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The games of January 2012

Hope you're still playing catch-up from last year, as the initial weeks of 2012 are incredibly light, with only a pair of anticipated downloadable offerings really holding down the fort. Luckily, the last day of January delivers a couple huge franchise entries and a promising new IP, but it's pretty slim pickings until then. Still, there are some solid picks to consider before then, so check out the list below and start picking your prey – or save up for February's larger barrage of PlayStation Vita launch titles and other big-name releases.

January 4

NFL Blitz

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

EU: Unknown

After dabbling in the world of unlicensed, narrative-based pigskin action, the Blitz brand emerged from the epic fumble of the Midway bankruptcy in the sure hands of exclusive NFL license holder, EA Sports. And just like that, NFL Blitz is back to the amped-up arcade approach of its original forbearers, bringing all 30 NFL teams to life with bulky players, massive hits, and wickedly speedy sprints. The new NFL Blitz arrives as a downloadable title for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, with the former version pegged for January 4 and the latter sure to launch within the week. As detailed in our hands-on preview, the new NFL Blitz sure looks like the classics, but arrives with some notable changes – hit the link to find out more.

January 10

Gotham City Impostors

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, PC

EU: Same

The initial prospect of a Batman-themed first-person shooter generated a large array of epic eye-rolls from gamers – and rightly so, considering the hero's history. But playing has often been believing for many skeptics, which have been turned into believers by Gotham City Impostors' unique take on online deathmatch battles, featuring over-the-top weapons and items used by wannabe versions of Bats and The Joker. With an art style that's more Team Fortress 2 than Arkham City, plus the guiding hand of F.E.A.R. developer Monolith, Gotham City Impostors looks to be an entertaining aside to the typical "Why so serious?" nature of the franchise. Check out our recent preview for more on these ludicrous copycats and their inventive arsenals.

My Pet Puppy 3D

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: N/A

If you didn't get enough of virtual 3DS canines in Nintendogs + Cats – and don't forget Ubisoft's Puppies 3D – then perhaps My Pet Puppy 3D can sate your urges come next week. Published by 505 Games, this $20 entry promises eight different breeds to choose from, along with rhythmic minigames, pet accessories, and training exercises and challenges at puppy kindergarten. Beyond that, we don't have much keen insight to offer on a budget release that looks nearly identical to Nintendo's flagship puppy-raising sim, which itself can be found in that same price range nowadays.

January 17

Order Up!

Platform: PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS

EU: Out

First released for Wii in 2008, Order Up! is making its way to both PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS for $30 a pop later this month, bringing a culinary experience that blends elements from the likes of Cooking Mama and Diner Dash. As in the former, you'll prepare dishes via a handful of simple activities, using either the PlayStation Move or 3DS stylus to chop up veggies and the like, while the influence of the latter is felt in the way you must also manage customers wants and needs. We found the Wii version fairly satisfying back when, but we'll see if the recipe still holds up when it hits fresh platforms in a couple weeks.

January 24

Silent Hill HD Collection

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

EU: January 27

It's poised to be a big year for the Silent Hill franchise, what with the impending multiplatform release of Silent Hill: Downpour and the mysterious Silent Hill: Book of Memories for PlayStation Vita. The horror party starts later this month with the Silent Hill HD Collection, however, which brings together remastered versions of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 with optional new voice acting alongside the expected high-resolution visuals. Both well-regarded scarefests can be had in this retail package for $40, with both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions due out on the same date.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2012

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: Out

The Nintendo 3DS version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 is already out in Europe, less than nine months after the 3DS version of PES 2011, but we'll be waiting a few weeks for the stateside release. Luckily, despite the quick turnaround between versions, it sounds like the 2012 entry is worth a look for handheld footie fans, as it includes online play (which the 3DS version of FIFA 12 lacks), as well as Become a Legend and World Play modes not present in the previous release. After the less robust launch-timed version, portable PES fans should be pretty pleased about what seems to be a much larger affair this time around.

The Sims 3: Master Suite Stuff

Platform: PC

EU: January 27

In this age of extensive downloadable content, it seems downright confusing to see a release listing for a disc containing nothing more than virtual furniture for a PC game that shipped back in 2009. But The Sims 3 continues to do its own thing with the Master Suite Stuff pack, which bundles a load of in-game bedroom and bathroom objects into a $20 retail package. And with a promise of "intimate apparel" on the cover, things are bound to get a little freaky – as if it wasn't already a bit odd to drop a Jackson on a slightly fancier virtual bed, fireplace, or bathtub.

January 31

Soulcalibur V

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3

EU: February 3

Soulcalibur V continues the beloved weapons-based fighting franchise with a new entry set 17 years following the previous one, in which both familiar characters and newcomers (including some descendants of existing heroes) battle it out for the titular sword. Ezio Auditore from the last three Assassin's Creed entries makes a surprise appearance as a playable fighter on both platforms, and wields many of his familiar weapons alongside an array of acrobatic moves. It's one of the additions we're most excited about, and if you're super stoked for the game, a Collector's Edition is also available with an art book, soundtrack, and exclusive character creator DLC.

Final Fantasy XIII-2

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

EU: February 3

Speaking of huge last-day January releases – the North American version of Final Fantasy XIII-2 is also due out at the end of the month, and while we loved its predecessor, some folks took issue with its strongly linear first half. Luckily, as evidenced by our extensive hands-on of XIII-2's initial hours, the follow-up lets you forge a unique path through the world and explore locations at multiple time points, which will hopefully appease fans of less-structured RPG experiences. Amusingly, XIII-2 also includes a nod to Ezio from Assassin's Creed via a costume for new lead Noel Kreiss. What's more, Final Fantasy XIII-2 earned perfect scores from Famitsu and another publication in Japan, and it feels like the hype is building with each new bit of info that surfaces.

NeverDead

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3

EU: TBA

Unlike the day's two other massive releases, NeverDead doesn't include any crossover content from Assassin's Creed (that we know of). What it does have, however, is the one-of-a-kind ability to dismember the immortal demon-hunting hero and use his limbs as explosive fodder, or roll his head around to solve puzzles before the rest of his body bursts back into existence (scope out our recent video preview for more). No doubt, Konami's new action IP looks to infuse some fresh ideas into the third-person shooter/melee experience; plus the grotesque beasts, witty repartee, and original theme song from Megadeth should add a little punch to the adventure, along with online four-player co-op challenges.

35 comments

  • Mamudo - January 6, 2012 11:40 a.m.

    I'll be getting Soul Calibur V day one.
  • talleyXIV - January 3, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    Weak month, eh?
  • Helios - January 3, 2012 11:48 a.m.

    Got FFXIII-2 Collector's Edition pre-ordered. Now I just have to wait. Other than that, the only other releases this month that look interesting to me are the Silent Hill HD Collection and Soulcalibur V.
  • FlyinHawaiian13 - January 3, 2012 7:33 a.m.

    There's 32 NFL teams. That being said I can't wait for Blitz. I still have a N64 and the original
  • quincytheodore - January 3, 2012 3:21 a.m.

    Silent Hill HD collection.. Konami is aiming for nostalgic sentimental, I know since I purchased MGS HD collection in Nov and currently seeing naked Raiden, all with his glorious nut grab, doing cartwheel. Ah, it takes me back... Soul Calibur V is more... polite, no? More clothed, less cleavage and silicon. FF XIII-2, I'm expecting it, but again it has shounen protag #143 otherwise known as Noel (not Vermillion, that'd be fine) replacing Lightning as main protag, it's Raiden-Snake all over again. How could they do that, to Lightning who's arguably the consensus agreed as the best thing that came out XIII despite all the complaints (just go along). They even strip Lightning a la X-2, because that's what everyone (fans and haters) want to see in a sequel. Amazing! Here's to Lightning spin-off in 2013, FF [ReDreaMagination] XIII-III. Viva La Squeenix!
  • minimaxi - January 3, 2012 10:26 a.m.

    FF XIII-3: Dream Dreamer Aurora Crustacea Potassium
  • TheZigMan - January 2, 2012 7:15 p.m.

    So its all crap...
  • GhostNappa2k10 - January 4, 2012 4:49 a.m.

    Have you even PLAYED Gotham City Imposters?! It's on par with Team Fortress 2 when it comes to quality in a multiplayer game!
  • TheZigMan - January 4, 2012 12:44 p.m.

    Its a copy of Team fortress 2. Not interested
  • shawksta - January 2, 2012 6:46 p.m.

    Thinking about Gotham city imposters, otherwise Final Fantasy 13 2 is obviously big, but lets see whats gonna happen, oh and Neverdead.
  • coltsfanca - January 2, 2012 6:26 p.m.

    Safe to say that Final Fantasy 13-2 is the going to be the Game of the Month...however, I think Soulcaliber is not too far away.
  • taokaka - January 2, 2012 5:35 p.m.

    FF XIII-2, SCV and SH:HD are all on my list of games that interest me but I'm kind of broke-ish, I only really have money to get a vita in February so I'll porbably skip SCV and SH:HD for now, I can't say no to FF XIII-2 though.
  • Errrrbo - January 2, 2012 5:14 p.m.

    I'm excited for both FF XIII-2 and Neverdead. I was one of the many people who hated FF XIII, but this new one really seems to have learned from past mistakes. Neverdead just looks like a flat out fun ride, with a unique game mechanic and a good sense of humor. I hope it doesn't completely bomb sales-wise. At least give it rent, people!
  • Cyberninja - January 2, 2012 5:13 p.m.

    SCV and FF 13-2 special editions are what i am getting this month
  • TheFabricOfTime - January 2, 2012 5:09 p.m.

    Gotham City Impostors looks good. Can't wait.
  • SunnyvaleTrash - January 2, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    I am somewhat interested in Neverdead, but I'll be waiting to read read GR's review. I have a feeling it's headed the way of Shadows of the Damned and Rayman: Origins.
  • DevonOO7 - January 2, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    Looks like I'll have time to 100% Rayman
  • KNITEpanda - January 2, 2012 5:04 p.m.

    Is there really no one else that is excited for Blitz? Or is it that the peoples in these comments are not of age to know of the old school Blitz games. Very sad indeed. The game is going to be amazing.
  • coltsfanca - January 2, 2012 6:23 p.m.

    I was excited for Blitz...until I realized I still have the N64 version. I might give it a chance if there are some HUGE improvements...but, in all honesty, the N64 one is perfect for me and I have it emulated on my computer...so I really don't care to buy it again.
  • SerpentineZERO - January 2, 2012 4:57 p.m.

    Didn't know SCV, FFXIII2 and NeverDead came out this month. NeverDead looks batshit crazy but kinda awesome, honestly.

Showing 1-20 of 35 comments

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