Getting Some Play: A Brand New Wii?

Welcome to Getting Some Play – the spiritual successor to Sarah Warn’s excellent Good Game column – where we’ll take a look at the latest releases, news and developments in the world of videogames.

HD Wii?
As the weather turns warm and sunny, gamers’ hearts and minds always turn to one thing: E3, and all the massive revelations within. E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Exposition) is the major, Vegas-style tradeshow for the videogame industry. This is where all of the big developers, publishers and platform holders whip out the big guns, show their wares, and make show-stopping announcements about upcoming hardware and software.

In a pre-E3 move just last week, Game Informer reported on the rumblings (from “multiple sources” so take it
with a grain of salt) that Nintendo will be unveiling a brand new console at this year’s show. Console announcements are like the Olympics of the gaming world – they only come around every few years, and when they do, people get fierce and competitive.

This is even more exciting because it will be the follow-up to one of the most wildly successful pieces of hardware the industry has ever seen. With a massive install base, Nintendo’s only problem is that the little system that could just isn’t powerful enough for the HD graphics and massive multiplayer matches that signify the AAA games of today. We know nothing yet about the new machine, but HD capabilities and a more powerful engine under the hood are probably safe bets.

Finally, we have plenty of big name new releases to get
excited about in the next two weeks.

Portal 2 – the sequel to 2007’s most enjoyable, brain-bending first person puzzler – is out
tomorrow (April 19), on the 360, PS3, Mac and PC platforms. Everything we’ve seen so far on the game seems to indicate that it will be a
souped-up experience, continuing with the unique humor and dare I say, charm, of the original.

Also releasing on April 19 is Mortal Kombat – a modern version of the hilariously over-the-top 1990s fighter. Starring a cast of insane characters in what looks like fetish gear or Halloween costumes, with comically insane violence, it looks to be a real guilty pleasure. You can crack spines with Mileena (complete with her infamous high heels) on the PS3 and 360. Sassy.

Conduit 2 is also due out for the Wii tomorrow (it’s a big day, apparently), offering solid FPS action to a shooter-starved market. If you prefer your military action a little more realistic (discounting the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, of course), SOCOM 4: US Navy Seals is launching for the PS3 on the same day.

Old Dogs, New Tricks
We also have several compilations and re-releases worthy of a second look coming soon. First up is PSP RPG (say that five times fast) FinalFantasy IV Complete Collection, which reportedly combines FFIV and its sequel, The After Years. I will admit to knowing very little about FinalFantasy games aside from the fact that they are Japanese RPG’s with a rabid fanbase, so I’ll just mention that it’s also coming out on April 19 and move on to the next entry.

Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath was an imaginative original Xbox game set in the wild, wacky environs of Oddworld. It’s making its PS3 debut (complete with revamped graphics and bonus features) via the PlayStation Network on April 30.

The fantastic mid-2000s Prince of Persia titles are also getting the “revamped graphics”
treatment in Prince of Persia Classic Trilogy HD, slated for an April 19 launch for the PS3. This pack includes The Sands of Time, The Warrior Within and TheTwo Thrones, though, sadly, Jake Gyllenhaal is conspicuously absent from the whole affair.

That’s all for now, gaymers. Hopefully, you’ve steeled your wallets for the impact!