Roundtable #4 – Our Most Anticipated 2012 Games


With 2012 upon us, Nester, Jason X and I ruminated on what games we were stoked about that are coming out this year.  I’ll get the ball rolling:

Wii

The Wii is on its last legs, but there’s four games I’m excited about, with one guaranteed to arrive in America (I’m banking on at least one other, Nintendo of America!).

THE LAST STORY (Nintendo/Mistwalker, February 24, 2012 [EU])

Let me put it this way – I’ve been considering importing this. I hope Xenoblade Chronicles sells like bananas and Nintendo of America can be bothered to bring over this game as well, but I’m very iffy on that circumstance, and if I can conjure up the price to ship it over by the time February rolls around, I’ll do it. I want this game that badly.  It’s tragic that that probably won’t happen, though. :(  So buy Xenoblade, everyone!

XENOBLADE CHRONICLES (Nintendo/Monolith Soft, April 2, 2012)

My pre-order is complete and I’m merely waiting for the game now.  I really wanted to support this endeavor, and I hope it helps get more titles like it out here. Doesn’t hurt it’s been so wonderfully reviewed. :)

DRAGON QUEST X (Square-Enix, ?)

Nintendo has, to its credit, been very kind to the Dragon Quest fandom the last two years, picking up Square-Enix’s slack and localizing Dragon Quest IX, VI and Monsters 2 Joker. I have a sneaking hunch that DQX will see American shores, but only the Wii U version. If NoA surprises me by doing the Wii one as well or instead, well, you’ve probably got my money.

PANDORA’S TOWER (Nintendo/Ganbarion, Q2 2012 [EU])

This action game from Ganbarion looks fascinating, and while it tends to be overshadowed by Xenoblade and The Last Story, it would be joyous if this too made its way across the Pacific to America.

PS3

Here’s the six games I’m most excited about for the PS3 this year.

NI NO KUNI: THE ANOTHER WORLD (Namco-Bandai/Level-5, TBA 2012)

Level-5 and Studio Ghibli’s beautiful RPG attracts my attention quite heavily. It’s lush looking, has quirky character design and sounds intriguing. I’m definitely psyched about having the chance of taking this for a spin.

TALES OF GRACES F (Namco-Bandai, March 13, 2012)

A new Tales title? Man, I am pretty jazzed about the prospect.  It’s coming out at an awkward time for me, but I do intend on picking it up posthaste.  I have enjoyed what little I’ve played of the franchise, and I hope this matches up to Symphonia in terms of enjoyment.

SLY COOPER: THIEVES OF TIME (Sony/Sanzaru Games, May 31, 2012)

I adore Sly 2 (and like Sly 3), so another game in the series is good news in my book. I hope Sanzaru can maintain the engaging gameplay and character relationships that Sucker Punch did so well – early indications are pointing towards yes.

RESIDENT EVIL 6 (Capcom, November 20, 2012)

This was a pleasant surprise!  I do love me some main series RE, especially when Leon is involved as a protagonist (RE2 and RE4 are my favorites by a long shot).  The mix of zombies, plagas and new enemies intrigues me, and I hope that the mix of three separate stories can combine into on cohesive package of goodness.

SOUL CALIBUR 5 (Namco-Bandai, January 31, 2012)

I haven’t been this interested in a new Soul Calibur title in quite some time.  This one seems to be swinging the balance back into what made the first game so good, and has some refinements and additions that seem to be evolving the gameplay.  Here’s to it being a solid sequel that fixes many of the issues I’ve had with the second and third chapters.

RESIDENT EVIL: OPERATION RACCOON CITY (Capcom/Slant Six, March 20, 2012)

Grace and I dug SOCOM 3 a lot on the PS2, and this seems to be a decent comparison to that series, but with ZOMBIES. :p  I don’t know if Slant Six is up to the task (little gameplay has been shown), but the premise is interesting enough for me to be curious.

 At this early point, my most anticipated game of 2012 is Xenoblade Chronicles. Nearly everything I’ve heard about it sounds like just the RPG I’ve needed to get back into the genre. And I would be equally looking forward to both The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower should they also make it across the ocean.

Next up is SSX (formerly SSX: Deadly Descent). After the amazing SSX 3 in 2003, the series got a little lost and ultimately went downhill. (Har har!) Hopefully this revival will bring the snowboarding series back closer to its original appeal.

Although there’s no official confirmation, based on rumors and the success of the original, I think it’s a fairly safe bet that Epic Mickey 2 is in the works. Whether or not it would actually be scheduled for a 2012 release remains to be seen, but in any event, I’m a big fan of the original, and I look forward to see where this series goes.

Finally, there’s Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II. I actually enjoyed Episode I, and as Sonic Team has directly addressed criticism of the first, the second could shape up to be even better.

Of course, who knows what other tantalizing games will be announced before year’s end.

2012 will either be known of one of two things: It will be the year that the world ends according to a completely arbitrary belief system, or Ron Paul will lose. It’s still too early to say for sure if any Ewoks would do their little victory dance after the latter, but I’m willing to put even money on it.

Aside from that, 2012 will also see a long list of new video game releases. People complain about the fourth quarter rush each year, but really, there’s never a “slow” time for games. I usually spend January – August catching up on whatever I missed from the previous year. The following are the games I’m interested in picking up over the next 12 months. Will my wife allow me to spend this much money on something as discretionary as electronic entertainment? Only time will tell.

Final Fantasy XIII-2

I’m not using hyperbole when I say that playing FFXIII was worse than all three of the kidney stones I’ve had in my life. Those caused me unimaginable pain that seemed to never end…but at least I didn’t pay $60 for any of them.

So why would I be excited about the sequel to such an awful, awful game? Well, mainly because it seems to have addressed most of the criticisms people had about the last one. The world is no longer composed entirely of a straight line from plot point to plot point. Supposedly the combat system opens up much more quickly, as well. By all accounts, it also features 100% less Hope and Snow, which really seals the deal for me.

We’ll see how it turns out in the end.

Soul Calibur V

Not much to say about this one. It’s Soul Calibur, so you know it’s going to be good. A lot of people bitched about SCIV, but aside from the Star Wars characters feeling entirely out of place, I didn’t see what the problem was. It was just more of the same stuff we’ve enjoyed in the past.

That’s really all I’m looking for with this one, though the idea of being able to play as Ezio Auditore is also interesting.

Mass Effect 3

Unless some huge announcement is made later in the year, I’m pegging this as my most-anticipated release in 2012. I can’t wait to see how the choices from the first two games import into the final entry in the trilogy. Will the Illusive Man get his comeuppance? Will Garrus learn how to smile? Will Ashley bust out my teeth for banging Miranda?

I need to know!

Street Fighter x Tekken

Truth be told, I really can’t stand the Tekken franchise. I’m really more interested in the fact that this is another Capcom vs Random Other Company game. Really, if they just dropped this entire idea and gave us Capcom vs SNK 3, I’d mail them my money today.

Silent Hill HD Collection

It doesn’t get much better than SH2 and 3, but when you add Achievements to them, my excitement goes to 11. I have to wonder how well the new voice actor for James will sound, but aside from that, I don’t see how this could possibly get screwed up.

And now I’ve jinxed it.

Silent Hill: Downpour

On the other end of the spectrum, we have SH: Downpour. I won’t mince words. Homecoming was absolute shit. I’m sure the people at Double Helix meant well, but good intentions aren’t enough to craft a solid experience in this series.

I want to believe. Honestly, I do. I’ve just been burned too many times by Konami to hold out much hope for this one. So why is it on this list? Because I’m a sucker that buys every game in a franchise once I get into it. That’s really part of the problem, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

People like to complain about how the RE franchise doesn’t change much from game to game. That’s certainly true, but I’m not sure I would know how to feel about something that appears to be Rainbow 6 + Raccoon City. I really enjoyed both of the Outbreak games, but you were playing as ordinary people in those. We’ll see how well this new idea plays out after it ships.

Devil May Cry Collection

By all accounts, DMC2 is the black sheep of the Devil May Cry family. It isn’t much fun, that’s definitely true, but I’m dreading a replay of DMC3 a whole lot more. That game was just vicious in its difficulty settings. Supposedly the Special Edition toned things down a bit, but I got the original when it launched in 2005, so I have no idea if the changes helped at all or not.

It’ll be interesting to see how well these three hold up by today’s standards when it comes out.

Tales of Graces F

It’s kind of annoying that we aren’t getting Xillia, but at least we’ll be receiving the improved PS3 port of Graces. Then again, I’m not exactly in a rush for this one. I still haven’t beaten Symphonia, the Abyss or Legendia.

Xenoblade Chronicles

I really didn’t think this was going to happen. Thankfully it did, though. My Wii has been making really pathetic coughing noises for over a year now, most likely from starvation.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one, so we’ll see if it lives up to the hype.

Max Payne 3

I have to admit to being somewhat skeptical about this one. It isn’t being developed by Remedy, and the original character designs had Max being bald and fat. Thankfully they’ve revised that so he looks a lot less infirm, but Rockstar isn’t exactly known for creating tight gunplay in its games.

Here’s hoping that this release ends up being a worthy entry in the series.

Whatever New Assassin’s Creed Game Comes Out This Year

You all know it’s going to happen. I can’t say I agree with Ubisoft making the AC series into an annual event, but it’s 2012. There’s no way they’re going to skip releasing a sequel this year when it’s so intrinsically tied to the franchise’s mythology.

All I’m asking for is a new era and a new ancestor. Ezio is a great guy, but I got bored with him back in Brotherhood.

Resident Evil 6

This is definitely the one game I was least expecting to hear about this year. I’m kind of iffy on the idea of having three main characters to play as, but hey. More Leon. That can’t be a bad thing, right?

So long as they don’t screw things up along the lines of RE5, this should be a sure thing.

2012?

There are a few other titles that are supposed to hit this year, but so far are lacking a firm release date. These are the ones that I’m most hoping will see the light of day this year:

Metal Gear Rising: Revengence

I really, truly have no idea of what to expect with this one. MGS has always been a slow-paced affair, so it’ll be interesting to see the action cranked up a notch. I have a lot of faith in Platinum Games and their ability to provide an entertaining experience. I only hope that the nonsensical plot twists are kept to a bare minimum this time around.

The Last Guardian

This fall will make it seven years since Shadow of the Colossus. Will we finally get to see that big, huge dino-bird in all its glory this year? Will we get to cry like babies when it inevitably dies? I sure hope so.

Grand Theft Auto V

I think it’s pretty lame that they’re taking this one back to San Andreas, but I’m sure the game itself will still be good. Just please, for the love of god, Rockstar. CHECKPOINTS.

The Simpsons Arcade

Word on the streets is that Konami’s other, 4-player, licensed arcade game from the 90s will finally be hitting XBLA and PSN at some point this year. Yes, please.

So in summary, 2012 looks to be mostly a holding-pattern year. You’d think that would mean I’d have more money, but you’d be wrong.

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