to need a bigger bank account.
When you put
together a countdown of the 100 – yes, 100
– most promising, intriguing, exciting games of the year, and names
like Sonic, Star Wars, Tom Clancy and World of Warcraft don’t even
crack the top 90, you’d better start clearing your
schedule. And fortifying your wallet.
The premiere of brand new
franchises. The return of beloved old favorites. Innovative risk
takers and classic throwbacks. Massively budgeted blockbusters and
easily overlooked indie underdogs. Our 100 has a bit of everything,
but if we missed something you personally can’t wait to play, tell
us in the comments. And while there, share your
top five of 2012.
note: Any of these games could be delayed into next year or beyond.
Some almost certainly will be. For now, though, the following are
confirmed – or at least rumored – for release this year, so let's
bask in the glow of anticipation while we still can.
Kinect Star Wars
Why is Kinect
Star Wars at the very bottom of our list? What gameplay we’ve
experienced so far seems disappointingly simplistic and frustratingly
linear. Then why is Kinect Star Wars on our list at all? Because Star
Wars. And Kinect.
The mere potential of this combination, and the never-dying dream of
a proper motion-controlled lightsaber, keep us hoping. If nothing
else, at least we’re guaranteed a badass R2D2 360 in 2012.
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
Likely Fall 2012
of Warcraft is adding Kung Fu Pandas and Pokémon. Well, not exactly,
but it’s adding in the Pandarian race, the Monk class, and the
ability to capture and battle animals and monsters. So, yeah,
Blizzard is adding in adding Kung Fu Pandas and Pokemon. It’s
silly, and we’re not sure how well it will mesh with the rest of
the… ah, who are we kidding, Blizzard can add anything to World of
Warcraft and we'll take it as a welcome excuse to jump back in to
Azeroth with all of our friends.
Dead or Alive 5
Platforms: 360, PS3
DoA has been around in the form of portable titles and pervy
volleyball games, there hasn’t been a proper release in the main
franchise for six years. Dead or Alive 5 is Tecmo’s chance to
redefine the series and show that it’s more than jiggling breasts –
it’s about the combat, too. The newest catch includes an emphasis
on stages filled with cinematic action moments and QTE battles to
spice things up without getting too carnal. Can it be at the top
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
Platforms: XBLA, PSN, WiiWare
times when new Sonic is only 97th on a list of exciting games, but we
are cautiously anticipating this one nonetheless. Why? Because
despite its “unusual” physics, Episode I was actually strong,
especially if you started playing it at speedrun pace, where it truly
shone. All it needed was a different physics engine and a different
graphics engine (cough)… both of which we're getting here, along
with Tails and Metal Sonic to boot.
The Amazing Spider-Man
July 2, 2012
Platforms: As many as possible
last couple of Spider-Man games weren't awful, but they missed one of
the most important characters: New York City. This game, based on the
film reboot of the same name, has Spidey webslinging his way through
the Big (open world) Apple once again, which is exactly where he
belongs. Will this be as revolutionary as Spider-Man 2 was all those
years ago? Probably not, but it could be at least the best Spider-Man
game in recent memory.
Touch My Katamari
Platform: PS Vita
might be mostly more of the same rolling and gathering action, but
Touch My Katamari has still managed to pull us into its inescapable
gravitational well. The bright colors of the Katamari world look
amazing on the PS Vita screen, and the King of All Cosmos is as
charming and saucy as ever.
Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle
now, we’re really not expecting any major changes with a new
Professor Layton game. Developer Level 5 has its formula down and
because it’s such a great formula, we’re still looking forward to
the jump to 3D. We expect another engaging tale of mystery and will
be ready with our puzzle hats on to solve anything they throw at us.
February 21 (NA), February 24 (EU)
Platform: 360, PS3,
appears to be a generic sci-fi four-player FPS, but darn if it isn’t
super-slick and sexy. What we’ve played has a fantastically
polished feel, and the co-op dynamics where you face super tough
enemies and can heal each other constantly from across rooms gives it
its own flavor. It’s designed to be endlessly replayable like Left
4 Dead, with randomly placed enemies, and it features two full,
separate single-player and co-op campaigns.
UFC Undisputed 3
February 14 (NA), February 17 (EU)
Platforms: 360, PS3
happy to see that THQ decided to ditch its yearly cycle with UFC
games – with the extra time it has managed to improve the basic
gameplay, add in a submission system that won’t give us blisters,
and add in Pride mode, which is almost like including in a second
game. A second game where we can… kick people in the head while a
Japanese announcer screams in a language you can’t understand. In
other words: game of the year.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Release: May 22
(NA), May 24 (EU)
Platforms: 360, PS3
years after the last major installment in the franchise, Ghost Recon
returns with the same strategic, squad-based shooter gameplay fans
remember, but evolved and enhanced with futuristic new tools like
active camouflage (that makes you nearly invisible), a camera drone
(that you can now manually steer through the sky) and simultaneous
team headshots (that are too satisfying to describe).