Release Calendar November 2010

November 1:
PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure  (Wii)
Intellivision Lives  (DS)
Robox  (Wii)
Hello Kitty Party  (DS)

November 2:
Atari's Greatest Hits: Volume 1  (DS)
MAG: Escalation  (PS3)
Goldeneye 007  (Wii, DS)
Minute to Win it  (Wii)
Hoard  (PS3)
Auditorium  (360, PS3)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011  (PSP, PS2)
Busy Scissors  (DS)
Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011  (Wii)
James Bond 007: Blood Stone  (360, PS3, DS)
The Amazing Race  (Wii)
Wheel of Fortune  (Wii)
Ys: The Oath in Felghana  (PSP)
EyePet  (PSP)
MegaMind: Mega Team Unite  (Wii)
MegaMind: Ultimate Showdown  (360, PS3)
MegaMind: The Blue Defender  (DS, PSP)
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2  (360, PS3)
Blood Drive  (360, PS3)
Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage  (360, PS3)
God of War: Ghost of Sparta  (PSP)

November 4:
King of Fighters: 2002  (360)
Xbox Kinect  (360)
Kinect Sports  (360)
Joyride  (360)
Kinectimals  (360)
Kinect Adventures  (360)
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved  (360)
Dance Central  (360)
The Biggest Loser Challenge  (Wii)
Sonic Free Riders  (360)
Fighters Uncaged  (360)
Motion Sports  (360)

November 5:
Knights in the Nightmare  (PSP)
Babysitting Mama  (Wii)

Novmber 7:
FlingSmash  (Wii)

November 8:
Nickelodeon Fit  (Wii)

November 9:
Karaoke Revolution Glee  (Wii)
SingStar: Dance  (PS3)
Beyblade: Metal Fusion Battle Fortress  (Wii, DS)
John Daly's ProStroke Golf  (360)
Zany Golf  (Wii)
Just Dance Kids  (Wii)
Dungeon Raiders  (DS)
101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix  (Wii)
Family Fued Decades  (Wii)
H.A.W.X. 2  (Wii)
Call of Duty: Black Ops  (Wii, 360, PS3, PC, DS)
Monster Jam: Path of Destructionn(PSP, 360, PS3, Wii, DS)
Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania
The Sly Collection  (PS3)

November 10:
Guwange  (360)

November 14:
uDraw Game Tablet  (Wii)
Pictionary  (Wii)
Dood's Big Adventure  (Wii)
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem  (DS)

November 15:
The Sims 3  (Wii)

November 16:
Hello Kitty Season  (Wii)
Dance Dance Revolution  (PS3)
Battle vs. Chess  (PS3, 360)
Barbie Groom and Glam Pups  (DS, Wii)
NBA Jam  (PS3, 360)
NatGeo Quiz!  Wild Life  (PS3, Wii, 360)
Apache: Air Assault  (360, PS3)
Split Second  (PSP)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon  (Wii)
H.A.W.X. 2  (PC)
Create  (PS3, Wii, PC, 360)
Mortal Kombat: HD Arcade Kollection  (PS3)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Predator  (PSP)
EA Sports Active 2.0  (360, PS3, Wii)
Pac-Man Party  (Wii)
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit  (Wii, PS3, 360, PC)
Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet  (PS3, Wii, 360, DS)
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood  (360, PS3)
Sonic Colors  (Wii, DS)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  (PC, 360, Wii, PS3, DS)
Football Manager 2011  (PC)

November 18:
Game Party in Motion  (360)
Adrenalin Misfits  (360)
Dance Masters  (360)
Zumba Fitness  (Wii, 360)
Sniper Elite  (Wii)
Deca Sports Freedom  (360)

November 21:
Donkey Kong Country Returns  (Wii)

November 23:
Splatterhous  (PS3, 360)
Majin: The Fallen Realm  (360, PS3)
Hot Wheels Track Attack  (DS, Wii)
Crazy Taxi  (PS3, 360)
Michael Jackson The Experience  (Wii, PSP, DS)
Worms: Battle Islands  (Wii)

November 27:
Gran Turismo 5  (PS3)

November 29:
Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos  (360, PS3)
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn  (DS)

Mass Effect 2

My impressions of the first Mass Effect were mixed. On one hand, I really hated the Mako driving sections. On the other hand, the game kicked all kinds of ass when I was focused on the story. I was playing when the second had come out, so I was torn on whether or not I should continue Commander Shepard’s journey. Thanks to the phenomenal ending sequence in Mass Effect, I was sold and out buying Mass Effect 2 days after the last credit rolled.

BioWare took what worked in the first game and made it better. Then they went the extra mile and took out everything that made the game unbearable and banished it to the lowest circle of Hell. Gone is the tedious leveling system and the absolutely terrible Mako exploration. In place, there is a sleek and focused leveling system. A planet scanner replaces planet exploration and makes gathering resources a little more exciting. Gone are the vast amounts of armor and weapons. This outing features upgradable weapons and armor that you can customize to your personal style.

The story takes everything that I loved in the first game and builds upon it. The story is longer and is fleshed out, answering many questions while asking a few new ones of its own. A majority of the side quests actually play into the larger picture with you exploring your crew’s personal quests. What doesn’t fit into either of those categories are bite sized missions that are perfect for quick gaming sessions.

The worlds, or worlds, or Mass Effect 2 sucked me in with the increase in detail and overall design. From the sprawling city scapes to the incredible variety of terrain on the planets you’ll explore, there is no way to resist the immersion that happens while playing. The sound track plays in perfect harmony with the gameplay. So much so, that I needed very little persuasion to buy the sound track. I haven’t bought a game sound track since Final Fantasy VIII.

Combat takes a huge leap forward, with tighter controls and an easier control scheme for team mates. Shepard doesn’t handle like a drunk anymore and my partners carry more of the load than the first crew. Mixing and matching powers is made easier than ever with the new leveling system. I was impressed with some of the combos I was able to pull off.

While I loved almost every member of my crew in the first game, Mass Effect 2 turned them into one of my all time favorite groups. With fleshed out back stories and the always superb voice acting, I couldn’t help falling in love all over again. Even characters that I wasn’t sure about at first quickly became regulars.

I can’t think of one person I wouldn’t recommend this game to. It is the pinnacle in current gen gaming and will be a title that I play over and over. At least until Mass Effect 3 comes out.

Fable 3

I have been a slave to the Fable series. From those first few fateful steps into the world of Albion to the resurrection of my dog, I haven’t been able to get enough. Lionhead sank its claws into me with this series. I had been watching the third installment for a long time. Did Lionhead manage to sink their claws in further, or is this my chance at escape?

Fable 3 doesn’t start like the previous entries. In fact, there’s not much that it does follow. Fable does away with many old practices and introduces many new features. Unfortunately, not all of them panned out the way they were intended. For example, Fable 3 does away with the traditional menu and brings out “The Sanctuary”. When you press start, you are transported to a room where your butler, voiced by John Cleese awaits. From here, you can choose where to go and manage your property from a map in the center of the room. Or you can use any of the other rooms to pick an outfit, choose weapons, change game settings, or manage your fortune. While a novel idea, it quickly wears thin hearing John say you have new items that aren’t really there or repairing all of your property individually. Quite literally, it takes at least fifteen minutes to go from house to house and repair them. Why a “repair all” feature wasn’t included is beyond me.

Traditional leveling up is gone as well. Instead, you are on a forced march down the “Road to Rule”. What doesn’t make sense is that you have to buy abilities that should already be available like buying property or getting married.

Coming from Fable 2, Fable 3 just doesn’t feel finished. They took what worked and got rid of it. Instead of picking the way you interact with NPCs, you’re forced to use whatever expression the game has picked out. In my case, I was forced to dance with everyone I met. Man or woman, it didn’t matter. I did the same expression over and over and over.

Despite the flaws and obvious omissions, I enjoyed Fable 3. That was until I hit the end of the game. I had sacrificed everything for my kingdom. I gave them freedoms they had never experienced. I turned the homeless shelter/orphanage into something that rivaled my castle. I even removed a drinking limit. How did my subjects repay me? They threw up on my boots. I can’t take five steps in any town without seeing the stumbling drunk masses vomiting in the streets. Even the caretakers in the orphanage were vomiting in the facility I rebuilt. After doing everything to the best of my abilities, I finally lost it. I went on a murderous rampage that ended with the death of everyone in Bowerstone industrial.

It makes for a great metaphor. The entire game is enjoyable, but it just kind of throws up on you in the end. The game is buggy in many spots, from iffy controls to NPCs floating in the air. I felt like Fable 2 brought much more to the table. The graphics haven’t improved and the musical score has lost that haunting undertone. Fable 3 just feels like a mess when compared to its predecessor.

I enjoyed Fable 3, but it could have been so much better. There was so much potential that went to waste because Lionhead thought we wanted to go on countless hand holding escort quests. Had they taken the time, fixed the bugs and lackluster menu, this would have been a triple A game. As it stands, even the truly devoted may feel like they were robbed by the meager offerings of this outing.