Weekly video game releases: 'Wii Party,' 'NBA Jam,' 'Medal of Honor'

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The Independent Tech

One of the busiest periods for video game releases is approaching, and the next week or two is just the tip of the potentially wallet-wrecking iceberg. Covering all bases from family-friendly gaming, music, sports, and action, we look at Wii Party and Def Jam Rapstar; Pro Evolution Soccer and NBA Jam; Enslaved, Castlevania, and Medal of Honor.

Wii Party (Wii)
Release: North America, October 3. Europe, October 8.
Age Rating: Everyone / 3+

A collection of over 80 family-friendly activities for up to four players, with Board Game Island and Globe Trot giving Nintendo's take on traditional dice-rolling board games, and Pair Games offering a selection of co-operative and competitive two-player challenges. The European and Australian versions are bundled with an extra Wiimote controller.
Price: $49.99 / €49

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (360 PS3)
Release: North America, October 5. Europe, October 8.
Age Rating: Teen / 16+

Written by novelist Alex Garland ( The Beach, Sunshine) and based on the Chinese epic Journey to the West, the action of Enslaved sets the tale of Monkey ( Lord of the Rings' Andy Serkis) in an overgrown future full of warlike robots. As one of few surviving humans, Monkey must protect his captor Trip as she makes her way home.
Price: $59.99 / €59.99

NBA Jam (Wii)
Release: North America, October 5. Europe, October 8.
Age Rating: Everyone / 3+

Ressurecting a 1990s arcade and console classic, NBA Jam sports 2-on-2 basketball, caricature players, board-busting special moves and boss battles against NBA court legends. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were to be bundled with the now-delayed NBA Elite 11 but will be made available as a standalone game in the near future.
Price: $49.99 / €39.99 (Wii)

Def Jam Rapstar (360 PS3 Wii)
Release: North America, October 5. Europe, November 5.
Age Rating: Teen / 12+

From 2-Pac to Wu-Tang, with a bit of Kanye, Dre and Drake in between, Def Jam Rapstar does for hip-hop what SingStar and Disney's SingIt! did for karaoke. Forty tracks encompass some of the last three decades' biggest hits and the game's producers are hoping that its online elements will help unearth the next generation of mic-toting millionaires: self-made video uploads, fan voting, and rap battles are all part of the package.
Price: $59.99 / €59.99
Rapstar Bundle: $69.99 / €74.99 (includes mic)

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (360 PS3)
Release: North America, October 5. Europe, October 8.
Age Rating: Mature / 16+

Early review scores from the British games press are very positive indeed, so it seems that Castlevania fans will be able to forget June's Harmony of Despair and fix themselves upon this medieval monster hunter instead. Boasting the involvement of Metal Gear Solid's Hideo Kojima, Lords of Shadow offers potent relics, mythical beasts galore, the iconic chain-whip, and voice talent including Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle, and Natascha McElhone.
Price: $59.99 / €64.99
Limited Edition: $69.99 (Art book, soundtrack CD, LE packaging)

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (360, PC, PS3, PSP, Wii)
Release: North America - October 19 (360 PS3), November 2 (PS2 PSP), November 30 (Wii).
Europe - October 8 (360 PC PS3), November 26 (PS2 PSP Wii).
Age Rating: 3 / Everyone

Once king of the hill and now launching yearly attempts to wrestle back the populist crown from FIFA 11, PES 2011 has a fine pedigree. Like FIFA, it improves the way control, stamina, and goalkeeping is handled, adjusts player animation; added to that is a stadium-creation mode and an increase in tactical options.
Price: $59.99 / £49.99 / €69.99 (360, PS3); $49.99 / £29.99 / €29.99 (Wii); $39.99 / £29.99 / €29.99 (PSP); £29.99 / €39.99 (PC); $19.99 / £29.99 / €29.99 (PS2)

Medal of Honor (360 PC PS3)
Release: North America, October 12. Europe, October 15.
Age Rating: Mature / 18+

Part of a series that started the trend for military shooters on consoles, 2010's Medal of Honor is set in 2001 Afghanistan. The modern-day non-fiction context has caused controversy, though MoH spokespeople have emphasized their respect for soldiers. Whether the game can hold its own against established genre giants remains to be seen - new installments in the Call of Duty and Bad Company series are just around the corner. The PS3 version includes a remake of 2002's Medal of Honor: Frontline.
Price: $59.99 / €69.99 (360 PS3), $59.99 / €49.99 (PC)
Limited Edition / Tier 1 Edition: $59.99 / €69.99 (in-game items, beta key for Battlefield 3)

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