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The season’s hottest games: Unleashed!

By Stephen Salopek

November holds a special place in the hearts of gamers across America; It is that special time right before the Holidays when every major gaming company releases their last project for the year, usually their best. This November, gamers were spoiled with the release of four games that many have been anticipating for years: Treyarch’s Call of Duty: BlackOps 3, Microsoft’s Halo 5: Guardians, EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront and Bethesda’s Fallout 4. I can say personally, that all four games are amazing in their own right, but that’s not to say I don’t have a few complaints. Here’s my breakdown:

Arguably the most anticipated game this year was Halo 5: Guardians and, ironically it was probably also the biggest disappointment. Ever since the original developer, Bungie, parted from Microsoft in 2010, the popular franchise has been rather stagnant. 343 Industries, the Microsoft startup created to fill Bungie’s very big shoes, did a mediocre-at best job with Halo 4, and it already seems to be the same case with its successor. Many gamers, myself included, are upset with the short campaign, the overall repetitive nature of the game and the online multiplayer – which seems the exact same as Halo 4 (bugs and all). As always, the graphics, user interface, and overall combative-play are amazing, but it just feels like a better version of the same old thing.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 has a great deal to live up to, given the success of its predecessors, and I think it’s safe to say that its maker, TreyArch, delivered. With a variety of new gaming aspects and combat features like wall-running and swimming, Black Ops 3 really pushes the envelope for 1st person shooters, while still staying true to that uniquely exhilarating Call of Duty feel. The game does have a few setbacks though, for instance there are some online multiplayer bugs that can be a nuisance, and though I’m sure they will be fixed in the first update, judging from previous games there’s no telling how long this will take or how many more problems it may create.

Star Wars: Battlefront was announced late this year and came as somewhat of a surprise to gamers everywhere. The well-known game series is over 10 years old, with the two original games released in 2003 and 2005. It seems Electronic Arts pulled it from the vaults just in time to help usher in the release of LucasFilm’s newest addition, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The game itself is spectacular, drawing on many of the aspects of EA’s Battlefield 4 – which, oddly enough is something many dedicated fans consider to be a negative. There are some legitimate complaints though, most being that the game lacks a sufficient campaign quest-line, and that the online multi-player is unbalanced and buggy (I personally found it to be pretty stable, just extremely difficult). All in all, Battlefront blows its 10-year-old predecessor out of the water, and makes for a fun way to pass the time with friends, even if you’re spending most of it getting hacked and slashed by an over-powered Darth Vader.

This last game, Fallout 4, is the only November release to receive a nomination for Game of the Year (The Witcher: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V and Super Mario Builder are its competitors). Kept completely secret until its official announcement at this year’s E3 conference, Bethesda’s most famous franchise was released almost five years to the day since its predecessor, and has already won Game of the Year in the hearts of most gamers, including my own. The game is truly a work of art, allowing the player to do whatever he or she wants while roaming a vibrant – albeit dangerous – apocalyptic wasteland. Every facet of the gameplay is filled with detail, every decision made in-game has real implications in your quests and changes your story’s outcome. The only negative is the amount of time you will lose playing this game. More than any other game on this list, it is worth the purchase.

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