by Mike Profeta
This month brings an unusually strong line-up of new releases. Old franchises return with impressive and surprising reboots and prequels. These long-awaited entries bring new environments, enhanced gameplay, and never-before-seen multiplayer experiences to established, popular series.
First, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything resembling awesome from the long-running Tomb Raider series, but Crystal Dynamic’s re-imagining of gaming’s classic heroine — which has received high marks across the board from critics — is a game not to be missed.
Take control of an inexperienced Lara Croft as she makes the transformation from young archaeologist to battle-hardened survivor in Tomb Raider, which releases today on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
The 24-year-old SimCity series is also returning with its newest iteration, releasing today for PC. SimCity once again tasks players with creating and maintaining a thriving metropolis. However, new features such as a sandbox mode will allow casual players to alter the game’s more unforgiving aspects. In addition, expanded online functionality will allow for new and increased connectivity between players.
Though there has been quite a few South Park games, none of the previous efforts have been as ambitious as Obsidian Entertainment’s new role-playing game: South Park: The Stick of Truth. Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote the script, oversaw the project, and provided the voices for the game, thus ensuring the same level of quality expected of their franchise. South Park: The Stick of Truth hits stores today on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
Zerg-rush! After almost three years since StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty hit stores, the first expansion entitled Heart of the Swarm is finally here. Taking control of the “Queen of Blades,” players can expect a new 20-mission campaign to resurrect the ailing Zerg forces
This campaign will focus on allowing players to level up and unlock new devastating abilities throughout the campaign rather than focus on the traditional base-building and resource-gathering mechanics the series is known for. New units will be added to the roster, however, and upgrades for existing units will be incorporated as well. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm releases for PC & Mac OS on March 12.
Have you ever wanted to see how Kratos became covered in ashes or find out what drove him to madness? God of War: Ascension, a prequel to the original trilogy aims to take players back to Kratos’ roots as a soldier, before toppling Ares to become the God of War.
As a series first, multiplayer modes have been added, allowing players to pummel each other as well as the scores of mythological creatures and enemies one can expect from a God of War game.
Prepare yourself, mortal! God of War: Ascension releases for the PS3 on March 13.
Step into the boots of the COG soldiers once again in Gears of War: Judgement, which moves its focus from long-time main characters Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago. This prequel instead allows players to see through series NPCs, Damon Baird and Augustus Cole, with revamped gameplay mechanics and a brand new chapter in the Gears story, Judgement is hoping to evolve the series with simplified controls and brand new multiplayer modes. You can curb stomp the Locust Horde once again when Gears of War: Judgement releases on March 19 for Xbox 360.
After being pushed back repeatedly, the long-awaited BioShock Infinite is finally arriving.
If you haven’t played previous games in the series, fret not; Infinite is a brand new installment with familiar gameplay mechanics that takes place in an equally remarkable fantasy world. Instead of the undersea city of Rapture, players will explore a brand new environment with the floating city of Columbia.
Take to the sky-rails and immerse yourself in what is sure to be another incredible game from Irrational Games and 2K Games. BioShock Infinite will be releasing on March 26 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC!