Thursday, 6 January 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful (and Rich)

2010 is history! Never mind your top five lists of that dead year (Minecraft, Mass Effect 2, Just Cause 2, Demon’s Souls, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood since you asked…), 2011 promises to throw up a gaming freak storm, and it begins almost straight away. This is what we have to look forward to in the next couple of months... To a happy and prosperous New Year!!!

Little Big Planet 2 – 21st January

Games don't have to be all shooters y'know...

If the hype for the first Little Big Planet is to be believed, then there is absolutely no need for anyone to play Little Big Planet 2, since that game offered infinite creativity... Whilst the first game allowed you to create your own platformer levels within the limitations of the game’s own engine, Little Big Planet 2 allows you to make your own games! Again within the limitations of the game’s own engine. But still, Little Big Planet had a certain charm, and I’m sure LBA2 will maintain the look. It also exudes a certain British charm, a handmade quaintness if you will, but that’s probably because of Stephen Fry, who once again turns up to narrate the game.

Dead Space 2 – 25th January

Looks like another bad day for Isaac Clarke.  Sad face.

Resident Evil 5 was a big disappointment, but luckily Dead Space was there to carry the survival horror genre straight into the cold bleak immensity of deep space. Naturally, Dead Space 2 continues the story of Isaac Clarke, the hapless engineering mute from the last game and locates him within a space station located in orbit around Saturn where the necromorph threat is set for a reappearance. The core gameplay looks to have remained intact, with tactical dismemberment, improved zero-G sections as well as all the violence and jump out scares of the original. Since the game is set within a city, the game also seeks to depict the way in which society crumbles into a state of decline, rather than making another haunted house as in the last game. An interesting idea, to be sure. It looks as if Dead Space 2 is going to be one of those bigger is better kind of sequels, more scope, more story, more weapons, more monsters, more moments that make you go ‘woah, holy sheit, I can’t believe what is unfolding before my very eyes’… Hopefully this won’t infringe upon the horror that worked so well in the first game.

Marvel Vs Capcom 3 – 18th February

I don't get it, looks like its straight out of a comic book.

The beat ‘em up genre has seen better days, since the glory days of Tekken 3 and Soul Calibur, but Street Fighter 4 has done something to rejuvenate the genre as of late and now we have the sequel to the mother of all fighters coming back, with Marvel Vs Capcom 3. If you ever were nerdy enough to question who would win in a fight between Wolverine and Ryu, or Dante and Magneto then here you go. Knock yourself out.

Homefront – 18th February

"Not like Modern Warfare, but..."

And so we come to the first in a long line of shooters set for release this year. Homefront is a new FPS set in modern times, but before you write it off as another modern warfare clone, take a step back, because the developers are convinced that it isn’t. And they should know. Homefront is set in the near future where America (shock horror!) is invaded by the forces of North Korea. The game supposedly places an emphasis on the civilians rather than the military, who rise up against their invaders wolverines style. I just hope developers have done plenty of reading into the reality of armed occupation and not just chosen to skip on the beats of Red Dawn, which Modern Warfare 2 certainly did. I also hope that the Korean forces are not voiced by the same people from Just Cause 2, because I don’t think I have the capacity to endure that ever again...

Bullet Storm – 25th February

Cliffy-B explains it all:"colon cleansing with lead"...

And lo behold, another FPS. What can possibly be the quirk behind this one? Well you might be surprised actually. Even slightly aroused… Made by the people behind the brilliant Painkiller and produced by Epic Games, Bulletstorm is a new uber violent sci-fi shooter involving drunken space pirates, a boot melee attack, an alien world inhabited by carnivorous plants and a light whip thing nicked straight out of Metroid Prime 3. Rather than focusing in upon the all important headshot, Bulletstorm requires you to get creative when administering death. Taking the ‘points are crack’ mentality from Call of Duty, the game requires you to pull off various skill shots, which have been outlined in the game’s recently released ESRB report. Moves like 'Drilldo','gag reflex', 'rear entry' and a shot that requires you to shoot an enemy in the exposed buttocks. Need I say more? The only problem I have with the game thus far is that it looks just a tad bit overly sweary and violent. Not that that is inherently a problem, but sometimes when games go in this direction they just feel juvenile or they’re trying too hard to make an impact. Remember, Duke Nukem Forever is coming out in April. 

Killzone 3 –25th February

Killzone 3 now with Ray Winstone and more DRAMA.
 Killzone 2 was a competent shooter in its own right with some of the best graphics ever seen on a console. Unfortunately, its colour palette was overly grey, set within the kind of industrial warzones you had seen in hundreds of other games that had gone before. On top of this, the game tried too hard in telling a rubbish story containing a cast of characters that nobody in the right mind could ever be forced into actually caring for. I mean remember your squad leader Rico? The sweary gun toting frat boy, who never helped you in firefights and always impatiently demanded you pick him ‘the fuck’ up every time he lay incapacitated on the floor. If Killzone 3 kills him horrifically within the first act, we could be on to a winner here folks. The controls are rumoured to be less sluggish than Killzone 2, plus there is a snow level and jetpacks… It is also supposed to look great on a 50 inch Sony HD flat screen in 3D, and play even better through a Playstation move sharp shooter peripheral. You ain't a PS3 fanboy until you've played Killzone 3 in this way. 

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – 28th February

I think this game looks awesome.

So Ghost Recon comes back after all these years to find the video game market swamped with all these modern warfare shooters. What direction can you possibly go? Well future warfare of course. Forget your ACOG scopes, your shotgun keys, your UAVs and all of that stuff. Bring in the Predator styled shoulder mounted tank busting rocket launchers, guns that can shoot around corners and Harry Potter style invisibility cloaks. The future is clearly where it is at. And of course Ubisoft are on something of a roll with their best titles, so long as you forget Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands... (don’t remind me). Fact is, Splinter Cell: Conviction was ace and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood finally nailed the Assassin’s Creed formula and need I remind you how good the Rainbow Six: Vegas games were? The tactical shooter is making a come back and we should all be grateful.

Dragon Age 2 – 11th March

Well thats enough Dickens for one day...

This reminds me, I still haven’t completed Dragon Age 1 yet… Hmm… should get back to it I guess. Especially if I want to play the sequel, which Bioware (darlings of the RPG genre) have churned out quite quickly. I guess you can expect the typical Bioware plot - you play a young mute of some kind of fantasy world extraction who must assemble a team of ultimate badasses to save the world from an ancient and dormant evil whilst engaging in the odd sex scene. Dragon Age 2 is supposedly implementing the dialogue tree as seen in Mass Effect, which will go to great lengths in improving the dialogue choices, I guess… Just remember when placed in one of the game’s many moral dilemmas, the first option will always be the saintly thing to do. The last option is the most dastardly thing to do, but you’ll probably get more reward, so happy days. Y'know, I know this will be a good game, but it honestly doesn't appeal to me. 

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