New Video Games For the Week of 2/14: Veni Vici Ludi Vita

Forgive the rough (and possibly inaccurate Latin), but this week, the Vita launch begins as some gamers get their hands on the first wave of the limited edition console. Big name franchises like Lumines and Uncharted mark Sony’s new system’s debut, while on the home console and PC front, Alan Wake is finally on your personal computers, UFC 3 brings the pain, and Twisted Metal returns.

Check out some of this week’s major releases after the break.

In the coming days we plan to provide pretty comprehensive coverage and impressions of Sony’s new handheld launch which has, at least based on first glance, a pretty strong lineup of first and third party titles out of the gate. The question is really how much will this be the Vita’s first week in Japan and how much it’ll be the subsequent, spiraling-out-of-control weeks?

Sony’s delivered a sweet and sexy new piece of hardware with software and social capabilities that might be a game-changer in the handheld space, but it’s all about grabbing gamers’ attention. I think gamers were ready for the Vita when the PSP Go came out, but that’s not to say Sony has missed their shot—expectations among fans Sony’s forays into the handheld space just have weirdly modulated expectations at this point (myself included, having adopted a PSP early on and stuck by it for about three up and down years).

I’ll have some thoughts about Sony’s next moves beyond this point (because I am nothing if not a bunch of very loud, very present opinions) but for now, enjoy this nearly complete list of titles dropping today and stay tuned for reviews of most if not all of them (along with many, many more Vita games in the coming weeks).

Title: Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Platform(s): PS Vita

Title: Lumines: Electronic Symphony
Platform(s): PS Vita

Title: Rayman Origins
Platform(s): PS Vita

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Platform(s): PS Vita

Title: Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
Platform(s): PS Vita

Title: Wipeout 2048
Platform(s): PS Vita

Title: Twisted Metal
Platform(s): PS3

David Jaffe is one of those people for whom the word “outspoken” feels inadequate.* A notorious advocate for and defender of his projects (and the work of his teams) it was nonetheless surprising to find out recently that he left Twisted Metal developer Eat, Sleep, Play for other ventures after the resurrection of the Playstation-exclusive vehicular combat game (a genre that seemed to have a glut of entries once upon a time).

Departures and developers aside, what’s the response going to be like to this kind of game in this decade? Are there enough people with fond memories of Twisted Metal Black or even the PS1 entries to give this reboot the push it needs at retail? I personally love a comeback story (and can be counted in that category of fans of the earlier titles) so here’s to the success of Twisted Metal this week.

*Last I checked on Twitter Monday, he was still out there talking about responses to the recently-released demo and even guessing that some reviews swirling around weren’t necessarily based on the full game.

Title: UFC 3
Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360

I have yet to play one of THQ’s licensed MMA brawlers, but I feel like I need to get around to it at some point. Wait, do you guys care if I point out these blind spots? I’d hate to think it diminishes what I’m sure is a booming authoritative voice on gaming… or something, I guess. The franchise that Dana White and company built is, I’ve read, one of the fastest-growing sports in the worlds right now, and the games seem to do well enough for publisher THQ. I chalk it up to catering to an audience who grew up at then end of the 90’s and beginning of the aughts with a healthy love of WWE-style wrestling and as they got older kind of figured they should trade in the theatrics for real-live eye gouges.

That’s my theory, anyway, and you can’t take it away from me.

Title: Alan Wake
Platform(s): PC

Better late than never, right? Remedy’s banking that if you have a PC and haven’t played their entry in the survival horror genre, then you’ll be enticed by this week’s release which also includes all of the DLC which accompanied the game on the 360. And if you haven’t played this game, you really should. Although it’s shaky in both its narrative and mechanical execution—on the former you can’t get away from the feeling that there are some Finnish folks working to translate a uniquely American style of airport reading pulp horror—the Microsoft-published game had one toe in the pool of greatness (and one of my favorite last lines in a game in recent memory).

Title: Rhythm Heaven Fever
Platform(s): Wii

I remember my time with this series DS counterpart with equal parts glee and frustration, most of the frustration stemming from my basic lack of rhythm (certainly a shame to the more musically-inclined members of my family), and all of the elation coming directly from my love of the generally excellent rhythm minigames from the innocuously named Nintendo SPD Group 1. Will its Wii counterpart have the same magic? Only time (and Jason Cipriano in his forthcoming review) can tell.

Related posts:

PlayStation Vita Review: Console Gaming On The Go
Review: ’Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning,’ or 15 Hours With the Anti-’Skyrim’

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