Upcoming video game releases: 'Dante's Inferno,' 'BioShock 2,' 'Ace Attorney' Investigations

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The Independent Tech

Among upcoming video game releases: going to hell and back with Dante's Inferno, rescuing supernatural orphans in BioShock 2, and tracking down evidence in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth.

Dante's Inferno (360 PS3)
Release: North America, February 9. Japan, February 18. Europe, released on February 5.
Dante's Inferno is, as one would expect, inspired by the first part of Dante Aligheri's 14th century Divine Comedy trilogy. Gameplay is so similar to the PlayStation exclusive God of War series that comparisons have been made from the get-go. So for Xbox 360 owners, it could become the platform's God of War equivalent. PlayStation 3 users will have half an eye on the mid-March release of God of War III, but six weeks should be long enough to hack through the nine circles of hell. An animated film is out on Blu-Ray / DVD, a republication of Aligheri's epic is available, and there are special editions of the game that contain in-game bonuses, behind-the-scenes documentaries, soundtracks and other trinkets.
Price: $59 / €69 (360 PS3), $39 / €39 (PSP)
Divine Edition: $59.99 (360 PS3)
Death Edition: €79.99 (360 PS3)
Animated film: $24.99 / €17.99 DVD, $34.99 / €23.99 Blu-Ray
Book: Dante's Inferno, by Dante (translated by Henry Longfellow), Del Rey Books, $13 / €10

BioShock 2 (360 PC PS3)
Release: North America & Europe, February 9. Japan, March 4.
Set 10 years after events previously depicted in the first BioShock game, BioShock 2 is an atmospheric exploration from the point of view of a prototype human-robot. Said hybrid is encased in an armored diving suit, having gone rogue from its evil controller and fighting to save an underwater dystopia. Intruiged? Well, in addition to picking up a host of awards in North America and Europe, the original BioShock went down so well in Japan that this one is getting an unusually early translation and release to arrive just a few weeks after its North American and European date. Early reviews indicate that BioShock 2 offers an excellent and singular experience. The Collectors Edition includes a 12" vinyl soundtrack LP, soundtrack CD, three posters, and an art book.
Price: $59.99 / €59.99 (360 PS3), $49.99 / €49.99 (PC)
Collectors Edition: $99.99 / €79.99 (360 PS3), $89.99 / €69.99 (PC)

Shiren the Wanderer (Wii)
Release: North America, February 9. Japan, released June 2008; PSP version January 2009.
This conversion of the Japanese Wii game Furai no Shiren 3 is a classic rescue story concerning the fate of a sleeping princess in an enchanted palace. The fairytale plotline belies Shiren's reputation of being a challenging dungeon-crawler, putting the plucky young warrior up against all kinds of monsters and beasties. The developers coded the first five Dragon Quest adventure games and three of the Pokémon series which gives a good idea about the mechanics of Shiren. In terms of quality, reviewers at the Japanese magazine Famitsu gave it an overall score of 35/40.
Price: $39.99

Star Ocean: The Last Hope International (PS3)
Release: North America, February 9. Europe, February 12.
That this space-themed role-playing game has been an Xbox 360 exclusive since February 2007 was a little surprising, given that Sony aficionandos had grown used to Star Ocean games being a perk of PlayStation gaming, and now they too can play through the last in the highly rated series. Of the Xbox 360 version, review site Destructoid described it as being a well-crafted adventure, and Thunderbolt viewed it as a fitting swansong to the great series, though The Onion AV Club among others took issue with the length of the cutscenes and some other gameplay aspects.
Price: $59.99 / €59.99

Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll (Wii)
Release: North America, February 9. Europe, February 12.
The successor to Super Monkey Ball's first appearance on the Wii, Banana Blitz, this has been programmed to work with the Wii Balance Board, an accessory that has found a place in many homes thanks to the popularity of Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. Players can tilt and lean to guide their monkey-in-a-ball around courses and puzzles, though of course the game also accepts standard Wii Remotes. Something the Wii has become famous for is having a plethora of games which are essentially mini-game collections, and Step & Roll includes an abundance of multiplayer antics for up to four. Mini-games include Red Light / Green Light, Seesaw Ball, and the hyperactive-sounding Monkey Race. Step & Roll also gets rid of Banana Blitz's criticized jumping mechanic - probably a good idea for even the hardiest of Balance Boards.
Price: $49.99/ €29.99

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (DS)
Release: North America, February 16. Europe, February 19.
A spin-off from the humorous Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series moves Wright's friend and rival Miles to center stage. Evidence must be gathered from crime scenes, and logic used to piece together what happened and who the true culprit is. The Phoenix Wright series have been a hit on the Nintendo DS and it looks like the Ace Attorney Investigations titles will be no different. Though the RRP is standard, European shoppers can find bargain prices: price comparison websites GamesTracker and Media Pricer list it as cheap as €22 / £18 brand new from selected retailers.
Price: $29.99 / €29.99

Aliens vs Predator (360 PC PS3)
Release: North America, February 16. Europe, February 19.
1999's PC game Aliens Versus Predator was a classic of the genre, one of the first video games to mix stealth and action to such success. Integrating the fear and panic of a space marine's close quarters encounter with those deadly off-worlders of recent years only made it all the sweeter. Since then, its developers Rebellion have trodden a rocky road but here return to an old favorite. If Rebellion manage to give each race a fighting chance then this could turn out to be a corker. However, if the Aliens vs. Predator films are anything to go by, then maybe the video game doesn't have to be critically acclaimed in order to do well - it just has to be fun. Besides, there's a rubber alien facehugger included in the special edition package. Some people would drop a considerable amount of cash for the pranks to be played with that alone.
Price: $59.99 / €64.99 (360 PS3), $59.99 / €39.99 (PC)
Special Edition: $99.95 / €79.99 (360 PS3)

White Knight Chronicles: International Edition (PS3)
Release: Europe, February 19. North America, released on February 2. Japan, released December 2008.
Sony will be hoping that White Knight Chronicles does a " Demon's Souls" by making it big outside of its original Japanese market. Alert to the fact that the December 2008 game was generating significant interest from North America and Europe, a North American conversion was commissioned and a European language one is to follow, enabling non-Japanese speakers to experience the adventures of a young lad who is magically transformed into a knight in order to save his princess by doing battle with mages and monsters. Gameplay-wise, WKC looks very much like a Monster Hunter for the PlayStation 3, with a variety of quests and foes, and friends teaming up for online antics.
Price: €69.99 / $59.99

Also released in Europe between February 8 and 21: PC space strategy sim Sins of a Solar Empire receives the Diplomacy expansion pack on February 9; Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, a tie-in with the film adaptation of popular fiction boy-hero Percy, arrives on DS on February 9 in North America and February 12 in European regions; Big Catch: Bass Fishing 2, lands with a splash on February 12; Guitar Hero Van Halen, a stand-alone Guitar Hero game, is released in Europe (without instrument accessories) on February 19.

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