The first full week of December welcomes a short list of new titles, and one shouts louder than the rest.
Leading the pack this week is Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. The third expansion to 2004's massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Cataclysm adds a host of new features to the title. Chief among the changes is the total overhaul of the in-game environment. Azeroth has been ravaged, and popular locales have been drastically altered, making the old new again. The expansion also ups the level cap to 85 and adds two new races to the title: goblins and worgen.
Cataclysm follows 2007's Burning Crusade and 2008's Wrath of the Lich King. Before releasing Burning Crusade, Blizzard said its goal was to release annual expansions for the franchise, but the release cycle has been closer to one every two years since then; there was a 22-month gap between Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, and 23 months will have passed since Lich King's release when Cataclysm hits retail.
The Warcraft franchise will have been around for just over 16 years when Cataclysm reaches eager gamers Tuesday. Talking to GameSpot around the time of the franchise's 15th birthday, Blizzard lead designer Jeff Kaplan said, "I honestly believe that there are enough compelling ideas to keep WOW going for as long as the Internet is up."
Also out this week is film tie-in Tron: Evolution. Detailing the events between the original Tron film--released theatrically in 1982--and the forthcoming movie Tron: Legacy, Evolution features a story that further fleshes out the franchise's universe. Disney has positioned it as an integrated companion piece, where the film will reference events that occur in the game. However, the publisher also noted that both the film and the game operate just as well as stand-alone experiences.
Microsoft recently announced it has sold more than 2.5 million Kinect units since the product was released a month ago. The tech launched with 17 titles, but now it's getting a licensed bowling game. Brunswick Pro Bowling is due out on Tuesday. The title sports six distinct alleys, five modes, authentic Brunswick gear, and a bumper bowling option for those new to the sport.
Tron: Evolution isn't the only film tie-in out this week, though. Yogi Bear: The Video Game comes to the Wii and DS this Tuesday. The title is based on the live-action CG film starring the voices of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake. From publisher D3, the game sees players controlling the famous bear throughout Jellystone National Park completing a number of whimsical missions.
For further details on the week's games, visit GameSpot's New Releases page. The full list of downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Wii Shop Channel will be revealed later this week. Release dates are based on retailer listings and are subject to change.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7
7 Wonders II--DS--Avanquest Software
Alien Breed 2: Assault--PS3--Team 17
Blimp: The Flying Adventures--PSP, PS3--Craneball Studios
Brunswick Pro Bowling--X360--Crave Entertainment
Fireplacing--Wii--Korner Entertainment SL Fluidity--Wii--Nintendo
Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom--PC--Paradox Interactive
NewU Fitness First Mind Body, Yoga & Pilates Workout--Wii--SouthPeak Games
SBK X: Superbike World Championship--X360, PS3--SouthPeak Games
Sniper Elite--Wii--Reef Entertainment
The Flying Hamster--PSP, PS3--The Game Atelier
TouchMaster Connect--DS--Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Tron: Evolution Battle Grids--Wii--Disney Interactive Studios
Tron: Evolution--X360, DS, PS3, PSP--Disney Interactive Studios
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm--PC, Mac--Blizzard Entertainment
Yogi Bear: The Video Game--Wii, DS--D3
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Duel Transer--Wii--Konami