January is typically a drought month in the gaming industry, and that proved to be no different this year. February isn't usually known for its blockbuster lineup either, but the game industry has a handful of notable games on tap for the second week of the month.
Taking top billing this week is Monolith's F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. There's quite a story behind the game: Monolith lost the rights to the F.E.A.R. name after Warner Bros. Interactive purchased the studio in 2004. The studio soldiered on with Project Origin, a spiritual sequel to the well-received original F.E.A.R. However, Warner Bros. eventually reacquired the rights to the F.E.A.R. name in the wake of Activision and Vivendi Games' merger in 2008. Now a direct sequel instead of a spiritual successor, F.E.A.R. 2 features a number of new ways to battle the paranormal legions, such as mechanized powersuits, and brings back the franchise's distinctive time-slowing mechanic.
THQ and Rainbow Studios are prepared to unleash one of the more head-scratching games in recent memory, Deadly Creatures. The Wii game is voiced by Dennis Hopper and Billy Bob Thornton and follows the travails of a scorpion and tarantula as they do battle with adversaries ranging from Gila monsters to black widows. For a behind-the-scenes look at the game, check out Rainbow Studios' just-released "mo-cap session" with the scorpion.
Deadly Creatures will be accompanied by a number of other off-kilter games this week. D3Publisher has beat-'em-ups Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad for the Xbox 360 and Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers for the Wii in the queue for this week. Meanwhile, Sega and Headstrong Games will deliver their light-gun shooter The House of the Dead: Overkill, a video preview of which is available. Sony's adorably passive LocoRoco returns for its second outing on the PSP this week, as well.
On the downloadable front, EA will follow up last week's PlayStation Network release of 3 on 3 NHL Arcade with the Xbox Live edition this Wednesday. On Thursday, ThatGameCompany will debut its hypnotically sublime downloadable game Flower on the PSN. In it, players are tasked with channeling the wind to guide a flower petal through a dreamlike world.
For a full listing of the week's games, check out GameSpot's New Releases page.