The summer is traditionally a slow time for new video game releases. While some wonderful genre titles, like 2011’s Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon and Catherine were released in the summer, you don’t usually see huge, blockbuster titles. Here are five games to watch this fall:
1. Resident Evil 6 (October 2, Capcom, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC)
The next entry in Capcom’s biggest modern-day franchise arrives. Building on the multiple character vantage-point style that really bore fruit in the Nintendo 3DS release Resident Evil: Revelations, the game features several interconnecting storylines. It also ups the zombie ante: The “zombies” in RE 6 are called the “J’avo” and are the most intelligent zombies yet in a Resident Evil game.
Capcom needs Resident Evil to stand toe to toe with the major game franchises of the West like Call of Duty and Gears of War. But fans of the series worry about the games becoming even more action-oriented, with less and less of the horror that permeated the original. Can Capcom deliver a game that pleases long-time fans while also growing the franchise?
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (November 13, Activision/Treyarch, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Wii U*)
Who would have guessed 10 years ago that Call of Duty and military-themed FPS would become the game industry staple? Yet here we are. Activision has some reason for concern, as Modern Warfare 3, while selling very well, did represent a falloff from Black Ops 1 in sales. So that begs this interesting question: Did Black Ops sell more simply because Treyarch has created a better Call of Duty experience, or is it just inevitable franchise fatigue? Or is the falloff of sales based on another factor, such as the consoles themselves being old and almost spent?
As to gameplay, Treyarch has hinted at some exciting new changes. Will this be the year when the tried and true gameplay established all the way back in Modern Warfare 1 is revamped?
3. Xcom: Enemy Unknown (October 9, 2k/Firaxis, Xbox, PS3, PC)
If you were a PC gamer in the early 1990s, you remember Xcom: UFO Defense. A brilliant strategy game that combined elements of SimCity with turn-based tactical action, UFO Defense is probably on many people’s lists of best games ever. Happily, after a long absence, Xcom is back! Here’s hoping that there is a still a fanbase that will buy a strategy game, though Firaxis has done its level best to make the turn-based action engaging to the modern audience.
4. Pokemon Black/White Version 2 (October 7, Nintendo/Game Freak, Nintendo 3DS/DS)
The mighty Pokemon juggernaught marches on, but Nintendo still wants to capitalize on the gigantic DS fanbase, so for now, these new Pokemon games are Nintendo DS-compatible (so they won’t be in 3D or take advantage of the more advanced 3DS graphics). Not much to say here, except tons of people will buy this game for sure!
5. Lego Lord of the Rings (October 30, Warner Bros, 3DS)
The Lego series continues to enjoy success because it marries great gameplay with great IP. Hot off the success of Lego Batman 2 DC Superheroes, the Lego series has begun to incorporate elements of open world gameplay to its already fun platforming style. Surely, its success will continue with yet another strong title.
*The Wii U release is currently a rumor and not confirmed, though evidence on the Internet suggests it is forthcoming. Note that the Wii U itself does not have an official release date beyond “Holiday 2012” at this time.