Weekly video game releases: 'Super Street Fighter IV', 'FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa', 'WarioWare DIY'

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The Independent Tech

Among upcoming video game releases: Super Street Fighter IV comes up with the goods in a cheaper, more feature-packed edition of last year's series-resurrecting Street Fighter IV; football fever hits with FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa preparing the way for a summer of footballing frolic; WarioWare DIY brings the do-it-yourself gaming popularized by LittleBigPlanet to the DS and Wii.

Super Street Fighter IV (360, PS3)
Release date: North America, April 27. Japan, April 28. Europe, April 30.

Street Fighter IV continues the legacy left behind by Street Fighter II with a 'Super' update, boosting the character roster by ten. Eight of those come from previous Street Fighter games (such as Cody, Guy, and Adon from Street Fighter I & Alpha) - the new faces are the female Taekwondo fighter Juri and the comic Turkish oil wrestler Hakan. There are a couple of new moves all round, extra character costumes, and an improved online multiplayer. To sweeten the deal for those that bought Street Fighter IV last year, Super Street Fighter IV is shipping with a lower base price. Those with cash to burn may be tempted by the Dojo Edition, which is an SSFIV-branded gym bag containing a headband, aluminium water bottle, t-shirt, and USB drive along with the game itself, going in and out of stock at Capcom.com. There are also arcade-style and branded console controllers for those determined to squeeze every last ounce of play from the new game.
Price: €39.99 / $39.99
Dojo Edition: $79.99
Official SSFIV Arcade Stick: $149.99 / €149.99

FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa (360 PS3 PSP Wii)
Release date: North America, April 27. Europe, April 30. Japan, May 13.

EA Sports' yearly football series has had its regularly scheduled programming interrupted with this World Cup Finals-focused edition. FIFA 10 was a fantastic game, picking up good reviews, numerous end of year awards, and great sales. This special World Cup version includes a number of tweaks including a simple two-button control method for newcomers, and an import manager so Pro players trained up in FIFA 10 can be carried across for World Cup glory within South Africa's ten official stadiums. There is a demo already available from the 360 and PS3's respective online stores.
Price: €69.95 / $59.99 (360 PS3), €49.95 / $49.99 (Wii), €39.95 / $39.99 (PSP)

NIER (360, PS3)
Release date: North America, April 27. Released in Europe, April 23; Japan, April 24.

Out in Japan as both NieR Gestalt and NieR RepliCant, with a slightly different storyline for each, it's the standard NieR Gestalt version of this action adventure that's released in North America and Europe. Needless to say, it's an epic tale either way and has been generating considerable interest among fans of the genre - especially those who felt that Final Fantasy XIII did not quite do justice to publisher Square Enix's pedigree.
Price: €59.99 / $59.99

WarioWare: Do It Yourself / WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase (DS/Wii)
Release: Europe, April 30. North America, already released.

The latest WarioWare game, as always hosted by Mario's nemesis and greedy buffoon Wario, is faithful to its lineage by placing greater emphasis on presenting a collection of mini-games rather than telling tales of heroism and bravery. Despite containing 90 ready-made mini-games to play, what sets this apart from previous WarioWare titles is the focus on allowing users to make their own mini-games. Since the Japanese release at least, Nintendo has been releasing two new mini-games each week, and running regular competitions to find the best creations after announcing a certain theme. There is also a similar Wii game, WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase, to be made available via the Wii's online Shop channel.
Price: €29.99 (DS) / 800 Nintendo Points, ~€8 (Wii)

Halo: Reach multiplayer beta (360)
Release: May 3

The next entry in the Halo series isn't expected until at least September 2010, but the team behind it, Bungie, are keen to start publically testing it well before then. In Reach, participants are given the opportunity to customize their character's equipment loadout with greater choice than before and there are several new modes of play to experiment with. Access to the beta test is not by lottery but granted via ownership of the latest Halo title, September 2009's Halo 3: ODST, in which the player character is a foot soldier, significantly less powerful than the usual Spartan soldiers of the other games.
Price: Free, conditional on ownership of Halo 3: ODST (now ~$29.99/€29.99)

Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Skies (Wii)
Release: Europe, May 7. North America, June 7.

A shoot 'em up with an illustrious history: The developer, Treasure, is a small Japanese studio that stands behind many of the most influential video games of the last two decades: Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Headdy were soon followed by shooters galore with Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga, and Gradius V among the most venerated of the genre. Sin & Punishment, an N64 game from the year 2000, found a new lease on life on the Wii's Virtual Console emulation service. Expect stylish improved graphics and frantic action from this top-rated title: reviews of the October 2009 Japanese release have been glowing, with Eurogamer Italy awarding 10/10, Edge 8/10, and three of Famitsu's four reviewers also bestowing 8/10 upon it.
Price: €49.99 / $49.99

What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2 (PSP)
Release: North America, May 4. Europe, May 7.

Most games give their starring, world-saving role to a player-controlled hero or, at worst, a gruff anti-hero who reluctantly rescues hapless beings from their fate. Some go so far as to simulate a criminal lifestyle but few go as far as What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2's crafty humor, casting the player as the dungeon-dwelling demon king trying to stop cute, brave heroes from disturbing the peace by creating an underground maze of monsters, dead-ends, and traps. Even the title is a joke, the Japanese original being called " For A Hero, You're Pretty Impudent", and the first American translation was " Holy Badman! Invasion of Privacy" before perky copyright issues got in the way.
Price: $29.99 / €29.99

Picross 3D (DS)
Release: North America, May 3. Europe, released March 5.

North American fans of cute, compulsive puzzlers on the Nintendo DS rejoice, for Picross finally makes its way across the waters following a Japanese debut in March 2009 and, rather unusually, arriving in Europe a month or two ago in March 2010. In 2007, Picross DS brought the distinctive minesweeper-Sudoku hybrid to Nintendo's handheld, presenting players with a grid, the squares of which must be shaded or left blank according to number clues: each row has a certain number of shaded squares and players use those numbers to deduce which those squares are. Picross 3D takes that basic, compulsive idea, and adds an extra dimension of brain-twisting challenges.
Price: $19.99 / €29.99