Out This Week

Tomb Raider

Casting Call

A dark and gritty Tomb Raider reboot headlines this week’s new releases. But who should star in the movie?

By Drew Toal • March 5, 2013

Out This Week is a roundup of new games that are out this week. These listings don’t constitute an endorsement or a review of any sort. We also don’t pretend that this is an exhaustive list. If there’s a game on the horizon that interests you, share it in the comments.

Tomb Raider
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—March 5

I don’t really blame Angelina Jolie for Tomb Raider’s decline. I don’t not blame her, either. But when the eventual big screen adaptation to the latest game comes, this rugged new version of Lara Croft demands someone with more gravitas and pluck. Perhaps Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, or maybe that Channing Tatum girl everyone is talking about (the one who did that Soderbergh stripper movie).

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—March 5

After watching this trailer for the fourth or fifth time, I begrudgingly accepted Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 wasn’t a hilariously heavy-handed Japanese satire. From the clip:

“INCREDIBLE CINEMATIC TURMOIL!”
“THE ULTIMATE DECISION: LEGEND OR HERO”
“THE FOURTH GREAT NINJA WAR EXCEEDS EXTREME INTENSITY!”

If the ultimate decision is between “legend” and “hero,” I choose…both? Moreover, as anyone who has seen my dynamic onscreen Digest performances can attest, I feel an intense kinship with anything that exceeds extreme intensity. ULTIMATE NINJA STORM 3 BY NAMCO BANDAI!

SimCity
PC—March 5

When it comes to urban planning, perhaps no debate was more public or rancorous than the battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs in the 1960s. Both held fundamentally oppositional views on the best ways to design a city, and their philosophical spat has echoed down through the decades. SimCity, presumably the most advanced installment yet in the long-running series, should be sophisticated enough to settle the question once and for all. Meanwhile, in honor of the late Ed Koch, my simulated metropolitan sprawl will be constructed around epicenters of peep shows, drug-infested parks, prostitution rings, and affordable rents. RIP, Mr. Mayor.

Showdown Effect
PC—March 5

For many years, I have been searching near and far for the spiritual successor to Bad Dudes. Be still, my beat-’em-up heart.

MLB 2K13
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—March 5

In my perfect world, Roy Halladay would defy advancing age and injuries and return to form, Ryan Howard would once again be more than an overpaid Subway spokesman, and the Phillies would’ve acquired either Giancarlo Stanton or Josh Hamilton this offseason. The way things stand in Philadelphia, I’d be better off wishing for safe, affordable cigarettes and economic equality, but I can at least take solace in the unstoppable MLB 2K13 super team I will be constructing forthwith.

MLB 13: The Show
PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita—March 5

In my perfect(er) world, I’d have a PS3 so I could do all that stuff I just said, but with a better game.

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65 Responses to “Casting Call”

  1. Cloks says:

    Has Locoroco’s delightful soundtrack been covered by any features on here? I started playing it last night and it’s a joy to listen to.

    • It’s on my ever-growing GTT list, at least. I played a ton of LocoRoco 2 over the holidays. That series definitely needs a Vita reboot.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I agree. LocoRoco 2 was incredible and sickeningly cute, but it would’ve been better if each LocoRoco color played differently from each other.

        • Right? I expected them to have different abilities or physics, but all they do is change the song for the rhythm game, and the yellow guy you start with has the catchiest song of the bunch.

          It kills me that the Vita doesn’t allow screenshots of PSP games. The sticker mode in that would basically make 90% of the header image for me.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I mentioned it in last week’s Game That Tune about Rayman Origins since I find the two soundtracks similar.

  2. Anybody here throw caution to the wind and pick up Sim City today?  I’m very interested in the game from the gameplay perspective, but that nasty always online DRM doesn’t sound like a good match for my “Screw you I’m taking a nap!” router.

    I understand that EA doesn’t want people to steal that nice game they spent forever working on, but still, isn’t that what Origin is for in the first place?

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      I can understand the always-online requirement given the game’s focus on
      multiplayer collaboration, so I think that’s a pretty reasonable
      expectation. I’m probably gonna pick it up when I get off work
      (especially if DC gets snowed in!).

      • Andrew Nauer says:

        I’m worried, it’s damn near 50 out in Arlington, if this snow peters out I’m gonna punch the snow god in his grizzled blue honker.

        • ItsTheShadsy says:

          Yeah it’s 52 in DC right now, definitely not promising. Tomorrow looks much colder, and that’s probably when the bulk of it is going to happen. Word is that it’ll be nasty, wet snow that takes down power lines and trees. Even if it misses you guys, it’ll do enough to the northwest DMV to have an effect.

        • beema says:

          Heyyy you guys are locals? I’m in Alexandria :)
          Hoping my office gets closed tomorrow

    • beema says:

      Word is there are already DRM server issues preventing people from playing. Slow clap, EA.

      • ItsTheShadsy says:

        I figure the servers will be bogged down for a bit, as happens with any online game launching. A little sad they didn’t get better infrastructure in place for the premiere though; that’s just gonna add fuel to the Metacritic user review fire.

        • beema says:

          http://answers.ea.com/t5/Miscellaneous-Issues/Server-busy-30min-countdown/td-p/603232

          There’s really no excuse. If you are launching a major title the requires always online access to play it at all, you should have the decency to set up adequate servers. 

          As people there mentioned, the most galling thing about it is that only legitimate paying customers are punished. Anyone who doesn’t give a shit can go torrent it and play it without issue. 

          It boggles my mind why anyone still does this. 

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          @twitter-259492037:disqus Holy shit, yeah. I don’t understand how that happens at all. how many millions of dollars does it cost to make these games? Get another fucking server or whatever, jerks. Like with Diablo 3. How many years were they making that game for? they really couldn’t kick in a bit more cash to making sure that people who bought could, y’know, play it?

          It’s just such a shitty business practice and it’s somehow becoming acceptable among people playing games. Like, really, this is a shitty thing that they’re doing. It doesn’t benefit anyone really. Cut it out.

        • HilariousNPC says:

          It’s not just that the servers are bogged down, it’s that if the *2* authentication servers they made for an always-online game (even in single-player) to serve all of the US are busy, you can’t try to log in again for 30 minutes.

        • ItsTheShadsy says:

          Oh, wow, well. Jesus. I’m used to people huffing about queues or server instability or whatever in the first week, but this sounds like the EA just did not tell their server people that, you know, a game was coming out.

      • evanwaters says:

         Well, of course. You figure that after Diablo III people would realize that having an online-only game means the servers will fail shortly after going live because of the initial rush. I can’t believe EA made no plans for this, but of course, it’s EA.

    • JudgeReinhold says:

      One of the last computer games I bought and actually played was Spore. It also had some absurdly onerous DRM, and that was a big part of the reason I stopped playing it very shortly after I got it. 

      That and the fact that it got really redundant very quickly. 

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I remember the promise of that game, and the fire it lit in my imagination, and how those things had no relation to the reality of playing it.

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      Are we doing a Gameological region? I should have this game by the end of the week.

  3. ItsTheShadsy says:

    I am so very excited about the new SimCity. I know
    people have all sorts of odd issues with it – it’s online-only, the multi-city gameplay discourages the type of megalopoli that have characterized SimCity for so many years – but I think that (at least conceptually) it’s a very forward-thinking step for the series.

    I was really excited for the persistent multiplayer mode in Cities XL before it tanked, so the idea of a city simulation game with a collaborative, online-aware focus has me ticked.

  4. ToddG says:

    Also, the final Mass Effect 3 DLC.  Yes, I know this is of interest to approximately zero commenters here.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Especially @Fluka:disqus , our resident Mass Effect hater. I expect an expletive-filled rage rant from her any moment now… 

      • ToddG says:

        I hope it is followed by someone screaming about how this four-gig download “should’ve been on the disc.”

      • Fluka says:

        BIOWAREA U HAVE BETRAAYED MEEEEE WITH YR ONDISC DLC N ENDING!!!111

        In all seriousness, I’ve currently got my metaphorical fingers in my ears with this DLC until I can play it tomorrow night.  Haven’t even watched the trailer.  Forecast: Severe Fangirl Warning in Effect through Friday WAYPTW.  In the meantime I’m distracting myself with Thief 4 screenshots. 

      • Citric says:

        I thought I was the resident Mass Effect hater. I guess maybe I’m the resident Mass Effect Indifferenter. Shut up that is a word.

    • It sounds like pandering fanservice, but I want it anyway!

      • Chalkdust says:

        I think a year out is the perfect time for a bit of pandering fanservice!  I never did any of the other story DLCs for ME3 so I’ll probably binge in a few weekends.

        • Merve says:

          Yeah, same here. I’m planning to do a full series playthrough this summer, so I’ll just snap up the DLC then.

        • I don’t want to spoil Leviathan and Omega, but I will say that they are interesting yet inessential. 

        • Chalkdust says:

          @twitter-493417375:disqus I like the sound of that, actually.  I feel like the main arc has been built up as much as it needs to be.  A little ‘gaiden’ is always appreciated.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Like with ME2 DLC, I will patiently wait for it to be an appropriate price and gobble it up.

  5. Fluka says:

    Not this week (maybe 2014?), but as stated above first Thief 4 screenshots!  Come on, stop saying it looks like Dishonored!  The influence goes the other way around!  Yeah, they have the same Victorian steampunk dealy, but this is more medieval!  Huh, okay, there’s a fancy decadent masked ball and/or brothel too.  And guards with metal helmets to knock out.  And sure, it takes place in a city “broiling with social tension as it is ravaged by a plague and lorded over by a political tyrant known as the Baron.”  But, uh.  *Narrows eyes.*

    • beema says:

      Yup, my thoughts exactly.

      I have a lot of faith that the game will be good, given the great job the same devs did with Deus Ex, but it still feels kind of lame that they might be cribbing stuff from Dishonored. I mean, the original Thief series has been “dead” for a long time now, and this new one isn’t being made by the same people, so I think it’s fair to say that it’s being influenced by Dishonored.

      • Fluka says:

        Frankly, if they can do Dishonored with better writing, I’ll be happy.  I loved Dishonored, but the plot and characters just felt so hollow.  (Dishonored: great with environmental storytelling, boring in its dialogue-based storytelling.)

        • CNightwing says:

          I got sort of bored of stealth by the end of the game, there weren’t enough abilities to choose between. Really there wasn’t any RPG aspect at all, and yes, everything did feel hollow – right from the start it wasn’t clear who the character you were playing even *was*.

        • beema says:

          Yeah, Dishonored was great fun, but something about the experience felt very hollow. 

        • valondar says:

          Or perhaps without the writing. My favourite stealth game of 2012 was Mark of the Ninja, perhaps because there was never a single cinematic that lasted longer than a minute or two and then it got right back to the stealthy-stealthy-stabby-stabby (and even so I was actually surprised that the game’s ending was actually really good, especially as the story up to that point had been a trite assembly-line of functional cliches).

          Give me a knife, a world, a lot of flexibility in how to handle my targets, and I’ll do the rest.

      • Merve says:

        I think this is exactly the kind of shot in the arm the AssCreed series needs. I long ago accepted that the series had little, if anything, to do with, y’know, actually being an assassin. But I’ll gladly play an action-adventure game that allows me to play as a nasty, badass pirate. I just won’t pay $60 for it. (I’ll wait for the inevitable Steam sale.)

        • Chalkdust says:

           I really enjoyed the naval sequences in AC3, so a pirate-themed installment appeals to me.

        • beema says:

          It’s for next gen consoles, and purportedly will have PS4 exclusive content. I have a niggling fear that by that point, Ubisoft might decide to go EA’s route and only start releasing PC stuff on their own Uplay service. And maybe it will be $70 too! JOY

          It could indeed be a shot in the arm. But it could also just be rigidly-defined ship battles and dynamic endless interchangeable fetch quests. They also said that naval stuff will account for about 40% of the game, and the rest will be land-based. So there’s plenty of room for it to stick to formula.

          I would like to play AC3 at some point, but the series has felt like such a wasted opportunity lately.

    • Bad Horse says:

      I just got Dishonored for my birthday, but my love for XCOM and X-COM and FTL remains undiminished. For all the steampunkiness of its setting, Dishonored seems like such a stock game to me. Sneak past and/or kill dudes, listen to other dudes talk at you, buy powers & upgrades, hunt for secrets, blah blah blah blah. 

      How can I be so bored with this when only 2 short years ago (before Mass Effect 2) I used to like this kind of thing so much? 

      • beema says:

        Are XCOM and X-COM different things?

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I know right?? I used to be all about these big action adventurey games, but over the past few years i’m just bored by them. It essentially plays itself, I guess? Like, I’m never worried about dying because I’ll just try this bit again until i get past it. 

        I’ve mostly been playing roguelikes lately. And Dota 2, which is probably as close as we’ll get to a multiplayer pvp roguelike.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I respect Dishonored, but being stealthy is more work than fun. I like what it’s getting at, at being a non-lethal ninja wind guy, but it’s been very difficult for me.

    • CNightwing says:

      Thief 4!
      Um, that description can’t be right, please?

  6. ferrarimanf355 says:

    Just Tomb Raider for me.

    And if you think the Phillies are bad, at least you aren’t a Marlins fan. I gave the fuck up on them after the firesale last offseason.

    My allegiance is with the Atlanta Braves now.

    • snazzlenuts says:

      As a Cubs fan, might I point out what the Marlins did to the Cubbies in 2003?  Remember that?  I do. Now, I’m going to go drink drink ’til I can’t feel feelings anymore.

      • ferrarimanf355 says:

        Dude, build a bridge and get over it. It’s not my fault they didn’t close the deal when they had the chance.

        • snazzlenuts says:

          I know, I know. I’m just saying it could be worse. I contracted a stomach virus that put me in the hospital the night the Cubs were officially elminated from the playoffs. I still blame it on them.

    • Pandas_please says:

       Braves could always use more fans, hate that it had to come at the hands of another Jeffry Loria fire sale though.

      • ferrarimanf355 says:

        I’m trying to move to Atlanta, anyways. Finding a job there is obviously the hard part, but I’m trying. 

    • Cornell_University says:

      When I was home over the holidays, I quizzed my masshole friends on whether it was okay for me to switch allegiances to the Indians.  My logic:  Terry Francona is the only manager in anybody’s lifetime to get Boston a World Series, two even.  He also by all accounts is a gentle, wonderful guy who got ridden out of town and slandered in the press by an increasing unlikable and odorous ownership group.  I also live close enough to Ohio to get the games on cable.  The conversation didn’t exactly go anywhere, because SAWX NATION REMDAWG SEZ BUY ALUMINUM SIDING.

  7. ChicaneryTheYounger says:

    “Pitchers and Catchers”

  8. Pandas_please says:

    I have a confession to make: baseball might actually be my number one passion, not video games.  I’ve been super excited about the Show 13 for a week or two, did the day one digital download and it looks awesome so far. The commentary looks like it could be better, but if anyone’s looking for a new baseball game I’d highly recommend it.

    • D_Boons_Ghost says:

    • D_Boons_Ghost says:

      I wish I had a PS3 so I could play The Show. Instead I’ll have to settle with being continually pissed off at the mediocrity of the MLB 2K series like I have been for the better part of 15 years.

  9. valondar says:

    Waking Mars has his gog debut this week and a handy sale. Can I resist the temptation of a shiny and reasonably well reviewed and intriguing looking game about Mars?

    We’ll see.

    ….probably not.

    • Chalkdust says:

       That reminds me, Waking Mars was in an older Humble Bundle but there wasn’t a Steam edition yet.  Upon checking, looks like they finally added the Steam key!  It definitely looked like the coolest out of that particular bundle.