Welcome to another instalment in our weekly news digest where the team at PSU Towers picks our favourite slices of gaming gossip from the past seven days, before proceeding to offer our two cents on each story for good measure.
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The charts are going to start getting pretty jam-packed from now on, and unless you’re Modern Warfare 3 I doubt if any other new release is going to get a look-in on the top spot. Fortunately, Batman: Arkham City swooped in on the scene just before the November rush, earning itself a well-deserved spot at the top of the U.K. All Format Charts. As you can see from our review, the Dark Knight’s latest endeavour is worth every penny, managing not only to capture the splendour of Arkham Asylum, but ultimately surpass it. Packed full of side quests, a compelling narrative and a collection of Batman’s most iconic villains, Arkham City is undoubtedly Game of the Year Material. Quite how long the Caped Crusader will remain at the top spot is anyone’s guess, but the longer it’s in the public consciousness, the better. Get stuck in.
With Rockstar keeping a low profile at E3 and numerous other trade shows this year, the announcement of Grand Theft Auto V could have dropped anytime, and indeed it did – on a boring Tuesday morning. However, aside from an official confirmation on the game – which has undoubtedly been in the works for a while now – nothing else has been divulged as of yet. Fortunately we won’t have to wait long for some gossip, as Rockstar’s confirmed the first trailer will drop next Wednesday, November 2. Frankly, aside from the obvious excitement surrounding GTA V’s announcement, I’m stoked to see if those rumors of the game being set in real-world Los Angeles are in fact true – sounds like an exciting prospect to me. Fingers crossed.
Warner said earlier this week that Batman: Arkham City’s first week sales had significantly outperformed its 2009 predecessor, though they have since confirmed that the open-world superhero sequel has shipped an impressive 4.6 million copies worldwide. Quite how many of those units have ended up in the hands of consumers is unknown, though there’s no denying the game has been a resounding success on both sides of the pond.
Rumblings of a delay for the European release of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection were unfortunately made a reality this week, as Konami finally staple-gunned a PAL release date to the stealth-based bundle. Sadly, European gamers won’t be able to tuck into Solid Snake’s 1080p flavoured classics until February 3, 2012, though the package is seemingly still on track for a November release in both the U.S. and Japan. A disappointment for sure, but given the amount of triple-A treats out between now and Christmas, it is perhaps just as well as I doubt many of us will have time to juggle MGS2, 3 and Peace Walker alongside the likes of Skyrim, Uncharted 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations this winter. Furthermore, the February release further augments the early 2012 line-up, which is already looking incredibly strong with the likes of Mass Effect 3, Street Fighter x Tekken and fellow Konami stable mate the Silent Hill HD Collection due out before the end of March. Still, a delay’s a delay, and there’s only one thing that springs to mind right now: Snake? Snake!? SNNNAKKKEE??!
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was a cracking game for sure, but it’s fair to say many folk were slightly miffed at the fact enemies scaled with you on your journey. As such, an enemy cave full lumbering zombies and ghosts early on would be re-populated with tenacious Dread Zombies and wailing Wraiths should you return 10 levels or so later. Fortunately however, Bethesda’s Todd Howard has moved to reassure gamers that the forthcoming Skyrim will share more in common with its post-apocalyptic stable mate Fallout 3 in terms of enemy scaling than Oblivion. Specifically, while foes will still get stronger as you progress (which makes sense), there will still be those run-of-the-mill rodents to battle too. Furthermore, conversations will be less random to boot, again sharing more similarities with Fallout 3. Sounds good me.
Those of you who consider PlayStation Vita a day one purchase in the U.S. and Canada are in for a treat; Sony has something special lined up for new adopters in the form of the First Edition Bundle. Packing a PS Vita, memory card, Little Deviants, and a limited edition case, those of you who pre-order the pack from select retailers will be able to grab Sony’s new handheld a full week prior to its release date on February 22. The price isn’t too bad either ($349.99 for the U.S. version and $299.99 for the Canadian SKU), though North American gamers get the 3G and Wi-Fi edition while our friends up north get the Wi-Fi version only. Still, a great starting pack, and with the chance to get on board the Vita bandwagon early, this is too good of an opportunity to pass.
Forget PS3 vs. Xbox 360, the biggest war on the console front this year is FPS juggernauts Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, with the former hitting stores this week. Fortunately for publisher EA, the military shooter has got off to a cracking start, with 10 million copies shipped to retailers worldwide. As per usual exact sales figures weren’t disclosed, but EA says sell-through to consumers has been “strong,” making for a positive start. Of course, MW3 is less than two weeks away, so it remains to be seen how well the game performs against its leading competitor. Regardless, EA has definitely pushed the boat out in terms of marketing; I couldn’t pass a billboard or a bus in town without clocking a massive Battlefield 3 ad, and folk in London were treated to a convoy of military vehicles sporting the game’s logo today to mark BF3’s U.K. launch. If that doesn’t get punters interested, I don’t know what will.
Uncharted remains one of the most celebrated PS3 franchises to date, and as such I reckon you’d have to go a long way to find someone who wouldn’t like to see more of cocky hero Nathan Drake and co. Developer Naughty Dog certainly seems up for it at least, with Uncharted 3 game director Justin Richmond telling OPM UK this week that it’ll mark more games in the series providing fans want it, and, of course, if they can keep pushing the boundaries. Cheeky chappie Drake has a myriad of locations he could still visit around the globe, and in terms of gameplay I’m sure there are many more advancements still to be made. One of my personal gripes with the series – and pretty much the only one, at that – is that Drake battles against the same type of enemy throughout each game. Unlike Tomb Raider for example, where Lara is capping gun-toting goons and a huge variety of creatures, Drake finds himself up against an endless legion of pirates or mercenaries, making gun fights a little repetitive over time. Sure, in UC1 and 2 there’s a ‘special’ type of foe that shows up, but that’s towards the climax of the game. How about injecting a little variety into the bread-and-butter foes, Naughty Dog? Still, for all I know, Uncharted 3 may have scratched that itch. Regardless, should an Uncharted 4 show up in the next few years, it’s a day one buy for me -- ‘nuff said.
Sony’s PlayStation platforms have consistently performed well in Europe (well, and everywhere else for that matter), a trend that it continues to perpetuate with this latest hardware cycle. However, over in the U.S. things are another kettle of fish this time around, as PS3 is currently lagging behind Xbox 360 in the on-going console battle. Of course, one has to remember that 360 has had a year head start on its leading competitor, and PS3 has managed to close the gap somewhat despite this.