March Gaming Guide

Dragon Age II, Crysis 2 and Nintendo 3DS launch this month!

craveonlineby craveonline

March Gaming Guide

Welcome to CraveOnline’s March gaming guide. Sorry the guide is coming in later than usual. But look at the bright side: by the time you’re reading this there are already great games out that you can buy right now! This month sees a number of massively hyped titles releasing, as well as the start of the digital baseball season. And if you’re a Nintendo fan, wow, get pumped for a brand-new Pokemon and new 3D-enabled handheld to hit the market.

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Developer: Trion World Network
System: PC
Release Date: 3/1/2011

The beginning of March kicks off with a brand new fantasy MMORPG from Trion World Network — Rift. In Rift you can play as either a noble Guardian or a “technomagical” Defiant in a world where eight primal forces battle for control. What’s pretty cool about Rift — and what has us excited to check it out — is that the game world shifts with new rifts opening up constantly. In a way, Rift is a lot like the recent Cataclysm expansion for World of Warcraft only it’s not a one-and-done. Rift is constantly in flux, which ensures the game stays fresh (as long as the gameplay is fun, that is).

If you’re looking for a new MMORPG to test out, we’d recommend giving Rift a shot. It might not be from one of the MMO big dogs (read also: Blizzard or Sony), but that doesn’t mean Trion World’s latest can’t creep up and surprise.

fight_night_champFight Night Champion
Developer: EA Sports
System: Xbox 360, PS3
Release Date: 3/1/2011

It’s more boxing goodness from the folks at EA Sports. Fight Night Champion is essentially a rebirth for the Fight Night franchise. This game will have more emphasis on the grittier and darker side of the sport, featuring animations and damage to the player that "truly conveys the brutality of the sport of boxing." EA plans to accomplish this goal in a number of ways. Firstly, they are introducing a new Full Spectrum Punch Control system that lets you choose and perform your hits with more accuracy than ever before. Also, this game will also feature dynamic blood, realistic body damage and deformation. Furthermore, Fight Night Champion has new single player mode, called “Champion Mode,” that follows the story of a boxer named Andre Bishop.

From the gameplay we’ve seen of Fight Night Champion, we’re impressed. Our gaming staff is not what you’d call “boxing fans,” but the realistic physics and blood — while admittedly making us a little squeamish — is worth some recognition from even us highbrow gaming nerds. But if you are a boxing fan, then Fight Night Champion should be on your March shopping list for gaming.

pokemonPokemon White & Black
Developer: Nintendo
System: Nintendo DS
Release Date: 3/6/2011

It’s time to nerd the heck out with the latest edition of Pokemon. We’ve already got our review copy and the first bit of our multi-faceted coverage will go live Friday. Yeah, tomorrow. This Pokemon promises to bring new battle mechanics, 150 new Pokemon, wireless connectivity tweaks and additions and completely glorious graphics.


We wish we could tell you more about this title before Friday, but we can’t. Just know that I (Joey Davidson) have been storming the tall grass and wrecking face at the local gyms as I make my way towards, what I’m hoping, will be the most epic Elite Four battle yet. If you don’t know Pokemon, you’re probably trying to figure out what the hell I’m saying. Good luck.

Oh, and Pokemon move while they fight. NEXT GEN!

dragon_ageDragon Age II
Developer: BioWare
System: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
Release Date: 3/8/2011

The follow-up to 2009’s fantasy RPG from BioWare finally releases this month. Much like the streamlining we saw with Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age II puts more emphasis on action-oriented gameplay without sacrificing the extensive RPG elements that make a BioWare RPG what it is. Dragon Age II is also unique in how BioWare approached the game’s story: Dragon Age II spans a decade’s time and follows Hawke from refugee to “Champion of Kirkwall.”

We were big fans of the original Dragon Age: Origins. Therefore, we’re absolutely stoked for the follow-up to finally see release. If you dig games set in fantasy realms with orcs, troll, dragons and men with humongous beards, Dragon Age II is the game for you. 

mlb_2k11Major League Baseball 2K11
Developer: 2K Sports
System: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS and PC
Release Date: 3/8/2011

Speaking of beards, we’re interested in Major League Baseball 2K11 this year solely because of San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson’s involvement. He’s been absolutely blowing us away with his appearance on Lopez Tonight and the digital shorts he’s been directing to advertising for the game and it’s returning $1 million challenge.

Outside of that though, we don’t know much about MLB 2K11 this year. 2K Sports has been very quiet about what the actual improvements are to the 2011 iteration of the franchise. That has us very worried. It seems they are more interested in their elaborate and hilarious advertising campaign than they are in fixing what’s wrong, which is a lot. As of right now, we’d recommend MLB 2K11 only to the people that don’t have a PS3 to pick up our next entry on. 

mlb_11_the_showMLB 11 The Show
Developer: San Diego Studio
System: PlayStation 3
Release Date: 3/8/2011

If you’re a PS3 owner and baseball fanatic, March is a great month. The best baseball gaming franchise around, MLB The Show, gets released into the wild! This year’s version of the series features an all new “Pure” analog control system for pitching and batting, as well as a new 4-player co-op mode, a Challenge of the Week online mode, an improved Road to the Show and a new Home Run Derby mode with PS Move support.

This is an easy recommendation: if you own a PlayStation 3 and love baseball, pick up MLB 11 The Show. There is not a better baseball game on the market. Sony San Diego has been pitching perfect games for the last few years with this series and we don’t think they’re going to hit their first batter this year. 

Developer: THQ
System: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
Release Date: 3/15/2011

Here’s what we do know about Homefront… at last year’s E3, THQ snagged the massive parking lot across the street from the convention center. They gave out free parking to anyone who wanted it, on one condition: parkers had to mount a North Korean flag on their car to enjoy the service.

If we’re being honest, Homefront is probably one title that’s flying a bit under our radars this year. We love the concept, we love the marketing… but it’s still a military shooter. Those are becoming harder and harder to get pumped about. But, hey, it’s a shooter that gives us all new reasons to be paranoid; let’s see how it does.


Developer: Capcom
System: Nintendo DS
Release Date: 3/15/2011

One of the most gloriously underselling properties for the PlayStation 2 and the Wii is getting a sequel on the DS. Capcom made an odd choice by releasing this game in, literally, the last month of the DS’ life cycle. They did the same thing with the PS2 version, come to think of it.


A locked camera may prove as a little challenging when reviews start to pour in, if we were taking guesses. But the art style, lengthy storyline and robust mechanics will likely earn this DS title a heap of critical praise. Play as the pup, seek out the celestial beings and return color to the world!

crysis_2Crysis 2
Developer: Crytek
System: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
Release Date: 3/22/2011

The original Crysis still remains a graphical marvel on the PC. It was, and maybe still is a game that console owners are jealous they never got a chance to play. That’s why for Crysis 2, Crytek is bringing the franchise cross-platform and making sure that everyone gets a chance to enjoy their next technological masterpiece. Crysis 2 takes the action of out the jungle and puts it smack dab in the middle of America’s greatest city: New York. With Nanosuit 2.0, it’s your job to fend off the alien invasion that threatens all mankind. Crysis 2 also brings a massive online component to the franchise, allowing gamers to put the Nanosuit 2.0 to good use against real people online.

If you consider yourself a first-person shooter fan, Crysis 2 is absolutely mandatory to check out. This is one of the biggest games to release in 2011, so there’s a lot of hype behind it. But we hope Crytek delivers on what might be the new benchmark for FPS titles. 

lego_star_warsLEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Developer: LucasArts
System: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS and PC
Release Date: 3/22/2011

Get ready for more LEGO Star Wars action. Combining the proper Star Wars prequel canon with the new Clone Wars animated show, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is a brand new LEGO experience with a number of new gameplay features, the best of which being SceneSwap. This new feature allows players to take control of multiple teams in separate locations, switching back and forth between them with the push of a single button.

But let’s be honest for a hot second, the LEGO thing has been done to death. Not only have we seen the Harry Potter and Indiana Jones franchises get LEGO-ized, but we’ve already had two LEGO Star Wars games see release. What more can be done with this franchise? If you’re a massive fan of the previous two games, odds are you’ll enjoy this one. But if you’ve played enough LEGO games to last you a lifetime, then we’re going to go out on a limb and say you probably won’t find much new here to hold your interest. 

nintendo_3dsNintendo 3DS System + Launch Games
Cost: $249.99
Release Date: 3/27/2011

The Nintendo handheld you’ve been crapping your pants about for the last year is finally heading to North American store shelves. 3D gaming, augmented reality and a bevy of solid titles populate the forceable future of this device. Some may be holding off for more interesting games, but those that pick it up on day one will have Pilotwings: Resort to take home. You better believe I’m in for both.


Is this going to re-define the handheld gaming marketplace like Nintendo’s been able to do in the past? Who knows. The company’s been rolling out news like Game Gear games in the Virtual Console, Move Trailers on one of Nintendo’s channels and even Netflix support. That all adds up to one potentially packed device. Will consumers bite? Probably. It’s Nintendo. The thing sold nearly 400,000 units on day one in Japan. Yes, that’s more than the Wii did in the same country. Scary stuff.

shift_2Shift 2 Unleashed
Developer: EA Games
System: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
Release Date: 3/29/2011

The original Shift shocked the gaming world, delivering a simulation racer that faithfully recreated the experience of zooming around a track at nearly 200 mph. Shift 2 aims to deliver even more thrills by improving on the first game’s winning formula with new physics and crashes, a more realistic helmet cam, night racing and the hugely popular Autolog system first seen in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

In a genre where you’re surrounded by the likes of Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo, it’s quite impressive that the Shift series has been able to carve out a nice little niche for itself. Where Forza and Gran Turismo are considered with being able to tweak the rear suspension of their cars by the infinitesimal degree, Shift is concerned with delivering a white-knuckled racing experience wrapped in a simulation shell. To be more blunt about it, Shift is concerned with what matters: the gameplay. We recommend Shift 2 this month if you’re looking for a new racing title to partake in between all the loading screens of Gran Turismo 5. Wa-zing!