Today is the first week of the fall gaming death march, wherein our wallets are pounded with major franchises, exclusives, and two new consoles. This week sees no fewer than three major games competing for your cash. But which should you buy? Here's a quick look at the three major titles.
We sat down and playing the opening couple of hours of each of this week's releases, and we'll also include the review scores. This week's games are Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Saints Row IV, and The Bureau: X-Com Declassified. Let's go in reverse numbering order...
Metacritic Score: 66 Out Of 100, but there's a mitigating factor here.
First things first: If you go in expecting Gears of War, you're gonna die. If you go in expecting Mass Effect, you're gonna die. If you go in expecting X-Com with real-time combat, you will have the right expectations, and you will still die.
Why? Two reasons: The first and most basic is that this game is hard. You start out at a low level and it doesn't hold your hand. It just flings you into the pool and tells you to swim. And that's somewhat unfair because there hasn't really been a game like this in a while.
This is essentially an action game crossed with a hardcore strategy game. You are not an all-seeing, all-knowing commander: You're a grunt on the field, ordering your agents around, and they need your orders; aside from shooting at enemies in range, they do nothing unless you tell them to. The result is an often-frantic mix of strategizing and shooting to survive.
Well, your guys actually do perform another action on their own aside from shooting: Whine. A lot. Seriously, not since Dragon's Dogma has a game been so in love with your party blabbering. I played a mission twice and neither time would they shut up. On the other hand, even though I got thoroughly stomped, I kept wanting more: The mix of twitch gaming and strategy is a brain-grinding switch at first but you get used to it quickly and you start seeing the potential. As your team starts working together, and complementing their abilities, things get entertaining in a hurry.
It seems a bit rough around the edges but it's definitely something completely unique in third-person shooters. If you want something you may never have played before, this is the game for you.
Metacritic Score: 86 out of 100, somehow.
Saints Row IV is... well, it's Saints Row. It's not like they were hiding their light under a bushel with this one; the franchise is built on doing ridiculous things for ridiculous reasons at ridiculous lengths. It's fun, but it's not breaking any ground, either: You know exactly what you're getting, and while it's not Game of the Year by any stretch, it is fun if you enjoy the franchise.
Besides, running around naked in a game is never not funny.
Metacritic Score: 86 out of 100. In fact, it's getting the strongest reviews from the major outlets.
Apparently, if you're a Splinter Cell fan, the franchise is back and then some. For all the discussion of the various strategy methods, the reviews, especially from people who love the franchise, essentially state that this is the franchise at its most refined in terms of mechanics. As I haven't played the franchise since the PS2 days, I'm not qualified to judge, but the stealth mechanics themselves are enjoyably simple and straightforward. Well, unless you're Conan O'Brien.
And it is a pleasantly flexible game. Pretty much anything you want to try can work, but it's definitely more of a stealth oriented game. and it's a bit more rigid than, say, The Last Of Us; get caught in the open and you're in some pretty serious trouble on the first mission, at least. Either way, if you're a fan, this game is a must-have according to fellow fans. If you're on the fence, I'd say that if you want a stealth game to play, this is a strong example of the genre.
Any game you're picking up today? Let us know in the comments.