2012 Gaming Preview

With 2012 right around the corner, we take a look at next year’s gaming schedule.

Erik Norrisby Erik Norris

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2011 isn’t even over yet and we’re already looking towards the future. Welcome to our preview for 2012’s biggest gaming releases. Just skimming the tentative list of games coming out in 2012 has us gleefully giddy. 2011 may have been the industry’s biggest year to date, with a schedule of seemingly nonstop AAA releases, but it looks like 2012 might be giving it a run for its money. So here are the top 10 titles planned for release in 2012, supplemented by a honorable-mentions list the size of Ron Jeremy’s third leg…


baseThe Darkness II

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC / Release Date: February 7, 2011

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The Details: 2K Games and Digital Extreme continue the tale of Jackie Estacado’s rise, and subsequent fall back into the Darkness. This follow-up to the 2007 original incorporates a comic book-y, cel-shaded art style and a new “quad wielding” system that lets you easily control two guns and two Darkness demon-arms simultaneously.


Why You Should Be Pumped: The Darkness II is a sadistically bloody game. It will make you cringe, but you won’t be able to take your eyes off it. It’s like a gorgeous car crash, and we mean that in the best way possible. The game’s graphical styles also make this shooter stand out from the pack. The original Darkness was a sleeper hit that flew under the radar for most. Don’t be that fool again with The Darkness II.

 

baseMass Effect 3

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC / Release Date: March 6, 2012

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The Details: The Mass Effect trilogy comes to a fiery conclusion with Mass Effect 3. The Reapers have descended on earth and the galaxy has been engulfed in galactic war. The story of Commander Shepard and his rag-tag crew ends here, so don’t miss it. Also, this will be the first Mass Effect title featuring a cooperative multiplayer component that ties into the game’s single player campaign.


Why You Should Be Pumped: The Mass Effect series is one of the best IPs established in the last decade. The first game was strong, no doubt, but it was Mass Effect 2 that really blew us away and showed us BioWare’s true ambitions for this franchise. We’re expecting grand things from this trilogy concluder.


baseMax Payne 3

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC / Release Date: March 2012

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The Details: The monologuing, down-on-his-luck cop from New York City returns, trading in the Statue of Liberty and glorious city dogs for sunny skies and bodyguard duty down in Sao Paulo, Brazil. But wouldn’t you know it, things quickly go to sh*t and Max Payne gets wrapped up in yet amount plot bigger than he.


Why You Should Be Pumped: While Max Payne 3 represents the first Max Payne game not developed by Remedy, we think it’s still in good hands under the supervision of Rockstar. Even though Rockstar is abandoning the open-world format they’ve mastered with games such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire, Max Payne 3 still looks solid based solely around the story it’s setting out to tell.

 

baseDarksiders II

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U / Release Date: June 2012

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The Details: The Darksiders franchise returns with War’s brother, Death, becoming the series’ titular character. One part God of War, the other part The Legend of Zelda, Darksiders II will offer up plenty of combat and exploration to keep gamers busy.


Why You Should Be Pumped: The original Darksiders is one of this generation’s biggest sleeper hits. The game’s combat system was solid, its environments were expansive, and its story was pretty damn fantastic. That’s why we’re expecting great things from Vigil Games’ follow-up.


 

baseJourney

System: PS3 / Release Date: Spring 2012

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The Details: thatgamecompany returns with a soothing exploration of a never-ending desert in Journey. thatgamecompany is known for their artsy titles, having created Flow and Flower before this game, but they are a company that strives for immersive gaming experiences. And Journey definitely delivers on that notion.


Why You Should Be Pumped: We got a chance to play Journey at E3 this past June and it was easily stood as one of our favorite experiences of the show. Amongst all the bombastic, AAA titles, this little indie title stood out. Journey’s graphical stylings are gorgeous, and the gameplay is simple yet addictive. If you own a PlayStation 3, be on the lookout for Journey for a gaming experience that is like none other.  

 

baseTransformers: Fall of Cybertron

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3 / Release Date: Fall 2012

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The Details: High Moon Studios returns to the Transformers franchise with a follow-up to their 2010 shocker, Transformers: War for Cybertron. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, as this game is being called, picks up the story shortly after the last game and continues the tale of the never-ending war between the Autobots and Decepticons. Oh, and if that wasn’t already enough, Fall of Cybertron will introduce the Dinobots into High Moon Studios’ Transformers lore. Grimlock pumped!


Why You Should Be Pumped: 2010’s War for Cybertron surprised a lot of people. Many thought a good Transformers game was impossible to pull off, yet High Moon managed to create not only a good Transformers game, but a great one. The gameplay was fast and fun, the story and characters were rich and well developed, and transforming from robot to vehicle and back again on the fly never got old. We can expect more of that goodness from Fall of Cybertron, as well as the Dinobots. Again… Dinobots. Sold!


baseHalo 4

System: Xbox 360 / Release Date: TBD 2012

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The Details: The torch has been passed from Bungie to 343 Industries, who are taking the reins of the Halo franchise from here on out. Halo 4 marks the company’s first true foray into the Halo universe (Halo Anniversary not withstanding). Halo 4 will also be the first Halo starring Master Chief since Halo 3 back in 2007.


Why You Should Be Pumped: Master Chief returns! Is that not enough for you people? While it’s sad to see Bungie part ways with the franchise that put them on the map (hopefully onto bigger and even better things), 343 Industries have proven themselves more than capable at handling such a massive juggernaut of a franchise.

 

baseBioShock Infinite

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC / Release Date: TBD 2012

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The Details: Irrational Games returns to the BioShock franchise, only this time they’re taking the action out of the sea and into the air. Welcome to Columbia, a floating version of the American Dream that disappeared shortly after the turn of the century. You play as Booker DeWitt, a Pinkerton agent sent to Columbia to retrieve a special girl named Elizabeth and find out exactly what happened to the floating paradise. However, upon arrival you quickly realize Columbia is not the dream it was made out to be…


Why You Should Be Pumped: As far as we’re concerned, the original BioShock is one of the best games ever made. Period. That’s why Irrational’s follow-up should be on your radar. Irrational has never been a company comfortable with cashing in on copy-and-paste sequels. They've always strived to challenge themselves and deliver games that test the limits of this glorious, interactive medium. From what we’ve seen thus far, BioShock Infinite goes to infinity and beyond.


baseBorderlands 2

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC / Release Date: TBD 2012

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The Details: Prepare for a return trip to Pandora thanks to your pilots, Gearbox Software. Borderlands 2 promises more story, more diverse environments, more weapons (as if that’s possible) and more loot. Everything will be bigger and better in this sequel, as well as more refined. Gearbox is also promising a better drop-in/drop-out cooperative system to make grouping up with friends a painless, simple process.



Why You Should Be Pumped: The original Borderlands was a solid action-RPG shooter. However, it had its problems: no story, flat characters, terrible inventory management system and repetitive enemies and environments. With Borderlands 2, Gearbox is setting out to fix all those criticisms. And if they can manage to pull that off, fans will be treated to a fantastic loot-hording shooter sequel.
 

baseTomb Raider

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC / Release Date: TBD 2012

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The Details: The Tomb Raider franchise gets a gritty relaunch, and if you ask us, it’s about damn time. Tomb Raider goes back to the beginning to tell the origin story of how Lara Croft becomes the woman we know her to become. It’s a story of survival, one that will push Lara to her absolute limits to test her resolve.


Why You Should Be Pumped: The Tomb Raider franchise was in dire need of a reboot. Listen, we all love Lara Croft, but the Tomb Raider formula was wearing super thin. That’s why this franchise reboot by Crystal Dynamics has our interests piqued. The game looks dirty, gritty and visceral as hell. The underlining theme is survival, and it appears as though Crystal Dynamics is playing that up for all it’s worth. We don’t yet know if this Tomb Raider reboot will be worth it or not, but at least we’re once again interested in Lara Croft’s adventures, and that has to stand for something.
 

The Long List of Honorable Mentions:

  • Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
  • Prototype 2
  • Kinect Star Wars
  • Ninja Gaiden 3
  • Syndicate
  • Prey 2
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Quantum Conundrum
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2
  • Twisted Metal
  • SSX
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
  • Far Cry 3