Autumn is often the season for a blitz of great games, and 2007 looks to live up to that annual standard in an orgiastic display of gaming goodness.
Gearing up for sitting down
Ah, it’s autumn, and there’s a fine breeze blowing orange leaves across campus. The football season is in full swing, classes are starting and everyone is preparing for a season of apple pie and holiday dinners. Of course, there are those of us who don’t really care about any of that and see fall as a run-up to the holiday gaming season, generally the best time of the year to be a gamer. Autumn is often the season for a blitz of great games, and 2007 looks to live up to that annual standard in an orgiastic display of gaming goodness.
This year there are three new-generation consoles vying for your hard-earned dollar, and although two of them have been available for nearly a year, the payload of worthwhile games they carry has been slight. For Nintendo Wii owners, it’s been a real pebble in the colon to withstand so many months with just a handful of games worth their $40 or $50 price tag. Key Nintendo franchises such as Mario, Zelda and Metroid have all had strong showings on Nintendo’s new white box of giggles, and as goes the tradition of the Big N, those games have been the Wii’s height of glee.
Then there’s Sony’s newest black prism, the PlayStation 3, so resplendent with promise and bursting with the potential to deliver gamers the sort of joy usually reserved for something else entirely. Of course, as goes the Sony tradition, the first PS3 year has delivered a fine platter of shit, braised with a marinade of hobo vomit. There have been a select few third-party games worth playing, though nothing to justify the dropping of a cool $500 for the lower-end 60GB PS3 or $600 for the bigger, badder 80GB rig.
Well fret not, fellow gamers, because this fall’s lineup is star-studded with games that will leave drool on your lip and a controller in your hands throughout a cavalcade of visiting relatives.
The autumn season will produce several fine additions to the Wii repertoire, starting with Super Mario Galaxy. The game is similar to Mario games past, with a space twist to spruce up the red jumpsuit-sporting, pot-bellied plumber’s surroundings. As per usual with Mario, his jumping talents are essential to gameplay, and the levels in Galaxy are planets that Mario can launch between, relying on their gravitational pulls to keep him from spinning off into the vast reaches of space. There are also some great new power-ups like a Bee Suit that allows Mario to float with enhanced precision, gravitational arrows that help guide Mario along and the Boo Suit, a power-up that will fulfill the wettest dreams of anyone who’s ever imagined Mario as a cartoon ghost.
Also hitting shelves this fall is Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the third installment of Nintendo’s inter-franchise fighting series. This game will bring a whole new dimension of control to the series, with the Wii Remote creating a league of possibilities for fighting techniques. Also, Brawl will be the first in the series to bring in third-party characters: Solid Snake, of Metal Gear Solid fame, has already been confirmed as a playable character, and rumors abound that more non-Nintendo cast members will make the roll call for Brawl.
Also, after much contention, Manhunt 2 looks like it will be released on the Wii near Halloween. The game garnered an Adults-Only rating after its beta-testing, but enough changes have been made to earn it a scant Mature rating. Manhunt 2 puts players in the shoes of Daniel Lamb, a former scientist-turned-mental-case, driven to kill his way out of an asylum while fighting off his own psychoses. Never one to shy away from controversy, Rockstar Games’ first Manhunt was essentially the gaming equivalent of a snuff film, and while the concept for its sequel does away with the idea of “murders filmed for your enjoyment” the content is no less brutal. This game will redefine the standards of violence and trauma for console gaming, so pre-order it ASAP!
2007 has not been a good year for Sony. With just a few games being worth a $60 purchase, the PS3 has not fared well. Sure, it has a lot of processing power and arguably the most impressive guts of all the new systems, but that alone doesn’t justify $500 gone for the new console. Unlike the Wii, which has some momentum coming into this fall season, the PS3 will start making its tracks in the console race now, starting with Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. The lovable bobcat and his handy floating robot are taking on space once more, though this game won’t offer the free roaming combat of prior installments. The graphics and voice acting are top-notch in the game’s trailers, and the controls will be as inspired as ever a 3D-adventure’s controls have been.
For Halo haters everywhere, Sierra Games is releasing the Orange Box on PS3 in early November. The Orange Box is the name given to Half-Life 2’s next-generation debut, packaged complete with four–yes, four–other games, as well as a superb online multiplayer method of play. The game will feature updated controls to keep gameplay fresh, and even PC gamers will be drooling at the graphics of this console version.
Also of note for the PS3 this fall is Assassin’s Creed. The game is being released on multiple consoles, though the PS3 edition shows the most graphical and game-play promise. Set to take place during the Third Crusade–yeah, as in during year 1191–this game will follow an ultra-badass hit man named Altair as he whacks the bastards responsible for the Crusades. The game is an orgasm-in-a-box for history buffs, as Ubisoft Games went above and beyond to ensure historical accuracy. Players will make use of Altair’s blades, bows and all-out ballsiness to hack and slash through the Jerusalem and Damascus of yester-millennium and bring peace to the Middle East.
Oh, and then there’s this system. I fucking hate this system. But I would be morally remiss as a gamer to not mention Microsoft’s devil box, so just, um… you know what’s coming, right? Yeah, Halo 3. Yay. It’ll probably be hailed as the greatest first-person shooter ever. Joy.