(Since I have to play a fuckton of games on a daily basis and the Mercury has a limited amount of review space, a lot of games fall through the cracks. Consider this my (hopefully weekly) attempt at covering as many of these titles as possible. I'll mostly be choosing stuff that I've been enjoying recently, but if there is anything you want me to specifically review, let me know and I'll try to make it happen.)


Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix -- $15 -- Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (Downloadable Content)

Do I really need to repeat myself?

Without any hyperbole, this game is my new favorite competitive multiplayer title on any system. I'd even go so far as to say it's the best 2-D fighter of the last decade, though I need a few more days with the game before I offer it that kind of verbal cunnilingus.

Verdict: Unless you're an asshole, you must buy this game. You aren't an asshole, are you?


Star Ocean: First Departure -- $40 -- PSP

Yes, First Departure is a remake of the original Star Ocean, but the aesthetic upgrades alone are worth the price of admission for the new, improved version. It uses the same "sprites on pre-rendered or polygonal backgrounds" gimmick you saw in Final Fantasy VII, but here they never look dated (or, for that matter, anything less than damn amazing).

Between that, the surprisingly detailed cutscenes and the impressive voice-over work, it's almost like playing an above-average anime -- only, not one of the ones with tentacle rape or dudes who turn into 14-year-old girls. No, it's more like one of those ones with adorable dust ball creatures that your girlfriend falls in love with and when you buy her a plush version of one from a site you can't read she totally buys you a chainsaw made of lasers and awesome in return.

Exactly like that.

Verdict: If you have any interest in Final Fantasy-style roleplaying games, and you own a PSP, buy this one as soon as you can. It probably won't be on shelves long, knowing the fickle American PSP audience.


Animal Crossing: City Folk -- $60 (with Wii Speak microphone) -- Nintendo Wii

More than any other series Animal Crossing polarizes people. The typical teenage action fan can't help but label the adorable characters as "totally gay," the near-mythological female gamers find the action (or lack thereof) to be the closest thing to digital catnip since Twilight was released as an ebook, and those of us in the middle are either hopelessly addicted or scratching our heads wondering why anyone would bother with such a simple "life simulation."

I fall into the prior camp. I'm firmly addicted to City Folk, and will continue playing it in daily 30 minute bursts for the next few years. If you never understood the appeal of the older entries in the series, you still won't get this one, but at least the Wii Speak microphone included in the package lets you talk to people via your Wii's shitty online capabilities, right?

Oh, who fucking cares? Unless your phone, internet and legs simultaneously explode there's absolutely no reason to use Wii Speak.

Verdict: Still not over your Animal Crossing addiction? Buy this one and binge for another year or two. If you're sober though, City Folk offers nothing new.