Press Start

Video game news, reviews and commentary with Gazette reporter Jake Magee.

Press Start: Eight anticipated games of the 2015 holiday season

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Jake Magee
August 19, 2015

It's almost September, which means one thing for gamers: Like every year, an avalanche of games is coming this holiday season to punish wallets, obliterate free time and end romantic relationships everywhere.

Launching within the next few months are several games under myriad titles that are worthy of your time, attention and hard-earned cash. Because it can be hard to decide which ones you should tackle first, here are eight games that likely merit immediate purchase.

Sept. 1: “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”

If “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes” is any indication, “The Phantom Pain” is going to be a fun, engaging romp as Big Boss again sneaks his way into enemy territory to avenge the destruction of his private army's base, tussle with an old rival and somehow get involved in plot lines so convoluted they'll probably break the canon of previous games.

Sure, Konami is in dire straits right now with series creator Hideo Kojima's departure, and you might not necessarily want to support a developer that reportedly mistreats its employees, but “The Phantom Pain” is shaping up to be every bit as interesting as other entries in the series.

Oct. 23: “Assassin's Creed Syndicate”

I've lamented my exhausted patience with the “Assassin's Creed” franchise before, along with my regret of skipping what I later deemed the best entry in the series. Lesson learned.

While I probably won't buy “Syndicate” right away, it's shaping up to be a stylish addition to the series—so long as Ubisoft can clean up its act and release a working game.

For one, “Syndicate” takes place in the series' most unusual time period and location yet: Industrial Revolution London. Plus, this entry will be the first to feature two playable protagonists, one of which is a woman. I hope Ubisoft pulls it off because “Syndicate” sounds just as intriguing as 2013's “Black Flag.”

Oct. 27: “Halo 5: Guardians”

Based on my short time with the multiplayer beta, “Halo 5” represents the biggest departure for the series. It's much faster, and it features “iron” sights—a first for the franchise—that give it a “Call of Duty” vibe.

Despite those similarities, “Guardians” looks to be 100-percent “Halo” with power weapons, customizable multiplayer and a story centered around Master Chief and a new character, Spartan Locke. I only wish split screen, a series staple, was returning.

Nov. 10: “Fallout 4”

“Fallout 3” was one of the most beloved sci-fi role-playing games of last console generation. Fans have been waiting years for a sequel, and on Nov. 10 their wish will become reality.

Developers say it will feature more than 400 hours of content, which alone makes the $60 price tag a steal. Add in explorable open environments, fun gunplay and an intriguing story, and you'd have to be as brain dead as a feral ghoul to not pick this up.

Nov. 10: “Rise of the Tomb Raider”

Unfortunately, “Rise of the Tomb Raider” launches the same day as “Fallout 4,” which means many won't experience Lara Croft's newest adventure until months after it launches.

That's too bad because “Rise of the Tomb Raider” is shaping up to be every bit as good as the 2013 reboot of the series. There will be stealth and combat, exploring and mountain climbing and, of course, tomb raiding.

I'm excited to see how Croft develops further as a character as she takes on a whole new quest.

Nov. 17: “Star Wars Battlefront”

I'm still a bit nervous the upcoming “Star Wars Battlefront” sequel won't be as addicting as I remember the original games from so many years ago being, but there's no denying the hype surrounding the multiplayer-focused action game.

Dice knows how to make first-person shooters, so I just have to trust “Battlefront” will be just as awesome as I hope it is.

Dec. 1: “Just Cause 3”

The “Just Cause” games has always been my go-to series when I want to forget about complicated narrative and character motivations and just perform ridiculous stunts and blow stuff up in some huge tropical setting.

“Just Cause 3” is set to give fans more of that over-the-top destruction and those physically impossible moves with challenge modes I could see myself wasting hours on. I can't wait to start tethering trucks to my helicopter and ramming them into my foes all over again.

Dec. 8: “Hitman”

I haven't been a fan of the “Hitman” games for long, but I enjoyed the creativity with which I was allowed to dispatch of Agent 47's targets in 2012's “Hitman: Absolution.”

The sixth entry in the series, called simply “Hitman,” will feature larger, sandbox levels with hundreds of non-player characters with which to interact. True to form, Agent 47 will be able to vanquish his foes in almost any way imaginable in dynamic, fluid environments.

If the game is anything close to “Absolution,” I know I'll have a good time.

Besides these eight games, plenty of others are launching before the year is out. Which ones are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.

Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing [email protected], leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.

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