MASS EFFECT 3
After its predecessor impressed the critics and sold over two million copies in its first week, the third and final instalment of the Mass Effect series looks to be one of the year’s biggest hits. Players will step into the shoes of Commander Shepard for the last time in order to save the world against a race of machines intent on wiping out the human race.
After the success of the its first title, Portal returns to consoles this year in the form of Portal 2, looking to emulate the same critical acclaim of what Wired magazine deemed ‘one of the most influential games of the decade’. The game sees players return as Chell, three hundred years after the events of the first game, to once again take on GLaDOS and numerous physics and platform-based puzzles.
Team Bondi and Rockstar Games, the developer and publisher behind hits including the Grand Theft Auto series and Red Dead Redemption, are bringing gamers into the world of film noir with their latest title, LA Noire. Based on the cinematic style made famous by films like The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity, LA Noire sees gamers play as Cole Phelps, an honest cop in a corrupt police force in the Los Angeles of the1940s. Players will visit crime scenes and interrogate suspects as well as become involved in deadly shootouts and chases, all in a bid to solve the case.
Although no details have been released as of yet, this year’s release of FIFA 12 will no doubt be the must have sports game of the year. Especially as FIFA 11 became the fastest selling sports game in history last October after selling 2.6 million units in its opening weekend across the US and Europe.
DEAD SPACE 2
The Dead Space series will continue to haunt audiences with the release Dead Space 2, a survival horror title that continues Isaac Clarke’s fight for survival after an alien infestation. This sequel takes place after Isaac, still battling with his sanity, wakes up from a coma only to be plagued by nightmares, chased by the government and surrounded by a space city riddled with the monstrous Necromorphs that made life difficult in the first game.
One of the most heavily anticipated first person shooters will arrive later in the year in the form of Home Front, a game written by the co-writer of Apocalypse Now, John Milius. The game takes place in America in 2027 where the West Coast is under North Korean military occupation. With the game set in the future and events including the death of Kim Jong-Il, the collapse of the United States economic system and Korea uniting and attacking the USA, Home Front seems destined to be one of the more controversial titles released this year.
Fans of the Tomb Raider series will be pleased to see a new title this year that explores the origins of how Lara Croft became the adventurer known in previous games. The game takes place after a young Lara is stranded on an island after a storm destroys her boat. The island is not as deserted as it may first appear and players will have to take control of Lara in a fight for survival.
The Battlefield series had sold over 17 million copies as of 2008 and the success of the online franchise looks to continue in this year’s instalment,
3. Although there is not much information about the title, it is bound to attract the many die hard fans of the series as well as those new to the franchise, and has widespread appeal that looks to make Battlefield 3 one of the most anticipated releases of 2011.
CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3
Despite details being few and far between at this stage, the history of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series helps to explain why the third title in the franchise is shaping up as one of the most eagerly awaited releases of 2011. The previous title in the series, Modern Warfare 2, has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and is the UK’s best selling game of all time. With so much anticipation, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 looks set to emulate the enormous success of its predecessors.
As the first game to showcase the new CryEngine3 game engine, Crysis 2 looks set to be one of the most popular first person shooters of the year. The game is set three years after the last game, in an abandoned New York City after the alien infestation. The new engine will give the game improved natural lighting, dynamic shadowing and a heightened depth of field, promising to make Crysis 2 one of the most visually impressive titles of the year.
BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
Following on from Batman: Arkham Asylum – a game that Playstation Official Magazine called ‘comfortably the best comic book game that Playstation’s ever had’ – comes Batman: Arkham City, a release set one year after the first game, the slums of Gotham City are purchased to hold criminals and renamed Arkham City. The game will once again see players step into the Caped Crusaders’ shoes and use a mix of overt and stealth tactics to take down enemies. If this sequel attracts a similar degree of acclaim and sales that Arkham Asylum garnered, then Arkham City looks to be the superhero game of 2011.
THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM
One of this years most anticipated RPG releases is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. With previous titles in the series gaining a loyal following, critical plaudits and financial success, the first ElderScrolls title since 2007 looks set to continue the franchises’ triumphs even further.
PLAYSTATION 3 UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION
After it’s predecessor, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, received praise such as ‘a new milestone in gaming history’ from the French Playstation 3 Magazine and ‘forget Game of the Year. This is one of the greatest games of all time’ from Playstation: The Official Magazine, the latest in the series, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, looks to be one of the most heavily anticipated PS3 titles of the year. Players will once again step into the shoes of adventurer Nathan Drake, with bigger set pieces and a new Action Adventure mode that brings elements of the single player experience to the multiplayer mode. The adventure this time round will see players trek into the Arabian desert in search of the lost ‘Atlantis of the Sands’, pursued by a strange organisation and its deadly leader.
The sequel to the game that IGN deemed number five in their list of the top 25 PS3 games arrives later this year, and Infamous 2 looks set to continue the success of the popular superhero title. The game sees players once again step into the heroic shoes of Cole McGrath as he heads to New Marais to stop a mysterious raging entity known only as The Beast. Cole will still have a range of superhuman powers but Infamous 2 showcases an enhanced fighting system as well as a range of new god-like abilities.
The popular Killzone franchise will continue in 2011 with Killzone 3, a game that sees players step back in to the role of special forces agent Sev, fighting against the Helghast Empire in a new arctic environment. The game is sure to be of interest to fans due to the fact it will support the motion sensor controller Playstation Move and also come with an optional 3D mode – providing the consumer owns a 3D ready television and 3D glasses. After its predecessor beat Halo Wars to the top spot in the charts last year, Killzone 3 looks set to both emulate and build upon the success of its previous titles.
Possibly the biggest Playstation Move title out this year is Sorcery, a game that puts the consumer into the shoes of a wand waving, spell casting sorcerer. Sorcery allows players to create whirlwinds, fireballs, walls of flames and numerous other spells all with hand gestures. Harry Potter eat your heart out.
The MotorStorm series will return this year with a title that takes racers into the heart of a city disintegrating in apocalyptic fashion. MotorStorm: Apocalypse takes players into an area called The City, a setting with tracks surrounded by collapsing buildings, twisting bridges and earthquakes capable of ripping roads wide open. With 3D compatibility and five new vehicle classes including super bikes and muscle cars, MotorStorm’s new destructive streak looks set to make it one of the most successful racing titles of 2011.
LittleBigPlanet arrived onto the Playstation in 2008 and introduced consumers to a world of puzzle platforming on wacky maps and environments created by the games large online community. As of August last year, more than three million levels had been created by users and they are all available to be used in this year’s sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2. There are more than 40 story levels to explore, all influenced by important cultural events in history. The level building and sharing that made the first game a hit and spawned a huge online community has been enhanced, with players now able to not only create levels, but full scale games too. Fans of the original will no doubt be eagerly awaiting the arrival of LittleBigPlanet 2 and its release should ensure that the game’s online community continues to grow in 2011.
After the success of its first two instalments, the Resistance franchise is returning to the PS3 in Resistance 3, a game that takes place in 1950’s America conquered by the powerful Chimerian race. Players take control of Joseph Capelli as he comes out of hiding to journey across America in a fight against the Chimera. With the third instalment of the franchise boasting smarter and quicker enemies as well as a new multiplayer system that allows gamers to battle in landscapes set around the globe, Resistance 3 is set to repeat the triumphs of it’s predecessors and establish itself as one of 2011’s top PS3 exclusives.
Fans of the SOCOM series can look forward to this year’s release of SOCOM 4, a game that takes the U.S Navy Seals to South East Asia in a bid to discover the plans of an army of rebel fighters who have seized control of a country bordering one of the world’s most important waterways. Players will have to progress through 14 single player missions against enemies with advanced AI. Gamers can also take the fight online in battles with up to 32 other online players. With Playstation Move capabilities set to make aiming more precise than ever before, SOCOM 4 looks set to evolve and ensure the success of this popular franchise.
A game to strike fear into the hearts of coulrophobics (those with a fear of clowns) and tachophobics (those with a fear of high speeds) everywhere, 2011 will see the return of Sweet Tooth and the Twisted Metal series with the aptly named Twisted Metal. With the Skulls, the Dolls, the Clowns and the Preachers all battling for control, players will enter a world of high speed destruction with the winner of the Twisted Metal tournament winning a wish granted by the mysterious Calypso. For the first time in the franchise, players can take to the skies in helicopter, naturally complete with a mini-gun turret but the emphasis on multiplayer remains with online fights with up to 16 players available.
RATCHET AND CLANK: ALL 4 ONE
Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One is this years entry to the popular Ratchet and Clank series and introduces a focus on four player co-operation that is brand new to the franchise. The game takes place after Dr Nefarious, the mainantagonist of the series, sees an evil plan backfire, leaving Ratchet, Clank, Qwark and Nefarious stuck in the grip of a strange machine, leaving the sworn enemies having to work together to escape. Players can now enjoy four-player co-op mode off and online as they play as one of the four characters, each with differing abilities and weapons.
GEARS OF WAR 3
With more than 11 million units sold worldwide as of late 2009, the Gears of War series has proved itself to be one of the most popular recent franchises on the 360 and the latest title in the series, Gears of War 3, will look to bring the series to an end in spectacular fashion. Set eighteen months after the collapse of the last human city, players will once again fillthe boots of Delta Squad leader Marcus Fenix in the fight against the Locust. With a range of new weapons and characters, Gears of War 3 is already one of the most eagerly awaited titles for the Xbox 360 this year.
CHILDREN OF EDEN
One of the more unusual releases this year comes in the form of Children of Eden, a rhythm game for the Kinect that sees players use their bodies to shoot various shapes on the screen, with each impact producing a different visual and musical reaction. Created by Tetsuya Mizugu, the creative force behind Rez, the game sees players attempting to save a woman trapped in Eden, a futuristic depiction of the Internet. Gamers’ hands will be the weapons in the game, with a glove gun and a vulcan cannon that players can switch between by clapping. With the title promising a truly unique experience, Children of Eden looks to be one of the more unusual highlights of 2011.
STAR WARS KINECT
Finally fans of the famous film franchise can unleash their inner Jedi in Star Wars Kinect, a game that – thanks to the Kinect’s capabilities – will allow players to wield lightsabers and use the force, all with their hands. At the time of writing only a demo trailer has been released showing a player engaging in numerous swordfights, using arm pushes to engage with the force before coming up against the franchise’s famous menacing asthmatic, Darth Vader. With Star Wars fans undoubtedly eager to get their hands on what could be the most immersive Jedi experience ever seen on consoles, Star Wars looks destined to be one of the Kinect’s most sought after games this year.
FORZA MOTORSPORT 4
The successful Forza Motorsport series will continue in 2011 with the fourth entry in the series. The game will present players with a realistic driving experience complete with detailed car customisation options and a wide selection of impressive cars and tracks for gamers to experience, including content from popular driving programme Top Gear. Game modes including the Overtake Challenge use the Kinect and will allow consumers to literally get behind the wheel and steer cars with their own two hands.
One of the most heavily anticipated 360 titles of this year is XCOM, a reimagining of the classic series first seen in 1994 with the critically acclaimed UFO: Enemy Unknown and last seen in 2001’s X-COM: Enforcer. The game will move away from its strategy roots into a shooter and see users play in the 1950s as an FBI agent attempting to identify and eliminate a mysterious, unknown alien threat. Various missions will include recovering artefacts, conducting research and protecting innocent civilians against the alien invaders. The new title should appeal to fans of the original and those new to series.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD.
Arguably the biggest title to be released on the Wii this year is the sixteenth instalment in the Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The game is a prequel to 1998’s Ocarina of Time and will utilize the capabilities of the Wii MotionPlus, an addition to the Wii Remote that increases the accuracy of the motion capture. The game will use this to give gamers more accurate sword fighting in addition to an improved pointing system when targeting.
MARIO SPORTS MIX
Mario will return to the Wii in 2011 with Mario Sports Mix, a game that gives players the chance to play hockey, basketball, volleyball and dodgeball with and against a whole host of characters from the Mario series including Yoshi, Bowser and Wario. Obviously, this being a Mario title, the sports will not be played entirely fairly as players can use special moves and weapons to ensure their victory.
After a successful first game, Conduit 2 will take players across the world as they once again step into the shoes of Michael Ford, as he discovers that aliens have been controlling areas of the earth in secret. Players will fight in places varying from the Amazon to England, Atlantis to Washington DC. The game will have increased precision and accuracy thanks to its Wii Motion Plus compatibility and players can take on hoards of enemies with a friend in the new multiplayer, split screen ‘Invasion Mode’.
KIRBY’S EPIC YARN
Kirby returns to consoles for the first time since 2003 and finds himself and everything around him made from string, yarn and knitted patches of different materials, after being sucked into a sock by the evil wizard Yin-Yarn. Due to his new string form, players can whip enemies before turning them into weaponry in the shape of balls of yarn. Kirby can now also swing around levels in the search for the seven magic pieces of yarn that can return things back to normal. Fans of the series will no doubt be pleased by the return of this Nintendo favourite.