A new year is upon us, and that means it’s time to think about what video games might dominate in 2011. Here is a list of the games I’m most looking forward to.
Game #1: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Publication Info: Developed by BioWare and published by EA Games
Star Wars games have a great track record, as The Force Unleashed I and II most recently proved, and now players can once again experience the saga in MMO format. Gamers can choose to play for the Sith Empire or the Galactic Republic, and character classes include bounty hunters, Jedi Knights, and Sith warriors. Even more exciting is that each player has access to his or her own ship. The ship’s base design corresponds to the chosen character class, but players can modify and accessorize the ships to give them a personal touch. I can’t wait to try out the space combat! Look for this game to be released in the spring.
Game #2: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Publication Info: Developed and published by Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Zelda is an integral part of gaming culture. If you need a reminder of how important Zelda is, take note that this is the sixteenth game in the Legend of Zelda series. In this iteration, fans can look forward to exciting sword fights that make use of the Wii MotionPlus. This new expansion device allows for smoother battles and lets you target exactly where you want to hit your enemy. Developers hinted at a departure from the traditional flow of Zelda games—players explore an area, battle a monster, return to exploring, and repeat—though they’re not divulging any specifics. Whatever the changes, I look forward to new additions to a classic series.
Game #3: Portal 2
Publication Info: Developed and published by Valve Corporation
Platform: PC/Mac, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360
In 2007, Valve Corporation gave the gaming community Portal, a work of absolute originality and innovation. Its rhetoric is prevalent even among non-gamers. Its in-game jokes, such as “The cake is a lie!”, and its popular closing song, “Still Alive,” can be found all across the Internet. In Portal 2 the protagonist, Chell, awakens after being in stasis for several hundred years, and accidentally re-ctivates GlaDOS, the sinister computer from the first installment. GlaDOS is furious to see the return of Chell. As a result the player must solve mind-bending puzzles to keep Chell one step ahead of GlaDOS. Look for this sequel in April, when GlaDOS may offer even more phony deserts for completing a mission.
Game #4: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Publication Info: Developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action-Adventure, Platformer, Third-Person Shooter
Platform: Sony PlayStation 3
The Uncharted series and its protagonist, Nathan Drake, have become household names with Sony fans. In 2007, the first Uncharted earned major acclaim when gamers snagged more than a million copies in two and a half months. Its sequel, Uncharted 2, won Game of the Year awards from IGN, Eurogamer, Game Informer, and Giant Bomb. It’s no wonder fans highly anticipate Drake’s Deception. This installment will take place mainly in the desert, a drastic change from the island setting of the first game and the oriental influences of the second. Players up to the challenge will now be able to fight multiple enemies at once and also have expanded climbing abilities. Unfortunately, the game won’t be released until November, but I think it’s going to be worth the wait.
Game #5: Batman: Arkham City
Publication Info: Developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive and DC Entertainment
Genre: Action-Adventure, Beat ‘Em Up, Stealth
Platform: PC, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3
In 2009, Batman: Arkham Asylum shattered any pre-conceived notions gamers may have held that comic-based games are mediocre at best. Arkham Asylum currently holds a Guinness World Record for “Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever” and a Best Game Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Within the first three weeks of the game’s release, fans purchased two million copies. Video game review sites such as IGN and Eurogamer called it the best superhero and comic book video game of all time. With that kind of praise, who isn’t looking forward to the sequel? Confirmed villains for the game include Hugo Strange, the Joker, Two-Face, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn. To ward off these villains, players have access to brand new Bat gadgets, including smoke bombs. Batman’s stealthy Detective Mode is also improved, which aids players in solving the new puzzles. Look for Arkham City toward the fall, when we’ll discover if it’s as amazing as its predecessor.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the most anticipated hardware release of the year, the Nintendo 3DS. Offering all the benefits of 3D technology without any pesky glasses, and providing backwards compatibility with the original DS and DSi, Nintendo’s newest handheld is poised to make a huge splash. If you’re looking for a game to test out the new system, may I suggest Kid Icarus: Uprising? Not only do the preview graphics look amazing, I am doubly excited because this is the first Kid Icarus game released in 20 years.
And there you have my picks for the upcoming year. What games are you most excited about? Share your thoughts with us!