I thought with The Whiteboard being so new, it would be good to talk about what games I am looking forward to the most. It will give people a better idea of my gaming tastes and let you know a few of the games I will be covering over the course of the next year or so. The only real restriction I made on what could be included was that the game had to be announced. I’ll leave speculative titles for another day. I think most of these games will be out this year, but that was not really a requirement. So without further ado, here are the five games I am looking forward to the most (I threw in some honorable mentions for a handful of games that just missed the cut too):
5. Far Cry 3 (Platforms: PS3, 360, PC; Release Date: September 2012)
Far Cry 2 was the type of game that begged for a sequel. The sandbox they created was beautiful and interesting. The core shooting and driving felt great. But there were a lot of other issues that dragged the game down. Far Cry 3 looks to build on the successes of its predecessor while doing away with the ugly parts and even adding in some amazing new ideas to the mix. FC3 returns to a more tropical setting comprised of several open islands. You will once again have multiple options on how to take on various missions and objectives. Recent previews showed some missions that differed from those found in 2. Some missions will turn into more linear level-based affairs. The one they showed off featured a pretty cool-looking sinking ship setpiece. These events look to add an exciting flair to certain missions. Another mission had you exploring caves looking for a certain kind of mushroom. This one was less about shooting and more about exploration which should be a nice change of pace from the typically action-centric missions. This is the most excited I have been for an FPS in some time. I hope Far Cry 3 is as good as it appears to be.
4. The Last Guardian (Platform: PS3; Release Date: Who the hell knows)
As the years pass, it gets a bit more difficult for me to maintain my excitement for The Last Guardian. It is in some kind of development hell it seems and I don’t even know when (or if!) it will release. But there was a reason that I have been looking forward to this game for so long. Team Ico gave us the brilliant, wholly original experience that is Shadow of the Colossus. That alone was enough to have me looking forward to their next title. But what I have seen and read about The Last Guardian is worth getting excited for as well. It seems to be similar to their first title Ico which I admittedly am not the hugest fan of. Fortunately for me it seems to be much more interesting than Ico. You play as a boy who interacts with a giant… ummm… creature of some kind. You will work together to climb your way around a castle as well as take on enemies. I think there is a lot of potential for this in the gameplay department with your ability to climb on your enormous friend to reach new places and get him to take out your foes. Team Ico has an interesting narrative style which should make seeing how these two’s relationship plays out intriguing. Hopefully we finally get to play this before too long and that it hasn’t suffered much in its labored development process.
3. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (Platform: PS3; Release Date: Fall 2012)
I was thrilled last E3 when they finally revealed the long-rumored and teased new entry in the Sly Cooper series. After the new trailer aired at E3, I got some info that was a bit of a letdown. It was not being developed by the original developer, Sucker Punch, but instead Sanzaru Games who handled the HD Collection a couple of years back. I am just as weary as most when a series is handed off to a new developer, but everything I have seen on Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time suggests that it is in very good hands. Sly will be traveling through time and meeting up with his ancestors who will now be playable and have their own signature moves that even Sly doesn’t use. This, along with costumes that will grant Sly new abilities, seems like a good way to add variety to the game without losing the feeling of being a Cooper thief like most of Sly 3’s new characters did. So far they have shown off Rioichi Cooper, an ancient ninja ancestor that fans will know as the master of the ninja spire jump, and Sir Galleth Cooper, a knight from medieval times. The level design seems to combine 2 and 3’s open-worlds with Sly 1’s platforming-focused linear levels which is exactly what I’d want from a Sly sequel. Thieves in Time looks extremely promising and I am hoping it lives up to the series legacy when it releases this coming Fall.
2. Tomb Raider (Platforms: PS3, 360, PC; Release Date: Fall 2012)
Crystal Dynamics has done a good job with the Tomb Raider series since taking over development duties on the series midway through the last decade. After three fairly similar yet enjoyable outings with Miss Croft, the next game, named simply Tomb Raider, will take the series in a new direction. This new TR focuses on a young Lara Croft who after crash landing on an island has to fight to survive. This is before she is an accomplished adventurer, so the idea is that we will see her grow into one throughout the game. One big difference in this game will be a more open approach to the level design. Gear-gating is being implemented as well, so as Lara gains new tools (for example a climbing axe), new paths will open up to her. Platforming, exploration and puzzle-solving seem to be the gameplay focus still, though tweaked to the new level design and more realistic tone. For instance, puzzles seem more organic (think less levers/keys). Combat, the series weakest component, is getting an overhaul, but not much is known about it yet other than the lock-on being gone. So far I have really enjoyed the footage I have seen of Tomb Raider. It seems like a daring new take on the series that retains its focus on what made me fall in love with TR in the first place. I am dying to finally get my hands on the game later this year.
1. The Last of Us (Platform: PS3; Release Date: Late 2012/Early 2013)
So apparently while toiling away at Uncharted 3, Naughty Dog was also making up a new team who went to work on a brand new IP for the PS3. And late last year we got treated with our first look at the game. The Last of Us focuses on a man named Joel and a young girl named Ellie as they try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world complete with some zombie-esque creatures to deal with. While this doesn’t sound like the most original premise, the way Naughty Dog is approaching it seems like it might help it stand out. Combat seems to be more melee and stealth centric than Uncharted. Ammo is going to be scarce and guns used seldom which should give this game a much different feel than ND’s most recent series. I also like that despite the infected enemies we will face off against, humans in this world will pose just as large a threat. The graphics look really amazing with incredibly detailed characters and gorgeous environments that show how nature has taken over urban areas. Like Uncharted, it will have a strong narrative focus and the relationship between Joel and Ellie seems unique when compared to other gaming pairs. A lot of my optimism for this title comes down to the developer. Naughty Dog is my favorite developer and makes game I really love. The fact two of the leads from Uncharted 2 are heading up this team makes me even more excited for it. I’m looking forward to seeing more on this game as the year goes on.
Honorable Mentions: Ninja Gaiden 3, LittleBigPlanet Vita, Gravity Rush, Overstrike, Assassin’s Creed 3.
That does it for my most anticipated games. There were a few others that I couldn’t include and I’m sure some more great ones will be announced within the coming months. Should be plenty to keep gamers busy throughout the year. Feel free to let me know what games you are most excited for in the comments below. Thanks for reading!