Holiday Games 2012: Brace Yourselves, Winter is Coming
The torrent of holiday games is almost upon us.
With Gamescom wrapping up earlier this month, the ultimate decision for any gamer come wintertime has broken back into our collective mind, through the stream of video and audio that flooded the internet from August 15th to 19th. That question is, of course, what to buy? It may seem simple on the face of it – purchase games made by big publishers/well known developers who make re-playable, fun, addictive titles on an annual basis. However, if thought is spent on the subject, it reveals itself to be a complex puzzle harder to solve than a 12-sided Rubix Cube.
Of course, the most reliable publisher is, in my mind, Bethesda, whose games have charmed, hypnotised and enthralled gaming fans the world over ever since The Elder Scrolls: Arena. This year may not be the case, however; despite their new title Dishonored looking like a sure-fire classic, the pessimistic sod in my cerebral cortex keeps reminding me that ‘it isn’t free roam’. Yes, I know RAGE wasn’t exactly what you would call a sandbox game, but it was an FPS at heart so I didn’t mind. Something about Bethesda making an RPG-esque title like Dishonored without the universe being completely open doesn’t add up for me.
I think I’m going to give Black Ops 2 a miss, at least until it drops in price, to see what other PC players make of the (incredible and fresh looking) multiplayer after a few months with it, and I can think of a whole list of games which interest me more. Modern Warfare 3, despite being a triumph in the sales department, had a stale, boring multiplayer that got tiresome after a couple of months – in many fans eyes, the ‘newly invigorated’ experience that Infinity Ward were selling it as was, on the whole, more of the same. Also in the action FPS department is Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which continues with the story of Tier 1 operatives, and will hopefully hurdle over the low bar set by the previous game.
When the flash flood is only light rain, squad based RTS reboot XCOM: Enemy Unknown leads the charge. Videos of the game have shown off a visually great style, and strong hints that this could be something of a sleeper hit. Providing entertainment in the form of an intriguing storyline, but also a tough challenge (perma death for squad members, losing funding from nations can lead to defeat) has many fans of strategy enticed. Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm looks set to be released late this year, and if it is as good as the base game, strategy fans have a lot on their plate.
Action game fans can look forward to Assassin’s Creed 3, which has been in development for 3 years, and looks ready to reinvigorate the franchise with a fresh hero and time period, alongside new and refined gameplay ideas. Its little brother Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation launches the same day as its counterpart, and promises all the great gameplay of console AC games in the palm of your hand, on PlayStation Vita. Resident Evil 6 is also on the horizon from developer Capcom, and although the last entry in the series was overall a big letdown, RE6’s 3-protagonist storyline at least looks interesting. Hitman: Absolution is also right around the corner, with protagonist Agent 47 returning to action after a few years’ retirement.
Fighting game enthusiasts don’t have a ton of games to look forward to, but they’re likely either still playing Ultimate MVC3 or Street Fighter X Tekken anyway. If not, they can get their mitts on Dead Or Alive 5, PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 this winter.
Sports fans have plenty to look forward to in the shape of annual sporting staples such as FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, NBA 2K, NHL ’13, F1 and WWE ’13 alongside a whole host of other titles doing the yearly rounds. Like last year, FIFA soaks up most of the limelight in this area of gaming, and expectations for the game has grown to such enormous proportions that EA livestreamed a press conference announcing the stars on the cover of the game. Upgrading to the ’13’ edition of in each series is essential for any sports fanatic in order to stay up to date with team squads, drivers, and the multiplayer fun to be had within each title. Wrestling fans will be plunking down the cash for the updated roster as well as the awesome-looking Attitude Era mode.
Fans of sandbox games have two big mainstream options this year, with the Far Cry series making its third outing, and the sequel to iconic cell-shaded action-loot-em-up RPG from 2009, Borderlands 2. Far Cry has a very different visual style from Borderlands, and it doesn’t have the ‘bazillion’ guns that the other can boast, but that doesn’t in any way detract from how promising it looks. With malaria taken out, and so much to do in the wilderness that some playing the game were told after that they hadn’t started – let alone completed – a single side quest. When a game has that much to offer, you can be sure that it will have players hooked on it for months. However, the overall quality of everything Far Cry has to offer could be brought into question. The only way to find out is to play the game, which comes out late November. The fun and loot filled Borderlands 2 promises to be a more improved, better looking, revised version of its great predecessor. Crazier bosses, crazier guns, a more dastardly villain, a boss that’s almost invincible, all topped off with the new ‘Badass System’ which allows for infinite level progression, add up to one hell of a game.
Late next month I will be attending the Eurogamer Expo, which last year assisted me in discovering the rough diamond RAGE, and Skyrim. Hopefully I will find out what to buy again this time around from the Earls Court extravaganza, and I have a good feeling about the lineup.
What games will you all be buying, and why? Feel free to comment on this subject!