It’s October, and that means gaming’s silly season is upon us. Dozens and dozens of new games all vying for your attention and, more importantly, money. No less than three big name releases are out this Friday, all of which will undoubtedly shake up next week’s UK top ten chart.
Reviews for all three went live online well in advance to their release dates, which is always a good sign.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor arrives on PS4, Xbox One and PC. If you wasn’t already aware, the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were pushed back until 21st November. Set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you’re cast into the role of Talion – a recently resurrected Ranger. As he’s already dead he cannot die in battle, but time does pass with every failure prompting Sauron’s armies to shift and grow stronger. This ties in with the game’s ‘Nemesis System’ – enemies that killed Talion will remember him, and also receive promotions. We expected something similar to the Assassin’s Creed games, but apparently it has more in common with Batman: Arkham City.
Scores so far include 8/10s from both gamesTM and Eurogamer, 9/10 from VideoGamer, 9.3 from IGN and a lofty 9.5 from Polygon. “Shadow of Mordor is that ultimate rarity. It tells a fun little story that would be enough to hold up most games on its own. But it also provides all of the tools to ensure that the most interesting tales to come out of the game will be the ones that were not scripted” said Polygon.
Reviews of Forza Horizon 2 have been similarly sky high. Forget the fact that it’s coming out 11 months after launch title Forza Motorsport 5 – this has a different developer (Playground Games create the Horizon series) and as it’s open-world it provides an all together different experience. Incidentally, good old Sumo Digital are responsible for the Xbox 360 version. That’s also out this Friday.
Scores for the super slick racer include 9.5 from Destructoid (“Every element in Forza Horizon 2 adds up to an exceptional experience”) and 9/10 from God is a Geek (“Its breathtaking take on the world of cars is a petrol head’s wet dream”). Eurogamer and IGN also handed out a 9/10 and a 9.0.
PlayStation 4 owners shouldn’t feel jealous – DRIVECLUB is finally out next week.
Then we have Super Smash Bros. on 3DS. Easily the biggest Nintendo release of the year, the Wii U version shouldn’t be far off – 21st November has been hinted by online retailers.
Critics have found a few issues with the 3DS version, but most problems are easy to overlook on the grounds that the series was never really intended for handhelds. As such, there were always going to be a few shortcomings. So far we’ve heard of complains with the controls (the analogue stick prevents precision inputs, reports Eurogamer) and also issues with latency in local multiplayer (four-player matches are borderline unplayable claims GamesRadar). To quote God is a Geek though “It would be easy to sit and reel off a list of things Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS doesn’t have, but it’s better to focus on what it is. And what it is, is a functionally excellent, portable version of Super Smash Bros.”
Pac-Man isn’t just appearing in Super Smash Bros. this week – Pac-Man and The Ghostly Adventures 2 is rolling onto PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and 3DS for around the £25 mark. With less than a year between this and the original expect something highly similar with lots of recycled assets. With a bigger focus on using power-ups however, this could end up being the better of the two. We gave the original a not-too-shabby 6/10 back in January, claiming that it was a cut above most cartoon tie-ins.