With another huge year on the cards for the gaming industry, there’s certainly no shortage of titles for us to choose from, but we’ve done our best to narrow things down to twenty of our top picks for 2012...
We all know the history of Tomb Raider by now. Core Design’s original in 1996 was one of the most celebrated, and controversial, titles of its time, spawning a huge number of sequels and spin offs. However as time ticked by, the standard of the games slipped dramatically and it faded into insignificance for quite some time, before being resurrected with some particularly tasty new titles in the last five years.
Rather than continuing with those story arcs however, Crystal Dynamics have decided to completely reboot the license under Square Enix, and players will go back to Lara’s past, taking control of the heroine as a 21 year old who has been shipwrecked on an island off the coast of Japan. With little experience to call upon, Lara needs to learn as she goes, facing all manner of natural and human opposition.
Those of you who have seen the trailer from last year’s E3 will no doubt have been as impressed as us, and it certainly looks as if this is one title that could really wow the gaming world. Unfortunately it’s still quite a way off, and we aren’t likely to see it until late summer at the earliest.
Ninja Gaiden 3
The Ninja Gaiden series has built itself a hell of a reputation for being among the trickiest and most punishing series’ out there, without ever managing to unduly frustrate players. It’s a fine balance that very few titles have ever managed successfully, but one that Ninja Gaiden has continually nailed. Those of you familiar with the series may be a little concerned to learn that series director Tomonoby Itagaki has been replaced in the director’s chair by Yosuke Hayashi who has previously been in charge of the games in the Ninja Gaiden Sigma series.
This will definitely signal a further increase in the game’s difficulty, which may put some people off, but we’re chomping at the bit for an opportunity to test our skills once again. Ninja Gaiden 3 is released on March 20th in North American and March 23rd in Europe.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
As the Resident Evil series has grown since its 1996 debut, the focus has switched from a tense survival horror atmosphere to a more action oriented third person shooter style – something which hasn’t been to the tastes of many gamers. Operation Raccoon City follows much the same progression, offering us an all out, balls to the wall shooter.
The action takes place somewhere between the second and third games in the Resident Evil universe, in the infamous Raccoon City, the epicentre of the outbreak that has terrorised gamers for the best part of the last two decades, but rather than taking the role of the Special Ops side that we are so familiar with, players will instead play as one of six members of the Umbrella Security Service.
Instead of trying to curtail the infestation caused by the T Virus, it will be your job to destroy evidence of illegal activity by the Umbrella Corporation, and along the way you’ll come upon some familiar faces from the series. With some massive moments promised that should really engage fans of the series, the game looks set to be the most action packed, fast paced instalments in the franchise to date which may put off some of you, but the rest of us should love it!
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City will be released on March March 20th in North American and March 23rd in Europe.
As one of the biggest first person shooters franchises of the past decade, it’s not particularly surprising that the amount of interest in the forthcoming Halo 4 is through the roof. When we last saw Master Chief at the end of Halo 3, in somewhat curious circumstances, it looked unlikely that our paths would be crossing again anytime soon; particularly when you factor in that original developers Bungie Studios have now parted ways with the series.
However 343 Industries stepped in, and with their high definition update of Halo: Combat Evolved, they have shown that they are willing to give the series the respect that it has earned down through the years.
Heralding the dawn of a brand new trilogy, Halo 4 will also usher in a change of pace for the series. Where we were formerly concerned simply with blasting the living crap out of everything that moves, 343 have said that they will be placing much more emphasis on exploration and plot development this time around. It’s an intriguing idea in theory, and hopefully they can pull it off when it comes to the crunch. You can expect to get into the swing of things in Q4 of this year.
DmC: Devil May Cry
The latest title to get the reboot treatment is Capcom’s Devil May Cry, one of our favourite hack and slash series’. Taking the somewhat clichéd approach of setting the game within a parallel universe, so as not to upset the canon of the original titles, this will mark the first game in the franchise not to be developed in house by Capcom. Instead development duties fall to Cambridge’s Ninja Theory, who have previous credits which include the painfully underrated Heavenly Sword and the particularly tasty Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like being an easy road for the company, as the game playing public has been less than receptive of the new design for protagonist Dante – although there have been several changes made since our first look at him back in 2011.
With no concrete release date set, it’s difficult to know when exactly we’ll be able to get our hands on the game, but we would wager October or November would be a fairly safe bet.