The Week In Games [Updated]

It's hard to avoid mention of a certain Rockstar game when talking about Mafia II. After all, what else but Grand Theft Auto springs to mind upon mention of an urban open world where you drive cars and commit crime?

The open world sandbox is a genre of its own now. Yet it remains synonymous with GTA. Remarkably, the original Mafia was released within a year of GTA III and focused on period authenticity and a linear, story-driven approach to immerse you in its world of 1930s gangsters.

In the years since, Rockstar has given us Vice City, San Andreas, GTA IV and its Episodes from Liberty City, pushing the GTA template into silly, epic, serious and adventurous directions at each turn. So what's 2K Czech, formerly Illusion Softworks, done with a Mafia sequel over that same period of time?

Not much. By which I mean they've once again given us an open world game that's more cinematic than sandbox, that delivers character instead of chaos. Mafia II is to GTA IV what GTA IV was to Saints Row. If you like your open world gaming to favour focus over freedom and to keep its tongue well away from its cheek, you'd do well to check it out.

Is Mafia II an offer you think you'll be able to refuse?

UPDATE: Added Elemental: War of Magic, Worms Reloaded, Shank and the XBLA release of Scott Pilgrim.

New releases for the w/c August 23:

Elemental: War of Magic (PC) What Is It? Fantasy strategy game from the makers of Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod, available today for download via Stardock's Impulse store. Should You Care? Something to tide you over until Civ V hits next month.

Legend of Kay (DS) What Is It? Incredibly late DS post of an old PS2 action/adventure starring a sword-wielding cat. Should You Care? The five-year-old original was decent enough and this looks... decent enough, too.

Mafia II (360, PS3, PC) What Is It? Narrative-heavy crime and cars caper set in post-World War II America. Should You Care? For those who want more story and less silly in their sandbox gaming.

Reel Fishing: Angler's Dream (Wii) What Is It? Yep, it's another fishing game for the Wii. This one's from Harvest Moon devs Natsume. Should You Care? No, this is not the best fishing game on Wii. Sega Bass Fishing is. Just.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (XBLA) What Is It? Comic-based brawler that harks back to the days of Double Dragon and River City Ransom while winking at every game in between. Now on XBLA! Should You Care? A must if you love the comic and worthwhile if you dig a sense of humour with your punching.

Shank (PSN, XBLA) What Is It? Super stylish 2D brawler-slash-beat 'em up that's all about chaining together increasingly brutal combo attacks. Should You Care? Not as cute as Scott Pilgrim, but considerably more violent.

Wordjong (DS) What Is It? Puzzler that's less Mahjongg with letters and more like a word jumble on a Mahjongg board. Should You Care? I'm pretty sure these things cost two bucks on iPhone.

Worms Reloaded (PC) What Is It? It's a brand new Worms, the 2D, team- and turn-based game of invertebrate destruction. Should You Care? They're promising a substantial singleplayer campaign, but the real draw is the online multiplayer.


Comments

    any word on picross 3d?

      Why is there no Aus release of it? That game has been making my commute to work shorter for the last couple of weeks. I still haven't got through all the Hard levels yet though.

      At this stage I don't think we'll officially ever get it. Look at getting it from the UK, it'll probably end up being a whole lot cheaper anyway.

    Been waiting for a sequel to the awesomeness of Mafia for a long time, definately picking up the pc version.

    Definitely getting on to Mafia 2. Went with the PS3 version which I hear is the worst.

    Couple of my mates are picking up Worms: Reloaded. I'm a bit hesitant, I loved the old worms games (played the death out of Worms World Party), but this game looks pretty much, exactly the same! Might wait a bit on this one

      That was an amazing game that I have many many memories of as a teen...played it with my cousins, godbrother, brother, sister...so fun.

    When does the AU XBLA store get updated? (i.e. When does Scott Pilgrim come out?)

      Wednesday evening.

        Between 7 and 10pm. I have found if you seach for the game you can find it before it pops up on the new release tab.

        NOOOOOOO! I thought Pilgrim was gonna hit XBLA on Wednesday in Aus. This makes me sad seeing as I have to Work at 4am Thursday.

        If you manage to find a direct link to the download page on xbox.com you can usually get what you're after a few hours before it eventually appears on the tabs. It works well for DLC especially, and no doubt if you keep an eye on the Scott Pilgrim page it'll popup there early.

    May get Mafia II but I'll also look into some of the downloadable titles as well.

    Shank looks like fun, in a completely violent way... hopefully one of the stores will have a demo for it first...

    Other than that, Mafia II on the PS3 will be bought.

    I'll return Kane & Lynch for it, the single player game in that is passable, but the multiplayer is horrible, laggy as hell and many disconnects. Have a hunch that it will go on the cheap rather quickly, so I'll pick it up again when that happens.

    Dammit, Why must Shank be out the same week as Scott Pilgrim?! If it comes down to chosing between them Pilgrim wins, but damn, I want both now!

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