So we’re at the beginning of a new year. There’s a whole 12 months of gaming ahead of us, but we already know a lot of what we want to enjoy.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: I skipped a day of high school years ago to take a bus ride to the local mall to play an arcade cabinet of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. A few months later, I had a new copy of the PS2 version for Christmas, all because my friend said, “let’s go play a fighting game.” With more characters and modern additions to keep things interesting, I’m ready to be taken for another ride.
Portal 2: Valve is releasing a new game. That’s reason enough to have excitement. But it’s not just a new game, it’s a sequel to one of the most iconic games we’ve seen in recent years. We even get to play as one of the turret guns now. That just makes this all the sweeter with more icing on the cake.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: While I was recovering from a back injury a few years ago, I was in dire need of something to play. My friend let me borrow Oblivion and I lost over 150 hours to the game. With a brand new engine as its foundation, I expect to sink at least that many hours into Skyrim, if not more.
Lost in Shadow: I love platformers of all types, especially those with interesting design ideas. From classics like Super Mario Bros. to quirky little titles like The Deep Cave on Xbox Live’s Indie Games service, I love the genre. The concept of Lost in Shadow, controlling a silhouette that runs and jumps on the changing shadows that the stages have, had me interested since the game was announced.
Ys I&II Chronicles: Ys: The Oath in Felghana has made me a recent convert to this excellent series. I wish I had been aware of it earlier, since the games are great. While The Oath had gameplay that deviated from the series norm, like Zelda 2 to The Legend of Zelda, it has whetted my appetite for more of these games.
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy (duodecim): I know the game is coming out in Japan in March, with no word on the release date for the States, but given the timeframe between the Japanese and English versions of the first Dissidia, we can safely assume that it’s coming out in the fall of 2011. I actually enjoyed the first game, so I’m definitely looking forward to the new changes to the game, like the Assist System, traveling on the “World Map” area, and all the new characters (mainly Laguna, Lightning, and Kain).
Duke Nukem Forever: I’ve never actually played a Duke Nukem game, but I’m eagerly anticipating the release (finally!) of Duke Nukem Forever. Why? Because I’m curious about how well it will do – not just because of the change to Gearbox as the developer, but also because it’s so infamous in the gaming community for being the epitome of vaporware. To see how it’ll be in a released commercial form will probably be one of the most interesting stories to come out of 2011.
Pokémon Black and White: Short story: I’m a Pokéfreak. Long story: I’ve actually played a little bit of Pokémon Black and from what I’ve seen, the aesthetic changes are absolutely astounding – from the actual graphical changes (like animated sprites) to small things (like battles moving faster). I’ll personally be getting Pokémon White, but I’m anticipating seeing the game in English, especially for the bigger emphasis on story.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Seeing the previews for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, I’m eagerly anticipating playing the game. What with all the new characters introduced, we can be sure that everything we learned from playing Marvel vs. Capcom 2 will be completely flipped on its head (unless Storm and Magneto are still totally broken). Playing as Dante and Deadpool will be pretty sweet, too.
Metal Gear Solid: Rising: I absolutely adore the story for the Metal Gear series. Rising will add even more to that universe that hasn’t been tied up quite yet involving Raiden, the main protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2. It’ll be interesting to see where Kojima goes with the story with Rising, not to mention the non-stealth gameplay style that will be prevalent in the game.
Nintendo 3DS: Obviously the #1 item of interest in 2011. I’m still on the fence about picking one up at launch; my DSi XL’s huge screen has spoiled me and I really don’t want to go back to anything smaller if I can avoid it. Assuming the Professor Layton/Phoenix Wright crossover game arrives in the States, that will probably be the point at which my resistance ultimately fails, but if the launch line up is tempting enough who knows.
Lost in Shadow: I’ve been waiting for Lost in Shadow for a while now. (it was actually on my Most Anticipated list last year!) I will most likely have it in my possession by the time this is published. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Also on last year’s list was “the new Zelda title”. We got an official name for it (Skyward Sword), but nothing else. I still don’t think we have a concrete release date for it in 2011, but the odds against it not coming out at all this year seem remote.
You Don’t Know Jack: Another January release that has me fired up is the long-overdue return of the You Don’t Know Jack series. The most irreverent trivia/game show ever looks like it will still be as zany as the early-’90s PC titles, but with some new twists fitting for its arrival on home consoles.
Radiant Historia: Despite 2010 being a crazy-packed year for DS RPGs, I still want more. Atlus’s Radiant Historia looks like it will scratch that itch in a satisfying way, with an ambitious plot that will have players managing several alternate timelines in an attempt to find the one true path that will prevent the end of the world.
Dead Space 2: Though I’m a total wimp when it comes to survival horror, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the always suspenseful story of Isaac Clarke in the original Dead Space. Now I’m looking forward to the sequel which, with EA’s policy of making sequels bigger, better and flashier, I’m sure it won’t be disappointing at all.
Yakuza 4: After dumping quite a few hours into Yakuza 3, I was thrilled to hear that Sega of America planned to localize the next game. This seems to be one of the few series these days that follows the “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality, with every successive game simply tweeking and improving upon its predecessor without radically changing the game formula. So long as they don’t decide to massively cut any content like they did in Yakuza 3, I’ll be happy.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: I never was a big Marvel vs. Capcom junkie back in the day, but I do admit that crossover games in general intrigue me. With some of my favorite Capcom characters being added into the mix this time around, I’m certainly looking forward to what MvC3 is going to offer to the fighting game genre.
Mass Effect 3: I was honestly a little surprised to see this revealed at something like Spike TV’s VGAs, but that’s another story. The fact that the conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy is coming up is great, and I can hardly wait to see how the plot decisions made over the course of two games will affect the final game.
Portal 2: Portal was the entire reason why I picked up The Orange Box way back when, so the announcement of a sequel was music to my ears. The few bits that were teased at E3 and the like were more than enough to wet my appetite and I’m now eagerly awaiting the game’s release. Hopefully Valve time doesn’t factor in a delay like it already did.
Mass Effect 3: Mass Effect 2 was not only a huge improvement over the first game, but it also left me wanting so much more. The DLC could only hold me over for so long, but now that Mass Effect 3 is announced, I can only hope that this next year goes by as quickly as possible so I can enjoy the continuing (and concluding) journey of Shepard.
L.A. Noire: Rockstar has yet to disappoint me with a major release this generation, and L.A. Noire looks like something completely different from the norm for them. While everyone is still completely floored by the astounding motion capture technology being put to use here, I’m definitely more intrigued by the concept of the game itself. I love this era and I love the idea of a more slow-paced, methodical, but ultimately rewarding interactive crime drama.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon: Love it or hate it, the Ace Combat series is still here to stay and I couldn’t be happier. Ace Combat 6 is still one of my favorite Xbox 360 games and I have nothing but high hopes for Assault Horizon. While many criticize the series for a sometimes ridiculous story, I absolutely love it. H.A.W.X. tried to capture the blend of simulation and arcade-style air combat, but it could never do it justice like Ace Combat does.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution: After E3, a lot of people were talking about this one. The original Deus Ex still stands as one of the greatest RPG/FPS hybrids around and a groundbreaking game in terms of storytelling. Deus Ex practically introduced the concept of being able to take multiple approaches to every scenario and allowing for many different outcomes. Deus Ex 3 will either live up to my lofty expectations or be just as disappointing as the previous game, but it’s hard to deny that it looks like it could recapture the same magic found in the original.
Twisted Metal: One of my favorite franchises from the PS1 era makes yet another comeback with Twisted Metal, a reinvention of the franchise and of car combat games as a whole. Twisted Metal: Black remains as one of the best PS2 exclusives, and I can only hope that this will help bring back old fans and also find a new audience for the franchise.
LittleBigPlanet 2: Jack of all trades, master of none. The original LittleBigPlanet had a ton of novelty and fun, but the games it emulated we just a bit tighter and more fun. I don’t expect this to change, but with a much larger sandbox, there’ll be so much more to do. With a little effort, we may see gaming experiences that are solid on their own. Even if we don’t, I want to see for myself.
de Blob 2: The first de Blob combined the world-roaming fun of Katamari Damacy with a funky soundtrack and tons of personality. What it lacked was a little polish, and thankfully that’s where sequels excel. My fingers are crossed that de Blob will deliver, though I haven’t decided which platform will turn out better.
Valkyria Chronicles III: Sure, I’d rather see it on PS3. Mostly, though, I just want to see it, and in localized form. I’m interested to see where the story goes in the third installment, with a parallel story to the original but none of the same characters. Hopefully the game will keep the second’s depth but streamline some of the monotony.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes HD: This game is almost entirely a high-definition port of the late-2009 DS game. But I love that game, and I’ll take any excuse to replay it. Add in the more accessible multiplayer options, and I’m happy to overlook the fact that the game doesn’t really use half of the screen.
Pilotwings Resort: I’m looking forward to the entire 3DS lineup, really, but of the likely launch titles, this has my interest piqued the most. Why? It’s clearly not the Mii support, the return of Wuhu Island or the gorgeous 3D visuals. No, my excitement can be summed up in two words: Rocket Belt. I’ve missed you, Rocket Belt. (Of course, if the 3DS’ Paper Mario releases this year, let’s just assume I put it here instead.)
Diablo III: Diablo II was my college gaming addiction. I was doomed to play it for hundreds of hours, yet never beat it due to starting a new class over and over again. After all the time and memories spent playing Diablo II, I am insanely excited about the sequel finally coming out.
Mass Effect 3: Mass Effect is, without a doubt, one of my favorite series of all time. I’ve tried to get everyone I know to play both Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, and they usually love the games also. There are a lot of things from Mass Effect that were left out or changed in Mass Effect 2 that I didn’t care for, so I’m hoping they take the best from the first game and the best from the second game to create the third.
Portal 2: Portal was the best reason to get The Orange Box. Thus, the news that Portal was getting a full-sized sequel excited me to no end. The physics puzzles, and especially the humor, will always bring me back over and over again to Aperture Science.
Uncharted 3: I’ve yet to play a more cinematic game than Uncharted. It is possibly my favorite PlayStation 3-exclusive series, and I can’t wait to experience Drake’s next adventure.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: I’ve put 90 hours and counting into Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I’ve also yet to actually touch the main quest. There’s so much wonderful content and history to the world of Elder Scrolls, it’s hard to stay on track. I had started to worry that the next Elder Scrolls game would be an MMO, so I’m ecstatic that it is going to be a standard action-RPG, and that it is going to be out soon.
What are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments.