The Holiday shopping season is upon us, and with it comes a flurry of quality games. Several major franchises are returning this season (threequels are the name of the game), and the discerning shopper will need help maximizing their dollar.
First-person shooters are once again a popular genre, with multiple titles hitting the 360 and PS3. On the exclusive side, blockbuster franchise Gears of War 3 started the season on the Xbox 360, while PS3 saw the release of Resistance 3. Both were well reviewed, if underwhelming, bringing new enemies, weapons and game types.
The release of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 created something of a schism, with fanboys passionately butting heads. Ad campaigns were largely identical, with a bombastic glamorization of violence, set against the theme of “the world at war.” Despite the Battlefield publicity focusing aggressively on the new singleplayer campaign, the game mainly succeeds in delivering a large-scale, vehicle-centric multiplayer experience. The Call of Duty franchise makes its annual appearance with MW3, and the much-revered multiplayer aspect, featuring a deep and addictive reward system and thousands of active players.
If you’re looking for a third-person adventure, Uncharted 3, Saint’s Row 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations should have you covered. With Uncharted 3, Naughty Dog’s adventure series excels in creating tense cinematic moments. Saint’s Row is the latest entry in Volition’s more extreme take on the open-world, Grand Theft Auto genre. Like GTA, it’s packed with guilty pleasures and decidedly immature. Revelations is the third Assassin’s Creed game in as many years, following on the success of Brotherhood and offering another romp through medieval and Renaissance-era Europe.
The surprise hit of the season would have to be Skyrim, Bethesda Softwork’s follow-up to the popular The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. As far as replay value goes, Skyrim is hard to beat, offering hundreds of hours of compelling treks through mountains, forests and creepy dungeons.
Nintendo returns after a dry spell. On the 3DS, Super Mario 3D Land and Zelda: Ocarina of Time both made serious waves, receiving major critical acclaim, as well as featuring exciting and inventive gameplay utilizing both gyroscopic and 3D elements. The latest Mario game should be a blast for anyone with nostalgia for the classic Super Mario 3. The Zelda franchise also reappears on the Wii, with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Nintendo has really outdone themselves with this one, creating a satisfying blend of every iteration of the franchise to date and a purported 50-100 hours of gameplay. If you’ve got a Wii, there’s no reason to miss this one.
Truly, there is something for everyone this holiday season, even those tired of the sometimes repetitive shooter genre.