With the Christmas season right around the corner (yes, in America the end of October means it’s just around the corner), I’ve started to search for gift ideas. My search has led me to titles that gamers of any age and ability can appreciate, but I’ve narrowed it down to a list of three. Granted, not all of them have release dates before Christmas ’09, or any release dates at all, but they’re definitely worth waiting for.
1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii – Wii – Nov. 15, 2009
You might ask yourself: how can Nintendo improve on the already outstanding formula that gave life to the original Super Mario Bros. games? Well, with new technology, graphics and creative innovation, it’s happening. New Super Mario Bros. Wii promises to be everything that you remember about the original NES games and more. Using the mechanics of the classic 2D platformer as a base, this game builds the franchise up by employing something completely new: multiplayer Mario action. Up to 4 players can choose between Mario, Luigi, and two Toads (one blue and one yellow), as they battle Bowser and his baddies. The mission? To rescue Princess Peach of course. The game also makes use of the improved graphics that the Wii offers by rendering objects that move in three-dimensional space and creating interactions between the foreground and background elements. In other words, platforms and enemies will move in three dimensions rather than just left, right, up and down. Nintendo says that the game combines competition and cooperation, something that not many developers can boast. In game, watch for new mushroom power-ups, Wiimote-enabled puzzles, and appearances by Yoshi. For more information, look at the game’s profile on Nintendo’s official website.
2. Assassin’s Creed 2 – PS3/Xbox 360/PC – Nov. 17, 2009
In the next installment of this budding series, developers bring the rooftop-jumping action to Italy. From Florence to Tuscany to Venice, a young assassin named Ezio will have greedy monarchs on their toes. Not only does he get to hang out with a young Leonardo De Vinci, and get to test his flying machine, but he will also learn new moves and collect tons of weapons. Mechanically, the game has expanded on a couple important fronts. In the original title, there were only about 5 types of quests that got a little monotonous after a while. Now there are more than 15 quest types, including escort and chase missions. Not only have the possibilities expanded, but quests have also been strung together and placed inside of each other. For example, the aforementioned escort mission could turn into a chase and then back into the escort mission. Developers have also improved the Parkur-style movement system in Assasin’s Creed 2, making it possible to preform acrobatics off of just about any structure. Check out the official website here.
3. Diablo 3 – Mac/PC – No official release date
This game is the long-awaited next installation into Blizzard’s famous Diablo series. While not too much is known about this particular plot, there are some new features worth mentioning. The graphics in Diablo 3 have had a major facelift since the Windows 2000 days. Along with the improved visuals comes a fully interactive and destructive environment. This means that you can knock a pillar over onto a group of undead, or use a vine to swing across a gulch. One of the great features of the Diablo franchise is the customization of the character classes. So far, the build includes a necromancer, barbarian, wizard, and monk, but at least one more class has been promised. Each character type has different strengths, but with the variety of weapons and abilities that you can upgrade, there are hundreds of ways to customize. Check the official website for updates about the plot, characters, and the release date.
What games are you excited about? Leave me a comment and let me know!