As the Holiday season brings in a torrent of games that will undoubtedly lighten your wallet and thicken your backlog, we sift through the pile and offer our opinion on the games you probably shouldn’t miss this October.
Dark Souls – October 4th (PS3)
Before video games became more about the experience itself and less about the challenge of the gameplay, Japanese developers were hammering us over our collective heads with tough-as-nails games that took a fair amount of fortitude and perseverance – not to mention house mates willing to tolerate your outbursts – to see all the way through. Dark Souls is an ode to a past era where an unforgiving difficulty was the norm. As the spiritual successor to Demon’s Soul , you can expect an even more intense challenge and, no surprise, lots of dying.
Dying in Dark Souls isn’t the same ego-bruising event that it is in your typical game, in fact it’s encouraged as it leads to you not only correcting your strategies but also learning more about your equipment. Whereas in Demon’s Soul we struggled to stay alive as long as possible, in Dark Souls the soul form has been removed entirely. You still lose all your souls upon death and have to make it back to the spot you died to regain them, but you aren’t in soul form which is a nod that players will have to embrace the concept of dying to succeed.
RAGE – October 4th (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Doom , Quake , Wolfenstein, these are the franchises that set the stage for the first-person shooter genre long before the Halos and the Call of Duties stole the spotlight. With developer id Software’s latest graphics engine, id Tech 5, the world of RAGE has been fully and beautifully realized and we can expect an involving story to compliment it. A world and a story would be useless without a strong cast of characters to give it a soul, and with John Goodman lending his voice to one of the starring characters, we can expect at least Roseanne-level character development. DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
One of the first aspects of RAGE that will impress the hell out of you are the horizons and vistas, if you had binoculars you still wouldn’t be able to see everything. This will prove misleading though because as much as RAGE dresses up like an open-world game, it really isn’t. You’ll have the chance to go off the beaten path a bit, especially with vehicles being a significant part of the game, but don’t expect Oblivion type exploration. What you can expect is to mow down hordes of enemies with a wide array of ranged weaponry, and perhaps no other game before has looked so good during the process.
Forza Motorsport 4 – October 11th (Xbox 360)
After Gran Turismo dropped the ball, Forza Motorsport was quick to scoop it up. GT 5’s development cycle was disgustingly long; between the release of the 4th and 5th games, Forza 1, 2, and 3 were released and became the go-to series for simulation racing fans. Sure, the Forza games have proven to be more forgiving compared to the rigid nature of Gran Turismo , but that may be changing the fourth time around in the Forza Motorsport series.
The new simulation handling mode will offer a more involved handling experience for those who dig that level of realism, and coupled with a touch of inspiration from Need for Speed: Shift , the sense of speed has been cranked up a few notches to let the cars truly speak their mind.
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One – October 18th (PS3)
If you regularly follow my writing or my activity in the forums, you might know something about me that even my mother doesn’t know. Actually, my mother just doesn’t care about the fact that I love cooperative games with a passion. I love them, I love them, I love them. There’s nothing more enjoyable to me in a gaming session than playing alongside my friends, and any opportunity I have to do so I take up with extreme exuberance.
The Ratchet & Clank series is one of the PS3 library’s most valuable possessions, it’s the type of game 360 and PC owners do not have easy access to and helps Sony maintain its position in having the strongest lineup of exclusive content. In Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, developer Insomniac is making everything that was great about the past games and making it better, approximately four times better to be accurate, by introducing cooperative gameplay for up to four people. And not only is it coop, it’s SAME SCREEN coop!
The credo of the past games’ gameplay has not been significantly altered, this time around there will be sequences that require the actions of multiple players – the game will scale to accommodate between two to four players on the fly – and weapons which have alternate uses when multiple players are coordinating with each other. If you feel like playing the game solo because, you know, that’s how you roll, the A.I. will steer the second player as you jump, slide, fly, shoot, and do all the wacky stuff R&C games have come to be known for as you progress through the levels.
Batman: Arkham City – October 18th (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Taking place about a year after the events of Arkham Asylum , Arkham City brings Batman back into action with a whole slew of upgrades and a fiesty new co-star: Catwoman. Catwoman will have her own storyline that will run parallel, and at times intersect, with Batman’s own quest. She’ll play similar in style to Batman, however, instead of Detective Mode she’ll have her own Thief Mode to help her locate items to steal, and her combat will be more acrobatic than that of the bulky Batman.
The Dark Knight himself will start his new mission off with all the weapons and gadgets from the last game, and over time he’ll gain new ones as well as learn some potent new attacks. Arkham City will have a deeper focus on puzzle solving and the Detective Mode has been revamped in a way that its navigational utility is reduced and its forensics utility enhanced. This is meant to discourage players who felt obligated to play every second of the game in blue glowy mode in order to avoid missing anything.
Batman: Arkham City is the bigger, badder, darker version of its predecessor.
Battlefield 3 – October 24th (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Battlefield 3 will be sending the month of October out with a bang, it’s easily among a handful of games that is already guaranteed – if anything by its astounding pre-order numbers – massive success and PC gamers all over are upgrading components in their machines in anticipation.
In BF3, multiplayer is no longer the sole attraction as the single player has been given its fair share of development love as you blast your way through locations including New York, Paris, and Tehran. There’s also a coop mode with missions entirely separate from the campaign that two players can work through together.
As much as there may be a concerted effort to produce a worthy singleplayer campaign to compliment the multiplayer, it’s the latter that millions of gamers will be swarming to BF3 for when it releases later this month. With larger maps, a higher player limit, more vehicles, the ability to go prone for better stealth tactics and new game modes, BF3 is shaping up to be everything past Battlefiend games were and a whole lot more.
Feel like we missed anything? Don’t agree with our choices? Let us know in our forums.