We’ve heard the rumblings. The cries. The complaints. “2012 doesn’t look like it has that much going on; everything is in 2013,” people have murmured, and while it’s true that 2013 looks absolutely crazy, we don’t think it’s wise to write off 2012--not yet, at least.
There are still plenty of awesome, quality games coming out this year, giving you plenty of stuff to spend money on. From the Wii U’s launch lineup to new entries in the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor franchise, there’s a wide range of gaming goodness due out in the coming months, and we are super excited.
7. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (October 30, 2012)
What is it: A new take on the Most Wanted series by Criterion, the Burnout Paradise and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit developer, with all of the police-filled racing mayhem the franchise is known for. Also, an excuse to drive around and smash into stuff. It's that, too.
Why we're excited: After Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, we absolutely fell in love with Criterion’s ability to merge our loves for NFS and Burnout. And if Hot Pursuit was essentially Need for Speed: Takedown (which it was), then Need for Speed: Most Wanted is Need for Speed: Paradise, and that’s pretty freaking fantastic. We absolutely can’t wait to take on our friends in actual races and with the updated Autolog, which will likely expand on Paradise’s challenges to give us even more incentive to smash police cars into walls in Fairhaven City.
6. ZombiU (November 18, 2012)
What is it: Ubisoft’s zombie-filled launch title for the Wii U. In an interesting twist, the game sports a mechanic that has survivors dying after only one bite from a zombie, really playing up the “survival” part of this survival horror shooter.
Why we're excited: Though some think it might be this system’s Red Steel, we’re holding out hope that ZombiU will live up to its potential and prove how strong the Wii U’s GamePad can be. In our demos, we’ve seen the second screen used in incredibly inventive ways, forcing us to draw our attention away from the main screen in order to ramp up the fear factor of unlocking doors or fighting enemies. Hopefully this turns out to be more frightening and less annoying, since we could totally see this mechanic revamping the genre.
5. Dishonored (October 9, 2012)
What is it: A first-person adventure that lets you take control of a supernaturally powered assassin that can teleport, summon face-devouring rats, and stealthily stab guards in the neck as he seeks revenge in a stylized, Victorian world.
Why we’re excited: The virtual world is your oyster in Dishonored . Each level has a goal (or assassination target), and it’s entirely up to you on how to accomplish your mission. Want to go in all stealthy-like and trick your target into walking into a deathtrap? Dishonored lets you do just that, by giving you the ability to combine powers like summoning rat swarms and possession to sneak past the guards and initiate the kill. Alternatively, you can let your blood lust free and play Dishonored like an FPS. Instead of sneaking around you can slaughter your enemies in sword duels and unleash the full force of your powers by blasting them across rooms and out windows with a Jedi-like force push. You can even stop time to dodge bullets. It’s like a mix of Hitman, Mirror’s Edge, and Skyrim, and we’re totally psyched to get our hands on it.
4. Halo 4 (November 6, 2012)
What is it:Halo 4 picks up right after the last game’s finale, with Master Chief finding himself adrift in space aboard a wrecked UNSC frigate, accompanied only by his devoted (if increasingly addled) AI, Cortana. On the horizon sits the Forerunner planet Requiem, and it’s the mysteries of this ancient civilization that will drive Halo 4.
Why we're excited: “Something the others didn’t have,” Cortana says during the opening notes of Halo 3, is “luck.” It’s luck that makes Master Chief such a compelling character, and it’s that character that has us excited for Halo 4. John-117 has been disappointingly absent from the Halo franchise since 2007, after Bungie dedicated its two final Halo entries to other, moodier stories. We’re also obviously psyched for more multiplayer, as Halo’s has always been some of the best in the genre. Other elements, like promised weekly DLC for the first few months after the game’s release, have us ready to suit up and roll out this November.
3. Assassin’s Creed III (October 30, 2012)
What is it: The next entry in the Assassin’s Creed series, which brings the history-jumping franchise to Colonial America circa 1770, right as the Revolutionary War is about to kick off. It’s also likely the end of the current trilogy, with the events in modern day finally culminating in something besides a hub world.
Why we're excited: The Assassin’s Creed series has been one of our favorites for a long while now, and seeing it move towards a modern-day setting has us extremely excited. We were a little worried, at first, that the new locations in Assassin’s Creed III wouldn’t adapt all that well to the gameplay we’d come to expect from the franchise--but after playing it recently, our minds were put at ease when we began to wrap our head around the new mechanics, which prioritize aggressive combat ahead of standing around and waiting for people to fight you. Oh, and running around Boston throwing redcoats off of roofs was pretty fun too, we guess.
2. Far Cry 3 (December 4, 2012)
What is it: This non-canon sequel (see: you don’t have to have played the others) flies from Far Cry 2’s Africa setting to a tropical island full of maniacal psychopaths led by Vaas, a psychopath that makes the other psychopaths look significantly less psychopathic.
Why we're excited: FC2 might be one of the most underappreciated games of this hardware generation, but it wasn’t without its issues. One such problem was the lack of a true antagonist--early on, the Jackal is revealed to be more of a conflicted protagonist than a true foe, something Far Cry 3 fixes by introducing an enemy that’s as crazy as they come. We’re also super excited to return to the jungle, as it makes the guerrilla gameplay even more alluring, and should be more visually interesting than the bland, somewhat bleak deserts of Africa.
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (October 9, 2012)
What is it: Aliens have arrived, and they most definitely do not come in peace. As a member of an elite militaristic force, you’ll be the first response to this extraterrestrial threat, engaging the enemy in turn-based squad combat. Expect cover-based encounters punctuated by cinematic alien executions.
Why we're excited:XCOM: Enemy Unknown somehow manages the impossible: Turning a punishingly difficult, cult-classic PC strategy game into a riveting turn-based blast-‘em-up that’s fun for gamers of all walks. Accessible and addictive in that “just one more match” kind of way, EU’s shootouts start out tense and ramp up into chaotic, bloody firefights. No matter how far ahead you plot out your troops’ movements, it’s inevitable that those clever, grey-domed Sectoids will force you to devise a frantic Plan B. And then Plan C.
All the signs of gaming greatness are there, with vibrant graphics that make every exploding alien really pop, and a bevy of customization options to make your squad of E.T.-eliminating soldiers feel truly distinct. Given Firaxis Games’ pedigree (Civilization V, anyone?), it’s all but assured that XCOM will be invading our free time long after its imminent release.
Community Choice: Hitman: Absolution
This week everyone seemed split, mentioning different games that should be on the list, and at first it didn't appear that there'd be one, clear winner. After looking through the comments, tweets, and Facebook posts, though, we did notice one game rise above the rest: Hitman: Absolution.
Crazor89 put it best: "itman: Absolution would be on my list, basically I like assassinating people," and that's why he's on this list, too. The next Hitman game looks to be one of the best in a long time, with open-world assassinations and a slew of new changes. You can check out 9 reasons we're hyped for the Hitman: Absolution, too, if you need even more reasons to see why it's on the list.
Tell us what we missed
There are plenty of other amazing gaming coming in hot as the holiday season approaches, and we want you to tell us what game we missed. Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update the article later this week with your favorite game, so you can feel that your voice was honestly, truly heard.
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