The Games of 2012
2011 was a stellar year for gaming, with titles such as Crysis 2 and Portal 2 paving the way for some awe inspiring end of year blockbusters – the cinematic Uncharted 3, the sprawling Skyrim and the hard-as-nails Dark Souls to mention a few. Another year passes and the annual question arises; what big names do we have to look forward to? If you’re in need of a friendly reminder, D+Pad has you covered…
Soul Calibur V
Without a shadow of a doubt, the supreme fighter of 2008 was Soul Calibur IV. Boasting beautiful character models and lighting effects, as well as a rewarding character creation mode, prospective fighters could spend their late summer tinkering away to build their ideal character and then go online to school the opposition. This latest instalment seeks to increase the customisation options and undo the damage left by guest characters Yoda, Starkiller and Darth Vader. In their stead, a middle-aged Ezio Autidore (of Assassin’s Creed fame) enters the fray, hidden blades and crossbow in hand. Set seventeen years after the event of the last game, Sophitia’s son, Patoroklos Alexandra stands in as the lead hero, with a number of fresh characters in tow. A tale of souls and swords eternally retold, and one we can expect to see in just a few weeks’ time.
Mass Effect 3
You know this one has ‘Game of the Year’ written all over it, especially if Bioware can capitalise on the success of its predecessor and take things one step further. The Reapers have at last arrived to make good on their threats and things are looking grim for the Earth; thankfully Commander Shepard – the galaxy’s first human Spectre and best hope of survival – is around to wage war in our name. As before, the tale presented in ME3 will vary depending on the choices made in the first two adventures, and characters will return if they survived the journey so far. Choice plays a big role in the series, and it’s reportedly possible that Shepard can fail (as non-canon as this ending will likely be). Kinect functionality and an online component have also been added, making the anticipated conclusion to Shepard’s story even more unique.
War sits out this sequel in favour of his fellow horseman Death, in a tale that runs concurrent with the events of the first game. Blending a simplified version of the combat found in God of War with the dungeon-based escapades of the Zelda franchise, the original received critical acclaim (for the most part), earning a solid fanbase in the process. City hubs featuring NPC’s are said to be included, and the horsemen Fury and Strife will also play roles. Can the wrongs of the first game – namely flat, one-note characters and repetitive combat – be set right? If so, it’ll be a good summer for fans of dark fantasy when the game hits retail in June. Interestingly, Darksiders 2 has also been confirmed for Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U.
I Am Alive
This retail-game-turned-download-only has had something of a tumultuous development cycle. After its announcement back in 2008 under the team at Darkworks, it changed hands to Ubisoft Shanghai and has since undergone significant changes. Survival is the name of the game in this post-apocalyptic world (now a rather dusty shade of grey) and various play styles including first person shooting and third-person climbing will feature. The projected March release date is looking likely, so expect to be playing this one soon.
Grand Theft Auto V
To say that GTA V will be a success would be to understate things ten-fold. At this stage it could be the same formula as always, with updated graphics and a few amusing characters and the game would still earn Rockstar a fortune. Information is scarce, save that we’re waving goodbye to Liberty City in favour of Los Santos, which fans will remember as Carl Johnson’s original stomping ground in the San Andreas state. Attention to detail, raw emotion and the freedom to explore were all huge selling points for GTA IV, but the writers will have to go to serious lengths to make the lead as strangely likeable as Niko Bellic. Whatever they do, this is going to be big.
Max Payne 3
Set eight years after the events of the second game, Max Payne 3 is bringing back the slow-mo shooting frolics that were once so popular. Having tried to leave his old life behind, Max has since moved to São Paulo of Brazil, where he once again finds himself thrust into a world of danger and shady dealings. There’s still a market for this type of thing, especially if it can separate itself from all the other cover-based action games out there relying on techniques we’ve seen a hundred times before. Just as importantly, if it can meet its May release date then we may have something to break up the annual summer dearth.
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