Shippin' Out March 21-27: Just Cause 2, Red Steel 2, XBL Game Room

Square Enix's open-world actioner joins Ubisoft's swordplay pseudo-sequel and Microsoft's virtual Xbox Live arcade on the week's docket; Settlers 7, Shin Megami Tensei DS also on tap.

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The last full week of March will see several major releases on a variety of platforms. Arguably, the highest profile debut is Red Steel 2, the pseudo-sequel to the 2006 Wii launch title that claimed it would bring authentic swordplay to gaming. As evidenced by GameSpot's review, that didn't happen, thanks to a less-than-realistic waggle mechanic and bloodless combat.

Red Steel 2's use of the Wii MotionPlus aims to remedy some of the original game's problems.
Red Steel 2's use of the Wii MotionPlus aims to remedy some of the original game's problems.

Though the follow-up remains rated T for Teen, Ubisoft has spent years reworking the game's swordplay around the motion-sensing-enhancing Wii MotionPlus. (The game will be available bundled with the accessory for $60 or unbundled for $50.) Developer Ubisoft Paris claims that the increased sensitivity will let the game take into account such factors as the strength of a player's sword swing. The setting is different as well: Instead of a gritty story about modern-day Yakuza, Red Steel 2 is an anime-like adventure with ultrastylized cel-shaded visuals.

Those not partial to fictional swashbuckling can check out Just Cause 2 from Square Enix. Developed by Avalanche Studios, the sequel retains the 2006 original's open-world gameplay, complete with over-the-top parachute jumps and grappling-hook antics. Players will again step into the role of Rico Rodriguez, a government agent on the trail of his mentor-gone-rogue. Standing between Rico and his ex-boss is a military regime on a fictitious South Pacific island that is made up of everything from lush jungles to snow-capped mountains. There will also be over 100 vehicles to hijack, including motorcycles, cars, boats, helicopters, and jets.

And you thought your commute was stressful.
And you thought your commute was stressful.

One of the week's biggest releases isn't a single game at all but a new section of Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live. On Wednesday, Microsoft is launching the Game Room, a virtual arcade--complete with cabinets--where players can challenge each other to play old-school games. Games on the docket include such Atari and Intellivision classics as Centipede, Crystal Castles, Red Baron, Yars' Revenge, and Tempest. With plans to expand the Game Room to more than 1,000 titles, Microsoft intends to release additional offerings on a weekly basis.

Rounding out the titles of note are entries in two distinctly different franchises. Already a hit in Japan, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey arrives on Tuesday, bringing the Megami Tensei series' sci-fi role-playing action to US DSs. Meanwhile, Ubisoft's venerable Settlers real-time strategy series will be updated courtesy of The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom. The game will feature upgraded enemy AI to confound players as they go for a military, scientific, or commercial victory. However, the game will be the first in the series to use Ubisoft's controversial new digital rights management system, which requires a constant Internet connection to play.

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 in the week. Release dates are based on retailer listings and are subject to change.

Microsoft's Game Room aims to re-create the arcade experience, minus the filthy tokens.
Microsoft's Game Room aims to re-create the arcade experience, minus the filthy tokens.

Title--Platform--Genre--Publisher

March 21, 2010
Zhu Zhu Pets--DS--Simulation--Activision

March 22, 2010
Drift Street International--DS--Driving--Tantalus Interactive
Plain Sight--PC--Action--Beatnik Games
Cave Story--WII--Adventure --Nicalis

March 23, 2010
Alcatraz (2010)--PC--Action--City Interactive
Bakugan: Battle Trainer--DS--Action--Activision
Build-A-Bear Workshop: Friendship Valley--WII--Simulation--Game Factory
Build-A-Bear Workshop: Welcome to Hugsville--DS--Simulation--Game Factory
Cabela's Monster Buck Hunter--WII--Sports--Activision
The Cages: Pro Style Batting Practice--WII--Sports--Konami
Cheer We Go!--DS--Sports--Natsume
Disney's Stitch Jam--DS--Puzzle--Disney Interactive Studios
Hall of Fame: Ultimate Hoops Challenge--WII--Adventure--Zoo Games
How to Train Your Dragon--DS, PS3, WII, X360--Action--Activision
Imagine Gymnast--DS--Simulation--Ubisoft
Just Cause 2--PC, PS3, 360--Action--Square Enix
MotoGP 09/10--PS3, X360--Driving--Capcom
My Pet Chimp--DS--Puzzle--505 Games
Red Steel 2--WII--Action--Ubisoft
Rooms: The Main Building--DS, WII--Adventure--Hudson Entertainment
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey--DS--Role-Playing--Atlus Co.
Squishy Tank--DS--Puzzle--Natsume
The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom--PC--Strategy--Ubisoft

March 24, 2010
Game Room--X360--Action--Microsoft Game Studios



March 25, 2010
History Egypt - Engineering an Empire--PC, PSP, DS--Strategy--Koch Media
Dream Diary--DS--Puzzle--505 Games

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