When I sat down and compiled a list of my favorites from 2011, I was unsure of what was to come after that deluge of games. Everything is out, now what? I thought 2011 was at or above even 2009’s almost flawless quality of titles, but where does that leave 2012? This new year was looking a little weak at first, but after some thinking, I noticed that 2012 has its own share of (hopefully) stunning titles.
Mass Effect 3
No other franchise has choices with so much impact. Ever since Mass Effect 1 (or Mass Effect 2 for PS3-only players) your choices have come down to this. Who is still alive? Who are you at odds with? Is that reporter still present so I can press R2 and punch her in the cheek? This all-out galactic war will have such a different meaning to each player based on the save data they carry over. Choices aside, it will be a kick ass shooter/RPG with each pillar getting a significant boost. It’s at the top of this list for a reason, because I can’t wait for it. Thankfully, it’s coming out in only a few months.
The Last Guardian
I don’t even know what this game is anymore. The Last Guardian hasn’t been shown in a very long time, worrying me just a tad. On top of that, a few of the game’s key heads are leaving the studio in pursuit of other dreams. These are warning signals of events going sideways, but I’m still holding on strong for a good, unique title that only Team ICO can deliver.
The Last of Us
A new IP from Naughty Dog? Sign me up. If coming out only a year after Uncharted 3 has you worried, don’t be. The Last of Us has been in development for years now so it should be all polished up for its promised late 2012 release. Not much has been shown and we don’t even know what kind of game it will be, but I trust Naughty Dog to come out with something new and engaging even if it looks to lift heavily from other mediums. Isn’t that what Uncharted does so well?
Ninja Gaiden III
I’m not going to mention how stupid the multiplayer looks (although I do kind of want to try it), but I’m about infinitely more focused on the single player aspects of slicing and dicing. I will be honest though: I’m extremely skeptical of this game. That skepticism does come with some excitement, but I hope it can overcome my fears and be just as good (or better) than my personal favorite Ninja Gaiden Sigma II. Fingers crossed.
It was shown ages ago and it’s not even coming out until September. So, for the best, I’ve tried to hide this game from my brain in order to keep my sanity until it comes out. Being a sort of spiritual successor to the classic original Bioshock set in the sky (don’t call it Sky-oshock), it looks to have that plasmid/gun shooting mixed in with a mysterious story. I’m not psychic, but I’m willing to bet this will be near the top of many people’s Top 10 Lists at the end of the year. Bioshock Infinite looks that good.
Reboots are all the rage these days and since Tomb Raider was getting slightly stale (or maybe just unable to compete with the competition), it has gone and changed itself up dramatically. Gameplay looks to have that platforming and puzzle solving we’ve seen before, but this time it looks to have more survival elements incorporated into it. A grittier environment and almost excessive gore will almost guarantee an M-rating, something the franchise hasn’t seen before. You’re still hoping for a shower scene hidden in that M-rating, huh?
I’m in awe of this game. It could fall flat and suck. It could be an abomination (this is the Kane & Lynch team after all). But I don’t care. The gameplay montage posted below gets me all hot and bothered for that stealthy assassinating fix I get oh-so-hard for. Ezio, are you jealous?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengence
Is it stealth-based? Hell no! Is that kind of a bummer? Yeah, a little but with action this ridiculous, it’s hard to complain (so don’t). Platinum Games makes stellar titles so I’m optimistic that they will take the pieces of this once-broken game of Rising and make it into something special with that Platinum Games flavor. Yes Platinum, I would like to cut a man into a thousand pieces.
The Darkness II
My fellow editor and friend Osvaldo likes mention that I should play the original The Darkness that came out in 2007. He may be right about the game’s quality, but I may have to wait until February until I try the franchise. No not the original, but the sequel set to come out soon. I was immediately impressed with the setup, graphical style, and abilities right as I laid eyes on it. Like I said before, quad-wielding. That should be enough to warrant a playthrough.
Devil May Cry
Another reboot in a series in a dire need of one, Devil May Cry, or DmC, is set to give us the business next year. Ninja Theory (the team behind the flawed-yet-compelling game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West) is taking the reigns from Capcom on this one and this will hopefully work out for the better. Ninja Theory has a knack for making absolutely gorgeous worlds with great characters, but the might lack the combat know-how to make it fun to play. Gameplay trailers actually look to alleviate this concern, because combos look lengthy and flashy, something a DmC game thrives on. Will the best of both worlds cooperate and make a great action game? Only time will tell. For the sake of the series, it better hit on all targets.
Syndicate was only announced a couple months ago, but it already looks to be a pretty unique game. Mixing a Deus Ex: Human Revolution aesthetic with some overall originality looks to separate this game from the pack and give it its own unique feel. Drilling a man’s head open on top of all the other cool abilities makes it look like a shooter specifically designed for my tastes. A quick announcement time to release date may be a little troublesome, but these dangers signs look like they will be quickly dashed away. Let’s not have this great trailer go to waste.
Grand Theft Auto V
It’s a fucking Grand Theft Auto game. How are you not excited? Truthfully, nothing is really known about it, including the release date (it could easily be a 2013 title), but GTAIV‘s quality and the infinite bank account and talent of Rockstar almost ensure this will be a game to remember. Knowing Rockstar, they probably won’t show much of this game until it releases, but honestly, they don’t really need to.
Max Payne 3
With GTAIV in April 2008, Red Dead Redemption in May 2010, L.A. Noire this past summer, and now Max Payne 3 the year after that, Rockstar seems to carve out a little piece of summer/spring and dominate it. Max Payne 3 continues this trend (which makes me think GTAV is a 2013 title, but I digress) and also looks to have Rockstar’s incredibly high quality stamp of approval. Max Payne looks a little old and musty but his game definitely doesn’t.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
I have a soft spot for the Sly Cooper franchise. I was a bit late on its arrival, but immediately fell in love with it anyway, especially since that recent HD collection. A new developer, the beautiful cel-shaded art style, and the stealth and platforming blend seem to fill this title’s agenda from the little that has been shown. Even though Sanzaru hasn’t had much experience on their own titles, I have confidence that they will take this winning formula and finally give it justice in this current generation.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
I had this list done and ready to publish, but after some YouTube meandering, I remembered that Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is dropping next year. Don’t scoff at the nature of being a licensed game; all signs point to this specific game being pretty damn good. War for Cybertron, 2010’s entry, shattered my extremely low expectations and the sequel looks to make you forget about 2011’s atrocity, Dark of the Moon. Check the trailer below for robots punching each other in the mouth, Megatron looking menacing, robot bro-love, and a goddamn robot T-Rex. Fucking sold.
War had his fun romp through the apocalypse, now we get to destroy and wreak havoc as the one and only Death. Protagonist aside, Darksiders II will carry over the beloved Zelda-style dungeons from the first game, along with some new RPG-based mechanics, all of which I can’t wait for. Darksiders kept me up late almost every night for a straight week in lieu of finding that last piece of armor and needing to explore just one more area and I know Darksiders II will do the same and completely bone up my sleep cycle.
I’ve probably missed a few, but these are the announced titles I have my eyes on. Plenty of flagship titles are coming out next year (Starhawk, Twisted Metal, Borderlands 2, Diablo III, Street Fighter X Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, Halo 4, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and Prey 2), but if I threw in everything, this list would go on forever. So that brings me to you and your involvement. Did I miss anything that you are specifically looking forward to? Or do you just want to gush more about the games listed? Leave any thoughts in the comments!