In a startling turn of events, this actually turns out to be a decent week of gaming, even in the face (or perhaps because of) of legions of slavering Madden fans descending upon stores come Wednesday morning. Also, Persona 3 pops back up again, after what Atlus will only describe as a “printing error” leading to a three week delay. If nothing else, this should prove a fascinating social experiment as okatu and jocks mingle in the same annoying, stress-inducing line at the local EBStop.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance (PS2)
Apparently Raven’s kept the visuals up to par with the 360 version (Which sounds impressive until you remember everything in this genre is zoomed out to something just under low Earth orbit) and it’s a third of the asking price for the next-gen versions of this game. If this is your thing and you haven’t picked it up yet, it looks to be a decent diversion. Even if this isn’t your thing, you have to figure it’s at least twice as good as The Red Star, and doesn’t feature a minute and a half of unstoppable credit screens every time you want to start the game.
The timing on this is actually rather remarkable, as it gives dads something to keep their kids shut up about while huddling in the living room with Madden.
Fatal Fury Battle Archive (PS2)
Pay attention. This is something incredibly rare in gaming, a package that’s so brilliantly fucking fantastic and priced so low that hardcore gamers cannot justify not owning it. Game companies simply don’t do this sort of thing anymore, and as much as I hate the whole “reward consumerism” mindset, it’s something that’s deserving of our retail dollars. Herein you will find Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and Fatal Fury 3, on one disc, for fifteen fucking dollars. And okay, yeah, while you’re probably either going to wind up playing FF Special or FF 3 and not touch the rest of the disc, it’s still a rather incredible event to witness, especially if you’re of the generation that can remember calculating exactly how much overtime they’d need to work to justify a Neo Geo purchase. Fifteen years ago this package would have cost you something along the lines of eight hundred dollars to collect, and that’s not counting the price of the console itself. I could not possibly recommend this enough. Now if there was just some way to convince SNK to release a disc consisting of their non-fighter, non-Metal Slug Neo Geo stuff. There’s an entire generation of gamers out there who’ve never played Magician Lord!
Madden ’08 (PS2/PSP/360/PS3/Wii/DS)
The yearly event that exposes the rest of America to the dank, filthy halls of EBStop is upon us again, causing us to both recoil in horror at what we may one day become and begrudgingly admit that without stuff like this it’d be impossible to justify Shadow of the Colossus and Bioshock.
A quick rundown of what each version features:
- The 360 version runs at 60fps, and is thus considered the “full” version. It is unknown exactly how much money traded hands for Microsoft to pull this off, but safe to say there’s been an alarming amount of trade happening between EA and MS, including advertising rights, PR Marketing heads trading places between companies, and of course Microsoft’s compliance in EA’s continued destruction of the integrity of Xbox Live. I’m not saying that Madden ’08 is better on the 360 simply because EA and MS are in bed, but it sure looks weird.
- The PS3 version runs at 30fps. Rumors as to virulent mold spores being packaged in each Blu-Ray case remain wholly unconfirmed.
- The PS2 version is the one people will wind up actually buying
- The Wii version is like the PS2 version, only a pain in the ass to actually get anything done with
- The DS version is further proof of the lack of a kind or loving God
- The PSP version is there because hey, PSP owners are sorta dumb anyway.
Persona 3 (PS2)
And now, presenting the case for Persona 3:
Well, I mean, if you insist…
Also, apparently you contact the spirit world via repeated ritualistic suicide. That’s kinda different. And as always, the Last Great Hurrah of the PS2 until something comes along next month to further justify never buying a next-gen system. I swear, this generation isn’t going to end until we wind up with seventeen million unsold copies of Toy Story 4 buried somewhere in Utah.
Metropolismania 2 (PS2)
No reviews for this thing exist, and every preview site googled up regurgitates the exact same PR boilerplate. But it looks like SimCity for people who order pocky online– since Natsume is involved, I can only assume there’s cows and an awkward dating game involved somewhere. So yeah, imagine Harvest Moon, only you’re a city planner, and instead of crops you’ve gotta harvest crack rocks and manage prostitutes. Only everyone’s got enormous fucking doe eyes, so it’s even creepier than what I just described.
Dungeons and Dragons Tactics (PSP)
What the hell is this and why is it on the PSP instead of a system I want to actually own? It’s a tactical RPG using D&D 3.5 rules, and if you’re the sort of mutant like I am and actually enjoy D&D 3.5 combat, you’re a tad dumbstruck at the thoughts of a videogame appearing on the PSP that may just justify removing your firmware hack in order to play.
Seriously Wizards, fuck you. Aren’t you guys aware that PSP owners don’t buy videogames?
Pile o’ DS Crap: High School Musical and Operation Vietnam.
I’m almost positive I’ve seen High School Musical: Making the Grade here before. What possible quality control issues can be involved with a High School Musical game that could even remotely justify a delay? Was the text replaced with nothing but anti-Semitic slurs? Did someone screw up the order form and buy a half million blank Game.com carts? Was AIDS found lurking in the staples binding the instruction manual together?
As far as Operation: Vietnam goes, just imagine. This is how Vietnam vets think our generation views the sacrifice of their youth:
With any luck our nation will refuse to go to war ever again under the fear that game developers will make shitty games about the experience.
Finally, a trio of shockingly good DS games by way of Japan.
Heroes of Mana (DS)
It took the better part of three years, but someone finally built a quality RTS entirely around the DS, and it’s coming from Squeenix of all people. To confound matters, it’s coming under the guise of a “* of Mana” game that doesn’t suck the will to live out of anyone attempting to play it.
Rune Factory (DS)
Natsume has plastered IGN with banner ads labeling this as a “Fantasy Harvest Moon”, which I guess tells you everything you really need to know about this. Of the one recent review to come of this to show up on Gamerankings Nintendo Power docent seem to like it much, bestowing a 70%. But then, Nintendo Power gave Puzzle Quest DS a 40%, so what do they know?
Luminous Arc (DS)
And to compliment Heroes of Mana, someone remembered the DS ought to have a lot more Strategy RPGs on it than it does by now, and thus we have Luminous Arc– Which by all appearances is your bog-standard SRPG affair with your demons and fallen gods and all that noise, but hey, it’s gotta beat playing through Tactics Advance for the seventeenth time… So you know, you can play this to death until Tactics Advance 2 comes out. And since it’s published by Atlus, you get to stare at stuff like this for sixty hours.
Also, apparently it comes with a dating sim minigame. So this is pretty much the greatest “I’m a social pariah yet I still need to go to work everyday” videogame ever created.
NEXT WEEK! I Spy Treehouse for the DS! Brunswick Bowling for the PS2! Something called Bioshock for the 360!