Getting Some Play: Bioware in the headlines


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.

Bioware Hype

There’s been a lot of excitement coming from Bioware lately. The studio, maker of the queer-inclusive blockbuster Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises, just licensed a DA Facebook game, announced the final DLC from Mass Effect 2, and — oh yeah – launched a little game called Dragon Age 2, one of the most queer-friendly RPG’s ever released. There are same sex pairings available for ladies and gents, so everyone is welcome to the party.

Dragon Age

There was also a bit of a tempest in a teapot over a Bioware programmer who “reviewed” the game on Metacritic, but hey, publicity is publicity, right? It’s certainly not hurting the company’s image with MMO players, who have signed up in spades to do beta testing on the upcoming Star Wars:The Old Republic.

For other sci-fi fans (and femshep/Liara diehards, like myself), the news about the latest Mass Effect 2 DLC is something to get worked up about. After all, the “Lair of the Shadow Broker” chapter brought crime-fighting action AND the most true-to-lesbian-melodrama moment ever, when our heroines professed their love for one another and planned for “marriage and blue children” in the future – so I’m excited for what the studio has in store for the last chapter.

Here’s what we can expect next week. From the press release, posted on Joystiq:

In Mass Effect: Arrival, Commander Shepard is sent to the edge of the galaxy to rescue an undercover operative who may have evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion that has been looming since the very beginning of the series. Returning and playing a prominent role in Mass Effect: Arrival is fan favorite Admiral Hackett, who is voiced by legendary science-fiction actor Lance Henriksen (Alien, Terminator).

Sounds exciting – and this is no doubt a lead-in to Mass Effect 3, due this fall. The DLC will be available on March 29, and will cost around $7.

New Releases

If you’re not currently romancing a saucy pirate lady or sexy mage in Dragon Age, or deep in a Pokémon Black/White binge, there are plenty of other new releases – as well as a brand new handheld system – to sink into in the next two weeks.

If you’re craving FPS action, Homefront just came out (on PC, PS3 and 360) to somewhat middling reviews, but I’ve heard good things about the multiplayer game.  This is definitely a “rent” situation. Perhaps a better bet will be Crysis 2 (PC, PS3, 360), the sequel to 2007’s technologically impressive PC-only shooter.

Lara Croft fans should get excited for PS3 exclusive Tomb Raider Trilogy, a “budget” (read: $40) compilation consisting of HD versions of Tomb Raider Legend and Tomb Raider Anniversary, along with Tomb Raider Underworld and a few “bonus” features.

For handheld gamers, Okamiden – the sequel to the excellent Okami, serves as one of the last major releases for the DS. By most accounts, it’s excellent, and a fitting swan song to the revolutionary handheld.

Speaking of Nintendo handhelds, we have a rather exciting development just in time for Getting Some Play’s first edition. The Nintendo 3DS is launching next weekend. Starting March 27, you’ll be able to get your hands on the 3D-enabled bundle of joy, which is launching with 18 new games and a bunch of out-of-the-box “alternate reality” fun.

Included on the list is puppy (and now kitty!) simulator Nintendogs + Cats, which should make you squee with excitement, regardless of your pet preferences. We’re talking about adorable, cuddly baby animals that will come up to you in 3D, just waiting to be petted, fed, groomed and played with – if that’s not a reason to buy a new system, I don’t know what is.

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