Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, and Dragon Age: 2014′s holiday showdowns

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 12:46 GMT By Brenna Hillier

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Forza Horizon 2 (September) vs DriveClub (October) vs The Crew (November)

New hardware is all about car games, which is why Microsoft got Forza 4 out the door when the Xbox One hit. Sony wasn’t so lucky with DriveClub, which it has serious ambitions for, but it’s time for the showdown now.

We’d probably back the third contender, and if The Crew were a Need for Speed game I’d wager a reasonable sum on it.

This one’s a very tricky call. Both Forza Horizon 2 and DriveClub are exclusives, which counts against them. Forza Horizon 2 is hot on the heels of Forza 4, which may put consumers off a little. DriveClub has been severely delayed and has generated a lot of confusion by being sort of but not really free-to-play for PlayStation Plus members.

Given these considerations, we’d probably back the third contender, and if The Crew were a Need for Speed game I’d wager a reasonable sum on it taking the crown. As it is, The Crew is a new property, which is always a risk, and is in many ways an MMO. So. You know. Anybody’s guess, we’re afraid. I’d probably put a modest amount on Forza Horizon 2, if pressed.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition (November) vs Lords of the Fallen (October)

In RPGs we have a really interesting match-up, although we’re not afraid to tip Dragon Age: Inquisition to win out over Lords of the Fallen. Dragon Age has the weight of the BioWare fandom, a recognised IP, and EA’s marketing behind it, while Lords of the Fallen has, you know, none of that.

Despite the foregone conclusion, RPG fans would be well advised to check out Lords of the Fallen.

Despite the foregone conclusion, RPG fans would be well advised to check out Lords of the Fallen. It comes to us from Tomasz Gop, who was responsible for The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings. Gop has made no bones about what his intent is with Lords of the Fallen: to put together all the best bits from his favourite RPGs. Have you ever daydreamed about a game with the combat of X, the progression of Y, the world of Z, and so on…? That’s Lords of the Fallen.

Inquisition is sounding great too, despite a recent slip from October to November. BioWare has admitted Dragon Age 2 was rushed out, and taken Inquisition much more seriously. Expect a huge, populated world, better romances, more meaningful player choice, and more.

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Horror: Alien: Isolation (October) vs The Evil Within (October)

Bet you wondered where Alien: Isolation was when you read the big shooter showdown, hey? Well, we’re stuffing it in horror because this shizzle is not a run-and-gun affair. Obviously after the disaster of Aliens: Colonial Marines we daren’t make judgments until we’ve played it through 18 times and maybe also waited four years for the hype to die down, but the Creative Assembly is talking a really good talk about survival horror rather than shooter. Previews suggest it’s managed to walk the wal- remember Colonial Marines, Brenna.

No matter how good The Evil Within is, we don’t think it’s going to stand up to the lure of the Alien IP.

Despite the hangover of Colonial Marines, we expect Alien: Isolation to sell strongly. The Evil Within is a cagier bet. It’s a much more traditional horror experience, and it’s a sad reality of the industry today that horror games just don’t sell as well as other genres. If you squint, you can pretend Alien: Isolation is a shooter – it’s first person, you do have weapons – but The Evil Within looks like precisely what it is: an old-school horror game.

Hopefully, those who love Shinji Mikami’s legacy will buy in and justify Bethesda’s faith in Tango Gameworks. But no matter how good The Evil Within is, we don’t think it’s going to be the kind of seller that stands up to the lure of the Alien IP.

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Action adventure: Assassin’s Creed: Unity (October) vs Sunset Overdrive (October)

We’re offering up Sunset Overdrive against Assassin’s Creed: Unity for two reasons. First, because it’s a third-person action adventure with a lot of parkour, and there’s nothing else that bears any resemblance to Assassin’s Creed at all. That’s probably why Assassin’s Creed is selling gangbusters with six core releases under its belt, come to think of it.

We’re cynical and we’ve been doing this a long time. You’ll all buy Assassin’s Creed.

Second, because something has to go up against the juggernaut, doesn’t it? Sorry, Sunset Overdrive, but there’s so much working against you. You’re probably loads of fun, but you’re a platform exclusive; launching in a hugely crowed period; and are a brand new IP from a company whose last few have been a bit, you know, ehhh.

We’d love to say Sunset Overdrive’s energetic, colourful, creative action is going to capture the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere. But we’re cynical and we’ve been doing this a long time. You’ll all buy Assassin’s Creed.

We’re not soothsayers, but we’re pretty confident in our guesses. Do you have counter-arguments? Let’s hear ‘em, then.

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