By Alexander B. Huls
After the onslaught of high-profile gaming releases in the winter quarter last year, we find ourselves in the usual post X-mas drought, and like most gamers, I feel a little itchy for something new and good. Don’t get me wrong, Mass Effect and Rock Band are enough to keep any man satisfied for a long time, but we video gamers are fickle, always wanting something new and unexplored. So in that spirit, here’s a forward looking list of games coming out this year, that I wish I could be playing right now.
10. SingStar (PS3)
I love singing. Ask my friends. I’m a veritable old-Hollywood musical, prone to “spontaneously” bursting out into the song without the slightest pretense of a sense of decorum (sometimes at urinals in public). Given that I’m always singing away – especially at home – I might as well be earning some form of reward for it. With the option to turn my console into essentially a karaoke machine, with the ability to download songs a la Rock Band, this game can’t come soon enough. Especially for the purpose of hosting awkward karaoke parties where I sing every second song.
9. Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
Honestly, it’s Metal Gear Solid. Not that I want to be accused of being lazy, but do I really need to write any more than that? Fine. It’s really really pretty. Also Snake is friggin’ old. It’ll be like watching Harrison Ford do his thing in the new Indiana Jones film this summer, just with more super-powered machinery.
8. Dead Space (PS3/Xbox360)
I really shouldn’t tell you that I’m anticipating this game, because I’m actually a little torn over it. On the one hand the game is being compared to Alien, which is very good. On the other, it’s also being compared to Event Horizon, which is the only movie to have given me nightmares as an adult. On the one hand it’s exciting that the developing team is watching tons of horror movies – from gory to psychological – to see what makes something scary, so they can instill that in their game. On the other hand, that might mean this game could be the scariest game I’ve ever played. Hell, the screenshots and videos show monsters that already give me the heebie-jeebies. But like most people, I’m up for a good scare, and the team seems to have a firm grasp of their idea, so I probably should start stocking up on an extra pack of underwear.
7. Ghostbusters: Video Game (PS3/Xbox360)
Ever since I was a young kid I’ve dreamt of being a Ghostbuster. How I could not be excited about a game then that allows me to be the newest Ghostbuster recruit, along side Spengler, Stantz, Zeddmore, and Venkman? Throw in the fact that it’s a pseudo-third installment in the film series, that it heavily references the first two films, and is being supervised by Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd? Well, come the game’s release time, I know who I’m going to call.
6. Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (PS3/Xbox360)
It’s the sequel to my second favorite game of 2006. How could I not be there? Even though the story was weak and this one apparently picks up moments after the last one left off, what really makes the game exciting is the sheer fun of the gameplay. If the developers can just carry that over from the first, it’ll be golden.
5. Fable 2 (Xbox360)
I’ll be honest. I appreciated what the first Fable sought out to do and what it did, but I just couldn’t get into it. Perhaps one day it merits another chance, but for now I’ll just hold out till Fable 2. As always, Peter Molyneux is making big promises, but the man usually does a decent job of meeting them. And what he’s promising sounds pretty exciting, even if I’m not entirely convinced of the fighting system just yet. I guess it’s just a matter of seeing whether Molyneux and Lionhead can meet the one expectation they usually don’t: releasing a game in a timely manner.
4. GTA IV (PS3/Xbox360)
The only GTA I ever finished was the third installment. The extreme open-endedness of Vice City and San Andreas ended up backfiring on me – I became so overwhelmed that I ultimately moved on to other games and never came back. However, what has me excited about this installment is a slight re-tooling of the franchise to be more realistic and grounded in reality. Yes, it’s a video game, but when you’re looking at videos of an upcoming game and getting flashes of Mean Streets via Scarface, then the developers are doing something right.
3. Resistance 2 (PS3)
One of my favorite games I played last year (in co-op mode with the venerable Miles Baker, no less) is birthing its sequel already, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. We get to keep following the adventures of super-soldier Nathan Hale as he comes to America and continues to take down the alien scum that would make our world their breeding ground. And not the sexy kind of breeding. If you want that you gotta go back to last year’s Mass Effect. Now that shit was hot.
2. Ninja Gaiden 2 (Xbox360)
This game is bloody. Like seriously bloody. I mean this is a game where you have to completely decimate your enemies. And I do mean you have to. Watching gameplay videos you’ll see that cutting off an arm or a leg isn’t enough. Those dedicated ninjas will keep coming after you anyway. That’s why there are attacks that involve you literally cutting off every single appendage, including the head, leaving a bloody torso on the ground. Another attack involves you knocking an enemy into the air, slicing off an arm or a leg, bear hugging them, and then slamming their body into a swishy mess in the ground. You can also go for arrows that essentially make your enemies combust into bits and pieces. I’m not making this up. Now despite the fact that I’m going on about the violence, (and I think mostly it’s because I really can’t believe how violent this game really is) it’s not the reason I look forward to this game. The reason is that after several rehashings of the original game (Black and Sigma) we finally get a true sequel to one of the best action games I’ve ever played.
1. Fallout 3 (PS3/Xbox360)
Speaking of best games I’ve ever played, here is another sequel to one of those. (On that note, what is with all the sequels this year?) Fallout 1 and 2 are responsible for getting me not only me into RPGs, but getting me into games on a deeper level. The fact that Bethesda Softworks of Oblivion fame is doing it makes me even more excited that the franchise is in the hands of a developer who knows how to make an open-world RPG on this scale. Sure, we have to forfeit the traditional top-down view of the Fallout universe, but hey, at this point that’s nothing more than a senseless quibble in the face of getting another installment of the franchise at all. Post-apocalyptic world, here I come.