Top 10 hottest videogames for 2011
|LISTS - VIDEOGAME LISTS|
Whether it's a fictional Korean invasion, dishing out yet another graphic fatality or exploring the quandaries of an eccentric billionaire/crime-fighter, 2011 looks likely to be yet another great year for gaming...
2010 proved a fairly rewarding year for the videogame industry. With the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Red Dead Redemption and Mass Effect 2 all gracing our consoles at some point, the year past really has offered us sublime choice in a number of different gaming genres and has proved that, unlike its cinematic brethren, the industry is still rife with originality...
Due for release:
March 8, 2011 (NA) / March 10, 2011 (AUS) / March 11, 2011 (EU) / April 29, 2011 (JP)
A title that’s sure to be as controversial as it is popular, Homefront maps out the fictional scenario of a Korean invasion (and subsequent conquering) of the USA. Set in 2027, Homefront promises both shock and intrigue, taking the gamer through its hauntingly realistic environment whilst providing a truly captivating storyline. The game has been on my radar since I stumbled across its breathtaking trailer and, as a gamer that sees a gripping storyline as an essential foundation rather than a welcomed add-on, it's remained there since. However, what really excites me about this title is the involvement from world-renowned writer John Milius, better known for writing Red Dawn and co-writing Apocalypse Now (1979) and 1981's Conan The Barbarian (which he also directed). Whilst predominantly movie-based, Milius has created – or at least been involved with – more masterpieces than I can remember, yet this is his first venture into the videogame industry. If Homefront is half as involving as Red Dawn, we could be in for a real treat.
9: Mortal Kombat 9
Due for release: April 2011 (Worldwide)
It’s Mortal Kombat – simple as that. Possibly the greatest fighting title of all time, MK’s popularity has resulted in the creation of nine videogames, two films (even if they were abysmal), an indefinite amount of memorabilia and ultimately a series that is now over 18 years old. When Warner Bros. – who bought the rights to the series and most of the Midway assets back in July 2010 – revealed the trailer of Mortal Kombat 9 at this year’s E3 games, the web simply exploded, with fans of the series bombarding forums and tweeting furiously about their excitement. With greater level depth, additional characters and a whole new collection of fatalities, Mortal Kombat is sure to be a must-have for 2011, although an exact release date has yet to be confirmed. Conversely, for those of you who like a bit extra with your release, Warner Bros. have promised a special 'Kollector’s Edition' and limited edition Tournament Edition that will be released alongside the primary title.
8: Gears of War 3
Due for release: September 2011 (Worldwide)
The first of the console ‘exclusives’, Gears of War 3 has the potential to be the most influential of all 2011 titles, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Gears of War movie that was due for release in 2012 has again run into problems, with the latest rumour suggesting a budget cut and director issues. If GoW3 can build on the success of its predecessors and demonstrate a good return-on-investment, it may create some solid foundations from which the film's development could be derived, safe in the knowledge that there is a large, pre-existing fan-base to which the film could be pitched. Secondly, this release will be the final chapter in the Gears of War trilogy, so there is sure to be a certain amount of expectation accompanied with its release. While the previous two releases helped generate an impressive fan-base through their intoxicating storylines, smooth gameplay and imposing character depth, it falls to GoW3 now to raise the level of gaming to new heights and take the franchise to new success by ensuring that it offers both a fitting addition to the franchise and something unique with which to attract a fresh audience. Additionally, it has already suffered a major delay in its release-date (five months so far), so fans and gamers worldwide will certainly be expecting Epic Games to justify this delay through dazzling games content. However, as long as Gears of Wars 3 does not venture too far from the predominant storyline and unique gaming experience which has aided its success to date, this is sure to be one of the biggest-selling games of 2011.
7: Crysis 2
Due for release: March 28, 2011 (Worldwide)
“Crytek will set the graphical benchmark with Crysis 2 on all three platforms. It’s aimed to be the best FPS game ever” - with a quote this strong, you could be forgiven for getting just a little excited. The 2007 success of Crysis came off the back of the success the company had enjoyed with Far Cry (its first release). However, the game soon earned its own cachet, combining unrivalled graphical perfection with unique, open-ended gameplay to provide gamers with an FPS unlike any before it. With a number of near-perfect review scores – including a 91 out of 100 score on Metacritic – Crysis had established itself as a top-dog in the FPS genre. From the quote above, and this subsequent trailer, it would appear that Crytek are confident of similar results for their future release. Interestingly, Crysis 2 is the first game from Crytek that will be available on all three major FPS platforms (Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) and is built on the CryENGINE®3 system, which the company informs us will allow for “benchmark-setting graphical performance, near-photorealism in every environment and extraordinary real-time special effects”. Combined with the fact that Crysis 2 will be the first FPS available in stereoscopic 3D on all three platforms, I have high hopes for this game; and you can bet that both Activision and Bungie are fearing for both their dominance and market-share. Now...would anyone like to treat me to a 3D television?
6: Killzone 3
Due for release: February 22, 2011 (NA) / February 28, 2011 (EU)
The PS3’s answer to Gears of War and Halo, Killzone has been converting gamers to the dark-side of Sony since its release back in 2004 on the PS2. While the original experienced rather mixed reviews, it was clear that the PlayStation had received finally received an FPS with which to challenge its rivals - just as they had done previously with the likes of Gran Turismo and Spyro – and the inevitable war of words between fan-boys of the two consoles has remained on-going over the last six years. However, with sales of Killzone 2 reaching the million mark by April 2009 – just two months after its release – it’s clear to see that the series has a serious fan-base and is sure to be among the biggest-selling games of 2011 on either console. With a robust and improved multiplayer system, an enhanced A.I and the inclusion of the ever-appealing Jetpack, Killzone 3 is sure to push Xbox 360 loyalty to its limits.
5: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Due for release: November 1, 2011 (Worldwide)
When Uncharted first appeared on the PS3 back in 2007 it was greeted with much uncertainty and wariness despite the fact that its developer, Naughty Dog, had gained much reverence on the PlayStation thanks to its previous titles Crash Bandicoot and Jak. Conversely, thanks to the game's phenomenal use of the PS3's graphical superiority, and a storyline so enthralling that it makes The Matrix look boring, the positive reviews began to flood in, and PS3 gamers were once again lauding their console's abilities over its Microsoft rivals. Uncharted 3 will continue the tale of protagonist Nathan Drake – rumoured to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake – with Drake following the trail of legendary British Army officer T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) in his latest adventure. However, it remains a mystery as to how Naughty Dog is going to improve on the previous instalment of the series; Uncharted 2 has already brought us unrivalled visual perfection, unique gameplay and beautifully coordinated co-op play, so adding to the series is going to be a difficult task. However, as the saying goes: “Raise the bar high, then raise it again” – so let’s just see what Naughty Dog has in store for us.
4: Batman: Arkham City
Due for release: March 25/26, 2011 (Rumoured; Worldwide)
Unlike the other titles in this list, I really don’t feel the need to justify this game at all. For anyone who has played Batman: Arkham Asylum, you will know what you have to look forward to. What’s more, Batman: Arkham Asylum was probably the most successful movie-to-game adaptation/transliteration to date, and single-handedly saved the reputation of superhero games after the poor showing of The Incredible Hulk and the dismal VG experience offered by Iron Man. The only down-side to the Batman games was the disappointing lack of multiplayer, whether co-op or competitive, but, thanks to a recent leak, it appears that Batman: Arkham City will offer both, with the co-op rumoured to have been built around the free-roaming capabilities seen in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. If for some odd reason you are still not 100% convinced, have a quick flick over to this article and watch the teaser trailer. Yeah – that’s what I thought.
3: Dead Space 2
Due for release: January 25, 2011 (Worldwide)
While I have heard good things about Dead Space, I have never played it, due to the fact that I just haven’t got “the minerals” as Vinny Jones would so delightfully put it. To be fair, anyone who can play a game like this after watching this trailer is one brave individual with nerves of steel. I’m not sure whether it was the ‘twinkle twinkle’ cover or the countless number of human corpses that were being remodelled that really set me off, but what I do know is that this game is scary as s**t. Thankfully for EA the majority of gamers out there seem to have a strong stomach and sturdy backbone, and before long Dead Space was being hailed as the king of virtual horror. While its sales-figures failed to effectively demonstrate the game's positive feedback with slow – yet consistent – demand, Dead Space has developed something of a cult following, and, with a sequel penned for January, one can only imagine that EA are confident that there is more to come from the title. So, if you like jumps, bumps and a whole lot of blood, Dead Space 2 is certainly going to attract your attention. If not, I recommend you stick to something a bit more family-friendly – how 'bout Little Big Planet 2?
Due for release: February 22, 2011 (Worldwide)
Much as it may be fun to snipe some unsuspecting locust's head off (see Gears of War) or stick a plasma grenade to an elite's back (see Halo 2/3), sometimes it’s just not enough. Sure a 20-something kill-streak is impressive, but after a while it can get oh-so-repetitive. Enter Bulletstorm. From ‘some’ of the creators of Gears of War, and thanks to EA Games’ ever expanding repertoire, Bulletstorm was born – a game so unlike any other FPS that it’s sure to cause some confusion. To put it quite simply, Bulletstorm is based entirely around the concept of creating a more rewarding playing experience for gamers, one to which they can repeatedly return and still find something original within. Instead of racking up scores and killing-sprees, Bulletstorm rewards originality and ingenuity, with the gamer able to perform what would appear to be an endless amount of kill variations. Whether you choose to disintegrate them, kick them into a cactus or simply throw a box of explosives in their direction, the game awards this resourcefulness with point multipliers and achievements, making Bulletstorm significantly user-friendly and sui generis. With multiplayer options available through the game's 'Anarchy' and 'Echo' modes - both of which hold true to the game's tagline "Kill with skill” – Bulletstorm could be the surprise package of 2011, and is certainly one to watch.
1: Mass Effect 3
Due for release: Q4, 2011
Mass Effect 3 has the potential to be one of the biggest games of the year – if not ever – and is sure to receive a warm reception when it finally hits the stores. The final chapter in the Mass Effect series sees Commander Shepard and his co-stars returning to Earth to deal with the Reaper invasion that is taking place, while tying up any loose ends from the previous two instalments. Unfortunately, because of the limited details that Bioware has made public, little is known as to plot or character specifics; nevertheless, they do say that sometimes less is more, and, with the pre-existing buzz that surrounds the series, it seems unlikely that this will affect its appeal.
and read Ben Skipper's list from last year:
and Sam White's look back at 2010: