Jan 052012

I decided not to do a post that looked back at 2011. For the most part I consider it a disappointing year, and even many of the games I liked had a stale aftertaste to them. So, let us speak of happier things: specifically, the games I am looking forward to for this year.

You’ll notice that today’s post only includes AAA games. There will be an additional post next week for indie games, but at this moment that list has only eight games on it. Eight! And I know that is not anywhere near the number of cool indie games that will be coming out this year. Are you, or do you know, an indie developer with a game that will be ready to release in the next twelve months? Tweet me or email me (sparky at mwclarkson dot com) with some info so I can decide if I’m looking forward to playing that game!

Aliens: Colonial Marines – Many games have clearly wished they were Aliens: The Game, even if they couldn’t use the IP. Most of them missed the mark, usually quite badly. What I’ve seen so far suggests that Gearbox may have gotten it right with this one.

BioShock Infinite – Well, it’s no secret that I love BioShock. So… move along, nothing to see here.

Dishonored – Stealth assassination gameplay set in a steampunk-ish world? This game has had me riled up for some time and I am extremely eager to see it.

Far Cry 3 – My impression is that this game is intended to find a middle ground between the populist first game and difficult but extremely rewarding second game in this series. Of course I hope it’s closer to Far Cry 2, but it looks gorgeous and interesting nonetheless.

The Last Guardian – It seems this will be Ueda’s swan song with Sony. Seeing as his team has produced two of the greatest games of all time, it would be perverse to await this one with anything less than maximum anticipation.

Metro: Last LightMetro 2033 was tremendously atmospheric and otherwise very rough, especially on consoles. Last Light will hopefully improve on the mechanics, although the fact that its story seems to revolve around the least interesting part of Glukhovsky’s world-building is troubling. If they can pull it off, though, this will have inside track for shooter of the year.

NeverDead – This might be terrible; I’m not sure. But any game where you can rip your own arm off and use it as a grenade is worth a try, in my book.

Prey 2Prey was tremendously interesting and bristled with ideas, which cushioned the blow of having so many of those ideas not work out very well. Hopefully Prey 2 will be just as unique, and more successful.

Silent Hill: Downpour – The last three Silent Hill games have all disappointed me in various ways, so I’ve been very skeptical about the direction of the franchise. The developers of Downpour have been making all the right noises, however, particularly about exploring new territory, new monsters, and less combat. At last, it seems like there’s a chance they can recapture the magic.

Spec Ops: The Line – A modern warfare shooter that promises to have less of the rah-rah bullshit that makes other games in this vein irritating or even outright disturbing. I’m hopeful that this can be the game that finally puts a mature spin on military shooters, where “mature” doesn’t mean “awesome gory kills”.

Syndicate – After the XCOM: Shoot Guns at Oil Monsters fiasco I geared myself up to hate this almost instantly. And yet… some of the mechanics seem really interesting. If the emphasis is more on infiltration than murdering everyone in sight, this could turn out really well. If it’s the other way around, well, a lot will hinge on how those interesting mechanics play out.

Thi4f – Wow, that is still a really stupid name. I mean, that is terrible… so terrible, that every time I see it, I think about how stupid that name is more than I think about how much I love Thief. But! I really, really love Thief, and the prospect of more Thief always makes me do a happy little dance. So I’m still on board.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – I only heard about this today, and I am already excited about it. Turn-based! XCOM! Made by Firaxis! Sooo happy.

War of the RosesSkyrim is a fun fantasy game, but it is an absolutely lousy melee combat game. This looks like it will offer a fun take on medieval combat, and chooses an interesting historical setting to explore it.

Warlock: Master of the Arcane – The phrase “Civ with wizards” sold me almost immediately.

Intentional Omissions: Borderlands 2, The Darkness 2, Diablo III, Final Fantasy XIII-whatever, GTA V, Halo 4, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Mass Effect 3, Max Payne 3, Risen 2, Tomb Raider, XCOM: Shooty Business. I’m not saying that these games are going to be terrible. I’m just not particularly interested in playing them based on what I know about them at this point.

If you think I’ve omitted something unintentionally, point it out in the comments!

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