July had Catherine, August had Deus Ex, but September is when the floodgates open and the Fall rush of games begins. There are more notable releases this month than you can shake a stick at, and far more than you could hope to purchase and play to completion within the humble span of thirty days.
Ahhhh. This is what we've been waiting all year for. It begins this Tuesday.
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PS3, 360, PC
Hype-O-Meter : Day one.
After exploding across the collective gamer consciousness with that spectacular trailer back in February, Dead Island has kept the hype needled quivering in the red with a steady drip-feed of screenshots, gameplay trailers and features in the enthusiast press. Early reviews say it's solid, but honestly they could tell me it has some major issues and I'd still be picking it up on the sixth.
It's an open-world first-person melee-centric action-RPG. About zombies. An open-world first-person melee-centric action-RPG about zombies, I have to think, is like pizza : even when it's not that great, it's still pretty fucking awesome.
Hype-O-Meter : Tempting...
I've always liked but never really loved the Resistance titles. While I've heard nothing bad about what is likely the final installment of Insomniac's alt-history sci-fi FPS, neither have I paid it enough attention to be really wowed by any of its media (save this trailer, I suppose).
Resistance 3 is a definite purchase - at some point - but I can't admit to caring enough about it to day-one the game when I'll be up to my armpits in open-world zombie shenanigans. Still, if I want an FPS with great production values, finely-tuned gameplay and wacky weapons? This is it.
BloodRayne : Betrayal
Hype-O-Meter : Demo please.
BloodRayne: Betrayal is a dark horse candidate. It may be another stylish but disappointing turn from a stylish but disappointing franchise, or it could be a fun, frantic and tight brawler. Time will tell.
White Knight Chronicles II
Hype-O-Meter : Nah.
White Knight Chronicles II, I hear, addresses many of the areas its predecessor lacked. Given that I never actually unsealed the copy I snagged on the cheap a few months back, however, I can't tell you a whole helluva lot about the original WKC. It's a JRPG, it's from Level 5 which is a godsend or a curse depending on who you ask, and it looks interesting.
I refuse to care about it until I've formed an opinion on the first game. Oh well.
God of War : Origins Collection
Hype-O-Meter : I'll have to buy this...
The great Chains of Olympus and the frickin' incredible Ghost of Sparta can now brag to other handheld games that they're playable in 1080p and - if you choose - 3D. I doubt Chains of Olynpus made the transition to the PS3 quite as elegantly as GoS, but these titles remain two of the strongest entries in Sony's storied franchise, particularly from a story perspective.
I have a huge appreciation for the God of War games, so I can't help but think Kratos's smaller adventures have a place in my library - right between The God of War Collection and God of War III.
Gears of War 3
Hype-O-Meter : Eh. Eventually. Probably.
...but not any time soon. I liked the production values of Gears of War 2, but not enough to play more than an hour of it. One day I'll beat that game and become mildly interested in playing Gears 3, but - in my mind, at least - the franchise is simply the single-minded cousin of the much-better Uncharted games.
I'm not saying Gears doesn't do cover-based shooting well - I'm just saying that's all it does, and that gets pretty boring pretty fast.
Resident Evil 4 HD
Hype-O-Meter : Maybe, baby.
Resident Evil 4 is, as far as I'm concerned, the pinnacle of Capcom's horror warhorse. 5 was gorgeous but never the least bit scary, and as much as I love 2, I can't admit it's anywhere near as fun as 4.
Still, if I'm going to buy a game just for the sake of having its definitive version, I don't want it to be the intangible ownership the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live offers - I want a disc, and I want it on my shelf.
The ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection
Hype-O-Meter : Day One.
Once I was telling a friend who didn't understand that games can be truly moving, deep experiences the story of ICO. The game honestly doesn't have much of a story, but I told her what there was to it, and when I got to the beach scene I (honestly) began to cry, just by reliving the swell of emotion these games provide.
ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are the very definition of modern classics. There are no PS2 games more deserving of preservation, and you can bet your ass I'll own this at the first possible moment.
Child of Eden
Hype-O-Meter : I hope I can resist...
Child of Eden dropped earlier this year on the 360 to uniformly spectacular reviews. Honestly, no one has anything bad to say about this game. While I doubt the PS3 version will be any less than its 360 counterpart, I must admit it's possible.
If the game's reviews on PS3 reflect what I saw earlier this year? Yeah, I'm probably going to have to snag this one.
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And that's September 2011. A ton of noteworthy games - and things'll only get hotter as the year goes on. Gentleman, start your wallets!