New Release Snap Judgements 9/8/08

Another week in the Fall, another week with multiple titles to choose from at your local retailer. We have a pair of hockey games, A wrasslin’ title not made by the WWE, a pair of DS titles, a PS2 title and the game that has won more awards before its release than any in recent memory.

NHL 09 (Xbox 360, PS3) Pick of the Week

Two years ago, EA decided to take back the crown for the best hockey title away from 2K and has done a great job pulling away ever since. This year’s edition makes it possible to put together a clan and work as a true team with your friends in an online hockey MMO of sorts. The solid gameplay, great visuals and great online additions make this an easy choice this week.

NHL 2K9 (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii)

The former king of hockey games has fallen mightily in recent years. 2K is now playing catch up in the form of trying to copy EA’s control scheme changes and has nothing to rival the new online features. Unless you are a die hard fan of the series, this is certainly the hockey game to skip.

Spore (PC)

While Spore is certainly an achievement in terms of the variety of gameplay it offers, does the game have enough depth in any single part to make it worthwhile to a hardcore gamer? The answer, from most accounts, seems to be a resounding “no.” If you are a casual gamer or want to expose one to many different genres at once, or just some cute, make-a-creature action, then you may want to pick it up. If not, probably a big pass and go get games that do each of the genres Spore covers better.

TNA Impact! (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2)

If you want a wrestling game not made by the WWE, here is your first legitimate contender in years. The game is said to have rock solid controls and focuses on the actual gameplay and not on making you play out weak storylines, the one part of the WWE that does not translate well at all to video games. It may be worth a serious look or rental but, even if it sells poorly and is overlooked, maybe it can spur the WWE franchise to step its game up.

Yakuza 2 (PS2)

The sequel to Yakuza finally hits US soil and is probably good news for fans of the series who have not moved on to the greener pastures of the Xbox 360 and PS3. Worth a go if you’re a fan of the series.

Spore Creatures (DS)

The DS interface is perfect for porting a game like Spore but the systems horsepower, or lack thereof, makes for weak graphics and an even more parred down experience. If you really want to get your Spore on, opt for the PC version.

Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise (DS)

Another game which can really harness the controls of the DS and will suffer from a severe graphics downgrade. Viva Pinata is definitely not nearly as big an experience as Spore is so its little brother on the DS may not suffer as much. Also, the cute characters from a Saturday morning cartoon show certaily cannot hurt. May be worth a look but, at $40, you might as well pick up the Xbox 360’s Trouble in Paradise.

What will you be picking up this week?