After one of those rough, barely-anything-worth-playing weeks, video games make a shocking comeback this week. That means it's the perfect time for Shelf Life, 1UP's weekly feature where we let you know what games to expect this week and have you take a look at what we have to say about them (so far). Watch for the following games in stores the week of June 25th, 2007.
Monday, June 25th
The Bigs (PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360) -- Don't come to this strangely-named 2K Sports offering expecting a baseball experience so real that you can practically smell the freshly-cut grass in the outfield. That's not the point. The Bigs attempts to bring back the glory days of arcade sports games that were a blast for lovers of the sport and general gamers alike. To find out if this one's looking like a homerun or a strike-out, grab a hotdog from the vendor and check out 1UP's preview of the PlayStation 3 version.
The Darkness (PS3, X360) -- From the same folks that brought us the "what the hell, it's actually good?!" movie-based Chronicles of Riddick, The Darkness is a similarly licensed FPS based off the brutal Top Cow comic book. Does it live up to expectations? Our review says yes. Might I suggest turning out the lights for this one?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360) -- Is it weird to actually be excited by a massive, Electronic Arts-developed Harry Potter game? Because right now, the big question with the video game version of the latest film version of the boy wizard saga isn't, "How underwhelming will it be?" for once. It's "Do I get the waggle-enhanced Wii version or shoot for the slightly snappier visuals in the 360/PS3 versions?" To explain just why we would be so excited, Jeremy Parish magicked up a nice little preview.
Hour of Victory (X360) -- Will I still get paid if I keep this game's description to "just another World War 2 FPS"? No? Okay, how about two things Hour of Victory has going for it: some impressive Unreal Engine 3 graphics and a unique class-based system for the single-player campaign that allows for different routes through each level depending on which character you're playing. And one thing it has working against it: a fairly meh-inducing demo on Xbox Live (available for download now). For some more details on your latest tour of duty, read 1UP's preview.
Jewels of Cleopatra (PC) -- This casual PC title bills itself as the "ultimate puzzle adventure." In actuality, it's a pretty standard Popcap-style game that involves matching colored gems, not unlike Bejeweled or Jewel Quest. The devs also threw in some mini-games to break up the monotony, but ask yourself how many color-coded, jewelry-destroying games you need before picking this one up.
Pokemon Battle Revolution (Wii) -- With full connectivity to the DS's Pokemon Diamond/Pearl and, for the first time ever, online multiplayer in a Wii game, Pokemon Battle Revolution is a big release for Nintendo-heads. Will it actually bring about the online revolution that we've all been wishing for on Nintendo's system? Friend codes leave us guessing no, but we're keeping fingers crossed anyways. Informative 1UP preview, I choose you!
Touchmaster (DS) -- Okay, fine, the title's a little bit dirty, but quit giggling and get your mind out of the gutter. This DS release is perfect for the casual gamer audience Nintendo is so good at catering to, with over 20 simple puzzle, board, and card games. We're talking solitaire, mahjong, checkers -- everything you could hope for in quick blasts of on-the-go gaming. Put down your Sudoku and check out 1UP's preview.
Transformers: The Game (X360) -- Transformers, Harry Potter, Rata-whatsit... truly, it is a four-star week for movie-licensed games. Activision hopes to dodge the general movie-to-game mantra of mediocrity by way of their smart choice ofdeveloper: Traveller's Tales, the suave young gentlemen (and women!) who brought us Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy. Roll on over to 1UP'spreview to see if there's a chance at avoiding iminent disaster.
Driver: Parellel Lines (PC, Wii) -- Are we the only ones thinking this Wii (and PC) port of last years Xbox/PS2 Driver title came out of nowhere? Our reviewers thought that game was alright (check out the reviews here),but it's hard to tell if this series's formula will be well-served by waggle, especially with Wii versions of The Godfather and Scarface in such recent memory.
Final Fantasy (PSP) -- This umpteenth remake of the original NES Final Fantasy is being put out to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the series that launched a million JRPGs in North America. For presents, FF has received a visual overhaul, the easier difficulty and bonus dungeons of the earlier Gameboy Advance remake, and a brand new ultra-hard end-game dungeon. New-school FF fans, get ready for a blast from the past. Cast magic missile! ... okay, now go read 1UP's preview and watch this FF-centric episode of Retronauts.
Grim Grimoire (PS2) -- From the creators of the stellar Odin Sphere, this game mixes a very Harry Potter-esque story concept with unique 2D real-time strategy gameplay that's probably a bit more feasible on consoles than the average top-down view RTS games. For a mansion-exploring, spell-tossing good time, head over to 1UP's preview.
Horsez (GBA) -- This has been out on the DS for a while, and now -- finally -- Horsez makes it way to the Gameboy Advance. The only thing we're concerned about is whether or not the intense horse-petting sessions that we took such glee in on our DS will translate to non-touch screen gameplay. Don't let us down, Ubisoft!
Hoshigami: Remix (DS) -- Anyone else remember Atlus's PlayStation 1-era RPG Hosigami: Ruining Blue Earth? Us neither, but we're all being given the chance for a history lesson with this portable remake. If strategy-RPGs are your thing, read up on our preview and see if this one's worth the trip back in time.
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PC) -- The 360 hit arcade-shooter makes its way to PC. Though Capcom has faced problems with previous console-to-PC ports, this one seems like a no-brainer, and they've even upped the ante with higher-resolution graphics. Prepare for the bug invasion with 1UP's preview or a tasty demo via FileFront.
Nervous Brickdown (DS) -- Scientific evidence abounds proving that everyone loves the Breakout formula of games at some point in their life -- even if only briefly. As an evolution of Pong, the birth of gaming, it's one of those pure, intuitive types of gameplay. Take paddle, bounce ball, break brick. Perfect. Nervous Brickdown for the DS attempts to upgrade that pattern a bit by adding 135 variety-packed levels, stylus controls, and several modes of play including taking on boss bricks. Whoa. Get in on the brick-busting action with 1UP'spreview.
Overlord (PC, X360) -- People seem to take joy in ascribing the equation of Pikmin plus Oblivion to describe this unique fantasy-puzzler from Codemasters, but that combo doesn't go far enough in describing how totally fun it is to take on the atypical role of an evil ruler. We command you to read 1UP's preview and then check out the demo up now on Xbox Live or at FileFront. Puny peasants.
Ratatouille (DS, GBA, GC, PC, PS2, PSP, Wii, X360, Xbox) -- This is one SERIOUS game. So serious that it's coming to pretty much every gaming platform possible, including such surprising choices as the Gamecube, the original Xbox, and the Mac. Strangely, though, not the PlayStation 3. With a story ripped straight out of TV sensation Top Chef, a humble cook must claw his way to the top-- literally, given his rodent form -- in a 3D platforming adventure. To get a sniff of what the titular rats have cooking for this game, scramble over to 1UP's preview.
Steel Horizon (PSP) -- With a name like Steel Horizon, we'd expect a rather bleak, dystopic future represented in this game. But we're willing to accept what Konami is offering: a water-focused mix of turn-based and real time strategy. Controlling a whole naval fleet sounds cool, although it seems like RTS gameplay would be more well-suited for the (already-released) DS version. Check your radar for 1UP's preview.
Super Collapse! 3 (PSP) -- Super Collapse! (don't forget that exclamation point!) reminds us a little bit of Planet Puzzle League, which is probably a good thing for PSP owners looking to get in on the color-matching fun. A full single-player "quest" mode adds to the addiction, but for those who've already got Nintendo's answer to crack, we're not sure this one will hold up.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (PS3) -- With over six months of preparation between the 360 release and this new PS3 version of the latest terrorist-hunting action-thriller from Master of Plot Tom Clancy, has Ubisoft added anything significant? According to our intelligence briefing from Mike Nelson, there's some new maps and modes but nothing ground-breaking. Still, it's probably worth checking out if you haven't played it on the 360 already -- check 1UP's review for that version.
Transformers: The Game (PS2, PS3, Wii) -- See our info onTransformers: The Game above under Monday releases. Why the different release dates for different versions? No clue.
Traxxpad (PSP) -- Ignoring the "EXXTREME!" double-x's in the name, Traxxpad is actually a pretty cool concept. Mix together your own music and beats and then -- this is key -- upload them onto your computer as MP3 or WAV files. It's not really what we'd call a game and definitely not for everyone, but those who just love messing around with tunes will probably dig it. Bounce to the beat of ourpreview.
Wednesday, June 27th
Hot Wheels Ultimate Racing (PSP) -- This would be approximately the third time Hot Wheels Ultimate Racing has been on our list. We're not sure what more is left to say, except "VROOOOOM."
Friday, June 29th
Vegas Casino (DS) -- We don't have a lot of info on this gambling sim for the DS, but we're willing to make some wild guesses. There's probably a variety of games you can bet money on ranging from slots to craps to roulette in a vaguely glitzy Vegas setting. Also, touchscreen controls. And at the end of the game, you face a monstrous and hungry Panic at the Disco as the final boss. One of these back-of-the-box bullet points is blatantly made up.
[Shelf Life is written every week via release lists compiled by 1UP.com, Gamespot, and NeoGAF.]