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Monday, December 04, 2006

This Month in Games : December

The Gaming Orchard's plethora of juicy offerings would appear to have dropped a month early, leaving PC gamers with a bitter taste in their mouth this Christmas, with such examples of anti-climatic mediocrity as Warhammer: Mark of Chaos, Bad Day LA and Archlord (my rant on which can be found here).

This month, I'll be focusing on the console releases. For PC game stocking fillers, please refer back to last month's This Month in Games or buy the excellent Guild Wars: Nightfall or the budget release of the time-enduring, marvellous The Longest Journey.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Released by Nintendo to serve as one of many reasons to buy a Wii, but also available for the Gamecube, TP could well become the paradigm of Link's adventures to date. Darker and with greater visual flair than its many siblings, TP offers little new to the series, but refines much of what made the previous games so good. Link's well-endowed boffin, and your tennis elbow (if you are playing on the Wii) will be tested to the limits by the multifaceted challenges to be overcome. TP leads the player through a drastic transformation from elf to wolf, as the levels are designed to have gamers shift through Soul Reaver style planes in order to fully explore both Hyrule and the mysterious 'Twilight'. Nintendo's 'gameplay over graphics' ethos should lead us to expect, in TP, an experience wholly capable of reminding gamers why we place such pride in our passion.

Gears of War

Out now on Microsoft's 360 and developed by Epic, Gears of War has been hyped so much it's hard to separate the P from the R. Dark, gory and short are three words I would use to describe GoW's action and one word which would be applicable to my love-making. GoW's gunplay places emphasis on the player's understanding and exploitation of available cover; so called 'blind fire' (discharging a weapon without line-of-sight to pinpoint an enemy) is included as a feasible option for suppressing a threat. Microsoft will be crossing their collective fingers in anticipation for the sales figures on this one, as GoW's profits may well bare prophetic tidings for the future competitiveness of the 360 against its rivals, the PS3 and Wii.

It's GTA: Vice City on your PSP! I think Rockstar are really on to something big here - combining a free-roaming virtual cityscape with the liberty of mobile gaming is bound to help countless impressionable young teens successfully transition beyond the shock of real life not being fun in comparison to videogames. Commute whilst playing everyone's favorite 'murder simulator'! The tiny PSP would appear to handle VCS's visuals to the best of its ability. Portable gaming suits the series' dynamics for streamlined useage of multiple functions assigned to a single button. This game is likely to help dissipate many long, wasted hours, transforming time into useful practice for a life of crime.

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