Rolling out the big guns (video game-wise, that is)

- Ramon De Veyra -

MANILA, Philippines - Now that we’re in the last quarter of the year, video game fanatics are practically foaming at the mouth, salivating for the year’s biggest, most-awaited games. Publishers typically release their biggest titles around this time of year to take advantage of the holiday season and its accompanying gift-giving expenses to boost sales.

As it so happens, arguably the five biggest games of the year are going to be coming out in successive weeks, kicking off with the release of Batman: Arkham City in a few days. Here’s a little primer on what’s in store for the hardcore gamer’s next month and a half, where his brain melts while his bank statement weeps.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the monster to beat. Its last installment became the best-selling first-person action game of all time, so there’s pressure to bear on the sequel. Speculation is rampant, especially since three top execs from developer Infinity Ward angrily left the company when they clashed with publisher (and Call of Duty franchise owner) Activision. Early reports indicate they stayed safely within their wheelhouse, with not much in the way of innovation, just more of what’s already proved tremendously successful.

Nathan Drake returns to crack wise, kick butt, and take names. And find treasure, of course.

Battlefield 3 wants to kill Modern Warfare’s dominance, and it stands a fair chance. The trailers and demo videos released so far have featured spectacularly beautiful graphics, and developer Dice is keen to show off its new Frostbite engine that makes almost every element in the game destroyable, meaning you can take many different paths to your objectives. They’ve also added fighter jets to multiplayer!

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is the only PS3-exclusive game we have here, but the love fans have for Uncharted 2 has made it one of the signature games on the system. Likeable characters and excellent voice acting, coupled with smoothened gameplay and a fun multiplayer component, have gamers trembling to experience the further adventures of Nathan Drake, especially with talk of a movie being developed.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations follows from last year’s Brotherhood and is the only franchise here that doesn’t need at least two years between installments. It’s said to conclude the story of Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood, and sports some new multiplayer mechanics to keep up replayability. With a storyline that continues to be compelling, it’ll be interesting to see what direction they take it in if they lose a favorite main character.

Arkham City features enhanced gliding mechanics and other playable characters, like Catwoman.

Batman: Arkham City is the youngest franchise on this list, but has a lot of expectations on its shoulders, being the sequel to what is almost inarguably the best Batman game of all time (some say it’s the best game, period). There’s much to look forward to here: a larger playing field (no longer just the asylum), enhanced gliding and fight mechanics, multiple downloadable skins, and finally, other playable characters, including Catwoman and Robin!

If that list doesn’t have you vibrating like a controller with excitement, maybe you’d like to consider some of the other big games of the season: the unforgiving action RPG Dark Souls, sandbox RPG Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim, the already-out NBA 2K12, and Saint’s Row: The Third, a Grand Theft Auto-style game with a much more warped sense of humor.










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