Top 5 Most Anticipated Upcoming Games

23 06 2010

Hey loyal readers, I think it’s an appropriate time for a good old fashioned Top 5 list and sense it’s now a post E3 world I can almost promise it’s going to be at least 2 months before anything interesting comes out.  This is good for people like me because now I can go back and Platinum old games without having to worry about getting behind.    What this means overall however is that now it’s time to look ahead to the future for the games that you’re excited to play.  In case you were having trouble deciding what you were most excited about I am going to offer you a handy top 5 list, with 5 honorable mentions.  Qualification for this list is we have to have seen the game running in order for it to qualify, which means ‘Batman Arkham Asylum 2’ is off the list and so is ‘Last Guardian’.  If you agree or disagree be sure to comment below and let me know your Top 5.  Also catch me on Twitter @Zackysmack, be sure to get your entries in for our podcast logo design contest for your chance to win a copy of Need for Speed Shift for the PS3, send designs to zackysmack@hotmail.com, and finally head over to podbean or the iTunes store to listen to ‘The Zacky and Friends Know It All Show’ our 1 hour weekly podcast covering the week in gaming every Friday morning.

Before we get to the cream of the crop here are the 5 games I am interested in but don’t know enough details on to call them ‘most anticipated’ yet.

Honorable Mention:

  1. Call of Duty Black Ops: Some great trailers and sections of game play have been seen, but with no mention of the multiplayer or length of the campaign and  Treyarch’s rather dubious past with COD games it’s tough to not take this with a grain of salt.  I remain optimistic for Black Ops so far and if what I have seen holds true then this is shaping up to be a great offering, but in the end it’s a Military FPS and it’s hard to get really excited for those anymore.
  1. Portal 2:  This game won every award is was up for so how did it only make honorable mention?  Because much like the first it’s merely a 6 hour puzzle game.  It’s got a great sense of humor, some fantastic gameplay elements, and is now boasting a multiplayer and co-op mode, but it’s still just a glorified 6 hour puzzle game.  If anything the real reason this got me excited was the SteamWorks support it has, that is a game changer for the PS3.
  1. Patapon 3:  Patapon was probably the reason I purchased a PSP in the first place, the combination of deep RPG elements and rhythm games proved to be too cute to resist.  I easily sunk 80 hours into Patapon 2 and I am looking forward to doing it all over again.  But with no carry over feature like 1 to 2 had, and the simple fact that I just don’t play portable’s that much it wasn’t quite good enough to make the list.
  1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Nostalgia is dangerous, it’s the reason no one trusts XCOM right now, and the reason people buy Zelda games (indeed the only reason Nintendo is probably in business anymore).  I try to avoid getting Nostalgic if I can, but it’s impossible not to with Deus Ex.  The first game is arguably the best game ever crafted giving a level of depth to characters rarely seen in games before or sense.  With these lofty points hanging over Eidos Montréal’s brand new head it’s impossible to not be a little scared to see what happens.  The release of probably the most brilliant trailer in the last 5 years, along with some stunning looking gameplay helped to ease tension with fans.  However what makes Dues Ex good is impossible to show in a demo, so I remain cautiously optimistic, but it would sure help if the game was a little less Anime inspired.
  1. Bulletstorm:  I own the Black edition of Painkiller so it’s safe to say that I am a fan.  People Can Fly (Polish studio behind Painkiller) make simple games with oodles of style.  Never being too serious and instead opting to focus on guns, death, guns, murder, guns and blood.  Did I mention Guns?  The game has a much touted ‘Kill with Skillz’ system where you get points based on how inventive your kills are, and then use those points to level up, which looks awesome.  You couple that with Epic Games and an EA Partners deal and this has the potential to be this year’s Borderlands.  The big question is, will this stay fun for more than a few hours?

On to the big boys now, these are the games I will buy this year, no doubt in my mind about it.

5.   Fallout: New Vegas

Logo

The reports from E3 are simple, if you wanted more Fallout 3 in a new setting with improvements to the interface, NPC interaction, and a few less game crashing bugs, then you are going to want Fallout: New Vegas.  I think I had around 120 hours in Fallout 3, taking a character that looked almost identical to The Joker from Batman and being the evilest mother fucker that ever lived.  The best part is that I didn’t even come close to doing everything in the game, and I hadn’t even got the 5 DLC packs.  It’s sheer insanity how much content is in that game, and the best part is that it’s so rewarding to play it that you don’t even mind that it’s sucking up your entire life.

So whats different?  Well first off it’s not Bethesda Softworks making this one, instead its everyone’s favorite sequel studio Obsidian handling the job.  Second off the setting has drastically changed, no longer is it the darker grey depressing capitol wasteland, no, now the setting has been moved to Sin City.  That’s Las Vegas for those who are uneducated.  This gives the game a far more open environment to use, mostly because this city has recovered a lot better than the wasteland resulting in an environment that should prove more fun to traverse then the first.  A slew of new and interesting weapons have been added as well as a weapon modification system that, if Obsidian is to be believed, is going to be completely open.  In other words it won’t have some limited things that can be attached to other limited things, if you want to fit a silencer on your automatic grenade launcher well that’s just your prerogative, if you want to have a pistol that shoots teddy bears then by god you built it.

Brotherhood of steel

Or you can be like this guy and build your own in real life.

Finally the biggest problem I had with the first game is seemingly being corrected as well, and that is the binary choice system.  So in Fallout 3 everything came down to yeah or nay, granted there were about a billion ways to get there but in the end you always had either be nice and get stuff or kill him and get stuff.  Obsidian has built a great moral choice system with the game Alpha Protocol, and that is being integrated into this one.  Where in one choice actually can affect things hours down the road, instead of that being a bullet point this time around it might be true.  Finally you use a wheel style interface to communicate with support characters which is about a billion times less clunky then Fallout 3’s system.

So all in all if Obsidian can make good with their promise of branching storylines, add in some new settings, locations, characters, quests, and retain that dark humor of the original then we have what is shaping up to be 2010’s most exciting RPG.  Also if they could get the relative jankyness quotient down a few hundred levels that would be much appreciated.

4. KILLZONE 3

Club Man

Now with Petrusite clubs.

Probably my favorite FPS of this generation of consoles was Killzone 2, technically it was a marvel, from the story and design side it left a little to be desired.  The characters were almost cartoonishly gruff and didn’t really fit in with the rest of the story.  The story itself was so damn dark and depressing it was hard to play and enjoy it, and almost every level came down to a sequence of very linear corridors.

Well after seeing what I have seen of Killzone 3 running at E3 I can tell you that it just looks like a better game.  No one thing to put your finger on, it just looks better.  First off you have jetpacks, which result in platforming sections which give the game a much needed break in flow.  Second off the environments are massive with 3-5 different ways to move through and get to the objective.  Third off and probably most important, Guerilla went out and hired some actual writers to make sure the story, and more importantly, the characters are much better.

Connery

And by better I mean Jetpacks, even Sean Connery is better with those.

I have heard that the writer came in and threw out almost 80% of the original script he was presented, and promises much more real and less swear heavy versions of the characters, specifically Rico.  The biggest thing this game offers that other don’t is the concept, you aren’t winning in this game, in fact you lost.  The war is over, now you’re just trying to get out with your life intact, admist the chaos of a planet without a leader.

*SPOILER WARNING*  At the end of Killzone 2, Visari the leader of Helgan dies, this leaves a void in power that two warring factions attempt to fill, one of which is probably going to be pro-ISA.  Can you imagine someone like Rico having to get help from the Helghast?(If you played the first one probably yeah)  If this is played out in a good way this shooter could end up being the next Half-Life in terms of interesting dynamics of characters, couple that with the fact that its already one of the best looking games out there and you have the potential for 2011’s premier FPS.

3. Little BIG Planet 2

Logo

Not the actual logo, but pretty close.

2 years ago the PS3 owners were ripe with anticipation of getting to make their own games with the release of Little BIG Planet.  For the most part that dream was realized, it was just stunned by hard to use tools and floaty controls were too precision platforming what a shotgun is to a zombies face.  Now 2 years later, after repeatedly promising myself I wouldn’t get that excited again and go buy two copies on launch day, I am really excited for this game.

The floaty controls?  Fixed, which almost sells me on it right there, I love 2D platformers, there what I grew up on.  If they can nail the feel down better for this game then I think we could have a really fun base gameplay.  That’s what is critical, everything stems from that, and as a result everything is then directly affected by its controls.  To make that even sweeter is that you can now build your own control scheme’s into the game.

GTA:LBP

Best box ever? Or best image ever?

The level creator?   Streamlined and simplier, but still offering the depth and toolsets for advanced creators to do some really cool stuff.  Now with better copy/paste tools for objects, NPC bots that are fully programmable, and finally CPU units to make smart objects instead of things that just meandered back and forth.  Probably most important to making it handle better is that you can now use keyboard and mouse for level design, which in itself would have fixed most of my issues with the first one.  Biggest innovation of all though is the rotate able camera, this sounds small but it lets you change it from 2D platformer to top down racer to fixed perspective RTS on the fly.  Meaning you can now have multi-stage levels that use different gameplay elements and types, I.E. platform to a ship which then creates a top down shooter and crash that to make a full on 3rd person racing game.

The world view that only showed about 20 levels?  Much better now, allowing you organize and search based on criteria you set.  Cooler then that you can now string multiple levels together and have them display as one ‘Adventure’ so make 4 of 5 levels to get around the creation cap for a map and then link them so it plays and displays as one single level.  Even cooler every creator gets their own online sub domain on Media Molecule’s website.  This lets you display and share URL’s to levels you made so someone else can take them and put them on their site as a download for their console.  Let me explain that in real human words.  You get a URL for your level, you then take it and post it on a forum, someone else see’s it and thinks it’s neat so they take that URL and put it on their site, this then queue’s it up as a download on their PS3.  So when they come home and boot up it downloads the levels they looked at and they can play.  This makes the whole ‘Share’ aspect about a billion times easier.

With all those improvements and possibilities there may be no end to what you can do with this game, I know for sure that I am getting this day one and it might be a few days before I touch the single player.

2. VANQUISH


Vanquish

The Vanquish guy is coming to get you!

A Japanese Mech game?  BOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGGGG.  But wait there’s more to this story.  See Japan’s game’s industry is dying faster than a fish out of water because they refused to evolve there games in any way.  A few studio’s have tried making slow paced 3rd person shooters but failed because there just not very good at it.  But one thing they are good at is 3rd person action titles ala Devil May Cry, fast fluid combat, but as Bayonetta showed those don’t sell like hotcakes over here.  So what if someone could combine the 3rd person shooting mechanic of Gears of War with the speed and style in presentation of Bayonetta?  That’s the pitch for Vanquish, it was a surprise hit of E3 and my sleeper hit of the show.  Nothing you have played looks like this game, trust me, it’s fast, I mean really fast but still a cover based shooter.

First off the biggest problem is answered right off the bat, how does someone move fast in a 3rd person game?  Easily is the answer, as long as there in a massive powered mech suit.  So finally someone went ahead and combined a gruff 3rd person covered based shooter with Gundam style mech combat, and theoretically it should be a disaster, but it isn’t and that’s the trick of it.  Finally the Japanese style of presentation pays off and it’s just the kick in the ass this genre needed.

Vanquish

See cover based shooter with colors other then brown.

The talk now is all about transcending genre’s, RPG FPS’s and Open World RPG’s, well now we have the first Japanese Cover Action Mech Shooter or J-CAMS.  It uses the typical convention of quick movement from cover to cover in order to move up the battlefield amidst a hell storm of bullets, but ditches the ‘HUD-less’ design games go for now.  It’s super bright and colorful, with massive boss battles and tons of unique enemies which is a nice shift from the copy paste dark brown festivals that plague systems now.

Now this genre mash up might seem scary to most but take comfort because it’s being crafted by none other than Platinum Games the folks behind Bayonetta.  This is great to hear because, honestly, there probably the Japanese developer with the most U.S. appeal or at least an understanding of what is appealing in the U.S.  They also take the typical Japanese approach of new IP’s and new titles which means you can often get a complete story out of a game instead of a cliffhanger ending every 2 fucking years.

Halo 2

Yes you Halo 2, you're ending was shit on shit toast.

All in all it has the core gameplay of a western based shooter but with that fantastic Japanese art and style of presentation that makes their games so much fun.  This game came out of nowhere at E3 and used giant ninja robots with exploding lasers to make most of the other stuff at the show look like barely their adventures competing to see who would could be the most boring.  This is that rare game that is exciting to look at, and gets you excited to play.  Go find a trailer and get excited to finally play something that is different and exciting.

1. Gran Turismo 5

GT 5 Logo

Easiest game to find a logo for.

This should have been obvious to anyone that knows me.  I have been waiting nearly a damn decade for this thing to hit shelves, and had it just been a driving simulator with 1000 cars and 50 tracks I would have been lining up for the midnight release.  But as we get more info the game gets more exciting, let me tell you about some of things that are really wetting my penis about this game.

Top Gear:  Top Gear is arguably the most popular TV show in the world and for good reason, its humor and mass appeal coupled with actual consumer grade car knowledge makes it watchable by nearly anyone.  They are heavily involved with this game, donating their star driver The Stig to the effort as well as their test track and some voiceovers.

The Stig

Greatest driver in the world.

Disciplines:  GT has always offered the premier experience for drivers of cars on road courses, this time around though Ployphony is broadening the scope.  Now included are a full suite of World Rally Championship tracks, as well as a complete NASCAR sim, recently they announced a full lineup of go-kart tracks as well.  So if you like NASCAR games, the Dirt games, Forza, or really any other racer you can think of then you’re going to want this one because it includes literally every one of those other games in it.

Visuals:  Well there fucking unprecedented in a game console or otherwise, so that’s all there really is to say about that.

BMW

Yeah it's that good.

Community:  Full 2 player local and multiplayer split screen, leaderboards, rankings, youtube integration, GTTV(racing enthusiast application that brings you original programming and race broadcasts for free), and a track editor.  The last one is the big selling point, it has a full on track editor that will let you build anything you want.  So if your favorite track isn’t there at launch just wait a few days someone out there will make it and have it for your within 24 hours, I guarantee it.

The Feel:  GT is second to none in the driving experience and feel of cars, now with full cockpit views for those with wheels and head tracking with the PS eye which gives you a working in cockpit view and side to side viewing of the track and cars.

The Cars:  Just go look at pictures of these things in game, there so beautifully rendered that in most side by side shots the only way to tell there’s from the real thing is by the background not the car itself.  Beyond that it has over 1000 cars with potential for more in DLC packs, and rest assured Kazanuri is one of the biggest cars nuts on planet earth, so the list of cars in the game will be a who’s who of automotive history.  Every car will be significant in its own way and they will include history and specs, you could probably play this game and be knowledgeable enough to open your own car dealership.  Couple that with tuning and modifications from 50+ of the world’s top in house and out of house tuning shops and you will be able to get whatever car you have dreamed off and do whatever you want to do to it.

NASCAR

More importantly it has NASCAR.

If you’re a car enthusiast or a racing fan then this game is for you, almost every gamer I know likes to play a racing game from time to time and this will scratch whatever itch you have.  7+ years in the making and for once I feel it’s going to pay off, nothing will be able to stand up to this game in terms of features, visuals, handling, and sheer variety of cars.  If you’ve played another GT game (and sales figures say you probably are) then this is 2010’s must buy for you.  See you online on  November 2nd, I’ll be the guy in the first.

Peace.

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