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In a nutshell, here's the skinny on the two hot new consoles from Sony and Nintendo.
Out of the box, the $249 Wii doesn't have the PS3's stunning graphics or a Blu-ray DVD player or even a hard drive. But almost everything about Wii is seamless and intuitive, from setting it up to getting online to playing with the wireless controller that lets you do everything from fish to drive a hot-rod truck. It's got wireless abilities, too. Unfortunately, the online store offerings don't offer great variety. But they will.
No way. You won't be able to get a powerful, $600 PS3 in the stores. Maybe that's just as well. Sure, some games look great, but there are only three brand new ones from Sony itself. And, yes, the Blu-ray DVDs look magnificent even on an old cathode ray TV. But when you get on online, there's only one or two games for you to buy and download. They'll have many more by the middle of next year. By then, Sony will have gotten the bugs out of the system with wireless updates, and you won't have to pay those exorbitant prices on eBay.
Resistance: Fall of Man
image: Courtesy of Sony
Ho-hum? It takes a while for Resistance to get going, but after five hours of play, bam! Go with it for a while and this sci-fi shooter which takes place during World War II shows its mettle and its muscle. With stirring graphics in both foreground and background, and sly Artificial Intelligence from the monsters, it's no wonder that Sony chose this as a launch title. It's definitely worth the money. You can play with dozens of people online, too, unless you think two's a crowd.
Slam, dunk, from downtown. Currently, it's the superstar of the NBA games. With stunning graphics that let you see players sweat and seamless gameplay, too, your jaw will go slack in wonder when you play this on an HDTV. With many game modes and tons of player moves, you'll be playing this one right through May. And so will the NBA players themselves after practice. It's that good.
It's fun even for the tone deaf. Here's a karaoke-style singing game with real songs performed by the actual artists, and cool music videos, too. With the 30-song, eclectic mix of old school Elton John and Aretha Franklin along with current cranky sensations like the White Stripes, you get two microphones to duel it out. You'll wish there were more songs, but you'll have enough entertainment with what there is, especially at a holiday party. And you'll finally know all the lyrics to "Blue Orchid" and "Rocket Man."
Shred and shred alike. Last year's big music game is back with 55 songs (not by original artists) and new bells and whistles, like being able to compete while playing complicated bass riffs in addition to guitar solos. A practice mode gets your sloppy fingers into perfect fret-picking shape. You'll love the lascivious red guitar/controller, too.
Don't eat that weenie before you get on the coaster. With this user-friendly theme park simulation, you've got it all. Not only can you make your own rides like roller coasters, you can play minigames that are based on classic games from the past. Plus, you can walk through your lands of wonder and talk to guests. Yeh, you gotta talk to the rabble. Their opinions help you to improve your park.
Oh, my aching arm. The most addicting game for the Wii is included with every system. Using the Wii's gyroscopic controller as a bat, a bowling ball, a tennis racket and more, you'll have a ton of enjoyment while playing against the system or when playing with friends. It's kind of like the old Lays chip commercial. Bet you can't play just one.
The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess
image: Courtesy of Nintendo
Talk about feeling inside the game. The beauty, humor, and action in the new Zelda not only show the system's versatility and graphical power. They prove that you can have a family-oriented game with a gripping story based in video game myth. Plus, riding a horse as hero Link actually feels like clip-clopping along on a real steed.
Madden is new all over again with the Wii. With an in-game tutorial that shows you how to pass, block, juke, spin, and more with the new Wii controller, you'll feel more a part of the gridiron action than ever. However, with all that flicking of the wrist to throw and block, if you're prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, you'll aggravate it with Madden. Note: Because of this, I suggest not playing for more than a 20 minutes at a time. After an hour, I felt like a 300-pound linebacker sat on my wrist.
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