Platform: PC, Mac (Q1/Q2 2013)
Experience the glory (and absurdity) of old-school action cinema in this 2.5D riff on the muscle-headed heroes of the 80s and 90s. Developed by Arrowhead Game Studios (Magicka), The Showdown Effect pits six ridiculously clichéd badasses against one another in a brawl to the (often bloody) death. More than a Super Smash Bros. clone, The Showdown Effect will groove to its own beat, incorporating multi-leveled arenas, customized loadouts, and progressive rewards--all wrapped in a balls-to-the-wall design that will pay homage to the greatest and most outlandish qualities of '80s and '90s action films. Meet Dutch McClone, Sgt. Lance Koboldski, Mizu, and the rest of the cast in GR's The Showdown Effect preview.
EU: March 7
Relive the years of late nights, last minute essays, and cold pizza in this ninth expansion pack for The Sims 3. University Life will introduce Sim players to the sub-neighborhood of Sim University where avatars young and old will have the opportunity to partake in the joys of higher education. Attend classes, skip classes, slave away at part-time jobs, or spend all your parents' money on dorm parties and campus stores--how you spend your formative years are up to you. Existing Sim characters will be able to enter the university by enrolling via phone, computer, or recruiter NPCs; and the results of their studies will have an impact on their careers in the main game.
If your Sims have been wasting away in dead-end careers, or living on their parents bill, The Sims 3: University Life promises to get them back on track while soaking in a ton of new Sim surprises along the way.
EU: March 8
The wait is nearly over for the return of gaming's premier city-building brand. SimCity (aka SimCity 2013) is being billed by developer Maxis as a reboot that will combine many of franchise's classic management elements with new street level mechanics and multiplayer capabilities.
SimCity was coded on EA and Maxis' GlassBox sim engine that makes it possible for every element of a player's city--from its people, cars, buildings, and resources--to operate by their own rules while dynamically affecting the elements around them. In short: Get ready to flex your god complex on a whole new virtual level.
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Plunge into the Lara Croft first adventure in this franchise reboot from Crystal Dynamics. Telling the tale of Lara's origins, Tomb Raider will whisk players to an island in the Dragon's Triangle where they'll be forced to survive both the human and animal threats that live within. In addition to tracking down survivors of Lara's shipwreck and fighting unknown forces, players will explore the island for extra side quests, challenge tombs, and useful weapons and tools. In addition, Crystal Dynamics has confirmed the inclusion of a multiplayer mode wherein players will split into teams of survivors and scavengers to fight for valuable supplies.
Tomb Raider represents a new, darker spin on Lara's long-running series. Fans will see how a frightened teenager became the legendary Lara Croft in the franchise's first M-rated chapter. You can see all our thought on Lara's new quest by reading the Tomb Raider review.
EU: March 8
The Creative Assembly's celebrated war simulation is getting the gold treatment this month. Total War: Shogun 2 Gold Edition will ride into North America with the original 2011 game, the Total War: Shogun 2 – Rise of the Samurai DLC, and the Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai standalone expansion.
In Europe and Australia, the Gold Edition will ship with all available DLC (minus the Blood Pack) in limited-edition Wajima-nuri themed packaging. See why this compilation is essential for strategy buffs, and why we awarded it a near perfect score, in our Total War: Shogun 2 review.
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Steal from friends and burgle enemies in this four-player multiplayer title from Candygun studio. Invoking the fast-action spirit of Fat Princess, Bomberman, and other frantic multiplayer games, Dollar Dash will task groups of four with stealing loot and protecting their own stash using an assortment of zany abilities and weapons. The downloadable title will ship with 30 maps and numerous modes.
Armed with a bevy of character customization options and a wealth of charm, Dollar Dash looks to offer a goofy diversion from March's weightier titles.