Upcoming video game releases: Brawny buddy shooter Army of Two: The 40th Day, a Winter Olympics theme with Vancouver 2010 and Winter Sports 2010, and airplane dogfighting in Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces.
Army of Two: The 40th Day (360 PS3 PSP)
Release: North America, January 12. Europe, already released January 8.
Private-hire militia men Rios and Salem return in what's considered to be a vast improvement on 2008's buddy shooter which, though far from terrible, was generally best experienced as a two-player co-operative. The sequel takes itself less seriously and building on the first game's strong points: planning ahead is well rewarded, team play is more rewarding, and the fist-bumps and high-fives return. Moral choices are introduced, bringing a whiff of cerebrality to what is essentially a gung-ho, gruff and brawny shooter.
Price: $59.99 / €69.99 (360 PS3), $39.99 / €39.99 (PSP)
Vancouver 2010: The Official Videogame of the Winter Olympic Games (360 PS3 PSP)
Release: North America, January 12. Europe, January 15.
Eurocom was involved with two 2009 games that turned out much, much better than expected - their film tie-in G-Force was nominated for GameSpot's Most Surprisingly Good Game award, while they had a hand in Dead Space: Extraction, GameSpot's Best Wii Game. Though their previous Olympic video games have met middling scores, the recent upturn in fortunes at Eurocom bodes well for Vancouver 2010 which boasts 14 events spanning the disciplines of ski, skate, snowboard, luge, bobsled and skeleton.
Price: €59.99 / $49.99 (360 PS3), €49.99 / $39.99 (PC)
Dark Void (360 PC PS3)
Release: North America, January 12. Europe, January 12.
Core team members at Airtight Games have a strong background with Microsoft Corp and Microsoft Game Studios, particularly in the realm of both realistic and arcade flight simulators. No shock then that the futuristic Dark Void is in the main a flying game, as the main character's imperfect rocket pack puts him up against a malevolent alien force. That said, there are also ground-based sequences, though with the addition of a hover-pack to boost the player's leaps and bring in some novel vertical combat sections. Imagine The Rocketeer crossed with Star Wars and Avatar to get an impression of what Airtight are aiming for. There's also going to be a retro-style DS companion game doing the rounds called Dark Void Zero.
Price: €59.99 / $59.99 (360 PS3), €39.99 / $39.99 (PC)
Winter Sports 2010: The Great Tournament (360 PS3 Wii)
Release: Europe, January 15.
German games developers 49games was responsible for the official video game accompanying the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino and has teamed up with the German media group RTL every year since with a new release for the RTL Sports label, as well as standalone games devoted to ski-jumping, biathlon, and alpine skiing. The fourth Winter Sports game features eight winter sports, all of which are official Winter Olympic events: alpine and freeride skiing, ski jumping, speed and figure skating, bobsled, and biathlon are the more famous ones. Boardercross (snowboard racing) is also included for good measure.
Price: €39.99 (360 PS3), €29.99 (Wii)
The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces (Wii)
Release: North America, January 12. Europe, February 26.
The team behind the successful Air Combat series work their magic on Nintendo's Wii. Whereas Air Combat games are less-than-serious arcade style dogfighters, Innocent Aces has an even more stylized presentation but moves closer to real-world flight by turning the Wii remote and nunchuck controllers into a World War I and II era pilot's control stick and throttle. The game is based on an award-winning animated film, which in turn was an adaptation of a successful Japanese graphic novel series, adding an interesting storyline to the interesting control method and prestigious pedigree.
Price: €39.99 / $39.99
Sands of Destruction (DS)
Release: North America, January 12.
A role-playing game in which a young man discovers he has destructive powers which makes him the center of attention in a world where humans are ruled over by feral creatures and the World Destruction Committee seeks freedom via violent conflict. The game is typically turn-based but also incorporates timing-based elements just as Bowser's Inside Story on the DS did last year.