Okay, so I know that it’s already August and the year is nearly over, but it’s been a pretty slow year thus far. Outside of your Portal 2s and your L.A. Noires and your Crysis 2s, not many noteworthy titles have released this year. I mean, Duke Nukem Forever finally released and apparently does financially well, probably because there was just nothing else to buy. But that’s all about to change, thanks to the upcoming holiday season, and it is PACKED this year with a bunch of blockbuster titles. So many, in fact, that some have delayed their releases until Q1 of 2012. It all starts this week with the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and keeps moving from there. So join me and let’s count them down.
Note: This list is solely representative of my personal preferences and is not meant to be considered as the consensus. Also, all the games listed are for the console I own, the Xbox 360, although many of these titles are multiplatform.
12. Need for Speed: The Run
Need for Speed used to be one of my most beloved franchises when I was coming up. However, somewhere around the time the first Undercover game released, I lost interest. It wasn’t the same. I briefly jumped back on and completed Most Wanted, but Carbon was a serious letdown. Then, last year, I played Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and my love for the series returned. That was an excellent game, and it’s got me revved up, anxiously awaiting The Run – a game that promised to be a bit different.
You’re still going to get all the racing action you’re used to, but now, there’s actually a protagonist. Simply named “Jack”, you will, at times, actually be exiting your vehicle and running on foot. They have planned some action scenes, and the game looks downright gorgeous. If the gameplay can live up to recent standards, then this game will be a hit.
11. Spider-Man: Edge of Time
In 2010, developer Beenox showed us it was capable of creating a decent Spider-Man game with the release of Shattered Dimensions. Although it had its faults, it was actually a very enjoyable game. Edge of Time is looking to take that gameplay model and expand on it, all while providing a more focused and interesting story to go along with it. I’ve never been a fan of the design of 2099 Spider-Man, though, so hopefully they’ll have unlockable costumes like they did last time.
10. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Slant Six Games has come up with quite the intriguing idea, and it’s got my attention. I’ve been waiting for something fresh involving the multiplayer that’s actually fun, because Team Survivors and Team Slayers wasn’t cutting it. Now, they’re giving us a game that we can truly compete with other players, leveraging their experience from SOCOM to do it. I love multiplayer games that have NPCs that attack you and others because it adds a third side to it. And with the whole “bleeding out” concept, it sounds like they could be making something special here.
9. Resident Evil 4 HD
It’s Resident Evil 4 – need I say more? No, I don’t, but I will. This game is the game that has permanently changed the way Resident Evil is played, and is regarded by many as the best game in the series – it did away with the clunky, archaic control scheme. Add to that the “HD” makeover, achievements, and the bargain bin price (releasing for only $20) and you’ve got something to look forward to.
8. Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD
There’s a reason that Code Veronica is ahead of Resident Evil 4 HD – it’s actually my personal favorite of the series. It was beautiful for it’s time, and I distinctly remember a run where I went through most of the game using only the knife. That was a very found memory for me, too. I enjoyed the [excessive] weirdness to this game and I spent many hours with the original game on my Dreamcast. The graphics won’t be as good as RE4 HD, but they’ll still be better than the olden days and also benefit from achievements and a $20 price tag, too.
7. X-Men Destiny
I love the X-Men universe; there’s no doubt about that. So hearing about X-Men Destiny was extremely exciting for me. It’s said to be an action RPG and is being developed by Silicon Knights, so hopefully they’re learned from their mistakes made with Too Human and will deliver a much better product this time. From what I’ve heard and seen, the storytelling is looking good, but it was needing some polish for the combat and needs to move into this generation visually, though. Either way, it seems to be shaping up into something I need to play.
6. Batman: Arkham City
How could I NOT have this game on the list? After the excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady has moved on to try and create a much larger world for the Bats (and now the Cats) to roam. Everything about this game looks fantastic – the graphics, the combat, the sounds, and the voice acting should be expected to be, ahem, rock steady. They’ve included a murderer’s row of Batman’s enemies, too – Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Two Face, the Penguin, and of course the Joker. And included somewhere in all this is our trusty sidekick, Robin. It’s gonna be great.
5. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition
Anyone who ever played the original Halo game on the first Xbox knows why this game is a must-buy. Although it was beautiful for its time, it was showing its age and there’s nothing better to celebrate a 10 year anniversary than a remake, right? They’ve essentially brought the graphics up to Halo: Reach‘s level, and you can no doubt tell the difference. The only two things that are holding this game back are the lack of online competitive multiplayer and unknown pricing. I would hope this game won’t release at any higher than $40, but I’m doubtful of that.
4. Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection
I say it first: The only problem I have with this collection is that the original Metal Gear Solid is not included. For what reason would you include Peace Walker over the first one? I guess it’s okay since I never played the handheld entry, but still. The original is a classic.
Anyway, enough of the ranting. The Metal Gear Solid series is excellent and it’s good to see that those that didn’t play them when they were relevant will now get that opportunity to do so. The jump to HD isn’t going to knock your socks off (it’s not a complete remake like Halo is), but it will still look better than better and be compatible with the new standard of 16:9 ratio. I’m also wondering if we’re getting the Subsistence version of Snake Eater – I would love to have the first two games (before the “Solid” part) from the MSX.
3. Dead Island
What’s not to like here? If you haven’t seen the trailers for this game, I suggest you check them out. The brief rundown of this game is kind of like a mix between Borderlands and Left 4 Dead, but with more story and less guns (it’s more melee-oriented, like Condemned). It looks as if it’s going to shape up to be my new favorite zombie game, taking the crown from the aforementioned Left 4 Dead.
2. NBA 2K12
Although there may not be a season this year and competitor EA is facing a self-imposed lockout, 2K Sports isn’t taking any time off. For all its faults, NBA 2K11 is the game I’ve spent more time playing this past year than anything else. I love the series, and I love the game. While I hope they’ve improved on a few little things and made My Player less laborious, I think I’ll be highly satisfied with the Legends added to the game this year. And of course, MJ will be back, too. He signed a contract extension for 3 more years, so he’s here to stay. This game can’t come out soon enough.
1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Ladies and gentlemen, my most anticipated title of the year. Although it might be a bit unexpected for many people, please understand that I was absolutely smitten with the original title on the PC. While the console sequel, Invisible War was a little bit of a letdown (solid, but it didn’t feel like a Deus Ex title), Human Revolution looks to return the series to its rightful place with excellent graphics, allowing multiple different play styles, and customizable skill sets. Hopefully, the story will hold up, too. If my posts become fewer and farther between, you’ll know it’s because my playing this game to death.
Missing “Top” Games?
You don’t have to say it – I know there are several games that would likely make your list that I’m missing. Gears of War 3, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, to name a few. I’m in no way insinuating that these won’t be a bunch of great games or that I don’t plan on getting them, because I do (well, except Gears of War 3. But I’m not huge on “realistic” shooters because I think they’re over-hyped and the DLC is far overpriced, and I can’t say I’m salivating over Revelations because I haven’t begun playing through the two previous games (but I do own both). I just haven’t been able to get to them yet.
That wraps up my top 12 most anticipated games for the remainder of 2011. While my list may look quite a bit different from yours, there’s no denying that this holiday season is packed with great games coming out for all consoles. We can only hope we have enough time to play them all.
Now you tell me: what games are you looking forward to this holiday season? Let me know in the comments.