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Games

TWiG 2008-10-20: The Return of Pretty Much Everything

New releases for the week of 2008-10-20...

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.

Wii Music

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.

PS3:

Midnight Club: Los Angeles (20 October)

Monopoly (20 October)

BioShock (21 October)

Disney Sing It (21 October)

Eternal Sonata (21 October)

Far Cry 2 (21 October)

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (21 October)

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (21 October)

Guitar Hero World Tour (26 October)

DS:

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader: Make the Grade (20 October)

Back at the Barnyard: Slop Bucket Games (20 October)

Lovely Lisa (20 October)

Pass the Pigs (20 October)

Rock University Presents: The Naked Brothers Band The Game (20 October)

SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom (20 October)

Away: Shuffle Dungeon (21 October)

Backyard Football 2009 (21 October)

Barbie Horse Adventures: Riding Camp (21 October)

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (21 October)

Dancing With the Stars: We Dance! (21 October)

Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell (21 October)

Ener-G Dance Squad (21 October)

Ener-G Gym Rockets (21 October)

Ener-G Horse Riders (21 October)

High School Musical 3: Senior Year DANCE! (21 October)

Master of the Monster Lair (21 October)

Mechanic Master (21 October)

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (21 October)

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (21 October)

Tornado (21 October)

TouchMaster 2 (21 October)

Transformers: Animated (21 October)

What's Cooking with Jamie Oliver (21 October)

Smart Girl's: Party Games (23 October)

Xbox 360:

Midnight Club: Los Angeles (20 October)

Monopoly (20 October)

Backyard Football 2009 (21 October)

Dance Dance Revolution Universe 3 (21 October)

Disney Sing It (21 October)

Fable II (21 October)

Far Cry 2 (21 October)

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (21 October)

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (21 October)

Portal: Still Alive (22 October, Xbox Live Arcade)

Guitar Hero World Tour (26 October)

Wii:

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader: Make the Grade (20 October)

Carnival Games: Mini-Golf (20 October)

Celebrity Sports Showdown (20 October)

Monopoly (20 October)

Penny Racers Party: Turbo Q Speedway (20 October)

Rock University Presents: The Naked Brothers Band The Game (20 October)

SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom (20 October)

Tetris Party (20 October, WiiWare)

Wii Music (20 October)

Backyard Football 2009 (21 October)

Barbie Horse Adventures: Riding Camp (21 October)

Build-A-Bear Workshop (21 October)

Circus Games (21 October)

Dancing With the Stars: We Dance! (21 October)

Disney Sing It (21 October)

Disney TH!NK Fast (21 October)

High School Musical 3: Senior Year DANCE! (21 October)

Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009 (21 October)

Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 (21 October)

Pet Pals Animal Doctor (21 October)

Petz Rescue Wildlife Vet (21 October)

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (21 October)

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (21 October)

Ten Pin Alley 2 (22 October)

Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek (23 October)

Guitar Hero World Tour (26 October)

PSP:

Midnight Club: LA Remix (20 October)

Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant (21 October)

Petz: Saddle Club (21 October)

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (21 October)

Star Ocean: First Departure (21 October)

Cake Mania: Baker's Challenge (23 October)

PS2:

Monopoly (20 October)

NHL 09 (20 October)

Rock University Presents: The Naked Brothers Band The Game (20 October)

SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom (20 October)

Backyard Football 2009 (21 October)

Barbie Horse Adventures: Riding Camp (21 October)

Disney Sing It (21 October)

Onimusha: The Essentials (21 October)

SingStar Legends (w/Microphones) (21 October)

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (21 October)

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (21 October)

Guitar Hero World Tour (26 October)

Ikki Tousen: Shining Dragon (26 October)

PC:

Bully: Scholarship Edition (20 October)

Combat Wings: Battle of Britain (20 October)

Dead Space (20 October)

Deer Hunter Tournament (20 October)

Galactic Bowling (20 October)

Littlest Pet Shop (20 October)

NBA 2K9 (20 October)

NHL 09 (20 October)

Brain Training for Dummies (21 October)

Europa Universalis III Complete (21 October)

EverQuest: Seeds of Destruction (21 October)

Far Cry 2 (21 October)

Petz: Horsez 2008 (21 October)

Guitar Hero World Tour (26 October)

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