house.

Elysium wrote:

I suppose it's a matter of perspective, but that sounds like some solid examples of why the Wii goes pretty much unplayed in my house.

I expected as much. I can't fault you for not liking Wii games. We all have our preferences. I was only offering an alternative view to round out the community.

After all, you didn't even mention Super Street Fighter IV, and that has nothing to do with Wii games.

Elysium wrote:
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, NMH2, Sakura Wars, Sky Crawlers, Red Steel2, Monster Hunter Tri, Fragile, and Trauma Team.

I suppose it's a matter of perspective, but that sounds like some solid examples of why the Wii goes pretty much unplayed in my house.

Lets not kid ourselves, the only non-niche game in that list is Red Steel 2.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom was originally intended as a Japan only release.
No More Heroes 2 comes from Grasshopper (SUDA 51's team) and they were happy to sell through enough games that most devs would consider a failure.
I don't know much about Sakura Wars, or Sky Crawlers.
Monster Hunter Tri is not going to appeal to everyone with a play stayle that demands more of a player than most these days.
Fragile has had such a mixed reception and even after watching a few trailers, I'm still not 100% sure what it is.
Trauma Team is a surgery based game.

Only Red Steel 2 fits into a 'big' genre with it's FPS style.

I didn't expect Super Mario Galaxy 2 to have rave reviews either. Will definitely be picking that up sometime, but probably only if it's on sale. Still haven't beat the first game...

mrtomaytoh:

I was only offering an alternative view. This thread is more about the release this week, and SMG2 is looking mighty fine. That said:

Spoiler:

I'm not kidding myself or anyone else. I don't know what you mean by "niche" game, but all the games I listed I deemed well worth playing, and in most cases, completing, which is more than the podcasters regularly do with their games.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a new entry into the Vs series of fighting games - the only one since Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, and features anime characters from popular franchises, including Eagle and Condor from G-Force. It's a rare treat for fighting fans.

No More Heroes 2 is the second example of a stylish brawler that uses motion controls effectively. The sensibility is very Japanese, but the action speaks for itself.

Sakura Wars is a strategic RPG married to a dating sim. No hentai - this is an honest to goodness just-dating sim. No leveling up - the characters power up according to how close you are to them and they are to each other. Power Of Friendship taken to videogame form. The last SRPG we had was Valkyria Chronicles, so this is also a rare title.

Sky Crawlers is a flight combat game from the Ace Combat studio, featuring nunchuk motion controls that actually work! Graphics are rather normal for flight games, but it's quite fun.

Monster Hunter Tri is a Monster Hunter game, arguably the best ever made.

Fragile is an adventure game in the truest sense - a mix of point and click and 3D exploration, using the Wiimote as a flashlight. Very atmospheric and the graphic design is well done.

Trauma Team is a pointer-based "puzzle" game with a medical theme. Again, quite good.

Red Steel 2 is not even an FPS. It's more of a first person brawler, the first of its kind. It works, and it's loads of fun. It doesn't hurt that the FPS controls are pretty much perfect.

I'll give you that none of these games are stock games in the usual genres. They're not yet-more FPSs. They're not standard JRPGs. They're not an iteration of designs we see represented every generation. That's pretty much why I was excited for all of them. We don't get games like these very often, and they'll all quite enjoyable examples.

LarryC wrote:
Spoiler:

I'll give you that none of these games are stock games in the usual genres. They're not yet-more FPSs. They're not standard JRPGs. They're not an iteration of designs we see represented every generation. That's pretty much why I was excited for all of them. We don't get games like these very often, and they'll all quite enjoyable examples.

That's what I meant by calling them niche. They're just not big-market-for-the-masses type games. This also helps them stand better for anyone looking for a game of their type (as you said you were).

I was very interested in Monster Hunter Tri, but I kinda just let it pass when I had other things to play and Gamestop was being underhanded and not handing out the demo discs for free like they were supposed to (according to Capcom's offical website blog). I was interested, but not enough to go out on a limb to buy a different type of game without getting to try it first. Capcom's loss at the expense of Gamestop's greedy policies.

Super Mario Galaxy 2, on the other hand, I preordered in March due to the videos combined with the legacy of quality in Super Mario games (and the $20 Amazon credit).

Heh, if you ask me, 2010's "notables" so far, and Mr. Sands' obvious overlooking of such Wii games goes a long way to explain how the landscape of gaming from the eyes of the masses sometimes looks like a big brown splotch littered with gunfire.

I enjoy my Mass Effect and my Borderlands as much as the next guy, but when I'm looking for new games after just playing a shooter, I typically don't look for even more shooters.

This week is a nice reprieve from the long string of games trying to be "mature" movies. Not a single shooter or racing sim in sight!

It was probably a bad move releasing Blur, Split Second, and Modnation Racers so close to one another. That's a lot of overlap, and I imagine most people who are interested in any of them will only wind up buying one. (Or at least, only one new copy during those all-important first couple weeks.) They all sound like pretty cool games, so I hope they don't suffer too much from being bunched together.