By transience 1 Comments
Release Date: 2011
Radiant Silvergun was a disappointing no-show at e3. Treasure has seemingly focused on Saturn brawler Guardian Heroes over this which, in my mind, is a real disappointment.
I have never played Radiant Silvergun and only kind of know what it's about. All I really need to know is that there are two Treasure shmups that are considered all-time games: Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun. Ikaruga is truly an amazing game with fantastic design. Radiant Silvergun is always in the conversation with Ikaruga when it comes to beat shmup ever. This version will add HD visuals, online multiplayer and an Ikaruga mode where you can switch polarities. I wish they'd say something more about this game because I've been really excited about it since they announced it at TGS last year.
9. Bioshock Infinite
Platform: PC, 360, PS3
Release Date: 2012
If Bioshock Infinite was playable in video form on the show floor, everyone would be talking about it as Game of Show. Instead, Irrational opted to show it in closed theaters where no video could be taken. Too bad.
Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games, is the game industry's #1 twisted genius. This guy might legitimately be crazy. He is the very definition of an artist. The things he is implementing in Bioshock Infinite - "vertical" gameplay, interactive setpieces that are completely mindblowing, the story of Booker DeWitt, Elizabeth and the Songbird - there's just nothing else like it. Every time I see Bioshock Infinite, I shake my head and go "there is no way this is actually interactive."
But every journalist I've read says that it is. It really works. And it's amazing. This isn't a walk-down-a-corridor game with huge explosions and minor interaction. This is a game that does that while you're jumping from skyline to skyline at breakneck speed and ripping apart the fabric of space-time.
My vote for best trailer of 2010 goes to the 10 minute gameplay demo of Bioshock Infinite. Watch it if you haven't. http://www.gametrailers.com/video/ten-minute-demo-bioshock-infinite/704932
8. Tomb Raider
Platform: PC, 360, PS3
Release Date: Fall 2012
So... I've never played a Tomb Raider game (that weird downloadable arcade-y game notwithstanding). I really didn't like early 3d and Lara's ridiculous proportions always made the game seem like shallow eye candy (and not even good eye candy). By the time Tomb Raider got legitimately good it had already faded from the public consciousness. I've heard the last 2-3 games are good but to be honest I don't even know what they look like.
Which is why my surprise of the show was the Tomb Raider demo at Microsoft's press conference.
Wow. Tomb Raider takes a page out of Uncharted's book and makes a strictly linear experience with great interactive setpieces. It's kind of funny what they're going for here since Uncharted was originally taking a page from Tomb Raider. There are lots of quick time events and scripted sequences. It's not the most interactive thing in the world.
But there is an edge to it that is really unlike other games. They are flat out torturing Lara Croft in this game. This isn't super cool badass Lara, this is shipwrecked, inexperienced 21 year old Lara. They tie her up, they set her on fire, they impale her, they nearly drown her. The whole presentation of this opening scene is claustrophobic and more than a little bit uncomfortable. This doesn't seem like a game focused on action and killing. This is a game focused on survival.
I love it. Uncharted will probably be a better game but it feels very much like Uncharted 2. Tomb Raider? This looks like it's going for a different kind of experience. The focus of the game seems much more on creating a gripping narrative than making a dumb-but-fun action movie. Tomb Raider also had a closed theater demo for the media much later into the game. Reports say that Lara shows a definite progression from clueless victim Lara to determined-to-live-at-any-cost Lara. It also gets a lot more interactive and less scripted. It sounds like they're really developing her character and I think that sounds really interesting.
My biggest concern is the puzzle aspect of Tomb Raider. I don't particularly want to sit there solving environmental puzzles. I hope they're interesting puzzles. This probably won't end up being the game for me, but damn, that demo left an impression.
7a. Street Fighter x Tekken
Platform: 360, PS3
Release Date: 2012
The phrase I keep coming back to with SFxT is "cautiously optimistic". I adore Street Fighter IV -- game of the gen, as far as I'm concerned -- but have always had a huge aversion to Tekken. I also don't like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 because of its complete insanity. My fighting game preferences are pretty rigid.
SFxT seems like a perfect middle ground between all three. It features a lot of MVC stuff like canceling normals from light to heavy, tagging characters in and having pretty wild combos. On the other hand, it also seems to be a game based on spacing and setting things up like Street Fighter. People who have played the game say that it feels "almost broken but not quite -- and because of that, it feels really exciting". That sounds great. This is being made by Ono's team which means it's the de facto followup to SF4. I don't expect it to be as good but I'd like to see where they go from here. If they can straddle the line between craziness and tight gameplay then I might really like this game. Even if it has Tekken characters.
7b. Street Fighter III Third Strike: Online Edition
Platforms: XBLA, PSN
Release Date: Summer 2011
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB_dN9xj5s4&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwAbYjBBLgM
If I were a 3s fan, I would be going absolutely crazy at what Capcom is doing here. In a good way.
This is Capcom's most expensive downloadable game to date -- more than Bionic Commando Rearmed, more than HD Remix, more than anything. And this is all despite it being an arcade-perfect port job.
Where did all of the money go? There is a ton of new features in this. It's got GGPO online which is, supposedly, the best lag-free online experience out there. It's got all kinds of in-game achievement progressions that lets you unlock all sorts of stuff. It's got 5-6 pages of dipswitches you can set that let you customize the kind of game you want to play -- no specials, no jumping, however the hell you want to play. It's got combo training. It's got parry training. It's got 8 player online lobbies with spectator mode. It's got trials.
You want to know how fan-friendly this is? There is a trial called Evo Moment #37.
Yeah. That one. Watch the videos linked above. The guy running them clearly knows his 3s and is super jazzed about the game. It makes me want to play it even though I haven't played SF3 in ten years.
This could be great. I'm probably more excited about this than I am about SFxT because it's actually coming out soon and because the online experience looks great.
6. Asura's Wrath
Platform: 360, PS3
Release Date: 2012
So, I like God of War more than Ninja Gaiden or Bayonetta. I prefer my big action games that are a spectacle more than a precise gameplay experience. Show me some ridiculous boss fight with a crazy sense of scale and I'll be satisfied. I don't want a really tough, rewarding experience with action games generally. I like dumb games.
Enter Asura's Wrath. No game is dumber than this.
It's only barely interactive, a game of dumb boss fights where you do stupid QTE-like things and blow up the sun or something. But it takes everything that's ever been done before and just trumps it in the stupidest of ways. This is, I think, the first boss. I'm not sure if any game has a sense of scale like this on the last boss, let alone the first. If this game has 5-6 more of these, somehow ramping up the scope each time, I'll be satisfied. I don't care if it's 5 hours. I don't care if it has zero replay value. Let me assassinate the solar system. Let me slice a planet-sized elder god's head off and punt it into orion's belt. Let me dragon punch a hole in space-time that creates a black hole and destroys the entire andromeda galaxy. It'll make no sense at all.
It'll be fun.
5. Batman: Arkham City
Platform: PS3, 360, PC, WiiU
Release Date: 10/18/11
At first I was disappointed with what I saw of Arkham City. It's still got the same combat, just with more moves. It added a new character but it's basically just a reskin of Batman. It's not like she'll play differently in combat and I somehow doubt she'll be traversing in the air like Batman does.
But then I saw the world and wow. This is Assassin's Creed: Batman Edition. I always compared AC to Arkham Asylum because both do multiple enemy combat but Batman does it better. It feels better, it flows better, it sounds better. But Arkham City is now an open-world kinda thing where you can fly above the city and descend upon your enemies.
The thing that always made me love Arkham Asylum is that Batman is a straight-up stalker. I don't care about the comics or the character but I love the feeling of being able to scare the crap out of guys and just pick them off one by one. Not even Solid Snake can scare the ever-loving hell out of someone like Batman does in Arkham Asylum. If you add some open-world elements where you can sneak up on guys and tie them up without anyone seeing you? This game should be great. We shouldn't need to rely on jumping from gargoyle to gargoyle and detective vision is much improved.
This game should be great. I was super skeptical of a sequel to Arkham Asylum because it was so fresh and self-contained, but they're proving that they're not just remaking the same game. Even if the combat is similar.
4. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2
Release Date: 8/28/11
I love this series and would love a new one. This was almost #1 on my list. I think I like DQM more than the regular DQ series. They're the most addicting things on the planet -- a game dedicated to endless progression and constantly building better monsters. Some people get into Pokemon, I get into this game. I cannot wait to drop dozens of hours into this addictive mess.
And then I found out what it was.
Joker 2 got an enhanced version in Japan a few months ago called Professional. Professional is like the third version of a Pokemon game -- Platinum or whatever the other corresponding third games are.
Square is bringing over the first version instead of Professional. Professional adds 100 monsters, new areas and has better online play. Joker 2.. is actually a big improvement on Joker 1, featuring 100 more monsters than that game and peer-to-peer online play instead of the busted mess that Joker 1 was. It should be awesome.
But I still feel like we're being gypped here despite finally getting a game that I've been super excited for for almost two years. I know that somebody will eventually release a translation patch for the superior Professional. People have been working on it for a while already and won't stop.
This'll still be better than Joker 1 and I loved Joker 1. Gotta keep telling myself that.
3a. Hero 30 Second
Release Date: 8/4/11 (Japan), TBA (USA)
Half-Minute Hero is probably my favourite RPG this gen even though it's only barely an RPG. It's really unique and refreshing, the kind of thing you want from a new IP. It spends most of the game parodying RPG tropes until the end where the story comes together and it actually becomes legitimately awesome.
Hero 30 Second strips away all of the other modes and goes for a pure RPG experience. The RPG is by far the best part and is the reason everyone gets it. I've played the demo for this game and the missions are far more connected and cohesive instead of just being these silly "you called me a bird! I'M GOING TO DESTROY THE WORLD" plots. (Of course, it still has that stuff too. HMH is awesome.)
The thing is, with the PSP being DOA here, is anybody going to actually localize this game here? I'd like to think XSeed will but I'm never sure. I'll still play the Japanese version just like I played the Japanese version of the original, but I'd love some a localization.
3b. Half-MInute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax
Release Date: 6/29/11
SUPER MEGA NEO CLIMAX is a XBLA port of the original with some bonus missions, online leaderboards and online multiplayer. It's got a new visual style that, in my opinion, is atrocious, but fortunately you can still play the pixelated version. They've put next to no media out on this and they haven't said how the new missions will be unlocked (probably DLC), but XBLA on a platform people actually own is great and I hope it does well. I'll buy it for sure, even if all I really want is the sequel. Maybe HMH2 can come to XBLA as well.
2. Xenoblade Chronicles
Release Date: September (Europe), TBA (America)
This game just pisses me off. It is completely insane that this game isn't coming out here. For the second e3 in a row, Xenoblade was a no-show. Nintendo of Europe announced it will be released and multiple voice actors have said that it's expected to be released in September. Despite this, there has been utterly no mention of a release in America. This is so inconceivable that I have a hard time even believing it's coming out in Europe. I keep coming up with weird explanations, like "Nintendo wants to stop supporting the Wii" or "NoA doesn't have anything else coming out so why make it seem like the Wii still exists?" or my personal favourite, "Reggie played FF13 and has a personal vendetta against the entire genre". Fortunately, hacking a Wii is super mega easy so a European release is as good as an American one. I just think it's insane.
Anyway, Xenoblade looks like the anti-FF13 - wide open environments, a game based on exploration, great music, cool setting. I think being in standard def has allowed the team to make a really expansive RPG that doesn't cost a quadrillion dollars. THE ENTIRE GAME TAKES PLACE ON THE BODIES OF TWO DEAD GODS. There was a recent poll in Famitsu and Xenoblade was rated as the best RPG of this generation. I've played a few minutes of it and it has that special magic that the great RPGs have. You start playing it and you get a big smile on your face. It's an undefinable quality that sets this game apart from other RPGs released this generation. I hope that feeling stays throughout the game.
1. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
Developer: Fuelcell Games
Release Date: July/August 2011
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is pretty unique. This is a game headed by a guy that has zero experience with video games. Michel Gagne, a famous animator that has worked for Pixar and Disney and is largely responsible for the special effects in Ratatouille and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, has not played a video game since Doom. When development on this project started four years ago, he thought about buying a current-gen console and learning what video games are like but decided against it because he didn't want to copy what was already out there. He wanted to go in not knowing anything.
What he's created is basically a Metroid game with awesome as hell art. ITSP is creepy and foreign in the same ways that a Metroid game is, only with much better animation. Everything in ITSP looks so fluid and natural, largely because the guy making it is a world-class animator. It's a dual-stick shooter at heart, but you gain new abilities and find tons of secret paths all over. There's no HUD at all which makes the game feel even more natural. I haven't played it but I imagine this is a game without any explicit storytelling. It'll be more like Super Metroid than, say, Metroid Fusion or Outland.
The music fits the game so well, too. Dimmu Borgir is doing some of it, actually. When you're a world-class animator you can call in favours like that. It's kind of crazy that an ambitious project like this is destined for downloadable services, but hey, I love me some $10-$15 Metroid action. Between this and Outland, this may be the year of Metroid games.
Still one of the best trailers ever -- http://www.gametrailers.com/video/exclusive-extended-insanely-twisted/52779