“Wii Fit Plus” (rated E, $20 as standalone game, $100 bundled with balance board): If you already own a balance board and are still enjoying the first “Wii Fit,” plunking down a mere $20 for the sequel seems like a no-brainer. The exercise game includes everything you’ll find on the original “Wii Fit” (meaning there’s no reason to buy the first game anymore unless you get it with a balance board for a cut-rate price). Plus, it adds several exercises and balance games. It also addresses one of the biggest gripes people had about the first game: Instead of backing out to the main menu after every single exercise, you can now program in a workout routine, moving smoothly from one activity to the next. There’s still no online functionality, though, and IGN.com’s review and others have taken issue with Nintendo’s continued reliance on body mass index to determine fitness. But whatever. As long as you don’t take it too seriously, “Wii Fit Plus” looks to be a fun change of pace for workout regimens.
PSP Go ($250): Yeah, the PSP Go has its drawbacks, particularly if you own an older model of the PlayStation Portable. But its swanky design and spiffy features make it worth drooling over anyway. If you’re gonna pick one up in the next several months, you might as well do it by Oct. 10, so you can get “Gran Turismo” as a free download. To coincide with the PSP launch, a TON of games playable on the PSP hit the online PlayStation Store this week. For a full list, check out this link to the PlayStation blog. (The PSP games are a ways down. You’ll have to scroll to get to ’em.) Additionally, a bunch of titles have been put on sale. (Those titles are at the top of the linked page.)
“Gran Turismo” (rated E, $40 on PSP, available for all models): We still don’t have a full-fledged PlayStation 3 entry from Sony’s flagship racing franchise, but this PSP title should please racing fans. It’s got 35 tracks and more than 800 cars. You can get it for free if you buy a PSP Go by Oct. 10, or, if you don’t have a PSP Go, buy it on UMD for your older-model PSP.
“Dead Space: Extraction” (rated M, $50 on Wii): This Wii shooter is a prequel to “Dead Space,” one of last year’s relatively unheralded shooters. With genre tags like “light gun game” and “on-rails shooter,” you’d expect this to feel a bit dated, like something you might have played on the Sega Dreamcast. Yet early reviews suggest these genre tags do the game a disservice, as first-rate voice acting, fantastic pacing and great use of the game’s camera (which isn’t controlled by the player) help set the stage for a well-told horrific tale. The world of “Dead Space” is certainly rich enough to support another entry.
“Fable II” (rated M, first episode free on Xbox Live): Microsoft has started breaking up last fall’s hit role-playing game into downloadable episodes. I’m not sure how long each chunk is, but the first one is free. Plus, it’s compatible with the full retail game, meaning that if you play the first episode and decide you want to buy the game at retail, you don’t need to replay the bits you’ve already finished.
“Left 4 Dead” (rated M, $30 on PC or Xbox 360): Valve’s excellent zombie shooter got an additional scenario in the form of “Crash Course.” The new scenario, joining the four that ship on disc, will run you $7 on the Xbox 360, but it’s free if you have the game on PC. (Valve prefers to give away downloadable content for nothing. Microsoft, on the other hand, prefers to sell it. Microsoft distributes the content on the Xbox 360, so they can do stuff like tell Valve they have to sell it.) “Crash Course” isn’t as long as the scenarios that shipped with the game, but you might consider this a good thing if you primarily play the game’s Versus Mode. It’ll take less time to complete a match, and you won’t have to worry as much about teammates constantly dropping when your opponents build an insurmountable lead after a couple of chapters. It’s also worth noting that if you haven’t picked up “Left 4 Dead” yet, Valve is running a special over at Steam in which you can buy the game, plus preorder the sequel, due out in November, for $65.
“Fallen Earth” (rated M, $50 plus subscription fees on PC): This massively multiplayer online role-playing game is set in a post-apocalyptic verison of our own world, after a killer virus has wiped out most of humanity. As with most MMOs, you’ll choose whether to align yourself with the good guys or the bad guys. (There are six factions in all.) This one mixes first-person-shooter-style combat with role-playing-game-style number crunching.
“Fallout 3” (rated M, $60 on PlayStation 3): “The Pitt,” the second piece of downloadable content for Bethesda’s role-playing game, comes to the PS3 this week. It’s $10.
“Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2” (rated M, $60 on PlayStation 3): This is the Xbox 360’s “Ninja Gaiden 2,” with more stuff added to it for a PS3 release. At least one review I’ve seen says the additional stuff dilutes the experience somewhat. Too bad they don’t give you an option just to play the original game, which I found quite fun.
What I’ll be playing this weekend: I’ve got some time to spend with Mrs. GameWit, so I’ll mostly be doing non-gaming stuff. But I’ll be sneaking in some more “Brutal Legend” demo so I can preview the game for next Friday’s paper. “Halo 3: ODST,” “The Bigs 2” and “Culdcept Saga” may get some time, as well.