Jack Crutcher looks at the the three shooters battling for dominance this winter
This autumn three giants of the gaming industry will do battle in what promises to be an exciting month for gamers across the country. Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Far Cry 3 promise to offer up explosive new instalments in an attempt to innovate their way to the top-table of gaming royalty.
The stakes could not be higher for the Halo franchise after developers Bungie Inc bowed proudly out following the success of Halo Reach in 2010. Set to be released on the 6th of November new developers 343 industries have the tricky task of impressing fans who remain loyal to old developers Bungie whilst also proving popular enough to encourage neutral gamers that parting with their money before the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Far Cry 3 is a sensible decision.
343 industries have been charged with the unruly task of waking up Master Chief several years after he had cryogenically frozen himself at the end of Halo 3. In an attempt to escape Bungie’s shadow little time will be spent on the back-story, instead Halo 4 will plunge gamers straight into 343’s own take on the Halo Universe. The franchise will keep loyal fans happy with the news that the Covenant are back at war with the humans (Grunts will remain fair game), Cortana will return (all be it with a condition known as ‘rampancy’) and popular weaponry like the DMR and the Assault rifle will appear relatively untouched. The game changer for Halo 4 will be the introduction of the Prometheans, the re-designed Battle Rifle and all the snazzy looking forerunner technology set to transform the Halo experience.
Black Ops 2 will be released on the 13th of November and has been billed as a return to the all-action gritty drama of Modern Warfare. The game is set in a ‘near future’ (2025) ravaged by a second Cold War (between China and the USA) caused by the dangerous convergence of weaponry and technology. Playing as Alex Mason’s son David you will aim to defeat the terrorist organisation attacking America’s drone network. The real innovation that will take this game to the next level is its RPG style story choices, with each player choosing his own path through the Black Ops universe. This also means that Black Ops 2 will have multiple endings!
Where Black Ops 2 will particularly look to hold on to loyal Call of Duty fans is its consistent focus on a wide selection of weaponry (there will be 6 different sub-machine guns alone) and the variety of futuristic military technology on show like the Quad-Rotor Helicopter Drone. Zombie mode will also return, with added features such as unlockable areas in transit and new types of zombies.
There may yet be a wildcard that has been over-shadowed by the aforementioned releases. Far Cry 3 is due for release on the 30th of November. Taking the action on show in Black Ops 2 and multiplying its explosive impact by ten probably would not do Far Cry justice. With an enormously expansive world to explore and psychotic warlord Vaas and his forces determined to kill you, gamers must carefully plot their way through the game. The sheer fun factor Far Cry offers is likely to be greater than that of Halo or Black Ops 2. Far Cry 3 is also set to bravely combine the action packed first person shooter that was Fry Cry 1 with the Grand Theft auto style free-roam of Far Cry 2, and unlike Halo and Black Ops 2 the scenery throughout the map offers plenty of interaction with your weaponry.
So which of these three would be kings is more likely to win their crown this autumn? Far Cry promises to be an action-packed thriller that will do more than enough to please fans. But the pure scale and reputation of both the Halo and Call of Duty franchises mean the race to be King of Gaming this November will come down to which of these two leviathans best can address the hopes of loyal fans whilst managing to attract a new and more critically-minded generation of gamers. There can only be one winner this November so let battle commence.