Guys (and gals), we’ve weathered the storm. The final month of the year is upon us and to say it’s a light one is a vast understatement. There really isn’t all that much to get excited for, gaming wise, unless you’re a 3DS owner and/or Star Wars fan. With that in mind, here are the five titles worth even considering during the month. And if nothing here tickles your fancy, may we suggest you hit up the incredible backlog of games that have released over the last three months. There’s plenty to choose from there.
Mario Kart 7
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: 12/4/2011
The 3DS is finally starting to get a solid portfolio of games. First it was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Then came Star Fox 64 3D. Then, just last month, Super Mario 3D Land graced us with its presence. Now, we finally get our Mario Kart fix on the 3DS. This is the same great, addictive Mario Kart action we’ve grown to love over the years with a few twists throw in for good measure. For example, all the karts now have gliders to fly with and propellers to traverse the underwater depths.
If you own a Nintendo 3DS, this is probably a very safe bet. Handheld versions of Mario Kart rarely disappoint, so we’re expecting great things from Nintendo’s latest iteration. We’ve played the game at a few conventions and have loved what we've seen. The new gliding and swimming mechanics work great and add a whole new dynamic to races. We’re pumped to see Mario Kart making the transition to the 3DS, and you should be too.
The Adventures of Tintin
Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, 3DS
Release Date: 12/6/2011
Before Tintin hits the big screen over here in the States on December 2st, he’ll be adventuring on video game consoles starting December 6th. Ubisoft has developed a Tintin tie-in video game to the upcoming film, allowing you to play as Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock. And if you have a friend/family member around, The Adventures of Tintin can be played co-op style. For Kinect users, the game can be completely controlled with hand and body gestures to boot.
However, let’s get the elephant out of the room first, shall we? Movie tie-in games are typically not very good (especially Ubisoft ones). That’s why we’re keeping our distance from this one until we hear otherwise. We’re excited for the Tintin movie, but we’re not sure we need to relive the experience in video game form afterwards (or before, for that matter). We suggest keeping this one on the back burner for the time being.
Developer: Crave Entertainment (no affiliation)
Systems: Wii, 3DS
Release Date: 12/9/2011
It’s about damn time! We’ve been dying for a new, “more complete” version of the classic Oregon Trail. Not only can you freely move around while hunting, but you can also drive our wagon for the first time ever! *Tears of Joy*
OK, so maybe we’re not very excited for this 40th anniversary edition of Oregon Trail for Wii and the 3DS (it's a slow month, get off our backs!). We’re not going to lie, we used to play the shit out of Oregon Trail back in the day. Back when we were but wee, young lads. But we’ve grown up and gaming has gotten a lot more intense (and satisfying). But if you need to relive the Oregon Trail adventure one more time (and die of dysentery), we won’t hold it against you.
Gears 3 “RAAM’s Shadow” DLC
Developer: Epic Games
System: Xbox 360
Release Date: 12/13/2011
Typically, we don’t include downloadable content in our monthly gaming guides. However, for the first piece of story-driven DLC for Gears of War 3, we’re willing to make an exception. “RAAM’s Shadow” flashes back to before the original Gears of War to tell a prequel story focusing on Zeta Squad as they try to evacuate Ilima City while being assaulted by the Locust horde led by the beastly General RAAM (you remember him from the first Gears of War, right?).
You know we loved Gears of War 3. A lot. That’s why we’re pumped to jump right back into the game with this new downloadable content. While we enjoy multiplayer map packs just as much as everyone else, we’re ecstatic Epic Games decided to create all-new story content to further detail the Gears of War universe after the curtain closed on Marcus, Dom and the rest of Delta Squad. Gears of War fans, get excited for this content.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Release Date: 12/20/2011
This is the big one, folks. Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally upon us. BioWare’s massive MMORPG is set to dethrone World of Warcraft, and we believe it has the chops to do so. Why, you ask? Well, it offers up something no other MMO has: story. Every single quest in the game is built around an epic narrative that BioWare has created to make the experience that much more engrossing and engaging for players.
If you’re a Star Wars fan that likes playing MMOs, this game is for you. It’s really that simple. BioWare is making sure The Old Republic feels like something more substantial than a string of menial fetch quests. You play an important role in shaping the galaxy far, far away. Sure, a monthly subscription might be a bummer, but that’s nothing new for longtime MMO players. If you have a computer powerful enough to run Star Wars: The Old Republic, we suggest you pick it up.