Fall Preview 2014: The Solid Investments

Fall Preview 2014: The Solid Investments

As our fall preview series continues, we examine the games that look like solid investments this holiday season.

For the next three days we'll be examining this fall's biggest games. Today we look at the games that look like solid investments this holiday season. You can find Part 1 here.

Bayonetta 2

Jaz: So far I've had three encounters with this game - one at last year's E3, one at this year's, and an extended period of play at a Nintendo preview event last month. I've loved every minute I've spent with the game so far: it's just as utterly mental as the last game, and it packs even crazier combos and even more ludicrous situations.

The game looks terrific, and it certainly seems like a huge amount of thought has gone into the design and set pieces. How it'll play as one full experience remains to be seen, since I've only played it in chunks, but so far Bayonetta 2 has all the ingredients for it to be one of the best Wii U games yet.

Bob: From what little I played of Bayonetta 2, it doesn't stray too far from the great fighting mechanics of the first one, and that's great. The sequel also seems a little more forgiving—based on the show floor demos I played—which may have a lot to do with Hideki Kamiya not taking the role of director. I love the guy, but his games have a way of making you feel like garbage with their strict rating systems, which don't allow much room for error. Even The Wonderful 101—ostensibly made for kids—is just as harsh and technically complex as anything Platinum's ever made.

Of course, I do expect Bayonetta 2 to be challenging, and I'm hoping this is the sequel where Platinum learns from their past mistakes. I'm a huge fan of the first game, but it dragged on way too long, mostly through recycling old boss fights. If the developer shows some self-control, Bayonetta 2 could be one of their best games yet—they're working from an excellent foundation.

LittleBigPlanet 3

Jaz: I played this at E3, and it ended up becoming my personal game of the show, and when I played it once again just a few weeks ago - my enthusiasm remained undiminished.

LBP's leap to 1080p is nothing but a fantastic treat for the eyes, and the gameplay retains much of the fun and creativity of the first two games, but with much improved jumping. Three new characters are in, each with his, her, or its special abilities, and this makes the multiplayer co-op mode far more entertaining than before, since players now have to figure out exactly who needs to do what, and when.

I haven't played about with the creation tools yet, so that's the only area where I'm in the dark - but the rest of the game looks top-notch fun so far. I really hope it delivers.

Destiny

Jeremy: Uh, is this cheating? Destiny's already out… so it's kind of a safe bet.

But really, while I can see that Destiny won't be everyone's cup of tea, it feels to me like the perfect delta between Halo, Borderlands, and Call of Duty. It's a little of all the above, but it scrapes out most of the stuff that drags each of those games down. I do worry the bestiary and designs will grow stale after a few dozen hours, but supposedly there are a bunch of other alien factions between the Hive and the Fallen to deal with. So fingers crossed, we'll see more than just Halo Online when it comes to the enemies to knock down...

Destiny looks great, and the shooting is solid. And it's fun to play with others. But then, I'm a sucker for co-op play and story-driven first-person shooters, so you could say that my being drawn to this game was dest—no, better not.

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Kat: Strange as it may sound, Pokemon is typically at its best with its remakes and pseudo-sequels. In addition to refining the overall balance, introducing new monsters, and bringing in move tutors, they usually introduce a really excellent gameplay mode like the Pokemon World Tournament or the Battle Frontier. Hence why I'm excited to play Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

I've already written at some length about the Secret Bases and the new Mega Evolutions, but I'm also excited to get back to earning ribbons for my monsters in the various Pokemon beauty contests. All told, it looks like there will be a great deal more postgame content in this version than there was in Pokemon X and Y, which admittedly felt a little spare once the main story was over. I'm even kind of excited to be going back to Hoenn. Heck, after more than a decade, it'll be like going home.

Persona Q

Bob: I feel terrible about looking forward to yet another 3DS RPG, because the system has so many of them! I'm currently stalled out in the middle of several 50-hour games, and I'm not sure how to feel about that. But I guess Bravely Defaut, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Soul Hackers, and Inazuma Eleven will see further delays in their completion when Persona Q releases, because it's shaping up to be an amazing RPG. Hell, that groovy '60s logo alone has me interested.

I've sunk a nearly regrettable amount of time into the Persona series, so Q seems to be made for my brand of obsession. The level of fan service is almost on par with Smash Brothers here, as Q crams the casts of Persona 3 and 4 together, gives them a super-deformed makeover, and drops them into a dungeon-driven adventure with those battle mechanics the series does so well. I'm sure I'll put at least 30 hours into Q before the next shiny RPG comes along to distract me, because I am a bad person.

Sunset Overdrive

Mike: Sunset Overdrive was a ton of fun when I played it at E3. The bastard child of Jet Set Radio and Rachet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive is all about grinding your way around the city, shooting up mutated people, and having fun doing it. I didn't expect a ton going into my multiplayer session-I'm not a big multiplayer guy- but what I played is making me look forward to the single-player game.

Probably my favorite part of Sunset Overdrive is Insomniac's desire to let players look how they want to look. Thin, chunky, man, girl; you can be who you want to be and there's a wide variety of costumes (all of which can be worn by any gender) to dress yourself up in. There's something fun about being you (a better you) in the middle of a crazy sun-drenched apocalypse. I don't know if Sunset Overdrive will be amazing, but it at least looks like it's going to be a good time.

Kat: Sunset Overdrive is a breath of fresh air in a season loaded with ultra-serious shooters and epic fantasy. It's dumb fun, but it's self-aware in a way that many games aren't. Playing Sunset Overdrive is like going back in time to the magical summer of 1993, with a dash of hipster fashion for good measure. It may prove to be just a bit of fluff in the end, but it's a fun bit of fluff. I hope it succeeds, if only because I'd like to see more like it as the generation goes on.

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