Xbox

XBOX 360: sports roundup

Reason No. 45 cosplayers hate sportos: They always get the most games at the release of a new console, and 360 is no different.

If you missed our exclusive NBA Live 06 preview last issue (#196), you should know that EA’s basketball sim will storm the court with a much more physical game, a dynamic camera system, plus an achievement system that rewards you for winning the MVP trophy and NBA finals.

NBA 2K6 and NHL 2K6 are also slated to appear in the launch window, but we’re a little weary: The only thing 2K Sports can tell us about either title is that both will feature all-new cloth animations. We can hear your excitement.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 will receive some much-needed upgrades, and it’ll be mostly noticeable around the links (as in actual fans). The next-gen golfer will also feature 16 achievement awards such as ranking No.1 in one of the game modes.

Still don’t know who David Beckham is? Well, then you might not care that FIFA 06 will have almost quadruple the number of animations, which translates into distinctive running styles, freestyle kicks, and player reactions.

Outside of mainstream sports (at least for videogames), Top Spin 2 will offer smarter opponents, and shredfest Amped 3 goes big with huge mountains (six times larger than the previous game’s) and an ambitious story mode.

Xbox Live Arcade: You Just Spent $400 to Play Bejeweled

Wik: Fable of Souls: Thrill to this simple 2D platformer-puzzler hybrid starring a hideous troll doll with a long prehensile tongue. No relation to hit game Fable.

Mutant Storm Reloaded: Save humanity from endless waves of deadly alien scum in this classic arcade-style shooter. Aliens…shooting…it’s kind of like Halo!

Hexic HD: Every Xbox 360 hard drive comes preloaded with this popular tile-based puzzler from legendary Tetris creator Alexy Pajitnov. P

Come Xbox 360 launch day, you may find yourself overwhelmed by all the whiz-bang next-gen visuals and trippy quadraphonic soundscapes. Should this happen, make like a soccer mom and visit the all-new Xbox Live Arcade (incompatible with original Xbox). Here, you can download various action, puzzle, and parlor games that you save on either the Xbox 360 hard drive or a memory unit. Demos are free, and the full games (most of which offer online multiplayer) will run between $9.99 and $19.99 each. Other titles available on launch day include Joust, Bankshot Billiards, and Marble Blast Ultra.

Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.