The post-Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) slump continues with an influx of licensed games and quick ports. And yet, a few brightly shining rays of hope pierce the shovelware darkness.
|Pick of the Week: Universe at War: Earth Assault
Developed by Petroglyph, the fine folks behind the excellent Star Wars: Empire at War, this Sega-published title promises to be one of the most interesting RTS games in recent memory. You can control one of three distinctly different aliens factions and use Earth as your fully-destructible battleground. Each race features wildly different units, tech trees, and resource gathering methods. Be sure to check out the demo at the game’s official site. Universe at War will be hitting the Xbox 360 in early 2008, with PC and 360 owners able to duke it out online.
| Runner-Up: Eve Online: Trinity
Eve’s latest free expansion introduces new ships, missions, items, and a massive graphical overhaul to the successful sci-fi MMORPG. The game’s about as hardcore as they come, but the greatly improved graphics should help ease recovering WoW-aholics into their next MMO addiction. If you have the time and the patience, Eve’s an incredibly deep game that’s worth looking into, and with this free expansion just now hitting servers, there’s never been a better time to get started. How many other MMOs are powered by absurdly powerful super computers, after all?
You know the drill; hit the jump for the rest of the week’s multiplayer offerings.
Also available this week:
|Band of Bugs
Ninja Bee’s Xbox Live Arcade strategy title is now available for the PC. What works as a cheap, downloadable console title, however, doesn’t quite hold its own in the world of PC gaming. As far as turn-based strategy games go, Band of Bugs offers about as much depth as its insect heroes are tall. The game also comes packed with a full-featured map editor.
|Crimson Skies: The High Road to Revenge
Okay, you caught us. This is the same Crimson Skies game released on the original Xbox back in 2003. But now it’s available for download on your 360 as an Xbox Original! It’s a game so good, nobody played it in the first place, forcing FASA Interactive, the game’s developer, to make that dreadful Shadowrun game. It’s your fault FASA is now dead! Yes, yours. Make up for the misery you’ve caused and download this game.
|DragonBall Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
Though its producer assures us the game totally takes full advantage of the Wii controller, keep in mind that this is yet another PS2-to-Wii port. This latest Atari DragonBall Z fighting game sports 150 (!) playable characters, which is either a sign of insanity or genius. Is it worth playing? Depends on how much you love DBZ.
Another licensed Atari PS2 fighter ported to the Wii? Will wonders never cease? The game includes over 25 playable Godzilla characters, but not all of the PS2 roster is available in the Wii version and vise versa. Still, there is a maniacal sort of appeal in destroying an entire city as a (virtual) man in a large, rubber suit.
|Jenga: World Tour
Another week, another board game “enhanced” and ported to the Wii. Maybe the fact that my grandparents are playing Wii Sports isn’t the best thing for the rest of the Wii’s software library. World Tour makes up for the fact that you’re not actually interacting with a precariously stacked tower of wooden blocks by layering a mess of gimmicks on top of the basic Jenga premise. Our suggestion: Stick with the real deal.
This massively multiplayer shooter hopes to attract younger and casual PC gamers with it’s brightly colorful, manga-inspired graphics. While the game looks fantastic, more experienced multiplayer gamers may find it overly simple for their tastes. Still, somebody needs to attract the next generation of Counter-Strike and Halo fanatics, right?
|Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship Tournament 2008
The entirety of my Yu-Gi-Oh! knowledge is that there’s a monster named Blue Eyes White Dragon and the only to say its name properly is to yell it as loudly as you possibly can. Yu-Gi-Oh! fanatics itching for their yearly fix will eat this up. The rest of us will wait for the real gaming tournament – Unreal Tournament III – to hit the PS3 next week.