(Activision/Infinity Ward; PC, PS3, Xbox 360- November 8)
You may have heard of this series. With the profits that the last few Call of Duty games made, Activision could buy Botswana. And probably California too, at this point. But eventually that level of success has to peak and roll back, like a giant wave made of money and angry online screams of teenagers that love to show off their grown up vocabulary. The question is when? Black Ops made over a billion dollars in a month, so the bar is set fairly high.
Then there is the telenovella that occurred between Infinity Ward and Activision. If the success of Black Ops proved anything, it’s that gamers will go for the games, not the drama, so the behind-the-scenes stuff shouldn’t matter much on a personal level. But, switching companies in mid-development (and bringing in both Raven and Sledgehammer to help) could have a negative effect on the game itself.
But it’s still Call of Duty, and even if it is terrible, it will probably clear a billion dollars. So even if you don’t buy it, someone will. And they will have weeks or months to level up and learn the maps while you decide if it is worth it or not.
Check out our hands-on impressions of Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer.
(Bethesda; PC, PS3, Xbox 360- November 11)
If you were trapped on a desert island with only one game to play, Skyrim might not be a good choice, because when the rescue ships finally arrived you might be mad at them for showing up before you finished it. If you really wanted to, you could probably cruise through the main story in a paltry 40 hours or so, but that would only show you a small portion of the game. Skyrim could easily steal 100+ hours, and that is not counting multiple playthroughs with different character classes.
In the open world, you can do a whole lot of different things. If you want to be a vampire, go for it. If you prefer to dabble in the occult and power up your spells, huzzah. The game reacts to your style of play and allows you to mix and match the powers and abilities that you want to level up. There is a fully realized world awaiting your exploration as well, and thar be dragons! Randomly generated dragon attacks just help keep things spicy.
The biggest issue with this game is that there is no fast way to play this. You can’t just throw it on and play for a few minutes before work. No, you need to prepare to abandon all semblance of a normal life for at least a week or more and allow it to consume you. That may turn off a lot of people dealing with annoying little things that get in the way, like jobs and families. But if you have the time, or if you just want one game that will last a very, very, very long time, try the world of Skyrim. And don’t worry about turning your phone off–soon enough all your relations will forget your name anyway.
Check out our first look at Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim from E3.
(Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal; PC, PS3, Xbox 360- November 15)
Game four in the series hits shelves this November, and it isn’t even close to being the biggest title coming out this Fall. Because Assassin’s Creed Revelations is the fourth game in the series, and because the multiplayer is more of a footnote to the campaign than something people are waiting on, the hype on this game is more relegated to fans of the franchise than a wider audience. Gamers that haven’t played the series aren’t likely to start here, and even if they were willing to try, there are so many other options to choose from this Fall.
But for those that do want to see the conclusion to Ezio’s story, and those that are excited by the return of Altair, well then you are in luck. You friends/family/spouse/pets however won’t be so lucky as they lose you to the 20+ hour tour through Renaissance-era Constantinople as Ezio decimates everyone that looks at him funny. Seriously, there comes a point in a character’s life when after killing hundreds, maybe thousands of enemies, you would think they would just leave him alone. Maybe at least give him sort of a wide berth. Perhaps just a respectful nod rather than a “There he is, get him!”
While this game probably won’t break any molds, it will take what has worked amazingly well and add enough shine to it to make the game a blast to play. There are so many creative ways to approach the world in the Assassin’s Creed games that even though it may seem like more of the same, odds are it will still blow fans away.