2011 was one of the grandest years in recent memory in terms of releases. The month of November alone was a smorgasbord of excellence, delivering instant classics like Uncharted 3, Call of Duty 3, Skyrim and of course, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (was there ever a scarier anthropomorphic chipmunk?) With 2011 dead and buried we only have a few months left before the apocalypse of 2012 destroys us all. Of course, the question that immediately pops to mind? What games are coming out between now and then? Granted you could just play Skyrim until the Mayan calendar runs down but life begs for variety! Need a few suggestions? Here are the five games I’m looking forward to most in 2012.
5. Fire Emblem 3DS
Granted, Fire Emblem 3DS has yet to be confirmed for release outside of Japan, but Odin’s beard you can color me excited just from the mere fact that this game could potentially see an American release someday. Set to come out in Japan this April, Fire Emblem 3DS (or Fire Emblem: Kakusei if you want to technical) doesn’t need to do a damn thing new. It could have gameplay identical to the last game, a story rehashed from previous entries and visuals trapped in the 16-bit era (that would be pretty awesome actually) and I’d still gladly fork over my hard earned bills to bring it home. To hell with new Mario’s and Zelda’s! Bring me more Fire Emblem Nintendo and we’ll be on good terms for at least another two or three years.
4. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
I’d probably put Golden Abyss higher on the list save for the fact that’s it’s on the Vita. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not dissing the Vita. I think it’s sexier than a slice of cherry pie served on Scarlett Johanssen’s ti…flatware. The problem is that this February is probably going to be the first time in years that I won’t have the disposable income to go out and buy the thing at launch. Chances are I won’t be playing Golden Abyss, or any Vita titles for that matter, until I can come up with a way to break into my local GameStop after hours and convincingly pin it on Rick Santorum. Nonetheless, I love the Uncharted games and I’ll be damned if the Golden Abyss isn’t the most impressive looking thing I’ve ever seen on a portable. Much like God of War: Chains of Olympus on the PSP, it’s a game I’d buy the platform for.
3. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Granted, The Witcher 2 is already out on PC, but my tower was built about a year after the PS3 launched. I’m lucky I was able to get the original Witcher to run on it. Thankfully, CD Projekt RED are porting the game to the Xbox 360, and while I’m sure the visuals will take a hit and there may be interface problems (that further prove the need for mouse and keyboard controls on consoles), they’re probably not going to be the sort of thing that bothers me. In the least they won’t sully the game’s dark world, it’s interesting moral quandaries, and a story that’s smart enough to pop in the occasional bit of gratuitous nudity every now and then….I’m a very mature man in case you can’t tell.
2. Hitman: Absolution
Can someone explain to me how we’ve gone an entire generation of games, seen four Assassin’s Creeds, and yet there hasn’t been a single new sequel to Hitman since Blood Money in 2006? To me, Agent 47 has always been one of the unbridled bad-asses of video games. He’s slick, he’s silent and in a pinch (or if the player gets tired of stealth) he can pull out a submachine gun and lay waste to everyone and everything in his path. The Hitman games have never been exercises in perfect game making; they’ve had their flaws. Even so, you’d be hard-pressed to find an entry in the franchise that wasn’t great and filled to the brim with replay value. From the first teaser trailer Hitman: Absolution has been near the top of my hit-list for 2012.
1. Mass Effect 3
While I hate to close this off with something big, cliched and predictable…MASS EFFECT 3! Whereas Dragon Age II was at best a disappointment, failing to deliver on many of its promises, there isn’t a bone in my body that thinks Mass Effect 3 will walk a similar line. I can’t wait to find out how Shephard’s story ends and then replay the game a dozen or so times so I can see what happens when I make different choices. Better yet, I can’t wait to debate the game. My wife and I are the king and queen of debating Bioware games and as much fun as I’m going to have playing it, I look forward even more to the hours of conversation that are bound to follow. Don’t let me down Bioware!