You all know what week it is, don't you? We're flush in the middle of the holiday release season, in the month of the single biggest shopping day of an American citizen's year, and the gaming companies are hitting us with all they have. Pick & Play is here to help you survive their time-gouging broadside with our weekly release list. In particular, we bring you a fantasy epic for which anticipation has mounted to a feverish boiling point, we bring you: LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7. Oh, and I guess there's some shooting thing and this "Elder Scrolls" nonsense, but I know what your Muggle hearts truly desire.
Oh, all right. Ladies and gentlemen, this week brings you Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which is the latest in what is possibly the single best-selling series of all time, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which has dragons! You can kill them.
(PC, PS3, Wii, X360)
Does Modern Warfare 3 require an introduction? The latest from series progenitors Infinity Ward, Modern Warfare 3 is a direct sequel to Modern Warfare 2, exploring military conflict on global scale in a near-future scenario. Popular in the past for its deep, evolving multiplayer mode, Modern Warfare 3 introduces changes to the formula that promise to even the playing field by catering to multiple playstyles and rewarding teamwork over selfish run-and-gun tactics. This year, unlike in years past, the game has a direct competitor in the form of EA's Battlefield 3.
Which military shooter will reign supreme? Cast your votes with your dollars, folks. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 touches down on Tuesday, November 8.
(PC, PS3, X360)
The aforementioned slaying of dragons aside, the newest Elder Scrolls title is the culmination of a tremendous effort on Bethesda's part that involves years of work, both in developing an entirely new engine (with believable humanoid animation!) and building a fantasy epic using it. Skyrim introduces a dual-weapon mechanic to the series, which allows both dual-wielding of melee weapons and, for those who want to be the most über battle mage of all time, double-fisting spells. Set in the ancestral land of the Nords, Skyrim turns the hard, dark fantasy knob all the way to eleven and smashes you in the face with snow, ice, beasts, giants, and dragons. Have we spoken of the dragons, yet? Of course we have.
If you're looking for an action-RPG that will devour dozens of hours of your life, The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim should have your attention when it comes out this Friday, November 11.
(3DS, DS, PS3, PSP, PC, Wii, X360)
Ah, yes, sequel to the game that proved the LEGO formula is not yet ready for the grave. Originating with the LEGO Star Wars games, the LEGO games have shared many attributes across the varied spectrum of the famous intellectual properties they represent. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 did not eschew these basic tenets of LEGO formula, but it did expand upon them with some malleable spell abilities that enabled physics-based puzzles. It also saw a return to the whimsy and charm of previous entries that had maybe faded somewhat after the second LEGO Indiana Jones title (which, let's face it, was busy either retreading content from the first or focusing on the one with Shia LaBeouf) and a Batman entry that lacked direction.
Though designed with a younger set in mind, the LEGO games have borne undeniable appeal for adult gamers as well. This is their opportunity to return to Hogwarts for the darker half of the Potter cycle, reimagined with adorable, plastic, Danish bricks. It will cast "alohomora" on your hearts this Friday, November 11.
Coming straight from the annals of last generation (and the PSP), the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection compiles the two upgraded PlayStation 2 entries, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, with a console release of the PSP's Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Substance and Subsistence, for those unaware, are retooled rereleases of Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater, respectively. Each had additional content and, in the case of Subsistence, introduced a player-controlled camera. All three games have been updated for this collection with high definition visuals.
This is stealth action at its most insane, with quirky and intricate stories that, at times, will make absolutely no sense. Remember, Snake: this is a sneaking mission. As such, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection will be creeping into stores this Tuesday, November 8.
Everything Else: Sunday, November 6
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week: Cave Story 3D
This isn't the first release of Cave Story on a Nintendo device, or even on a Nintendo handheld. While the gameplay remains the same, however, Cave Story 3D has a complete graphical overhaul, taking advantage of the 3DS screen's illusion of depth to give you a new "perspective" on the game. Of particularly fun note: this edition also includes a mode that keeps the new environmental graphics, but replaces the now-polygonal characters with their original sprites. Furthermore, as this is tied to Nippon Ichi Software, one may expect the presence of a Prinny. Just sayin'.
Cave Story began life as a freeware PC title, but has been released as a downloadable game on both the Wii's WiiWare and DSi's DSiWare stores. It preys on gamers' nostalgia with its graphics and the basics of its gameplay, but has the polish that one would expect from modern design philosophies. If you haven't played it yet, this is probably your last opportunity to do so. It will be out this Tuesday, November 8 exclusively on the 3DS.
By Shelby Reiches
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*