March 28 - April 1

If you're not paying close attention, you might not realize it but racing games are enjoying a quiet renaissance. It's not just that there are a lot of them kicking around, but the ones that are coming to shelves are in many cases just excellent games. And, while Forza and Gran Turismo seem unfailingly perched at the top of the mountain, Electronic Arts has quietly been deconstructing and rebuilding the Need For Speed franchise into a contender.

This week EA rolls Shift 2 out of the garage as a true peer to Microsoft's and Sony's well loved auto-porn. Shift 2 certainly does a good job checking off the critical boxes to prove its heritage as a serious racer, beginning with a respectable car list that includes some of my personal favorites such as the Bugatti Veyron SS (the fastest production sports car in the world), Aston Martin's classic DB9 and DBS, the Pagani Zonda and the Lamborghini Murceliago LP640. Similarly the track list includes well known locales including the, dare I say, overused Nürburgring, the Suzuka and the classic downhill "Corkscrew" at Leguna Seca.

Of course, none of that means anything if EA has done nothing more than craft a stylish arcade racer. As a fan of racing games, particularly those that for a moment can suspend the disbelief of racing along at 170 miles per hour in a futuristic hyper-car, I'm hopeful that there is a new, well-established kid on the block. If nothing else it'll give me something to do while I wait for Forza 4.

Also quietly releasing this week, Tiger Woods 12, where hopefully there is a bonus achievement if you can make Woods win a tournament, much less a major, this year.

PC
- Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game
- Patrician IV: Rise of a Dynasty
- Shift 2 Unleashed

Xbox 360
- Dynasty Warriors 7
- NASCAR The Game 2011
- Shift 2 Unleashed
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters
- WWE All Stars

PlayStation 3
- Dynasty Warriors 7
- NASCAR The Game 2011
- Shift 2 Unleashed
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters
- WWE All Stars

Wii
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters
- Country Dance
- NASCAR The Game 2011
- WWE All Stars

Nintendo DS
- Hop: The Movie Game
- Johnny Test
- Pinkalicious, It's Party Time
- Zhu Zhu Puppies

PSP
- The 3rd Birthday
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
- WWE All Stars

Coming Soon:

Portal 2 -- 360, PS3, PC
Duke Nukem Forever -- 360, PS3, PC
L.A. Noire -- 360, PS3
The Witcher 2 -- PC
Red Faction: Armageddon -- 360, PS3, PC

Comments

A quiet week. My bank account thanks the gods of gaming.

"You said 'My Personal Favorite' twice."
"I like My Personal Favorite."
"Aw, he'll do just fine!"

I believe you chose well this week. Been looking forward to this game. And let's have a round of applause for Amazon and their (free) release day delivery (for Prime Members).

Awesome. Now that Dynasty Warriors 7 is out, it's only a matter of time before it drops down to a price that won't make me feel like an utter tool for buying such garbage.

garion333 wrote:

And let's have a round of applause for Amazon and their (free) release day delivery (for Prime Members).

Don't you have to pay for prime? That kind of makes it not-free to me.

Absurd nostalgia for Parasite Eve has me super excited for The Third Birthday; just like a Ghostbusters fan I am exercising selective amnesia about the lackluster "part II."

You forgot the PS2 release list!

WWE All-Stars is also coming out for it. I was surprised to discover this myself.

Scratched wrote:
garion333 wrote:

And let's have a round of applause for Amazon and their (free) release day delivery (for Prime Members).

Don't you have to pay for prime? That kind of makes it not-free to me.

Yes, but the difference is that normally one-day shipping is $4 extra (two day shipping is "free"), so release day shipping a lot of the time turns out to be free one-day shipping. Sometimes it does ship out on Saturday and is the standard "free" two day.

Regardless, the options Amazon give for getting things to people on release day is unparalleled and I'm thankful for it because I tend to buy strange games and can't always find them in store.

And Prime is worth every penny. I live 1500 miles away from all of my family, so I buy a lot of crap online.

Tiger and NASCAR both look like possibly the best games in their respective series. Not really a NASCAR fan, but the trailers still look impressive.

Wii
- Country Dance
- NASCAR
- WWE

All in the same week?

Isn't that one of the signs of the Apocalypse or something?

And check out GIRP, and indie rock-climbing game out today.

grobstein wrote:

And check out GIRP, and indie rock-climbing game out today.

QWOP what now?

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is one of the best RPG games I've ever played. I guess they finally decided to do a port of it after 5 years.

NASCAR The Game 2011.

I don't believe that's how they're still titling stuff.

Thirteenth wrote:

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is one of the best RPG games I've ever played. I guess they finally decided to do a port of it after 5 years.

Son of a gun, I cancelled my preorder for financial reasons, figuring that just being from a good company wasn't a good reason enough to buy. Sounds like I'm going to regret that, huh?

beeporama wrote:
Thirteenth wrote:

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is one of the best RPG games I've ever played. I guess they finally decided to do a port of it after 5 years.

Son of a gun, I cancelled my preorder for financial reasons, figuring that just being from a good company wasn't a good reason enough to buy. Sounds like I'm going to regret that, huh?

[enable]

Yes. Duh.

[/enable]

Here's a pretty good review of what to expect from Shift 2.

http://www.gtplanet.net/gtplanet-at-...

It looks like it is foremost, going to be a really fun title that allows you to dig deep into tuning, or just enjoy the best cockpit view available in a game.

But they also point out that it is not an elite driving model. It is not quite to Forza and GT levels. for me, that's fine. I play with a controller, not a wheel. I'm just looking for a game that will provide different and logical feels to different cars on different tracks. I will be using a decent amount of assists, as the reviewer played it with none.

I found the first game to be exactly what I love in a game, which is more PGR than Forza. What I think may draw and keep a decent amount of racers is the same autolog system that we saw in NFS: Hot Pursuit. While HP was a little too much point and boost for me, I think this will be a lot of fun.

Jayhawker wrote:

I found the first game to be exactly what I love in a game, which is more PGR than Forza. What I think may draw and keep a decent amount of racers is the same autolog system that we saw in NFS: Hot Pursuit. While HP was a little too much point and boost for me, I think this will be a lot of fun.

That reminds me, didn't Hot Pursuit come out in November, which is like 5 months ago? Isn't it way to soon to be releasing another game in the franchise?

It is quite soon, but they are running two very different developers and both are going in different directions.

They've branched off with Hot Pursuit being the arcade racing experience and Shift leaning more toward gear-head "sim"...though it's closer to PGR.

They've dropped the NFS label from Shift 2 altogether.

This another beast. Hot Pursuit appeals to different and more casual demographic. This is closer to Forza and Gran Turismo than past NFS games.

But then, I one of the reasons I ended up passing on Hot Pursuit was that I was more anxious for this game to come out. I ended up buying the first one for less money, and found it to be exactly what I love in racing games.

My only worry for this one is that it was going to be too sim, as that is what I don't care for in Forza and GT. But it seems like that won't be completely the case, even if you can tune your car down to tire pressure and gear ratios.

What this game does is provide the most visceral cockpit cam found in any racing game around. I usually hate them, but this one feels so natural, because the camera floats like it is attached to your heard. It naturally looks into turns, bounces when you hit a bump, shakes on side impacts, and lunges forward when you hit the breaks. I found it addictive as heck.

*edit* Yeah, what they said.

Also quietly releasing this week, Tiger Woods 12, where hopefully there is a bonus achievement if you can make Woods win a tournament, much less a major, this year.

From what I've played of the demo, you will definitely be able to win some tournaments for Tiger. They really nerfed the difficulty, including a Caddy that not only gives you the right club, draws a line your shot, but also gives you the exact % you need to ht he shot, with loft, fade, and draw worked out for you.

You can play on higher difficulty and turn it off, except that his shot recommendations are still visiable at the bottom of the screen. You have to go into audio settings to turn his voice off to keep him from yakking it up in your ear, spoiling the hole.

Worse, they eliminated what I thought made TW 11 the best golf I had ever played. And yes, far better than even those Links games that are so revered. TrueAim allowed you to craft a shot on basic information, not only eliminated the target circles, but showed you the distance, elevation, and wind for where you wanted to hit the ball. You then made all adjustments from tee box, without seeing how any of them will affect your shot. You aimed by looking out at a tree or something in the distance to know where the hole is, since it was not in view. You only have the carrying distance of your club, so you base you loft on how you think the ball will roll after it lands. It was all very inexact, and felt like you were making the kind of decisions a pro would make.

It was some of the most rewarding and fun video game golf I have ever played. But it's not in the game this year. If you eliminate as much of the new Caddy as you can, you are still left without basic information like the carrying distance, hole elevation, and wind. So yah, it's harder, but not in a good way. EA is trying to force you to use their new Caddy, which s much like their new automatic playcalling in Madden. It dumbs the game down for the most arcade users.

Now, I can't totally blame them. TW 11 sold horribly. I saw a report that only 18% of the customers ever even tried TrueAim. I won't be surprised, with the Masters in the package, if TW 12 reviews super well, and sells significantly more. And really, that's EA's goal.

But I'm sticking with TW 11, personally.

Aaron D. wrote:

They've dropped the NFS label from Shift 2 altogether.

Didn't notice that before.

Guess you missed the even yesterday, Jayhawker, that I posted in the TW12 thread. One of the producers, who shot -11 on the easier difficulty, mentioned that on the tournament highest difficulty the best he's shot at Augusta is -1 or -2.

I think there's going to be plenty of challenge in the game, the demo was locked to the easy/normal difficulty. It makes sense to have the default be more accessible, with the caddy and stuff, but there's supposedly a lot more challenge if you want it.

Also you can tweak the AI settings this year. So if you're winning tournaments by a ton, or losing them, whatever, you can make the competition play better/worse. Seems like it will always be competitive if you want it to be.

A friend of mine is picking up WWE All-Stars tonight to rekindle the good ol' N64 days. I already got dibs on Sgt. Slaughter.

Aaron D. wrote:

Wii
- Country Dance
- NASCAR
- WWE

All in the same week?

Isn't that one of the signs of the Apocalypse or something?

That's funny.

With Fallout New Vegas, Dragon Age II, Final Fantasy XIII and a re-newed interest in EQII, I simply have no dough for no mo'.

Intresting, I can find no Tiger Woods love or anticipation on this site. I've had every version of the game going back before TW added his name to it, and every year we have said "If only it had Augusta National."

I've got some friends joining me this weekend for a foursome, teeing off at 9:00 AM on Saturday. Can't wait.

Wakim wrote:

Intresting, I can find no Tiger Woods love or anticipation on this site. I've had every version of the game going back before TW added his name to it, and every year we have said "If only it had Augusta National."

I've got some friends joining me this weekend for a foursome, teeing off at 9:00 AM on Saturday. Can't wait.

We do have a catch-all topic. It's only 2 pages, but it's something.

Stele wrote:
Wakim wrote:

Intresting, I can find no Tiger Woods love or anticipation on this site. I've had every version of the game going back before TW added his name to it, and every year we have said "If only it had Augusta National."

I've got some friends joining me this weekend for a foursome, teeing off at 9:00 AM on Saturday. Can't wait.

We do have a catch-all topic. It's only 2 pages, but it's something.

I love the TW games, but ever since they started putting 6 courses on the disc and 18 for download I decided I'd just buy one version and stick with that.

garion333 wrote:
Stele wrote:
Wakim wrote:

Intresting, I can find no Tiger Woods love or anticipation on this site. I've had every version of the game going back before TW added his name to it, and every year we have said "If only it had Augusta National."

I've got some friends joining me this weekend for a foursome, teeing off at 9:00 AM on Saturday. Can't wait.

We do have a catch-all topic. It's only 2 pages, but it's something.

I love the TW games, but ever since they started putting 6 courses on the disc and 18 for download I decided I'd just buy one version and stick with that.

That may be extreme, but it sure is a large factor as to why I'm skipping this year's game. I've bought courses the last two years. I was going to hold off this year, because it is jut a lot of money to spend. But Augusta had me pre-ordering the game. That got canceled when the demo came out. Couldn't have been more disappointed.