Star Trek, Dead Island: Riptide, and Injustice: Gods Among Us headline an otherwise lean month of gaming, particularly compared to last month's insane schedule. Don't let the short list fool you, though. The first full month of spring also brings plenty of DLC and hidden gems for every platform, including new adventures for Halo 4, Assassin's Creed III, and Dishonored--not to mention a extra special edition of one the most unique horror games around. See what's arriving on shelves this month in our rundown of April's new releases...
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
The worlds of gaming and television collide in this experimental MMO from Trion Worlds (RIFT, End of Nations). Billed as the world's first multi-platformer massive online shooter game, Defiance casts players in a sci-fi epic that will tie into a SyFy network television show of the same name, developed by Farscape and seaQuest DSV producer Rockne S. O'Bannon. In both versions, Defiance takes place in the future where escalating conflicts between humans and Votan aliens have terraformed Earth into a dangerous new world filled with hybrid species and alien surprises. Among the chaos, humans known as Ark Hunters roam the wastelands in search of technology from a fleet of ships that were destroyed at the height of the wars during the “Arkfall” event. In the game, Defiance will cast players as Ark Hunters in search of a long lost leader and a particularly rare piece of Ark-Core technology. Meanwhile in TV-land, the show will flesh out the Defiance universe and introduce new plot points, characters, and elements which may or may not have a direct impact on the in-game experience..
The concept behind Defiance is ambitious one, and we're anxious to see just how much of a connection the two properties will share. See what Trion Worlds envisions for the future of its TV and gaming crossover in the Defiance developer demo, and watch us get our feet wet in our Defiance PVP hands-on preview - Shrinking the MMO down to size.
Halo 4: Castle Map Pack
Platform: Xbox 360
Look sharp, Spartans. A new DLC map pack is dropping for Halo 4, and it's enough to lure retired marines back into the fray. Arriving as the third Halo 4 DLC set, the “Castle Map Pack” will deploy with three new maps, nine achievements, and a shiny new 6-versus-6 “Castle” mode. New maps include Daybreak, a location that pits teams of UNSC base dwellers against each other in an airy, outdoor setting; Outcast, a circular map set in the desert that will encourage vehicular combat; and Perdition, an indoor map that will cater to both long-range shooters and close combat brawlers. On top of that, this DLC will enhance Halo 4's War Games selection with the addition of the Castle DLC playlist, a 6-versus-6 mode that will focus on team objective-based gameplay. Get more intel at Halo 4 Castle Map Pack release date and trailer..
Age of Empires II: HD Edition
Hidden Path Entertainment is bringing Ensemble Studios' classic strategy title back in a big way. Arriving via Steam, Age of Empires II HD Edition will march the 1999 original into the digital frontier with re-mastered visuals, upgraded effects, Steamworks integration, and Steam Workshop support. The game itself will feature all single player campaigns from Age of Empires II: Age of Kings and The Conquerors expansion, letting players choose from up to 18 different civilizations and control their destiny (and/or total annihilation) over multiple generations.
No, you aren't seeing double. We originally wrote about ShootMania Storm's arrival in January, but Ubisoft pushed its release back until April just days before its arrival for download. According to the developer Nadeo, the delay was set in motion to allow its team to integrate feedback from the online multiplayer beta to craft a more polished frag-em-up experience.
Similar to Nadeo's other build-it-yourself games (i.e., TrackMania), ShootMania Storm will be a fully-customizable online shooter that will give players complete reign to construct their own modes, maps, and other unique elements as they see fit. Read our impressions of the DIY multiplayer in our ShootMania Storm preview – More on the eSports inspired shooter.
Dillon's Rolling Western: The Last Ranger
3DS's Armadillo desperado is spinning back into Nintendo's eShop for another round of third-person tower defense action. Like its predecessor, Dillon's Rolling Western: The Last Ranger will see the armored cowboy defending a dust bowl town from invaders by gathering resources from the land, setting up defensive weapons, and taking the fight directly to invaders in spin-action combat.
New additions to the series include the ability to assimilate defeated enemies into Dillan's posse. A gun-slinging lizard and a shady squid assassin will be among the available recruits. New enemies and environmental dangers will also add flavor to Dillon's eShop sequel.
Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Return to the stabby shores of Dunwall under a new identity in this upcoming story expansion for Dishonored. The Knife of Dunwall casts players as Daud, the morally ambiguous assassin who was last seen sticking it to Dunwall's royal family and pulling the strings behind Corvo Attano's imprisonment. In this new skin, players will be charged with tracking down a mysterious stranger known as “Delilah” while testing out new skills, weapons, and unearthly powers.
The Knife of Dunwall is the second significant piece of DLC for Dishonored. It follows the challenged-based expansion, Dunwall City Trials, released in last December.