GameFront 2010: Most Anticipated Games of 2011
There’s nothing better than playing an awesome game, but there is one pleasure that sometimes seem to approximate it. Whether it’s the relentless game industry hype machine, or the tantalizing subterfuge of screenshots and trailers, sometimes the anticipation can be almost as good as the payoff. Now that a new year is beginning, we have 365 days worth of delicious-looking new releases to look forward to. These are the games the GameFront staff is most excited about.
Rockstar has proved that they can bring a historical setting to vibrant life with Red Dead Redemption, and Team Bondi’s L.A. Noire promises to do the same. While it boasts the kind of of period styling and attention to detail that was notable in Mafia II, there’s no doubt that this sandbox will actually be populated with some things to do.
The setting couldn’t be cooler. Film Noir and games are a match made in heaven — just look at Grim Fandango — and I’ve always been a huge fan of the genre’s L.A. incarnations, mostly in movies that adapt the thrilling, hard-boiled detective stories of Raymond Chandler. Also, I love Sam and Max as much as the next guy, but isn’t it about time we got to play as a serious, hard-drinking gumshoe?
The choice of Mad Men actor Aaron Staton to play the protagonist is a bold one, and was no doubt made with the game’s pioneering, facial-expression-capturing MotionScan technology in mind. While other games have relied on recognizable talent — vocally, like Sam Worthington in Black Ops or visually and vocally, like Sam Witwer in The Force Unleashed — the widespread popularity of Mad Men makes Staton’s participation especially notable. Though it won’t inspire the same sort of easy comparisons RDR did (Grand Theft Horse becomes Grand Theft Dame?), L.A. Noire (slated for a Q1/Q2 release) is sure to be a hit.
Dead Space 2
I cannot wait for Dead Space 2. Good survival horror is hard to come by, and it seems that the last few years have lost a lot in terms of scary games. Sure, we have games like the F.E.A.R. series, but even Resident Evil seems to be taking a turn toward Gears of War-style action instead of its claustrophobic, hard-to-escape-zombie roots.
Meanwhile, two years ago, Dead Space seemed to come out of nowhere with the kind of sci-fi horror I love: evil alien monsters that convert their victims into additional alien monsters. The game is filled with tight spaces and creepy shadows, with lots of monsters leaping out of walls and vents to murder you.
Dead Space 2 has the apparently obligatory multiplayer addition being dropped into it, but from all accounts, controlling the monstrous necromorphs sounds crazy fun. But more of Dead Space’s atmospheric story with its spooky religious overtones? Yes, sign me up.
F.3.A.R., Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Little Big Planet 2
Loved the first two. I have my doubts based on what I saw at E3, but maybe they can pull it off.
Played the first Deus Ex to death. Hope this one is as good. We all know the graphics will be great. Cross your fingers for a story.
Come on — it’s LBP. (Check out our full LBP2 walkthrough at this location!)
It’s been a while since the last “good” iD game, and this one looks hot.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Mass Effect 3, Max Payne 3
Uncharted 2 was about as close to perfect as video games get. The way Naughty Dog puts these games together, seamlessly mixing together scripted sequences, gameplay and cutscenes without a damn loading screen in sight is sublime, and Amy Hennig’s stellar writing on top of it all means a new Uncharted game should be treasured.
Do I really need to explain this game’s place on the list? I’ve played Mass Effect 14 times and Mass Effect 2 seven times, and I’m about ready for some payoff that I can only assume will be appropriately epic. Let’s hope BioWare structures this one a bit more organically.
It’s possible — or, more correctly, probable — that Max Payne 3 won’t see the light of day this year. But I’ll hold out hope, for now, that it will. It’s been a while since we last visited with Max Payne (the Fall of Max Payne occurred in 2003), and it’s also been a few years since Rockstar Vancouver has put out a new game (Bully in 2006). So it’s about time, dammit!
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Shawn Sines’s Pick
To say I’m salivating at the thoughts of returning to the world of The Witcher might just be an understatement. Geralt of Rivia has quickly become one of my favorite protagonists. This stoic manner and martial prowess.. not to mention his way with the ladies are qualities I greatly admire when adopting a proxy while gaming.
Assassins of Kings continues some of the mystery set up in the first game and promises better development of characters like Triss and the introduction of more of the colorful world established in the fiction of Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. I loved the complexity of Geralt’s world, the moral ambiguity involved in living in his world and facing his foes.
This updated sequel, which is no longer bound by the limits of the Aurora engine, looks beautiful. I can’t wait for March 2011. I’ve already pre-ordered the title sight unseen based on the pedegree of the characters and CDProjekt Red alone.