Fall Feelings

As a family man, summers are awesome. The kids are out of school and get to stay up later, we go to all kinds of horrible movies that are tons of fun (G.I. Joe may replace Starship Troopers as my favorite bad movie), and there is the usual family vacation.

As a gamer, summer is a wasteland. Typically what happens is that I manage to purchase all the games I have been waiting to hit the price I am willing to pay for them. Once those are caught up I hit the usual ennui as I find myself stuck with the same titles. Honestly, without Shadow Complex and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 I may have gone insane.

Now that the fall deluge is upon us, there are more games than what would be financially responsible to purchase. On my radar this season are a plethora of games (“Would you say I have a plethora?”).

September 1st
Guitar Hero 5
85 songs, the ability to play any instrument you want at any time, avatar support, and Johnny Freakin’ Cash. Geez, the only way they could make this game sweeter is if they offered a free game with it. Oh wait! Order Guitar Hero 5 before October 1st and get Guitar Hero: Van Halen free! I love Van Halen! Sadly, even though I think Activision is flooding the market with these games and is going to single-handedly destroy the music rhythm genre, my pre-order is in. Also, the play any instrument any time feature is going to finally resolve the usual “Do you want to play Guitar or Bass” that precedes every song.

Section 8
The demo was awesome and everything about this game looks top notch. Here is the problem, it’s a shooter. A genre I already have a ton of quality games to play. If I had to pick, I am more excited about Section 8 than Halo 3: ODST to be honest. However, this game will have to drop to $50 before I buy it. Not a Day One purchase.

September 9th
The Beatles: Rock Band
While I enjoy the Beatles, I’m not a fan. Harmonix always does a great job with these games and I have no doubt that this will be an awesome game and well worth the money. However, with Guitar Hero 5 already pre-ordered, this will have to wait until early next year. Why next year? Wait till November 3rd and I’ll tell you. A game I’m willing to pay full price for, but the timing of its release is terrible for me.

September 15th
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
A criticism I’ve always agreed with is that to enjoy these games you have to accept that Spider-man hits as hard as the Hulk as far as the game is concerned. If they can go more into making the heroes feel unique rather than variations on the same template I may become very interested. Otherwise it looks like a fancier Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Although it might take awhile, I may be willing to pay upwards of $40, but it’s solidly on my radar.

September 22nd
Halo 3: ODST
It’s Halo and thus it has to be on my radar by law. Halo Wars received an exemption because it was not a shooter. Bungie makes solid games, though the series was starting to feel derivative of itself with the last installment. Not a day one purchase, but like Section 8 I’d be willing to pay $50 for it. Unlike Section 8 and Halo 3, I see myself soldily avoiding multi-player. Despite Bungie’s best efforts they’ve made the multi-player experience too painful while the Call of Duty series has done well to reward people just for participating.

October 6th
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
I have to have one dark horse on my radar, a game that just looks too unlikely to be a win. I played the original Operation Flashpoint on the PC years ago and enjoyed the battles that were more open and allowed me to experience emergent gameplay before anyone knew what that meant. Unfortunately, the game was riddled with poor balance, a difficulty curve that resembled a brick wall, and terrible vehicle controls. I suspect this game will find itself adrift amongst all the other games being released, many of which aren’t even on this list since these are only games on my personal radar. This is a title that will likely drop in price rapidly, and my cheapness frugal spending will allow me to pick it up at a bargain.

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes
I have to get this, the kids demand it. They’re more excited about this than Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. Republic Heroes does look like it might be fun in an arcade-like way. Will likely wait until November when we hit “Birthday Season”.

October 20th
Borderlands
I have very mixed feelings about this game. The art and concept seem great, but the idea of combining RPG elements with a shooter is not exactly as new and fresh as they try to sell it. Actually, it seems less “role-play” and more “Diablo” but with an apocalyptic background and first-person perspective. Might be great or it might tank horribly. I’m interested but this is a game that I’ll wait until the post release buzz hits.

October 27th
Alpha Protocol
A definite day one purchase, but more for the setting than anything else. Sadly, there are just no contemporary role-playing games out there. While I love the concept of a role-playing game with a superspy setting, what really sells Alpha Protocol is that it doesn’t tread the familiar ground of fantasy, sci-fi, or apocalypse. I’m hoping the game is a huge success just so it might inspire other games to explore a more modern setting.

November 3rd
Lego Rock Band
I’m afraid this one is going to be overshadowed by Beatles: Rock Band. On one hand, I’m seriously wondering if the music rhythm genre is not already at critical mass. On the other hand, it desperately needs something more kid friendly. There are just too many songs on any of these games that make me wince. Not only that, but I see a real gap forming in the demographics these games cater to. There is a definite need to cater to a somewhat younger audience. Since my primary group for Rock Band is my kids anyway, this might be a natural for our house.

November 10th
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
I have mixed feelings about this. Infinity Ward makes some of the best games in the business and their multiplayer implementation for Call of Duty 4 actually made it fun to show up and play. However, I’m still not keen on spending $60 for a shooter. At some point it will go on sale or just drop in price and I’ll get it for $50. I’m sure it will still have plenty of players.

Comments

  1. I’ll try and add my two cents to upcoming releases:

    Guitar Hero 5
    I’m gonna pass because we’ll be getting the Beatles. I’m scared about LEGO Rock Band. I’m not really all that into songs from Hannah Montana and the Judas Iscariot Bros. The GH series has really sucked with the DLC which is a shame because it was World Tour that was my first game of that type.

    Section 8
    Not on my radar, but I’ll see.

    Halo: OSDT
    I would get it for single-player alone, but to me I think two words describe the franchise well (together and separate): stale milk.

    Star Wars The CLone Wars: Republic Heroes
    For the same reasons you mentioned.

    Borderlands
    I keep distancing myself from it, but keep finding out about it. I love Gearbox. the big decision is what to get it on? Where will my online friends be for the co-op?

    I’m not thrilled on spending $60 for ANY game. The only game I’ve done that with is Batman: Arkham Asylum this year. (Which is more than worth it. Uh…squee!)

    So when push comes to shove I may not get any of these titles. This has been my lowest money-spending year in a LONG time…and I’ve had more fun gaming, I believe, as a result.

  2. I’m only renting GH5 to play Sultans Of Swing. Other than that, I could care less about it. I’m also not terribly excited about Beatles RB, but I would like to give it a try.

    My fall is pretty much all portable titles. Even Uncharted 2, the game I’m very interested in, is not quite enough to sway me into spending $70 anymore. I’ve got a pile to work on now and I’ll try to wait until a price drop on most of the big titles this fall.

    I’m getting Scribblenauts, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Persona PSP and probably Nostalgia. Everything else will be rented or waited for if I can help it!

  3. Halo 3: ODST
    I stand firmly against every jaded gamer who talks down about the Halo franchise. It seems to be the cool thing to do to downplay it, to say that it is long in the tooth. Reasons are very rarely given for this opinion. Needless to say, I’ll be getting ODST on release day.

    Borderlands
    The definition of “RPG” seems to get more and more flexible. If you slap the term “elements” to it, you can pretty much say that anything is an RPG. The fact that Shadow Complex‘s Jason Fleming has three stats that can increase is enough for some people to say it has RPG elements. If Diablo was first released today, it would also be called an RPG or an action game with RPG elements. This is how I look at Borderlands. I have a good feeling about this title and will be getting it at launch.

    Modern Warfare 2
    I thought the original was great, so I’m all over this one.

    Forza 3
    You didn’t mention this one, but I am because I really enjoy this series. And, for once, I will be able to play the virtual version of the car I own! I don’t know why that is a selling point for me.

    Section 8
    The demo took a while to grow on me. Once it did, I envisioned myself running a server on one of my PCs to host my own Section 8 games. I may have to get this one.

    I don’t have an interest in the other games you brought up in your post, so I won’t offer an opinion on them.

    And yes, you do have a plethora.

  4. @WillIn my comments I’m not attacking the fans of the Halo franchise. I like the games. I just think that ODST should have been an expansion, not a full blown $60 game. However, Microsoft is smart in knowing that their large fanbase will pay a premium for it. (Hence my milk comment).

    I also think that there’s not been much in the way of something new with each game. It feels like they’ve released the same game three times. (This seems stale to me). ODST looks to be the biggest change to the series. I hope it succeeds in that regard.

    Of course, this is not the only franchise to be this way.

    Oh, and I’m glad you mentioned Forza 3. How could I forget about that?

  5. What’s this? Someone wants me to start slamming the Halo franchise? Oh, there’s a post I need to write.

    Granted, I’ve been ambivalent about Halo since day 1 (esp. because Bungie stopped making the Myth games!) so there. 🙂

  6. @Nat I didn’t take is as an attack at the fans at all. You didn’t say anything that made me think that. I’m defending the franchise because… well, I guess I have nothing else better to do right now. That and I guess I’m a bit of a Halo fanboy.

    Without knowing the extent of the campaign, I think it would be hard to judge whether or not $60 is a fair price. I already bought all of the map packs, so their inclusion has no value for me whatsoever. So if I only have Firefight, 3 maps and a five-hour campaign, then I will be disappointed.

    ODST is a large change because of its sandbox approach, which makes me think that Bungie is genuinely trying to avoid releasing the same game over and over; that is a charge I would quickly lay on the Call of Duty series, which is essentially six versions of the same.

    @Brock That’s different. You didn’t like the game from jump. I’m talking about people who did enjoy it who started to dislike it over time. I’m still interested in what you have to say though.

  7. @Will While we’re on the subject of same games, just a few numbers I can think of.

    Madden, NCAA, GTA, Harvest Moon, Mario Kart, Persona, Final Fantasy, and any other JRPG that Brock may play.

    Oh, I went there…

    Yes, I did.

  8. Those sound like fighting words.

  9. @Nat I’d argue with you… except you’re right.

    That said, when something has achieved perfection as the JRPG genre so clearly has, who needs to try to improve it?

  10. @Brock touch

  11. Late to the party as usual 🙂

    While working on the September release post, it does look like this fall is setting up for the wallet to take some serious hits.

    I still don’t know what to do with Halo 3 ODST. Firefight sounds like a blast, and all the new Halo 3 maps are tempting. I may be picking that one up.

    Past that, Borderlands and The Saboteur maybe? So many shooters! Forza 3 is a must-by for me (and yes, Pink Lexuses are definitely in my future) and Scribblenauts.

    This suddenly felt like a gamers-anonymous, where we all admitted we’re addicted. Except we’re not trying to get better.

  12. See, while I actually agree with the stale milk comment about ODST, I still have it on my radar simply because the franchise has delivered good high quality shooters even if it’s starting to repeat itself.

    Granted, the feeling of Deja Vu was not near as strong with Halo 3 as it was with Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

    I hope they do a more open battlefield and Firefight might get me into multiplayer.

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