The release of blockbuster games has become so habitual, we don?t even realize when a month doesn?t feature a marquee game. This upcoming year is no exception, which is why I have decided to compile a list of the top ten most anticipated games for the upcoming year (starting today). While this list will certainly be a little bias, I?ve tried to be open minded. As this is certainly not a list of my most anticipated games.
10) Killzone 3- The latest installment in the Killzone franchise is scheduled to be released in February of 2011. The games storyline will pick up immediately after the events of Killzone 2. The game will make several tweaks and changes, including a new melee system and destructible environments, but gameplay will still resemble the Killzone fans love.
9) Gears of War 3- with Halo: Reach being the last Bungie designed Halo, Microsoft is hoping Epic?s Gears of War franchise can achieve new heights. The game is set to release in April 2011, and will continue the story of Marcus Phoenix and his squad as they fight for survival against the Locust and a new mutated enemy the Lambent.
8) Crysis 2- The Crytek engine that set the standard for performance testing on the computer finally gets to stretch its legs on the console. The upcoming first-person shooter will be the debut of the Crysis franchise on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The game will be set in 2023 in New York City, which is being described as an urban jungle. If the game can bring the amazing graphics and open environment that we saw on the PC to the console, there will be no reason Crysis 2 can?t be a mega success.
7) Gran Turismo 5- this game feels like its been in development as long as Star Craft II, but not quite. It was revealed at E3 in 2006, and since then has regularly missed its estimated release date. However, come November 2nd the wait will finally be over. The game will feature over 900 vehicles, 70 different tracks, and will support online play up to 16 people.
6) Medal of Honor- I have been hyper-critical of the upcoming shooter by EA/Dice. It is being billed as a heavy weight contender to take on Call of Duty. However, after playing the beta I am skeptical about the reality of that happening. MOH launches the franchise into modern Afghanistan where the player has the opportunity to be involved in multiple aspects of the war on terror. The videos of the campaign shows the game to be extremely polished, but after playing the multiplayer beta I felt the game needed to make significant changes to its gameplay before its October 12th launch.
5) Portal 2- a sequel to Valve?s 2007 critically acclaimed game Portal. The gameplay will continue to challenge the gamer through a series of platforming and ?physics-based puzzles using the portal gun.? The game is scheduled to be released on February 9, 2011 on the PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. Valve is already claiming that Portal 2 will be the best game they have ever developed. In support of that statement, Portal 2 was nominated for several ?Best of E3? awards from critics who tried the game behind closed doors.
4) Halo: Reach- I was recently having a conversation with a long-time friend about the Halo franchise. We were discussing what made each individual game special. The original Halo redefined the first-person shooter with an amazing storyline and unrivaled multiplayer. Halo 2 built upon its predecessors success by implementing a multiplayer system that set the standard for the entire industry (we both agreed Halo 2 was our favorite Xbox Live experience to date). However, Halo 3 (while still a great game) failed in our opinion to bring the franchise to new heights. Sure, it received critical and commercial success, but it in our opinion it didn?t possess the ?shock and awe? that the past Halo?s had. Halo: Reach is a final farewell from Bungie, and they want to leave a lasting legacy on the franchise they created. My expectations for this game (along with so many others) is that the scope of this game will be much larger then anything we have seen in a Halo game before, and that the multiplayer will deliver a diverse and fulfilling experience like no other. Remember Reach (no pun intended) releases September 14th.
3) Call of Duty: Black Ops- This is Treyarch?s time to shine, they no longer have to live in Infinity Ward?s shadow, but be certain the game will draw a million comparisons to the Modern Warfare brand. The single player campaign will follow special forces operatives during the Cold War. The multiplayer will follow the same talent ladder established in Call of Duty 4. In typical Treyarch fashion vehicles will make an appearance in the game, however they claim it will be different from World at War and COD 3. I could have easily flip flopped two and three, but I ultimately decided a title that is released annually shouldn?t be held in such high regards. Call of Duty: Black Ops is set to release November 9.
2) World of Warcraft: Cataclysm- it gives me no joy putting a WoW title this far up on my list, but I can?t fight the facts. World of Warcraft is the largest MMORPG on the market today and Cataclysm will most certainly strengthen their stranglehold on its competition. The expansion will feature several gameplay additions including an increase in the level cap to 85. Two new races will be introduced (one to each faction) along with nine new dungeons and six new raids. The release date is expected to be in Q4 2010, but knowing Blizzard?s history of missing release dates lets say the game will be pushed to at least February.
1) Fallout: New Vegas- the follow-up (not sequel) to the 2008 game of the year Fallout 3, will place the character in the post-apocalyptic setting of Las Vegas, Nevada. However, unlike the cities in Fallout 3, Las Vegas was not directly struck by a nuclear attack, thus buildings remain intact, and mutation in the city is minimal. The gameplay will improve upon the standards set in Fallout 3. Some of the improvements include the ability to use new special attacks through the V.A.T.S. Furthermore, reputation in ?New Vegas? will have an effect on the way NPCs behave towards your character. The game will offer a new Hardcore mode that will add a significant degree of difficulty for the gamer. Fallout: New Vegas will be released on October 19th.
Hope you enjoyed my list. I would like to remind everyone that this list is based simply on my opinion of hype and anticipated game quality. The first title is Halo: Reach which is releasing in three weeks, and I believe it will set the bar for the rest of the year.