This holiday, the launch of the Wii U will be upon us, hailing the start of a new generation of consoles. Additionally, its expected that Microsoft and Sony will both be making some sort of next generation console announcement, meaning the next Xbox and PlayStation could launch as soon as Holiday 2013. However, before we leave behind our current crop of consoles, I recommend dusting off your controllers, and pick up a great game you might have missed.
Here are a few recommendations, and this is by no means an extensive list.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (PS3, Xbox 360)
In the west, Namco Bandai is known for two things – Pacman, and fighting games. So, when the action/adventurer Enslaved: Odyssey to the West released, it flew under the radar for many players. Ensalved’s best assets are visual – set in a deserted metropolis, buildings over run with vegetation, filled with enemies and characters that charm and bring players in. The game isn’t perfect, suffering from somewhat generic combat, however this grievance doesn’t manage to bring the entire experience down, thanks to the great story telling paired with sharp visuals. Enslaved drew comparisons to Uncharted, though it didn’t have near the amount of advertising and marketing Sony’s hit franchise enjoys. If your looking for a great single player romp that isn’t a sequel, look no further.
Darksiders (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
It’s no secret, I’m a bit of a Darksiders fan, it seems to be exactly what the game industry needs to keep players interested in console gaming. Incase you haven’t heard, Darksiders is one of THQ’s only critically successful franchises, combining exploration and puzzles from the Legend of Zelda, with the brutal action and combat of God of War, and it’s a winning formula. Darksiders never enjoyed explosive sales, and many players have never even heard of the title, yet the game managed to impress enough people to earn a sequel, set to launch August 14th. Darksiders can be found for under $20 just about everywhere – so pick it up, and get yourself ready for what looks to be a great sequel.
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor (Wii)
Its difficult to describe Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, so I’ve decided to include gameplay footage above. As you can see, the game somewhat resembles Nintendo’s Starfox series in terms of gameplay, though it’s far more hectic, and well, punishing. (no pun intended, I swear.) Star Successor is the follow up to the original Sin & Punishment released over a decade ago for the N64, and though the title was praised, it never managed a release outside of Japan. The game was recently featured in Best Buy’s summer of games promotion and sold for only five dollars, which is an absolute steal. If you own a Wii, and like a challenge, you need to try Sin & Punishment. (Bonus: The original N64 title is also available via the Wii’s virtual console)
Alan Wake (Xbox 360, PC)
Does Alan Wake belong on this list? After all, there was a fairly large amount of buzz surrounding the game before it released. So, what happened? Despite solid reviews, and praise from fans, sales didn’t quite meet expectations. However, that doesn’t make Alan Wake any less of a great game. Alan Wake is a game filled with atmosphere, darkness, and suspense. Its a great ride, fueled by a well written story, which is fitting given the protagonist is himself, an author of horror stories.
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
If you haven’t heard the tale of how Xenoblade came to America, you’re in for a treat. You see, a group of fans banded together and demanded that Nintendo bring the excellent action RPG to the states. The movement known as Operation Rainfall, was successful, at least in spirit, as Nintendo eventually decided to bring the titles stateside, and that’s a very good thing. Xenoblade is a JRPG that gets rid of slow turn based combat in favor of an addicting real time system. When you’re not battling, you’ll be exploring some of the most expansive locations the Wii has ever seen. Its a great title for those who are in need of a new title for their Wii while they wait for the Wii U to launch.
There you have it, five excellent titles. If you’ve played them all already, then congratulations, you have blazed the road less traveled.