This Week in Games: October 8, 2007

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It’s a confusing week for releases, though we have to wonder if such a thing is ever straightforward. There is some solid game material hitting shelves this week, and we’ve got a full breakdown for you.

First up is a turn-based strategy game set in the time of the American Civil War, and aptly titled American Civil War. Players become the head of either the Union or Confederate forces and lead them through battle on land or on sea through several key conflicts of the war, or through an all-encompassing campaign. With a group of historical experts having played a role in the development of the game, it threatens to almost be educational.

Next is an expansion pack for the popular Neverwinter Nights franchise, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. If you’ve played any of the NWN series, you’ll know what to expect already; new feats, new spells, new races, new companions, new items, new monsters, and perhaps most interestingly, enhanced modding tools. For those who have shied away from building their own adventures, it may be worthwhile to look at that again with these new, apparently easier to use tools.

And finally, the most anticipated new title (or more accurately, titles), The Orange Box, which contains three new releases: Half-Life 2 Episode Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. What can be said about this compilation that hasn’t been said already? Packaging three new releases with Half-Life 2 and Episode One makes what will probably be the best deal for consumers all year. Steam should activate these new games automatically on October 10th.

If The Orange Box isn’t enough, how about the Source Premier Pack that has all The Orange Box goodies plus Half-Life: Source, Counter-Strike: Source, and Day of Defeat: Source, all for $80. Or if you’ve really been avoiding Valve’s games for some reason, check out the Valve Complete Pack that includes all of the above, plus Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress Classic, Day of Defeat, Opposing Force, Blue Shift, Ricochet, and Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, all for $100. That’s a whole lot of game.

Before signing off, I’d just like to wish all our Canadian friends a happy Thanksgiving, and to our US friends, a happy Columbus Day.

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