February 25: wallet threat level red

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This week’s wallet threat is seriously elevated due to the release of three Star Wars themed tables for Pinball FX. Two of the tables are superlative, and arguably among the best developer Zen Studios has ever made. And the third is, well, still pretty decent considering that the Clone Wars cartoon theme is about as appealing to me as a Rocky and Bullwinkle theme. I’ll have more details tomorrow, but you should put your wallet on standby for about ten bucks.

Also, batten down your wallet’s hatches if you have any interest in old school, party-based, stat-heavy RPGs where you get to draw maps on your Nintendo DS. The basic summary of Etrian Odyssey IV: Something Something the Titan Something is that Atlus has done it again! And this time the new skill trees make character builds less inscrutable, the zeppelin overworld offers more non-linearity, and the casual difficulty level is always there if you find yourself against a brick wall (I haven’t needed it yet!). Etrian Odyssey IV is still a lot of grinding, but that’s just a fact of Etrian Odysseys. I’ll have a full review up after I’ve made more progress, but I can safely say that fellow Etrian Odyssists won’t be disappointed.

I should also warn you that Brutal Legend, my choice for best game of the year in 2009, is out this week for the PC. In case you didn’t know, it’s not just a wondrous open-world game, even for people like me who aren’t into heavy metal and who find Jack Black uniquely grating. It’s also a damn fine real-time strategy game. Don’t come whining to me about how there are no new real-time strategy games until you’ve gotten your mouse and keyboard on Brutal Legend.

I don’t think Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, which is also out this week, is real. Developer Rebellion is probably pranking us. I’m not going to fall for it. But if there is a Nazi zombie army, I can think of no better man to defeat it than an elite sniper. Wait, can zombies tell the direction they’re being sniped from? Someone should make a game that explores that question.

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