The year ahead does look very exciting for gamers. Some very big hitters are just on the horizon, either coming our way in the next few weeks, or making an appearance sometime during 2011.
Of the ones I’m looking forward to the most, I’d have to place Crysis 2 as my most eagerly anticipated game this year. A sequel to a game I never got to play but heard a great deal about. A first-person shooter set in New York City during an alien invasion where you play as a super soldier with a specialist suit that gives you superhuman strength and other special abilities. Developer’s Crytek have promised an open-ended game world where you can approach any situation from a variety of paths and tactically use your suit’s abilities to infiltrate, creep up on and generally overthrown the alien scum. As Crytek are renowned for their expertise with graphics and artificial intelligence, from the brief snippets of gameplay and leaked footage I’ve seen, this could very much become a classic in the industry.
Another game that has got me excited is the Rockstar Games developed L.A. Noir. Sort of Grand Theft Auto meets LA Confidential where you play through a rookie Cop’s ever evolving career as he rises up the ladder solving crimes and taking down bad guys. The game is revolutionary for its use of motion capture facial animation and promises to change the way you play games with gameplay mechanics such as looking at a witness’s face to figure out if he’s telling the truth or lying. This looks kinda like this year’s Heavy Rain with its deep movie-like storyline and fleshed out characters, and will certainly be one of the more unique games this year.
Epic Games returns with the latest entry in its gung-ho shooter series, namely Gears Of War 3. Although I had a few issues with some of the gameplay and level design choices of Gears 2, I will still be picking this up just for it’s unrivalled shooting action, it’s never-bettered cover system and it’s stunning visual design, something which is a given when the game uses Epic’s much celebrated Unreal Engine 3 technology.
I.D. games makes a comeback too with open-world shooter / adventure Rage, a Mad-Max inspired post-apocolyptic actioner with ground breaking graphics and industry applauded design. I.D. have rarely disappointed in the past, considering they were behind such classics as Doom and Quake, and with a helluva lot to prove considering their long hiatus, this will hopefully be well worth the wait.
Portal 2 will also be a sure bet when it arrives, coming from the genius game designer’s at Valve, the guys responsible for my favourite game of all time, Half-Life 2, and following on from the highly regarded, brilliantly designed Portal, this promises to be an evolution in the puzzle game genre, with as expected Valve’s unique sense of humour, gifted story telling and superb game mechanics.
So to conclude. 2011 look like being a classic year for video games. Some of the titles mentioned could well go onto to be award winners and looked back on as milestones in their field. I will hopefully be getting my hands on all of them in the months to come, so expect my usual impressions when that happens.