We've been keeping this article updated as games slip from 2012 to 2013, and now that the few stragglers have fallen off this callender year we wanted to revisit it, one more time, and to find out what you're excited for.
But that doesn't mean the next few months are bleak. On the contrary - they're jam-packed with goodness, and we've once more updated our list of what's remaining to reflect just how good the rest of the year is. Here are the 20 biggest, best-looking games that are still (maybe) coming out in 2012.
Far Cry 3 (December 4, 2012)
Ubisoft's Far Cry 2 is one of the best atmospheric shooters of the generation, a fact that makes our excitement for Far Cry 3 nearly insatiable. The developers have turned in their Apocalypse Now inspirations in favor of something a bit more maddening, plunging players into an island of insanity filled with mentally-unstable individuals with high-powered weapons. So far it looks like an absolute blast, with bright, colorful environments that are a few pallets away from most other shooters this generation, and we're anxiously anticipating being able to explore the open-world this September.
Darksiders II (August 14, 2012)
We didn’t expect much from the first Darksiders, so imagine our surprise that it ended up one of our favorite games of early 2010. Yes, the game borrowed heavily (and obviously) from Zelda and God of War, but it was still loads of fun, and we hope to get the same from the sequel. Darksiders II follows Death, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as he explores the ruined Earth looking for answers. The devs boast that the world is twice the size of the first game and features at least one Shadow of the Colossus style boss fight.
Starcraft: Heart of the Swarm (Late 2012)
Blizzard confused us when it revealed that StarCraft II would be split into three portions. But after playing through the fantastic, lengthy story we realized exactly why Blizzard saw to crack the game in thirds: the story it’s telling is massive, and would really benefit from having time to develop and flesh out. The addition of new units for multiplayer doesn’t hurt, either, even if we’re still too scared to play online anymore after what happened last time…
New Super Mario Bros. 2 (August 19, 2012)
Announced out of the blue before E3, after playing the first true sequel to New Super Mario Bros, we were struck by how different it was from its sister title on Wii U. NSMB2 is built around competitiveness and reaching constantly upping your high score. You're constantly pushed to collect thousands coins with multiple opportunities to compare your high scores to friends. After continually simplifying the New Mario series, NSMB2 seems like it might be the return to hardcore gameplay.
Resident Evil 6 (October 2, 2012)
Zombies might be a dying fad (PUN!), but Resident Evil is readying its sixth entry in the franchise to show the world just how threatening the undead can be. With a story that looks to be the most epic in series history, bioweapon attacks are happening on a global scale, the President of the United States became a zombie, and the world seems on the brink of extinction from a deadly new virus. In order to save the world, series mainstays Chris Redfield and Leon Kennedy are teaming up for the first time while working with new partners including the supposed son of Albert Wesker. Can this possibly live up to all this potential?
Assassin’s Creed III (October 30, 2012)
For the first time in four years, the Assassin's Creed series is taking another jump in time, landing on a bale of hay in Revolutionary-era America. Connor is fighting through the Revolutionary War in Washington and New York in what looks like the biggest Assassin's Creed yet, with new mechanics (like hunting, gathering, and climbing trees) fleshing out the already robust Assassin's Creed experience. Every bit of information on the new title makes us even more excited to try it out, and to see just where this series is going to go next.
Hitman Absolution (November 20, 2012)
After taking some time off to hang out with sociopaths like Kane and Lynch, IO Interactive returns to its favorite dispassionate killer, Agent 47. Absolution is the first Hitman game in some time, and early reports say the game is more focused on violence than ever before. Can Absolution balance that with Hitman’s tradition of logical, methodical gameplay?
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (October 23, 2012)
Sony's take on the Smash Bros. brand hasn't completely wowed us yet, but we have high hopes that extended time with the game might turn our frown upside down. Battling the likes of Parappa against Kratos and Jak taps into our deepest fanboy fantasies, and we're really looking forward to seeing the full roster, and seeing just how the game's singleplayer will work. If it's half as cool as the campaign in the last Smash Bros. game we're sure that it will be one of the best things ever.
Guild Wars 2 (August 28, 2012)
ArenaNet's Guild Wars wasn't technically an MMORPG, as it lacked several elements that are typically associated with the genre. Guild Wars 2, on the other hand, is every bit as much an MMO as anything else out there, and looks to come packed with some amazingly original ideas, including exploration-driven gameplay, the ability to down-level to play with friends, and PvP that is different than any game we've ever played.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (November 9, 2012)
Treyarch is back at the helm for Black Ops 2, which finally moves the Call of Duty series out of the past and present and into the (near) future. Though it doesn't look like it's going to completely reinvent the Call of Duty formula, some of the new elements definitely appear to be spicing things up quite a bit, and we're sure to lose a few dozen hours in competitive multiplayer and the revamped zombie mode when it releases later this year.
Halo 4 (November 6, 2012)
The Halo name might not be as big as it was in 2007, but Master Chief's FPS are still some of the biggest out there. This next entry is the first that'll be made without the guiding hand of series-creators Bungie, but that doesn't dampen our excitement. If anything, the possibility of change is what has us the most optimistic for this sequel – maybe the new developer will take risks where Bungie wouldn’t, or make changes that the original developer would have considered to be blasphemous.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (October 9, 2012)
We’re guessing fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when the apparently blasphemous XCOM – a ‘60s-set, first-person reboot of the beloved strategy series – was shoved into next year to make room for this turn-based strategy game from Civilization developer Firaxis. Challenging players to not only fight tactical battles but to build their own clandestine UFO-hunting agency, this could be hugely addictive if done right.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Late 2012)
Back in early 2011 we’d rank “sequel to Luigi’s Mansion” high on our list of things that will never happen. Proving that you can never say never in gaming, the less famous Mario brother is getting another shot at stardom on the 3DS. The demo we played last year played very similar to the original, as we explored a haunted house and played Ghostbuster with a modified vacuum cleaner. Our early impression is that developer Next Level looks on track to produce another marvelous G-rated survival horror adventure.
Borderlands 2 (September 18, 2012)
The original Borderlands was great – blowing apart enemies was a blast, and looting randomized gear from their corpses brought back nostalgic memories of hours lost in Diablo II – but it was definitely one of those games that felt like, with a sequel, it could be truly outstanding. This year, we get that sequel, and so far it looks to be living up to our lofty expectations. Gearbox has enhanced nearly every element of the game, blowing out the story, graphics, co-op, and, of course, the weapons, to create the Borderlands sequel we desperately wanted. The classes look much more developed, too, with each coming with a suite of customization options to make sure your Gunzerker stands out from the other Gunzerkers on the battlefield.
Sleeping Dogs (August 14, 2012)
What do you get when you combined the shooting of Max Payne, the driving of Just Cause, the melee of Arkham City, and the open-world of Grand Theft Auto? Besides a lot of bloodshed, you get Sleeping Dogs, formerly known as True Crime: Hong Kong. The United Front-developed open-world shooter/driver/explorer has blown us away time we’ve had a chance to play it, and we couldn’t be more excited to try out the full game later this year. Everything about the game screams AAA, from the high-quality voicework to the stellar controls. United Front is really doing a wonderful job at merging together the best aspects of different games to create an extremely polished experience, and one that has the potential to be the best games of the year.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (Late 2012)
Sporting multiple playable characters and new powers granted by special disguises, Sly’s overdue sequel looks to hit all the right notes, even though there’s a new developer in charge. Usually, it’s not the greatest sign when a mascot game gets handed off to a new developer –which in this case is relative newcomer Sanzaru, taking over for Sucker Punch – but the new guard assures us they’re big fans of the series, and they seem to have a firm grasp of what Sly’s about.
Pokemon Black and White version 2 (October 7, 2012)
Some dismiss Pokemon as a predictable series that remakes the same game over and over again (a reductive and wrong assessment). Still, even diehard fans expected Nintendo and Game Freak to pump out a follow up to Black and White in the tradition of Yellow/Crystal/Platinum, but instead we’re being treated to a true sequel. There won’t be many new Pokemon (though there are two new forms of Kyurem), but the plot is fresh. You start in a new town, fight new (and classic) Gym Leaders, and the story that picks up a after the events of the first game. Since The first BW had the best campaign in series history, we’re looking forward to seeing how this continues.
Dishonored (October 9, 2012)
It’s always nice to see a publisher get behind a new series, though it makes sense Bethesda would take a chance on Dishonored based on the team involved. Boasting creators whose resumes include Half-Life 2, Thief, and Deus Ex, early reports say that the darkly violent game has some brains to go with the blood. With added emphasis on stealth and choices, could this be the next groundbreaking FPS?
Paper Mario: Sticker Star (Holiday 2012)
If you ever ignored the incredible Mario RPGs that have been released over the last 20 years, this year is the perfect time to catch up. For the first time a Paper Mario title is coming to handhelds, with the same action-focused gameplay but with even less emphasis on the standard RPG fare of XP and equipment. Stickers are the name of the game (literally), with Mario exploring his comically flat world and collecting all the stamps he can to use in attacks and puzzles. It's another clever addition for a series known for continually trying new things.
Zombi U (Late 2012)
After checking out the line-up at E3, Wii U has a good deal of non-Nintendo software in the works, but almost all of them are ports. One of the few eye-catching originals, ZombiU got our attention with a snazzy cinematic trailer, then kept our attention with a very fun playable demo. Zombies and FPS titles might not be all that new, but the controls feel right and it takes advantage of the built-in touch screen in interesting ways.
Wii U launch games (Before the end of 2012)
This technically isn't one game, but a currently unknown number of games. At E3 Nintendo and its third party friends took the lid off most of the games planned for the launch window this year. Nintendo themselves have their presumed killer app Nintendo Land, its gift to longtime fans in Pikmin 3, and a platformer for the whole family with New Super Mario Bros U. And let's not forget Wii U editions of Assassin's Creed III, Arkham City, Mass Effect 3, and Darksiders II, plus possible exclusives like Rayman Legends and ZombiU. It's not a perfect launch, but it looks a damn sight better than the 3DS's.
Delay chance: 0.0000001%. For these to not come out means Wii U won’t come out this year, and based on Nintendo’s most recent financial report, that’s very unlikely.
And (maybe) there's more (supposedly)!
That's just a small peek at 2012. Plenty of other big games are coming out, and we haven't even seen the Wii U's launch lineup yet. There's a chance it'll have a Mario, a Pikmin, a Zelda - who knows?
The point is, for as saddening as it is that both Tomb Raider and BioShock: Infinite have slipped to 2013, there's still plenty of goodness coming in the next seven months, and we're sure you'll be struggling to find time for them all by the time December rolls around.
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