Despite being less than half way through the year, 2011 has been a bumper year for gaming. We have already had multiple blockbuster games released, and one look at the release schedule for the rest of the year reveals that there are many more fantastic games still to come.
In Part One Luke Mears, Kieran Roycroft, and Adam Radcliffe shared their most anticipated games, including sure-fire hits such as Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, and Batman Arkham City. This time we hand over to the site’s News Editor, Richard Burley, for his most anticipated games of 2011.
ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM
When is a sequel not a sequel? When it’s a full-blown re-invention of one of the biggest and best gaming franchises out there!
Set two hundred years after Oblivion, Skyrim kicks off in a new land which has, as is so often the case, conveniently erupted into civil war after the assassination of its king at the same time as its god, Alduin, has appeared to lay waste to it! We will be taking on the dual challenge of dealing with a grumpy Alduin (in colossal dragon-form) and an equally grumpy population as the last living “Dragonborn”.
With basically everything improved from Oblivion, from the AI, to the removal of the class system in favour of a far more flexible free-skill system, to the graphics engine to the sheer scale of the lands themselves, we can expect to lose an even larger number of hours to this beauty than its predecessor, oh and what a sweet, sweet loss this will be…
We look forward to sharing dragon dealing stories with one and all starting 11/11/11 (yes, even the release date is awesome!).
THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS
So we’ve already paid heavy praise to at least one other huge RPG for 2011, how has the Witcher 2 merited inclusion alongside these other gaming behemoths? Easy, it’s for grown-ups. Yes, really, adult people only please!
In a game market saturated by family friendly games, which is no bad thing, every now and then you get a game that really stands out as having a completely different feel to anything else out there
Enter “The Witcher” franchise.
With a character from “The Witcher 2” having already featured on the cover of Playboy you might fear that the game will be no more than titillation. Fear not, the Witcher franchise is actually all about two things; gameplay & grit. With its dark gothic medieval setting, its “no punches pulled” approach to storytelling, its innovative & fluid combat system& its plot, dialog and style based solidly on the writing of Andrzej Sapkowski, one of the greatest fantasy writers of our time, it’s got quality written through it like a tasty, but dangerous, stick of seaside gaming rock.
DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION
Ah, Deus Ex, for some a game of legendary, nay, mythical status, for others simply the first game that really “did it all”, whatever the original means to you, one thing is certain, you’ll want to have a good reason if you’re not planning on buying this one at some stage.
With the pain and ignomy of Deus Ex 2 long forgotten (we will not sully the perfection of the original by discussing the sequel) we anticipate the arrival of this Blade Runner styled reboot in exactly the same way we waited for BioShock as the rebirth of the equally glorious System Shock2.
This first-person shooter / role-playing gaming masterpiece will play out as a prequel to the original Deus Ex, set 25 years before it, with cruder “cybernetics”replacing the originals nano-tech augmentations, a fully flexible skills system, squad based enemy dynamics (kill the “leader” of any team to panic the rest), and true storyline freedom of choice (using a mix of social & stealth skills it’s possible to complete the game having killed only a few,key, individual, bosses.)
Excited yet? We are!
“Oh? Dead Island? Is that the one with “that” trailer that’s a bit like Dead Rising or Left 4 Dead or whatever?”
Tut tut, my dear, dear friend, you have fallen into the most common of traps! The “I heard it’s…” trap. So, let’s clear this one up, firstly let’s take previous zombie based classics and throw them out of the window (*trailer based smirk*).
Yes, Dead Island IS a first person co-op game with mucho zombies & melee combat BUT it also, importantly, sports; a fully open-world / sand-boxed setting featuring a heavily interactive environment, customisable weapons & vehicles, stamina management and… and here’s the real kicker people… a strong character development element, including, but not limited to, experience points & and a skill tree.
So, basically, it starts from the strong base laid down by other, current, zombie-fest type games, but dials it all up a notch or two (*Yes, possibly even as far as 11*) to really give you a sense of immersion into your character and his / her surrounding world. Check it out.
GUID WARS 2
It’s MMORPG time! Yes indeedy ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a look at one of the biggest online games of the year, and, indeed, the launch of one of the most anticipated sequels of 2011.
Incredibly, there are many out there who don’t really know too much about Guild Wars. This must be fixed, immediately, because if it isn’t, these poor, poor people risk missing out on Guild Wars 2!
Guild Wars 2 is the long heralded sequel to Guild Wars which has been built-towards for some 4 years by the team behind Guild Wars. In addition to correcting some small faults / omissions from the original, Guild Wars 2 retains the same “free to play” approach which transformed the MMORPG landscape and its emphasis on pick-up and play, immediate action which continue to contrast with the long “sessions” required to progress in many / most other MMORPGS.
With a full complement of MMORPGy goodness including; Skills, stats, guilds, raids, weapons, armour, tactics and team play but with added YAY! (*and jumping*) this is certainly one to watch. Closely.
STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC (SWTOR)
SWOTR is THE MMORPG on everyone’s lips this year. Based, of course,on the Star Wars universe it is set to ignite the “can anything dent World of Warcraft’s seemingly impregnable armour” debate. In reality, whilst they are both MMORPGs, one is fantasy whilst the other is sci-fi, so the question should really be “can anything achieve a similar level of success to WoW?” to which the answer, if ever to be a yes, is likely resting in SWTOR’s hands.
Featuring all your favourite Star Warsy stuff, and developed by possibly the world’s foremost current game studio (BioWare), everything is looking extremely promising!
Offering a hybrid blend of traditional RPG & “shooter”mechanics (“cover” features heavily) there will also be a fresh perspective on “classes”with each character type able to change approach / “role” dynamically, live, meaning an end to the age old MMORPG problem of party construction.
Add to all this the full Star Wars mythos we all know and love and BioWare’s superb track record as concerns plot, NPCs & character development and we may well be in for a “perfect storm”…
Stay tuned to The Newb Review for Part Three of our Most Anticipated Games of 2011.