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Summer Games, and not the Boring Kind

By Staff | Apr 29, 2008

Warm weather has arrived, which means girls in summer clothes, beaches, cold beer, outdoor concerts and … mowing the grass. Here are several alternatives to avoiding the yard work. Cheers!

Mario Kart Wii

Who needs the technically sound driving sim Gran Turismo when tossing turtle shells at your opponent is an option? Finally, Mario Kart has made its way onto the Wii, boasting new tracks and revised controls to suit the Wii Remote. The races now feature 12 opponents instead of eight, adding a much needed difficulty increase. Also new is online play, but I’m not sold on what Nintendo considers online play. This may be a rant for a different place, but why isn’t Nintendo taking online play seriously? I have Smash Bros. Brawl and I’m unable to join a room. And where’s our headset for chatting? I want to be able to trash talk that 10-year-old kid I’m blazing by on Mushroom Gorge. Come on Nintendo, help me out — I can defend your honor for only so long. “Mario Kart Wii” due out on April 27.

Grand Theft Auto IV

The next installment in the GTA series places you in Liberty City as Niko Bellic. Niko travels to Liberty City to work with his cousin Roman, but instead lands himself amidst the crimes of the city.  There will be minimal changes to the core game play, but expect added depth to the missions, story, and major graphical enhancements. The most anticipated addition has to be the inclusion of online game modes.  It will be interesting to see how the free roaming world translates in multiplayer games. Expect standard deathmatch and a few other surprise modes. Look for “GTA IV” April 29th for the XBox360 and PS3.

Wii Fit

I knew it wouldn’t be long for console gaming to defend its image of encouraging laziness. Leave it to Nintendo to shift marketing toward health and fitness. The Wii Fit package will come with a Balance Board, a scale looking device that players will perform various exercises on. The Wii will track your progress as you do yoga, aerobics and other balancing tasks.  Though this may not sound like an attractive title to some, it’s a smart approach from Nintendo — and may encourage gamers to place a greater emphasis on health and becoming physically fit. The workout begins on May 19.

Ninja Gaiden II

Tecmo resurrected this classic a few years back and Nintendo fans rejoiced. Now Ryu is back with more sword-swinging, knife throwing action. A few new moves will spice up this Ninja’s arsenal, and players will be glad to see the addition of a regenerating health bar. The increased frame rate and graphics of the next generation will fill the screen with even more opponents to take on. Now if we can just get a developer to revisit the other Ninja classic “Revenge of Shinobi.” Look for “Ninja Gaiden II on June 3 for the Xbox 360.

The Incredible Hulk

Hulk returns to the consoles and to the big screen soon. Movie based games usually stink, but we all keep our fingers crossed in hopes that a developer will someday break the mold. This free roaming adventure allows you to wander the streets as the Hulk, with the strength to destroy nearly everything in the environment. Using some restraint will keep the law from chasing you down. You’ll work through missions of saving civilians, defeating enemies and enormous boss battles. Hulk smash TV June 3 (PS3, XBox360, Wii).

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Good things come to those who wait. PS3 owners, finally your wait is over. Perhaps the biggest title to hit the console, certainly the most important, the Metal Gear franchise has arrived on the next gen scene.

After a slightly disappointing MGS 3, the controls are being tightened up a bit. While the game will still be a third person shooter, there will be a feature for a behind the shoulder viewpoint, making gunplay more engaging. MGS 4 looks to be a visual masterpiece; as well it should be considering how long it’s been in production. The game will also be bundled with the next wave of PS3s, which guarantees to create a pretty big stride in the console war. Stealth action begins June 12.

Rock Band

Nintendo Wii owners will finally be treated to this already wildly popular title. The Wii is the most socially evolved console on the market, so why this party title is just making its way to the console is mind-boggling. The same instruments will be included: a guitar, microphone and drum kit. Wii users will be blessed with a wireless guitar, which might make swinging the guitar over your back slightly easier. Hopefully by its release Harmonix will have ironed out the kinks with the guitar. Start looking for cranky roadies, hot groupies and ugly vans as Rock Band for the Wii drops on June 22.

Contact matt at meifler@graffitiwv.com