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Fall Gaming (It's the most wonderful tiiime...)

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So here it is - Q4, the Holiday season, the last chance gaming companies have to put their balance sheets in the black by overloading us with the biggest blockbusters all at once. This is a strange Q4 in particular for a number of obvious and subtle reasons so it should be interesting to see what gaming culture looks like when we come out on the other side early next year.

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So the 800 pound gorilla in the room - NEW CONSOLES! It only happens once every few years and it's certainly exciting to be entering a new cycle. I've never bought a console at launch and this year will be the same - though not by choice. I hesitated in pre-ordering a PS4 when I had the chance and now they're extremely hard to find. I'm waiting for it to pop back up on Amazon so I can get my triple points on, but it's looking like it's going to be a while. I was thinking of pre-ordering three games today since they had a 2 for 1 sale (which I also missed out on) and settled on Killzone, Knack, and Need for Speed Rivals as the three launch games I'd be most interested in (if I had redeemed the code on time).

It seems like most internet article-commenters are pretty disenchanted by these launch lineups, which is strange to me given how weak console launches have traditionally been, while this one seems comparatively solid. I'm wondering if the big publishers are losing their ability to set the hype trains in motion if their Q4 offerings have failed to capture our imaginations this year, with a generation transition at that.

There are two games I am/will be playing for sure:

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I was going to skip out on Call of Duty this year; everytime I looked for footage to get excited, I either saw: a) the most offensive copy-and-paste job ever, or b) what sounded like really, really horrible design ideas. Realizing I wasn't going to make it into next-gen, I figured I'd get Ghosts to hold me over, going into it with low expectations.

I'm really glad I did.

I mentioned it in our Whatcha Playin thread, but the campaign was a return to form while the multiplayer significantly overhauled the core design foundation of Call of Duty, from abstract high-level concepts like the customization metagame, all the way down to how your character moves and plays. Noobies should still beware - this is not the game you run around like a chicken with your head cut off in (you end up complaining about the game on an internet forum that way). But any moderate fan of FPS multiplayer is in for a treat and someone who's been tired of the same military arena fragfests every year should be delighted by the departures from the CoD formula. I'm looking forward to upgrading to the next-gen version, as the game is filled with jaggies and noticeably low-res textures when played on a large TV.

The other game I'm definitely getting:

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The new Zelda! This is actually a pretty big deal for me - I've spent far more time with the handheld iterations of Zelda than their console counterparts. Naturally, I'm so stoked to continue that tradition on the 3DS. I practically purchased the handheld for this game alone back in April (well, Zelda and Bravely Default). As much as I appreciated the innovation of Phantom Hourglass, I'm glad this one is going back to classic button controls instead of the stylus. It's been a great year for the 3DS so far, ever since Fire Emblem kicked things off for RPG fans and I'm hoping Zelda closes out the year (and opens the next one) in style.

What's everyone else's Q4 looking like?


  1. Shlup's Avatar
    I've been debating getting a 3DS to play A Link Between Worlds myself.