1. Medal of Honor: Warfighter:
A game that really seems to take a global approach, the latest military shooter from Danger Close demonstrates that each nation seems to have its strength and weaknesses. Soldiers from different territories are given different play styles, traditionally referred to as “classes” in this genre, although no one seems particularly stronger than the other. Actually, no one seems particularly strong at all. Be it the machine gun, the shotgun or even the sniper rifle, nothing really seems to take out an enemy with precision, despite causing large amounts of blood to drop. However, despite the actual damage needing some tweaking, the overall mechanics of the game are solid. Each player is also provided with a secondary weapon that varies based on class, as does the special ability each player is allowed. Be it the ability to call in an aerial strike or extra health to essentially become invulnerable, the game does play up the class system the way Team Fortress 2 would. There is also the implementation of a buddy system, wherein players that are on the same squad will be able to see each other, even through walls, and have the option to revive one another in the field. While it is certainly derivative, even dated, the game seems to have ambition in terms of execution and should please fans looking for something before the mighty Halo and COD grace the stage.
Publisher: Electronic Arts; Developer: Danger Close; Genre: Action; Release Date: October 23, 2012; Console: X360, PS3, PC.
Perhaps the antithesis to the traditional stealth game, the steampunk inspired Dishonored showcases Corvo, a supernatural assassin that takes out his enemies using gigantic leaps and abnormal strength. Missions will allow one to take the truly stealthy, even pacifistic path by simply sneaking around and not killing anyone, or they will be full-out bloodbaths. Abilities on display include teleportation, a sticky explosive with razorblades, summoning a horde of flesh-eating rats and, as aforementioned, the leap of doom that slices an opponent from behind. With the name Bethesda attached to the project, it is understandable why fans would be excited (that name has produced at least 3 game of the year frontrunners in the last 5 years) and Dishonored seems to an action-oriented take on a traditionally slow genre.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks; Developer: Arkane Studios; Genre: Action; Release Date: October 9, 2012; Console: X360, PS3, PC.
3. 007 Legends:
As a celebration (read: cash tie-in) of the James Bond franchise, Activision and developer Eurocom are teaming up for a game that combines six classic Bond films into one disjointed, varied adventure. In traditional first-person shooter fashion, the game offers the ability to go in and shoot everything that you come across or go in with a bit of discretion (as discreet as first-person shooters get, any way). The game features rather quick reloads and instant kills in melee combat involving knives, but stealth involves the usage of a radar that informs you where your enemies are and pen darts that allow you to incapacitate an enemy without killing him. The game also features first-person boss fights a la a boxing game and has locations from all six movies, creating a sense of surprise. The game still uses Daniel Craig’s likeness, even for the movies where he was not involved, which helps to keep the tone somewhat unified. Still, even if the game seems to be traditional fare (seriously, a radar watch was done years ago), fans of the franchise should not be disappointed.
Publisher: Activision; Developer: Eurocom Entertainment Software; Genre: Action; Release Date: October 16, 2012; Console: X360, PS3, Wii U, PC.
4. Silent Hill Book of Memories:
As the first installment of the classic horror series on the PS Vita (the game has previously seen a handheld iteration in the form of Silent Hill Origins on the PSP), Book of Memories seems to be continuing the series’ trend of doing something unusual. This time, instead of taking on the role of a classic character from the franchise, players are tasked with creating their own version of a protagonist and starring in unique horror tales. Of course, horror might be a bad way to describe this game because it has a heavy focus on action and cooperative play, something that actually takes away from the ingenuity the series is known for. The game does follow certain familiar trends, such as familiar characters playing peripheral roles and the degradation of weapons following repeated use, but the focus is clearly on the action and the light RPG elements such as hit points or the isometric view of play. In short, the game is certainly a new direction for the franchise; that it is a traditional direction for gaming in general is a bit of shame.
Publisher: Konami; Developer: WayForward; Genre: Action; Release Date: October 16, 2012;
5. Forza Horizon:
A spinoff of the wildly popular Motorsport series, Horizon is the latest in the Forza line of driving simulations. For the first time in the franchise, players will actually have an open world to approach, although it is nothing like Burnout Paradise. Instead, the game operates using a storyline mode run on pre-rendered cut scenes and the player is tasked with finishing certain events at and around a car festival. There are open dirt roads but they are only used to reach asphalt-based events in controlled environments. The gameplay does not require as much knowledge of how cars operate as the original serious (which was always a true simulation) but it does follow the tradition of offering the latest licensed cars and soundtrack (over five hours worth of music). It also offers a mode similar to the Rivals Mode in the previous Forza entry, where you can compete with friends in said events to better their popularity. The game is heavily inspired by Forza but executed in a new way and, for a series that is known for improving with each subsequent entry, that is good news.
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios; Developer: Microsoft Game Studios; Genre: Driving; Release Date: October 23, 2012; Console: X360.