Preview of 2012 - Games
A look at the videogames that'll be rocking your world this year, including GTA V, Halo 4, Max Payne 3, Diablo III and more
First off the biggie: Grand Theft Auto V. We’ve seen the trailer and it looks like we’re back in Los Angeles, sorry Los Santos, for the latest instalment of the world conquering videogame developed by Edinburgh’s own Rockstar North. The shoot outs, car chases and criminal underworld all look present and correct but perhaps the thing that will strike you the most is how gorgeous the graphics look – it’s a real step up from GTA IV. There’s no official word on the launch date, however industrious internet sleuths have posited 24 May based on a ‘For Sale’ sign in the trailer.
Shooters are now probably the ruling genre in gaming and Halo 4 (release date tbc) is one of the biggest of them all. The first in a new trilogy for the futuristic FPS, and also the first developed by 343 Industries let’s hope they can keep up the high standards set by Bungie. Expect more run-and-gun action and bullet time sequences in Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 (12 Mar) with a new writing and production team promising an older, more cynical Max, now living in Brazil. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (early 2012) is the fourth version of Valve’s massively influential (and hard as nails) shooter, now featuring cross-platform play and a stronger focus on competition. In keeping with previous CS sequels it looks more like a spit and polish than full sequel but that never harmed Call of Duty’s sales.
Once upon a time beat ’em ups were the biggest titles on the market and surely the cross company mash-up Street Fighter vs Tekken (9 Mar) will help reignite the brawling bug as the two biggest franchises in fighting gaming go head to head. Soul Calibur V (3 Feb) is another title well worth a playtest, now featuring Ezio Auditore da Firenze (Assassin’s Creed II) as a playable character.
It’s a strong year for horror gaming with two of the biggest franchises back for more terror in your living room. Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City (23 Mar) offers six playable characters and four-way co-op play as you head back to ground zero of the zombie infestation. Silent Hill: Downpour (9 Mar) is the eighth instalment in the mind bending horror franchise opening up a new area of Silent Hill after prisoner Murphy Pendleton gets stranded in the cursed town. A newer franchise on the horror block The Darkness II (7 Feb) returns with more emphasis on FPS gun wielding combat and controlling your Darklings to do your diabolical bidding.
In RPG land Diablo III (early 2012) picks up ten years after the second entry in the dark fantasy series boasting an enhanced quest system, a random level generator and a few other wee updates to speed up gameplay. Developer Blizzard are keeping very busy as 2012 also sees the release of sci-fi RTS expansion Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm and fantasy action RPG Defence of the Ancients 2 (summer). In non-Blizzard RPG news Mass Effect 3 (9 Mar) is the final chapter in the Commander Shepard trilogy, combat has been refined and, controversially, multiplayer co-op has been introduced. Developers Bioware have crafted some of the greatest RPGs in gaming history and it’s hard to imagine them messing it up at this stage.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengence (tbc) takes the formal ‘tactical espionage action’ game into a new realm: ‘lighting bolt action’. As the first MGS game not directed by the legendary Hideo Kojima or his studio now in the hands of Platinum Games (who gave the world Bayonetta), this marks a bold new direction for the series, with players now using their controllers to surgically slice and dice opponents.
Finally we end on a bit of weird one: Catherine (10 Feb). A mix of moral choices and dreamworld puzzles as Vincent is torn between his girl friend Katherine and an affair with Catherine, with all this turmoil infiltrating his nightmares. Playing through both his waking and sleeping life Catherine is certainly a strange one but initial reviews definitely mark it out as a unique title worth keeping an eye on.