Onslaught

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jenga.pngThere are so many games launching now or in the next two months that I literally cannot keep track of them all. Seriously. On the plus side, I probably don't have to worry about being bored between now and March.

Here, take a look:

  • Halo 3 (360) - Perhaps the biggest blockbuster of them all, the marketing and buzz for this game have been deafening (albeit pleasantly so). Halo certainly has its share of problems - the level design is frequently terrible, and the narrative is not presented well, for instance - but I cut my cooperative teeth on it back in college, so the latest entry into the franchise gets a token must-play.
  • Orange Box (360) - I spent a long time without a gaming rig, so I still haven't played Valve's illustrious Half Life or its sequels. Now that there's a console version, I'm anxious to see what I've been missing. Plus, I've been looking forward to Portal for a good long while. (October 10)
  • Phantom Hourglass (DS) - This one is high on my list based on its lineage alone. I'm pleased to see another game in the cell-shaded style. I'm even more excited about a touch-based Zelda adventure. There's a lot of potential there, and I expect Nintendo to have realized some of it with this title. (October 4)
  • Rock Band (360) - Guitar Hero II was one of my favorite games of the past several years: a relatively simple concept put together exceedingly well. Add in some cooperative play and, well, I have very high hopes of Rock Band. (November 23)
  • Guitar Hero III (360) - See above, although to be honest, I'm expecting more from Harmonix than Neversoft. (October 28)
  • Beautiful Katamari (360) - I don't expect the game to add an enormous amount to the series, but I'm excited to have a Katamari game finally come to the 360. (October 15)
  • The Simpsons Game (360) - The buzz is all but nonexistant, so my official stance is "cautiously optimistic." Perhaps it's just another lousy movie tie-in, but there are certainly precedents for a great Simpsons game. (October 30)
  • Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) - Mario has always been fundamentally about platforming - a genre for which I have no great love - but Galaxy takes such a unique approach that I can't help but be intrigued. (November 12)
  • Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii) - Smash Bros is a fantastic party game - at least if you're throwing a party for gamers. Which is exactly what I'm going to do when this game launches. (December 3)
  • Ace Attorney 3 (DS) - The Phoenix Wright series may be simple, but these games sandwich a fantastic sense of humor neatly between interactive fiction and old-school adventure games. (October 23)
  • Sam & Max: Season Two (PC) - I recently played Season One, and instantly bought into episodic delivery. To say nothing of a series of honest-to-God old-school adventure games with a wicked sense of humor, the potential of finishing a game within two or three hours is breath-taking. I do not finish 90% of the games I play. The week that I purchased Season One of Sam & Max, I finished six. The emotional significance of that fact should not be underestimated. (November 8)
  • Assassin's Creed (360) - Since it was first announced, I've been hoping this would prove to be a spiritual successor to the wonderful Sands of Time. I'm still holding out that hope, and all the coverage I've seen seems to bear it out. The environment and animations look stunning, and I can't wait to explore the large-crowd AI. (November)
  • Mass Effect (360) - Absolutely the game I am most looking forward to this season. The dialog system is along lines I've been waiting for the industry to pick up for quite some time. And while it may be drawing criticism from some camps, I've always been an enormous fan of BioWare's real-time/turn-based hybrid action model, so I'm glad to see it intact. Quite honestly, I cannot do my excitement over this game justice. Let me simply say: I am extremely excited about this game. (November 20)

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