If you own a Wii, you’ve probably noticed that it’s been a slow year since the release of “Wii Fit” in May. “Wii Music,” a product of uber-designer Shigeru Miyamoto, aims to remind us that Nintendo still has it. If you’re a die-hard fan of the fake-instrument genre of music games, “Wii Music” could be a bit of a let-down. Miyamoto’s latest work falls more along the lines of recent, nongamer-oriented titles like “Wii Fit” and “Wii Sports” than his older “Mario” and “Zelda” titles. It’s a music game aimed squarely at people put off by giant, guitar-shaped controllers with a dozen buttons and a strum bar.
If you’re capable of looking past that, “Wii Music” ($50, rated E) could very well be a blast. You use the Wii’s remote-and-nunchuck controllers to simulate playing a whole toy chest of instruments. While there’s no plastic drumkit to play, you can air drum to your heart’s content.
Minigames included in “Wii Music” let you conduct, using the Wii remote as your baton, or take on the part of a lone musician in an orchestra, doing your thing when the score calls for it.
On the Xbox 360, the game of the week is the M-rated “Fable II.” The medieval role-playing game is a lot like its predecessor, in that you start the game as a child, with the choices you make shaping your destiny and the world around you. As you grow up, you can get married, buy property, earn silly titles like “chicken chaser” and even give birth. (“Fable II,” unlike most games, lets you play as a man or woman.)
This time out, you’ll have friends. Your near-constant companion in the game will be a dog who joins you fairly early on. You’re responsible for his well-being, and he in turn helps in fights, sniffs out treasure and generally acts useful and endearing.
Developer Peter Molyneux has said in interviews that he hopes the dog will help serve as the game’s emotional anchor. Let’s hope there are no cheap “Where the Red Fern Grows” or “Old Yeller” moments.
You’ll have human help, as well. The game features both online and offline co-op modes, so you can bring a friend (but not his dog) into your game.
The PlayStation 3 suffers a bit this week, with the delay of “LittleBigPlanet.” But gamers looking for something new will find plenty to like in Ubisoft’s first-person shooter “Far Cry 2,” also available for the 360 and PC. Set during a war in Africa, the M-rated, open-world game sends players on a hunt for a reclusive, powerful weapons dealer. Along the way, you’ll ally with various factions, and the choices you make will change the game’s landscape in lasting ways that can affect future missions.
Also out this week on the PS3 are a couple of titles Xbox 360 owners have been digging for a while, “Rock Band 2” (rated T) and “BioShock” (rated M). Both are among the best games the 360 has to offer, and you shouldn’t expect anything different for the PS3.