Know how to tell when the holiday gaming season, that oh-so-wondrous three-ish months that closes out the year, is around the corner? When the list of games being released gets a lot bigger, but the number of games that you actually want to play stays pretty much the same as it’s been all summer.
This, of course, is the first week in which that particular phenomenon appears to be taking hold. As such, we are offered such licensed audience-pleasers as Digimon World Championship and Garfield’s Fun Fest, both out for the DS this week. Specialty racing games are also prime suspects for the pre-holiday rush, and this week we see Ferraris and demolition racers get their own games for multiple systems (the sadly toothless Need for Speed franchise gets a release as well). And…wow. Look at the Wii. The poor system’s got a reputation for shovelware already, and this week is not going to help. Another Kidz Sports game? Something called Freddi Fish in the Kelp Seed Mystery? And then there’s my personal favorite, Spy Fox in Dry Cereal, which sounds like one of my average Saturday mornings in the mid ‘80s. All that list is missing is Ninjabread Man 2.
Tales of Vesperia, for the Xbox 360
Counteracting this onslaught of things I’m entirely not interested in are two releases that promise to be some of the most engrossing play experiences yet released this year: Tales of Vesperia, for the Xbox 360, and Disgaea 3 for the PS3. The first is a more traditional RPG experience (though if you’ve played the demo, you’ve already found that the combat is a little bit more hectic than that would imply), while the second is a tactical RPG. Both are new entries in well-established franchises, both have excellent advance press, and both have the potential to utterly destroy your social life for long periods of time. That means they’re winners in my book!
Disgaea 3, for the PS3
Also on the docket this week is the release of the new Tiger Woods game, which almost gets the game of the week nod on the strength of its brilliant little trailer alone. Whatever advertising agency decided to capitalize on last year’s glitch and turn it into this year’s gold deserves a raise. A big raise. The ever-reliable Xbox Live Arcade gets Castle Crashers, which looks like another utterly chaotic (not to mention potentially brilliant) effort turned in by the geniuses over at The Behemoth, who have made an art form of gracefully mixing cuteness and violence. Mario Super Sluggers has a good chance of being exactly the arcade baseball game that Wii owners have been waiting for as well.
And…aw, heck, who am I kidding. I think I’m going to buy Spy Fox in Dry Cereal just so I can look at that name on my shelf. Doesn’t it sound like a classic waiting to happen?
Trailers for Vesperia and Disgaea, along with the full release list, are after…the jump.