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?”).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.