Gamer rejoices over holiday season choices

Ryan Hall

The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching and bringing with it some of the most sought-after video games of the year. October has come to signify a time for gamers to begin saving up their pennies in pursuit of the greatest new experience. This year offers a variety of sequels, some unique exclusives and even a new console to help subdue consumer appetite well into next year. Let’s hope the Mayans were wrong, because this holiday shopping season has a lot to offer.

Allow me to get the behemoth of modern gaming out of the way and preview Call of Duty: Black Ops II. This annual dose of testosterone-fueled, cross-platform gaming is scheduled for a Nov. 13 release date. Original Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward takes its biennial break this year, undoubtedly to work on next year’s version, leaving Treyarch to provide its own sequel to the popular 2010 hit Call of Duty: Black Ops. Alex Mason returns as the main protagonist, however the story line will alternate between Cold War-era missions and operations taking place in the near future of 2025. Familiar game modes like Zombies will return, as well as new Strike Force missions where every player’s death holds significance to the main story. The Call of Duty franchise has a massive fan base, ensuring this game the title of best seller.

Xbox 360 fans will have yet another chance to thumb their noses at the competition when Halo 4 releases as an exclusive game on Nov. 6. Picking up where the events of Halo 3 left off, players assume control of Master Chief as he seeks aide for the dying A.I. Cortana. Players familiar with the admittedly annoying Flood species will find comfort in the fact that developer 343 Industries has said the green, pus-like monstrosities will not return to dominate the main story arc. Bigger, better, and more beautiful than ever, Halo 4 hopes to revitalize the classic series with a return to the familiar.

Sony has an exclusive game planned for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita called PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Like a Sony version of Nintendo’s wildly successful Super Smash Brothers series, Playstation All-Stars pits iconic Sony characters against one another. The game features over 20 characters from popular games like Uncharted, Twisted Metal, Infamous, Sly Cooper and Tekken. Come Nov. 20, gamers will finally find out if Sackboy from LitteBigPlanet can compete with the likes of Kratos from God of War. My money’s on the little guy with the zipper.

Nintendo has decided to bring out the big guns this holiday season by releasing a brand new hardware system called the Wii U. The system and its comically large controller debuted at last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) to quizzical reactions from consumers. The Wii U GamePad, its main controller, has a 6.2-inch touchscreen built in. Speculation has shown the touchscreen will enable gamers to play some Wii U games without the use of a television. The hope with Wii U is to better mix the motion-based gaming of the original Wii console with the classic method of seated gaming. Wii U will show its value when the console and its launch titles release on Nov. 18.

These are merely a few of the major holiday video games arriving before the end of the year. Some honorable mentions, left out for concision’s sake, include Assassin’s Creed III, Hitman: Absolution, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and Far Cry 3. Regardless of platform preference, all gamers have a reason to rejoice this coming holiday season.