BWP's 20 Most Anticipated Games of 2012 Part 3: 10 to 6
2011 was an absolutely ridiculous year for gaming. While we tried to predict what were going to be the best games of the year, in the end, it was the games themselves that really defined 2011 in gaming. There was definitely some carryover when it was all said and done and we revealed our top ten games of 2011.
But 2011 is in the books. It’s 2012, and we have a whole other set of games to play and waste our money on. Once again, the list is way too long, so here at BWP, we’ve once again decided to present to you our top 20 most anticipated games of 2012.
20. Halo 4 (Microsoft Game Studios)
19. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD (Activision)
18. Tomb Raider (Square Enix)
17. The Last Guardian (Team Ico / Sony)
16. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Konami)
15. Wii U (Nintendo)
14. Starhawk (Sony)
13. SSX (EA Sports)
12. Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
11. Assassin’s Creed 3 (Ubisoft)
10. Playstation Vita (handheld device)
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: February 22, 2012 2012
Why we're excited: From what we’ve seen, the Vita will offer console-level graphics and performance, only in the palm of your hand.
By George Prax
While news out of Japan is that the reception to Sony's new handheld device, the Playstation Vita, has been lukewarm, bordering on terrible, we remain excited to see the device hit North American and European store shelves in February. There has been no shortage of coverage concerning the Vita here at BWP (as I'm sure you can tell by the list above), so you probably know where we stand on a lot of it. We like that it's basically more powerful than the PS3, and that Sony is backing it up not only with good online infrastructure through PSN and through various apps, but also with an absolutely fantastic slate of games promised on and around the device's launch.
The "flagship" game will probably end up being Uncharted: Golden Abyss, a brand new, portable adventure for Nathan Drake. Four years ago when Uncharted first graced our PS3s, did you even stop and think about the possibility of seeing the franchise on a portable device? Us neither. What about Resistance: Burning Skies, or ports for LittleBigPlanet and Modnation Racers? Even the Bioshock series will eventually have an entry onto the platform, not to mention some other big franchises like Call of Duty, Ninja Gaiden, and MLB: The Show. And that's just naming a few. Needless to say, not only will Sony support the platform with its own franchises, but it's manages to role in some unlikely third-party partners as well.
For all intents and purposes, the Vita will be like having a PS3 in your pocket wherever you go. Maybe that's an ambitious statement, but it's an ambitious platform. And that's what, in my opinion, sets it apart from what we know about the Wii U, and why it's higher on the list. It's daring to do something different, to do things at the highest possible level. That probably means that the target market is reduced from nerds in general to the craziest of nerds, but since when has that stopped us from salivating over a great piece of hardware? The Vita's viability remains to be seen when it hits Nort American markets, but its specs and its launch slate are certainly enough to put it in our top ten.
9. Dust 514
Developer: CCP Games
Publisher: CCP Games
Platforms: PS3 Exclusive
Release Date: Summer 2012
Why we're excited: This exclusive first-person shooter will include unprecedented integration with CCP’s flagship game, EVE Online.
By George Prax
There's no doubt that the industry is turning its seductive eyes towards consoles these days. A lot of publishers are starting to ignore PC gaming. Maybe because of piracy, maybe because it's just easier to make games for consoles, who knows? But it's a reality that PC gamers have been dreading for quite some time. For a long time, however, CCP Games seemed like the prototypical PC developer, banking the last ten years of their existence on the extremely popular if maybe a little underground EVE Online. But even the Icelandic company is starting to turn their attention towards the console gamer, and in 2012, that will come in the form of Dust 514, the MMOFPS answer to Eve, an MMORPG.
Now, if you haven't heard about Dust, we won't blame you, but your mind is about to be blown. The reason it finds itself so high up on our list is because, if successful, Dust will essentially redefine gaming. That may be chalk full of hyperbole, but it could very well be true. You see, the game will feature an unprecedented amount of integration with Eve, something that's pretty much unprecedented in the gaming world. Players shooting it up in Dust will fight over control of planets in the Eve universe, which will have an effect on the established game. Moreover, Dust players will be hirable as mercenaries in Eve, allowing for players to gain an advantage in battle.
Of course, as cool as that sounds, the game will still have to be played and playable, and it remains to be seen whether CCP can build a decent shooter. It's been said that Dust will have a similar style to MAG, which is fine, but that raises questions over how well the game will be received. Moreover, the relationship between PC and console gamers can be a little contentious at times, so it will be interesting to see how either community reacts to the game, especially when you consider that CCP is basically asking Dust players to be bossed around by Eve players. In any case, we appreciate what CCP is doing, and that's trying to bridge the gap between the two mediums, instead of just ignoring one to work on the other, and that's admirable. But it will all depend on the execution, which we will get to see in action later this year.
9. Borderlands 2
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: First-Person Shooter, Action-RPG
Release Date: September 2012
Why we're excited: Borderlands 2 was amazing, unique, and original, and more importantly, incredibly fun. If Borderlands 2 can provide a similar experience, all while stopping itself from growing stale, we’ll be happy.
Further Reading: Borderlands 2 coming in 2012.
By Matt Bradley
Borderlands was a curious blend of RPG, arcade shooter and loot 'em up gameplay that won my heart within hours of booting the game up. The allure of the random weapon system first pulled me in, what with there being a cool three million possible random weapon combos to be found. What we actually got was a very satisfying RPG that also scratched the arcade shooter itch that many games at the time couldn't quite reach. I left the game feeling very satisfied and wanting more. It then took nearly two years for the official announcement of a sequel to come, and it couldn't have come soon enough!
From what we know, the sequel will follow all of the same principles as the original. There will still be three different skill trees per class, Eridean artefacts will return, allowing for different elemental weapon buffs, and the awesome 4 player co-op remains intact. On the topic of changes, we now have different perks and visual styles depending on the weapons manufacturer, Eridium ore will be added, allowing you to buff your already powerful Eridian artefacts, and all now driving physics have been implemented. The story revolves around your team being given the task of killing an egocentric maniac known as Handsome Jack, who owns his own space station and claims responsibility for the protagonists' events in the first game. He's capable of firing robot sentries down at you from his base, which won't be scripted events and will have the capability of hurting you if you get in their way. All new enemies will be appearing and the original game's protagonists are now said to be NPC's, who give you quests and push the story along.
All in all, it's sounding like it will be another fun day on Pandora. Hunting Skagzillas, chasing down quest objectives and frantically quitting and reloading your save file when you find a chest that gives out rare coloured weapons. I can feel my addiction surging even as I type this. Hopefully this one will live up to its name.
7. Hitman: Absolution
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: 2012
Why we're excited: Everything that we’ve seen about the new Hitman game leads us to believe that it will rejuvenate and restore the franchise to its previous glory.
By Phil Therrien
Hitman: Absolution promises to give a new twist to the Hitman franchise. It has been reported by IGN that the game will be "a familiar and yet significantly different experience from other Hitman games". While that is exciting news for some, Hitman purists worry that the much-beloved stealth aspect of the franchise could be lost in favour of an action-oriented approach to gameplay; one that has already plagued franchises like Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six. Details of the story have been kept vague, but we know that Agent 47 is asked to assassinate Diana, who handled 47's assignments in the past games. My personal theory is that Diana betrays 47 and sends the cops on him, which would explain the Chicago manhunt sequence we've seen in the gameplay trailer. 47 then has no choice but to seek retribution by going after his former handler.
One of the main new features in Absolution is called Instinct. Similar to Detective Mode in the Batman Arkham games, it acts as an X-ray vision of sorts that allows Agent 47 to see enemies through solid objects, to simulate his superior anticipation skills. The developers confirmed in a recent video that the feature was introduced as a tool for the player to counter the very advanced AI rendered possible with Glacier 2, IO Interactive's new advanced game engine. They also confirmed Instinct would be more limited in higher difficulty settings and that the player would have to carefully plan its use. Another facet of Instinct is the players' ability to hear others' thoughts when disguised, as to react appropriately when he's about to be discovered. A new very Batman-like cover system also makes its series debut in Absolution, to aid players who want to go out guns blazing.
We haven't seen or heard much on the game's mission structure, but we expect it to mostly remain similar to the previous games, where the player had a plethora of options on how to complete his objectives. If it's not broken, don't fix it; and the Hitman mechanics are definitely not broken. IO Interactive has stated in interviews that the game still very much revolves around player choices; and even hinted at yet-to-be-revealed features that would help the player find new ways around objectives. IO has worked on the franchise from the start, so we trust them to remain true to the series and bring back the same stealth gameplay we know and love. Hitman: Blood Money had some of the most fun and diverse missions in the series, so we hope to get even more out of this new iteration. Everything we've seen and read about Absolution points to the game being the most ambitious and epic Hitman game to date, so we absolutely can't wait to get our hands on it.
6. Bioshock Infinite
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Sci-Fi First-Person Shooter
Release Date: 2012
Why we're excited: Everything that we’ve seen about Bioshock Infinite has led us to believe that it will be a fantastic game. Ken Levine seems to have learned from the mistakes he made in Bioshock 2.
Further Reading: Next Assassin’s Creed Title Confirmed for 2012.
By Matt Bradley
The Bioshock franchise is one that is kept extremely close to gamers hearts, even though the first sequel, Bioshock 2, failed to garner as much praise as its predecessor. Bioshock Infinite looks to change all of that. Set high in the clouds (as opposed to the briny deep), the game is looking a lot brighter and definitely more colourful than the first two games, something that only serves to drag me in quite a bit more than the previous installments. Alongside these changes, it seems as though we now have a bona fide, non-verbally challenged companion. Maybe now we'll get some commentary on the surrounding events.
Gameplay doesn't seem to have changed much; You still use ADAM, this game's version of magic, to fling fireballs, move enemies against their will and shoot ice sprays. Weapons are still awesomely retro, with an early 20th century touch (tommy guns aplenty!) and the setting will be sufficiently steampunk. The story apparently revolves around the player character, Booker DeWitt, and his recruitment by an unknown agency to rescue a young woman named Elizabeth from the floating city of Colombia. Elizabeth is rumoured to be integral to the civil war happening inside the city within the clouds, but not everything is scheduled to go very smoothly. The group known only as 'The Founders' want to take her and use her 'power' (not elaborated upon yet) to end the war, while the group known as 'Vox Populi' wishes to kill her, as their prophecy foretells that her death will bring about Colombia's downfall. Not only does everything mentioned above sound pretty awesome, it would also seem like the developers will be adding spacial time rifts into the mix, with the player and his companion jumping forwards in time to other periods during the course of the story. If you're a Sci-Fi/Steampunk fan, you should be wetting yourself by now. It's quite okay to do so, I promise I won't tell anybody.
With everything mentioned above, I find it hard to find a reason as to why it would fail. It has the original Bioshock team, Irrational Games, led by Ken Levine, working on it, the game is far more lively and colourful, and the story sounds balls to the wall awesome. The only thing putting doubt into my mind is the existence of Bioshock 2, though that game was developed by 2K Marin, so let's just hope that it's nothing but a small dent in what will hopefully go on to become a top franchise. I have a renewed sense of faith in the series. You should, too!
Only five games are left on our list. What will round out the top 5, and what will inevitably get snubbed? Tune in on Thursday to find out!