March's new PC games: space heroes, samurais and fighter pilots
By Peter Muench Mar 4, 2012, 3:26 GMT
Berlin - Just because you play PC games, doesn't mean you don't have a chance to get out. This season's games allow players to visit a fantasy world, old Japan, the fictional city of Azbaristan, or even a whole new galaxy.
Fans of role-playing and shooting games are especially looking forward to Mass Effect 3, which is supposed to bring the science fiction saga of Commander Shepard to a spectacular end.
The galaxy faces its end and only Shepard can save it. Thus starts Mass Effect 3 from Electronic Arts. Just like in previous versions, developer Bioware combines elements of shooting and role-playing games to create an unusual mix.
And it's not just about fighting. In between the gunplay there are a lot of cinema-worthy conversation scenes in which players help decide the drama.
But developers insist Mass Effect 3 is much more accessible to beginners than the previous versions. However, old hands will be rewarded for their loyalty: the game analyses stored data from the first two parts and shapes the history of the newest installment accordingly.
That means characters whose lives were saved previously reappear in the third part. There's also a new cooperation mode, which allows up to four players to chase aliens in a separate adventure. Alongside the PC release, Mass Effect 3 will also appear for the Playstation 3 and XBox 360. It is recommended for players aged 16 and up and will appear March 8 for about 47 euros (63 dollars).
Jane's Advanced Strike Fighters is more earthbound, but barely. Produced by Evolved Games, it lets players try out 30 different fighter jets, including the Eurofighter.
The single-player version includes 16 different missions over the airspace of the fictitious country of Azbaristan. Players take on the role of a US pilot protecting the country's inhabitants from the effects of a civil war.
There is also a comprehensive multi-player mode, which allows up to 16 players to compete against one another online. It's designed to allow latecomers to jump into the fun.
There are standard versions like Deathmatch, along with modes like basic attack and rabbit match, where players have to see how long they can evade an attack. If you prefer to play with, rather than against, your friends, you can always just embark on the main mission as a team. The game is recommended for players aged 12 and up and costs about 30 euros.
The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav is designed for those of a quieter nature, taking players into a fantasy world based on the role-playing game of the same name. But it has little in common with classics like Star Trail or Shadows Over Riva.
Instead, publisher Daedelic Entertainment has created a classic adventure with two-dimensional hand-drawn graphics in the universe of the Dark Eye.
Players take on the role of Geron, a trapper who wants to free his hometown from a plague of ravens, but finds himself enmeshed ever deeper into the story of a deceased oracle and his last prophesy. Typical of the genre, Geron doesn't reach for his sword or magic wand, but has to travel around seeking information from various characters and find ways to usefully combine various items he finds. The game is recommended for players aged 12 and up and will cost about 37 euros.
Meanwhile, Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai, also takes things down a few notches. Set for a March 23 release by Sega, it takes players back to 19th century Japan, just as the era of the samurais comes to an end.
Players can choose to take the side of the fighters and their traditional weapons, or the modern weapons of the emperor's army, setting the stage for a conflict between swords and bows and machine guns and rifles.