On the scale of release delays it's not exactly Duke Nukem Forever, but Football Manager Live's extra year of development since its planned launch in 2008 is an unusual setback for Sports Interactive, a developer used to hitting regular annual targets for grateful boss-monster SEGA. But it's been worth the wait, transposing a lot of what makes Football Manager so gloriously antisocial into a decidedly social format. Or rather, a format in which you come into contact with other people. Whether any actual socialising occurs is another matter.
Skate 2, this week's other big release, also allows you to interact with other humans, but at a distance removed: you can upload your best tricks to the internet, and we reckon you will want to, because it's a fierce, unforgiving little game that demands hours of care and attention in order to get the most out of it. In contrast to the Tony Hawk games, which spiralled (and rail-ground, and cowpat-machined, and Steve-o'd) their way to obscurity over successive years, Skate 2 continues to concentrate its efforts on simple skateboarding tricks and is no less demanding, although there are fewer cuts and bruises (the way we play it anyway - you may be doing it wrong).
Otherwise it's another quiet week ahead of a storm of February releases, with the likes of Chrono Trigger DS and Pikmin: New Play Control for Wii waiting to dazzle us in a fortnight, prior to an influx of shooters, strategy games, and even beat-'em-ups and that rarest of things nowadays, a racing game!
This week in shops:
- AC/DC Live: Rock Band (PS2)
- Football Manager Live (PC)
- My Fitness Coach (Wii)
- Neopets Puzzle Adventure (PC, Wii, DS)
- Skate 2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (PS2)
- Word Academy (DS)
This week online:
- The Maw (Xbox Live Arcade)