The holiday season is upon us. With it brings good things—presents, eggnog, holiday break hookups—and bad things—98% of Christmas music, nor'easters, buying presents. Something that belongs in the "good things" division is the upcoming slate of video games. It's a doozy of excess, and sort of a peak for a generation of consoles that will one day soon be replaced by the next generation of machines.
So, to honor the occasion, we picked out the 10 games we're most excited to play in the next couple of months. A few have recently been released. Which would defeat the purpose of this being a strictly preview type of article. We're sorry. It's hard to pick 10 without putting stuff like "Lego Lord of the Rings" on here, fuck you.
Anyway, the list:
10. Furious 4, December
A World War II first-person shooter... /head falls to table, begins drooling.
Woah, woah. Sorry about that. My narcolepsy tends to bounce back whenever I write, read, or say the phrase "World War II first-person shooter." It's not the most exciting thing in the world, is it? Haven't we all played these so many times that we probably have a general sense of what the entire geographical region of Normandy is like? Down to the last stone wall?
But Furious 4 promises, at least, to be different from the well-trodden norm. You, along with three other buddies, are a part of an American squad going after the Fuhrer himself. Along the way, you face super-soldiers who have been secretly genetically engineered by Hitler.
Wait you mean like?
WOLFENSTEIN! I'd kill to play Wolfenstein again.
But actually, judging by the above trailer, it's looking way more like a play off "Inglorious Basterds" and any revisionist history story with out-of-period technology. Which should be insane and fun.
9. Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, Nov. 20
This is a game I admittedly know very little about, and the information about it online is scarce. Here's what we do know: All the voice actors are on board. It's based off the episode "Road to the Multiverse" from season eight, which had the clever (and Emmy-winning) premise of Stewie and Brian traveling to various parallel animated universes via a remote control. And the game can't possibly suck any worse than the last "Family Guy" console effort, "Family Guy Video Game!" I'd rather be powerless during Hurricane Sandy again than suck up power playing that atrocity.
8. Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Oct. 30
The Need for Speed franchise took a step back last year with The Run, a sometimes fun game that was hurt by a ridiculous story and a silly premise: A "Cannonball Run"-esque cross-country race. This year, Criterion Games has gone back to the basics, focusing on the driving physics and open-world environment that makes this series fun.
Plus, look at how pretty it is. Will we ever get tired of seeing the sun hitting a car's hood?
7. WWE '13, Oct. 30
Some of my greatest video game memories involve wrestling video games. Anyone ever play WCW Nitro back in the late '90s? (Oh no, Krum, I'm being nostalgic!) Getting down the button combinations and figuring out the exact way to perfectly execute Goldberg's spear or Kevin Nash's choke slam was an artform. And with limited Internet access, you had to go through a painstaking process of probing friends who knew the combos for information. You'd probe them at the lunch table, you'd write Triangle, X, X, Triangle, Up on a napkin that would ultimately get smothered with peanut butter, and then you'd never learn the fucking thing. Maybe that was just me.
Anyway, wrestling games are a little different now. The controls are more fluid, the graphics aren't somewhat recognizable pixel versions of Sting, and you can do things unimaginable in 1998, like create your own jacked-up alter ego. Perhaps the coolest part of this year's WWE game, though, is the single-player campaign based on the Attitude Era, a game addition that actually allows you to reenact important moments during the peak of wrestling's popularity, the late '90s. A good sign you'll enjoy that game mode? Try not to watch the entire video above. I've been sucked into it three times now.
6. Assassin's Creed III, Oct. 30
I'll keep this preview brief, because I have a feeling that anyone who has thought about playing this game probably already has purchased it. Assassin's Creed III is a huge step forward for the popular game series. It's a hyperdetailed look at the American colonial era, an important one that's never been done well in a video game. Even if a few of their attempts at entertainingly presenting American historical figures end up being groan-worthy (and after the cheesy portrayal of Leonardo da Vinci in Assassin's Creed II, you'd think they learned their lesson), it's admirable, and very cool to walk around 1770s Boston.
Plus, there are few more satisfying things than smashing your tomahawk into a redcoat. 'Merica.