A Comic Book Reader's Guide to FALL 2012 VIDEO GAMES
Comic book fans tend to like video games. We'll let your mind un-explode from that huge revelation there. In the Autumn every year, video game publishers put out the majority of their big-name, "Triple A" titles. Yup, more mind-blowing stuff, we know.
So in this crowded market, what games warrant your time, and most importantly, can pull you away from your favorite comic books? The following guide is designed to take you in a direct line from some of your favorite books to what could be your favorite games in the near future, and let you know how best to spend your hard-earned normally-reserved-for-comics cash. While this isn't a 100% comprehensive list (for instance, all gamers and comic book fans should check out the latest LEGO title, Lord of the Rings this fall), it should help narrow down what games you may enjoy simply by looking at your pull list.
And don't forget gamers, this list can certainly work both ways. If you find yourself digging one of these games, check out the corresponding comic if you haven't already.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Release Date: October 9, 2012
No matter which origin story you like for the Justice League, or which event is your favorite, chances are, you've enjoyed a story about a series of larger-than-life heroes coming together to stop a massive alien invasion. Each hero gets their moment in the spotlight, using their unique abilities to help thwart the end of the world, and usually there are at least a couple big explosions.
In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you get to fight off that big invasion, but instead of playing one hero, you play all heroes. In this strategy game, think of it more akin to the Satellite era of the JL, with you in the coordinating role of Martian Manhunter. Of course, instead of superpowers you'll largely be using guns and tanks, but the strategy - and goal - remains the same. This game offers over-the-top action, big, glorious battles, and strategy that requires everyone use their abilities in the best way to help each other - and the world - at the same time.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: Dishonored
Release Date: October 9, 2012
In Uncanny X-Force, the story that Rick Remender has weaved, while truly an ensemble story, could be argued as focusing mostly on Fantomex. In the enigmatic super powered assassin, we had a full arc where he makes difficult decisions as he's persecuted, and eventually redeemed, for his actions. Fantomex also delves into deeper themes of choice and consequence by looking into how those around him deal with similar situations, and all of this is done while killing some bad, bad men.
In Dishonored, you play an enigmatic, super powered assassin who has to dive into deep themes of choice and consequence while being persecuted, and eventually redeemed (well, presumably) for your actions. You'll also see how those around you, both hero and villain, ally and foe, deal with similar situations. Oh, and you'll get to kill some bad, bad men. We're not likely to get a Fantomex video game anytime soon, but if you'd like to see how he would act in a Victorian-style setting, then Corvo's story should sate your appetite.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: Skylanders: Giants
Release Date: October 21, 2012
You love sitting down and enjoying some fun, old-fashioned, all-ages, family-oriented comedy and action with your kids when reading the unfortunately now defunct Tiny Titans. Or maybe you just like to read it on your own to hearken back to a simpler time. The book makes you laugh with glee as you remember the old days of comics just being fun and having less of a focus on huge, earth-shattering (and often depressing) moments.
The Skylanders series, seeing its first big (and we mean big) sequel/update in Skylanders: Giants does the same thing for video games. With the toy collection aspect, there's that sense of awe and wonder. Placing one of your toy figures on the portal and seeing them come to life is a "wow" moment like first discovering a man can fly. The series offers up plenty of funny bits along the way, but it's much more about the nostalgia and family-fun that can be found that relates these two properties. Giants offers up larger figures and characters and a whole new aspect to the gameplay and story, and works with all the smaller figures from last year's breakout hit, too.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: Assassin's Creed III
Release Date: October 30, 2012
The Dark Knight Detective works best when he's in the shadows. Even when he's fighting a massive war, his focus tends to be on striking from the dark, taking out specific targets in his battle to shape the world into a better place. His tight network of associates helps him while working their own angles around the world. His use of fear is one of his strongest weapons.
As Connor in Assassin's Creed III, you'll strike from the shadows, using weapons like a grappling hook to string up foes and drive his opponents mad with fear before swooping in for that last, lethal hit. Yes, Connor, as an Assassin, naturally kills which is different from Batman, but his methodology is definitely similar. With no new Batman game this year, this is where you'll get your fix of taking out individuals with nothing but basic weapons, ninja-like skills, and good old-fashioned hard work. If you're more into, say, Batgirl, then you're in luck, as there's also Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, which features a female assassin named Aveline, proving that the female of the species is often deadlier than the male.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth
Release Date: October 30, 2012 (Xbox 360), November (WiiU)
Marvel's comic book Avengers takes Earth's Mightiest Heroes and pits them against mighty villains in a battle to protect our planet and the way of life we are accustomed to.
In by far the most obvious game on this list, you control the Avengers in a… um… Battle for Earth. Come on, we said it was obvious. Still, this Kinect (or WiiU motion controller) game, you fight as various Avengers in one-on-one battles against the villainous hordes of the Marvel Universe. Or, if you fancy yourself more of a Civil War or AvX fan, you can fight against heroes, too. The posing-for-attacks is sure to make you look and feel a bit silly, but if you like your monstrous superhero battles to look a bit like when you hit the dance floor after one too many drinks, this is the game for you.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: Halo 4
Release Date: November 6, 2012
In X-O Manowar, a soldier who has trained his whole life to be the ultimate warrior gets the ultimate armor in the universe, empowering him to take down his greatest foes, including an ancient alien threat that may spell trouble for all of mankind.
And yup, that's Halo, too. Stepping back into Master Chief's shoes for the fourth installment is also like stepping in for the first time, just like reading the new X-O from Valiant after their big relaunch this year. Halo creators Bungie are gone, but 343 Studios and Microsoft are fighting to make sure this is the best one yet, with a new set of enemies alongside the old ones, and plenty of souped-up armor gunplay. If you've never played one before, don't fret, this one is nice and accessible while still retaining the mythology and style of the prior games, again just like X-O.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Special Ops teams just make for exciting story telling. Whether you like the classics like A-Team or G.I. Joe or you prefer relative newcomers like The Losers or Team 7, they're always in the public eye. In comics, the Joes are bigger than ever with multiple titles focusing on both their team, individuals, and even the villainous Cobra. Meanwhile at DC, they're fleshing out the backstory of their new universe through a covert ops team of their own in Team 7.
If you like your special operations units, chances are Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is already on your radar. It has everything you need to run your own mission: a near-future world, crazy high-tech weaponry and gadgets, a storyline straight out of your most action-packed comic or film, and of course the shared experience of getting into the fray with your friends and getting killed repeatedly while being made fun of by 12 year-olds, this is the way to live out your own G.I. Joe fantasy. Well, you know, besides actually joining the military and doing something with your life.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Okay, so only one of the three books we mention here is actually even out yet. But if you loved the no-holds barred all-out action of pitting your favorite heroes against each other in AVX: VS, or if the young heroes of the Marvel U fighting to the death in Avengers Arena or analogues of DC and Marvel icons doing the same in BOOM!'s Deathmatch sounds like fun, then you'll love the next game.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale takes the same concept as the above stories and applies it to the biggest characters that have appeared on PlayStation consoles throughout the years. Launch sneak attacks as Sly the Raccoon, jam those giant chained blades into Fat Princess as Kratos, or laugh it up as Sweet Tooth as you show Nathan Drake what kind of pain he'd experience in a new uncharted adventure. The roster of 20 fighters includes both exclusive and multi-platform franchise characters, and finally settles that age old question: Who would win in a fight: Cole McGrath from inFAMOUS or Parappa the Rapper?
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: Hitman: Absolution
Release Date: November 20, 2012
The Punisher's personal brand of justice includes lots of killing. After all, it's pretty hard to keep doing bad things if you're dead, right? But there's a finesse to Frank Castle's work that often goes overlooked. Castle isn't just good with a variety of guns, he's a planner. He's meticulous. He likes to really know the score... before he goes rampaging in with guns in hand and a healthy appetite for good old fashioned death.
While Agent 47 would likely end up on The Punisher's hitlist if they lived in the same world, his game also gives you a good idea of Frank Castle's way of life. As you mix it up between covert ops and all-out shoot-em-up death runs, you'll work to dispense your own brand of justice in Hitman: Absolution. Agent 47 has more in common with Castle now, as he's been betrayed and needs only one thing: revenge. Well, revenge and that aforementioned healthy appetite for good old fashioned death, of course.
Then You'll Enjoy Playing: Far Cry 3
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Garth Ennis's The Boys sees an ending in 2012, and its crass humor, crazy violence, and in-your-face political commentary can't be matched in any kind of exact way. While deconstructing superheroes and showing some truly disturbing scenes of sex and violence was its specific way of attacking your senses, there is a game coming with some of the same.
The Far Cry series is definitely violent, and definitely crass. In fact, Ubisoft managed to trick Spike TV into live-broadcasting some digital boobies during their video presentation at E3. If that's not something Hughie or Billy would laugh at, we don't know what is. The game is all about taking current leaders down a peg, and showing them who has the real control, one bullet at a time. It's not The Boys, but maybe it can take the sting of the series' end a little out of your sorry, whiny ass. Sorry, Hughie took over there.