Who's Your Daddy?
hat time is upon us again, when a large slice of the gaming world goes into hibernation for the next several weeks (if not months), due to a self-imposed schedule of non-stop online multiplayer FPS carnage for Activision Blizzard’s latest Call of Duty release: Black Ops. Nevermind the Infinity Ward fiasco and the ensuing fan backlash just a few short months ago where fans of the series swore they would stick it to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and skip this next Call of Duty game. Nope, each and every Call of Duty enthusiast I know who cried “F you, Activision!” lined up at Gamestops across the country at midnight last night or are eagerly awaiting the UPS truck today with their crack pipes in hand, waiting for their next hit. What happened to the passionate bunch who grouped those ousted Infinity Ward execs (what were their names again?) among giants such as Miyamoto, Wright, and Kojima, claimed that Treyarch would never be able to fill their shoes?
Gamers, we are a fickle bunch...
But for those of you who decided to pass on this latest skin over the same, tired experience there are plenty of options if you put your gamepad down for a second and look around. Once you come to the realization that the Call of Duty series has adopted the “Madden plan” of releasing yearly remakes of the same game peppered with insignificant add-on features, it’s a welcome feeling to find a ton of alternatives to choose from.
*Disclaimer: Am I laying it on a little thick? Yeah, probably. But in a few months you’ll all be back to trashing Treyarch and waiting for whatever rehash the former Infinity Ward guys come up with for EA. Thank you, drive through...
1) Check your phone, there are probably games on it
Have an iPhone or an Android-based smartphone? You might be surprised to find that mobile gaming has made great strides over the past year with games beginning to approach the quality and depth once exclusive to their dedicated gaming handheld cousins. And you’ll find that many of the best games are dirt cheap (as in a few bucks per title) with some being absolutely free.
iPhone/iPad/Touch leads the way in terms of variety, but Android is gaining ground quickly. Check out gems like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja if you haven’t already. If you’re lucky enough to own a newer model Apple iOS device, download the Epic Citadel demo and have your mind blown away by console-level visuals on a device you’ve had in your pocket all along. And if you happen to have a buddy on the opposite platform, you can still enjoy online multiplayer with tons of games featuring OpenFeint support--allowing Android and iOS gamers to play online together across both platforms. Here are a few suggestions available for both:
Super KO Boxing 2
Touch Racing Nitro
Skies of Glory
Raging Thunder 2
Hit MonroeWorld’s iOS and Android app threads for more suggestions!
2.) It’s raining RPGs on Nintendo DS
You’d think that with 3DS just a few short months away, things would be slowing down for Nintendo’s non-3D handheld--but you’d be wrong. The DS release list is hotter than ever, and the DS’s already rich library of RPGs is getting some of it’s best titles yet. Here’s a list of top shelf RPG’s for the DS that are currently on store shelves or on deck for release sometime soon:
Dragon Quest XI: Sentinals of the Starry Skies
Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City
Final Fantasy: Four Heroes of Light
Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrels
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
3.) Dust off your Wii for some killer exclusive games
You know you’ve been neglecting your Wii for far too long, and now is as great a time as any to get caught up on the absolute onslaught of fantastic titles that have been dropping on Nintendo’s little console. Aside from the obvious heavy hitters that have landed this year that you may not have gotten around to playing like Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Metroid: Other M, there are a ton of holiday releases that will keep you busy for a long, long time. Here’s a list of some of the top recent Wii-exclusive releases:
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
FlingSmash (and you get a new Wii MotionPlus controller too!)
Donkey Kong Country Returns
4.) Dust off your PSP for some equally killer exclusive games
Still have that PSP laying around? Although releases for Sony’s handheld have been a bit anemic in the last year, the holiday releases for PSP are actually quite strong. The latest God of War game, Ghost of Sparta leads the way along with Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker. And the PSP has it’s own recent barrage of RPGs--here’s a list of some of the more noteworthy ones:
Knights in the Nightmare
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
Ys: The Oath in Felgana
Valkyria Chronicles 2 (an RTS/RPG hybrid)
5.) Experience the apocalypse with World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm
Why not spend some time with Activision Blizzard’s other big franchise, World of Warcraft? Whether you are a newbie or a returning player, there is a lot that’s new in the world of Azeroth with Blizzard’s latest 4.0.1 patch shaking things up for just about every character class. And on December 7th Blizzard’s biggest in-game event ever will take place with the launch of WoW’s latest expansion, Cataclysm. The entire gameworld will be turned upside down as the corrupted dragon Deathwing covers every square inch of Azeroth in molten fire. Twelve million subscribers can’t be wrong--don’t miss it!
6.) Play Call of Duty: Black Ops anyway...but on Wii!
I know, this one is cheating hehe. But if you absolutely can’t steer clear of this release, what better way to have your cake and eat it too than to support the relatively small but growing community of Call of Duty gamers that get their fix on Wii. Both World at War and Modern Warfare were million sellers on Wii and rank among the most consistently played online games on the platform according to Nintendo Channel statistics. Black Ops brings Wii gamers to 2010 with in-game voice chat (well, maybe 2008 since the headset is wired hehe). It’s $10 cheaper, there’s no “gold membership” fee for online gameplay, and just as the previous two games were, it’s a remarkable example of what can be done with Wii’s modest system specs. Early reviews of Black Ops for Wii are already ranking in the 90’s, with reviewers confirming that it’s basically an exact replica (sans HD) of it’s high def counterparts. Pixel counters and console war elitists can feel free skip this suggestion.