the artistry and psychology of gaming


Top 10 Games of October 2011

Top 10 Games of October 2011

As our own good old tradition here at Gaming Symmetry this is the third month we’re going to tell you what games are coming out that you should be excited about.

#10: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Another installment in one of the most famous and popular flight combat series. It seems they are improving everything this time around as they have employed a celebrity writer, Jim DeFelice, to write the story of the game. You are a part of NATO forces in the year 2015 who in the alliance with Russian and UN forces try to suppress terrorist action in Africa, where they find out they have developed a new type of weapon called “Trinity” and are backed by a Russian terrorist groups, and now it hits the fan. You will fly in various locations such as Miami, Washington, D.C., Dubai, Paris, East Africa, the Middle East, Moscow Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The major new gameplay feature is a system called “Close-Range Assault” (CRA), which aims to increase the intensity and bring the action closer to the player, without the feeling of “shooting at faraway dots” commonly seen in flight games. In the game, it is named “Dogfight Mode” (DFM) for air-to-air battles and “Air Strike Mode” (ASM) for air-to-ground targets.They are not optional, as certain planes cannot be destroyed without CRA. To initiate DFM, the player taps LB+RB on the Xbox 360 and L2+R2 on the PS3 when they have gotten close enough to the plane they are targeting. ASM is initiated by pressing the same buttons at specific points around the map.

So, if you are into playing flight combat games, you may consider this game.

#9: Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Famous American writer of comic books, novels, television, movies and video games, Peter David, whose famous works include an award-winning, 12-year run on The Incredible Hulk, as well as runs on Aquaman, Young Justice, Supergirl, Fallen Angel, and Star Trek, writes this game. The game covers two universes of Spider Man canon, Amazing Universe and 2099 universe. Characters like, Spider-Man, Anti-Venom, Mary Jane Watson, Rhino, Shocker, Spider-Man 2099, Walter Sloan, and Black Cat 2099 appear in the game. The plot is, according to Wikipedia: “In the year 2099, Alchemax scientist Walter Sloan seeks to gain power and fortune by traveling back in time to the present day in order to use his knowledge of future technology to found Alchemax much earlier in time. This causes the future of 2099 to change to a dystopia where Alchemax rules the world with an iron fist. Miguel O’Hara / Spider-Man 2099 is aware of the plan and finds out that Sloan’s actions are not only responsible for the changes in the timeline but will also cause the death of Peter Parker / Spider-Man at the hands of Anti-Venom. Miguel warns Peter of the impending danger, and both Spider-Men must work together across time to save the future and Peter Parker’s life.” Gameplay will feature a new “cause-and-effect” system where one Spider-Man’s actions will affect the other and vice versa.

The premise seems promising, let’s wait and see how’s the execution.

#8: Might & Magic Heroes VI

The new installment in the long running WRPG game series. This game has been simplified and made easier in comparison with the other titles in the series; half of initial schematics, including spells, skills, abilities, heroes, units and buildings will remain present, with the other half being innovative. The magic guild leveling is replaced by the hero skill/ability wheel leveling, while new spells are learned only at particular dwellings outside the town. Finally, the game will feature only four collectable resources (instead of the classic seven): gold, wood, ore, and blue crystals. There will be a multiplayer mode. Heroes VI is a prequel to the main campaigns of Heroes of Might and Magic V, taking place four centuries earlier in the world of Ashan. A legendary Archangel general, revived hundreds of years after perishing during the Elder Wars, plots to recover his powers and take control of Ashan while battling a supposed Demon invasion, but is impeded by the Griffin dynasty, led by Duke Slava. As a war erupts between them, Slava is assassinated in his throne, leaving behind as heirs his five children. The campaigns can be played in any order, and are interconnected (meaning that you don’t have to complete any campaign to be able to play another one).

#7: Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

This is a spin-off in the Spyro series and a the first game in the Skylanders series. You are a portal master who controls 32 different characters including Spyro. You have to defeat an evil portal master by traveling to different worlds and solving puzzles. Characters each have a primary attack, and a secondary attack. They gain experience points by defeating monsters, and leveling up will result in the possibility of getting upgrades. Each character has its own special abilities that differ from each other, as well as assigned elements. This provides some replayability, as each character faces the world in different ways. So this is mainly a traditional platformer game with a lot of innovations, and seems to be entertaining in many aspects.

#6: Kirby’s Return to Dream Land

Kirby series have been absent for some time but Nintendo has revived them and now game after game comes out. This one is the eleventh platformer in the series. This is the first traditional Kirby game in 11 years. It features the staple gameplay of traditional Kirby platform games, in which the titular character Kirby possesses the ability to inhale and copy enemies in order to produce stronger attacks like: fire kirby, sword Kirby, etc. It is a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer, controlled by holding the Wii Remote sideways. There’s also a co-op mode where you can control other Kirby characters such as Waddle Dee, King Dedede, and Meta Knight. Kirby’s plot focuses on the characters retrieving the scattered pieces of a crashed alien spaceship.

#5: Dark Souls

This game has already been released in Japan. It is the spiritual successor to the famous and popular game Demon’s Souls. Quoting Wikipedia: “The game will focus on dungeon crawling and the tension and fear that arise when players encounter enemies in this setting. Unlike Demon’s Souls, which would force the players to restart the level when they died, Dark Souls will allow players to light special Bonfires, which function as respawn locations.These bonfires also replenish health, magic, and special items like Estus Flasks – limited vials that restore player health. The player will battle using various weapons and strategies to survive in a dark fantasy world. Online features will allow players to share the play experience without need for direct communication. There will be more weapons, spells, and new classes. It is also said to be ‘significantly harder’, with more enemies and more difficult encounters. It will include leaving messages to other players, seeing others’ deaths, and player versus player (as well as a new co-op system).” “Famitsu gave the game a highly positive review, scoring it 37 out of 40, based on four scores of 9, 9, 9, and 10. This was much higher than its predecessor Demon’s Souls which received a score of 29 out of 40, based on four scores of 7, 9, 6, and 7. One of the reviewers for Dark Souls described it as “a very hardcore dark-fantasy RPG” that is “role-playing right down to the roots.”

I personally find this an improvement in comparison with Demon’s Souls which was needlessly hard and boring.

#4: Rage

id Software, the most famous FPS making company which has some landmark names under its belt, makes a new FPS, and we all have reason to be excited about it. It will use the company’s new OpenGL 4.2 based id Tech 5 engine, and judging by the trailers and company’s past we can safely bet that the game will be fantastic technically. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world somewhat similar to the movie Mad Max 2 and that of other popular video games such as Fallout. The user plays as a survivor of the 2029 Apophis meteorite impact who has just awoken from an Ark (a world-wide movement which took scientists and other significant people, and froze them underground in cryo-pods so they could rebuild Earth). Soon, the player comes to realize that his Ark has malfunctioned and that he is the only survivor. You can drive cars in the game as well as shooting. Most interestingly, new RPG elements are introduced in the game. Players will have the option to customize their weapons and their cars,  and there will also be side missions. Rage has two multiplayer modes: Combat Rally and Legends of the Wasteland. In Combat Rally, up to six players compete in a free-for-all match that takes place in an arena designed to make use of the vehicles. The objective is to collect rally points that appear around the arena while killing your opponents and stealing their points. Legends of the Wasteland is a series of two-player bonus co-op missions based on stories that you hear about as you play the single player campaign.

This is one game I’m personally very excited about and I think it’s going to be great.

#3: Battlefield 3

Seems this is the FPS month this year. According to Wikipedia:

“Battlefield 3 will feature the maximalist combined arms battles that made the series popular across single-player, co-operative and multiplayer modes. It will reintroduce several elements absent from the Bad Company games, including fighter jets, the prone position and 64-player battles on PC. To accommodate the lower player count on consoles, the ground area will be limited for Xbox 360 and PS3, though fly space will remain the same. During an interview with GameInformer Magazine, EA stated that Commander Mode is unlikely to be included, which was met with some criticism on the EA forum.The game will feature maps set in Paris, Tehran, Sarajevo, Sulaymaniyah, New York, Wake Island and Oman. As a whole, combat will take place in urban streets, metropolitan downtown areas, and open landscapes suited to vehicle combat.Battlefield 3 will introduce Battlelog, a free cross-platform social service with built-in text and voice communicator, game statistics and ability to join the game that friend is already playing (both players need to be on the same platform). Battlefield 3′s multiplayer matches see players take on one of four roles: Assault, Support, Engineer and Recon. The Assault class will be able to equip defibrillators and medkits, as was the case in Battlefield 2142. The mechanics of the light machine gun (LMG) have been changed to utilize the new engine: bipods can be deployed anywhere when in the prone position or near suitable scenery, and provide a significant boost to accuracy and recoil reduction. Suppressive fire from such weapons blurs the vision and reduces the accuracy of those under fire. The Engineer class will receive a flashlight that can be used to blind other players.”

#2: Silent Hill: Downpour

The greatest horror series of all times will have a new installment in the coming month. Downpour‘s PS3 release will be the first in the series to be 3D. Silent Hill: Downpour‘s gameplay will deal with both combat and puzzle-solving.The game will mostly use a third-person view, although at times a fixed camera view will be there as well.You will have a very limited firearms at your disposal and your melee weapons will break during time, plus you will only be able to carry one melee weapon. This shows that the creators are really toning down the action and combat. Downpour will feature puzzle difficulty selections, while side-quests that will be able to change depending on the player’s play style will also be present. This again reminds us of the second and third game. Buildings featured in previous installments of the series, such as a hospital and a school, will be excluded and the element of water will be holding a prominent role, with torrential rain being featured. I just hope the absence of hospitals won’t mean the absence of nurses! Silent Hill: Downpour will follow Murphy Pendleton, a prisoner who is accidentally freed in the town of Silent Hill after the prison transport vehicle he is being transported with crashes and falls off a road. Downpour‘s plot will be unrelated to previous installments in the series, focusing on Murphy rather than the series’ mythology, and its events will take place in the southeastern region of Silent Hill, which has never been explored in previous games. For Silent Hill: Downpour, regular series composer Akira Yamaoka was replaced with Daniel Licht. That’s the bad news. Regular series vocalist Mary Elizabeth McGlynn will return. Downpour‘s main theme will be performed by American nu metal band Korn.

I’m dissapointed about the absence of Yamaoka and the fact that the game is unrelated to the overarching mythology of the game; however, the gameplay seems to be really promising and I’m really looking forward to it.

#1: Batman: Arkham City

A sequel to the best Batman game ever, and it has created a lot of buzz, with a lot of exciting news coming out! Arkham City takes place in an open world environment which merges the elements of stealth and action. There will be combat, stealth levels, and also many puzzles for you to solve. You will have the option to finish the missions using guns and combat or silently. All of the gadgets previously obtained in the first game are present at the start of Arkham City, while most can be improved to have new capabilities. The use of Batman’s “Detective Mode”, which highlights elements such as enemy skeletons and clues on-screen, is used to perform forensic activities such as tracing the origin of a sniper round. The player also has access to a criminal database that tracks the major villains across the city and the forensic puzzles much like the first game. Side missions will be more prominent in this game. In some of those side missions you control other characters; including Robin and Catwoman. These villains will be present in the game: Joker, Two-Face, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Victor Zsasz, Jack Ryder, Hugo Strange, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Talia al Ghul, Calendar Man, and  Solomon Grundy. Catwoman, Alfred Pennyworth, Oracle, Robin, Commissioner Gordon and Robin are Batman’s helpers.

The plot, according to Wikipedia is: “The story for Arkham City takes place approximately one year after the events of Arkham Asylum.Quincy Sharp, former warden of Arkham Asylum, has taken credit for stopping the Joker, and used the notoriety to become mayor of Gotham City. As neither Arkham nor Blackgate Prison are in any condition to detain inmates, Sharp buys out a large section of Gotham’s slums and arms the perimeter with private military contractors from a group called Tyger in order to create “Arkham City”. The prisoners are brought into Arkham City and are given free rein, as long as they do not attempt escape. To oversee the city, Sharp hires psychiatrist Hugo Strange who appears to have his own secret agenda for the city. Batman maintains a vigil over the city, worried that the situation may get out of hand. The events of the game are set in motion when Two-Face, seeking to gain notoriety among the inmates and other villains outside the city, devises a plan to publicly execute Catwoman. Batman decides for both the safety of Gotham and of his past relationship with Catwoman that he must stop the execution by entering Arkham City. Catwoman takes advantage of the chaos in Arkham City to acquire jewelry, and a few high tech gadgets; much like how Batman receives new tools and upgrades.

A promising gameplay, interesting story, and a great line up of Batman characters, make this game a must-play.


As it seems, October is going to be a great month. Stay tuned!

One Comment

  1. I didn’t even know there was a new Heroes game coming out. The last one I played was Heroes of Might & Magic III and the expansion packs. I kinda want to play this one if my laptop can handle it.

    Arkham City is going to be awesome. I loved Arkham Asylum and I’m not a comic book/Batman fan at all.

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