[Featurama] The Fall Gaming Blitz, a Retrospective

Some would say that Autumn 2011 was a renaissance for games, introducing new games of unprecedented originality (Dark Souls), story (Uncharted 3), execution (Battlefield 3), scope and beauty (Skyrim). Most others would at least admit that a whole bunch of good games came out. The Twinfinite team members came together to give their feelings on the “Fall Gaming Blitz”: what we played, what we will play, and our feelings on the surge.


I’m sure you’ll hear this over and over again, if you have a lot of friends that are into gaming, but I’ve spent way too much of my money on games this year. First and Foremost, I gifted myself a Nintendo 3DS, in addition to Super Mario 3D Land. I’m fully satisfied with my purchase, and for somehow I feel as though this handheld console has breathed new life into my passion for gaming. Super Mario 3D Land is absolutely phenomenal and does a fabulous job of making use of the 3D component.

Along with my new little toy (that’s what she said?), I impulsively bought Skyrim after the influx of memes, videos, and Facebook statuses began taunting me. Originally I had planned to wait until after the holidays to buy this game, but I couldn’t hide my shame for having not purchased it on release day. However, it is by far one of the best games I’ve played in quite some time. Along with Skyrim, I also purchased Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Dark Souls, and Dead Island. Nevertheless, It was a pretty successful holiday season. Right now, I currently reside under a bridge looking at all of the games I purchased, in my own filth, imagining what they’re like to play.


For this Fall of gaming, I went pretty nuts awaiting Uncharted 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Saints Row The Third. All are stellar; the game I sunk the most time into was definitely Skyrim though. I feel like Uncharted 3 didn’t exceed my expectations to be honest. This is despite it being a great game. A lot of its flaws made me just give it just a one time playthrough. I’d say the same about Saints Row. Still amazing, but it didn’t live up to its predecessors. On top of those I also got The Binding of Isaac. Team Meat really outdid themselves. It’s kicked my ass every time. That being said, Skyrim definitely owned 2011. I got sucked in around finals time and literally had to stop myself before I failed out. It wasn’t an easy task, either. But you already know what we thought of it. I’d say 2011 has definitely got 2010 beat in terms of gaming. Not just with the influx that occurred this Q4, but the entire year has dished out so many masterpieces. Plus this year gave me Catherine. Done.


Because of school, a recently broken Xbox 360, and other responsibilities, I generally did not purchase too many games during the fall period. The one game though that I made sure to get, was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I’ve enjoyed the Skyrim immensely, and since it has been my only purchase, I have been able to devote all my time and attention towards it. Yet, this also obviously means that I don’t have any other title to compare it to.

In general, the gaming blitz felt overwhelming this year, even for someone who knew ahead of time that they weren’t going to be able to purchase too many new titles. It was also perhaps, not the wisest choice for many game developers who perhaps would have been able to profit more by releasing their games a few months later. Regardless, hopefully 2011 was simply an anomaly, and not a new trend in the industry for game sales.


This last quarter has been insane for gaming, so many great titles have been coming out back to back. I was lucky enough to get my hands on Gears 3, Saints Row the Third, Skyrim, Arkham City, and Mario Kart 7. Each of them has been has been really fun to play through but the two that sucked the life out of me were Skyrim and Arkham City. Both of these really stood out, Arkham City was the closest I’ve ever felt to being the god damn Batman and it had an amazing story all the way through, not to mention one of the best endings to a video game I’ve ever seen and Skyrim… Oh boy, Skyrim, I haven’t been so hooked on a game since Super Mario 64. The atmosphere, music, graphics, pretty much everything about this game is top notch and I find it pretty damn hard to put it down. These past few months have been a bit overwhelming; it was hard to keep up with all the games coming out, especially once November came around, but I feel it was an amazing way to end the year, and if next year is anything like this one, I’ll make sure to take out a loan beforehand.


Huh, wuzzat? There was a blitz of games this fall? Oh, right. *looks at Wii and 3DS* Out of all of the games that came out this fall, I only purchased one: the special edition of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. My verdict: Worth every penny, and then some. While opinion is split on the game, I adore it. The gameplay is streamlined and fun, the graphics are fantastic, and the story is the best one yet in a Zelda game, at least in my opinion.

However, while I said I only purchased one game, I’ve actually picked up about twelve more, all of which are quite old. The first two, Empire Earth and Beneath a Steel Sky, came free from Good Old Games. I would say the first holds up well despite its graphics, but I haven’t played an RTS in years. The other is a great point ‘n clicker: great humor and big difficulty. In addition to those, I recently picked up the 3DS ambassador games. All of them are great except for Mario Kart Super Circuit. Screw that game. So, I experienced less of a “fall game blitz” and more of a “free game blitz,” to tell the truth. As Christmas is coming, I hope to find a few other games under the tree come Sunday: Kirby, Super Mario 3D Land, Cave Story 3D, and possibly even Rayman Origins, to name a few. Long story short: I love Zelda, platformers, and retro games and have a tight budget.


Anyone with a wallet and a knack for video games will agree that this season has been a rough one. I personally bought basically every video game I was looking to get, which is too many to list. Some of my personal favorites were Dark Souls, Skyrim, and Battlefield 3. Dark Souls really quenched my need for a hardcore RPG, and I’ve even begun replaying it again. The combat’s amazing, the art style is incredible, and overall it’s a simply fantastic game to play. Everyone played Skyrim, and most would agree it’s a wonderful experience. It’s so immersive and seems so real, and truly captivates you for hours on end. There’s endless quests, and was one of the best experiences in gaming to date.

Battlefield 3 was my personal choice for multiplayer this year, and it lived up to the hype with flying colors. Being in a squad with 3 other friends has never been more intense, and with the addition of jets, the action couldn’t be more fun.


Not as many games this fall as I thought there would be in my life. The only two games I picked up this season that could be considered a major Fall release was Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition and Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Both amazing games in their own right and ironically updates of older games. I say this because obviously the first is a wonderful HD remake of the first Halo game but the dedication put into the overhaul rather than the new coat of paint truly shows. The multiplayer map has me a bit disappointed as I’m not as content with its number and choices of selection but I suppose new maps are new maps.

As for Zelda it is simply the best seen implementation of the timeless Zelda Formula since Ocarina of Time and any adventure fan should be happy to have it in their collection. Though I believe I’m just stating the obvious at this point. My personal experience with it has been nothing but lovely though I must admit there were small periods of boredom when the sense of adventure flickered for some time but maybe I’m just being overly critical as I so desperately wanted Skyward Sword to be the perfect game only to realize there to be no such thing.


So, disclaimer: I bought a LOT of games this holiday season. If we started with Gears 3 and ended with now, the only big releases I didn’t purchase were Modern Warfare 3, Rayman Origins, and The Old Republic, and I own every console. I have stacks of games that I can’t even fit in my shelf because of this year. Unopened titles, stuff I haven’t even gotten to play yet because so much shit came out this year. Some games I even bought two or three copies of as Christmas gifts. It’s absolutely ridiculous how much money I spent as a gamer this year.

But you know what? It was so, so worth it. This year was an AMAZING year for video games. I’ve bought more games this year than ever, and that’s because there was just so many GOOD titles this year. It’s an amazing time to be a gamer. Despite all the online pass bullshit, despite all the DLC trickery, despite all the other crooked business practices out there, when it all comes down to it it’s the games that matter. And now more than ever, games are delivering experiences like no other, and the gigantic stack of titles currently sitting on my floor proves that. I never thought that games like Arkham City would shatter my opinions of a licensed title, or that a game like Rocksmith would make me feel like I’m actually making progress on my dreams of being a musician, or even that a game like Saints Row 3 would swoop down and just completely steal my attention to the point where even my beloved Rock Band 3 was criminally ignored. This was, quite simply, an amazing holiday season. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a MASSIVE backlog to work on, so I should probably go do that.


Despite crushing temptation, I tried to resist buying too many of the new games available this season, because 1) I figured I could milk Christmas for a couple games, and 2) I had the hardest quarter I’ve ever had in school. But of course, I couldn’t resist buying Dark Souls- I mean, that’s just a given. Then I got into the SWTOR beta, and so naturally I needed to take advantage of the opportunity to do a game preview. And I remembered that I had pre-ordered Skyrim only when it came in the mail… so I failed at my attempt to reject all material pleasures for the Fall Blitz.

I’ve been mighty disappointed with SWTOR/Origin so far. I couldn’t cancel my pre-order because Origin was always busy for extended periods of time (They are more than happy to take your money over an automated internet ordering system, but you have to call and talk to a representative to cancel your pre-order, of course). Although I pre-ordered the game, and they said “all early game access e-mails have been sent out”, I couldn’t play the game at any point before the release on the 20th. In that time, the helpline was totally down due to “unforeseen traffic”. They knew exactly how many people to expect for early release, they stress-tested the servers, and they were still totally unprepared. I used their e-mail system, and still haven’t received a response, almost a week later. I’m mostly chalking it up to a loss. If I can avoid dealing with Origin in the future, I will, and I recommend that anyone else do the same.

I enjoyed Skyrim a great deal, but, like Oblivion, it got a little bit tiresome after playing through so much of the game. I can’t blame the game for that, however- it’s merely because it’s so long that you get to a point of diminishing returns if you try to do everything in one playthrough. They say to “just play the game the way you want, and it will adapt to your style”. This is somewhat true, but if you pick too diverse a skillset (like I always do: archery, enchanting, blacksmithing, one-handed, light armor, shield blocking, sneak, lockpicking, etc.), then it starts to fall apart late-game- One shot of dragon’s breath will take down over half of your hp. I was a bit disappointed at this, but I had so much fun playing the game that I can hardly complain.

Dark Souls was my baby, though. I sunk probably 80 hours into it- I could still be playing that game now and having a blast- like Skyrim, there are so many ways to play. The challenge is such that you find yourself preparing the correct combination of spells, consumable items, and gear before engaging in any given battle. It improved on several elements from its predecessor Demon’s Souls, and gave us more of what we loved about the first one. A shining example of what makes a truly great sequel.

Between Christmas and borrowing some games from my brother/friends, I hope to play a bunch more games that have come out between September and December: Deus Ex, Call of Duty MW3, BF3, Batman: Arkham City, Resistance 3, Uncharted 3, and probably morebf. I also failed to cancel my pre-order for SWTOR, so I might as well give that game my due diligence. Man, I’m glad next quarter won’t be as busy.

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