Keeping Current: More Video Game Reviews

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This article reports, not endorses or recommends, what’s hot
with preteens. 

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Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

The Scoop: It’s been eight years since raccoon
bandit Sly Cooper starred in a new adventure. Now he’s back to
steal the show in his new PlayStation 3 game, Sly Cooper: Thieves
in Time. Players sneak around the game’s large areas while jumping,
swinging, and climbing their way toward the mission’s end. The game
is compatible with the PlayStation Vita handheld, allowing players
to take their game on the go.

Our Take:
Players take on the role of a thief trying to
stay one step ahead of the police, but overall the game is good,
clean fun. There’s heavy emphasis on stealth, but at certain points
Sly must resort to cartoon-style combat. The Entertainment Software
Rating Board (ESRB) was still reviewing the game as of press
time.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

The Scoop: The Animal Crossing series of games
are “life simulators.” Players move into a town inhabited by
talking animals and join the virtual community. The game is highly
customizable-from singing the town’s anthem to choosing a
neighbor’s catch phrase. For this newest installment, players
become the mayors of their town and can make even bigger changes to
the landscape.

Our Take: It’s refreshing to see a game that
rewards players’ creativity rather than competitiveness. A key
feature is kids’ ability to share their creations and town with
others online. Using the Nintendo 3DS parental controls and common
sense, parents won’t have to worry. This game hasn’t been rated as
of press time, but expect an E rating like its predecessors.

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Animal Crossing: New Leaf

The Scoop:
The Animal Crossing series of games are “life
simulators.” Players move into a town inhabited by talking animals
and join the virtual community. The game is highly
customizable-from singing the town’s anthem to choosing a
neighbor’s catch phrase. For this newest installment, players
become the mayors of their town and can make even bigger changes to
the landscape.

Our Take:
It’s refreshing to see a game that rewards
players’ creativity rather than competitiveness. A key feature is
kids’ ability to share their creations and town with others online.
Using the Nintendo 3DS parental controls and common sense, parents
won’t have to worry. This game hasn’t been rated as of press time,
but expect an E rating like its predecessors.

Disney Infinity

The Scoop: Releasing on all major gaming
platforms, Disney Infinity is the house of mouse’s answer to
Activision’s Skylanders games (which recently topped $1 billion in
sales). Players purchase real-world action figures and use them in
the game world using an included peripheral device. The game will
launch with figurines from movies such as Pirates of the
Caribbean, The Incredibles,
and Monsters Inc.

Our Take: What makes Disney Infinity unique is
Toy Box mode, which allows players to mix and match different
figures and scenes from popular Disney franchises into a custom
adventure. We love that this lets kids be wildly creative, despite
the heavy nod to consumerism. The Entertainment Software Rating
Board rated the 3DS version E10; the other games should follow
suit.

Skylanders: Giants

The Scoop: When Activision’s Skylanders: Spyro’s
Adventure video game released last year, it was a massive hit with
its collectable action figures that are used to unlock new
characters and save players’ progress. Now, Activision hopes to
continue trending with a console sequel for all major platforms.
These new action figures available for purchase will be twice the
size of the originals.

Our Take: We’re glad to hear that the
action figures we bought for the first game can still be used for
this sequel. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was
still reviewing the game as of press time, but expect kid-safe,
cartoon-style violence with bad guys disappearing in a puff of
smoke or explosion when defeated.

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