Opinion: Sixteen Things To Look Forward To In Gaming This Year
Mass Effect 3
The culmination of Shepard’s epic space adventure sees our hero attempt to save the galaxy in the face of an all-out apocalypse, and given the scale, storytelling-power and immersion of the first two games, hopes are understandably sky-high for the final installment in the trilogy. More importantly, the nature of Mass Effect’s branching decision-making and action outcomes means it is set to be a deeply personal conclusion for all series veterans – who will get to see just what profound consequences their previous behaviour has unleashed.
The Wii U
From the technical demonstrations we’ve seen so far, Nintendo’s new console looks as though it’s going to be a rather nifty piece of kit, and we simply can’t wait to find out what the company are keeping ready in waiting behind closed doors. Cracking platformers and a cool new sports compilation are a given, but could there be a great first person title to show off? Perhaps the project Retro Studios is working on?
The Last Of Us
In theory, Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic thriller could be the gaming equivalent of The Road meets 28 Days Later, with the central characters’ relationship purported to be at the forefront of some serious, mature storytelling. Little is known of how the game will actually play in practice, but it’s a tantalizing prospect nonetheless.
TheRadBrad Plays Silent Hill 2
YouTube’s brilliantly entertaining walkthrough commentator made his name by subjecting himself to horror games such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Dead Space 2 – and now he’s turning his attention to the daddy of psychological scares in the form of Silent Hill 2′s HD release. We look forward to big belly laughs and pant-wetting terror in equal measure.
Silent Hill HD Collection
While we’re on the subject, Konami’s forthcoming bundle features HD reworkings of seminal survival-horrors Silent Hill 2 and 3. The second still stands as a stone-cold classic, even without the graphical touch-up, while the third wasn’t too shabby itself first time around. Horror fans will be understandably excited, as are we.
With hefty expansion-style add-ons promised for the phenomenal fantasy epic, we’ll all be waiting with baited breath to see what new locations, quests and characters Bethesda have in store. Could a full-on conflict with the Thalmor, or a daring foray into another of Tamriel’s regions, be on the cards?
As ever, gaming’s biggest expo looks set to offer more dramatic announcements, appetite-whetting first-looks and riveting reveals than you can shake a giddy control pad at. It’s usually the centrepiece event of the year, and we can’t wait to see what might be on show, and what could be unveiled.
The Last Guardian
A new IP from Team Ico, creators of Shadow Of The Colossus? Consider us giddy with anticipation, even if developmental difficulties have cast a shadow over the long-awaited project. Fingers crossed it finally lands this year, as planned.
BioShock Infinite – Collector’s Edition
It goes without saying that we’re looking forward to Ken Levine’s latest blend of gripping action and complex narrative as much as everyone else, but we’re also keen to get some details on what 2K has planned for its collectors edition. The first Bioshock came with a Big Daddy statue; the second title had immense packaging filled with all sorts of goodies, including a vinyl soundtrack and an enormous hardcover artbook. What grandiosity will Bioshock Infinite hold in store?
The PS Vita
Armed with some highly decent launch games and with some fantastic-looking big-name titles and intriguing new IPs on the way, those of us outside of Japan are looking forward to finally getting our hands on Sony’s hotly-tipped new handheld. It just might offer a welcome dose of novelty and originality in our daily gaming lives.
4-Player Co-op Extravaganzas
We’re excited about Aliens: Colonial Marines and Borderlands 2 as it is, but the prospect of playing through both games as part of an ass-kicking quartet, working together to survive and devastate respectively, is the iceing on the cake. This is especially true of Aliens, where the notion of team-tactics in the face of terrifying threats and overwhelming odds is a terrific one. The only snag is the probability of endless arguments over who gets to be Hudson…
X-Com: Enemy Unknown – The Remake
The great extraterrestrial-exterminating strategy series of old may be getting an FPS makeover from 2K, but dedicated fans – including ourselves – are over the moon that a turn-based ‘reimagining’ of the classic original is also on the way. Fabulous news, as we’re sure you’ll agree.
Diablo 3 – on consoles
Blizzard’s forthcoming hack, slash and loot-athon is one of the most anticipated PC games of 2012, but recent confirmation that the company is looking to bring the title to consoles too has sent those of us without top game-worthy computers into a frenzy. Could it be on its way later this year? Fingers crossed…
Kinect Star Wars
Yes, yes – we know that not everyone is a fan of motion gaming. But the geeky child in us simply couldn’t be happier about the prospect of using the force with a flick of our wrists or wielding a light-saber with deadly precision – all while perfecting our very best Obi-Wan or Mace Windu glare.
The End Of Retailer-Specific DLC
Ok, so this is more of a hope than anything else, but we would certainly like to think that companies will take on board the criticism of this much-maligned practice and think again. Should gamers really expect to pay full-price for a new title and be denied content simply because they didn’t buy it from the ‘right’ place?
Next Gen Announcements
With the current console generation now into its eighth year, and the strong likelihood that the next Xbox and PlayStation are both currently in development, it seems certain we can expect some exciting Next Gen announcements at some point in 2012, and the thought of finding out what Microsoft and Sony have up their sleeves for the next leap forward is certainly tangible.