With virtually all the gaming hype this year understandably focused on the next generation and the myriad of new features and games and possibilities they offer, it is sometimes easy to forget that there a few cracking games yet to release on current gen. Here are five potentially overlooked games you may want to hang onto your Xbox 360/Playstation 3 for.
Grand Theft Auto 5
The reason I used the word ‘virtually’ in the above paragraph is because of this game. Whilst its true that the majority of the focus is firmly on next gen and what it can offer gamers, Rockstar is doing a mighty fine job of stealing away as much of the limelight as possible.
One of the most popular and highly rated franchises of all time, Grand Theft Auto returns this year with the fifth main game in its catalogue. Starring you as one of three oddball characters, who can be switched between at any time, and each has their own set of skills and characteristics, the games promises to be the most diverse GTA experience to date. The recent gameplay trailer (see below) wet the gaming worlds appetite and has seen anticipation reach fever pitch. Bank heists play out how you want, there is a full scale economy, characters are customisable, multiplayer has freaking planes! I could go on but it is probably best you just watch the trailer. It looks seriously good and I doubt you will find a single gamer/ journalist/ critic who will argue otherwise.
It is fitting that one of gaming’s most famous franchises is due to be one of it’s last major current gen only releases. The game is set for a September 17th release on Xbox 360 and PS3
Previously a PC only title, dungeon crawling loot-em-up Diablo III finally sees its debut on consoles in early September. The original version is renowned as one of the most popular and addictive experiences you can get on PC outside of MMO’s.
Essentially a hack ‘n’ slash dungeon crawler, Diablo III was a huge success due to its seamless drop in/ drop out co-op and seriously addicting loot system (similar, in essence, to Borderlands). However for every fan singing its praises, there was another decrying it for its fiddly controls, lack of in game rare loot and money spinning auction house, where users could use real money to buy the best loot and gear. Whilst not an uncommon practice, particularly in PC games, being able to buy the best loot kind of eliminated the point when the whole purpose of the game is to play for and earn your rewards.
Thankfully the console version appears to have smoothed over a lot of it’s PC cracks. The introduction of a dodge roll appears to have made combat much smoother and the menus and radials have been completely reworked with a controlled in mind, which should eliminate the fiddly menus that have terrorised PC ports in the past. Finally the auction house had been removed for consoles and I am assured that the drop rate on rare loot has ‘significantly increased’ which should hopefully lead to a less grinding feel.
So its all shaping up pretty good then by the sounds of it. Diablo III is out September 3rd worldwide for Xbox 360 and PS3.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
It’s hard to believe good old Sam Fisher is still going strong. Multiple iterations in and the badass with the goggles is still plugging away. Blacklist is the latest in the series, and aims to merge the more action oriented Conviction, with the more stealth centred titles earlier in the series.
Conviction was a divisive game in the series, as it tried to focus more on allout combat and highly staged set pieces. Whilst the game scored strong with critics, series veterans found the shift in tone to be jarring. Ubisoft are aiming to find a middle ground with Blacklist and the signs so far are looking good. The mark and execute system has been overhauled and should give more freedom to action focused players, but the game promises to be much more flexible with how you approach objectives than Conviction managed. Alongside the single player additions is the recall of ‘Spies vs. Mercenaries’, Splinter Cell’s unique multiplayer mode which sees a team of gadget heavy third person spies try to take down a team of first person mercenaries armed with heavy weapons and even heavier armour.
Ultimately, Blacklist will still be a game that splits the hardcore stealth crowd from the action focused bunch, but if you can look past that it still looks to be a supremely fun game. Its due for release on August 20th and 23rd in the US and Europe respectively, and will launch on Xbox 360 and PS3.
World of Tanks
The second game on this list to make the jump from previously being a PC exclusive, the free-to-play behemoth from Wargaming.net is making the jump to Xbox 360 later this summer as a downloadable title.
For those not in the know, World of Tanks is an online and multiplayer only game which sees two teams of tanks battle it out to see who the eventual victor is. This is not Battlefield or Call of Duty, there are no infantry to be found anywhere. And whereas multiple online games over the last few years have harped on about teamwork being the key to success, it rarely feels as important to have a good squad as it does in World of Tanks. One tank against many is a recipe for disaster, so the game becomes about patience, observing the battlefield and luring the enemies into your well laid traps. The game has seen enormous success over the past couple of years on PC, only being bested by the elite of the elite in the free to play offerings. As a free download, Wargaming.net will earn their money though micro-transactions, offering impatient players a choice to purchase the best gear and tanks using real life currency. However, the developers have hinted that unlike its PC counterpart, all unlocks will be available through level progression which will encourage those who don’t want to pay. Be expected to seriously grind if you want the best gear for free though, at the end of the day the developer wants you to spend money on its game.
Beta testing has already been conducted and the game will launch over the next couple of months on the Xbox 360, with a specific date yet to be confimed.
The final game in this list is one I have included not particularly in expectation that it will be awesome, but more so in that it has the potential to be awesome. Payday 2 is a first person bank robbing simulator in which a bunch of wannabe criminals stage more and more daring heists in search of increasing riches.
The original Payday offered a fun but shallow experience that developers Overkill Software as trying to address with the sequel by offering more incentives to come back. Missions will be more replayable now due to randomly spawning NPC and loot locations. The game will also offer more in the way of a story than the original and the loots on offer aims to ensure players keep coming back for more.
However, the reason I have included this Payday 2 is that it has the potential to be one of the most addictive multiplayer games releasing this year. Up to four players can co-operate on heists. Building up the perfect, sneaky heist and then watching unfold in front of your eyes as one of your ‘buddys’ goes loud promises to be hilarious and there is the added element of backstabbing in that if one criminal loads the van with loot, there can high tail there and then leaving there friends with nothing and more for themselves.
Payday 2 is set to launch on Xbox 360 and PS3 on the August 13th and 16th in the US and Europe respectively.
So maybe, just maybe, there is some life in the old dogs yet. I’m almost certain I’ve missed out some cracking games so why don’t you mention what current titles you are looking forward to in the comments below.
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