The leaves are turning and falling and there’s a nip in the air as the chill of winter begins its approach. Yes, Fall is here and while not every part of the country receives the same excellent, chilly weather they do receive the same load of games, more targeted the games of Q3 2011. The dog days of Summer star July and August with September bringing up the rear on a heavy vacation time where gamers (gasp!) go outside and get their yearly dose of vitamin D via the sun. A slow time for gamers; yes and no. It’s a great window to catch up on those top level games going back to the last holiday seasons and to begin the ramp up to the holiday shopping and gaming season.
Much like the weather this is a transition time in the game industry. Thanks to firmware updates as well as downloadable content both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 remain strong well into their product cycle and when streaming/downloadable movies and social media also become stronger so does the life of these systems. So much potential is still untapped and with add-ons being success, Kinect, and having potential, Move, well, there is much remaining for these two systems. The same cannot be said for the Wii. The announcement of the WiiU and a much more open development window for third party developers (meaning they get to handle the hardware/software to create solid launch games) means the Wii is in its twilight. Prices will drop, quality games will continue to decline and the system will quietly fade into quite a successful existence. Heck, a price drop may put this in even more homes as the games are still addictive even lacking true HD.
All of this said, how did the quarter stack up for each system? System exclusives are reduced to exclusive windows while only first party developed games are truly locked down as exclusive so what’s left over? Some pretty solid and fun games actually, games that may end up under the Christmas tree this year even with an early release. Let’s take a look and see how these folks graded out.
Multi-System – Developing the same game on both systems (360, PS3) makes sense with differentiation coming in downloadable content and sometimes release timing. This continues to be the strongest segment of new games even in this slow time. Thumbs down to the very promoted X-Men: Destiny which felt just … blah.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution – It’s Square Enix at its finest. Bladerunner meets Metal Gear Solid and so much more in a sci-fi first/third person game where the choices presented to the gamer guarantee options and unique gameplay experiences. Lofty expectations as the prequel to a PC classic but dang did Human Revolution deliver.
- Dead Island – A new take on survival horror and the zombies it creates as gamers must team-up in one of the better presented games of its ilk.
- Driver: San Francisco – For a franchise that started with a novel approached the Driver series has developed into an almost GTA lite in many aspects.
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine – It’s badass, just plain badass to jump into the role of a badass space marine (seeing a trend here). The action is quite easy to pick up and place but not for the young of age.
- El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron – With visuals and audio that are video game crack it’s a game that must be played in HD even if the gameplay itself is somewhat unspectacular.
- Catherine – Gorgeous and engaging best describes the tale of Vincent and his two ladies but the repetitive, very challenging and mostly visually the same puzzle segments gets old.
- Galaga Legions DX – A solid reshaping of how Galaga is played and a download that fans old and new can enjoy. Well done title.
- BloodRayne: Betrayal – Insane difficulty and touch controls ruin what is one beautiful and stylistic download. For gamers looking for a bit of punishment, not a bad download by any stretch, just really, frustratingly hard.
PlayStation 3 – Quite a few unique titles but enough to measure up to Microsoft’s monster? Let’s see.
- Child of Eden – The formerly 360 exclusive gets the Move treatment
- Rochard – A solid if not under promoted download where gravity gets groovy.
- Resistance 3 – Solid presentation and graphics mix with a tale that has slowly eroded in much the same manner as humanity in-game. What should have been an epic conclusion just feels a bit forced from the story standpoint.
- Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten – More of the same crazy action and humor so if you’re a fan be happy, if not and if Disgaea has never turned you on, well this is not the place to start.
- No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise – The cover is awesome. It’s essentially what Wii owners already have but could have been so much more. A rare instance of opportunity missed being listed.
- Bleach: Soul Resurreccion – A great Bleach adventure that’s finally next-gen. Ok, so it’s the second console Bleach in the states but for fans it’s a pleasure to play with tons of characters and settings from the anime and lots to unlock. The art style is rock solid.
Xbox 360 – One exclusive for Microsoft but it’s a doozy that will get Game of the Year consideration.
- Gears of War 3 – Marcus Fenix is back with more locusts to kill, and something else and this time the ladies are coming along for the kill. One of the premiere franchises on the 360 makes this a solid three months all by itself for mature 360 owners.
Nintendo Wii – An odd
- Bit.Trip Complete – Retro (near) perfected on the Wii. The end of the Wii is in sight so be sure to pick up this diddy.
- Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover! – Simple controls and solid looking characters make for a fun kiddie adventure. It’s not long or very re-playable for adults but this was made for kids, the type of kids who watch the same show over and over, who play the same song over and over and love it.
Overall it was a solid quarter for both the PS3 and 360 that clock in with a B+ and A respectively. Yes the multi-platform titles help but there has to be an A given to 360 thanks to Gears 3 alone. The Wii is another story clocking in with a D that shows it’s lack of unique titles … any good titles really.