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What’s New In Games This Week

This week is all about the same old, but slightly different: Batman’s back, with not just the Joker but his entire rouges gallery to deal with. Ratchet & Clank are also back, with two new “friends” and a brand new take on the party game. And finally, a brand new music game that might actually live up to the promise of turning you into a real rock star…

The sequel to the Batman game that became the new gold standard in which all future comic book to game conversions must be judged upon, and seemingly overnight, is finally here. Instead of being cooped up inside Gotham City’s institution for crime and punishment, the doors have been blown wide open, and the entirety of Batman’s backyard is now the playground for all his best friends. Everyone from Two Face to the Penguin are present and accounted for, though the Joker’s back as well, with Harley Quinn by his side as usual. But Batman has some help too, in the form of Nightwing and Catwoman. Expect everything that made Arkham Asylum so amazing – the hard-hitting combat, the variety of gameplay modes, the top-notch visuals. Only multiplied by a considerably larger number. Xbox 360, PS3


That weird cat person-thing and his robotic buddy are back, along with their arch nemesis and Buzz Lightyear’s distant cousin that gets on the aforementioned duo’s nerves. But instead of just another installment of Ratchet & Clank that follows the tried and tested true formula, this latest is a four player extravaganza. Quite honestly, it brings together many of the activities that one has experienced already in games like Wii Play and Wii Party. But the key distinction is how they’re all connected and given context, something that no one has done before. PS3


It’s 2011 and the music game genre is not the shining jewel that it once was. For example, Rock Band was dumped by its publisher earlier this year, and this year’s installment is simply last year’s, “re-launched” by the folks that make their plastic instruments. And Guitar Hero? Who the hell knows what’s up with that. So this might be the worst time possible to launch a new virtual guitar simulation… or perhaps the best? Actually, very little is “virtual” about Rocksmith; instead of a plastic facsimile, you’re actually using a real instrument to interact with the game, which also promises to teach one actual guitar playing skills. Yeah right. Then again, Rock Band 3 sorta did that as well… which resulted in a game mode that was not at all fun to play. Will Rocksmith deliver the goods and make something that’s both educational AND playable? Those who already have an actual guitar, which again is necessary to play the “game”, will have to tell the rest of us. PS3, Xbox 360, PC

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