Halo 4 And Nine Other Games To Wet Yourselves Over This Year

The first screengrabs of Halo 4 appeared this morning ahead of an announcement later today. It promises to be the best yet, but what other games should you be wetting yourselves over this year?
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The first screengrabs of Halo 4 appeared this morning ahead of an announcement later today. It promises to be the best yet, but what other games should you be wetting yourselves over this year?

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The first screengrabs of Halo 4 appeared this morning ahead of an announcement later today. It promises to be the best yet, but what other games should you be wetting yourselves over this year?

Number 10: Half Life 2 Episode 3

This will stay on lists of forthcoming releases until it comes out. Simple as that.

Realistically we won’t be seeing this released in 2012. But we can dream. The rumour mill recently reignited due to the sighting of a Valve employee in the wild wearing a stylised Half Life t-shirt emblazoned with a 3. While this proves little more than that Valve can troll with the best of them, it is enough to rekindle hope once more than the bearded scientist may make back onto our PCs before too long.

Number 9: The Last Guardian

If Episode 3 is to reside at the bottom of the list due to the unlikelihood of it seeing a release next year then it is only right that The Last Guardian take up residence next to it. Were we to be given an official release date to this spiritual successor to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus then without a doubt this game would  find itself higher towards the top.

However, unlike Episode 3, we know that The Last Guardian exists. The initial trailer of one boy and his griffin was revealed to the world back in 2009, slated for a 2011 release. Despite this the game has been consistently absent from almost every major trade show since, and with a release date now pushed back into somewhere in 2012, we can only pray that this sees release next year.

Will they live up to the high standards of 2011 – a year which brought us Skyrim, Arkham City and Portal 2 to name but a few – or will it flounder and disappoint?

Number 8: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Having suffered through a turbulent development process, the latest version Metal Gear Rising from Platinum Studios, the studio responsible for Bayonetta, was revealed to the world earlier this month. This prompted Hideo Kojima, the mastermind behind the much loved Metal Gear Solid franchise, to go on record several times to apologise to fans of the series.

Recalling some of the early trailers before Metal Gear Solid 4 came out, one particularly poignant scene showed an aged and clearly exhausted snake sat in the ruins of a building. Slowly the elderly warrior lifts a gun and places it in his mouth. Would this be how it all ended for a gaming legend like Snake? It was almost moving.

The most recent trailer for Revengeance on the other hand showed Raiden hurl a giant Metal Gear Ray into the air before leaping onto its back in order to slice it up. I am not sure what to take away from that.

It will have been four years since we played Guns of the Patriots, the last instalment in the franchise, and when Metal Gear Rising hits shelves next year it will no doubt tempt us into picking up a copy. Despite the change in tone it is still another tale from the MGS universe and one which is worth at least a sceptical glance.

Number 7: Halo 4

Pegged for a holiday 2012 release, there is little to say about another instalment in the Halo franchise which hasn’t already been said for the preceding five titles.

Master Chief will most likely battle some sort of alien threat – my money is on the Covenant again – as well as deal with various new obstacles and enemies residing on the Forerunner structure he was headed towards at the end of Halo 3.

Microsoft will certainly pour huge sums into the advertising, making it the biggest Halo launch to date, and the game will include Kinect support. And jetpacks. Probably.

Number 6: Tomb Raider

Revealed at E3 earlier this year, the prospect of a new, grittier Tomb Raider game resonated with fans of the series. Initial impressions show the game to be something akin to the newer Uncharted games, although one could just as easily argue that they are simply a rip off of the old Tomb Raider premise.

We will need to see more of the new Tomb Raider before her place on this list is assured. While she may not be running around in hot pants and a tank top, the constant abuse she is exposed to in the trailer seems to be part of a plan to transform Lara from a pin-up to the star of some tasteless exploitation piece.

Time will tell.

Microsoft will certainly pour huge sums into the advertising, making it the biggest Halo launch to date, and the game will include Kinect support. And jetpacks. Probably.

Number 5: Diablo III

Although there was good reason to put Torchlight 2 on this list, it is hard to give a Diablo clone a Top Ten spot when Diablo III is set for release.

Similar to many others on this list Diablo III has been pushed about the release schedule more times than the fan base would like, having been announced in 2008 but only opening for beta earlier this year.

Sporting a new auction house function (both utilising in-game and real currency) and the classic gameplay which made the original Diablo games a phenomenon, there is little to stand in the way of Blizzard’s latest title being as successful as the rest.

Number 4: DotA 2

One might say that between League of Legends and Heroes of Newearth, not to mention the upcoming DotA Allstars, the genre is starting to get a little crowded.

Nevertheless, having sneakily trademarked the Defence of the Ancient title for themselves, Valve seem convinced that they can find a market for their own version. And, given the companies track record, it will doubtful it will meet with anything but success.

Number 3: Grand Theft Auto 5

While Max Payne 3 may deserve this spot on the list more than the somewhat less certain Grand Theft Auto 5 it is hard to place any Rockstar property above their flagship franchise. The studio has a habit of releasing a couple of big titles a year and so it is not too big a stretch to assume that we may be treated to a Grand Theft Auto title later in 2012.

The first trailer for GTAV was released in November to the standard praise one would expect from a Grand Theft Auto announcement. Set in a similar environment to San Andreas, the trailer suggests a shake up to the regular formula. There was little to no action or explosions on offer. Instead we were shown a series of images highlighting the difficult economic situation which would be explored in the new game, in particular focussing on the divide between the wealthy and the poor.

Brief glimpses of who many believe to be the main character show him to be an older gentleman, and guesses pin the new game to be far more character driven than previous entries in the series.

While the Bioshock franchise may have hit a speed bump with the return to Rapture in Bioshock 2, there is no denying the first game is one of the best of the generation.

Number 2: Mass Effect 3

The first game in the Mass Effect saga was overflowing with great ideas. The execution, however, fell a little short of the mark, failing to couple the RPG elements with the intense action as intended. However, in 2010 we saw how it could be done right with Mass Effect 2.

The coming together of flexible roleplaying together with the intense combat more often found in third-person-shooters bound within a brilliantly conceived space opera proved hugely successful.

The third instalment should continue the growing success of the franchise and provide a fitting resolution to the Commander Shepherd storyline as the Reavers near earth for a final showdown.

Number 1: Bioshock Infinite

From everything we have seen so far, it looks like Ken Levine has done it again.

While the Bioshock franchise may have hit a speed bump with the return to Rapture in Bioshock 2, there is no denying the first game is one of the best of the generation. Everything from the Big Daddyies through to the decaying city of Rapture was imbued with character and emotion in a way we rarely see in games.

Bioshock Infinite looks like it will be everything the original Bioshock was and more. Set in the floating city of Columbia at the dawn of the twentieth century, the player takes on the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt and is tasked with retrieving Elizabeth from the city above.

At E3 this year Bioshock Infinite won ‘Best of Show’, ‘Best Original Game’, ‘Best Action/Adventure Game’ and ‘Best PC Game’. That alone should tell you that we are in treat for something really special.

Honourable Mentions: Torchlight 2, Max Payne 3, Star Craft 2: Heart of the Swarm

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