Gaming Top 5: March Madness 2012

PC World looks at the top five games that were released on consoles in March

December tends to be the best for new console titles, as publishers often release their games in that month to capitalise on the Christmas rush. But some publishers decide to hold off and release their game shortly after the new year to a less overwhelmed audience. PC World takes a look at some of the biggest releases that came out in March.

5. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Slant Six Games)

The game: A third-person shooter action game that is set between Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Unlike the previous games in the Resident Evil series, Operation Raccoon City is not so much as a survival horror title than a team based action game that tries to add new life to the long running Capcom franchise.

The verdict: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City barely makes it into to the top five for the simple fact that there was a lot of hype and expectation behind the game, as well as that it was another big addition to the Resident Evil franchise. While it was a valiant attempt to take the franchise is a lesser travelled direction, it was ultimately held back by unusual design choices and questionable AI.

Get it if: You are you a die-hard fan of the Resident Evil franchise and/or your idea of a good time is to dress up as a zombie and watch an Evil Dead film.

4. Ninja Gaiden 3 (Team Ninja)

The game: Legendary ninja Ryu Hayabusa needs no introduction, having already made himself famous for his appearances in the Dead or Alive fighting games and in the hack-and-slash Ninja Gaiden adventures. If you have played the earlier games, then the fierce combat and platforming will be no surprise when tackling the third installment.

The verdict: On a technical level, Ninja Gaiden 3 is a natural progression from where the second game left off, with detailed graphics and satisfying combat through tight controls. However, it seems like the development team took the criticism of the past titles of being too difficult too literally, as the third title ends up feeling a bit too linear and easy for its own good.

Get it if: You are a casual Ninja Gaiden fan and/or you secretly wished as a child that you were one of the members of the Samurai Pizza Cats.

3. FIFA Street 2012 (EA Canada)

The game: Playing professional soccer in a stadium is all well and good, but for a more grittier and down-to-earth representation of the sport, casual street matches can be played in FIFA Street 2012. Acting as somewhat of a reboot of the franchise, FIFA Street 2012 packs a visual overhaul that strives for realism while retaining the fast paced gameplay that is focused on players’ skill moves.

The verdict: FIFA Street 2012 surprises in that it not only is able to remain relevant after a long break from the franchise, but actually improve on the formula introduced in the original installments. While the complex control have a tendency of making the game a bit more difficult than it should be, its frantic gameplay and eclectic soundtrack make for a fun soccer experience overall.

Get it if: You like your soccer action to be raw and/or you take your futsal so seriously that you have more than five pairs of limited edition Adidas sneakers.

2. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (EA Tiburon)

The game: The long-running golf series from Electronic Arts continues unabated with a new installment that mixes in a wide variety of golfers in addition to the famous golfer himself, Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 aims to be a more personal experience compared to past titles in the series, with the introduction of the “Legacy Challenge” mode, where players take a trip down the highlights of Tiger Woods’ golf career starting as a child.

The verdict: With yearly installments, Electronic Arts has honed the golf series into a fun yet reasonably accurate representation of the sport. The main attraction of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 is the Legacy Challenge mode, and the appeal of it will differ depending on how much of a Tiger Woods fan you are. For some, Woods’ late night shenanigans with numerous cocktail waitresses and porno actresses stand out as the “highlights” in his golf career, though sadly those moments are not represented in the game. (Nor was the action-filled escape by car from his golf club wielding ex-wife).

Get it if: You enjoy a round of golf without the hard work and/or you ever imagined yourself being a foul-mouthed and outspoken caddy for a famous golf player.

1. Mass Effect 3 (Bioware)

The game: The legendary sci-fi series that started out as an exclusive on Xbox 360 and went on to become a multi-platform best seller, comes to a conclusion with the third and (supposedly) final installment. Join Commander Shepard, male or female, as he/she defends the earth from the Reapers and travels the galaxy with his motley crew of space adventurers in what is being dubbed the biggest release of 2012.

The verdict: When one decides to invest in a game, does one do it based on the sum of all parts or just one? That is a question that needs to be asked before getting Mass Effect 3. Much has been said about the game’s unorthodox ending, but the game’s amazing graphics, excellent sound and gripping gameplay do not disappoint in any way. Mass Effect 3 is a high quality title and will naturally be picked up by fans, but for those still sitting on the fence due to the much maligned ending, the news of an alternative ending coming as DLC should provide some solace.

Get it if: You like your sci-fi RPGs to be deep yet accessible and/or you have somehow managed, through a clearly superhuman effort, to avoid reading any spoilers about the game’s controversial ending.

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