Huge Games Set to Release This Holiday

In+typical+Battlefield+style%2C+you%27ll+be+fighting+enemies+as+an+infantryman+as+well+as+in+heavy-hitting+vehicles.+--+Photo%3A+EA+Digital+Illusions

In typical Battlefield style, you’ll be fighting enemies as an infantryman as well as in heavy-hitting vehicles. — Photo: EA Digital Illusions

By: Brooks Clarke Editor-in-Chief

In typical Battlefield style, you'll be fighting enemies as an infantryman as well as in heavy-hitting vehicles. -- Photo: EA Digital Illusions


As another summer passes us by, another gaming drought comes to an end. While not quite as barren as previous years, there was no shortage of budget titles and half-assed movie tie-ins. And even though there were diamonds in the rough, such as the Japanese anime-drama-puzzle game “Catherine,” and “Ms. ‘Splosion Man,” a certifiable goof-about platformer by the ever-silly souls over at Twisted Pixel Games, all eyes are now squarely focused on the final few months of the year, and the high profile titles set to release therein.

First up is “Gears of War 3,” the highly anticipated conclusion to one of Xbox’s most popular series. Set to release on September 20, Epic Games’ apocalyptic shooter, which set the bar for modern shooters this console generation, is attempting to humanize a universe previously thought of as all gore and no substance. In addition to a much-improved story, Gears 3 will see the inclusion of human-piloted robots, known as Silverbacks, for the first time, as well as the ability to play as the Locust Horde in the newly added Beast mode. Series fans will be excited to hear that multiplayer will now run on dedicated servers, meaning that many of the issues from the first two games, such as connection latency, should finally be rectified.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 -- Photo: Activision Blizzard Inc.


Up next is perhaps the marquee match-up of the year, as Activision’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” squares off against Digital Illusions’ “Battlefield 3.” The games will release within weeks of one another, with Battlefield due out on October 25 and Call of Duty on November 8. The biggest rivalry in gaming since Mario vs. Sonic, the two fan bases are already claiming that their game is the best shooter of all time, and the fact that – as of this writing – typing the URL, “modernwarfare3.com,” redirects to Battlefield’s official site has done nothing to cool the flames of this hotly contested debate. Modern Warfare has the early advantage of fast and accessible gameplay as well as being the more mainstream of the two games, while Battlefield has a huge PC gamer following and is being hailed as the next graphical leap in gaming.

With the releases of “Thor,” “X-Men: First Class” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” Marvel got an awful lot of love at the box office this summer. But DC fans just might get the last laugh with the upcoming release of “Batman: Arkham City” (October 18), the sequel to 2009’s critically acclaimed “Batman: Arkham Asylum.”  One of Asylum’s greatest strengths (and weaknesses) was that you were confined to Arkham’s penitentiary for the criminally insane, from which the game gets its name. While this allowed Rocksteady Studios to create a dense, well-defined environment, it left gamers wanting to explore more of Batman’s iconic city, especially after being teased with shots of the caped crusader driving through Arkham in the game’s intro. Some of Batman’s biggest baddies will make an appearance in Arkham City, including Two Face, the Penguin and Mr. Freeze, as well as sidekick, Robin and the ever-sly friend/foe, Catwoman.

When the phrase, “Last but not least,” was created, I don’t think anyone could have imagined “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” The latest in Rockville-based Bethesda Game Studio’s line of fantasy role playing games is shaping up to be absolutely gargantuan, with around 16 square miles of terrain to explore, five full-fledged cities (complete with their own citizens who have individualized lives, schedules and jobs and over 150 dungeons to raid. If that wasn’t enough, Skyrim will also feature dragons. These aren’t ordinary dragons, mind you. These bad boys can think for themselves. That means they can appear at any moment and cause absolute havoc on any one dumb enough to get in their way.  You aren’t defenseless against them, however. See, you’re “Dragonborn,” which means you can speak dragon, and use what the developers call “shouts” to take down your foes. Think of shouts as dragon magic, enabling fire breath, shockwave and summoning your very own dragon. If you’re not sold by now, the game also boasts a huge array of swords, axes and bows, among other tools with which you can reach out and connect with your fellow man.

So, which of these games are you excited for? Did we miss your most anticipated holiday release? Are you going with Modern Warfare or Battlefield? Let us know at Clarke@mcadvocate.com.