In a holiday week where it appears that most publishers are treading water and waiting for the final holiday push to year’s end, two titles stand out as the ones that are going to be fighting for gamers’ shelf space by the time the week ends. In an interesting twist of scheduling, however, the fight won’t be fought based on quality, necessarily, but on the basis of which players have which consoles.
First only by virtue of its release date is Resistance 2 the sequel to the game that all but single-handedly saved the PS3’s launch lineup. When the PS3 was released, the one inescapable criticism that it couldn’t shake off was the mere fact that there were almost no games worth playing in the launch catalog; in that lineup, Resistance was a beacon of exclusively-licensed hope. It has since stood the test of time as one of the PS3’s most celebrated shooters, and Resistance 2 stands an awfully good shot of continuing that legacy as it introduces the prospect of a simultaneous 60-person competitive multiplayer mode. 60 people. I’m a programmer by day, and that just sounds like a nightmare of network programming to me, but more power to Insomniac for deciding to tackle such a beast.
Of course, later this week comes Gears of War 2, and having spent a little bit of time with this one myself, let me tell you (in case you hadn’t already heard), it’s really an incredible gaming experience. The first Gears of War was a success almost entirely on its technical merits; its unse of Unreal Engine 3 was unparalleled, its cover ‘n shoot gameplay was revolutionary for its time, and its enemy design was properly scary and awe-inspiring (and need I even mention the fantastic marketing push?). The second game, while no great departure, lives up to Epic Games’ president Mike Capps’ proclamation that Gears 2 would be “bigger, better, and more badass”. The technical marvels are at least doubled, while a renewed focus on the story is made plainly obvious by the second part of the very first act. Epic obviously took notes on the few gripes that players had with the first game, taking steps to correct them for the second.
Elsewhere, it seems that licensed product is commanding most of the attention. James Bond: Quantum of Solace is being released for a whole pile of consoles this week, and despite the fact that no Bond game since Goldeneye has lived up to the way that game captivated us back in the days of the Nintendo 64, we still continue to expect just a little more of Bond than of other licensed properties; hopefully Quantum of Solace can give us some of the fun escapism that so many other more serious games are lacking of late. WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is also coming out for pretty much everything this week, and you probably already know if you’re buying it, but Lord knows there’s an audience for it.
As for lesser-known titles? I’m not sure how you can turn down a game with a title like Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ, but maybe that’s just me.
What are you picking up this week? Is it back to work against the Locusts? Up for another go-‘round with The Undertaker? Or maybe that Tom Clancy game that’s sneaking quietly into the picture is more your speed? Let us know, and remember—slow down. Enjoy your time with your games. There’ll be a good nine months starting in January to catch up.