I'm not going to lie and say I'm disappointed in some melancholic attempt to by cynical in regards to the last two months of video game releases, because I really have no room to be. But I do feel that while what I have seen is impressive, the industry can do a whole lot better in the terms of innovation.
Take the post-apocalyptic romp that was Fallout 3, which I still haven't finished and if it were up to me, I would never finish it so I could lackadaisically meander about the desolate wastelands of America until the eventual atomic rapture that mankind will bring upon itself. Essentially, what I can only describe Fallout 3 as is a pure flow of content. It's just a world there, waiting to have something done with it and without a doubt, the factor and possibility of enjoyment is only exponential. Now when it comes to geekiness/nerd genres, I believe there is a definite split and you can almost see it anywhere you go and that is the forever split between Science Fiction and Fantasy. I'm not saying that you can't have a universe where firearms go hand-in-hand with swords, because that's been in sci-fi universes like Warhammer 40,000 as well as The Matrix and Snowcrash. I'm saying that there are people who will be able to have more enjoyment with games like Oblivion as opposed to Fallout 3 and vice versa in the same regard there are people who will find more content in the Warhammer universe as opposed to the Warhammer 40k universe. By no means am I saying that the divide is definite and unbreakable, but there is an undeniable preference there between certain geeks, nerds and gamers that is prevelent, and as I usually say, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
For all those geeks (and with V.A.T.S, Action Points and the vast amount of skills, abilities, and factors taken into every single move in the Fallout Universe, I do mean geeks) Fallout 3 is a assuredly a romp, and I do mean romp, that is meant to soon not be forgotten by any player anywhere. Having played the original Fallout as well as Fallout 2 as well as the forgettable Brotherhood of Steel spin-off, I can honestly say that the story is compelling and not at all without merit. Solid gameplay combined with an almost pornographic layout and display of distribuiting skill points makes every new skill level and every single activity a mini-game of it's own held aloft upon the fact that there is still a whole load of more to do. As far as difficulty issues, I will admit that there were times when the scaling felt a bit off and I would head into a designated "Quest Area" so to speak, only to have the challenge suddenly ramp up in a way I hadn't thought previously possible, I was still compelled over and over to restart, go back and see what would have happened if I had done something slightly different, and I believe that was one of the greatest tenents of Fallout. But as far as apocolypse goes, I think that there are numerous takes on the end of humanity, this not being either the greatest or worst representation while still remaining exceptionally memorable.
Gears of War 2 however is incredible in it's own right, with a few minute flaws still carrying over from the previous title that are now so underwhelming to the point of being unnoticeable. And I mean unnoticeable. Gears 2 was said to be a bigger, better, more badass experience, and so far, it has delivered. Picking up my copy of the limited edition, which I'm still yet to go through the bonus content for fear of having anything storywise spoiled for me or even worse fearing a sort of disappointment that what is there might actually sour me on any story details, which is just one of the series most dire of point. I'm not going to say that the story for Gears 2 is worthy of a Nebula award or any other type of award for that matter, but having heard this installation in the series be described as the Empire Strikes Back of what I can only imagine will be a trilogy. The game has sold far more than its predecessor and has already begun clawing it's way to the very top of the Xbox Live multiplayer lists. Gameplay withstanding everything, it is exactly whatI would want in a sequel as the promise on it being bigger, better and extricably more badass, I haven't been let down. Everything has been done on a far larger scale, thanks to a greater grasp of the Unreal Engine and I don't feel like there is this lack of pop when I play. When I fired the Lancer rifle for the first time in-game, I felt empowered as a player and hungered for it more. The accuracy and sound engineering was spot-on for what I expected the weapons, battlefield, Locust and general ambience to be and not once did I find myself wanting as far as sound goes (Unless it was for a pair of stereo quality headphones). Overall, the gameplay was for lack of a better term: Fucking Insane. Horde mode, co-op, campaign, multiplayer is all so fulfilling in every sense of content, that the small issue of sticking to cover didn't even really stand out in my mind and I couldn't have been happier if I had tried. But not all games are about chainsaw-on-rifle induced carnage and while sometimes I wish they could be, the fantasy aspect is prominently illustrated when it comes to other titles.
Fable II isn't the game that Peter Molyneux once again claimed Fable would be. In fact, if you've played Fable, you've played Fable II, except that there is a great deal more to do and where Fable seemed to scratch the surface on a good deal of content Fable II gets deep into the lore and content of the world of Albion and while not the experience promised is still exceptionally key to the player. That's enough of that.
Endwar still needs to be picked up, but the prospect of commanding troops while being able to do almost anything with hands is a promising proposition indeed.
Mirror's Edge is the game I've wanted to play since I really got into the content of the demo, and while I've been hearing mixed thoughts about the in-depth gameplay, I still believe it's a game I want to own.
Finally, Wrath of the Lich King is in-fact awesome. The content is staggering and to beholden to the mind the same way I imagine The Holy Grail was to Indiana Jones. Once I have a level 80 Horde, Alliance and Death Knight, I'll be able to share an honest review of World of Warcraft, until then, I think any other kind of thoughts would be almost unfair. But, that's just me.