And to end the year for me, here’s a taste of what I, personally, am looking forward to in 2012 and why I’m looking forward to it.
* Pikmin 3 (Wii-U)
The Wii-U could have its own position but until such a time more technical details are available, I’ll settle on the games. And to see Pikmin as a launch-window title fills me with joy. Those not familiar with Pikmin, it’s an oddly cute strategy-come-puzzler, managing your tiny plant friends (the aforementioned Pikmin) in a massively oversized world in order to repair your ship, or scavenge parts. Its whimsical, almost naive, charm is endearing and adorable, and it helps the past two games were, frankly, brilliant games to back up that charm. Nintendo may be withholding some of its key franchises at the moment, but seeing Pikmin back again is, if nothing else, a sign that only good things can come from this new attitude on games.
* Bioshock Infinite (PS3/360/PC) (Wii-U TBC)
Bioshock Infinite has been a tease for far too long; a game on a scale that even Skyrim would balk at, this action game has been in trouble recently for trying to use real-life references for the time periods on offer (Much to the annoyance of some brand owners…). Oh yes, there’s time travel stuff in it. On a floating city high in the sky. With a mysterious little girl integral to the plot. With a story of political intrigue, greed and revolution. All the genre cliches ticked off then. And you know what? I simply don’t care. This game has to suck harder than a Dyson the size of a Death Star to disappoint.
* Tomb Raider (All systems)
It’s another reboot for Lara, but this one does seem to at least have an air of competency about it. This is Lara Croft as you’ve never seen her before – broken, battered and very much alone in a hostile territory, somewhere between dimensions, trapped and fighting for her life. With some already fantastic looking physics puzzles, a real sense of pure menace about the whole concept and a serious nod and a wink to some crazy Japanese mythology, this is a game that really doesn’t look like it will be anything less than great. Only gripe is, teasers have far too many quick-time events. That’s the only real gripe. Even the new realistic-looking Lara Croft design is awesome!
* Mass Effect 3 (360, Wii-U)
I admit I have left the PS3 version out because it is what ME3 plans to do with the Kinect and Wii-U Controller that singles this as a watershed moment. For the Kinect, it’s the voice commands, and being able to bark orders to your squad. For the Wii-U, it seems it’s all done via the touch-screen, on the fly, so things move quickly and smoothly. It’s a two-horse race at the moment to see which methodology works best, my money is on the Wii-U but that’s just me. Plus, we’re ALL looking forward to Mass Effect 3. Come on! Shepherd is great! And that said, I need to get a FemShep through Mass Effect 2 yet…
* Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS)
For all my whining about how Capcom seem to have lost the love for the series, perhaps this will be the reason why – Revelations looks stunning. Like, really stunning. It’s easy to forget this is a 3DS game at times, but it is far more than traditional Resident Evil. Whilst we have gone back to the slower build-up and more claustrophobic areas of yore, it introduces new mechanics – the Genesis Machine and such forth – to try and freshen up the game. It looks like it may have done the trick, but with Capcom being as they are, I’m still worried this may actually turn out to be a bit woolen in the end…
* Pandora’s Tower (Wii)
Whilst this may be the last hurrah for the old Wii, what a hurrah it looks to be! An action JRPG, whereby a mysterious knight must climb and conquer 13 towers to remove the curse from a strange priestess, it looks sensational and – being an action JRPG – features some monsters and boss fights that are quite literally from the depths of your worst, most hateful nightmares. It has echoes of Ico in its puzzling sections with some distinctly Zelda-style adventuring in a rather Koudelka sort of world. The thought of those three things in the same pot makes me want this more than I want my next breath.
* Far Cry 3
That the developers are totally forgetting Far Cry 2 ever happened is reason enough to warrant this addition, but it goes deeper. Stranded on an island, your hero is separated from his girlfriend on said island – which happens to be full of very crazy people who have been on this deserted paradise for far too long. It looks sensational, sounds great and according to the early reports, is ten times the size of the original games map. That’s a big island. I suppose Skyrim proved that sometimes, size really does matter…
* The Darkness 2
Look, there’s only one reason I’m looking forward to this game – I remember Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s original tirade against this game, and I am expecting a bloody good rematch when this comes out. Whether it is a good game or not remains to be seen, but its very existence may be in the hands of one very vocal games critic. The Escapist could charge a tenner for entry and I’d still pay to see this happen.
I like barkingly off-the-wall concepts, and Neverdead seems to be the one for me in 2012. Our hero has been cursed with immortality, and this is both really frustrating and freaking sweet, especially when you can yank off your arm and club something to within an inch of its life with it. With a camp, darkly satirical edge that reminds me of Death Becomes Her, Neverdead looks like it will be an absolute riot when it hits in February.
* Kingdom Hearts 3
Still deep in development with a VERY tentative 2012 schedule somewhere in there, despite the myriad of spin-offs and side stories, few games in the world today will get me as excited as the prospect of another full-fledged Kingdom Hearts game. The long-awaited return of Sora, Donald and Goofy with an ensemble cast of Square-Enix and Disney characters has been overdue for a very long time, and even though details are minimal, it’s freaking Kingdom Hearts! How can you NOT WANT THIS GAME?!