It’s a pretty huge month for games and there’s plenty of good news for single players in the big three this month.
If you’re ready for the next generation next month then hopefully your system is paid for because you won’t want to sleep on these. Only number 2 is appearing on next gen consoles as well but you won’t have to buy it twice thankfully.
#3 Batman: Arkham Origins
Okay so Rocksteady has moved onto something else, but we have every confidence that Warner Bros Games Montreal will take care to follow in the stellar footsteps of their predecessor who gave us the stellar Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City.
This time the Arkham series takes us back to play with a less confident and somewhat inexperienced caped crusader in a prequel that sets the dark knight up for a very serious showdown on Christmas eve. Black Mask wants to end Batman’s career of crime fighting before it gets off the ground and so hires eight top assassins to descend upon Gotham City and corner the bat.
The single player script is written by Corey May and Dooma Wendschuh, two writers that are no slouches. They both have experience in the Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia universes.
The gameplay will be very familiar, which is good because you don’t want to mess with what works too much. Some new gadgets include the Remote Claw, Shock Gloves, and a Concussion Detonator.
The Batman games are great because they don’t hook into the movies, not that the movies are trouble it’s just that games and movies don’t mix. However, fans of Batman who only know him from the movies can still fully enjoy the Arkham series. The franchise pulls from the quality of the comics but again doesn’t require the gamer to have any comic experience to “get” it.
There will be a multiplayer component for those interested, but we aren’t, and we don’t expect it will hamper the single player experience as is so common in other franchises.
#2 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The breakout historical action adventure franchise continues, this time with another unexpected setting twist. Many gamers were skeptical about the American revolution setting of ACIII but despite some detractors most fans enjoyed the game. This time around we get a go at a pirate’s life during the golden age of piracy.
In the cities of Havana, Kingston, and Nassau (as well as plenty of naval locations) the pirate captain Edward Kenway’s assassin story will unfold. He goes from privateer (state-sponsored pirate) to full-blown pirate and meets with the likes of real life pirates Calico Jack, Blackbeard, and Anne Bonny.
The gameplay aims to return to a more freedom based approach as in the first AC game with some new twists like an upgradeable ship.
As per usual there will be a modern concurrent plot where some modern day pirate-like hijinks ensue as you plumb the depth of secrets held by Abstergo Entertainment.
Multiplayer? Yeah it’s there but who cares? This game is going to be a big enough playground as it is.
#1 Beyond: Two Souls
Quantic Dream returns after the surprise success of Heavy Rain with another interactive drama experience. This one bring some star powered performances to the table with Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe voicing the protagonist and a government scientist working with her.
Jodie Homes has always had an unseen friend, named Aiden, both in her vicinity and at her disposal. As we follow her story through fifteen years from age 8 to 23, we will unravel the mystery behind Aiden through psychological, thriller, and spiritual themes. Jodie’s friend makes her a scientific marvel, so she grows up in a hospital and undergoes constant testing that clearly has a constant negative effect on her personal well-being.
I played through the demo today and I was quite impressed. Quantic Dream is truly the master of suspense. Whether given free reign of Aiden to ramp up the tension in a testing atmosphere, using Jodie’s combat training to evade the police, or desperately fighting against time to defend Jodie from an oncoming SWAT team the attention to detail and balance of control and freedom continuously brings the cinematic to life in a way that no other developer has yet figured out how to do.
There was some worry that after Heavy Rain‘s gritty reality Beyond would have a confounding tale with all of its supernatural elements but trust me the expert storytelling explodes that theory, it looks like it will be pulled off well and probably with fewer hazy plot details than its predecessor.
Finally, let’s not forget the promise that game director David Cage made early on, that we could eventually explore what happens after death. Death has always been a fascination for Cage as he doesn’t believe in a game ending with a character’s death.
So there you have it, three big releases for single players to get back into the groove after the summer slouch and before the next generation hits. If you are jumping right into things with new hardware remember you can upgrade your Assassin’s Creed IV copy for roughly $10 depending on which platform and what retailer you use.