Monday, October 31, 2011

The Games of November 2011.

This is it. The big enchilada. This is the month for major releases. September, what did you have? Resistance 3 and Gears 3? Not too shabby. October, you weren't half-bad, what with the delicious Dark Souls and fantastic Batman: Arkham City - but there ain't no gaming month like November.

No month in 2011 is so similarly jam-packed with fabulous gaming as this. A new Bethesda RPG, Naughty Dog's next release, a new installment in an ancient and legendary franchise and the latest commercial leviathan to fly under the Modern Warfare label. Protect your wallets behind the Greatshield of Artorias, but even that will not avail you! The games of November are coming, they won't leave without your time and money, and I for one couldn't be more pleased.

* * *

November 1st
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Hype-O-Meter : Day one.

If Uncharted 3 maintains the standards of quality the series has become known for, it will be an instant frontrunner for 2011's Game of the Year - and in a year like this, that is really saying something. I expect this to be the most fun I've had shooting folks since BioShock 2 - and then there's platforming and puzzle solving and the best story presentation in the industry, oh my!

November 8th
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
PS3, 360
Hype-O-Meter : Damn you, Kojima - take my money!

Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 are two of my favorite games of all time. Yes, they're from the last generation. Yes, 2 descends into some real post-modern storytelling, no, I almost definitely won't find time to play them this year. I don't care. Damn you, Kojima. Take my money. Take all of my monies.

November 8th
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
PS3, 360, PC, Wii
Hype-O-Meter: For me? Nil. For the industry? Infinite.

There ain't no seller like a Call of Duty. Since Modern Warfare debuted in 2007, the Call of Duty label has commanded billions of dollars in sales, its yearly updates choking the crucial Christmas season in its merciless military kung-fu grip. This is because these games are the standard-setters for multiplayer. Gears and Halo may provide us with a new multiplayer game type (horde mode), but Call of Duty simply co-opts these into its own well-established, highly populated framework and bam - this is the game the kids in the frat house will be playing until, well, the next Call of Duty.

November 11th
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
PS3, 360, PC
Hype-O-Meter: Day one.

Bethesda do not have an infinite quantity of credit, with me. Their games are buggy, their stories are often formulaic and shallow, and - in Oblivion, at least - their systems of leveling and balance leave much to be desired.

I don't care. I must admit, after sifting through its media and reading previews, I have bought into the hype that Skyrim could be the Elder Scrolls game that lives up to the game we foster, wrapped in swaddling in our fertile gamer minds. A rich, full world teeming with smallfolk and small stories. A grand scope and inspired scale, a leveling system that makes sense (and doesn't require you jump everywhere you go to increase your acrobatics skill) and a game that's not rife with technical errors. The fantasy world that lives and breathes within our imaginations - I want to play that game!

I choose hope.

November 15th
Assassin's Creed: Revelations
PS3, 360, PC
Hype-O-Meter: Day one.

Ubisoft have this very weird thing going on where they put out an excellent, triple-A open-world action game every single year - or have been for the past three years. What's doubly remarkable is how markedly improved each iteration of the Assassin's Creed franchise has been. II was the game Assassin's Creed should have been, and Brotherhood so refined and expanded on what was offered in II, I cannot suggest that Revelations will be anything another gorgeous, fun, romantic, inspiring romp through renaissance-era Italy and Constantinople.

It'll be delish.

November 15th
Rayman Origins
PS3, 360, PC, Wii, 3DS, Vita
Tempt me not, gorgeous 2D platformer!

If Novembered weren't chock-full of games I have to buy day-one and play into the ground - if this were August or July or May - I would day-one Rayman and deliver you a tasty review. As it is, I can't imagine I'll have time for it - but that doesn't mean it's not worth mentioning.

Previews of the title have been uniformly positive, and if nothing else it is a gorgeous, 2D platformer. For the most part, that's all I really need to know. I'll almost definitely check it out some day - but not now.

November 20th
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Hype-O-Meter: I want you. God help me, I do.

I want to love Zelda again. I played the gold cart when I was a kid, and thoroughly fell in love with A Link To The Past, which I maintain is the best Zelda game there's ever been. Yes, including Ocarina of Time - I blaspheme, I know.

I've tried to get back to good with this long-term, on-again off-again romance. I didn't mind Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, but I've never felt as strongly positive about Zelda's forays into the third dimension. Twilight Princess simply didn't stir me as the early games did - and I suspect Skyward Sword will suffer from the same disconnect - but as with Skyrim, I dare to hope.

I want to love Zelda again - and previews and trailers of Skyward Sword have left me with an appetite for this newest entry. The deciding factor, I think, will be where I'm at with Dark Souls and Skyrim when December rolls around. If all my reviews have been writ? I think I'll take a trip to Skyloft.

* * *

And that's November. This month is all about kicking the crap out of our holiday buying dollar, and so you've likely noticed that every game listed above is a sequel to a known IP. There's not bright-eyed newcomer in the bunch - because what's important to the publishers right now is that they get their greatest chunk of our buying dollar, and sequels sell. Fortunately for us gamers, the inverse of The Movie Sequel Rule applies - and a sequel is generally a very good bet, when it comes to gaming.

There remain unanswered questions about some of 2011's expected releases - where are AMY and I Am Alive? Both of those are due out nowish, but we've not seen hide nor hair of them - I suspect they'll make an appearance in 2012, if they don't drop on the networks during December.

I for one am more than a bit relieved they won't be dropping this month. November's quantity of quality does not border on the ridiculous - it has breached such borders and is running wild in the valleys beyond.

Uncharted 3 drops tomorrow! Eeee!

1 comment:

  1. Don't worry, you aren't alone in thinking A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game; plenty of people agree with you. However I can never say no to my first: Link's Awakening.