Nintendo Unveils a Gigantic List of New Releases for 2008
There's gold in them hills.
This list is huge, so, let's see if we can't sift through the pile and toss out a couple names that will be of interest to you. This post is going to be a lot longer than usual, since there are a lot of games, and I've got a lot to talk about, so bear with me.
First things first though.
Smack first on the list is Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, scheduled for January 21, it's probably one of the more eagerly awaited titles for the DS. The series has become a staple for strategy fans over the years, and if you don't know why, now's the time to find out.
Our front page story for the day, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, will ship on February 10. Straight from the acclaimed LEVEL-5 studio, the game melds puzzle based gameplay with an adventure style narrative for a game that's one part Brain Age and one part Grim Fandango.
Those looking forward to the latest entry in the Phoenix Wright games can rejoice, as Apollo Justice will be making its way to North American shores on February 12.
Assassin's Creed finally gets a release date and will be out sometime in February. Things have been slowly leaking out about it for a while now, and this is sort of the last big break in its ongoing story.
Harvest Moon: Cute will arrive on March 8th -- as if the series wasn't cute enough already. It's essentially the same game that was released in 2006 except the protagonist is female now, with presumably all potential mates experiencing a similar swap in gender.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Rings of Fate is the game I'm looking forward to most and will be arriving on March 11. It will utilize a new class based system and online multiplayer to beef up the already solid Crystal Chronicles experience (sans annoying chalice this time).
Lost in Blue 3 will also be hitting on the same March date. I know the first two games were pretty lukewarm in terms of quality, but the premise is one that I find intriguing, so I'm hopeful that this game will be able to remedy some of the series' less desirable aspects (but I probably shouldn't hold my breath).
One of the year's biggest heavy hitters, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, launches about a week later on March 25. Expect brick-shittingly good gameplay and graphics that will make you forget that the DS is essentially a portable N64.
Naruto: Ninja Destiny promises to try and fix the issues present in the Japanese release, and we'll see in March whether they're able to deliver.
Interestingly enough, a new incarnation of the Alone in the Dark series will be hitting the DS sometime in March -- somewhat surprising in light of the fact that almost no information has been released about it. All we really know so far is that it's going to be episodic in nature.
Another old PC game staple, Myst, will also be released in March -- you know, for those five people who haven't played it on a billion other platforms already.
2D shooter fans will have Bangai-O Spirits to look forward to in the year's second quarter. The first game on the Dreamcast/N64 was a cult hit, and I've been waiting for a follow-up for some time, so seeing a North American release date for it is certainly reassuring.
[Fellow news editor, Kevin Cheing, also wanted to give his personal picks of the list: these being, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Assassin's Creed Altair's Chronicles, Bangai-O Spirits, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Rings of Fate, Lost in Blue 3, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, Professor Layton and the Curious Village and The World Ends with You.]
This next bit of text wanders into non-handheld territory, but I'll feel like I'm doing an injustice to some of these games if I don't say something about them, so I'm going to use this opportunity to go off on a tangent. If you don't care, just skip to the bottom.
Endless Ocean is out January 21, and for those who don't know, it's a game that, quite literally, lets you swim with the dolphins (rather than "as" a dolphin, as you would in the Ecco games).
The title that probably sticks out the most on the Wii list (and no, that's not just a line for the bathroom) is Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which has been delayed until March 9th. If you haven't already heard the war cries of Smash fans all over the internet, I'm sure you will over the next couple of days.
Releases for the following week include the Wii version of Okami on March 25; a game that I'd actually forgotten about until now. I remember that back during the Wii's initial release, this was the game that many hailed as one of the best possible showcases for the console's unique controller, and I'm hoping that the developers share a similarly grand creative vision.
April 15 marks the release of Castle of Shikigami 3: a vertically scrolling shooter that focuses more on story and characters than most games of its kind. If you're a fan of this dying genre, then you'll be doing yourself a favor by checking it out.
May releases include a King of Fighters collection that features games from the Orochi saga -- ie. the games that put the series on the fighting game map, and took it to its peak popularity in Japan before trailing off with the disappointing NESTS saga. When will people learn? Clones ruin everything.
Mario Kart Wii finally has a slightly less vague release date, shipping with the Wii wheel sometime in the spring; although, knowing Nintendo, there'll be one delay after another.
Finally, Wii Fit, the game heralded as both the poster child for casual gaming and the destroyer of the hardcore, will arrive sometime in quarter two.
It looks like Nintendo fans are going to be in for a treat for the first few months at least. January to March is chock full of big name releases, and spring may bring a couple more quality titles provided Nintendo stays on schedule.
For all you data fetishists who want the full scoop, the list can be accessed in its entirety in the link below: