2012 is looking to be a good year in video games. There are going to be some new games coming out, there are some reboots of great games from the past, and there are going to be a lot of sequels. Though, the idea of sequels may conjure up a respectable groan, this year could be different, says my optimistic gumption. Below is a list of upcoming sequels, tie-ins, and reboots that make this year look like a refreshing proverbial blow of dust off franchises of past.
Max Payne 3
Complain about the bald head, wife-beater shirt and seemingly random tropical location all you want, this still looks like a Max Payne game. A damn good looking one to boot. Rockstar is bringing some very interesting mechanics to the plate like the stunning movement and animations of Payne himself. The way he rolls around on the ground, or interacts with anything in the environment is just fluid as hell. Bullet time and dreary grit are making their return, and it’s just great to see operatic and stylistic gunplay coming to gaming again. Also, this game looks violent. Not in the amount of blood or gore, but just the presentation. Like in Red Dead Redemption, when you shot someone in the head, there was a plume of flesh and skull. Or how a body disturbingly reacts to a gunshot. Disgusting stuff like that.
There has a bit of talk on the interwebs about if IO Interactive is making this game too linear, too easy or just not what Hitman is all about. I personally chalk it up to marketing. I still hold that Hitman Absolution will still be the game the fans want it to be. There might be a machanic that allows you to see where enemies are going. All of the voice actors may be different. The developers may have been showing an emphasis on shootouts. Though, I feel like there will be enough choice, and enough openness for people to experiment and play around in a killing toybox. We’ll have to find out.
This is the game I’ve been waiting for. Before it was even announced, I’ve been waiting for it. It hits on so many of my sensibilities. I love the world, the look, the style of action, the speed, the finesse, and the general, genuine absurdity of it all. Bioshock in a new, just-as-intriguing setting is all you need to say to get me on board.
This looks like a huge departure from the first Prey, that much is obvious. But the fact that this looks like an open world, Blade Runner-esque alien bounty hunter simulator with a swath of unique weapons and gadgets is something that I was not expecting. Sometimes I love surprises. Just looking at the art design in this game has got me hooked, and the gameplay look like Deus Ex in space which is nothing to scoff at. Hopefully it will be open enough for a wide variety of approaches. I want to be a suave, stealthy bounty hunter who doesn’t take no guff from alien scum.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 2 was a awkward left turn from its predecessor, but Far Cry 3 looks to be like more Far Cry 2, which is okay by me. Despite the flak the game gets, I’m a pretty big fan of Far Cry 2. I loved being able to post up on a cliff with a sniper rifle and pop dudes from across a field, then run in with an uzi and clear out the rest as a wall of fire blazes across the grass behind me. It was just fantastic immersion. If the third game can keep up the open world, interesting character relationships and sometimes unique gameplay gimmicks, but fix all of the other busted stuff, I will be more than happy. Just make Far Cry 3 a more focused game than 2 and you’re golden.
I think I sank more hours than I would like to admit into Borderlands, but I will admit that I had a ton of fun doing it. Here’s hoping for a wider array of weapon possibilities, more outrageous settings, and cooler abilities, all things Borderlands 2 is shaping up to deliver. I just can’t wait to sink more hours into some solid first person RPG shootin’.
Diablo 3 looks good. That’s all I really say about the game at this point. While not remembering a whole lot about Diablo I & II, I can be certain that either way Diablo 3 looks like a solid dungeon crawler full of loots, magics, demons, monsters, swords, and maybe…just maybe a skeleton or two. But we can’t be greedy.
Guild Wars 2
Another game I sank a lot of hours into was Guild Wars. I haven’t really gotten back into it in the last few years but I assume it still has a pretty thriving community. Guild Wars 2 is promising to destroy what people think MMOs are. They already proved that you can have a successful one that doesn’t require a monthly fee and for many people, that in itself is a huge selling point. Not only that, but they hope to do away with normal MMO holy trinity of damage dealers, healers, and tanks, allowing characters to be much more versatile. Well…I’m excited.
Metro: Last Light
Metro 2033 was an interesting game. It was gorgeous in a squalid, bleak way. It was an immersive and daunting game that did not hold your hand. It was a game that you could play in a multitude of ways without the player even realizing that the options were there. If Last Light can bring just as much atmosphere and unique content while fixing some of the issues from the first game (like “stealth” portions), they would have themselves something really special.
Triangle titties are things of the past. A more down-to-earth Lara Croft is making her way to the hearts and minds of young boys all over the world this year. Not only that, but the game doesn’t look half bad either. Most likely taking some cues from the Uncharted series, the game just titled ‘Tomb Raider’ (surprisingly not The Tomb Raider) is an interesting looking complete reboot of a game from a whole other era. It will be fascinating to see what Crystal Dynamics will bring with this newly updated gaming icon.
Silent Hill Downpour
Silent Hill is easily one of my favorite video game series. The atmosphere still gets to me. They’re like classic David Lynch films in video game form (except entertaining). Downpour looks like it will bring tighter 3D controls and more fluid combat, as well as crisper graphics to a series that definitely needed it. I can only hope they keep the abject horror aesthetics and intense atmosphere that Silent Hill is famous for.
I was a bit skeptical of this game at first, thinking that it might not be up to snuff with previous iterations like Tricky. I watched a few gameplay videos though, and I must say, SSX is still going to be crazy and fun as hell. It looks great and EA is bringing in the neat online components they tried out in Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. It should be pretty good.
Alright, Torchlight is fantastic. So, take that, make four new player classes, new dungeons and loot, and add…be still my heart…online co-op. SOLD!
MOBAs (Massively Online Battle Arenas) are huge right now. From Heroes of Newerth, to League of Legends to even the DOTA 2 beta, people are playing, watching and ingesting MOBA games like it’s all candy. You can’t really blame them either. They’re deep with strategy, action and teamwork. Each have their respective fan base, and I doubt many will stray away from what they know. However, with Valve making DOTA 2, I feel like they are going to make it the easiest barrier of entry for any of them. To survive though, I think they have to make the game free-to-play, like all of the others. Who knows what they will do though?
Grand Theft Auto 5
What is there to say about this other than I’m excited as hell for a new Grand Theft Auto. I don’t know if it will in fact come out this year, but either way I can’t wait.
Mass Effect 3
Bioware and/or EA is doing something wrong, because the more I learn about this game, the more turned off by it I am. The inclusion of even more random characters who I already dislike immensely, and the heavy push for more and more Gears of War style action just flat-out worries me. I don’t hate Gears of War or anything, but I feel like Mass Effect is drifting further from what made the previous games so good. However, the online mode looks entertaining and somewhat deep, and they have brought back some more customizable skill trees, so it is all not lost yet.
There isn’t much information about the regrettably named Thi4f, but what is known is that Eidos-Montreal, the developers of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, is creating the game. So there is some good news. Other than that, maybe we will find out something at E3.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
It’s like a prettied up Counter Strike that is going to cater to console players. It adds a few more weapons and equipment, but I can’t help but think this is just going to be another Condition Zero.
Please! Please happen! Don’t die on me! Please!
Sequels don’t have to be all bad, really. There is nothing wrong with taking something that has worked, that has proven to be of worth and to freshen it up a little bit. Most of the games on this list haven’t seen a real sequel for years, even a decade. Technology and game design have improved and it’s great to see beloved franchises seemingly take a step into the right direction, and embrace change, because it could ultimately lead to improvement. So let us not despair for lack of originality, or lack of change in the industry. While some games toil in their own success and change little, others see the future and incorporate what needs to be done to move on. So go out there and play some damn games.