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Put your new hardware through its paces with this week’s gaming releases

This week’s releases are all about getting the most out of their hardware platforms. Put your New 3DS through its paces this week with Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, the first exclusive game for the latest iteration of Nintendo’s handheld. Affordable Space Adventures is one of the best utilizations of the Wii U GamePad yet. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin updates From Software’s brutal action RPG for the newest consoles and PCs. StarDrive 2 provides the kind of deep, 4X strategy sandbox you can only find on PC.

What will you be playing?

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

New 3DS (April 10)
Originally released in Japan for the Wii in 2010 Xenoblade Chronicles is an epic sci-fi RPG in classic Japanese form. Nintendo fans will recognize its protagonist, Shulk, as one of the newest brawlers in the latest Super Smash Bros. game, along with his sword, the Monado, which features prominently in the game. Only coming to American gamers with little fanfare in 2012, it has become something of a cult classic.

This new port is the first game released exclusively for the New 3DS XL, Nintendo’s latest iteration of its two-screen handheld. While recent releases like Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate make good use of the system’s new capabilities, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is the first game to explicitly require them.

Nintendo eShop

Affordable Space Adventures

Wii U (April 9)
Explore the dangerous depths of space with friends in this co-op exploration puzzler. With a small, reasonably priced spaceship from Uexplore, you and up to two friends are ready to go and find what the universe has to offer in (relative) safety. It looks a little like FTL if it were a 2D puzzle platformer instead of a strategy roguelike.

A true console exclusive, the game makes full use of the Wii U’s unique capabilities by placing the ship’s system controls on the GamePad, while you see the ship and its environment on the television. One player can single-handedly manage all of the ship’s systems, but with friends that responsibility can be spread out between a Science Officer, Pilot, and Engineer.

Nintendo eShop

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Edition

PS4/XB1 (April 7)
If Bloodborne got you hooked on the Souls games’ particular brand of masochism, then you should check out this definitive edition of its immediate predecessor. Scholar of the First Sin comes packed with all of Dark Souls II‘s DLC, including all three parts of the Lost Crowns trilogy.

In addition to the previously released content and updated visuals, sound, and performance, Scholars introduces new enemy and item placements and a higher cap on the number of online players allowed in a single session.

PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Steam

StarDrive 2

Linux/Mac/Windows (April 9)
Explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate in this game of galactic diplomacy and warfare. Tactical real-time battles let you feel like an admiral, while high-level strategic and economic management will make you feel like an emperor. Take to the stars as one of nine pre-set alien races, each with its own special properties.

Every element of the game offers deep customization for players that want to delve into its systems, with presets available for the micromanagement-averse. Customize your own species with traits like “High-G Homeworld” or “Repulsive,” and design every ship in your fleet by choosing components and their layout.

Steam