TotalRoundTable: Q4 + PS3 = 4-Ever?

Master Chief and Peter Molyneux versus Donkey Kong and James Bond versus Sly Cooper and some expensive car. Fight!
Author: Marc N. Kleinhenz
Published: November 30, 2010
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Where, oh where, are the first-parties dead – in the heart, or in the head?

It’s in their holiday software lineups, it turns out. With nearly all of their emphasis on the newfound flood of motion gaming peripherals – except, ironically enough, Nintendo, who has instead abruptly pulled an 180 and gone exclusively after traditionally controlled, hardcore titles – there doesn’t leave much room for the big, towering gameplay epics that gamers have come to depend on sprouting up this time of the year. In a traditional realm of redwoods, which console manufacturer, then, manages to have the stoutest collection of saplings? And can it be that Nintendo, the bastion of vapid casualware, manages this time to resoundingly fell all of its competition’s forests?

Pounding out such matters of import at the great round table are Gordon Wheelmeier and Marc Kleinhenz. Yes, the esteemed Sam Bishop is still putting the finishing touches on the LittleBigPlanet 2 strategy guide, but he promises – promises! – to be back for next month’s installment, once he’s free from Media Molecule’s indentured servitude. Attempting to take his place (he still can’t get Sam’s indomitable laugh down) is Parjanya Holtz, senior editor here at TPS. Joining them all is TotalRoundTable newcomer Shaun Mason, who makes the transition for the very first time from behind-the-scenes advising, editing, and poking to in-front-of-the-curtain tomfoolery. He will be a permanent fixture at the table from this point forward, affixed right next to the pencil sharpener.

Marc N. Kleinhenz, features editor:

We have, on the one side, The Sly Collection and Gran Turismo 5, and, on the other, the PlayStation Move lineup. These, and these alone, constitute Sony's big holiday guns.

So, how does the arsenal stack up? Is it better than what either Microsoft or (especially) Nintendo is bringing to the table this year? And how does a historical comparison stack up – is this significantly stronger or weaker than what Sony has done in years past?

Sir Gordon Wheelmeier, gaming guru:

This is kind of an interesting one. The Sly Collection is more for existing fans of the series or folks who were perhaps on the fence when they were out for PS2, methinks, and while it might do all right, it's certainly no system-seller. Gran Turismo 5 is a huge release for people who have been waiting years for it, including some folks who bought the system explicitly for it, but it's certainly not a game for everyone. And the Move, though it's great and arguably better tech than what Nintendo and Microsoft have, is certainly not carrying as much hype as Kinect is.

So is it a good enough year? If you're a Gran Turismo fan, then yes, though it has been frustrating at the end for many folks, what with release date changes and all that. GT is one of those games that you really only need one of to make it a great holiday season. But for everyone else? It's certainly lackluster.

Microsoft isn't doing a lot, either, though you can't forget about Halo: Reach. But as Kinect is its focus, there's not much else outside of there for the core audience.

Nintendo? Nintendo actually has a strong lineup, but I don't know that it'll be as memorable as either Sony's or Microsoft's in the long run. With Reach, Kinect, and GT5, you have some pretty big releases. As a comparison point, outside of Kirby and the Mario All-stars re-release, I can't remember what else there is for them. But, those games are exactly what their core audience is looking for.

I don't know. It's certainly not a dominant season for anyone, but there are some standout singular titles for particular audiences.
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