Some top video games have been released just before the holidays
Friday saw a gamut of gaming greatness released to consumers.
This year has already been one of the best in memory with a calendar full of instant classics and many surprises. But it kicked into serious overdrive Friday with the release of three extremely anticipated games and one entry that could be a game of the year contestant. Wallets and bank accounts are often tight this time of the year, but it's just so hard to pick which game to pick up. Do you want to explore the Egyptian empire in a new entry in the revamped and renewed "Assassin's Creed" series? Or would you rather make America Nazi free again in "Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus?" Or would you want to enjoy one of the most pure gaming experiences of the year with "Super Mario Odyssey?" All three promise endless hours of fun. The best part of this week's releases? They're all single-player experiences.
"Assassin's Creed Origins" is the first new "Assassin's Creed" game in two years. While that might not seem like a very long time especially when most game development lasts at least three years publisher Ubisoft was spitting those things out once a year. The quality began to take a dip, and so did the sales. After all, when you release eight mainline titles in eight years, not including handheld spinoffs and a last-generation release, people grow tired of the formula. Even "Call of Duty" is suffering in sales.
Players take on the role of Bayek, a member of the medjay who will ultimately become the first in the line of assassins that are seen throughout the series. Ubisoft has taken the series back to its roots by exploring the origins of its historic fictional feud between assassins and templars. But this game is a bit different taking its cues more from RPGs like "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," rather than previous "Assassin's Creed" games.
The game adds several RLPG elements, including building Bayek's skills and power throughout the game. While that sounds interesting enough, it can lead to the frustration of seeing a highly-skilled assassin be beaten down by a regular guard, simply because that guard is a higher level and for no real narrative reasons. Combat is much more challenging, so players are encouraged to explore other avenues than simply becoming a tank while plowing through enemies.
Even in the early hours, it looks like "Assassin's Creed Origins" despite, perhaps, featuring the most generic name ever could be one of the best games in the series since "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag."
If you're still burned out on the "Assassin's Creed" franchise, or open world gaming in general, then "Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus" might be the right choice as long as you don't consider Nazis to be "fine people." BJ Blazkowicz returns from the dark ending of "Wolfenstein The New Order" to a United States that's controlled by Nazis. Just a minor disclosure development on this title began back in 2014, following the original game's release. That being said, there are few things in gaming that are as satisfying as slaying Nazis. Developer MachineGames has done what once may have seemed impossible and has taken the brutal and deeply enjoyable first-person shooter game play the "Wolfenstein" series is known for and has melded it with a very gripping story and well-written characters.
"The New Order" was one of the most surprising releases of 2014. The "Wolfenstein" franchise had been all but forgotten by that point. But the former Starbreeze developers created a well-crafted single-player experience that not only had some of the best gunplay in the business, but also had a fairly deep story with characters that you not only sympathized with, but also that felt quite real.