This week is a week of pairs, with two excellent arcade sports titles, two not-so-excellent karaoke games, and a duo of shooters sequels (one 2D, one 3D) that should certainly impress fans of their respective series.
|Pick of the Week: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2
First-Person Shooter | 360, PS3
The first Rainbow Six Vegas was a breath of fresh air for the Rainbow Six franchise, hugely streamlining and modernizing Tom Clancy’s seminal shooter series. With the sequel, Ubisoft Montreal promises more of everything that made the original so great: More multiplayer maps that focus on smaller, more intense battles; more weapons and armor; more customization. The game also features a robust co-op mode with missions designed to encourage replayability. Whether you’re a tactical shooter junkie or someone who has strayed away from the Rainbow Six series, Vegas 2 is worth checking out.
|Runner-Up: Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds
Arcade Golf | PS3
The Hot Shots Golf series has long-since established itself as the premiere arcade golf experience, and is making its PS3 premiere this week with Out of Bounds. As always, the game features cute characters in over-the-top golfing scenarios, but now includes some impressive online features to boot, including tournament support for up to 50 (!) players at a time. You can even completely customize your adorable golfing avatar in order to stand out from the online crowd. Truly, Hot Shots Golf is the Mario Kart of golfing games.
Hit the jump for the rest of the week’s multiplayer offerings.
Also available this week:
| Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore
Rhythm | PS3
This game has been available for the Xbox 360, Wii, and PS2 for months, but is only now showing up on the PS3. No doubt many of you have been quivering in fevered anticipation. Well, the wait is over. Now you too can be berated by Simon Cowell and called out for being the no-talent hack you really are, all thanks to the unequaled power of the Cell Processor. Great at parties and for embarrassing your friends!
|Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
Soccer | Wii
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 arrives on the Wii a week behind the other consoles. Guess tightening up those graphics took longer than expected. In any case, one of the biggest names in soccer is now available on the biggest console of the generation. Chances of anyone in the United States caring: 0%. We just don’t understand soccer, rest of the world, with or without waggle controls.
|Sega Superstars Tennis
Arcade Tennis | 360, Wii, PS2, PS3, DS
While Sega is mostly too busy embarrassing itself and driving its beloved characters into the ground to produce any worthwhile games these days, they still manage to slip the occasional gem out the door. Case in point: Sega Superstar Tennis, a game that manages to remind us why we fell in love with Sega and its cast of characters in the first place. Essentially Virtua Tennis with Sonic, Ulala, and AiAi shoehorned into it, the game looks to be just as fun as Sega’s excellent tennis series, only with none of that annoying realism getting in the way.
Rhythme | PS2
While the week’s second karaoke party game lacks the all-important American Idol license, the Singstar name is more popular in the video game market, especially in Europe. Whether that makes for a better game, however, is anybody’s guess. I’m certainly not going to subject myself to lonely nights of karaoke, with or without Paula Abdul’s encouraging words to guide me.
|Worms: A Space Oddity
2D Shooter | Wii
The Worms series has been soldiering on for what seems like forever, and with good reason: It’s fun to blow your friends up, even more so while controling tiny worms that are armed to the tooth. Unfortunately, this latest entry in the series only features 4-player local multiplayer, with no online modes to speak of. While a lack of online multiplayer isn’t exactly surprising for a Wii title, it’s all the more disappointing in a Worms game, as each new title differs very little from the previous installment and fans take whatever incremental improvements they can get. Still, it’s the only Worms game currently available for Nintendo’s latest console, and beggers really can’t be choosers.