Weekly Multiplayer Releases: Week of January 22, 2008

The end of January is the new middle of November, apparently, as several genuinely excellent titles see release this week.

burnout paradise boxartPick of the Week: Tie: Burnout Paradise
Racing | PS3 360
Finally, a real next gen Burnout! Paradise sheds the structure of previous Burnout titles in favor the open-ended, load time-free Paradise City. And best of all, it’s all playable online. You can race with or against your friends or ignore them entirely, continuing your single player experience in an online environment. Seriously, buy this game. Just look at that awesome box art!

advance wars days of ruin boxartPick of the Week: Tie: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Turn-based Strategy | DS

This week’s releases are too good to throw our full support behind just one. Like Burnout Paradise, Days of Ruin is essentially a must-buy. The latest Advance Wars title strips away a lot of the dead weight from earlier games, including the questionably balanced Dual Strike CO powers from which the previous DS installment takes its name. As you already know, Days of Ruin features online multiplayer and map sharing, meaning this game’s gonna stay in your DS for a long, long time.

Hit the jump for the rest of the week’s multiplayer offerings.Also available this week:

iridium runners boxartIridium Runners
Racing | PS2
We’re two years into the next generation and new games are still showing up on the PS2. Think of Iridium Runners as a cart racer without carts: it features the same sort of over-the-top, arcadey gameplay as the Mario Karts and Crash Team Racings of the world, complete with zany tracks and powerful weaponry. We’re looking forward to the more realistic follow-up, a driving game without cars.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games boxartMario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
Minigame Collection | DS
The first ever in-game meeting between these gaming legends arrives on the DS this week, bringing handheld-sized versions of its olympic-inspired minigames. If the Wii version is any indication, this one’s worth avoiding. Our advice: wait until Mario and Sonic’s second ever in-game meeting, when Super Smash Bros. Brawl hits in Janurary February some point in the future.

pacific storm allies boxartPacific Storms: Allies
Real-time Strategy | PC

This stand alone expansion to 2006’s World War II-themed strategy game offers new diplomacy features and a new third faction, the British Royal Navy. The game focuses on naval combat, and allows you to play from a standard, zoomed-out RTS perspective or take control of specific units like warships and airplanes for a light simulation experience. While certainly an ambitious title, the original was riddled with bugs and received generally poor reviews. Hopefully Lesta Studio can learn from their mistakes with the original and deliver a solid expansion.

pirates of the burning sea boxartPirates of the Burning Sea

This MMO on set on the high seas has been getting a lot of positive buzz lately, and this week it’ll finally hit store shelves. Whether or not it lives up to its expectations remains to be seen, but anyone looking for an MMO that doesn’t involve elves or space ships could certainly do worse. The game’s definitely better than Disney’s free Pirates of the Caribbean MMO, for example.

rainbow islands evolution boxartRainbow Islands Revolution
Platformer | PSP

The Bubble Bobble boys and their rainbow-spewing hurdy gurdy gun return in yet another platformer rich in verticality (and rainbows, of course). This time you’ll be able to play with another player online to cooperate and overcome the game’s many challenges. The original Rainbow Islands isn’t available for the Wii’s virtual console yet, so if you’re hard-pressed to play what basically boils down to moderately updated version of the original on a modern system, you could certainly do worse. Actually, you couldn’t, because this is your only option.