The Biggest Games of the Season So Far: 3 Successes and 3 Failures
There are a lot of big releases left before the year's end, but a few games have already come out this Fall that you should be playing right now. On the other hand, there are a few games that we'd expected to be great but didn't quite hit the mark.
The months of September through December are difficult ones for active gamers. After being spread out in reasonable fashion over the majority of the year, tons of highly anticipated titled are packed into these final months. We're now over a month and a half into the end-of-year rush, and while there are still several huge titles waiting to be released, here are three games that are already on store shelves that you should be playing right now:
Gears of War 3 [X360] - Released September 20th
Arguably the biggest Xbox 360-exclusive release of the year, Gears of War 3 is the conclusion of the famed trilogy of games that has provided the archetype for the 3rd-person shooter genre. And the critics agree: It's the best of the bunch. Currently hosting a Metacritic score of 91, it sits in a tie for second place for the highest-scoring game of the year on the aggregation site. Based on these reactions, Gears of War 3 is sure to receive quite a few votes for Game of the Year when selection time comes. If you have an Xbox 360, this game is the newest addition to the must-have collection, and it's available for purchase today.
The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection [PS3] - Released September 27th
Honestly, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are two games that you should have been playing years ago in the PS2 era, let alone a month ago. But the sales numbers prove that many people passed them up during their heyday, largely due to a lack of promotion. As a result, they deservedly received an HD makeover for the modern gaming generation together as a single package for the PS3. And in case they passed you by again, it was released on September 27th, so now you're out of excuses. Play them.
Batman: Arkham City [PS3, X360] - Released October 18th
2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum released to rave reviews from critics and players alike, and was largely considered the greatest licensed game ever. This past Tuesday, its sequel was released in Arkham City. Does it live up to the original title? According to pretty much every review so far, it doesn't just live up to it, it surpasses it. I mentioned earlier that Gears of War 3 sits in a tie for second place for the highest-scoring game of the year on Metacritic.com. Batman: Arkham City is the game that sits at the top with an aggregate score of 95. That's ridiculously high. If you're even remotely interested in a Batman game, this game belongs in your collection as soon as possible.
These are some fantastic titles released recently, but it hasn't been all good news over the past two months. There are several games that we really, really wanted to be good. Unfortunately, it doesn't always pan out that way, as evidenced by these titles:
Dead Island [PS3, X360, PC] - Released September 6th
After an emotional and superbly crafted trailer went viral last year, hopes were in the clouds for Dead Island. We all wanted a huge zombie game with a deep, involved story. We did get a huge zombie game. But not only was the story forgettable and derivative, it wasn't even told in an entertaining or consistent fashion. Throw in a hefty helping of bugs and glitches and you have a game that can be awfully frustrating at times. It was largely saved by some really enjoyable co-op zombie smashing, but the remainder of the game amounts to little more than decent. Earning a Metacritic score of 71, Dead Island certainly qualifies as one of this season's disappointments.
Spider-Man: Edge of Time [X360, PS3] - Released October 4th
With Batman doing so well in the gaming scene recently, surely there's room for another comic book hero to succeed, right? Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions released to decent critical reaction last year, so when developer Beenox offered up a new Spider-Man game early this month, fans hoped to see another positive showing. No dice. Spider-Man: Edge of Time instead has earned a Metacritic score of 57, falling short of impressing the critics by a healthy margin. DC beats Marvel this season.
Rage [X360, PS3] - Released October 4th
id Software's Rage is on this side of the list only because of its lofty expectations. All of the buzz surrounding this game commanded that it could be a candidate for Game of the Year, or at least a true open-world RPG with excellent shooter mechanics. Well, it has excellent shooter mechanics. But the "open world" isn't so open, as invisible walls expose the game as a cleverly disguised corridor shooter. And there are some RPG mechanics, but they don't include any sense of character progression or skill advancement. Oh yeah, and the story is hardly passable, culminating in an extremely abrupt and anticlimactic ending. Don't get me wrong, Rage is not a bad game. In fact, it is a good game. But it is not a great game, and that is enough to consider it a disappointment this year.
What were your favorite video games so far this year? Which ones did you hate to play? Tell us below.
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