It feels like this is the most packed holiday season of all time. It is a shame that publishers don't spread their releases a bit more over the year. There was hardly a single good game coming out every quarter for the 360, and now suddenly since end of October it feels like there's a block buster released every day. Unfortunately, a lot of great games will be buried under the heavy weights like Gears or Fallout3, but well who am I to complain. It's a great time for hardcore gamers across all platforms, and that's all that counts :)
I think I'll have to work on the oncoming backlog until at least February next year, and careful scheduling is necessary to manage the avalanche of games indeed. Fortunately some of the games didn't turn out quite as good as pre-release-hype made me belief, so I can push a few games into next year. One of those is FarCry2. It's not a bad game by any means, I was prepared for the open-world-ness (which is the exact opposite of the original FarCry) and shitty to non-existent story (which is exactly in line with the original FarCry). But still I was disappointed. I must confess that I didn't give the game a real chance (only played for one evening, about 2 to 3 hours). Graphics are great, but game-play wise it is somewhere between Just Cause and Mercenaries2, and I already had my share of sandbox games this year I guess. However I will definitely come back to FC2 next year when the storm has settled a bit, but it looks like this will be the Assassin's Creed of 2008 (spectacular presentation, shallow gameplay).
Next up was Fable2. Great game (especially with the downloadable English audio track), but I just haven't the time to appreciate the game as a whole. The game requires a lot of time investment, but rewards the player for the time spent with a great sense of immersion. But at the moment I just don't have the attention span required for a game like this. One thing I found surprising was, that one of my old favorites, Overlord, in places looks better or at least very similar to Fable2 (not a surprise, since the Overlord designers definitely drew a lot of inspiration from the original Fable), but considering that Overlord is a 2007 title, Fable2 should have been a prettier game. I was about half way through Fable2, when along came my personal surprise hit of 2008 (so far at least):
What a f*cking great game. It's a bit of Alien (the movie), a bit of System Shock, and a bit of Quake2, merged into a wonderfully old-school survival-horror-corridor-shooter. The really surprising bit is: this is an EA game! With the exception of Fight Night 3 and Skate, I wasn't interested in a single EA game for the entire life-time of the 360, and now all of the sudden, EA actually starts to produce great games in a row. This year alone I bought Battlefield BC, Mercenaries2 and Dead Space from EA, and will probably get Mirrors Edge soon. And considering that Bioware is now EA as well... oh dear. What has the world come to, EA making great games... The end must be near indeed hehe.
The PS2 is now at 77 Euro in Germany, just a tad more expensive then a typical 360 or PS3 game. That's the latest model: slim, with integrated power supply, one dualshock, composite cables, looking sexy as hell (no memory card though). Since my last PS2 went MIA, this was a very good reason to impulse-buy a new one. Better investment then my PS3 to be honest. Just playing a few minutes into MGS3 again was worth it.