As expected it has been a pretty quiet month. The highlight of my gaming in October was getting into the Hellgate beta (initially by pre-ordering though later I received two more invites out of the blue). Hellgate is a fun game, a worthy successor to the Diablo series. The near future setting and fps style combat makes it stand out from the older hack and slash style games. Combat is much more fun and the item system stronger than ever. It wont take players very long to complete the story arc. Once they do they can play through again on Nightmare mode and/or spend hours looking for the perfect items to complete their character if that's the sort of thing they are into. The game should definitely provide a couple of weeks solid entertainment and if you are the sort who still has Diablo 2 installed on your PC for a quick run through now and then Hellgate will have a place on your hard drive for years. A full review can be found here.
Tabula Rasa finally releases November 2nd but I have lost interest. Over time I watched the game become more and more watered down. Considering the game at its core is a fairly tedious, repetitive grind the dilution of the classes and combat mechanics sucked the last ounce of life out of it for me. The game had its moments early on but it wont take most people more than a week or two to realize that the game falls far short of the hype and fails to live up to any of the promises made during its overextended development. This is one of the very few MMO's that has earned a 'pass' from me. I wont be buying it at release.
Gods and Heroes has been put on 'indefinite hold' by Perpetual Entertainment (the developer). Initially a delay was announced to allow them to polish a few things before the release but later that was dropped and the game left in limbo so that they could focus on Star Trek Online. Ultimately this can only mean that someone at the studio didn't feel the game was going to measure up. It is futile to try to guess why but the problems with either the game or the companies finances had to run deep for it to be canceled so late in the development cycle.
November is going to be a busy month game-wise. Hellgate and The Witcher come out on October 31st. The PC port of Gears of War should be out on November 6th. If you have an XBox 360 both Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect will be out around the middle of the month and should be groundbreaking 'must have' titles. These may be the games that finally get me to break down and buy one of the new generation of consoles. There is a PC port of Assassin's Creed expected sometime in the future but exactly when isn't clear. Hints have been dropped that it wont be until next year at the earliest.
The Warhammer Online beta was shut down in October with plans to reopen sometime in December. This is an unprecedented move for any beta test I have ever been a part of and I'm not sure what to make of it. The official story is that they want to use the time to implement changes based on feedback they have received but that feels pretty contrived. I still hope the game turns out well but these unusual moves and lengthy delays make me concerned about it's future.
I'd love to share something about Age of Conan but I still haven't been fortunate enough to land a spot in that beta. My mojo isn't working for me this time and I may actually miss out on the game entirely until the official release.
After November things are looking pretty dry. The next releases up on the watchlist wont start rolling in until February at the earliest. Hopefully the games coming out in November will keep us entertained until then. I should have a lot to talk about next month in the meantime don't forget to stop by the site now and then to keep up with the news or just give me your $0.02.