Gaming market picks up for spring

Though things have been quiet on the video game front since the holiday season, which saw the release of the Xbox One and the Playstation 4, March looks to bring a wide assortment of games for both current-gen consoles and next-gen consoles. Some big titles have already come out, including Thief and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, but here’s a quick preview of the blockbuster titles coming out.

South Park: The Stick of Truth, the long-in-development turn-based RPG, featuring a pantheon of South Park characters, is finally set to come out March 4 for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. A playable version of the game was available for E3 in 2012. The original publisher, THQ, folded, so the project, was then picked up by Ubisoft.

The long production period seems to have paid off; written and directed by South Park showrunners Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the gameplay footage has shown that the experience of playing will really be akin to being inside of an episode. The world even retains the cardboard textures and isometric perspective associated with the show.

Dark Souls II, the sequel to Dark Souls, is due to come out on March 11 for current-gen consoles to destroy the confidence of even the most hardened player. The game’s predecessor, built a reputation for its merciless and difficult gameplay — though, many have come to admire the subtleties of the combat, which demands patience and concentration instead of button-mashing.

It seems the game won’t be losing any of its difficulty, promising a vast, dark, twisted world full of monsters and opponents that can kill you in a heartbeat. To liven things up, Dark Souls II is introducing a new class-based system, giving players a more cohesive and versatile approach. Japanese videogame company FromSoftware has also revamped the multiplayer aspect, which in prior games was kept intentionally vague but is now backed by dedicated multiplayer servers. The drawback, however, is that now players can “invade” your playthrough at any time, which will make the experience that much more anxious but exciting.

Titanfall, due for the Xbox One and PC on March 11 and Xbox 360 on March 25, is the first true “killer app” for the Microsoft console. Created by Respawn Entertainment, which features many of the same developers who started the mega-blockbuster Call of Duty franchise, the sci-fi multiplayer FPS has a lot riding on it. Promising intense 6v6 matchups between sky-hopping soldiers and giant mechas, the hype surrounding E3 and the beta promises to be a wild, enthralling game.

Perhaps as a sign of genre specialization, the game will be multiplayer-only. This seems like an inevitable development for first-person shooters, as games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 have pushed single-player campaigns to the background in favor of online matchmaking. Rather than attaching a single-player mode, Respawn has focused its energy into making the most compelling multiplayer experience possible.

inFamous: Second Son, coming out exclusively for the Playstation 4 on March 21, doesn’t have the hype of Titanfall but it’s nonetheless one of the first triple-A titles for the PS4. Featuring a new character, the open-world title changes up the superpowered gameplay from Cole MacGrath’s electric-based powers to Delsin Rowe’s more versatile “smoke-based” abilities.

With a new location, new powers and a next-gen coat of paint, the title shows Sony Entertainment’s commitment to studios who stay house: The developers of the inFamous series, Sucker Punch, have also developed the Sony-exclusive series Sly Cooper.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, coming out March 18 for both next-gen and current-gen consoles, is an extended prologue for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which is due to come out sometime in 2015. A prequel of sorts set in the 1970s (the Metal Gear series is notorious for its complicated chronology), you’ll take control of Naked Snake (now voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) infiltrating a mysterious military operation on Cuban soil.

Though it promises a true open- world experience, reports have indicated that the game is actually quite short, with some reporting that it can be beaten in two to three hours. That’s a short experience even for the “reduced” price of $29.99. It’s possible that this is a preview of how future DLC will be done: Rather than just add-on content, they’ll be standalone games, leading consumers to seek out the full versions.

Just these five games alone would be enough but in addition to titles like Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, and Final Fantasy X-X2 HD, you can’t help but hate these game companies for releasing so many marquee titles during midterms.


Robert Calcagno is a graduate student studying Animation. His column, “Tech Talk,” runs Mondays.