Arguably the biggest release of the year drops this week: yeah, that's right, Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 is hitting for the PS2 (!) and none of y'all is ready! It's the beautiful game, people!
Alright, and the big magilla of shooters is here, while Bethesda wants you to explore their biggest Elder Scrolls title to date, and we get a trifecta of remakes/re-releases with Super Mario 3D Land, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. Just leave your wallet/purse on the counter at your local game retailer because they're gonna be emptying it out this week.
Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Platform(s): 360, PS3, PC
Seriously? Do I even need to say anything about this one? To go by my Twitter feed, many of you snagged this at midnight launches or through slightly early e-retailer delivery. Some of you were even threatening to call in sick today so you could enjoy some sweet, sweet quality time with Activison and Infinity Ward's latest contribution to multiplayer shooting of dudes in faces. I haven't had a chance to sit down with my copy yet, but I gotta say, I'm pretty excited.
A couple of weeks back, I got down a few thoughts about the head-to-head competition between MW3 and BF3. Having played through BF3, and played my fair share of previous MW installments, I can say that they're two different beasts when it comes to their respective multiplayer environments and speak to two audiences that happen to overlap. But Modern Warfare is going to have the numbers, and I suspect the Battlefield faithful may find the servers a mite empty (or at least a little less populous) in the coming weeks.
Title: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Platform(s): PC, PS3, 360
Since any reviews/impression pieces are embargoed until Thursday night, I can only tell you that yes, Skyrim definitely has dragons in it, and they can and will mess you up. This is fact, those dragons, those vicious, vicious dragons, are factual. Later this week, I'll be delivering my impressions of the game based on a couple of dozen hours wandering through Skyrim as my Argonian (read: lizard man) Aknot, and I really, really want to talk to you guys about this game. Because you guys, it's got dragons in it and those beasts are a pretty danged big deal.
Releasing Skyrim this week is what we like to call "counter-programming," with the expectation presumably being that all of those gamers who aren't interested in Modern Warfare will instead choose to pick up an epic, 60-hour plus dark fantasy single-player RPG. The game's even coming out on Friday, completely sidestepping today's MW release with its own slot heading into the weekend. And I think this is a savvy move, plus a lot of retailers are attempting to capitalize on buyers wanting both titles buy incentivizing the purchase of both this week. The real challenge/obstacle for gamers is making time for both games which are sure to eat up hours and hours of one's life.
Title: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Platform(s): PS3, 360
You can now play Peace Walker and Snake Eater on a Microsoft Console in HD, no less. This isn't what you'd call an earthshaking release, unless you're simply excited to get all of the achievements associated with the game on the 360. If you've played these games in the past, though, the only real additions are the up-res'd graphics and online multiplayer on your console for Peace Walker PvP and Co-op modes.
Not to sound too down on the franchise, but the Metal Gear games have always been titles that I've respected more than liked. My read on things is that series creator Hideo Kojima is someone that people no longer say "no" to at Konami and as a result, he's allowed to make these expansive ambitious games tackling his pet themes. The thing is, there's no editing there, no attempt to define and refine the vision, leading to what are essentially lovingly-rendered, over-long cutscenes that are increasingly simply propped up by short spurts of gameplay.
Title: Heavy Rain: Director's Cut
Speaking of unrestrained visions, David Cage's Heavy Rain gets a redux release this week with a deluxe package featuring the 2009 release, "The Taxidermist" DLC, updated menus, and the 16-track score from composer Normand Corbeil. So, if you didn't pick up the game a couple of years ago and want to know what all of the fuss is about, here it is.
[Heavy Rain release details via Gamepro]
Title: Super Mario 3D Land
Finally, Nintendo is starting to make its big Holiday push using its greatest weapon: an Italian plumber who just don't care, he'll mess up your goombas. This right here is Nintendo letting you know that you can't count their latest piece of hardware out, even as it's struggled in its first year. It's one of those titles where everyone who's got a 3DS is probably going to pick it up, and those gamers sitting on the fence about the 3D handheld will finally go, "okay, well, if Mario is in it," and make the leap.
I've really got nothing to add here: this is strategy, pure and simple. Nintendo's attempting to keep in it until the Wii U drops and using whatever tools they have at their disposal to remind people that handheld gaming is their house, not Apple's and not Sony's.