Wednesday, 12 January 2011

More reasons to be cheerful (and dirty rich)!

In continuation from my last piece, here are some more highly anticipated games coming out this year.

Mortal Kombat - 25th March

People say that video games have desensitised me to violence...

Street Fighter’s arch nemesis is getting a next gen update, that aims to go back to basics, offering old school thrills with a HD sheen. Mortal Kombat is synonymous for its gratuitous finishing moves of course, and is the original media scape goat that was feared to turn impressionable young players into sociopathic murderers. In the wake of games such as God of War, (buy MK on the PS3 and you will be able to play as Kratos incidentally) I’m skeptical as to whether the series can still live up to its reputation. There has also been some controversy, since the publishers are holding back on some of the more famous finishing moves. Instead, eager players will have to pay extra to unlock these moves as DLC. Talk about being ripped off right? Honestly the cheek of this move is sickening, quite frankly. It’s as if they view gamers as heroin addicts who will pay for this content up front without question. But whatever, everyone will probably be playing Marvel vs Capcom 3 right?

Crysis 2 – March 25th

Man, do these game devs know how to sell their product or what?

The next FPS to be released this year is the anticipated sequel to Cryteck’s 2007 Crysis, a game which acted as a sort of spiritual successor to Farcry, which you'll remember had its own sequel in Farcry 2 which was a crushing disappointment...  Don't remind me... Crysis 2, should be better, and thankfully, this time round you won’t need a super computer to play the game since it is being released for consoles. Ditching the tropical island paradise of the first game where you engaged war against the Korean army, Crysis 2 is set in Manhatten which is under seige from extra terrestrial forces.  Crysis was a very accomplished shooter, even if you looked passed the phenomenal graphics. The game allowed a degree of flexibility when it came to mission objectives and the level design on the alien space ship was simply awe inspiring. Crysis 2 has you play as new character Alcatraz, replacing Nomad from the first game. Who is, wait for it… a member of a special forces unit, equipped with the performance enhancing nanosuit which has been updated and refined since the last game. Probably incorporating light RPG elements so that the player can customize their skills based on how he/she wants to play. The game looks to have a slew of epic ‘holy crap the aliens are attacking New York’ kind of moments and hopefully it won’t be a dumbed down version of the original. That would be a CRYing shame… See what I did there?

Brink 25th March

Brink. Miles better than Enemy Territory: Quake Wars...

Hey look! If it isn’t another FPS. Well Charles, they must have exhausted the genre now right? Nope, hear me out, this one sounds good as well, with a neat little mechanic that borrows from the first person acrobatic platforming shenanigans of Mirror’s Edge. In what the developers at Splash Damage are proudly calling the SMART system (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain), players will be able to move fluidly around environments, leaping, vaulting and sliding into cover to their hearts content, whilst slaughtering one another with your weapons of modern warfare. Set in the future, with humanity on the brink of exhausting the planet’s finite energy resources, a battleground is made out of a floating city, that is supposed to contain the key to mankind’s future. I’m looking forward to this one, it also seems to have a nice art style that reminds me of Timesplitters and the SMART system may evolve the shooter into a more fast paced affair. Brink has a lot going for it. Just forget the fact that the game developers were also responsible for making Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Oh dear… Well, Id software seem to like them…

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – April sometime…

Games.  Games never change.  Hapless guards on patrol and ventilation shafts.

Deus Ex needs no introduction. The original game was released way back at the turn of the century depicting a frightening vision of the future, where humans enhance the limits of their mortal bodies with cybernetic augmentations. It told a great story, which forced the player to make heavy decisions on matters, and questioned the nature of humanity. The real draw of the series has been giving the player choice on how he wants to play. Do you want to shoot your way in, with the GEP gun? Perhaps you will opt for a more stealthy approach? Using a lockpick to gain access to the air vent, meticulously picking off each guard one by one and hiding their bodies in a cupboard. Alternatively, maybe you’ll talk your way in, cracking wise and bribing people with money and chocolate bars. Human Revolution, the third game in the series promises to reinstate the quality after the questionable Deus Ex 2: Invisible War, which granted, still had more ideas than most games produced nowadays but wasn’t a patch on the original. Human Revolution boasts a tech noir look, with brown and yellow hues, drawing heavy inspiration from Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell. It also plays from a third person viewpoint, though also snapping into first person should you want to make that all important head shot. There hasn’t been much in the way of in game footage, but industry insiders say there are many reasons to be excited. To me it looks like a cyberpunk version of Splinter Cell. No bad thing, I guess.

Portal 2 - April 22nd


The less I know about this game, the better...

Even if this game is more of the same, it will still be excellent. Portal was the proverbial icing on the cake that was the Orange Box. A small slice of first person puzzle goodness, with a delicious sense of humour, as you worked your way like a test rat through a labyrinth maze whilst being taunted by GLADOS the malevolent AI. Valve are not the kind of studio to rest on their laurels, which is why Portal 2 is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. Little is known about the story, other than after escaping the Aperture test labs at the end of the first game you are knocked out cold and dragged off to another mysterious location, where GLADOS is building a new laboratory for you to run around. Stephen Merchant lends his vocal support to the game, supposedly as a friendly robot who aids you through the maze. Whether he will live up to the companion cube from the firstgame remains to be seen. Aside from the single player, there is also a co-op campaign which will probably test even the most oldest and longstanding friendships to the absolute limits.

LA Noire – April

The possibilities of this tech blows my mind.  Brace your self other forms of storytelling, this is going to hurt...

Fresh from the sublime Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar returns with its latest GTA period piece LA Noire. Set in Los Angeles in 1943, you play a detective played by Mad Men’s Aaron Staton tasked with investigating a series of murders. You can probably expect a heavy dose of Raymond Chandler, Rockstar’s games always wear their cinematic influences on their sleeves, so expect plenty of parallels with film noir of the 30s and 40s. What should really get you excited about LA Noire, however, is the efforts the developers have gone in recreating facial animations. Take a look of the video and you’ll see how good it is, easily bettering the current industry stalwarts, Mass Effect and Heavy Rain. These are emotive facial expressions! More than this, however, this will have important repercussions on the gameplay and narrative. Since you are a detective, you will be tasked with interrogating witnesses, and based on YOUR impressions of the interviewee’s behavior you will have to decide whether or not they are lying or not, drawing your own conclusions and pushing new lines of questioning. Should you be right or wrong, the game’s story will compensate, this is 40s LA, so expect lots of corruption and deceit. LA Noire already sounds like a breakthrough in interactivity and the development of more fully realized characters in games. It will probably be a masterpiece… Just saying…

No comments:

Post a Comment