Looking at March 2013, there are a lot of anticipated hits coming out. From triple-A titles like Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite, to those catered to a more niche audience like Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk and HarmoKnight, there's plenty for any gamer to be excited about.
But has it always been like this? Has March always been such a month filled with juicy releases? Well, let's go and have a look!
Join me on a trip through memory lane as we go through the last ten years of March releases. You might be surprised at how big (or how barren) the past was!
March 2003 was a big month for Nintendo, and its biggest bombshell was The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. While the game's art style put off many fans, it was still a Zelda game at heart, and one that some even flock to as their favorite Zelda game of all time. Whether you love it, hate it, or find it to be merely 'meh,' you can't deny that The Wind Waker ended up being a hit.
Other notable releases: Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire Versions, Amplitude
The third month of 2004 was a bit odd. There were a few new releases to ongoing series, but they weren't always well received... at least at first. Final Fantasy XI falls squarely into that category, with trying to take the series into a bold new direction of a MMO. While fans were skeptical at first, many warmed up to the concept to the point that the game still has an active userbase today. Perhaps Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be able to fill its shoes...
Other notable releases: Sonic Heroes, Metal Gear Solid: The Twins Snakes, Ninja Gaiden
2005, at least in March, was much like this year's in terms of releases; there were enough games that came out to sate any gamer's tastes. However, a new IP was also released this year... and that was God of War. Despite having to go up against Devil May Cry 3, which came out the same month, this gritty action game was able to stand its own ground, and was the beginning of what was to be one of Sony's best known franchises.
Other notable releases: Devil May Cry 3, Lumines, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Metal Gear Solid Acid
Unfortunately, March of 2006 was not a big month for gaming, though a couple hits did come out. The biggest game that came out was The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the sequel to the well-received Morrowind. While not everyone enjoyed the change from Morrowind's unique world to what some think was a more generic one, Oblivion garnered a lot of praise and really helped to get the series onto a lot of gamers' 'favorite games' lists.
Other notable releases: Kingdom Hearts II
When writing this, I didn't think I'd ever have to put two games of the same series into the same article. Alas, March of 2007 was such a barren month that God of War II was the only big game that even came out. The sequel to the 2005 hit, God of War II continued to impress and surprise players. Compared to what the first game was up against, the sequel had a much easier time in terms of competition!
Other notable releases: S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Tekken 5
To be honest, March 2008 didn't have many big releases either... but then again, the biggest release would have so many gamers occupied that no one would notice. That game was Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Wii entry into the hugely popular series. With more characters than ever before, more things to do and unlock, and even online modes, it's no wonder that everyone was too busy with Brawl to notice anything else!
Other notable releases: Army of Two, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters
Finally, around this time, March gaming starts coming out of its three year slump and starts really pumping out some hit releases, and the crowning achievement of March in 2009 was Resident Evil 5. The eagerly anticipated entry into the Resident Evil series, 5 took 4's changes and improvements even farther, and even added online co-op so that friends could go through Chris's nightmare together. Players didn't even have to escort the President's daughter around either, which certainly helped the game's reception.
Other notable releases: Pokemon Platinum Version, MadWorld, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
In terms of releases, March 2009's offerings were only a taste of what gamers would get a year later. March 2010 was filled to the brim with big releases, niche releases, and everything else to keep players happy for a long time. This included Mega Man 10--the downloadable sequel to the retro-fied hit Mega Man 9. 10 brought more old-school goodness to gamers' current consoles, offering Mega Man fans much to get excited for involving the Blue Bomber's future.
Other notable releases: Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions, God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Just Cause 2
Pokemon games have been coming out in March for a while. The last two years saw Pokemon releases, as well as back in 2003, but this is the first time that an entry has really taken the cake. Pokemon Black and White Versions were the long-awaited fifth generation of Pokemon games, sporting tons of improvements to graphics and the user interface. In addition, this entry limited initial Pokemon catching to only the new Unova Pokemon, lending a bit of nostalgia to the game.
Other notable releases: Dragon Age II, Okamiden
Finally, we've made it to last year. Much like this year, there were a lot of big hits and niche games alike. Not of that matters, because Mass Effect 3 came out. As the thrilling conclusion to the hugely popular Mass Effect series, the game... certainly got fans talking. About the gameplay, about the ending, everything about Mass Effect, really. Love it or hate it, you can't deny that Mass Effect 3 really got a lot of attention at its release.
There you have it, ten big releases of the past ten years during March! Gaming certainly has had its ups and downs just in the month of March alone... but does this month paint an accurate picture for the rest of the year? Join me next month to (start to) find out!
What are come of your favorite March releases? Any releases not in the list that you're fond of? Let me know in the comments below!