It's like I'm in some new bizarro world....

"I want to give kudos for Nintendo for its attempt at innovation with the new controller," Moore commented, saying that the new device would -"bring people in that, as Iwata-san said, are either lapsed gamers or gamers that are intimidated by the complexity of the controller." That would be Microsoft's Peter Moore actually praising the Big N's radical new controller. Very odd to hear that when all the companies have just been trash-talking each other since around E3.

And while I promised this wouldn't be a column completely about WOW (although it pretty much occupies all my free time now), I will post occasional tidbits that seem interesting to me. Apparently, a plague has hit WOW, and it was completely unintentional. There is this powerful god that can infect players with a disease. The disease can be cured/survived, but it's also contagious, and many players have apparently been running back to a town before the disease is purged from their character. It then infects other players, and unless you are fairly high lvl, it will quickly kill your character. GMs have even been reportedly quarantining afflicted characters in an attempt to get a handle on it. I haven't run into it yet, but it's sort of interesting how these things can develop unintentionally.

And after a few months of barely anything for gamers, no less then 12 noteworthy titles have come out for the consoles and PC this week. YIKES.

First up are two titles that you might have already played, since they were actually released last year-Ninja Gaiden Black for Xbox & Fable: The Lost Chapters for PC. Now, the key thing about Ninja Gaiden:Black, in addition to new content, is that now it has an easy mode, just to make you feel like a total pussy for not being able to beat its insane difficulty last time. Fable:TLC is all about new content, as the biggest complaint was that the Xbox version was too short. Since the game was actually designed with the Xbox controller in mind, it'll be interesting to see how it performs on your standard keybooard mouse setup, but it should be a nice way to fill the time til Elder Scrolls: Oblivion comes out.

Myst V is out this week on PC. I hate the Myst series. It's always been a stirring example of what's wrong with the whole point & click genre, and why it's probably better left off dead (although I'll change my tune if a new King's Quest, Space Quest, Monkey Island or Sam & Max game comes out).

And what might be the answer to slow-moving adventure titles like Myst, Indigo Prophecy is out this week for consoles and PC. It's about a man who apparently committed a murder, but doesn't remember doing it. The key feature here is that the game plays out very differently depending on your actions (i.e. you can hide the body, or just run) and it's also played from different perspectives. Everyone is calling this the sleeper hit of the year so far and I can't wait to try it out.

Although it came out last week, I didn't really mention Evil Dead: Regeneration, cause I wanted to wait till a few reviews came in. Now they have, andf its pretty much confirmed my suspicions. Despite the fact that it features some damn funny orginal duialogue, and a dead midget sidekick that you can actually kick, it's still a crap game just like all the Evil Dead titles. I know Evil Dead simply survives on its psycho cult fanbase, but a good game might help build it (and maybe build momentum for a long overdue movie sequel!)

Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes for the Xbox is out this week as well, and it might be the last option for Xbox live players looking for something outside the usual sports & FPS titles on Live. It's essentially like Dynasty Warriors, but with a lot more emphasis and squad strategy and taking place in a medieval fantasy setting. My only complaint about the rather brilliant original was that the battles can be overly long, so if you don't mind that or are looking for a break from the usual fare, this would be a good pickup.

The sequel to Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari is out this week on PS2, featuring more rolling-ball insanity and a fully fleshed out two-player mode. It also comes with a higher price tag than the original, at $30 instead of $20. Probably still a bargain, but If I'm going to pay significantly more, I'd expect a wider variety of modes (online, minigames, etc.).

The latest Mortal Kombat Game, Shaolin Monks is out. It's a spin off action title featuring Liu Kang & Kung Lao. Generally speaking, fighting game characters starring in their own titles always turn out poorly. The reviews so far have been suprisingly solid, but given my loathing for all things MK the last few years, I'll wait till I play it to pass judgement one way or the other.

Finally, three huge super hero-based titles come out this week, Ultimate Spider-Man, X-Men Legends II & Marvel Nemesis: Rise of The Imperfects. Ulitmate Spider-Man takes a distinctly new look from the newset comic, and also lets you play as Venom, his coolest arch-enemy. The same great web-swinging acrobatcis are back, but supposedly, they left the lame combat in as well, so I'm taking a wait and see attitude on that one. X-Men Legnds II is one I have been waiting on for quite awhile now since the original was such a blast. You get some old favorites like Wolverine, Gambit & Cyclops; but this one has the X-men teaming up with Magneto & his usual cronies, so you also get to play as Magneto, Pyro, Sabretooth etc. It also features online play, but given that it's a story-driven title, that may not work out very well. Rise of The Imperfects is the most iffy-looking of the bunch. The oringal characters look cheesy & generic & the fighting looks very shoddy. It also intantly removes the main reason we enjoyed previous fighting games featuring Marvel's mightiest-we enjoyed seeing established characters fight each other, it's a long-standing geek tradition to ask whether Cyclops could beat Mega Man, or Spider-Man can beat Wolverine. This title seems to totally ignore that fact. And it's an Electronic Arts title, which says enough in and of itself.

Ok, that;'s it for now, but given that it's officially thursday, I'll be back later on today with my thoughts on this weekend's movies (and any games that I mightve forgotten)

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