Backyard Sports: Rookie Rush
Developer: Humongous Entertainment
Publisher: The Shambling Corpse of Atari
Platforms: DS, Xbox 330, Wii.
You know how EA keeps screwing around with Wii owners by mutating the Wii game into some sort of super-deformed casual-friendly thing that in no way resembles the Madden everyone actually wants to play? It feels like EA is trying to copy the success of the Backyard series by doing so, but whereas the Backyard games ooze charm and are beloved by their audience, EA’s Wii Madden games for the past two years have largely been rejected by a Wii market who knows full well when they’re being pandered to.
You could do worse than buying your kid Rookie Rush. It’s cheerful, friendly, and won’t actively insult your children like, say, Mater’s Tall Tales from last week. Although with all children's games based on real-life versions of other games I question the effectiveness of buying a child a videogame about football when that child would probably prefer either playing real football or a better videogame. On the other hand, Rookie Rush’s roster has something to teach your children about diversity, from jocks:
To party sluts
And former TNA Knockouts champ Awesome Kong
And the Germans say multiculturalism is dead.
Developer: Gaijin Games
Publisher: Aksys Games
At some point I guess I’m going to have to admit that Gaijin Games has no interest in developing for XBLA (maybe Microsoft has a strict “no horriblely racist game dev names allowed” policy) and buy a Wii primarily to play bit.trip games. Fate, Gaijin’s (Seriously, this name is awful) fifth outing does nothing to alleviate my seething rage for Nintendo’s PS2-era relic-- indeed, seeing as this is what R-Type would have looked liked if developed by Activision and released on the 2600 (Pre-Crash Activision, not the Evil Goatee Activision you see today), I’m even more embittered that there as yet exists no way for me to give these wonderful, horribly named people my hard-earned money.
Bloody Good Time
Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade
Yeah, I dunno. There’s not a lot of video out for this game (and as of the time I’m writing this it’s unclear if it’ll be released for XBLA at all this week) but what little media exists seems to indicate the sort of zany first-person shooter that simply serves to remind you that you wish Free Radical never made Haze. Then you get depressed because you never bought a replacement Xbox 1 and can never play Time Splitters again.
Developer: Cooking Mama Limited (Seriously! That’s their name!)
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Oh god this is -way- worse than trying to find something interesting to say about Bloody Good Time. Perky, asexual housewives; minigames; the implied association with arts and crafts-- the only thing that could make me less interested about this game is if retirement planning and/or 4-time Winston Cup champion Jimmie Johnson were involved.
Wait, that’s not being entirely fair. At some point in time the ____ Mama series inspired this:
So it has to be doing something right. Wake me up with this series reaches “Mama Lets Husband Film Oral Sex; Video Leaks Onto Internet via Unsecured Linsys Router”.
CSI Fatal Conspiracy
Developer: TellTale Games: Payin’ the Bills Division
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360
Some days Telltale does awesome stuff like revitalizing Sam and Max or makes a poker game starring The Heavy from Team Fortress 2, some days they need to feed their families before their significant others file for divorce. We may not be happy with the fact that Fatal Conspiracy exists, but until more of you assholes go out and buy Puzzle Agent, this is what you’re going to have to deal with.
In Telltale’s defense, they’ve managed to scrub any mention of their company from any media relating to Fatal Conspiracy, up to an including the game box itself. As far as Gamestop and Amazon are aware, Fatal Conspiracy merely comes from some unnamed developer within Ubisoft, possibly by the janitorial crew in between bouts of breaking mercury-leaden fluorescent lamps over one another’s heads. Sadly the Internet does not allow you to escape your shame, Telltale!
Deca Sports 3
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Platforms: Nintendo Wii
Hudson Soft’s detestable; frustratingly successful Wii Sports ripoff continues, further ruining Hudsonsoft’s fine reputation as a classic games deve--
Okay so maybe this isnt’ the worst thing they’ve ever done. Still, you’d think after four of these games Hudson would manage to produce a halfway redeemable game once, right?
I think we’re to blame for Deca Sports. As hardcore gamers it’s our responsiblity to inform our grandparents and housewife friends and other Wii owners that they only ever really need to own two or three games aside from the pack-in and most of those games can be identified by the word “Mario” in the title.
Developer: Lionhead Games
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Platforms: Xbox 360
Hidden behind the fart jokes and Peter Molyneux inability to simply shut the hell up (and the fact that Fable 1 was a thoroughly disappointing Zelda clone), Fable 2 was a legitimately good game and I felt unfairly maligned by the hardcore community. Now that the danger of Kinect integration has passed, I fully expect Fable 3 to carry on where Fable 2 left off, only hopefully this time with less jarring storytelling devices such as skipping ahead five years in the narrative without warning.
At any rate I think Fable’s main problem-- you know aside from the bit where the game’s lead developer comes off as a self-aggrandizing jerk-- is it’s timing. Sure, it’s probably the only action RPG of note this holiday season, but this holiday season is also scary strong, a legit candidate for Best Gaming Holiday Ever. If Fable 3 had simply released two months before now or two months hence it’s late October release date it’d be the only thing the gaming media would talk about for that entire month. As it stands it’s got to contend with. Instead it has to deal with a half-dozen strong GOTY candidates on every major platform released this month alone.
Admittedly this bad timing is more of a “gaming conversation” thing rather than any effect on actual sales. The first two Fable games sold a billion copies and nothing except maybe Darksiders has really appeared in the action RPG market in the meantime. That said, there’s just so much quality crap coming out this year that I’ll probably not even touch Fable 3 until after the end of the year, and I adored Fable 2.
Habro Family Game Night 3
Developer: Unknown; presumably Chinese prison labor
Platforms: A PlayStation 3 that has better things to do, such as play Blu-Rays of Underground Comedy Movie; the Nintendo Wii kept in your grandparent’s hall closet underneath the Pong unit from 1973, the Xbox 360 you’d rather be playing anything else on but has been forced into this travesty by your idiot non-gamer roommate
Is it asking too much of America in 2010 to keep a lousy Connect Four box in the hall closet? Isn’t the entire point of Hasbro board games so you can collect a stack of boxes you never touch and only keep on hand should company come over and they might want to get drunk and spend the next six hours playing Axis and Allies?
For that matter what kind of bullshit is “family game night”, anyway? If you’re a teen then you’re just pissed that your parents are pulling you away from something important like Call of Duty, if you’re younger than a teen you know full well you’re being trotted out for your parent’s amusement. Furthermore if you’re going to subject your children to this nonsense then why wouldn’t you teach them how to play D&D instead?
Intellivision Lives! (although we’d rather it didn’t)
Developer: Intellivision Productions, Inc
Publisher: Virtual Play Games
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Everything I need to know about Intellivision I’ve learned from watching Jeff Gertsmann’s Game Room videos at Giantbomb.com.
Mainly I’ve learned that I made the right decision when I asked my parents for a 2600.
Developer: EA Salt Lake
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360
Not to be confused with the Google Street View MMO Monopoly City Streets which lasted all of four months before being shut down, it’s servers encased in concrete-filled drums and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
This is yet another console translation of the venerable board game, this time the gimmick being that you can tour your city from street view, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. Also this is one of the variations that forces auctions whenever you land on an unclaimed property so it’s largely unusable.
Much like Hasbro Game Night 3 previously, I’m baffled as to why these games continue to be developed. Isn't’ the point of a board game the -board-? This isn’t a matter of the rather excellent Risk: Factions earlier this year the developers were able to take the basic concept and make a stylized turn-based strategy game out of it-- Monopoly is fundamentally a bad, broken game to begin with and there’s not much you can do with the basic formula and keep it recognizable as Monopoly. It’d be different if someone were to take Monopoly and turn it into a console-friendly tycoon game but that doesn't appear to be in Hasbro’s vision for the series.
Pinball FX 2
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade
It’s hard to recommend Pinball FX 2 as a game because, well. It’s digital pinball. Also this is free and largely serves as a framework to sell tables as DLC further down the line. Although this does come with one free table included, so if you’re wondering what sort of bullshit people had to deal with in the 1950’s in addition to segregation and polio, here’s your chance to relive history.
If you download this thing and haven't’ lat least downloaded the Super Meat Boy demo yet then I fucking hate you.
Rock Band 3
Publisher: MTV Games
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii
The latest, best reviewed, and possibly last relevant rhythm game on the market is also the most comprehensive-- this revision’s update finally brings keyboards back to the gaming realm, some nine years after Konami gave up on Keyboardmania and decided the best way to make money in America was to fund Hideo Kojima’s repeated assaults against cohesive narratives.
That Harmonix basically took a year off in between major Rock Band revisions and wound up with something gamers and the mainstream are actually exited about speaks a lot for exactly how badly this genre was bungled by (almost) everyone involved, but you have to imagine most of the damage was done by Activision’s demand that a new Guitar Hero revision be released every hour, on the hour, for the past four years. Meanwhile Harmonix goofs around with the Beatles back catalog and then released a “real” sequel and suddenly everyone cares about guitar games again. Who knew?
There’s a weird, largely unreported subplot going on with Rock Band 3-- Despite copies of the game leaking through various sources for the past three months, our good friends in Canada will be denied Space Oddity until at least next week, despite Canada being so in love with Rock Band 2 that Neil Young had to be discouraged from using a MadCats Wireless Fender to perform Long May You Run at the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. True facts!
Anyway turns out Canada will be bereft of RB3 until early November due to RB3 not being French enough. This is the official story as is coming from EB Games and we can only assume that as we speak there are men being shipped in by the truckload into warehouses just inside the border hurriedly applying “le Keytar” stickers on plastic instruments through the dead of night.
Shaun White Skateboarding
Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal
Speaking of genres left a smoking crater by Activision’s stewardship, did you know they’re still making skateboarding games? And -two- of them are coming out this week? I was so confused by this revelation that I went to Best Buy to see if there were still Dreamcast games on clearance and wound up coming home with fifty dollars in Blur CDs.
Anyway. When Shaun White Skateboarding was announced earlier this year it actually looked somewhat interesting, what with a unique gameplay hook revolving around grind rails organically appearing from the environment, allowing you to shape your own skate board in the middle if the city. There was even talk about it being a spiritual successor to Jet Grind Radio. Then Ubisoft Montreal screwed all this up by releasing an absolutely detestable videogame.
Since Giantbomb doesn’t allow embedding of it’s videos to Wordpress, click this link and be amazed at the awful.
From all appearances SWS looks to be yet another decent Ubisoft idea wholly ruined by the management realities of Ubisoft itself.
Smackdown vs Raw 2011
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360
I’m not certain but I think this is the first SvR to be released in the WWE’s new PG era, where overtly violent displays such as hitting people in the head are verboten. Not that this will stop you from performing these traditional acts of brain-scrambling brutality in the videogame; there’s even an achievement for tossing a guy (or presumably lady) off the top of a ladder, to the floor, through a table.
Sadly none of the game’s storylines are likely to feature HHH incapacitating Linda McMahon before she can waste forty million dollars of his inheritance on a doomed senatorial campaign. But the expanded storyline creator (now featuring 15 created wrestlers, up from last year’s six) should remedy this oversight.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
If you enjoyed the first TFU game then there’s absolutely nothing present in the second game’s review scores that will dissuade you from enjoying this as well. If you like the idea of dudebro’ing it up in the Star Wars universe-- and the net worth of George Lucas and Infinity Ward seem to indicate that most everyone does-- then this is your game.
That said, I’m not sure how LucasArts managed to take an idea centered around a guy who dual-wields lightsabers, melts Stormtroopers, fistfights Imperial Star Destroyers and can legitimately take Darth Vader in a fight and turns that into a boring game, but damned if they didn’t manage to do it.
(Wait. That’s no surprise at all. The dude has the ability to kick the living shit out of pre-Grieving Father Mode Darth. How do you present a legit challenge to someone like that? It’s like if you started off God Of War 3 at the point at the end when Kratos is casually breaking Zeus’ face open. There’s nowhere to go from there!)
Tony Hawk Shred
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360
Hey remember how everyone hated Tony Hawk: Ride because it introduced a barely functional skateboarding controller and the game itself was a regression in almost every way from previous Tony Hawk Games? Yeah, they made another one.
(the observant reader may have realized at this point that we have entered a future where Skateboarding and Guitar games somehow still exist and EA is publishing the only well-liked games in any of these genres, and managed to so simply by not releasing revisions every fucking year.)
ZHP Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PlayStation Portable
The only way I can figure that someone may be in the market for ZHP Unlosing Ranger is if you’re the sort of gamer who exclusively plays one genre on one platform and the genre and platform your neurosis has come up with was SRPGs for the PlayStation Portable.
I mean, I’m nowhere qualified to judge another human being, I willingly spend free time watching professional wrestling-- But at the same time I have to figure that if you’ve managed to consume the entire PSP SRPG library up to the point where you’re in line with a boxed copy of Unlosing Ranger in hand (pretend for a moment that this scenario is taking place in a universe where non-Japanese people buy PSP games) maybe it’s time you reassess your life and how you got to this point. How you reached this point in your life is no fault of your own, I’m just saying there’s more to gaming than Nippon Ichi. There may even be other publishers releasing games on the PSP, I’ve not verified this but it’s my understanding that it even has a Metal Gear game now.
Actually next week is kinda slow. We’re getting a new Fist of the North Star game and that’s always pretty cool to ha-- OH WAIT