2011 is rapidly bearing down on us, and looking ahead, it’s shaping up to be a big year in video gaming. With more highly-anticipated releases than you can shake a stick at, I thought I’d share with you the games that I’m looking forward to in the upcoming twelve months (though my wallet might disagree)!
1. Mass Effect 3
Commander Shepherd returns in Bioware’s third game of the series. Also confirmed as the final game in the series (let’s hope that more series pop up in the same universe), Mass Effect 3 will pull on over 1,000 variable player choices from the first two games to create the final chapter in your very personal tale. I’ve loved Mass Effect from the first time I sat down to play, and this title on the horizon has me chomping at the bit. Due out “Holiday 2011″ according to EA, you won’t find this on my Christmas list, as I’ll be running out and nabbing it the moment it’s available to me. Who could possibly sit there and wait for it while it’s under the tree?!
2. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The next installment in the popular Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim is the first direct sequel to any game in the series. Directly following the events of the previous besteller from Bethesda, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Skyrim will use a completely new engine, which is a big excitement for Elder Scrolls fans across the country. Look out for this top-notch title on 11-11-11.
3. Little Big Planet 2
This is the sequel to the hilarious fun title that came out early for the PS3 — Little Big Planet. With a scheduled release date of January 18th, 2011, Sony’s adorable game promises a continuation of the fun gameplay and mind-challenging puzzles. The online community will also make a grand reappearance. I swear I’m going to get a PS3 someday, and with this and others on the way in 2011, I might finally bite that bullet.
4. Dragon Age II
Scheduled for a March 8th release date, Dragon Age II is the next game set in BioWare’s Dragon Age universe. While the story is not a sequel to Dragon Age Origins, it is set in the same world. Unlike in Origins, the main character’s race is unchangeable, though players will have options to chance the main characters race and class. With a more linear storyline, I’m very excited to see where BioWare is going with the Dragon Age games.
5. Deus Ex – Human Revolution
With new developers, no one is really sure if the newest Deus Ex will carry the feel of it’s predecessors, but from the videos out there now, I have to say that the graphics and gameplay look amazing. Developed by Eidos Montreal and Published by Square Enix, the game is scheduled to hit stores in either March or April of the upcoming year. With a strong emphasis on letting players focus on Stealth and Social skills if they choose, I’m very excited to see how the game plays out.
6. Patapon 3
The Patapon games are a wonderful little series for the PSP. A charming rhythm game, the upcoming game follows the overarching story of the intrepid little natives as they work toward goals encouraged by the beating of different drum patterns. Gameplay is said to be remaining mostly the same, though there will be a stronger emphasis on multiplayer gaming. Rumored for a March 9th release date, I’d not get your hopes up on that one. Though I think we can rest assured that we will have a new game of Patapon before the end of 2011.
7. Batman Arkham City
Batman is making a comeback against his enemies after his harrowing adventures in Arkham Asylum. With a teaser trailer shown at last year’s VGAs, Arkham City is set for a release in the third quarter of 2011. In addition to the familiar gameplay from the previous title, Rocksteady Studios is adding a multiplayer function — though what characters that will include and whether it will be cooperative or competitive remains to be seen.
This title coming for the DS on March 15th is the direct sequel to the PS2 / Wii title “Okami”. It’s an Action-Adventure game that has already seen it’s release in Japan. I only had a chance to play a little of the original Okami, but the gameplay was unique and interesting, and the visuals were amazing. Stylized, but amazing. I’m really looking forward to a title I can play on the go that *isn’t* Pokemon. Although speaking of…
9. Pokemon Black/White
Initially, I was extremely skeptical about the upcoming Pokemon titles. More 3D graphics, 150 new Pokemon, a female character who at first glance looked like an overly-sexualized lead for something produced for an audience so young. But as time has passed and the games have gotten more press, my Poke-fever is at full blast again. I’m really looking forward to the new games. People who have played them (as they are already out in Japan) have said that the games offer some unique gameplay aspects in a completely new world that seems to be isolated for the previous four regions.
10. Portal 2
The original mind-bending puzzle game Portal was packaged with the Orange Box, and it became an immediate smash hit. A cult-classic, almost. In fact, the popularity reached such a fever pitch online that the Portal song “Still Alive” hit the ROCKBAND downloads. My husband still wants to strangle me every time I start singing “This was a triumph!” I don’t let it deter me, though. And with Portal 2 fast approaching, the original game seems to have been expanded, tweaked, and revamped for a new and exciting experience with our Aperture Science portal gun! Now with Co-Op action!
11. L.A. Noire
This game has gained a lot of press attention for it’s high attention to detail and motion-captured acting for characters. A mystery-sandbox game, the atmosphere is very “film noir” and allows players to work to solve a number of murder mysteries. Using a state-of-the-art technology, actors were surrounded by 32 cameras to capture facial expressions from every angle. This immense level of detail makes me super excited to give the game a try!
12. Mortal Kombat
This upcoming Mortal Kombat title is a revamp of the series for the current generation consoles. My husband has long been a fan of the Mortal Kombat games, and I am really looking forward to having the chance to experience this with him. I’ve always really liked fighting games, (I’m a pretty good combatant in Soul Calibur), and the hype surrounding this game is so thick you could cut it with a butterknife. While there isn’t a whole lot of information about the game out, there is a lot of skepticism surrounding the “pre-order exclusives” already.
13. Tomb Raider
With her cover feature in the most recent edition of Game Informer, miss Lara Croft is getting a lot of press. This reboot is supposed to completely revamp the entire Tomb Raider franchise. VERY little is known about this game so far, and a 2011 release date isn’t even certain yet. But my interest has been piqued. An “M” rating has been heavily alluded to, and with a “younger” Lara, I can only hope that this will be the start of something wonderful that will reinstate Lara as a strong, powerful female figure in the gaming world.
What games are YOU looking forward to in the upcoming year?