The second full week of June brought quite a bit along with warming temperatures and the promise of summer. The week of June 14th thousands flocked to the Los Angeles Convention Center and millions to their televisions, computers and IPods to watch as the video game industry’s Big Three show off their scheduled Fall 2010 releases. And judging from five of these hotly anticipated releases; it’s no wonder none of these Big Three have gone bankrupt.
First up is Halo Reach for the XBOX360. The anticipation for this title slated for a September release is so thick that you could cut if with a knife. Since 2001 the Halo series has basically been the house that built the XBOX and each new Halo game has continuously built on an ever expanding fan base. So faithful that by the millions they would purchase another game, HALO 3:ODST, just so months later they would be able to play the multiplayer beta for Halo Reach. Gamers have literally been waiting over a year for this one.
Why’s that you ask? For one, we finally get to find out how all this fighting in the Halo series came about. This is a prequel game; for those unfamiliar to the concept, think of it like Star Wars Episode 1. The times I had the opportunity to play the beta I’ve noticed the same amazing controls as other Halo games, weapons with a couple of new items like the Jetpack, and stunning multiplayer maps. Halo Reach is slated for a September 2010 release at a price of around 60 dollars.
Next on the list is Call of Duty: Black Ops. If you are like the several other million people that bought Modern Warfare 2, you have been salivating nonstop at the announcement of this new installment of the Call of Duty series. This game chronicles a series of events that take place during the timeline of the Cold War and Vietnam. Specifically the type of stuff that only handfuls of people knew about and to tell you they would have to kill you. That being said the game is visually stunning. The campaign mode offers new weapons, amazing game play, and a story arch that rivals the other Call of Duty games. Oh, and for the first time in a Call of Duty game the playable character has actual lines. This may not be a big deal to some but in the context of a story it helps that the main character at any given moment actually speaks. Slated for a November 9th release for the XBOX360 and PS3; Black Ops is one game who’s existence is sure to be acknowledged.
On the Playstation 3 side of things we have the long awaited Gran Turismo 5. Like the other Gran Turismo releases, this one is absolutely packed to the gills with everything a racing fan could ever want. With somewhere around a thousand playable cars and more playable tracks than one could ever hope to play, this has got to be the most impressive racing game ever played. Coupled with a “race photo” mode that lets you take snap[shots of your car zooming around the track the graphics will simply blow you away. At first glance you would almost swear that game screenshots were actual photos of a car racing down the track. This game is ridiculously detailed in every aspect. Not to mention a mode where you have the option to participate in a 24 hour marathon race in real time. Anyone who gets this game will surely need to stock up on candy bars and coffee. Scheduled for a November 2nd release, Gran Turismo 5 appears to be a game that will be firing on all cylinders.
Next up is the answer to the prayers of many people who have looked at a game and said, “oh, I can make one of these”. Little Big Planet 2 for the PS3 gives you the chance to do just that. This November 2010 release is like a giant toolbox that lets you quite literally do anything you want. Want to make a puzzle game? Or a shooter? Or a side scrolling action game? Well here is your chance. With millions of options only limited by the player’s imagination, the possibilities with Little Big Planet 2 are endless. With the promise of being able to create anything you want, this may be one that gets a lot of people to jump ship from the XBOX360.
Lastly, coming up in October for the Nintendo Wii is a revival of an old classic in NBA Jam. A Perennial favorite and a fond memory of gamers of consoles past; this new update of the game still has that old charm that had gamers spending money hand over fist in arcades and stores in the 1990’s. Making liberal use of the WiiMote’s motion sensing capability, you get the feeling that when you shoot the ball you are actually in the game itself. With a stunning graphical update, NBA Jam retains all of that tongue in cheek humor you got in the classic. Slated for this fall, NBA Jam for the Wii is one game that makes retro cool again.