We are coming to the end of August, which means that the autumnal and winter seasons will soon hit us. While this is bad news for anyone currently in the middle of a holiday or fans of sunny weather, it means that we are slowly but surely moving towards the most exciting time of the year for gaming. The end of year schedule for games being released last year was nothing short of ridiculous, and while this year isn’t quite as filled to the gills with AAA titles, there are a few big hitting games that you will be enjoying soon enough. Last year. I wrote an article proclaiming the 20 games that I was most looking forward to, and in a very lazy show of journalism I am going to repeat the process…only this time I’ve narrowed my selection down to just 10 games after realising that I barely played many of the games I mentioned in the last list. So without further ado, here are the games that I am most looking forward to in the next few months.
10 – Call Of Duty: Black Ops II – 13th November
This game should really not be on this list, and I do hate myself for including it; I am still an avid hater of the general Call Of Duty movement, and I maintain it has outstayed its welcome in recent years. But…there is something about a futuristic setting which could breathe some life back into a series quickly running out of new ideas. The last time the series went ahead of its real life time-frame was the original Modern Warfare (in my opinion, still the best all round game in the series), and it worked because it felt somehow new and refreshing. Space age shooters aren’t exactly rare at the moment, but if Treyarch can pull off a convincing story with the whole Skynet-inspired storyline they appear to be following and make a game not reliant on tired set pieces, then it may just win back some of my faith. Maybe
9 – Playstation All Stars Battle Royale – 23rd November
This is one of those games that no end of speculating about will satisfy – the fighting roster is still coming together slowly piece by piece (announce Classic Crash for gods sake), and the trailer videos have done enough to convince me that is hasn’t copied Super Smash Brothers completely and is trying something a bit different. But I will not be happy with this game until I have sat down and played a couple of rounds of action – then I can get rid of or confirm the fear I have had about All Stars since it was announced; that it may actually be pretty average to play, no matter who gets announced. And that includes even the Bandicoot.
8 – Guild Wars 2 – 28th August
I admit I am cheating with this one, because the eagle eyed of you will have already spotted that Guild Wars 2 is out now as we speak. Or, perhaps you pre-bought it and have been investing an insane amount of hours already as two of my close friends have been. Despite a few initial hours of problems with login to the servers, this MMORPG (which has broken the trend by not having a set class for healing) has been running smoothly and is getting praise from the community. With excellent visuals, satisfying combat and an enormous world to explore, plus the benefit of no monthly subscriptions, Guild Wars 2 may become the first MMO I invest time into. I get the feeling I may not be the only one in this matter.
7 – FIFA 13 – 28th September
Another year, another copy of FIFA to set money aside for. Or is it? Despite adding some features that I have moaned about not having for what feels like centuries (player + cash deals and international friendlies in career mode) and refining crucial gameplay elements like passing and control, FIFA 13 hasn’t quite got the buzz for me that the last few games have had. In a rare case of events, I am finding myself still happily playing the current instalment, and I reckon I may wait a month or two before moving onto the next season rather than handing over all my money on the day of release. Then expect my usual blathering on about how ‘FIFA 13 is the greatest football game ever blah blah blah’. As per, it will be the demo set for release in September that will help sway my mind.
6 – Pokemon Black 2 & White 2 – October 12th
The first direct Pokemon sequels ever promise to bring a ton of changes to the world of Unova, whilst not actually adding any new monsters. Still, a more interesting plot, being able to fight old Gym leaders such as Lance, Gary and Cynthia in the new World Tournament mode, a host of physical changes to the environment as well as some serious tweaking to game mechanics such as breeding, nature and abilities should ensure that Black 2 & White 2 are good follow ups to a game which was solid if unspectacular. These titles will also probably be the last hurrah for the Pokemon series on the DS before it moves onto future, more 3D orientated adventures.
5 – Resident Evil 6 – October 2nd
Three times longer than Resident Evil 5 with more emphasis on horror and the return of the coolest leather jacket in gaming? I’m in. Featuring Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield and Albert Wesker’s son as the three protagonists in three very different playing chapters, Resi 6 should offer the best of both worlds to longtime fans of the series and those who defended the more action orientated fifth game. A demo is scheduled for September 5th for anyone who wants to get hands on with some authentic zombie killing action
4 – Persona 4: Arena – Soon???
Were it not for delays, then P4: Arena would already be here on European shores waiting to be bought. As it stands, while Japan and America already have the game, we are stuck and have to wait a few more months for a game which appears to have successfully blended the narrative and style of the excellent Persona 4 with the solid fighting mechanics of the Guilty Gear/Blazblue series. This is genuinely the first fighting game in years that I have really looked forward to owning and getting good at. Now we just await a solid release date and then the ass kicking can begin!
3 – Halo 4 – November 6th
Last year, 343 Industries dipped their toes into the after-Bungie Halo universe with Halo: Anniversary; but this year they are giving us the real deal. Halo 4 will no doubt be the flagship title for the Xbox 360 this Christmas, and many questions are still to be answered. Will 343 capture the same feeling that Bungie employed to such good effect? Will the multiplayer with its new class and levelling up orientation be any good? Will Master Chief still need a weapon? All this and more will hopefully come to light when the game drops at the start of November – one week ahead of that other popular shooter mentioned above.
2 – Need For Speed: Most Wanted – November 2nd
One of the things I have regretted over the past two years was not buying Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit when it came out in 2010. Well, I’m not going to make the same mistake this year when British developers Criterion get their hands on the famous EA marquee for the second time. Most Wanted may not be bringing back the ‘Pimp My Ride’ attitude that the original carried, but the cop chases and the Blacklist are back, as well as a very fun looking multiplayer component, a wide open city ala Hot Pursuit and the introduction of Autolog 2.0. It’s been a very long time since I had a racing game I really enjoyed – I am pinning a lot of hope on Most Wanted being that game
1 – Far Cry 3 – November 28th
Ever since its announcement at E3 2011, I have had nothing but positive vibes from Ubisoft’s upcoming first person jungle based action adventure. Building on everything that Far Cry 2 did well, and completely scrapping the crap parts was objective number one, and then Ubisoft have built upon that by offering players an enormous tropical island to wreak havoc in, a better combat system utilising stealth and improved levelling up systems, and a very interesting plot which threatens to mess with ones mind quite a bit as the antagonist Vaas tells us about ‘the definition of insanity’. Also, what other game allows you to let loose tigers on unsuspecting pirates? None, that’s what. And we still have more details about the map editor to be revealed. It may have been delayed from September to November to allow for some extra polish, but otherwise it’s all looking peachy if you ask me.
It’s not exactly a bad selection of games to be looking forward to is it? That list doesn’t even include some other notable titles, such as Assassins Creed III, Hitman Absolution and Borderlands 2. It also doesn’t feature any Nintendo home console games either – the future of the Wii U is still up in the air, and its performance over this period will no doubt be a contentious point of debate for many gamers. And then looking a bit further ahead into the new year, there’s the likes of Sim City, Bioshock Infinite and DmC to drool over…oh yeah, and the small issue of Grand Theft Auto V. What are you all looking forward to then?