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Viking: Battle for Asgard and Patapon

Viking: Battle for Asgard

Why get excited?
We know some people like the Dynasty Warriors series, while others love Kingdom Under Fire, but for our money The Creative Assembly's Spartan: Total Warrior is the finest mass-scale fighting game known to man. Viking is its successor, mixing hardcore action with a smidgeon of strategy in the same way Spartan did, but beefing up the cinematics and covering it all in a luscious next-gen graphics engine that makes the game look like a moving Frank Frazetta painting.

If you wasted any of your youth enjoying dubious tales of Sword and Sorcery, you'll know exactly how super-cool that is. This time the combat leaves discrete levels behind for an open-world setting, and there are multiple routes to victory, enabling players to play tactically or just go for guts and glory as they see fit. In the meantime, there's enough blood splashing and limb-lopping going around to make Quentin Tarantino feel slightly nauseous. It appears it's grim up Norse.

Curb your enthusiasm?
Spartan suffered from some hideous difficulty spikes and some truly infuriating boss battles. Can The Creative Assembly get these things right this time around?

ETA: End of February

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Patapon

Why get excited?
Patapon is the most interesting PSP title to emerge from Sony since the much-loved LocoRoco - which is probably because it hails from the same team. It's a sort of rhythm-action game, where you lead a tribe of marching critters from one side of the 2D level to another, using chants to get them through obstacles.

They might have to merely cross a river, or they might have to defeat a huge monster, but either way only correctly timed chants will push them to victory - a bit like Premier league footie, when you think about it. Patapon borrows much of LocoRoco's gorgeous cartoon graphic style, and looks set to have the same combination of charm and easy, addictive playability. If your PSP is gathering dust, this might be all the excuse you need to get it out again.

Curb your enthusiasm?
LocoRoco got hard surprisingly quickly, but it's one of the standout titles on the PSP. If Patapon's quirky style works, there's no reason why it shouldn't follow in its forebear's footsteps.

ETA: Spring 2008

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