Getting Some Play: Bioware scores with “Dragon Age,” and Nintendo releases the 3DS

Welcome to Getting Some Play— the spiritual successor to Sarah Warn’s excellent Good Game column — where we’ll take a look at the latest releases, news and developments in the world of videogames.

There’s no gentle way to put it, so I’ll just spell it out: Mass Effect 3 was delayed until early 2012. Some fans booed the decision, but I say anything that makes the game better is fine by me. So long as my Liara-loving-Femshep and their epic romance are intact, I’m happy. Now, if only the team would take a hint from their coworkers on the Dragon Age team and let the boys in on the fun as well.

Tidbits about the new game are rolling out left and right, adding to the fever pitch of anticipation. In this interview posted on Gamepro, Executive Producer Casey Hudson served up details on new environments and a new system for first-time players to get caught up with the rich backstory and choice-sets from previous games”

“Hudson notes that Lair of the Shadow Broker is the benchmark for how the team has been designing environments for the third game. ‘It’s all about sudden shifts in the action,’ he says.”

“For new players, there’ll be an experience similar to the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2. “It might not be comic style, but we’ll do something to recap the story,” said Hudson. “It’s essentially a really fancy save game generator.” For loyal fans who have played the series from beginning to end, the team says they have a “big spreadsheet” of all the possible choices Shepard may have made from Mass Effect 1 and 2, and that they are keen to continue the idea that “there is no canon except for what the player has chosen.”

Let the long, difficult wait begin!

Step Right Up

Since we’re so deep into the month of May (unofficially known as E3 run-up season), several major new game announcements have graced the blogs and magazines of the gaming world. Just last week, a new installment of the excellent Hitman series was announced, subtitled Absolution.

With the nerd world afire over A Game of Thrones on HBO, it only makes sense that a videogame adaptation would be in the works. A Game of Thrones: Genesis is on its way, and thanks to the official website launch, we now know it’s an RTS. Strategy does fit with the armies-and- epic-battles vibe of the Song of Ice and Fire series (but perhaps less with the more personal tone of A Game of Thrones, but that’s just a nitpick). It’s slated for a release this summer.

If you’re less into giant armies and more into athletic caricatures in fetish gear battling one-on-one, then get ready to get excited: Soul Calibur 5 has officially been announced. I played the hell out of Soul Calibur 2 back in the day, and of course, Ivy was my bruiser of choice (hurt so good never looked so good, after all), so it will be very nice to see Namco-Bandai bring the goods again.

Coming Attractions

There are two massive games coming out tomorrow – The Witcher 2 and LA Noire. I wrote about them in the last installment, but needless to say, the rest of the month pales in comparison.

There are, however, a few potential diamonds in the rough. Thanks to its excellent pedigree (and a fantastic sowing in 2009’s DIRT 2), DIRT 3 should definitely be on your playlist if you enjoy the rough and rowdy world of rally racing. It’s due out on May 24 for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.

Retro RPG fans should know that Super NES classic Chrono Trigger is out today on the Wii’s Virtual Console, for a cool $8. It will always hold a special place in my heart, since it was my very first RPG (call it a gateway drug if you must), and it holds up incredibly well, even to modern standards.

The boob-tacular Dead or Alive series is making its 3D debut on the 3DS on May 24, with Dead or Alive Dimensions. A fighting game well known for its assets, it will be quite interesting to see how this stacks up against current 3DS fighting champion Street Fighter IV.

Finally, adventure gamers and fans of the 80s will be pleased to note that another episode (5, to be precise) of the ongoing Back to the Future game is due out on May 30.

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