September 13 - September 17

I've never been terribly excited before for a Halo game. This week is not exactly different, but the thing is I always am pretty happy with the results. Hearing that this may be the best of the batch to date tells me that this is probably a game that I should pay some attention to. Considering that I have virtually no interest in the multiplayer aspect of Halo, I realize that I am buying into what will likely be a highly polished if ultimately transitory experience, but that kind of defines the last 4 Halo games I played.

I never count Halo among the all time greats, but I've also never not had fun playing. When I start using double negatives like that you can safely assume that my feelings for the thing I'm describing are complicated. I always fear that by not epically praising Halo I will be seen as being some kind of hater. I'm not. I like Halo just fine, I just kind of feel like it's an above average standard shooter.

Still, Halo Reach gets an unqualified Game of the Week. It's certainly not alone though. Other titles include Patrician IV, Sonic Adventure on XBLA and Phantasy Star Portable 2. If you have the feeling that there are more and more titles on the release list these days, I'd be inclined to agree.

PC
- Painkiller: Pandemonium
- Patrician IV

PS3
- Cabela's North American Adventures
- Truth or Lies
- Racquet Sports

Xbox 360
- Halo Reach
- Cabela's North American Adventures
- Truth or Lies

Wii
- Cabela's North American Adventures
- Dragon's Lair Trilogy
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Duel Transer
- Swords
- Gormiti: The Lords of Nature!
- Truth or Lies
- Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Swamp
- The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest

DS
- Gormiti: The Lords of Nature!
- Phineas and Ferb Ride Again
- Fancy Nancy: Tea Party Time!
- Alpha and Omega
- Deer Drive
- Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Swamp
- The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest

PSP
- Phantasy Star Portable 2
- Cabela's North American Adventures
- Gladiator Begins
- The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest

Coming Soon

- Civilization V : September 21
- Fallout New Vegas -- PC, PS3, Xbox 360 : October 19
- Rock Band 3 -- Xbox 360, PS3 : October 26
- Fable 3 -- PC, Xbox 360 : October 26
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 -- PC, 360, PS3, Wii : October 26
- DC Universe Online : November 2
- Little Big Planet 2 : November 16
- Epic Mickey : November 30

Comments

The part of me that absolutely adores Halo 1 and 2 wants to be excited for Reach. Especially since it's pretty clear they've gone to some length to revive a lot of elements of Halo 1. However, there are also small touches that make me jerk and spasm like an old man that just heard they are remaking Happy Days with Shia LeBeouf or however it's spelled as Richie Cunningham. The melee attacks in Halo were always quick and worked perfectly in case you got spotted while assassinating someone. Now you are highly exposed as the camera pulls back into 3rd person and a knife is stuck in someone, just so the kids in sideways hats can shout "yo dawg that's da sh*t!"

Even if the gameplay is great, though, I have a real love for the story in Halo 1 and 2. Not because of the Spartans or anything, though. The human side of the story is boring as Hell in the manner it is portrayed. Sure, there's room for a cool story there. The ODST commercial did a better job at that than the game itself. The co-founders and co-creators of Bungie were also clearly well-read what with all the Larry Niven and Robert Heinlein inspiration and then some. This gave way for them to at least be adequate at writing the story and dialog.

Yet one left to found Wide Load Games and the other didn't even work on design in Halo 2, let alone the writing. Halo 3's story felt like it fell flat on its face, and while the narrative style of ODST was good the story and writing itself just didn't live up to expectations (but at least it was fun to play again). Now I've seen little of Reach, but some of the cut-scenes I watched are just so full of chest-thumping bravado that it's like the only source of inspiration the new writer has is James Cameron's marines.

This is nothing to say of Spartans once being this slightly interesting and uncommon group that was bad ass and all died, Master Chief being the last one (and his constant lone survivor shtick being the ONLY thing that made him interesting until all the extraneous material started bringing up more and more Spartans), and now they are literally everywhere. It's like how in the first three Star Wars films being a Jedi is something uncommon and special, as is the Lightsaber. Yeah, Luke always has it on him, but he only uses it in special occasions. He still has his blaster. But then in the prequels Jedi and lightsabers are everywhere, and the mystique that was once there is lost. "Oh, they're all over the place. Okay, guess it's not tough to be a Jedi after all".

Same goes with the Spartans.

Ack. I didn't manage to carry on so long. Halo is one of those franchises that I can discuss for ages because of my love of the first games and disappointment in how they turned out. I just want to see what Bungie has up their sleeve next so they can start something fresh without having to worry about modifying every feature to what the fans want rather than what they think would be a good idea.

How do you choose which games to put on the coming soon list? Two of the games I have my eye on (which are therefore important, or at least epic, apparently) aren't on the list: Kirby's Epic Yarn (October 17, for Wii) and Epic Mickey (November 1, for Wii).

The answer is I just try and think of some interesting games coming soon. Added Epic Mickey.

Wait, Fallout: New Vegas is a week and a month away? I was assuming November. Thanks for the heads up.

Front Mission Evolved is coming out September 28 for us giant robot lovers.

Ouch. I think Kirby's Epic Yarn just got dissed by omission.

Interestingly, I also played bass for a nu-rock band called Dissed by Omission.

Also dissed by omission: NBA Jam, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Super Scribblenauts.

ccesarano wrote:

Stuff about melee attacks.

You know, the standard quick bash melee is still there, right? You only do the animated assassinations when you hold it down for a few seconds.

I'm surprised Swords didn't make the GOTW. Isn't a 1:1 sword fighting game for the Wii the game we've all been wanting since we saw the Wii tech demos?

The title Fancy Nancy: Tea Party Time! sounds like a parody of shovelware. I can't believe it's an actual product.

I had actually been interested in The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, even if just as a lighthearted lark, but the lack of press or previews does not bode well. Well, that's okay: as you point out, it's a packed autumn!

hbi2k wrote:

Ouch. I think Kirby's Epic Yarn just got dissed by omission.

Poor Kirby.

Still, Kirby didn't get as badly dissed as the PlayStation Move, which launches on the 17th and didn't get a mention at all.

Jasonofindy wrote:

Is the Epic Mickey date official? Multiple retailers have it listed as November 1, but I can't find a press release that says anything other than "Holiday." My suspicion that it is just a placeholder are further raised because Nov. 1 is a Monday instead of the more traditional Tuesday release date.

I think it's a placeholder date, but I can't be sure. The Disney Store, which you think would be on top of these things, lists it as being available in December. Every other major retailer has it on the first of November.

He can't list everything in "Coming Soon."

Quintin_Stone wrote:

He can't list everything in "Coming Soon."

Can't or won't, Stone?

Quintin_Stone wrote:

He can't list everything in "Coming Soon."

Sure, but Move comes out this week. It's not even listed in the releases area.

Is the Epic Mickey date official? Multiple retailers have it listed as November 1, but I can't find a press release that says anything other than "Holiday." My suspicion that it is just a placeholder is further raised because Nov. 1 is a Monday instead of the more traditional Tuesday release date.

I have to admit that I am actually a bit excited by the release of Reach. At least on the consoles, Halo seems to be the only FPS series that actually gets matchmaking right and does a good job of dumping me in with players of comparable skill. The CoD games generally seem to have faster matchmaking, but tend to dump me in with players that play several hours a week and are dozens of levels higher than me. For many games, this would be understandable as there just isn't a large enough player base to match players reliably by rank. However, with the sheer number of CoD players it shouldn't be hard for the system to restrict the level ranges of the players in a given match.

Additionally, while I understand the lure of CoD's leveling system to hardcore players (getting stuff is always fun), the system seems to do even more to imbalance the game against infrequent players by giving better equipment to those who arguably need it the least in order to compete. Reach's cosmetic unlock system seems to be a good idea as it still offers a carrot for playing, but doesn't stack the deck further against casual and infrequent players.

I'm also holding out hope that Reach will be a return to form on the single player front. The first game was a good single player experience, but it just seemed to get worse with each iteration as focus moved to developing the online multiplayer. ODST had a slightly better story than 2 and 3, and at least some early accounts are that Reach is better.

I played Halo 1. It was OK and I can appreciate what it did for "the form."

Played Halo 2 a bit. Was meh on it and never finished it.

Skipped Halo 3.

I think I'll pick up Reach. The $20 gift card at Best Buy is tempting and it sounds like I'll get more out of it than a die-hard Halo 3 fan.

Ouch. I hope November 1 is just a placeholder date. Because November 1 also marks the start of NaNoWriMo and that would totally kill my novel by being distracted by Epic Mickey.

Halo is no Half-life 2, but i am still delighted by this release and just got it.

I'm thinking we should add Steam sales to the "Week" outlooks. My GOTW is KOTOR for $2.50.