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April – Month in Review

SPlinter Cell

The writing's on the wall

For most people April was a welcome relief in the release schedules finally giving gamers a chance to catch up after the best start to a year ever. Depending on your platform though it wasn’t a completely barren month and definitely had a greater number of decent games than 2009. A theme for this month is perhaps games that have been previously released on other platforms or should have been released as DLC.

Here’s the pick of the bunch:

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction (Xbox 360 and PC). After many delays and false starts Conviction was finally released as a console exclusive for 360, giving it a much-needed boost after a quiet year for exclusive releases in the face of a PS3 onslaught. Despite being in development hell the game appears to have turned out pretty well and whilst it wasn’t such as big  a departure from the stealth based gameplay the series is known for, new mechanics have brought it bang up to date. Metcritic score = 86.

Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City (PC and PS3). PlayStation 3 owners finally get a chance to play the Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and Damned add-ons for GTAIV. So much for being 360 platform exclusives. Even if you haven’t played GTAIV for months and even if you don’t own the game any more, these are definitely worth checking out. The stories are shorter and tighter than Nico’s and The Ballad of Gay Tony adds some of the fun back, that has been missing since San Andreas. Metacritic score = 88.

Monster Hunter Tri (Wii). In an effort to convert western audiences to the Monster Hunting phenomenon, Capcom have put this installment on the worlds most popular console and removed subscription fees. What you end up with is a solid game that has a decent singleplayer experience that teaches you the basics to prepare you for the online experience. Best played with the Classic Controller and bundled with the new Pro model it reminds of you the type of games you could play on the Wii if only publishers made them. What isn’t quite as successful is the Wii Speak peripheral, which is a poor substitute for a headset, but you can always use party chat from your 360 to handle communication duties. Metacritic score = 85.

Super Street Fighter IV (360 and PS3). For some this should have been DLC, but given the amount of additional content and features, it might not have ended up any cheaper than a retail release. For less than £30 you get another 10 fighters, additional special moves, better online modes and all fighters are unlocked from the start, which is how fighting games should be these days. For the purists there will be weeks of investigating how Capcom have tweaked the balance of each character, but for the rest of us its just a smoother online button masher. Metacritic score = 91.

2010 FIFA World Cup (360, PS3, and PSP). An inbetweeny FIFA game to cash in on the World Cup, but even so it is a bit of a dress rehearsal for the full game that will be released later this year. As well as a new penalties system you also get all of the national teams that took part in qualification so you can try to rewrite history and take Scotland all the way. Metacritic score = 83.

Warioware DIY (DS). Want to make your own mini game collection? This remarkable little cartridge lets you create relatively sophisticated games using an intuitive “language”. Once you’ve created your masterpiece you can take it virtually to market and see how well you would do as a publisher. It features a metric tonne of assets to play with if you lack an artistic touch. Metacritic score = 83.

Other games released in April include Dead to Rights Retribution, Nier and the God of War Collection. 2009 in comparison could only muster the likes of Little King’s Story, Ninja Blade, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, The Godfather II and Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume.

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  1. May 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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