This time of year is when the true blockbuster releases start to make their presence felt. Big hitting franchises Fable, Rock Band and The Sims all have new content coming out, James Bond has two titles ready to go, there's Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, and we take a look Dance Central's huge mass appeal.
Fable III (360, PC)
North America, October 26. Europe, October 29. Mature / 16+.
With a host of recognizable voice talent (Fry, Cleese, Wanamaker et al) and director Peter Molyneux promising the best
Fable story so far,
Fable III is the tale of a grassroots revolution. Albion's wretched king must be deposed and replaced - but how will players choose to rule once upon the throne of power?
Price: $59 / €59
Collectors Edition: $79 / €75
With Xbox 360 bundle: $249 / €279
Rock Band 3 (360, PS3, Wii, DS)
North America, October 26. Europe, October 29. Teen / 12+.
Closer than ever to creating the happiest of marriages between video game entertainment and musical tutelage,
Rock Band 3 busts out 83 songs (with more to come via download) for guitar, drums, bass, keys and voice. Microphones and instrument-shaped controllers from previous or compatible games still work, though there are of course new variants.
Game only: $59 / €59. Less on Wii and DS.
Rock Band Keyboard: $79 / €79. Game + Keyboard: $129 / €129. Rock Band 3 microphone: $29 / €29. Guitars: from $59 / €69 to $249 / €149. Rock Band 3 drum kit: $129 / €129.
The Sims 3: Late Night (Mac, PC)
Release: North America, October 26. Europe, October 30. Teen / 12+.
Whether or not we consider ourselves "gamers," most of us have either played one of
The Sims games or know someone who has - it's the biggest selling PC game series. 2009's
The Sims 3 has been bolstered by expansion packs: first
World Adventures and
Ambitions, and now
Late Night adds clubbing, bars, DJs and even vampires to
The Sims experience.
Price: $39 / €39
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (360 DS iOS PC PS3 Wii)
Release: North America, October 26. Europe, October 29. Teen / 16+.
Force Unleashed was by no means space junk but improvements were demanded, and in terms of graphics at least,
TFUII looks poised to deliver. Darth Vader's apprentice escapes execution from his old master and swish pre-release trailers point to a crucial duel between those two Force wielders before the game is done.
Price: $59 / € (360 PS3), $49 (Wii), $39 (PC), $29 (DS)
Collectors Edition: $79 / (360 PS3)
Dance Central (Xbox 360 Kinect)
Release: North America, November 4. Europe, November 10. Teen / 3+.
For all the fuss that's made about
Kinect Sports, and
Kinect Joyride, surely this is the game that will sell Microsoft's motion-sensing camera to the masses.
Dance Central scores players on their dance move skills, teaching them new moves to go along with its 32 vibrant hit tracks. Though one player at a time takes the main stage, two more can be recruited to fulfill back-up duties.
Price: $49 / €49
ames Bond 007: Blood Stone (360 PC PS3)
Release: North America, November 2. Europe, November 5. Teen / 16+
The studio team at Bizarre Creations are more well known for their motorsport games - the
Project Gotham Racing series, and this year's
Blur - but they did make acclaimed score-based shooter
The Club. Here Bizarre turns its hand to the Bond franchise as Daniel Craig's ruthless agent sets off in pursuit of a lethal biochemical weapon.
Price: $59 / €69 (360 PS3), $49 / €49 (PC)
Also released during the week of November 1 are God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP), GoldenEye 007 (Wii), Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360 Kinect), and Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (multiformat). Europe receives its version of Super Scribblenauts (DS) on October 28 and Deadly Premonition (360) on October 29. The Xbox 360 Kinect launches in North America on November 4 with 12 supporting titles, and then Europe on November 10. More on those things next time around.