Ten must have games for 2012
|LISTS - VIDEOGAME LISTS|
Apocalypse or no apocalypse, it's shaping up to be another great year for gaming...
Can you believe it’s been a year already? A mere 365 days prior gamers worldwide were preparing themselves for what critics were calling the gaming year of the decade.
For many, 2011 was the year of the comeback kid. The abusive Duke; the dubiously heterosexual Raiden; the anonymous Master Chief – a smorgasbord of retro rebels. And yet, despite this ‘blast from the past’ as it were, we welcomed a host of new arrivals, all of which demonstrated the superior levels of originality that reside within the videogame industry.
2012 is sure to be a big year – heck, if the quacks are right, it might be our last – so surely it’s fitting that our gaming be worthy of the oncoming apocalypse. Call me obsessed, but if those horsemen do decide to make an appearance, they’re going to have to pry the controller out of my cold, dead hands.
It’s game time people...
Ah Halo...how we’ve missed you so.
You see, to the fans, you’ve been missing for a very, very long time. While your name may have survived courtesy of future generations – family branches that include Reach, ODST and Wars – your legacy has grown distant.
Having redefined genres, you’ve been reduced to yet another generic FPS. Many tried to hold on, but as the last “Live” warrior was forced into retirement, the battle seemed lost...until now.
Having acquired the rights – and shown a commitment to ‘back to basic’ design (see Halo: Anniversary) – 343 Industries have excited a dormant community; one that’s childhood, adolescent or mature existence lives within the double shot and no-scope-into-face-hump skill sets.
But 343 Industries, remember one thing...do not look to Duke Nukem: Forever for pointers...
Ninja Gaiden 3
First off...go f**k yourself Gaiden. To this day, you’re laborious difficulty haunts my darkest of dreams, taunting my lack of patience and mocking my mediocre gaming ability. You made grown gamers cry; were responsible for more than your fair share of smashed consoles; and, worst of all, bred contempt...and yet here we are, talking about you.
But therein lies your appeal. We loved you, got beaten by you and eventually left you...only to return when you promised things would be different. It’s domestic abuse at its worse.
Problem is we can’t run from our feelings. As this guy puts it:
So please, deliver the jaw-dropping visuals and culturally specific gameplay that we’ve come to love, and expect, from you, but remember...be gentle.
Mass Effect 3
When Captain Shepherd and his band of merry...well...aliens landed back in 2007, few realised the importance of their arrival. Here was a game with limitless possibilities; no more fixed endings and pre-designed consequences. Simply put, Mass Effect let the gamer do exactly that...game.
Did you want to pistol whip your colleague, waste your time exploring or simply decide your own fate? Well with Mass Effect you can – every action had a consequence, and your fate was decided by you, not a series of specified events.
So, after a successful sequel, all attention falls to the third and final chapter. While there is still six months until its release, early signs are promising. On a recent play through, I was greeted by smooth gameplay, flawless graphics and a level of realism that surpasses even its predecessor, Mass Effect 2.
Time will tell, but don’t be surprised if ME3 is vying for that “Game of the Year” award come December 2012...
Max Payne 3
If there’s a franchise in desperate need of a facelift, it’s Max Payne. Like so many before it, the legacy of Max Payne was butchered beyond repair by Hollywood; scars of which remain visible to this very day.
But just how did this happen? The concept was well established; the plot was unique; and it came boxed with a pre-existing fan base – everything was there, they just needed to follow the blue prints. Unfortunately, John Moore and co decided to remould the brand, creating a ludicrous monster in the process.
So, when news broke of a new title, emotions were mixed. On one hand I was ecstatic, eager to – once again – explore the true depravity of Max Payne’s world; but any joy was also suppressed by what I can only describe as survival instincts. My inner being had seen me hurt before, and was doing all it could to prevent this; a coping mechanism if you will.
However, after viewing this trailer, initial doubts are disappearing. After all, this franchise was the envy of any Microsoft or Nintendo fanboy, so it’s hard to imagine this being bad.
It’s the King of controversy; head honcho of extreme violence; Mac Daddy of gang warfare...need I say more? Whether you love or hate the GTA series, you cannot deny its place on a top 10 list such as this...
Bioshock was – and still is – one of the best games ever made. With a 96 rating and “Game of the year” award from Metacritic, it’s safe to say that the series has its followers.
Unfortunately, Bioshock and I never quite gelled. Now this could be for various reasons – incompatible gameplay; a lack of familiarity with the concept; or, and this one’s a real shot in the dark, a genre that scares the living s**t out of me.
It’s true. Such was the intensity of its storyline that I went from a strong, confident fountain to an incontinent, fearful drizzle. However, for those of you with a bladder stronger than the average six year old, you’d be foolish to miss this...
My childhood, videogame wise at least, consisted of five dominating titles...Halo: Combat Evolved; The Matrix: Reloaded; Mad Dash; Fifa 2003; and SSX. Many a happy morning/evening/elevenses was spent devouring these classics, but SSX stood out for one particular reason – its captivating multiplayer.
By utilising the Xbox’s four-player accessibility, SSX delivered stunning graphics and intense gameplay to any chosen foursome. Who could rack up the top score? How long could a grind be held for? Could anyone manage a 1080? Simple questions, but ones that made for addictive gameplay.
With Halo: Anniversary tickling those nostalgic taste buds, it only seemed fair to include SSX, my must have for 2012. It’s Tony Hawk...but cooler.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Other than the sheer delight that comes with a Metal Gear sequel, there are two things that I love about this upcoming blockbuster.
First off is the concept. Playing as Raiden – the cyborg everyone wishes had been playable in Metal Gear Solid 4 –gamers will be taken through this interquel, set between MGS2: Sons of Liberty and MGS4: Guns of the Patriots, in a purely hack-and-slash fashion. Konami have promised a fully destructible environment – minus a handful of exceptions needed to better facilitate gameplay – allowing the user to slice and dice as he/she sees fit. Everything, from combat right through to Raiden’s recovery, is reliant on his katana, so look forward to exasperated violence.
And then there’s that name...Revengeance. It’s as if vengeance seemed too strong, and revenge wasn’t strong enough, so they moulded the two together to suit the title. Of course it’s ridiculous, but then so was ‘Skyrim’ and ‘The Ocarina of time’ and look how they turned out.
Either way, this is going to be a big one.
I Am Alive
Back in 2008, I witnessed one of the most encapsulating trailers I’d ever seen – until the Dead Island trailer, that is. Regardless, I was taken back - the concept seemed so fresh; the graphics looked so pure; and the hero was immediately likeable. Ubisoft had me by the metaphorical chestnuts, and I would have done anything they asked of me. And then...nothing.
That’s right. Ab-sol-utely nothing. For a game titled I Am Alive, things went ironically dead, and I feared that this would be another gem stuck forever in development hell.
But, after three delays/cancellations/soul-crushing disappointments, I Am Alive is scheduled for a first quarter release this year; and once again, I cannot wait.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
I’m going to be honest with you – I couldn’t care less about Final Fantasy. To describe my interest in the series as ‘fleeting’ would be generous; but, when one considers its success, fan-base and history, its omission from this list would be unwise.
Moreover, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has a lot resting on its shoulders. Its predecessor, Final Fantasy XIII, was a real disappointment to fans; and, while opinions remain divided, many consider XIII to be the weakest to date.
All things considered, this really could be make or break for Final Fantasy. Fan base or no fan base, the game has got to turn a profit; so XIII-2 is definitely one to watch for 2012.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.