Fall 2011 Gaming Lineup- What’s Got YOU Excited?

I’ve always been a PC gamer, starting back in the early 80’s when my parents refused to get us a Nintendo yet we were allowed to have an Apple IIc, which, as everyone knows, is responsible for lots of people’s getting hooked on games! I’ve had some forays into consoles, of course, I finally got an NES about 4 years after everyone else did, then a Genesis, then a Nintendo 64 in college- bought after I hit a full house for $1500 playing Texas Hold ’em at the casino. I also had a Dreamcast and of course, an XBOX- went the PS3 route after HD video lost out to BluRay as the standard. Nowadays, I do almost all of my gaming on PC, as being in my office with my big monolithic machine allows me to have a little privacy at night after work, fatherly and husbandly duties are wrapped for the day- plus, I don’t have to fight with my wife for the HDTV that way. Hey, a $300 graphics card update every 3 or 4 years is a small price to play, right? Let me run down the games that will have me cloistering myself in the next few months. Feel free to leave a comment if I missed something! All release dates are for North America, since that’s where I live!

 


Deus Ex: Human Revolution
– 08/23/2011

Company line: “You play Adam Jensen, an ex-SWAT specialist who’s been handpicked to oversee the defensive needs of one of America’s most experimental biotechnology firms. Your job is to safeguard company secrets, but when a black ops team breaks in and kills the very scientists you were hired to protect, everything you thought you knew about your job changes

Badly wounded during the attack, you have no choice but to become mechanically augmented and you soon find yourself chasing down leads all over the world, never knowing who you can trust. At a time when scientific advancements are turning athletes, soldiers and spies into super enhanced beings, someone is working very hard to ensure mankind’s evolution follows a particular path.

You need to discover where that path lies. Because when all is said and done, the decisions you take, and the choices you make, will be the only things that can change it.”

The Deus Ex series hasn’t had a release in about 8 years, when the vastly-inferior-to-the-sequel-because-of-console-dumbing-down “Invisible War” hit. I still thought it was a very good game even if it was short; not as good as the original Deus Ex but still good. I’m very much looking forward to the new game as a way to bridge the gap between now and whenever D3 and TOR come out. At about 40 hours of gameplay if you do everything and about 25 hours if you don’t, this is a nice sized game that also lends itself to multiple playthroughs. Deus Ex is pretty singular in the world of gaming, it sort of plays like a Morrowind but with a cohesive story. You decide how you want to play- guns blazing, stealth, or an adaptive approach. The game features FPS and RPG as well as social and puzzle-solving elements presented in a near-future backdrop set in real-world locations such as Detroit. This one has been kind of low on my radar, but there was an early leak of the press version, so you can actually play the first 10 hours of the game right now if you can’t wait until the 24th. Plus, if you buy it on Steam, the Augmented version comes with a copy of Invisible War that you can play to tide yourself over!

 

 

Star Wars- Knights of the Old Republic– No release date yet, strongly believed to be Q4 of 2011

Company Line: “Play Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ and be the hero of your own Star Wars™ saga in a story-driven massively-multiplayer online game from BioWare and LucasArts.

Explore an age thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader when war between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire divides the galaxy.

Choose to be a Jedi, a Sith, or from a variety of other classic Star Wars roles, and make decisions which define your personal story and determine your path down the light or dark side of the Force. Along the way you will befriend courageous companions who will fight at your side or possibly betray you based on your actions. Together, you will battle enemies in dynamic Star Wars combat and team up with other players to overcome incredible challenges.

Join us. Your personal Star Wars saga begins in Star Wars: The Old Republic.”

I have a lot of love for the Star Wars franchise, I even like the prequels! I’ve been waiting for a new MMO to play for a while, the last one I played seriously was Lord of the Rings Online, which I quit a couple of years ago as I got bored with the endgame which was “look for first age weapons in between doing two raids over and over”. SWTOR promises to let me play the badass Sith Inquisitor I’ve always wanted to play, and without the disastrous gaffes of the current Star Wars MMO, Galaxies- which incidentally, is closing down later this year (I guess they don’t want two MMOs based on the same IP active at the same time). Star Wars TOR is shaping up to be a pretty standard MMO, nothing too new or innovative coming out of the beta leaks except that every line in the game- meaning every NPC, every throwaway fetch quest is voice-acted. This game has been in development for nearly a decade and while I don’t think it’s a WOW-killer, I certainly think they are going to try. I give BioWare a lot of credit for taking on such an IP- surely fans will run the gamut from hardcore poopsocking MMO players to little kids that just love the movies and want to pew pew some stuff.  Supposedly there are 200 hours of gameplay for EACH of the 8 classes, though I have reservations about how many of those hours will cross over from class to class. Look for my guild- “WTS Deathsticks PST” in game, on day one!

 


Diablo 3
– No release date yet, beta is rumored to start this September

Company Line: “Two decades have passed since the demonic lords, Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal, set out across the world of Sanctuary on a vicious rampage, twisting humanity to their unholy will. Yet for those who battled the Prime Evils, the memory fades slowly.

When Deckard Cain returns to the ruins of Tristram Cathedral seeking clues to defeat new stirrings of evil, a fiery harbinger of doom falls from the heavens, striking the very ground where Diablo once entered the world. This fire from the sky reawakens ancient evils and calls the heroes of Sanctuary to defend the mortal world against the rising powers of the Burning Hells once again.”

Is there anyone reading this column that hasn’t played Diablo II? The isometric hack-n-slash RPG revolutionized online gaming with friends and changed everyone’s idea of what an online game could be, as it compelled players to play through over and over to improve their ladder standings and of course- LEWT! PHAT LEWT! PURPS AND GOLDS! D3 is really a whole genre of game in itself, you could even call it “loot-based”. Modern games like Borderlands have this “loot basis” to thank for their design. The most interesting thing I’ve seen about this so far is that there will be servers where you can buy and sell weapons and items for actual money. Should I quit my job and just raid 18 hours a day? How much can I make? Will this fall flat on its face? Remains to be seen, but Blizzard usually knows what they are doing. It’s a toss-up, I can’t decide if I’m more excited for SW:TOR or D3. Hard to say! Heck, after the embarrassing lack of games that came out that I wanted to play last year, I’m glad to have $300 worth of titles to buy in Q4 of 2011.

 

 

The Elder Scrolls 5- Skyrim– 11/11/2011

Company Line: “Epic Fantasy Reborn: Skyrim reimagines and revolutionizes the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose.

Live Another Life, In Another World: Play any type of character you can imagine, and do whatever you want; the legendary freedom of choice, storytelling, and adventure of The Elder Scrolls comes to life like never before.

All New Graphics and Gameplay Engine:Skyrim’s new game engine brings to life a complete virtual world with rolling clouds, rugged mountains, bustling cities, lush fields, and ancient dungeons.

You Are What You Play: Choose from hundreds of weapons, spells, and abilities. The new character system allows you to play any way you want and define yourself through your actions.

Dragons Return: Battle ancient dragons like you’ve never seen. As Dragonborn, learn their secrets and harness their power for yourself.”

The Elder Scrolls series are about a huge adaptable world where the player can try any character they want. The first Elder Scrolls game I played was Morrowind on XBOX, and unfortunately at the 45-hour mark on TWO separate occasions my character wiped and I was too frustrated to go back and start over. However, I gave the game to a friend and he played it to the point where he has seen everything, can one-hit kill any enemy, and has so much money that the system is having trouble keeping track of it. I still remember my first experience playing the game, which was ingesting a poison that allowed me to jump hundreds of feet in the air- unfortunately, as I soon found out, I wasn’t able to land without pureeing myself. This is a game that you can truly play however you want- think Fallout 3- and merits multiple playthroughs. Let’s hope they get rid of the level-scaled enemies that Oblivion had (I still think Oblivion is great). I look forward to wasting another 200 hours in Tamriel!

Why didn’t I include Mass Effect 3 on this list? Unfortunately, it won’t be out until March, but it’s safe to say that I’m highly anticipating that one as well! Gotta finish my pure Paragon and Renegade playthroughs before then!

What’s on your radar? Did I miss something?

 

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