Gamewatch: Dragon Quest IX, NCAA Football 11

Gamewatch

Who loves Dragon Quest? You do, you do. And in case you missed it, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (how alliterative of Square Enix) for the Nintendo DS rolled off store shelves yesterday. Yes, Sunday. Because that's how Nintendo rolls.

I've only had time to fiddle up a character (the ballyhooed cosmetic options are only fractionally as complex as you've heard) but it looks epic enough, old school or not.

This week the spotlight shines brightest on NCAA Football 11 (PS3, Xbox 360, PS2), which millions of you will buy, if only for the updated rosters and feature upticks. This year EA adds a 'no-huddle' spread offense, a new "locomotion" engine, refined A.I., and school specific "walking out of the tunnel" animations. If I cared about football, I'm sure I'd find all that electrifying. This one ships tomorrow.

If you'd rather fool with elves and orcs, turn-based Heroes of Might & Magic style, Disciples III: Renaissance (Windows) also ships tomorrow. I didn't play the first two (the last, Disciples II: Dark Prophecy, came out in 2002) but the reviewers worth reading at the time liked it well enough. For some reason Disciples III landed with Russian developer Akella, not the original team. Akella, in case you don't know, isn't known for its quality releases. Sea Dogs? Pirates of the Caribbean? Age of Pirates? Sensing a theme here? Here's another: Mediocre to scathingly negative reviews. Disciples III's been in the shed since 2005, so who knows, just be mindful of the track record.

The rest is all handheld fare. Chuck E Cheese's Party Games, Paws & Claws Regal Resort, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore, Animal Planet Vet Collection, and Hidden Objects: Mystery Stories prove the DS's stand to confirm the DS's proclivity toward shovelware remains indefatigable.

I almost forgot about the Little League World Series games. Past versions seem to score above average with critics--higher with those judging it in its younger age group--and it's based on the real deal. The new version comes in multiple flavors, including the Wii, PS3, Nintendo DS, and Xbox 360.

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