A quick look at some of the month's best videogames.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
The first thing you should know about the latest, but by no means final, entry into the long-loved Final Fantasy series, Dissidia, is that it is not your typical FF title. Sure, Dissidia incorporates elements of its time-tested RPGs brethren—but it doesn’t just stop there. The game takes those traditions and alchemically combines them with those of a one-on-one fighting game to create something altogether more bad-ass and less technical. It’s this lower point of entry that sets Dissidia apart from its parent genres while maintaining many of the qualities that have kept people interested in both for all these years, including leveling-up, slick combos, and, most importantly, loot. Dissidia’s pace is lightning quick and the environments are utterly vibrant, which sounds great in theory, but can sometimes make catching all of the action on the PSP’s small screen a bit of a challenge. Nonetheless, with more than 20 heroes and villains from the series’ illustrious past to do battle with, a wide array of attacks, and ridiculously awesome dialogue ("This is the cycle of battle!”), Dissidia offers enough unabashed fun for both FF virgins and vets alike to sink their teeth into without confusing or patronizing the other.
Put away your vinegar and baking soda! Science Papa (Activision; Wii) is here to show you the true meaning of scientific experimentation... albeit virtually! Science Papa (no relation to Cooking Mama, mind you) has laid out more than 30 experiments for would-be Pasteurs to test their lab skills. Mix dangerous chemicals and fire up the Bunsen burner from the comfort of your own living room. But try not to use your newfound knowledge to create a meth lab from the comfort of your own bathroom, mmkay?
Madden NFL '10
After 20 years of pretty much being the only football game around, you would think that the Madden franchise would have grown stale and run out of kitchen sinks to toss into their annual gridiron cash cow. But Madden NFL ‘10 (EA; Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) throws no Hail Marys, and instead comes up with an all-new playbook that includes everything from a new dogpile system that allows you battle over fumbled balls to the creation of custom hand-warmers for your delicate QB’s mitts.
Professor Layton and the Biabolical Box
After the mysterious death of his mentor, gentleman sleuth Professor Layton and his trusty apprentice, Luke, have once again found themselves embroiled in a mysterious kerfuffle! Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (Nintendo; DS) returns the duo to its popular puzzle-solving roots as they unravel the secret behind the deadly, titular box through more than 150 challenges and weekly downloadable content. While we ourselves have come across many “diabolical boxes” in our time, this is one that we certainly don’t mind diving right into!
King of Fighters XII
Old-school arcade trolls (like us) may remember King of Fighters (SNK Playmore; Xbox 360, PS3) as the sluttier cousin (as in, she was always available) of Street Fighter back in the ‘90s. But it’s also remembered for its amazing animation, super-deep gameplay, and, of course, the bouncy cans of buxom ninja Mai Shiranui!—who, unfortunately, won’t be appearing in this month’s King of Fighters XII. Despite the lack of cleavage, KOFXII does take the venerable series to gorgeous new peaks with three-on-three battles and more than 20 hand-drawn characters to choose from.
Are you an undiscovered American Idol talent/reject? Do you love mustachioed gay icons? Do you like songs about chicks with big asses, restraining your mother, and immortal Highlanders? If so, then do we have the game for you! SingStar: Queen (Sony; PS3), the latest version of Sony’s popular competitive karaoke game, serves as a reminder of what being a rock vocalist used to be about—range, nonsensical lyrics, and, above all, performance! Get your Freddie on as you and your drunk friends try to match the master’s pitch note-for-note on more than 20 classic Queen tracks. And, yes, frat boys, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is included. Party on, assholes!
Wii Sports Resort
Bored with your usual regimen of fake sports on the Wii? Well, Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo; Wii) is here to sort your shortness of ersatz sportness! From archery and fencing to basketball and wakeboarding, this latest entry into the Wii Sports series goes to all-new XTREEMZ with the included Wii MotionPlus, a peripheral that (finally) allows for near-perfect syncopation between your TV and Wiimote for more than 12 all-new athletic challenges. Let the awakening of muscles you didn’t know you had resume!
While we wish we could say that World War II ended 60-some years ago, the Third Reich still seems to have the best PR team around—resulting in its constant appearance in dozens of videogames every year. Not that we mind terribly, because as much as they love world domination, we equally love their decimation! Continuing a fine tradition that began back in 1981, Wolfenstein (Activision; Xbox 360, PS3) once again takes special agent BJ Blazkowicz (gasundheit!) straight to the black heart of Germany as the Nazis attempt to control a supernatural relic known as the Black Sun, which grants them nasty superpowers. Awesome. Mixing espionage, first-person action, and Hitler’s obsession with the arcane, Wolfenstein is one potent suicide pill we’d be happy to take. But seriously, Nazis, when will you ever fucking learn?!
pictured Dissidia: Final Fantasy