Video Games

‘Black Ops II’ dominates new releases in 1Q 2013


Whenever my self-esteem begins to climb and I start thinking I might actually be a productive and talented member of society, all I need to do is jump online for some Call of Duty multiplayer action to put me in my place.

Multiplayer is the one place you can go where everyone is an expert on your race, sexual identity or the proclivities you may have for family members or goats. The multiplayer wasteland is the new anonymity where many vile things are tossed around, but I’m a sucker for punishment.

Anyway, a funny thing about the first quarter of 2013 is that according to, “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” dominated U.S. video game sales charts. The game was in the top five selling games in nine out of the 13 weeks of 1Q 2013. It frequently appeared twice with its Xbox 360 and PS3 versions both notching top spots.

Out of the crop of new games, not one has shown much staying power. This is a shame, as there are plenty of quality games being overlooked by gamers.

First, the bad and ugly. I was eager to get my hands on “Aliens: Colonial Marines.” But when I finally got the game I began to wonder if somehow producer Jon Peters had gotten a hold of the series. Huge continuity issues littered the story and ticked off franchise fans while game play offered cardboard- like characters and stale mission design and play. No matter how beautiful the sound, music or atmosphere, the juice was not worth the squeeze.

“Dead or Alive 5 Plus.” If there is an inner misogynist or a seedy little porn fiend with a sexual objectivist view of women, then the Dead or Alive series will find it … or create it.

“SimCity” is the only game I know of that, when released, players who bought it could not actually play it. Overloaded servers at Electronic Arts led to many gamers waiting forever to get into games and some not being able to get in at all.

I rather enjoyed “The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct,” but the game was dead on arrival where many gamers were concerned. It was quickly tagged as shameless cash grab devoid of original thought or game play.

On the other hand, “Tomb Raider” is pretty much the best game released so far this year. Not nearly enough people are playing this game. The graphics, story, action and replay value makes this game a must. “Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” is a Japanese style role-playing game whose game play, music and animations are both beautiful and imbued with a style that tugs at the nostalgic heartstrings of RPG fans.

“BioShock Infinite” is right on the heels of “Tomb Raider” for all the same reasons, but it adds a superior level of game artificial intelligence that almost gives it the edge over Lara Croft.

Other games released this quarter that fell off the radar too soon are “Dead Space 3” and “Crysis 3.” Granted both are sequels to sequels, but they also offer engaging, fun stories and highly stylized graphics and animations. In fact, “Crysis 3” may be the most beautiful-looking game released all year.

Lastly, because the classics never die, they just get prettied up, I’m giving a quick nod to “Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition” as it is finally released on OS X. Now where did I put that miniature giant space hamster?

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