Now comes a little segment in The Update in which I like to preview a few of the big hits of the month. Don’t feel obliged to read all of them, but rather, just pick out the ones you like, and if you feel the need to comment, let me know which section you’re talking about. Thanks and enjoy!
This month’s update will preview…
-Gears of War 2
-Little Big Planet
-Left 4 Dead
-Call of Duty: World at War
Gears of War 2
If you’re gonna call yourself an Xbox 360 gamer, then no doubt you’ve heard of the Xbox 360 exclusive title, Gears of War. It created quite a following for itself back when it was released in 2006 for the Xbox 360, shortly after the console’s launch. It’s time now for the next installment in the rumored trilogy, Gears of War (yes, you guessed it) 2.
Boasting a few new weapons, characters, enemies, vehicles, maps, locations, buttons, bugs, chainsaws, and more, Gears of War 2 is shaping up to be one of the biggest blockbuster hits of this year. It’s got everything any serious gamer could ask for, killer weapons, gritty warzones, gruesome enemies, and a pretty well thought out campaign. To differentiate the title from the original Gears of War, EPIC has added in a few new features. In addition to the new campaign and singleplayer levels, the game introduces several new game modes, seamless cooperative drop-in support, 5 training missions for players new to the game, and offline bots for offline skirmishes or practice. This game’s release date, set exactly two years after the first game’s, will reach us in just 3 days. While it won’t be as hectic as Halo 3’s launch, Gears of War 2 will hopefully live up to its predecessors, and, judging by the reviews already out there, it already has.
-Most of the original GoW game mechanics return. If you enjoyed the first title, chances are that you’ll enjoy this one as well.
-A few new game mechanics and weapons, such as the ability to grab enemies as human shields.
-New multiplayers modes and maps. As far as the modes go, you’ll see modes like horde, a 5-player cooperative fight to the death against waves of AI-controlled Locusts.
-More singleplayer levels to play and an enhanced coop mode, allowing players to drop into their buddy’s game seamlessly.
If you’re interested, pick up Gears of War 2 this Friday (Nov. 7th) for the Xbox 360. I will be reviewing it shortly thereafter, so stay tuned for my first impressions (minor update) and my full review (major update).
Little Big Planet
I’m not a PS3 guy so I’m not gonna try and act like one, but I’ve come across some news (relatively old news actually) relating to the game. For those that don’t know, Little Big Planet was recently pulled from store shelves due to some music that it contained in one of its levels. The music was apparently offensive to the Islamic religion because it contained certain lines from the Qur’an. The game was expected to ship out again no later than I think this week (that’s the week of Nov. 3rd), and as far as I know, most stores have been selling the game for a few days now. Just a few comments on this action, I think Sony made a pretty good move, I mean, they lost a ton of money by having the CDs re-stamped, but putting a kids’ game out with disrespectful song lyrics wouldn’t have looked all that great on their part. A “day one” patch might have worked, but it wouldn’t have fixed the game for those players without Sony’s online service. Whatever the case may be, it was a controversial deal and Sony did a good job of righting itself, disrespecting any religion is not something that should be taken lightly, even if accidental.
Just a note, I’m currently looking for a writer to help out with PS3 news and reviews, as I don’t own a PS3 and won’t be able to cover anything more than PS3 news. Check out the Opportunities page for more information.
-Puzzle Platformer, doesn’t redefine the genre, but rather refines it.
-The Sackboy, who doesn’t love ’em? (Extensive opportunities for customization).
-Incredible graphics and physics engines, as well as great audio.
Left 4 Dead
Alright, Left 4 Dead time. I wasn’t really looking into this game a whole lot until quite recently, after watching some videos and reading some news reports on the games, I got hooked to it. It is expected to ship and be in stores by mid-November, I apologize for not having the exact date, and it is looking to be a killer title for the Xbox 360 and PC. For any of you all that play CounterStrike or CounterStrike Source, Left 4 Dead runs on the Source engine, and pits up to 4 “survivors” against hordes of the living dead. Each match takes place on a scenario type map, where the survivors start at one point, make it to point B, then C, and finally D, where they have to hold out for several minutes until an EVAC Chopper arrives to rescue them. Sounds simple enough, but when you combine this with the hectic action resulting from wave after wave of swarming brain-eating zombies, things start to get pretty intense.
A random AI Computer will control the zombies in cooperative mode, and it has been made so that each encounter will be randomized and different, so that even though you may play the same scenarios multiple times, no single game will be the same. Zombies will come from different areas, ambushes will be set in different choke points, and bigger, badder zombies might come at different times under different circumstances. I think (not 100% sure here) that in online play, up to 4 other players may also control the zombies, but I can’t confirm this for you, as I’ve only heard this from a few friends. Regardless, the AI itself ‘ought to make for some entertaining coop experiences, and should increase the longevity of this title by a long shot. I’m looking forward to its release later this November, and am definitely gonna have to pick it up.
-It’s a zombie survival game, you’re basically playing out a movie.
-Random encounters create re-playability.
-Focus on cooperative play allows for more relaxed play sessions, while at the same time creating a hectic situation in which players have to rely on each others’ strengths to proceed.
Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: World at War, more commonly known as Call of Duty 5, is perhaps one of the more well-known non-exclusive games that will be hitting the market this holiday season. Running on the same engine as the smash hit Call of Duty 4, we’re told that World at War will deliver the same stellar performance at its big brother. By making only a few changes to the original formula, Treyarch hopes to bring the same chaos and exhilarating battlefield combat from Call of Duty 4 to the World War II era in Call of Duty 5. I actually got into both the Xbox 360 Beta and the PC Beta, so I can talk with a small amount of experience on the matter.
*I didn’t have enough room to keep all the box arts on one line, so I omitted the PS3 box art.
Let me just go ahead and say that I’m not really all that intrigued by the Call of Duty 5 beta. Why? Because no matter what I’m doing in that game, no matter my weapon, kit, map or game mode, I feel like I’ve done it before. Not only that, but because I’ve played Call of Duty 4 to such a great extent, Call of Duty 5 just seems stale to me. It’s the same game with different weapons, but even the weapons feel the same. The light machine guns in Call of Duty 5 shoot like the sub machine guns in Call of Duty 4, the sniper rifles fire the same way, and even the rocket launcher seems to fire similarly to Call of Duty 4’s RPG. On the positive side, because Call of Duty 5 has already been done before, there aren’t really a whole lot of balance issues, which is pretty good. You’ll still get the whiney little kid complaining about the Juggernaught perk or Martyrdom, but that’s why they made the mute button right? In short, it’ll be an undeserving big hit, just because all of the Call of Duty 4 fanboys will migrate to Call of Duty 5, and will whine there a bit before moving onwards to the next mainstream title.
-Play Call of Duty 4 and you’ll have played Call of Duty 5.
-WWII setting, meaning instead of modern maps, now you’ll be playing on WWII-themed maps.
-If you like WWII better than modern, it’s definitely worth looking into. If not, just stick with Call of Duty 4, I suspect there’ll be people playing that game for a long time to come.
And so ends the first monthly preview segment, this has been Haunt, please comment and spread the word, and thanks for reading!