Friday, August 12, 2011

Three is the Magic Number

Apparently three is quite a big fish among the ranks of the numbers. Screw things up twice? Don't worry, as it's third time lucky. All good things come in threes, three sheets to the wind (always pleasant at the time), three strike rule, three wishes, musketeers, blind mice, little pigs, and as Primal Scream's seminal track 'Loaded' pointed out, 'we wanna be three, we wanna be three to do what we wanna do, and we wanna get loaded, and we wan......wait wait, forget that, I think I've got that wrong.

Still, I believe three, as rumour has it, actually is a magic number, and if 2011 is to be remembered for anything in video game terms it'll more than likely be that it was the year of the threequel.

By the end of August a lot of us will have sampled the fully expected brilliance of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, interestingly a game that happens to be the third in the Deus Ex series, we've already had Dirt3, Mortal Kombat 3, The Sims 3, Killzone 3, and things are about to really step up, with some of gaming's biggest and most loved franchises preparing to unleash their own third installments.

By the time the Christmas turkey has been devoured and we're sat in front of the festive afternoon movie all full bellied and satisfyingly drowsy we'll probably all have made our minds up about which game truly delivered the goods in a bumper year for triple A titles.

Much has been made of the scrap between Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 for FPS top dog, many believing that the time has finally come when a Battlefield title can dethrone the all powerful Call of Duty series, honestly, despite the fact that from what we've seen so far Battlefield 3 does look a damn sight more impressive I still have huge doubts it can topple MW3. As we know the Call of Duty franchise is more than just a series of games, it's a global phenomenon and has been the must have title for many a gamer year upon year. The chance of gamers that only buy a few titles per year leaving MW3 in favour of BF3 are surely slim to none and that could end up being key in the battle for the top.

Here's my own prediction though, if we leave genres aside for a moment and use the all encompassing title 'video game' then both the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 have their own exclusive titles that could very well take on Modern Warfare 3 in both sales and hooking the player plus they can, almost certainly, more than compete when it comes to gameplay and story.

For the 360 that game is Gears of War 3, Epic's third person shooter is not only a huge franchise in it's own right it's also a game that single handedly made 360's fly off the shelves. The simple story of Earth's struggles and War with the invading Locust hordes, smooth as silk gameplay and strong, yet stereotypical characters was an instant hit with 360 owners looking for action and a game to show off the power of their console.

Back when Gears first arrived, depite having competition from Call of Duty, my own friends list was utterly dominated by Epics game. After experiencing the brilliance on show during the recent beta test I won't be remotely surprised if both Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 are dealt a sucker punch by Marcus Fenix and his COG squad. Not only is it looking like a return to form for a much loved flagship 360 game it's also the return of one of the most played games amongst clans, and we can expect many a clan war to be waged within the new Gears world. I have a feeling Epic may have just saved their best for last.

While over on Planet PlayStation, PS3 owners also have a Goliath of a game on the horizon, a franchise that captivated audiences with it's first two installments, a franchise that I can honestly say has given me some of the most amazing moments and memories in my long gaming life, a franchise that is potentially as close to video game perfection as is reasonably possible, a barnstorming 10 out of 10 franchise.

Of course I'm talking about the long awaited return of PS3 icon and hero Nathan Drake and the wonderful Uncharted series of games. 'Drakes Fortune' took us on an adventure straight from the realms of Spielberg, Indiana Jones and the silver screen, it was part Tomb Raider part Gears but all it's own game. 'Among Thieves' somehow managed to ramp the action, storytelling and beauty of the game up another few notches and thenthrew in a wonderfully slick and playable slice of multiplayer action to enhance the longevity no end. A masterstroke. Things are shaping up incredibly well as Nathan Drake prepares to dust himself down and once again embark upon the adventure of a lifetime and in terms of what has me salivating in anticipation of some time in it's company then Uncharted 3 is streets ahead of the competition.

Whatever floats your own particular boat there's certain to be something to get excited about, did I mention Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Resistance 3 or Saints Row 3, no? Oh well I just did there. At the end of the day, or year may be more apt, 2011 has been a special one for video games and the fact that over the next four months we'll be treated to at least four huge franchises releasing their third installment is something to be savoured and enjoyed.

In fact on second thoughts maybe three isn't the magic number after all, maybe it's actually 2011. Hallelujah!