Games

TWiG 2008-08-11: Madden or a Bionic Arm?

New releases for the week of 2008-08-11...

Much like the odd little release schedule of two weeks ago, there are two releases this week that are valiantly fighting for my own personal affection, one of which is a tremendous, big-ticket release, and the other of which happens to be an Xbox Live Arcade download.

Seriously, Xbox Live Arcade is on a roll this month, a roll that doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.

In only a matter of time, I'll have Marshawn Lynch rushing for 300.

Rather than cop out as I did those two weeks ago and choose co-winners, I'm going to embrace the elephant in the room and just acknowledge that the release that everyone has their eye on this week is Madden NFL 09. The cultural phenomenon surrounding the tremendous franchise once known as simply John Madden Football is nothing short of fascinating, and despite the fact that every year I caution myself away from getting swept up in the unavoidable torrent of hype surrounding this yearly event, I can't help but want to absorb every detail that might be hidden in every word written about the thing. Sometimes I buy it, sometimes I don't, but despite all of the advances that have come about in multiplayer gaming over the years, there's still very little that is as exhilerating as getting the phone call: "I've got the new Madden. You coming over?"

Of course, unfortunately for EA, much of the attention given to the new Madden game this year centers on its cover and not on any of the gameplay and graphics tweaks that it's given the latest model of the flagship EA Sports franchise. Specifically, there's the presumed-to-be-retired Brett Favre, in glorious Packer green and gold, ready and willing to deliver a pass. The cover was supposed to be a celebration of the player who exemplified the love of the game, a tribute to a man who in so many ways exemplified the best qualities of the game he played. Now, of course, Brett's a Jet, the airwaves have been saturated with the "saga" of his "battle" to return to the playing field, and nobody's sure anymore whether his presence on that cover is helping or hurting the game that he is supposed to be symbolizing.

That aside, I almost want to get the Wii version of the game simply so that I can play the exclusive 5-on-5 mode. As a playground touch football veteran myself, it may well trigger flashbacks of the "glory days".

(drool)

Of course, it's impossible to hide my biases, and that's why it actually crossed my mind to hand this week's spotlight to Bionic Commando: Rearmed, the remake of perhaps my favorite game of all time. Just having a good excuse to bust out the bionic arm again is going to be reason enough to not want to leave the house on Wednesday morning. I can only pray that Capcom has retained the ability to take multiple approaches to beating a level, and I can't wait to try out the Scorpion "get over here" mechanic of actually being able to use the bionic arm to pull enemies into close range. My fingers are getting excited just thinking about this...if it lives up to the original, Bionic Commando: Rearmed might be the most fun I have with a video game all year.

Even past those two games, there are a couple more goodies on the way this week. The DS gets Bangai-O Spirits, which should satisfy space shooter fans lamenting the dearth of such games on the Nintendo DS, and the Wii gets Line Rider 2: Unbound, which will at least be an interesting study in how to (or, perhaps, how not to) translate a flash game into a full-fledged retail title. I mean, Line Rider is a killer little waste of time.

Check out the full release list, and let me know what you'll be buying this week! A Madden trailer is just past the jump.

DS:

Bangai-O Spirits (12 August)

Imagine Teacher (12 August)

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

The Cheetah Girls: Passport to Stardom (12 August)

PS2:

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

PSP:

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

PS3:

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

Bionic Commando Rearmed (PlayStation Network, 14 August)

Xbox 360:

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

Bionic Commando Rearmed (Xbox Live Arcade, 13 August)

Fable II Pub Games (Xbox Live Arcade, 13 August)

Wii:

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner (WiiWare, 11 August)

Line Rider 2: Unbound (12 August)

Madden NFL 09 All-Play (12 August)

PC:

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner (11 August)

Dracula 3: Path of the Dragon (12 August)

Sinking Island (12 August)

Space Siege (12 August)

Ford Racing: Off Road (15 August)

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