On The Horizon

So, after my GOTY list, the next logical step is to take a look at what’s coming out this year that I can’t wait to get my hands on, and why. Let’s dive into them…
The Darkness 2- The first game, to this day, means a lot to me. Starbreeze are a group of developers I’m extremely jealous of, and The Darkness remains their high watermark to me. Moody and atmospheric with a gripping narrative, the first game was everything that I was looking for coming into the then-new generation of consoles (BioShock and The Darkness were the first two “next-gen” games I played). With all of that on the table, Digital Extremes have a lot to live up to now that they’re behind the wheel. It helps that both Mike Patton and Paul Jenkins are still on board, so that (along with a solid demo) gives me hope. Fingers crossed for this one.
Mass Effect 3- As I near the end of my first run through Skyrim, my first reaction is that I’m good with RPG’s for a while- don’t really feel the need to play one anytime soon. But then I think about Mass Effect 3, and that all goes right out the window. More than the amped up combat, more than the game’s engine running at its peak, more than anything else that’s going to define that game, I just want to finish Drake Shepard’s story. As anyone who knows me is aware, Mass Effect is my favorite series of this generation. And without question, ME3 is the one game I’m looking forward to most this year.
Silent Hill: Downpour- Love/hate relationships are never healthy, but sometimes they can’t be avoided. That is exactly the type of relationship I’ve had with the Silent Hill series for a long time now. Being a fan means riding an emotional roller coaster that never levels out. Next up for the series is Downpour- another new entry from a another new developer with yet another slightly different approach to the series. Honestly at this point, I don’t know what to expect. That being said, my love for the series runs deep, and still outweighs my hate for it. So, with that being said, I’ll still give a new release in the franchise the benefit of the doubt until I’ve played through it.
The Witcher 2- The 360 port of last year’s gorgeous, jaw-dropping foreign fantasy epic has me really pumped. I know it won’t look or run as smooth, but given the fact that I have a mid-range graphic card in my laptop, those are compromises I’m more than willing to live with in order to finally get my hands on this game. Time for a little fantasy noir.
Max Payne 3- I love the Max Payne series. Ten years on, those games still resonate with who I am as a writer, and how I look at video games. And now we’re back with part 3, developed in-house by Rockstar. While Remedy not being involved had me nervous at first, at least they’ve given their blessing. I hope the game lives up to its past entries, and reinvigorates the character. He deserves to be out there more than he is.
Aliens: Colonial Marines- Ever since I first saw Aliens in my younger days, I’ve always wanted a game that lived up to everything Cameron accomplished in that film. We’ve had tons of Alien games over the years, but none have come close to capturing the action, fear, and tension of the film. From what we’ve been shown thus far, it looks like Gearbox have nailed it.
Bioshock Infinite- This is the big one. Five years ago, Bioshock layed down what could be done in terms of storytelling and twists in modern video gaming, and now it looks like Ken Levine and company are about to redefine and elaborate upon that original statement. As long as they stick the landing and deliver on everything that’s been shown, Infinite looks to be an important event in gaming.
Far Cry 3- The entire Far Cry series (most of what Crytek produces, for that matter) has been divisive and lead to great arguments and debates over the years. While not a fan of the first release, 2 really gripped me and held tight all the way through to the end. While the “definition of crazy” reveal at E3 last year brought a few laughs at first, taking a more serious look at what it accomplished shows that the studio has a firm grip on what makes these types of games good, and have fine-tuned those elements. I can’t wait to crawl around the jungle and hunt some mercenaries.
Prey 2- I know we really haven’t seen much game play. I know the first game was… average at best. I know these things, and yet I couldn’t be more excited for Prey 2. The idea of playing a bounty hunter on an alien world is right up my alley. I’m reserving judgement until we actually have a better sense for what the game is, but if it pulls off half of what it’s promising, I’m in.
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare- If playing through a more action-focused, brief dlc installment of Alan on the road means I’m that much closer to getting Alan Wake 2, I’ll gladly put my time in with this side story that’s more Rodriguez than Lynch. I’m sure the story beats will be minimal, but at this point I’ll take what I can get. I’ll follow Remedy anywhere.
I Am Alive- What we’re going to be getting in this dlc release is a stripped-down, simplified, action-oriented take on what was originally envisioned several years (and one or two project leads) ago. Still, the concept is an interesting one, and I like the sound of making my way through a dead city fighting for survival and bluffing my way past enemies.
Resident Evil 6- The recently-released trailer reminded me just why it is that I still love that series all these years later, warts and all: it’s a Japanese take on crappy American b-movie tropes, and at its core, the game is about the characters. I get the feeling part 6 is going to be one giant thank you note to the fan base before an admittedly much-needed reboot/re-imagining gets underway. And after the entertaining yet unfulfilling outing that was RE5, that may be just what’s needed.
Syndicate- I don’t have any kind of history with the original release. I felt that was important to get out right at the start. I am, however, a huge fan of Starbreeze, and am reasonably sure they’re going to bring their a-game to this release, and do their best to show respect and reverence to the original.
GTA 5- Every time Rockstar drops a trailer, I get this smile on my face that I don’t get watching reveals from any other developer. They get right to the core of what I look for in video games and storytelling. Yes, at their core, every GTA story has boiled down to a somewhat likable character getting stuck in a life they don’t really want to be a part of anymore. But hey, that’s crime fiction. What makes GTA an amazing series is the skill they execute those stories with. Add to that commentary on the economic collapse America still finds itself in the middle of, and GTA 5 has the potential to be a definitive statement on the long-running series.
Tomb Raider- Lara Croft by way of Lost with an open-world environment sounds awesome to me. While it’s debut at E3 last year may have left a lot to be desired in terms of getting a sense for how the whole game will play, it’s still an interesting premise. I’m very curious to see just how well they pull it off.
How about the rest of you? What are you looking forward to this year?

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