Platform: Xbox 360
EU: September 20
Really, what do we need to say about this? It's Gears of War 3, man. Co-op, new Horde mode, new characters, rad multiplayer...we are all already in. If you're coming in fresh, it's worth your time to play the first two Gears games. If you're stubborn and refuse, well, this is a third-person shooter with tough dudes using chainsaw bayonets to bisect aliens. That's pretty rad, right? Go for it.
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
EU: September 20
We aren't willing to shell out $20 for a lot of HD remakes -- we'd have gone that far for Bionic Commando Rearmed, though, seriously that game was awesome. Time doesn't do a lot of our old favorites any favors. RE4 is one of the few standouts. This is its fourth port and it's held up beautifully each time. Leon Kennedy's spooky shooter pioneered a lot of what we now associate with modern games, and it should be great playing it in HD. Plus, it has all the bonus content the game's ever had. It's a lot of game, and at $20 it's a must-have. Go out of your way to play this if you haven't yet. It's a piece of history at this point.
Platform: Xbox 360
We’re considering writing this whole entry with boob jokes in every sentence, even though it would be positively juvenile, but come on. This Gradius-inspired, oddly named shooter is basically about boobs. Spending $50 on the Collector’s Edition even gets you a pillow case for bonus boobage. Ignoring the boobalicious box art and the serious amount of blatant in-game boobery, let’s acknowledge that Konami is doing hardcore shmup nerds a huge favour by bringing the titular excellence outside the island. Granted, it’s a favor you pay $30 for, but this is such an obscure game in a nearly forgotten genre that the fact we can play abreast with multiplayer pals is nearly miraculous. Heh. Abreast.
EU: October 28
What is it about Kirby that enables such goofy, cool, creative thinking from Nintendo? Epic Yarn was child's play, but it was the greatest, cleverest possible kind. Kirby Mass Attack gives us a group of Kirby clones to smash, squish, grab, break, and generally cause a ruckus in the vicinity of, well, whatever happens to be around. We'll miss the suck-and-spit Kirby, but we're down withflinging pink balls at enemies and mashing our team them into bigger Kirbys.
EU: Fall 2011
It is Frogger on a piece of plastic that conveniently fits inside a Nintendo 3DS game console.
EU: October 6
It's concerning that we haven't seen or heard a lot about this one considering how close we are to release -- it's out, uh, pretty much now as of this article's publishing. Sword of the Stars is a well-liked 4X strategy game. If you don't know what 4X means, it may be too late -- this is an incredibly complex strategy sub-genre that's as engaging as it is inaccessible. Publisher Paradox isn't known for half-assing its strategy games, since they've got a lock on the hardcore side of that market. The short version of what Lords of Winter is, though, is a sci-fi strategy game with space ships killing the crap out of each other. Good luck, or welcome back, depending on which side of the 4X spectrum you fall on.
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS
EU: September 23
Unless you're a hardcore F1 nut, the technical specifications of this series will evade you year over year. The short version of what makes F1 2011 special is, like past games, it's got at least a lot more realism, and the rain looks really, really, really good. Really, though, this is a Codemasters racing game that proves this publisher gets it -- few can pull of incredible racing like the Codies, and year over year F1 impresses the pants off its niche (and European) audience. The multiplayer focus for 2011 should round out the past games' shortcomings, leaving little room to wonder what's left for F1 to add next time.
They're really just going to neglect the Inno-Sin pun, huh? OK, fine. We got it. Persona 2: Innocent Sin has been a long-time coming. Finally, its high-school drama and demon-murdering is here, it's in English, and it looks hot. The remake's combat system got a few visual and technical tweaks to make it easier to keep up with, and the addition of some new sidequests will keep JRPG nerds busier than they already would be obsessing over P2. Because it's an Atlus release, and because Atlus rules, you'll score a soundtrack if you buy the physical UMD.
Platform: 3DS (Oct.), DS
In traditional Harvest Moon fashion, light conflict -- this time, two towns feuding over whose culinary expertise is superior -- fuels your farming. We plan on growing hella tomatoes to buy a house that'll impress a lady. Then we're gonna marry that lady, milk some fat cows and cook until everyone in both towns realizes we're better than everyone else. This will unite the towns. Hopefully in harmony, and not in a way that means they'll try to cook us. That'd be a hell of a Harvest Moon plot twist, though. We expect a lot of what's worked for this series in its 28 billion predecessors, which is fine. We're suckers, and we accept it.