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.
- Age of Empires Online
- Bastion (download)
- From Dust (download)
- Hacker Evolution Duality (download)
- Space Pirates and Zombies (download)
- El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron[/url]
- Toy Soldiers: Cold War (XBLA)
- El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
- No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise
- Altered Beast (PSN)
- Breath of Fire IV (PSN)
- Jerry Rice and Nitus' Dog Football
- Blockado: Puzzle Island (eShop)
- Zoonies: Escape from Makatu (eShop)
- Puzzler World 2
- Blockado: Puzzle Island (DSiWare)
- Zoonies: Escape from Makatu (DSiWare - $5)