New Game Releases 02/28/23 – 03/06/23

After a couple of really big weeks for new games we find ourselves at a bit of a slowdown, though it’s hard to deny that people aren’t excited for new Destiny 2 content. Folks, this week is a showdown between two pieces of DLC for two very, very different shooters; Destiny 2 and Splatoon 3. Aside from those, there’s a small handful of interesting looking titles, including a new soulsborne-esque game from Koei Tecmo & Team Ninja (the team behind Nioh), and a new Void Terrarium game from NIS America. Exciting!


Top Releases:

Destiny 2: Lightfall (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Feb. 28th

Developed by: Bungie
Published by: Bungie

The Guardian meets The Witness and uses The Darkness because The Light is gone, or something. I haven’t played Destiny 2 in probably three years but it’s still chugging along with brand new content to enjoy. This latest expansion, Lightfall, introduces a neon soaked, cyberpunk-esque city to explore and get missions from. The marketing for this game is clearly working because I am installing the game to my Xbox One as I write this. LFG.

Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass Wave 1 – Inkopolis (Switch) – Releases Feb. 28th

Developed by: Nintendo EPD
Published by: Nintendo

While Lightfall appears to be a major piece of new content for Destiny 2 that contains new story content, new weapons & gear, and multiplayer maps, the only new content I see for Splatoon 3 is that players will be able to travel to the first game’s hub city, Inkopolis. Oh, cool.

Scars Above (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Feb. 28th

Developed by: Mad Head Games
Published by: Prime Matter

Oh, a generic looking, brand new sci-fi IP from a mid-tier studio, eh? I bet it’ll be good *snicker*.

Void Terrarium 2 (PS4/Switch) – Releases Feb. 28th

Developed by: Nippon Ichi Software
Published by: NIS America

Continue the adventures of Toriko, the last human girl in the world of Void Terrarium. Work together with a kind robot named Robbie as you collect supplies to stay alive in this post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Fitness Boxing: Fist of the North Star (Switch) – Releases Mar. 2nd

Developed by: Imagineer
Published by: Imagineer

I came here to kick ass and lose weight, and it looks like my recent stomach virus already made me lose some weight, so I guess I’ll just kick some ass…and go see a doctor about my sudden weight loss.

King of the Castle (PC) – Releases Mar. 2nd

Developed by: Tributary Games
Published by: Team17

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Mar. 3rd

Developed by: Team Ninja
Published by: Koei Tecmo

From the creators of Nioh comes a new action RPG, Wo Long: Falledn Dynasty; now with a jump button! Seriously, one of the major selling points of this game is that players can now jump, something you couldn’t do in Nioh, which opens up all kinds of new exploration possibilities. We’re in the future, people; embrace it!

Dead Cells – Return to Castlevania (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 6th

Developed by: Motion Twin
Published by: Motion Twin

ANOTHER expansion this week?! Hey, honestly, I might be the most excited for this one out of all three that coming out. Dead Cells is an excellent Metroidvania/rogue-like game that took me by surprise last January when I picked up it’s previous expansion, The Queen and the Sea. I must have played it non-stop for over a week, it completely consumed my gaming life. Now there’s new content that features characters, monsters, and weapons from the Castlevania series?! Just hook it directly into my veins.


Everything else:

Here’s three more games that you might be interested in, or not.


Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 (and sometimes 40) years ago:

Tomb Raider (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Mar. 5th, 2013: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Jack the Giant Slayer – Starring Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, and Ewan McGregor
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: They Might Be Giants – Nanobots
*Click here to listen to the album*

Following the release of 2008’s Tomb Raider: Underworld, the team behind the game was split in two. One half working on a spin-off title, eventually turning into 2010’s Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, while the other half began production on the next installment of the mainline series. Initially, Tomb Raider began as a direct sequel to Underworld, with players jumping into a brand new adventure with Lara. However, starting with 2005’s Batman Begins, the idea of rebooting your franchise from the start and showing your hero’s origin became a really hot idea. In 2009, a year after production started, the sequel to Underworld was scrapped and the team began drawing up ideas for a rebooted franchise. It would take another year for Crystal Dynamics to show their new bosses at Square Enix what they were up to, who were eager to see where this new road would take Lara (and how much money it would make).

It was in 2010 when Square Enix would file a trademark for the tagline “A survivor is born” for Tomb Raider, and would shortly after reveal that the new Tomb Raider was well into production and would be coming out in the near future. Oh, and it was also a reboot, like Batman Begins, so please spend money on it. While Square Enix was worried about the bottom line, Crystal Dynamics were worried about getting the gameplay and story right. Unlike previous Tomb Raider games where Lara was already an established badass, Tomb Raider would place Lara in her very first adventure, meaning that she was untrained, unprepared, and fighting for survival. This was a younger, more naïve Lara, a typical 21 year old who had never fired a gun, let alone had to kill anyone. It was this clean slate, unsullied Lara that the game’s lead writer, Rhianna Pratchett, really wanted to explore. However, in one of the game’s controversies, the ending of the game is all about Lara having to kill a human being for the first time, despite players having spent nearly ten hours before that mercilessly murdering various humans on their journey (A few people in the comments have pointed out that this scene takes place early in the game, not the ending. Apologies for the oversight, yadda, yadda, blunder, yadda, yadda, fired).

Tomb Raider had an initial release date slated for late 2012, however the team felt like they needed more time to polish the game and it was decided to push the release to Q1 of 2013, before settling on its final, March 5th release date. In the buildup to release, Tomb Raider courted some controversy. Of course you had the typical “why does this need a reboot” crowd, but there were also a contingent of players that were upset that all of the key art featured a dirty, grimy looking Lara Croft instead of the sleek, sexy, and clean image they had seen for nearly two decades. The biggest controversy, though, was the allegation that Lara would be raped in one of the game’s early cutscenes to help fuel her transformation into badassery. This came from a misconstrued comment by one of the game’s executive producers who made mention of a sexual assault in the game. The backlash began immediately, causing Crystal Dynamics to clarify the statement, indicating that there was no hint of sexual assault, just physical assault, which leads to the moment where Lara kills a human for the first time. In a 2017 interview, writer Rhianna Pratchett defended the scenes of violence in the game and blamed “typical video game journalism” for the initial backlash.

Tomb Raider was met with critical acclaim when it released, with scores in the high 80’s to low 90’s from most major gaming outlets. Critics felt the game was the most exciting entry in a long time, as well as one of the most compelling and strongest characterizations of Lara in the franchise. While the game received a slew of high marks, most critics felt that the game’s story and player’s actions here incredibly disjointed. This is, of course, the thing I’ve mentioned a few times here, Lara can spend the entire game being a clod blooded killer of human beings, but the story wants you to accept that Lara is really conflicted about killing people, leading to very nuanced performances in cutscenes while being juxtaposed with gameplay that has you slaughtering people left & right with no remorse. Some critics were very bothered by it, feeling as if they could never connect with Lara at all, while others found it less of a problem, but still a problem. One critic made note that you could play most of the game without killing people (aside from some mandatory events), putting the onus on the player to determine just how blood thirsty Lara could be.

In its first 48 hours, Tomb Raider would sell over one million copies and, by the end of the first month, over 3.4 million units had been sold. This was a record for the Tomb Raider franchise, as no other entry had ever sold that quickly in the past, and by 2017 the game had moved over 11 million copies. However, this was seen as a financial failure by Square Enix who had probably hoped to sell 11 million units in the first week. Tomb Raider, along with the Hitman reboot, were the first time Square Enix had pinned an entire quarter on just Western releases, and it did not work out in their favor. Still, the good critical reception and “decent” sales allowed for Crystal Dynamics to release two follow-up games, creating a new trilogy. In 2022, Square Enix would sell Crystal Dynamics, among other Western developers, to focus more on their Japanese developers, and make NFTs. The company’s new owner, Embracer Group, is keen to continue making Tomb Raider games, though it remains to be seen if this will be a continuation of the most recent entries or be another reboot.

Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (PC/PS2/GameCube/Xbox) – Released Mar. 2003: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Cradle 2 the Grave – Starring Jet Li and DMX
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Evanescence – Fallen
*Click here to listen to the album*

After striking a more downbeat, serious tone in Rayman 2: The Great Escape, the team at Ubisoft decided that Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc would feature a more light-hearted tone, with the game not taking itself too seriously, often parodying the 3d platforming genre as a whole (I guess, though I didn’t really notice). Gameplay wise, Rayman 3 follows closely to the style laid out in Rayman 2, with sligh modifications (i.e., long punches instead of firing projectiles). Another change to the gameplay came in the way power ups worked. In Rayman 2, players could upgrade Rayman’s abilities, allowing him to pull of special moves and attacks. In Rayman 3, players would collect canisters in various parts of each level, granting Rayman with temporary super powers. It’s these super powers that drive a lot of the game’s puzzles and really forces you to speed run some tasks in order to achieve them.

While Rayman 3 would release on all major platforms at roughly the same time in 2003, it would release for the GamCube first where it contained exclusive content, including several party style mini-games, as well as the ability to unlock bonus content by linking the Game Boy Advance version of Rayman 3 to the console version. The game would receive mostly positive review from critics, with scores in the high 70’s to low 80’s, with the GameCube version scoring the best. Rayman 3 would sell over one million copies in its lifetime, and received an HD remaster on the Xbox 360 and PS3, though it was missing some features and cutscenes due to licensing issues. Having spent about three hours with the game over the weekend I can happily say that it is a very fun, very charming 3d platformer that any fan of the genre should check out.

Kid Dracula (Game Boy) – Released Feb. 1993: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: El Mariachi – Starring Carlos Gallardo
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?
*Click here to listen to album*

Released in 1990, Akumajo Special: Boku Dracula-kun was a Japan-only release for the famicom that was a kinda/sorta spin-off of Castlevania. For it’s follow-up in 1993 for the Game Boy, Konami decided to localize the game for North America where they called it Kid Dracula. I really don’t have much else to say about this game if I’m being honest. It’s a fun little side scrolling platformer that isn’t too hard, isn’t too easy, and is decent enough in small chunks. They didn’t reinvent the wheel here, but Kid Dracula is a solid game that you should check out if you happen to come across a carridge in the wild…or just emulate it.

Gyruss (Arcade) – Released Mar. 1983: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Tender Mercies – Starring Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, Betty Buckley, Wilford Brimley, and Ellen Barkin
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Quiet Riot – Metal Health
*Click here to listen to album*

Like a lot of arcade games in the 1980’s, Gyruss was essentially a clone of other, already successful games. It’s most obvious “inspirations” are Atari’s Tempest and Namco’s Galaga, with players viewing the playfield as a tunnel with waves of enemy ships coming towards the player in single line formations. Gyruss was developed by famed Japanese developer Yoshiki Okamoto, who had also put out Time Pilot just a few weeks before the release of Gyruss. However, a pay dispute between Okamoto and Konami arose shortly after the release of Gyruss, leading Okomoto to be fired. He would move over to Capcom where he’s be instrumental in the creation of 1942 and Street Fighter II.

Gyruss wasn’t a blockbuster title like some of its arcade contemporaries, but it did well enough, particularly in Japan. The game would be ported to several home consoles, including the Atari 2600, ColecoVision, and the NES. Over the years it would often be bundled into Konami arcade collections for various systems, and would even get a bootleg version into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas where it would be called They Crawled From Uranus. Today, Gyruss is most easily available on the Xbox family of consoles as a downloadable title. It’s not as good as Time Pilot (or Tempest & Galaga), but it’s still a solid shooter with decent replay value. If you’ve never given it a try I highly recommend that you do.



Andy Tuttle
Andy Tuttle

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