Staff Editorials

Game of the Month - April
Posted: 04.05.2012 14:00 by PRBot Comments: 5
Welcome once again to our regular 'Game of the Month' featurette, where we take a look over the past thirty days and arbitrarily judge what we think is this month’s best game. April is a bit of an odd one, it has to be said… not a hell of a lot of big titles, although it was a good month for the Xbox Live Arcade, with top titles such as Fez and Trials Evolution smashing onto the scene.

Presents me with a bit of a quandary though, as the game(s) I’d personally give the award to isn’t technically the highest scoring game this month. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of this month’s highlights…

Botanicula (PC)

Not one I’d personally gravitate towards, Amanita Design’s latest adventure game certainly knocked Chris Capel off his feet. It’s a shame that this is only a PC release, as it sounds like this would also have been a good addition to the console arcade line-up this month, but never mind. I’ll let Chris tell you why you should pick it up:

"If you can pull yourself away from killing things for a few hours to play a sweet, adorable, bizarre, funny, joyful game, you owe it to yourself to buy Botanicula. It’s not massively challenging and it only really lasts four hours, but you’ll have a smile on your face for the entire time – and often a good laugh too. The score on the right is pretty rough – in terms of the enjoyment to playing time ratio the game deserves higher, but being critical I have to give Botanicula less than I want to. Sometimes I hate myself. It may say 8.5, but take it as a JOY FACTOR of 10 okay? Now then, excuse me while I massage this smile off my face, I can’t seem to turn it off."

Review Link:
Score: 8.5/10

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Xbox 360)

The ‘big’ release of this month, after some kerfuffle between Namco Bandai and CD Projekt RED over who actually owned the rights to publish the Xbox 360 version, we finally got the Xbox 360 version (Namco won, in case you didn’t know), complete with additional content and improvements.

Chris Capel was all over the PC release last year, and he was all over this release as well. In short, he enjoyed it, however bear in mind all of the additional content and improvements have been added to the PC version anyway… but then it’s a beast on the PC, so the console version is probably more accessible. Anyway, here’s what Chris had to say:

“Nevertheless this is an RPG you really have to own, and if you’ve been holding off for the console version rest assured you’ll be getting a smooth experience that was well worth the year-long wait. The Witcher 2 itself is still an incredible title that really makes you feel that you’re having an impact on the people and politics of this world, and the Enhanced Edition only makes it better. Have you bought it yet? Well, do so. Go on, Amazon’s right around the corner.”

Review Link:
Score: 9/10

Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS3)

HD Collections seem to be a bit of a ‘thing’ at the moment for Sony… ICO, Shadow of the Colossus… not that I mind, but I can’t help but worry these collections are trying to fill the gap where new exclusive titles should be. The Devil May Cry HD Collection is the latest to come out (personally, just give me the Zone of the Enders Collection and I can go home happy), and whilst it didn’t rate amazingly with our reviewer, he did admit this is one of the more well-made collections. In Alex’s words:

“There are small issues with the HD conversion – especially in the menus – but this still feels like one of the more accomplished HD collections this generation. Some people may want to pretend it only contains two games, though – and I understand that sentiment.”

Review Link:
Score: 7.5/10

Fez (XBLA)

Our runner up goes to Fez, which even though was technically the highest scoring release on Strategy Informer this month, I’ve decided to give it to someone else. Why? Because I said so. Seriously though, we’ll get to that. Fez is still a fantastic little title though, which isn’t surprising since it won two Independent Game Festival awards before it was even released. James Day was certainly taken with it, here’s what he had to say:

“It's one of the those rare titles that I'd recommend to pretty much anyone regardless of gaming experience. Not only is it unique and beautiful to behold, the lack of death penalties and time limits mean it's easy to pick up, play and enjoy at whatever pace the player demands. As if that wasn't enough, it's also selling at the lower price tier of 800 Microsoft Points (roughly £7 / €10) on Xbox Live Arcade. It's an absolute must-buy and, despite it still being early in 2012, a strong contender for indie game of the year.”

Review Link:
Score: 9.5/10

And the winner is….

Trials Evolution (XBLA)

This month’s award goes to Trials Evolution, mainly for the reasons Nick outlined in his review, but also because it’s pretty for an Arcade game. Much like I Am Alive, Ubisoft have been pushing the boundaries of what an Arcade release can actually ‘be’, and the Trials sequel is one of the most addictive and content filled release we’ve seen since Section 8: Prejudice. A definite champion of the XBLA platform at the moment. Don’t get us wrong – games like Fez and Botanicula are great, and always welcome, but personally I’d like to see more games like Trails… and I don’t even like racing games, usually. Here’s what Nick had to say about it:

“Evolution’s main strength comes from ambition. It’s definitely a fully-fledged, weighty sequel. With a superb array of courses, newly-introduced multiplayer and a limitless track editor, 1200 MSP remains an absolute steal. You’ll tell yourself one more go, but in the end, that jar keeps on filling up.”

Review Link:
Score: 9/10

Thank you for joining this month. Any comments or questions, or even your own suggestions for what deserves GOTM, feel free to post below. There’s bound to be games that we’ve missed, but to keep things simple I only go by what Strategy Informer writers have actually played and written about. Until next time.

Written by Joe Robinson.
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By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on May 04, 2012
Well, I disagree with the choice for once, but that's fine :P
By JamieSI (SI Core) on May 04, 2012
What would you go with Roderick? Witcher 2 was high on my list.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 05, 2012
I would have thought "The Witcher 2" would have won this, but then I haven't read much about the console version. As for the winner, I have not played it nor likely will but comparing it with "S8: Prejudice" a game I do own (along with the original which the sequel varies little from), leaves me wondering what exactly makes a good game.
I'm surprised that "TWS2: Fall of the Samurai" did not make it into the mix, that being my vote for #1.
Still 9.5 - little to argue with that kind of score.
By JustCommunication (SI Core) on May 08, 2012
Well, Fall of the Samurai was released on March 22nd, and this is the article for April, so I'm sure you can imagine why it wasn't included in this particular list :P

The Witcher 2 was really good, but it was good when it was released on PC last year so it being good on the console is really nothing to be surprised about. I felt it would have been too obvious to have awarded it the GOTM, you know? But it definitely gets a mention, which is why it's here.

This month though I really wanted to do homage to some of the quality arcade releases that were/are being released, as I believe they deserved some attention.

Sorry if I confused you with the Section 8 reference Hero, I just meant in terms of the fact that Prejudice really pushed what you could put into an arcade release, and Trials (and I Am Alive) done the same. They're both completely different kinds of games - FPS versus dirt racing - but from where I'm sitting they've both had the same overall goal:

AAA Quality with an Arcade price point.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 08, 2012
It's good to see more downloadables getting the attention they deserve, however Indie is definitely where it's at. With no big name Publishers to distribute their titles, and often relying on XLBA and/or Steam to promote their products they are pushing the boundaries in downloadable and mobile gaming. In turn this will flow on to AAA titles as no longer will the big Corporate titles be in a position to ignore what the guys in their garages are pumping out.
Fair enough with "FotS", and while "The Witcher 2" port might be placed as it as as a runner-up, most would still have placed it at #1 - so kudos for fighting the obvious.
Be interssting to see what April brings, Joe what with "Naval War Arctic Circle" being in the mix.