With the media circus around the current crop of Christmas games, I thought it might be a good time to step back and see what might be worth saving some money for next year.
Motorstorm Apocalypse: Biggest on my radar is Motorstorm 3. The series has become a family favourite after adding four player split screen racing in Motorstorm Pacific Rift. But along with the family friendly multiplayer I’m also excited to see it include features from Split/Second – a track that fights back:
Motorstorm Apocalypse takes to a war torn city. With more than a nod at Split/Second’s aggressive track, the environment in Motorstorm Apocalypse collapses around you as you drive. But here it’s not just that things collapse in a single race – damage and decay of the environment persist through subsequent races.
Stacking: This may not be such a well known title, but it comes from Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions who recently brought us the excellent Costume Quest. Stacking is another adventure game with a playful premise – this time it’s stacking Russian dolls.
Each puzzle revolves around the doll’s size and ability to stack inside each other, with the usual cheeky swagger you’d expect from Double Fine – who also recently brought us Costume Quest. You can capture other dolls by stacking them together, whereupon (like Kirby) you inherit their abilities to solve the game’s challenges.
Uncharted 3 Drakes Deception: Who could resist another excuse to spend time with Naughty Dog’s cinematic creation. Even without the promised fine tuning of play mechanics and a brand new desert location I would have been first in line to play this.
After the success of Uncharted Drakes Fortune and Uncharted 2 Among Thieves a third game was inevitable, but this makes it no less exciting. The series is the most watchable videogame I’ve played. Its pixel perfect shooting, dramatic action sequences and believable character chemistry make it almost unique among its peers.
Uncharted 3 Drakes Deception takes the action to the desert and dials in on Drake’s relationship with Sully. Drake again persuades Sully (and again on the bases of shaky old manuscripts) to hunt for the fabled Atlantis of the Sands. The pair are propelled into the heart of the Arabian Desert where they face the, now series standard, supernatural threats as well as thugs with guns.
L.A. Noire: Last but not least is L.A. Noire. You’d be forgiven this simply takes the success of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption and applies a film noire filter. But just as Red Dead managed to feel distinct from GTA, L.A. Noire also walks its own path. Here we find Rockstar holding the reigns tighter for a much more directed experience.
There are, of course, guns and shooting but the majority of the game focuses on a crime mystery angle that feels more like Heavy Rain or Alan Wake in tone. This involves identifying clues and piecing together evidence from snatched conversations in a maze of relationships as complex as the city itself.
The game draws from both plot and aesthetic of films from the 1940s and 1950s. Crime, sex and moral ambiguity abound in a post-war world trying to get back on its feet. The main propellant here is the story though, that directs players through a series of interwoven crimes to solve.
There are more games on my list (not to mention new platforms like the 3DS), but these are the ones I’m most excited about. What are you looking forward to playing with your family next year?