This is it, the week that all gamers look forward to (or fear, depending on your point of view), in which pretty much every single game is a AAA release and you positively have no idea which game to get. But whichever you go with, it’s going to be good. More than likely. Or hopefully. Fingers crossed!
Ten years ago, the entire video game world was turned almost upside down by just one game: Halo. Well, actually, there were two, with the other being Grand Theft Auto 3. But let’s talk about Halo for just right now, which not only built upon the FPS on a console foundation that the original GoldenEye for the N64 established, and truly got the genre’s ball rolling. It also established Microsoft as a serious player in the video game war and how amazing online play via your couch could be. But the question remains: is the original just as good today as it was yesterday? The answer is a resounding yes, hence why very little has been messed with. Instead, there’s a new and legitimately impressive coat of new graphics, plus the remixed soundtrack is equally impressive, but stays true to the source material. Gameplay-wise, not much has changed, other than the addition to skulls in every chapter, and online it’s just as solid as you remembered back in the day. Xbox 360
Behold what might be the greatest installment of Assassin’s Creed yet, or at least the raging climax of the series. The past couple of games has seen Desmond, some dude from modern times, and Ezio and Altair assme the role of assassins from the Renaissance era, via some souped up VR simulator called the Animus. Well, in this game, Ezio and Altair will be interacting with each other, though how that plays out (i.e. how the player will be controlling both dudes at once) remains to be seen. At least we know that they’ll be mingling with various historical figures from that time, in a fairly tightly scripted story mode, though one can still do whatever the heck they want in the open world game at heart. The multiplayer mode introduced in the last game is back, and hooks into the story in certain respects. There’s also some kind of new, funky first person mode that’s been described as “Dali-esque”. Interesting… PC, PS3, Xbox 360
The NFS franchise has been around for a long time. A VERY long time, so EA has once again had to figure a new spin on the same old, same old. The solution this time? Take the action out of the car! It might be just the wacky gimmick that developer Black Box might needs to get their reputation back on track; the past couple of NFS titles have been amazing, like Shift and Hot Pursuit (which they had nothing to do with). Nope, their last game was Undercover, which stunk quite honestly. And on paper, the idea of running around on foot sounds like the worst idea ever, but it’s helped to add context to the story focused plot, which does sound interesting. You find yourself in some long ass, high-stakes race that takes the player from San Francisco to New York City, with stops in various prominent cities along the way, which basically translates to the most amount of road ever for a NFS game. Furthermore, those aforementioned on foot portions aren’t some lame ass GTA wannabe parts, but are simply presented as Quick Time Events. Best part is how there’s no hard or fast rule for success of failure. Depending on how well you perform will dictate which of the branching levels you’ll be following, which doesn’t sound bad at all. Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, 3DS
Much like in the world of comics, if a cross-over works, it’s repeated again and again and again. Hence the Ultimate version of the latest clash of heroes. What’s new to the formula? Not a ton, to be honest; the game retains its three on three, tag team set-up, along with all the crazy combos, assists, and “X-Factor” mode. But along with some subtle tweaks to the returning cast, there’s also a bunch of new faces: highlights on the Marvel side include Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and… Rocket Raccoon? And on Cqpcom’s front, there’s Frank West, Firebrand (the demon from Ghosts ‘N Goblins), and Phoenix Wright. Unfortunately, Shuma-Gorath and Jill Valentine are still downloadables, and it remains to be seen if one nabbed them before in the original MvC3 will have to do so again. In fact, many are still upset that Ultimate is not an update and instead a stand-alone product. Though there’s plenty of new game modes, including the chance to play as Galactus(!), to justify the added cost. Phoenix Wright and his completely out of left field play style is worth the price of admission alone. Seriously. Xbox 360, PS3
Will the third time be a charm for the GTA clone that could? Whereas Grand Theft Auto has tried to go down a more “mature”, route it’s primary contender has kept upping the ante, not just in terms of features, but sense of humor. But first, a bit more on the former: instead of assuming the mantle of one low-life, you’ve got three to chose from, each leading his own gang and storyline, which all meets up together in the end. There’s also a greater emphasis on customization; it’s your gang after-all, so it’s up to you to figure out how they look and present themselves. There’s also a co-op mode and countless celebrity voice-overs, including the Hulkster himself (who, not surprisingly, assumes the role of a wrestler). But its sense of style is what makes Saints Row so beloved among its fan base, and those returning will not be disappointed. Whereas GTA goes for laughs that also makes commentary, there’s honestly zero subtext in the gigantic dildo that you can swing around like a sword that can be found in Saints Row The Third. PC, PS3, Xbox 360