Eternal Sonata on the PS3
The more you look at this week’s group of releases, the more a sense of déjà vu takes over. So many of the big new releases this week are either sequels or rehashes that you really have to look deep—no, like seriously deep—to find anything resembling a new idea.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. PlayStation 3 owners are finally getting a chance to play a couple of games that Xbox 360 owners have been enjoying for a while, and each with some bonus stuff to make the experience unique enough to keep PS3 owners from being slighted. Eternal Sonata has received the biggest makeover, with new characters, outfits, and events enhancing one of the best current generation RPGs out there. Bioshock, for its part, is basically the same game as the one on the Xbox, but with interactive loading screens and a few new challenge rooms (not to mention the Bioshock 2 trailer that’s recently hit the web). A re-release of Portal is showing up on the Xbox 360, for those who’ve been waiting for a version of the game to be released without the rest of The Orange Box (for whatever reason), and new releases in the Spyro and Spider-Man franchises are all over the various platforms.
Guitar Hero World Tour
The one retread that simply can’t be ignored or underestimated, however, is Guitar Hero World Tour. Out on Sunday, it’s a rehash in two separate ways: one, it’s obviously a sequel to the other three Guitar Hero games out there, and two, it’s Activision’s acknowledgement of the game-changing Rock Band, in that its approach to the rhythm game genre is almost exactly that of Rock Band‘s. Guitar, drums, bass, and vocals—they’re all here, and they’re going to present a serious challenge to Rock Band 2‘s popularity given the sheer recognizability of the name. Despite the fact that so much of the new iteration of Guitar Hero is simply the following of Rock Band‘s lead, the mere fact that the new Guitar Hero totally revamps the franchise while the new Rock Band simply continues it may lead people in the direction of Activision/Neversoft’s version of the band setup for the holiday stretch.
Me, I’m looking forward to playing the Death Magnetic tracks I’ve been toying with on the guitar for the last two weeks on all of those other instruments. Hetfield’s vocals on “All Nightmare Long” should be an especially good time. I haven’t had a good grunting ‘n growling session in a while.
The running theme for the Wii and the DS is kids’ games. All manner of branded whatnot is showing up this week, from various Nickelodeon and Disney brands to less recognizable IPs like Ener G. Build-a-Bear is here, High School Musical is here, and even Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? gets a couple of releases. Of course, the sore thumb here is Wii Music, a release that’s had to endure some awfully loud mocking in the gaming community since its reveal at this year’s E3. The thing is, it can hardly be evaluated as a game. It is a toy. Not only that, but it’s largely a toy for kids, with very loose definitions of success via gameplay. I can also say that, having been able to share it with my family, it absolutely is one of those magical little games that can bring the family together for an hour of light entertainment, no matter the ages of those involved. Heck, I had my 1-year-old wailing away on drums for a couple of minutes after she got a load of the rest of us. I don’t think it’s a classic in the making, but it certainly shouldn’t be disparaged the way it has been over the last couple of months.
All right, having jumped off of my tiny little soapbox, and acknowledging that there are about a billion things being released this week, I must ask: What are you playing? Are you going to spring for Midnight Club, or is Barbie Horse Adventures more your speed? Pore over the list—and a Guitar Hero World Tour vid that never fails to fascinate me—after the jump.