Editorial

Xbox Games for the Single Players in October

south park the fractured but whole

The month of October brings with it many things—fall foliage, Halloween, childish pranks, pumpkin spice, and video games. The upcoming season is chock-full of exciting titles, many of which are greatly anticipated by the gaming community as a whole. From motorsports to superhero parodies, here are three games Xbox One players should keep an eye out for this October.

Forza 7

The Forza series of racing games first arrived on the scene in 2005 with the release of Forza Motorsport on the original Xbox console. Since then, the franchise has sold over 10,000,000 copies. With over a billion dollars in profit made at retail, Forza has earned the distinction of maturing into one of the highest-grossing video game IPs of all time.

Enter Forza Motorsport 7, the tenth installment in the franchise, in development at Turn 10 Studios. First unveiled at 2017’s E3 conference, Forza 7 will feature over 700 cars and more than 200 different track configurations. 32 locations will be available at launch, including all those from Forza 6.  In addition to these locations, Forza 7 introduces two features new to the mainline Motorsport titles: dynamic weather and customizable drivers.

Due to licensing issues, Forza 7 is not slated to include any production Toyota cars, and instead will only have a small number of the brand’s racing vehicles. Despite this noticeable absence, players may find some consolation in the plethora of highly-coveted supercars available, among them vehicles from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Porsche, Lotus, McLaren, and Maserati. Of particular note, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS saw its reveal alongside the game at E3, signaling the beginning of a six-year licensing deal between the manufacturer and Microsoft.

Forza 7 was created alongside the upcoming Xbox One X, with Microsoft providing a prototype console to Turn 10 during development. Within two days of receiving the prototype, the studio had its ForzaTech demo running on the system, and has optimized Forza 7 to play at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second on the Xbox One X when the console releases in November. Users who play the title on the Xbox One or Xbox One S consoles will experience 60 frames per second as well, but at a resolution of 1080p.

Gamers can find Forza Motorsport 7 racing onto the scene for the Xbox One as well as PC on October 3.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

From the ever-so-irreverent minds of Matt Stone and Trey Parker comes South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the sequel to 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth.

Developed and published by Ubisoft in collaboration with South Park Digital Studios, The Fractured But Whole takes place after the events of The Stick of Truth. In a foul-mouthed parody of the popular superhero movie genre, the children of South Park, Colorado engage in a new adventure complete with ridiculous powers and conflict dividing two sides into a frenzied civil war.

Players once again step into the shoes of The New Kid. However, unlike the previous title, The Fractured But Whole allows gamers to choose the gender of their character, including the ability to select between cisgender and transgender identity. This choice will affect the way NPCs interact with The New Kid, as will the selected race. The game’s skin tone slider has been referred to in jest as a ‘difficulty slider’, for the darker The New Kid’s skin, the less money he or she will earn from quests. As usual, South Park finds a way to integrate real-world social matters into its narrative—the very definition of an equal-opportunity offender.

Expanding on The Stick of Truth’s turn-based gameplay, The Fractured But Whole employs grid-based combat wherein players can place party members in tactical positions, allowing them to line up attacks, take cover behind environmental artifacts, push and pull enemies, and create chain reactions. A host of superhero character classes are available to choose from, including Brutalist, Blaster, Speedster, Elementalist, Gadgeteer, Mystic, Psychic, Karate Kid, and more. As the game progresses, players will have the ability to tweak their characters, mixing and matching abilities from multiple classes, effectively hybridizing their fighting style.

In an interesting and amusing bit of trivia, writers Stone and Parker originally wanted to name the title South Park: The Butthole of Time—a reference to The New Kid’s power to warp space and time using mystical flatulence. After being informed that retailers would not place a product on the shelves if the title contained the word “butthole,” Stone and Parker settled on The Fractured But Whole, a clever bit of wordplay that allowed them to keep the phrase in the title.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole arrives on October 17 for the Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has captured the minds and hearts of gamers since its inception in 2007. Featuring a fictional narrative mixed with real-world events and figures, the series is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, with consumers already purchasing over 100 million copies of its various titles.

Set during Ancient Egypt’s Ptolemaic period, Assassin’s Creed: Origins is the newest title in the series, developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Players walk in the shoes of Bayek, a Medjai who seeks to protect his people from the dangers that threaten them. As the game’s title implies, the narrative recounts the beginning of the struggle between the Assassins and the Templars that has always been the center of the franchise.

Players progress through the action-adventure stealth game via quests that allow them to earn experience points and acquire new skills. When not questing, gamers are free to traverse the open environment on foot, horse- or camel-back, or boat to explore locations, discover and complete side-quests, and unlock additional weapons and equipment. In a deviation from previous titles, Origins will not contain a large amount of tall structures for players to climb and discover hidden areas of the map. Instead, users can deploy Bayek’s eagle companion, Senu, for a bird’s-eye view of surrounding terrain.

As reported earlier this year, several parts of Origins’s campaign will be played through the eyes of characters other than Bayek, including his wife Aya. In addition to this change, Origins features revised combat mechanics, shifting from a paired animation system to hit-box based combat, allowing players to hit enemies directly, injure individual body parts, and occasionally miss their target entirely. Weapons will fall into different categories rated on damage dealt, speed, and range, while enemies will have several basic archetypes that use a variety of tactics, thus requiring players to tailor their combat style if they wish to succeed.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins is set for worldwide release on October 27, 2017 for the Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4.

Honorable Mentions

Of course, the titles outlined above are not the only releases arriving to tempt gamers this October. From Monolith Studios comes Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, the highly-anticipated sequel to 2014’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, set for release October 10. Three days later on October 13, Bethesda Softworks will release The Evil Within 2, and fans of the classic shooter series Wolfenstein can look forward to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus on October 27.

Readers can check out the PlayStation 4 version of this preview for more games arriving in the next few weeks, and watch out for the Nintendo Switch and PC editions in the coming days.

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