Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

The Warp Whistle: December

Once a month Ben blows on his magic warp whistle and takes a look at the (immediate) future of video games.  These are his findings.

If you are a parent and somehow you have stumbled upon this article, perhaps because of my clever “parents read this” tag, there is something you should know.  Your kids want video games for Christmas.  They really do.  What they do not want is a pair of pants or anything else that is somehow practical for their day to day lives.  This isn’t just true for guys anymore.  More and more girls are playing video games, and not just those ones where you start your own flower shop or whatever the hell Nintendo is doing these days.  In this edition of the Whistle I’ll be taking a look at games that are coming out this month, as well as a few others that you might want to think about for the holiday season.

What my Friday nights used to look like

World of Warcraft – Cataclysm, December 7th (Mac, Windows): This is a good gift for someone that you never want to see again.  If you don’t know anything about World of Warcraft, you probably shouldn’t be reading this article.  If you have played it before, you are probably buying this expansion pack no questions asked.  And for good reason!  There are two new playable races (the cursed Worgen and the Goblins), the level cap is increased to 85, and there are new elite zones ready for battle.  Not to mention flying mounts!  If leaving my house wasn’t important to me I might just be tempted to give this game another shot.  For the record, it almost ruined me once.

Tron – Evolution, December 7th (Playstation 3, Sony PSP, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS):  This is a good gift for someone who likes a franchise so much that they can look past a game’s flaws.  Is there anyone in the world that thinks that this game can possibly be any good?  With how traditionally awful movie-based games are, and the fact that it's Tron (sorry, not a fan), this one was behind the eight ball from the start.  A few weeks ago I couldn’t have imagined it being enjoyable.  But allow me to make a case!  Early hands-on previews of the game show an easy and fluid combat system, and the discs look great.  The plot is not straight from the original or the sequel, but instead takes a look at what happened in the gap between the two films which is an approach I like.  If they sort out some of the kinks (the infamous light cycles need some work) this could be alright.  But yeah, it’s probably going to suck ass.

Girls Only, December 7th (Nintendo DS): This game was originally coming out in October as I reported months earlier, but after a few delays it has settled into a December release. Perhaps they were fine-tuning the kitten caregiver engine!

Jeff will put the name of this title to the test by playing the shit out of it

Rock Band 3 Midi-Pro Adaptor, December 26th (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii): They are really bleeding you music game assholes dry, aren’t they?

Mr. Bean, December 28th (Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS): I'm not making this up.

Shutter Island, December 31st (Nintendo DS): This really just isn’t an eventful month for video games, is it?  Anyway, I have some questions.  How in the hell could it have taken this long for the game to come out?  Were they biding their time for the second wave of Shutter Island fever to grip us?  If you haven’t seen the movie, why would you be remotely excited about this?  And if you have seen the movie, why would you be playing this game if you already know the entire plot?  It’s not like this is an action/adventure title, it’s a mystery puzzle game.  I’ll save you all a lot of time: dude is crazy as all hell.  Moving on.

Now that we have December’s lineup out of the way, let’s look at some other games that you might have forgotten about that are worth your consideration.

Your first born child will not look half this cute

Little Big Planet (Playstation 3, Sony PSP):  It is hard work finding someone that doesn’t enjoy this game.  It is quite simply one of the most innovative titles to come out in the last ten years, or ever for that matter.  The puzzles are fun, and let’s just be real for a second… it's fucking adorable.  The sequel is coming out soon and if you haven’t played the original yet it’s worth the discounted price.

Gears of War I & II (Xbox 360): With the third on its way, take some time to get caught up on the series if you haven’t played it already.  The campaign or story mode on these two are some of the best video game experiences I have had in years.  A lot of innovative ideas are at work here, and hey, who doesn’t like shooting aliens in the face?

Arkham Asylum (Playstation 3, Xbox 360): One of my top ten favorite video games of all time.  Great combat system, awesome boss fights, and some pretty epic source material make this a must own if you are new to the next generation market.  Another thing you might want to consider is that it's the goddamn Batman.

Alan Wake (Xbox 360): This is one of those games that everyone who played it loved, yet not a lot of people have really heard much about.  If you won’t take my word for it, read the review at IGN.  It follows a writer whose life quickly spirals into a paranormal nightmare.  I haven’t played through the whole thing, but I have seen enough to know that this is worth owning.

Diablo III: OH WAIT A MINUTE THIS IS STILL BEING DELAYED EAT ME BLIZZARD AAAAAH.

NCAA Football 2011 (Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Xbox 360): It’s like Madden, only better.

YES.

Red Dead Redemption (Playstation 3, Xbox 360): Downloadable content and expansion packs are really starting to give certain games a bit more shelf life, and Red Dead is a perfect example.  The good folks at Rockstar are adding zombies into the mix, and that is the final straw that will make me finally purchase this one.

NBA Jam (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii): Alright so this game is stupid fun.  One of most LOL moments though is seeing some of the classic players you can unlock on the modern teams.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve been waiting my whole life for a Lebron James/Ronny Seikaly 1-2 punch.  Not to mention Obama vs. Palin!

What games you plan on picking up this holiday season?  Let us know in the comments section.

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2 Responses »

  1. Everyone should spend the holidays with Super Meat Boy on XBLA. It's the best pure platforming I've experienced since N, and it's got a goofy subversive sense of humor under it all. I mean, the bad guy is a fetus inside of a robot body, and he's named Dr. Fetus.

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