You know I try to be very professional. I try not to act like a kid on Christmas morning when a new game shows up at my door. I mean I am something something years old…I don’t get excited over just anything right? Well this week isn’t just anything. This week features two of the top games of the year coming out…Heck they might be the top two games of the year. I mean you have Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, widely regarded as the premiere first-person shooter franchise, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, widely regarded as the best RPG franchise, both hitting the same week! Christmas just moved up 6 weeks!
Things don’t slow down next week with the next entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the long awaited new Legend of Zelda adventure, and Saints Row: The Third. I’ve got reviews of Battlefield 3 and Skylander: Spyro’s Adventure.
IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK
New Assassin's Creed Game Confirmed for 2012
A new Assassin's Creed game has been confirmed by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot for the end of 2012.
"There will be another great, full-fledged Assassin's Creed title next year," he said, according to Eurogamer. "It will be another major release and we will be communicating more about it in the coming months."
Assassin's Creed Revelations, is coming out next Tuesday, November 15. The plan is to increase the time in between Assassin's Creed releases, only their hands are tied when it comes to the next game as a story has been built around a 2012, end-of-the-world plot. The one detail we know about the new game, based on previous comments, is that it will mark the end of Desmond's story, Desmond being the present-day descendant of the assassins which players spend the bulk of their time playing as.
Atari unleashes two Dungeons & Dragons Collector editions
Classic D&D fans rejoice! Atari will release two ultimate collector edition bundle packs, Dungeons & Dragons Anthology: The Master Collection and Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter Nights Complete, for Windows PC on November 15th, at all retail outlets. The collections are available for preorder now at GameStop, Amazon, and Target.
Dungeons & Dragons Anthology: The Master Collection packages 6 of the most beloved classic RPG video games of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise and their expansions into a single PC Box set – the ultimate RPG package for the ultimate D&D fan. The Dungeons & Dragons Anthology: The Master Collection features some of the greatest D&D titles ever published in a single package including six Game of the Year winners, all for $19.99. Games in The Master Collection include:
· Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 + Expansions
· Icewind Dale 1 & 2 + Expansions
· Planescape: Torment
· The Temple of Elemental Evil
Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter Nights Complete, a PC gaming classic for the ages, brings together every game and expansion of the critically acclaimed franchise into one compilation. Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter Nights Complete features two Game of the Year winners, every expansion pack, never before collection release of Neverwinter Nights 2, and a limited edition gift, all for $29.99.
· Neverwinter Nights + 3 Expansion Packs
· Neverwinter Nights 2 + 3 Expansions Packs
· Exclusive 18”x21” poster map of Neverwinter,
Scene It? Movie Night: Mega Movies - coming November 30th to XBLA/PSN
Scene It? Movie Night: Mega Movies game, a new downloadable console title is coming to PSN and XBLA. The upcoming Mega Movie title spans the biggest blockbusters in cinema history from The Godfather to modern must-sees like The Social Network, through 14 different kinds of competitive puzzles. A great game for party play to find out who is truly a movie maven, and who fell asleep in the theatre. The game launches on November 30th.
Activision's 'Wappy Dog' Out Now for Nintendo DS
Activision delivering the perfect new companion for kids just in time for the holiday season - Wappy Dog, has hit shelves this week! Developed by Sega Toys, Wappy Dog combines virtual and physical pet companionship, including both an electronic toy dog and a Nintendo DS videogame which communicates with one another via sound to create an unprecedented interactive experience.
Players raise Wappy through five distinct age phases, from playful puppy to full-grown pooch; the dog’s voice, songs, and behavior all change to match its maturation level. Each pet provides a personal, customizable experience including stickers that come bundled free with the game and the ability to choose digital accessories and color options. Unlike real dogs, Wappy’s needs and thoughts never have to be a mystery—the game will translate more than 350 dynamic barked responses!
A highly portable pet, kids on the move can enter “Travel Mode,” allowing them to care for Wappy’s needs only with their Nintendo DS. Additionally, in-game toys, grooming, and environments provide even more ways to interact with the pup when not spending time with Wappy at home. When they return, switching back to the default “Home Mode” will automatically sync up the physical toy with all growth Wappy made while they were away. In “Home Mode”, Wappy will react by cheering, crying, or wagging its tail based on the player’s performance in competitive, cooperative, and supportive virtual mini-games. Across both modes, the player can nurture, train, and play with Wappy, which will affect development of mood, skills, and even personality.
Konami Releases Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Konami has released the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection in North America for PlayStation 3 system and Xbox 360. Featuring three complete games, Metal Gear solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, this special re-mastered HD set retails at $49.99.
The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection includes brand new features such as stunning 1080p graphics, user interface rebalanced for HD, added right analog stick input and force feedback, featured trophies on PS3 and achievements on Xbox 360, worldwide matchmaking for multiplayer and Transfarring (save data sharing) compatible with PSP version.
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo) Rated E Wii
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword introduces full motion control enabled by the Wii MotionPlus accessory, which synchronizes your movements with Link's actions while offering intuitive play control. With the Wii MotionPlus accessory, every movement of Link's sword matches your motion with exact precision. If you motion left to right, Link swings from left to right. The precision play control is applied to enemies as well, as you must contemplate strategy when battling opponents that actively try to defend against attacks.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations (Ubisoft) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360, PC
When a man has won all of his battles and defeated all of his enemies; what is left for him to achieve? Ezio Auditore must leave his life behind in search of answers, in search of the truth. In Assassin's Creed® Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of the legendary mentor Altaïr, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path — one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilize the region.
In addition to the culmination of Ezio's award-winning story, a refined and expanded online multiplayer experience returns with new and additional modes, maps, and characters, allowing you to test your slaying skills against others from around the world.
Deadlier Than Ever — Wield the lethal skills of a wiser, more efficient and deadlier Ezio. Swiftly eliminate your adversaries by deploying a new arsenal of weapons and abilities, such as enhanced free-running and hookblade combat. Experience new levels of gameplay customization with bomb crafting, and use heightened Eagle Sense to vanquish your enemies and the environment.
Saints Row: The Third (THQ) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Rejoin the ranks of the most unholy Saints around as you return to the Row to experience gang life, post-fame. Kids are kicking around in Saints sneakers, tough-guy hopefuls are slurping Saints energy drinks and storeowners are proudly displaying Johnny Gat bobble heads on their top shelves. Celebrity status has hit — but will the Saints survive their newfound glory unscathed?
In Saints Row: The Third, fame and fortune come at a bittersweet price for the kings of Stilwater. Faced with serious demands from the legendary criminal fraternity, the Syndicate, the Saints must hit the streets of Steelport to trample their new rivals — and defend their status. Get ready for intense action, grueling gang violence and outlandish situations to spare as you take on a decaying city of sin in an all-new battle with the Saints. Buckle up and take a massive tank on a wild ride — through the sky. Duke it out against trained military forces and call in a strategic airstrike on a Mexican wrestling gang. With grit and guts galore, you and your gang will never kneel to an enemy. After all, just because you're a Saint doesn't mean you have to behave.
Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom (Capcom) Rated T PS3, Xbox 360
Unleash incredible attacks on your enemies when you fight as one of the original 38 characters or as any of the 12 new legends, including Capcom's Strider and Firebrand and Marvel's Ghost Rider and Hawkeye. Jump right into the fray or take a lesson by watching in the new, fan-requested Spectator mode for the online experience. Eight new stages, extra surprises and more enhancements ensure Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will be a fight you won't forget.
Rayman Origins (Ubisoft) Rated E PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
Rayman Origins is a multiplayer Action-Adventure Platforming game which explains the origins of Rayman and details how he became the hero of his video game series. Designed both for new fans of Rayman and longtime players, the game is set in the gameworld of the "Glade of Dreams" which is literally being torn apart by nightmares that are transforming it. With the help of his friend Globox and two wizards known as teensies Rayman must use his platforming and puzzle-solving skills to save the day. Additional features include: 60 game levels, 12 unique worlds, 100+ characters and 4-player co-op gameplay support. Fifteen years after the first Rayman game launched worldwide, Michel Ancel (celebrated creator of this limbless yet limitless hero) returns to his roots to revive the fun with one of platforming's most iconic characters. This time, Rayman is joined by his friend Globox and two Teensies for 60 levels of immersive 2D platforming adventure in full HD graphics, featuring 4-player, jump-in/jump-out co-op, all running at 60 fps (frames per second).
Enter the Glade of Dreams, a gorgeously designed interactive cartoon playground populated by strange and hilarious creatures in eye-popping environments. When the Glade of Dreams is overrun by "nefurrious" Darktoons, the Fairy Council hastily invokes Rayman to save the day, but the hero of light isn't quite all there. To help him, Rayman teams up with his best friend, Globox and two crafty wizards, the Teensies. Together they form the world's most hilarious team of heroes and they'll need to join forces to restore peace to the Glade or watch as their beloved home vanishes like a bad dream.
Jurassic Park: The Game (Telltale Game) Rated T Xbox 360
Jurassic Park: The Game takes place during the events of the original movie. Dennis Nedry’s attempt to smuggle priceless dinosaur embryos off Isla Nublar failed; the container disguised as a Barbasol can is missing. As the park falls into the chaos unleashed by Nedry’s theft, forces that will stop at nothing to gain the invaluable biotech created by InGen arrive to claim their prize. Meanwhile InGen dispatches mercenaries to rescue employees. When these human forces collide, it becomes clear that dinosaurs aren’t the only things to worry about! Jurassic Park: The Game explores new and familiar dinosaurs and areas of the park to deliver the ultimate adventure – 65 million years in the making!
Skylander: Spyro’s Adventure (Activision) Rated E PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
Skylander: Spyro’s Adventure isn’t so much a new entry in the Spyro series as it is more of a spinoff. The character of Spyro is just one of 32 different playable characters in the game that combines videogame action with action figures. This concept is likely to make this game and its optional extra figures very high on a lot of kid’s Christmas list this holiday season. While some may decry the money-grab approach as kids are certainly going to want to try and collect all of the extra figures, this is hardly a new approach to marketing toys.
The concept behind Skylander is simple…you are the “good” Portal Master who can control 32 different characters, including Spyro, as you seek to defeat the evil Portal Master named “Kaos”. You control your various Skylanders through the portal which comes packed with the game. It’s a round thing that looks like the top of a tower. Placing your action figures on the portal activates them for play in the game. The game itself comes with three figures…leaving mom and dad to buy the rest at around $8 a pop with a three pack running $20. So yeah…Skylanders may set you back a bit of cash! As mentioned your character becomes playable once you place him on the portal (which is hooked to whatever console you use). A second figure can be placed on the portal to allow for co-op play with a friend. One of the very cool attractions of the game is to place a figure on the portal and see him come to life onscreen. I have to admit I wouldn’t mind seeing the rest!
Now don’t get me wrong, the extra figures ARE optional. The game can be beaten, and every achievement earned, with just the three figures that come with the game. But every new figure adds extra challenges and boosts the power of other figures. Plus there are certain areas of the game where you told that a different type of Skylander would work best. Plus each figure acts as an extra life, and as long as you an available Skylander figure you can keep continuing a level without starting over. And here’s some that is just awesome: You can save your stats and all of your achievements and scores on your figure and then use them on a friend’s portal EVEN if it is on a different platform. So you can acquire stats on your PS3 and then use them on your friend’s Wii version of the game. Very sweet!!!
Skylanders is part platforming action and part RPG. You battle your way across some two dozen levels, taking on wave after wave of enemies, finding treasure and keys to unlock doors, and solving some basic puzzles. Your Skylander has primary and secondary attacks which can be upgraded by earning experience. You have a skill tree where you can upgrade your skills when you level up. Once again, one of the attractions to getting the new figures is that they all have their own unique skills, attacks, and personalities in the game. They fit into eight different elemental types (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Life, Undead, Tech, and Magic). But even two characters who are fire types will have different skills.
Skylanders has a bright, color, cartoony look to it. The visuals are quite crisp and colorful. The figures themselves are also gorgeous with extremely detailed paint jobs. The voice acting is superb and features, among others, Patrick Warburton of Family Guy fame. The story is naturally geared towards kids and the script is really silly but fun. Co-op mode really shines in Skylanders and even becomes a near necessity at higher levels so it’s a great game for kids to share with a friend or their parents. Yes the cost might be prohibitive for some people but kids love to collect things and at least with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, the collectible figures also have a purpose within the game. Grade B+
Battlefield 3 (Electronic Arts) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Wow…Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 coming out within just a couple of weeks…a first-person shooter fan’s dream! And today it’s my pleasure to share my thoughts on the latest installment in the Battlefield series courtesy of EA and developer DICE. In truth, while some might regard Battlefield 3 as a Call of Duty killer the fact is that despite some similarities, the two games have a distinctly different feel to them, which allows them to co-exist and thrive. Battlefield 3 is built DICE’s new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions.
Perhaps even more so than Call of Duty, Battlefield 3 feel like two very different games…there is the campaign game, which while being a little on the pedestrian side and a tad too short, is still a lot of fun. And then there is the enormously addictive multi-player side that just seems to get better and better. The campaign only clocks in at a 7 – 8 hour adventure and this is disappointing. Sure maybe most people do buy these game for the online experience, but not everyone. There’s no good reason not to make the single-player campaign modes in these types of games more enthralling for the player. The voice acting among your squad doesn’t seem as lively or as personal as in some of the past games…another indication that the campaign is under developed. That complaint aside the Campaign does get you ready for the online play where most of the action is to be found.
Battlefield 3 offers six co-op missions and while these are a great challenge, it is multi-player that gives one the best reason to buy the game. Multi-player on consoles supports only 24 players vs. the 64 player games of the PC but DICE has sacrificed little in adjusting for the slightly smaller game sizes that take place on Battlefield’s large-scale maps. You still get play on a grand scale but DICE has masterfully cropped the design down enough to still give the battles a tight feel with the reduced number of maximum players. They cleverly have reduced the size of the ground space but kept the full amount of flying space for operating air vehicles.
Nine maps in all are available to start and the limited edition comes with a code for the Back to Karkand DLC code that features four maps originally from Battlefield 2 that have been revamped. There are four different classes which are kind of hybrids: Assault, Support, Engineer and Recon. The Assault class might sound like your frontline soldier but this class is also able to equip itself with medkits and a field defibrillator. The Recon class isn’t just gathering intel, he is also has sniper skills. DICE achieves a well mixed balance in all four classes. While vehicle use is kept to a minimum in the campaign, all the vehicles are at your disposal in multi-player. From tanks and humvees to amphibious assault vehicles, attack and transport helicopters and jets. The vehicle use is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Battlefield 3 as you try to learn what would be the best vehicle to use for a certain map/mission/and mode.
The large maps, vehicle availability, and diverse classes make working as a team a top priority in any of the team modes like Conquest, Rush, and Team Deathmatch. Those who want to try and fly solo are going to find themselves dead very quickly. But for teams that work together, there’s just nothing like the satisfaction of a well-oiled group winning the game. The maps are rendered to near-perfection combining a variety of terrain types from close, congested metropolitan areas to wide open vistas tailor made for vehicle use. The lighting and battle effects threaten to dazzle you so much you might find yourself an easy target when getting distracted by the scenery. The Frosbite engine boasts that most of set pieces can be destroyed although it’s not quite the ultimate in destruction that you’d hope for. The sound effects make you feel like you are in the middle of a warzone. Technical issues are relatively minor. There’s graphical glitches where objects can pop in and out of view depending on the angle in which you view them. Minor server issues can result in the occasional connection drop but nothing too egregious.
Battlefield 3 successfully builds on an already great franchise. While the console versions are scaled down from the PC version, you’ll hardly notice. A few tweaks to the campaign game would have earned this a top grade. Grade A-
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