Assassin's Creed 3 (video link)
I liked the first Assassin's Creed game, though as most people seem to agree it was a bit repetitive. Still I really dug the idea of the setting and the mechanics; platforming, plus light stealth, plus inventive melee equals a win in my book. I've heard that many of the weak spots in the formula were strengthened or dropped from Assassin's Creed 2, but I never got more than an hour or so into the game to see them. Someday I will finish it, but at present time I still haven't gotten around to it. Regardless of that minor road bump and regardless of the fact that Assassin's Creed 2 spawned something like a half dozen mini-sequels, I'm looking forward to the franchise's third big installment. One major reason for my excitement is the shift in time and location to Revolutionary War America, an underused time period in games and certainly one that's never gotten the action/adventure treatment in recent memory if at all. The other reason is the video (linked above) of the naval combat. I don't know how big a part of the game the naval game play will comprise, but it certainly looks like they spent a decent amount of time on it and it's easily one of the best ship-level representations of naval warfare I've ever seen. Otherwise I expect the game to follow a similar format to the existing Assassin's Creed games, but the setting alone makes this all the more interesting in my opinion, so it looks like I'll have to be getting back to Assassin's Creed 2 sooner rather than later.
The Last of Us (video link)
What is it about the post-apocalypse that so captures people's imaginations? Is it the age-old psychology of learning to face real fears in the safety of a fictional world, or is it simply a power fantasy wherein we long to believe that we have what it takes to survive where others have failed? Regardless of the reasoning, there's something about the alien but familiar nature of a post-apocalyptic setting that I find compelling. The Last of Us takes place 20 years after a strange fungal outbreak ignites a sort of zombie apocalypse. The protagonist is tasked with escorting a 14 year old girl outside of a militarily controlled quarantine zone and what follows seems to be part Ico, part Uncharted, and part Resident Evil. Did I mention the game is being developed by Naughty Dog, makers of the Uncharted games? Based on the E3 footage they've shown this year I'm expecting an action/adventure rollercoaster ride that will likely run the emotional gamut. Naughty Dog have shown a certain affinity for engaging video game characterizations and situations and judging by what's on display in The Last of Us, they don't plan to disappoint.
Beyond Two Souls (video link)
No, I still haven't played Heavy Rain. Having just bought a PS3 a couple months ago there simply hasn't been time. Not to sound like a hipster or anything though, but I was playing David Cage's games long before anybody gave a rat's ass about him and his company Quantic Dream. Having experienced both Omikron and Indigo Prophecy (aka Farenheit) I have a pretty good idea of what Mr. Cage and crew are all about and I'll get to Heavy Rain at some point I assure you. His latest game once again appears to be in the same vein as his more recent offerings in the sense that the "game play" is all about controlling real people in more or less real situations. I have to hand it to him though, many developers (cough ... Hideo Kojima ... cough) make the mistake of sacrificing game play due to their cinematic and story-telling ambitions. David Cage makes finding and/or injecting game play into cinematic story-telling his primary design goal and he is more or less successful. These games may not be for everyone, but as a fan of the classic point and click adventure genre, I see this as a recently grown branch on the evolutionary tree. This latest game seems to be heading back into the sci-fi/paranormal territory covered by Indigo Prophecy with a young woman (played by and modeled to look like actress Ellen Page) on the run from some agency or other, seemingly due to the telekinetic powers at her disposal. The trailer offers us but a brief glimpse into the narrative, but it's enough to pique my interest and put this one on the watch list for the future.
Next: Aliens, zombies, and ... swans?
Next: Aliens, zombies, and ... swans?