Here's what we were picking from: Out This Week.
It was never going to match last week for quality - but the quantity continued as the games industry tipped another skip-load of new releases into the shops in week two of the seasonal rush. And this week, it seemed like there was something in the water.
"Albion! Where everything you touch turns to fun," sang Tom of Fable III, apparently experimenting with reviewing videogames in the style of an MGM musical. Which was appropriate, considering the spring in this lovely game's step – although unlike Brigadoon, it's British to the core. It may not be the revolutionary RPG we wanted, but it's a wonderful place to be, and it's just for us.
The flights of fancy weren't over yet, because Christian had got his hands on Super Scribblenauts. "Armed with a flame-thrower and wearing a spacesuit helmet and one of those children's inner tubes with a giraffe's head on it, I'd buzz through skies filled with flying velociraptors, handing out fiery justice – or injustice, depending on whether or not you were a dinosaur." Boom.
That made perfect sense compared to the utterly certifiable (and very divisive) cult adventure Deadly Premonition, which Chris reviewed on import back in April and declared "the Amy Winehouse of videogames" (she's a 7, apparently). Even the sombre world of Red Dead Redemption took a strange turn in Undead Nightmare, a stupidly generous add-on even if it did repeat the original game's forgiveable flaws. "This is, frankly, how DLC should be done," said Dan, awarding our third 8/10 of the week.
Oh no! Here comes that old sourpuss John Teti – implacable enemy of mediocrity – to kill the mood. "It is not a very good game," he warned of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II before submitting his review, and we hit the panic button, slammed down the storm shutters and assumed crash positions under our desks. "Dude escapes Empire, dude retrieves Jedi master, dude fights Empire. Fin." Five, more like.
Still, it's a good week when there are so many games you can't even review all the interesting ones; look out for our verdicts on Yuji Naka's comeback Ivy the Kiwi? and Ubi's oddball Shaun White Skateboarding soon.
And it's an even better week when you can hand out a 10.
Rock Band 3
"The greatest music game ever made." Johnny expended quite a few words on Rock Band 3, but he didn't mince them. Nor did he muck about in awarding Harmonix's extraordinarily comprehensive software and wonderful, if pricey, new hardware the ultimate accolade. Nor should he. If plastic guitars weren't a serious business before, they certainly are now.
"Breathtaking in ambition and crafted with the skill of a studio that's been making music games for 15 years, Rock Band 3 is Harmonix's masterpiece – a towering achievement not just for the genre, but for the medium itself."
It is the game that has everything – 2000 songs, eight difficulties, seven players, dozens of styles of play. The most incredible thing about it isn't that it can be either the ultimate party game or a serious musical tutor, but that it can be both at the same time. They only question for Harmonix is: where can they possibly go from here?
Maybe they should ask Nigel Tufnel.
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