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Happy Halloween week everybody! Hope you got your Mario/Luigi costumes all ready and waiting. Despite this being Halloween week, the games just keeps on coming. What have we got this week? We’ve got Star Wars wish fulfillment game number 4,296, rock star wish fulfillment game number 8, life wish fulfillment game number 3, and finally a coup d’état wish fulfillment game number who-knows-how-many-by-now.

Remember. Release dates are quite literally made at the whims of the publisher.  The following are subject to change without any warning.

 

Releases To Watch For This Week

Fable III (Xbox 360)

Tuesday October 26, 2010

The Fable series has never been content on following the traditional route of an RPG, you can thank Lionhead’s visionary, Peter Molyneux for that. Fable III continues this tradition of non-traditionalism. First of all, calling it an RPG is in itself a bit of a stretch. It does away with so much of the numbers and menus that makes up of most RPGs out there. Fable III aims for a more organic approach to character building. Instead of finding new and more powerful weapons, weapons level up the more you use them and physically change as it levels. The strangest feature in Fable III is probably the Road to Rule feature. It basically shows your progression through the story, but instead of a timeline or anything mundane like that, it’s a literal road with gates representing key story points. You visit this road whenever you completed a key story point to open these gates with people cheering on the sidelines. This road isn’t just a bunch of gates though. It’s littered with treasures and whatnot which can be opened by trading in these crest, which you earn by doing missions and stuff. Those people on the sidelines aren’t just some random NPCs. They represent the people you’ve befriended who will ultimately follow you into the upcoming rebellion against the king of Albion.

Fable III story is separated into 2 parts. The rebellion part and the ruling part. At first you’re recruiting an army of peasants to overthrow the king, who by the way is your brother. Once you do that, you’re crowned as king, or queen, of Albion, and here the game kinda turns into a politician sim. In order to get people to follow you, you had to make certain promises. As king, you have to figure out how to actually make good on your promises. Unfortunately, very little is known as to what actually changes once you are king/queen. Do you still go around and beat up monsters by yourself, or are you stuck in your throne room making decisions and sending out soldiers to do your bidding? Or is it somewhere in the middle? Fable II has proven itself to be pretty popular, and given the amount of changes and improvements to this iteration, including a much more improved co-op mode where you get to play as yourself when you join someone’s game, I’m sure most will take the plunge without really knowing what the second half of the game really entails.

 

Rock Band 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS)

Tuesday October 26, 2010
Perhaps this was inevitable. It probably really was only a matter of time before your fake plastic instruments is replaced by real ones to play these kinds of games. Rock Band 3 will be the first to truly incorporate a real guitar into a music game thanks to Pro Mode. This new mode is undoubtedly the closest thing to actually playing the song. Each instrument, except maybe vocals, has a pro mode where if you can pass it, you can play it in real life. At least that’s Harmonix’s aim anyways. In Pro Mode guitar, you have to use 1 of the 2 available guitars. One has 6 strings where the strum bar normally is, while the neck consists of over a hundred buttons, one for each fret button and string. The other guitar is a full on, plug into an amp, real electric guitar with a special neck that can sense where you’re putting your fingers. The note highway doesn’t show colored bars. It shows the actual notes that you have to play. Being a complete guitar ignoramus that I am, I have no idea what any of it meant.

Huey Lewis and the News

If Pro Mode isn’t enough of a change, the addition of the keyboard opens up the tracklist for new songs that just wouldn’t have made much sense in previous Rock Bands. Songs like “The Power of Love” or “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” would’ve been weird without having a keyboard, but now that we have it, these songs fit right in.

Guitar Hero has done a lot right in terms of features like drop-in, drop-out at any time, changing difficulties in the middle of a setlist, and even having any combinations of instruments for any song. Rock Band 3 will have all of that and even improves on it a little bit, changing difficulty doesn’t restart the song. Along with the ability to import everything from previous Rock Bands, although I have a feeling the 3 excluded songs from the first Rock Band is still unimportable, your Rock Band 2 discs, after import, is about to turn into a coaster.

As for the DS version, it’s basically like the Rock Band Unplugged for the PSP where you play as all the instruments and has to switch between them. Not bad, but given the improvements on the console versions, why would anyone bother with this one?

 

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS)

Tuesday October 26, 2010 (PS3 version comes out on Thursday October 28, 2010)

Jedi’s are awesome. Their swords are made of a laser beam. They can move stuff with their minds. They can make you look for other droids. The list goes on, and it was just plain old sad that Lucasarts thoroughly screwed up Star Wars: The Force Unleashed with shoddy controls and unpolished overall quality. Thank god for sequels. The first Force Unleashed ends in one of two ways, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II follows what happened in the light ending. Starkiller is back. Sort of. He’s actually a clone of Starkiller that Darth Vader created hoping to create the ultimate Sith Warrior. Unfortunately for Vader, this clone has Starkiller’s memories as well. The best news anyone can hear about this sequel is that they fixed up the controls. If the demo is anything to go by, the controls have definitely been tightened, and most of the glitches and bugs from the first one is nowhere to be found. It also looks even better than the first. Ability-wise, Starkiller has all of his old abilities and then some. One new ability is the lovely Jedi mind trick, which can turn an enemy against their ally or have them jump off the nearest cliff. They’ve also added the Force Fury. When activated, Starkiller’s force powers are set to their maximum levels for a short period of time. The Force Unleashed had a pretty decent story, but the overall experience kept it back from being even decent. Here’s to hoping The Force Unleashed II will be much better than its predecessor.

 

The Sims 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

Tuesday October 26, 2010 (PS3 version comes out on Thursday October 28, 2010)

I don’t understand The Sims. As in I simply don’t understand the appeal of playing out a life of a virtual character in normal everyday setting instead of a futuristic, intergalactic war that will decide the fate of the galaxy setting. Whatever. The Sims 3 is finally coming to the console, and it’s coming with some new features. Challenges are an additional set of mini-quest for your Sims to complete. When completed they net you Challenge Points — which can be used to buy stuff from the challenge store like clothes, props for your town, and Karmic abilities. Karma is also a new feature wherein you get to either mess around with your Sims or give them an extra helping hand. One of the evil powers of Karma includes the Firestorm. Now you don’t have to wait until your Sims mess up in the kitchen to watch a fire happen. Just let it rain down from the sky. There’s also the Earthquake, Poltergeist, and Epic Fail, wherein a Sim gets extra clumsy and causes all sorts of havoc, among others. The other end of the spectrum includes miracles like Miracle Fix (Everything is instantly fixed), Giant Jackpot (Money suddenly swirls around your Sim), and Divine Intervention (Bring back a Sim as a ghost). It’s a little hard for me to tell if any of this really makes this Sims the best Sims game ever, but it sounds cool to me.

 

Coming This Week

Monday October 25, 2010

Art Academy (DS)

Ever wanted to draw? Well, let your DS teach you how to do it! Including all the lessons and tools from the DSIWare “games” Art Academy: First Semester and the Second Semester edition, this “game” will teach you how to draw for real. The best part is that all the skills you learn here are transferable to real life canvas or paper. Who knows? Maybe there’s a Van Gogh in you waiting to bust out to cut off your ear. Apparently he really hates your musical taste.

Tuesday October 26, 2010

Backyard Sports: Rookie Rush (Xbox 360, Wii, DS)

I remember when this series used to have kids version of athletes in them. Now we’re left with fake, ethnically varied kids all coming together in harmony for a game of football. How quaint.

Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS)

(Note: PS3 version comes out on Thursday October 28, 2010)

Here’s a first. A hunting game with a story! You and your estranged father has decided to go to Africa to hunt down dangerous game that’s been terrorizing some villages. Unfortunately they found themselves stranded, and only their keen hunting skills will get them out alive! Will you be able to survive? Find out in Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011. Weird.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Fatal Conspiracy (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

If you just can’t get enough CSI, this here game comes with 5 new and interconnected cases. If you can get over the horrid looking models based off the actors from the show, this game might just be for you.

Grand Theft Auto IV (The Complete Edition) (Xbox 360, PS3)

You know how Grand Theft Auto IV had, literally, over a hundred hours of gameplay packed in the city of Liberty City? Well, just in case that’s not enough gameplay for your dollar, this Complete Edition comes with both DLCs, The Lost And The Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, as well. I hope you’ve got a time machine on you, because I just don’t see how you could get through it all otherwise.

Hasbro Family Game Night 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

I’ve never figured out how to play Clue. All I know is that you go around accusing people of murder. I guess this is my chance yet again to try my hands at it. Hasbro Family Game Night 3 also comes with Life, Mouse Trap, Yahtzee Hands Down, and… Twister? How the hell do you play Twister on the Wii? Do you need like 8 Wii Balance Boards or something?

Monopoly Streets (PS3, Wii)

The best part about video games is that it can bring to life abstractions of an idea. The Monopoly board is supposed to be a city with properties and whatnot. Monopoly Streets basically changes the board into that city that we’ve always bee playing in. Including online multiplayer with tweakable rules, this could very well be the ultimate video game version of Monopoly. The real question is did anybody ever asked for it?

Tony Hawk: Shred (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

(Note: PS3 version comes out on Thursday October 28, 2010)

Because Tony Hawk: Ride didn’t bomb hard enough, please welcome Tony Hawk: Shred, another skateboarding game that also utilizes the skateboard controller. The big difference this time around is that it’s also a snowboarding game. Who knew that controller had so many uses?

WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP)

(Note: PS3 version comes out on Thursday October 28, 2010)

The soap opera with punching is yet again about to have their annual release this week. This year it’s called WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011. This one packs a lot of creative tools, which enables players to make their own wrestler, write their own stories, and make their own finishing moves. They can even upload them and download other people’s work. I wonder how many Obamas will be uploaded unto the servers?

Casper Scare School: Spooky Sports Day (Wii, DS)

Since when do ghosts go to school? Why do they even need exercise? Why anyone think a poltergeist themed sports mini-game collection is a good idea? Do kids even know who the hell Casper is anymore?

I don't think I can press A fast enough!

Deca Sports 3 (Wii)

Wow, 3!. Who knew Deca Sports was that popular? The newest addition here, aside from some new sporting events, is the use of Wii Motion Plus. All the games have 2 modes. Normal mode doesn’t require Wii Motion Plus while Master mode does. Some of the games include lacrosse, kayaking, fencing, volleyball, and log cutting. I’m waiting for extreme ironing to be included in the 4th one.

Mathews Bowhunting (Wii)

I believe the bar for hunting games have just been elevated with Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011, and this bow and arrow centric hunting game just won’t cut it anymore. If it doesn’t have a story involving hunting game terrorizing some poor residents of a hamlet or a village, it’s not worth our time.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Duel Transer (Wii)

I still can’t believe this series is still around. Duel Transer boast 4,500 cards included in the game and also lets players play against other players online. If you’re still into the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, Duel Transer may be the Wii game for you.

Disney Channel All Star Party (Wii)

Getting a little bit on the lazy side, instead of making individual mini-game collection games themed with the various Disney channel shows, they’ve gone and just mash them all together into one giant mini-game collection game. One moment you’re playing with the cast of Sonny With a Chance, and the next moment you’re playing with Hannah Montana! If there is such a thing as a Disney Channel fanboy, they’ve just needed a new pair of clean underwear.

NERF N-Strike: Double Blast Bundle (Wii)

Do you remember those Wii Games that NERF made? No? Well here’s your chance to remind yourself. This bundle comes with both of their games, NERF N-Strike and NERF N-Strike Elite, along with the little NERF gun, Switch Shot EX-3 blaster. Happy blasting!

The Amazing Race (Wii)

Of all the reality shows out there, The Amazing Race is probably the only one I would consider watching. That doesn’t make a video game version that much more palatable for me though. Play out your Amazing Race fantasies here. See what it feels like to have Phil Keoghan tell you that you’re the last one to show up. If I was playing, I’d probably cheat and just take a taxi or something.

Monopoly (DS)

Unfortunately for the DS, they’re not getting Monopoly Streets like the home consoles this week. Instead they’re getting the classical Monopoly game with the boring board. Sorry DS.

Casper’s Scare School: Classroom Capers (DS)

Oh! There’s a show called Casper’s Scare School. That explains all the Casper games this week. This one has you helping Casper pass his classes so he can graduate. Apparently you need to pass a bunch of classes before you’re allowed to scare people. Who knew?

Crafting Mama (DS)

The multitalented Mama returns, and this time she’ll teach you how to knit socks! In addition to knitting mini-games, you can make quilts, earrings, candles, birdhouses, and xylophones! I wonder what else is she good at? Taxes?

Dora’s Cooking Club (DS)

It looks like Dora’s been taking classes with Mama. Unlike Mama though, you’ll have to use your math and matching skills to help Dora cook. Just remember. Doubling the temperature does not mean half the cooking time.

Go, Diego, Go! Mega Bloks Build & Rescue (DS)

Diego and Mega Bloks combine to make the ultimate fighting machine! Either that or Diego just explores a world full of Mega Bloks on some adventure rescuing stranded animals. I’d prefer the former.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Tag Force 5 (PSP)

Looking to get your Yu-Gi-Oh! fix on the go? It looks like the PSP’s got your back. Now you can play Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s anywhere you want with this latest release. Say thank you Konami.

Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman (PSP)

If you’re still undecided on whether or not Japanese people are crazy, just go look at the trailer for this game. As usual, the fate of the universe will be decided by an epic fight between the final boss and the hero. If only the hero, aka the “Absolute Victory Unlosing Ranger”, didn’t get run over by a car. Fortunately you were right there when he died, and he has entrusted you to defeat Darkdeath Evilman, aka the final boss. You’ll have to grind through hours upon hours of randomly generated dungeons and customize your body anyway you see fit before you’re even remotely ready to fight the final boss. Good luck!

 

Thursday October 28, 2010

The Fight: Lights Out (PS3)

And the Playstation Move cash-in games begin! The Fight uses 2 Playstation Wands for street fights where the onscreen fighter mimics your gestural movements with the Wands. You execute a backhand attack by actually spinning around with your hand outreached. I’ve been waiting for the day when I can look up Playstation Move injuries on YouTube.

 

Sunday October 31, 2010

Dance Dance Revolution (PS3, Wii)

No, it’s not the original Dance Dance Revolution being re-released. This DDR has Playstation Move support and Wii Remote support respectively. Now you have to move your hands too in addition to having to step on the correct arrows. Oddly enough the Wii version also supports the Wii Balance Board too. I hope Konami’s got a good legal department, because the injury lawsuits are about to roll in.

LTTP

 

Most people have written off music games, but in reality, it’s still going pretty strong for good reasons. It’s still pretty fun. You can kinda guess which game I have my eye on this week. I’m guessing the rest of you care more about that Star Wars game or Fable III. Unless of course you’re really looking forward to making quilts with Mama. Whichever one it is, have fun. I’ll be rocking out to “The Power of Love”.

 

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