Weekly Multiplayer Releases: Week of November 27, 2007

The holiday rush has officially subsided, and as the wave of AAA titles breaks, all that remains in the undertow are mangled bits of waterlogged budget titles and terrible oceanic metaphors.

history channel battle for the pacificPick of the Week: The History Channel: Battle for the Pacific
You know you’re in for a slow week when a game licensed by the History Channel, of all people, is the most promising offering. While it won’t be usurping Call of Duty 4 on the PC, 360, or PS3, PS2 and Wii owners could do worse than this historically accurate shooter. You can play online as either an American or Japanese soldier in any of a host of decidedly not historically accurate game modes such as capture the flag and death match. Perhaps most shocking of all, this game doesn’t just look decent, it looks positively great.

tournament Runner-Up: Speedball 2: Tournament
Yes, it’s just a PC port of the Xbox Live Arcade remake of the 1988 Amiga’s Rollerball-inspired sports title (try saying that three times fast), but Speedball 2 is fun, dammit. Little has changed in the game’s translation to the PC; it still offers the same sort of violently frantic action as the original. Online leaderboards and multiplayer support for up to four players should help keep you occupied, but don’t go in expecting anything more than an arcadey sports game that’s fun in small doses. The game will supposedly be available through Steam on Tuesday, but even this close to release, Frogster Interactive, the game’s publisher, still hasn’t announced a price.

Hit the jump for the rest of the week’s multiplayer offerings. If you’re a Wii fan, you might want to look away. It gets ugly.Also available this week:

cranium kabookiiCranium Kabookii
Another Ubisoft minigame collection for the Wii, this time based on the popular board game of the same name. Think Mario Party meets Wario Ware with a whole lot of tacked on motion controls. Will the casual audience eat it up? Almost certainly. Should you just buy the board version instead and save yourself some money? You better believe it.

cruis’n boxartCruis’n
When fans of Cruis’n USA and Cruis’n World dreamed of a nextgen sequel, this probably wasn’t what they had in mind. A strong contender for worst looking game on the Wii, Cruis’n is the very definition of bare bones, low budget holiday shovelware. In fact, nobody even knows if the game is multiplayer at all. You’d assume it would ship with support for at least two players, as every other entry in the Cruis’n series has included at least that much. But then again, you’d also assume Midway would have said something – anything – about this game prior to release. Clearly, the publisher has about as much confidence in this title as the rest of us.

game party boxartGame Party
Don’t let the title fool you, Game Party is nothing more than yet another party game minigame collection for the Wii. Up to four players can match skills in classic games such as darts, table hockey, skill ball, hoop shoot, ping cup, shuffle board, and trivia contests, just like they can in all the other Wii minigame collections. To quote Eurogamer, “Mini-games. Why not just piss on my face?