August 15 - August 19

This week is most clearly defined in my mind as being the last week I have to sit around waiting for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and so by extension it is ostensibly the last week until the kick-off of the fall gaming glut.

It's been nice having a few weeks away from the old The Week Ahead game, in part because it's nice to see someone else get yelled at for picking the wrong game for a while and also in part because the past few weeks have been dominated by such nothingness that I would have been inclined to seek out Falcor and Atreyu to come help fight it. This week isn't exactly oodles better, but at least it does have something on the docket worth a modicum of attention.

Age of Empires Online is an interesting prospect to me. Having played some of the beta, the game remains a relatively faithful and at the very least competent implementation of the basic AoE game. It is also a natural extension of Age 3, which implemented a kind of RPG-like leveling up system for your race, except now the system has been warped into more of an MMORPG kind of form and includes loot drops that can be applied at your home base like equipment on a character. If AoE Online were a martini, the MMO trappings would be the vermouth. While I think the beta suffered from some balance and pacing questions -- 5 hours in the game still felt both trivially easy and too slow -- the core game felt surprisingly well implemented. Hopefully the past few months have been spent balancing and fine tuning, but assuming that there is a good matchmaking system within the release for player-vs-player, there may be some meat on this bone worth enjoying, at least until all the other games you've been waiting for come out.

If, however, RTS gaming in an MMO space isn't your cup o' tea, might I recommend a glance at the official release of Space Pirates and Zombies. If the words "it's kinda like Star Control" mean anything to you then this is definitely worth at least a glance. After a dozen hours with the beta, I can honestly say that it is a refreshing and fun diversion that provides more than its money's worth.

PC
- Age of Empires Online
- Bastion (download)
- From Dust (download)
- Hacker Evolution Duality (download)
- Space Pirates and Zombies (download)

Xbox 360
- El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron[/url]
- Toy Soldiers: Cold War (XBLA)

PlayStation 3
- El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
- No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise
- Altered Beast (PSN)
- Breath of Fire IV (PSN)

Wii
- Jerry Rice and Nitus' Dog Football

Nintendo 3DS
- Blockado: Puzzle Island (eShop)
- Zoonies: Escape from Makatu (eShop)

Nintendo DS
- Puzzler World 2
- Blockado: Puzzle Island (DSiWare)
- Zoonies: Escape from Makatu (DSiWare - $5)

Comments

I'm trying to imagine a world we live in where a game about Dog Football was not only green light..but then attached with the greatest receiver to ever play NFL aka real people football.

Seriously? I mean seriously? Jerry did you really need that extra $100K?

TheGameguru wrote:

I'm trying to imagine a world we live in where a game about Dog Football was not only green light..but then attached with the greatest receiver to ever play NFL aka real people football.

Seriously? I mean seriously? Jerry did you really need that extra $100K?

He wanted in on that sweet Backyard Football market.

I look forward to the future release of Michael Jordan's Bark-sketball.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I look forward to the future release of Michael Jordan's Bark-sketball.

These puns are pawful

Garden Ninja wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I look forward to the future release of Michael Jordan's Bark-sketball.

These puns are pawful

Yet we continue to doggedly pursue them.

Before judging it so much, I think you need to see the game in action. It's pretty much a lock for pet sport game of the year.

There is a _major_ problem with that game: Jerry Rice doesn't play Quarterback.

Other than that, looks like a faithful simulation.

Elysium wrote:

There is a _major_ problem with that game: Jerry Rice doesn't play Quarterback.

Other than that, looks like a faithful simulation.

Jerry Rice has thrown 10 passes in the NFL and even has a TD pass! Next!

TheGameguru wrote:

I'm trying to imagine a world we live in where a game about Dog Football was not only green light..but then attached with the greatest receiver to ever play NFL aka real people football.

Seriously? I mean seriously? Jerry did you really need that extra $100K?

So a great Receiver paired up with a great Retriever?

They actually tried doing this game with cats, but they had too many false start and delay of game penalties.

Rat Boy wrote:

They actually tried doing this game with cats, but they had too many false start and delay of game penalties.

Thanks, I got one hell of a laugh from that.

Age of Empires, From Dust and Bastion for me

Certis wrote:

Before judging it so much, I think you need to see the game in action. It's pretty much a lock for pet sport game of the year.

This is the best thing.

Malor wrote:

I've barely cracked Okami.

Okami is awesome, and you should play it. All the way through. It really only has one grievous problem: nonskippable dialog until the second playthrough (on the PS2 version only), which is terribly frustrating. In all other respects, it's wonderful.

It doesn't play quite as well on the Wii as it did on the PS2; it's hard to draw perfectly straight lines with your 'brush', where it's very easy with the PS2, and that can give you problems.

I'm the outlier that found the Wii controls infinitely easier and quicker than PS2 one, having played only about 90mins of the PS2 one (stopped after the announcement of the Wii version) and all the way through on the Wii. I was in and out of brush commands in fractions of a second where the PS2 version would take, say 3 or more seconds, and my error rate was very low and lower than what I had gotten to w/ the PS2. I did have issues through the first hour getting consistant lines, but then felt out the way to get my lines showing up straight, or quick circles and was off on my way. The z button function some people talk about using just messed things up for me. My guess is, at this point noone's going to invest the time into playing Wii games to be any good at it. But when I first played, Wii was my only current console and I was spot on with the controls in most games.

Malor wrote:

I've barely cracked Okami.

Okami is awesome, and you should play it. All the way through. It really only has one grievous problem: nonskippable dialog until the second playthrough, which is terribly frustrating. In all other respects, it's wonderful.

It doesn't play quite as well on the Wii as it did on the PS2; it's hard to draw perfectly straight lines with your 'brush', where it's very easy with the PS2, and that can give you problems.

There's a button you hold in to draw straight lines on the Wii. It's not hard at all. Loved the Wii version, spent 50+ hours 100%-ing it.

I'm going to wait for the 360 port on Jerry Rice Dog Football. I needs me some cheevos in that game.

wordsmythe wrote:
Certis wrote:

Before judging it so much, I think you need to see the game in action. It's pretty much a lock for pet sport game of the year.

This is the best thing.

Why wasn't Michael Vick attached to this project?

...

Too soon?

bighoppa wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Certis wrote:

Before judging it so much, I think you need to see the game in action. It's pretty much a lock for pet sport game of the year.

This is the best thing.

Why wasn't Michael Vick attached to this project?

I don't think he has a dog in that fight anymore.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
stevenmack wrote:
Elysium wrote:

Sadly, this pretty much represents a return to form for me. :(

If it makes you feel better, Xenoblade Chronicles (which *IS* most definitely a JRPG) is out for the Wii in the UK on Friday.

And never, ever out in North America. I would take all the Elysium JRPG barbs in the world for that one.

wow, ok - 9 reviews on metacritic to date and none of them lower than 90% (not even EDGE's). I might just have to dust off the Wii and grab a copy of this today.

(Also I seem to remember reading that they were watching how well it sells in Europe before deciding on the fate of a NA release, so you might not be totally out of luck yet if it sells well).