The big holiday gaming season is still a few months away. However looking at the onslaught of huge upcoming games on the way, we feel that it’s always better to prepare yourself earlier rather than later. Thus, we bring you the Lucky 13; our list of the 13 biggest, most anticipated games coming to consoles this holiday season…for now.
Despite expanding our list from ten to thirteen (we just couldn’t leave any of these guys out!), we still had to make some cuts. Not the least of which being the yet to be announced Wii U launch lineup, which it’s safe to say will include some titles that would likely shake up the list (as of this writing, Nintendo just announced that they will premiere new Mario and Pikmin games for the Wii U at E3). We will be sure to reassess our thoughts once more in the future, because that’s half the fun!
Nevertheless! It isn’t the future, it’s today, and today we have MANY more than enough games to get excited about. So let’s begin the countdown of Electric Playground’s Lucky 13 Most Anticipated Games of Fall 2012 (for now)…
It’s been seven years since the last Sly Cooper adventure, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, and we are about ready for another! The recent success of the Sly Cooper HD collection on PS3 proved the franchise still has plenty of life, and being one of Sony’s three key platforming franchises from last generation (along with Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank), we are ready to welcome back Sly and the gang with open arms! This new entry has Sanzaru Games (the studio that helmed the HD collection) take the development reins from franchise creators Sucker Punch but don’t fret, everything that’s been shown so far indicates a solid faithfulness to the past games while also flexing the PS3’s muscle.
This franchise reboot of a series that’s always been more famous for a certain set of double-D’s than necessarily delivering triple-A titles is just one of multiple games on this list that could very well have placed higher… if we just knew some more information about it! Ever since its jaw-dropping reveal at least year’s E3, fans have been salivating for any little piece of info on the simply titled Tomb Raider. Taking many cues from the Uncharted series, the demo showed off a gritty and realistic (both in tone and in Lara Croft’s more…modest physique) blend of cinematic action with a hint of survival horror. This is a broken and bruised Lara, a far cry from the indestructible beauty the franchise is known for, who needs to make use of basic survival instincts as well as her ever-present intelligence to stay alive. Make no mistake, tombs will be raided, but developer Crystal Dynamics is well on the way to creating an atmosphere and connection between Lara and her surroundings that hasn’t been present in the Tomb Raider series in a very, very long time.
Speaking of franchise reboots…well, not exactly. While technically still a sequel to the 2006 Hitman: Blood Money, this new entry has our favorite Hitman shaking up the formula more than he ever has since the original. Think of it this way; Hitman Absolution is to HItman: Blood Money is what Splinter Cell: Conviction is to Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Bringing forth a new gameplay mechanic called Instinct Mode, the Hitman will be able to see through walls, tag targets, and initiate the tried and true slow-motion gunfight to give him an edge. While this is mainly designed to make the game more streamlined and accessible to new and more action-oriented players, the hardcore should not fear, as its use is entirely optional. Beyond this new mechanic lies the same loveable bald-headed barcode-sporting killer we have come to know, and we are very excited he’s back in business.
Far Cry 2, bless its ambitious soul, bit off a little more than it could chew. Each seemingly innovative choice it made, whether it be degradable weapons, large (laaaaaarge) open African environments, and the constant threat of malaria, seemed to have the opposite intended effect on fans. Weapon degradation was an attempt at realism that just ended up annoying players, giving them one more thing to keep track of. The open sandbox Africa was TOO large with not enough to do, leaving more time spent traveling between objectives than completing them. Lastly, like weapon degradation, having to worry about a disease creeping up and harming you at inopportune moments (Heaven forbid it happened in the middle of a tense firefight) just gave players one more thing to needlessly babysit. Thankfully, Far Cry 3 shows that developer Ubisoft Montreal has been listening, and they are working to work on correcting each of these issues to put out a much more focused, driven experience. Just the fact that we are back to the tropical island setting of the original is enough to win us back. African jungles are beautiful and all but, man alive, they look like they’re colored with every shade of dirt there is. Click here to check out EP’s look at some of the new environments you’ll be exploring!
The Alien VS Predator series remains the highlight of the Aliens videogame library and some of the best moments from those games came from the tension of being a marine in Alien-infested worlds. Despite your formidable arsenal, it was obvious that you were outmanned and underpowered compared to the silent and deadly creatures that could strike at any time from any place. Billed as the true sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens film, Gearbox Software hopes to flesh out this idea with Aliens: Colonial Marines. This entry takes the Alien and Predator gameplay out of the mix, putting you solely in the shoes of a squad of soldiers sent out after the events of Alien 3 on a search and rescue mission. Who are you rescuing? Ellen Ripley herself. This game has an ace up its sleeve in that its story is considered official Alien canon by 20th Century Fox. That, along with the rumors that this is rumored to have some sort of connection to Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Prometheus, has our chests bursting with excitement! Sorry, had to do it.
Considering the original Epic Mickey didn’t exactly set the world on fire the way some had hoped back in 2010, it’s fair to wonder why the sequel sits on this list. The reasons are many, but the big one is obviously that the game will be structured as a full-fledged Disney Musical. Throughout the cinematic sequences in the game, the characters break out into song just like in the classic films, driving the plot forward. Featuring original compositions, this is one of those things that make you wonder why it took so long to make happen. However, this alone is not what makes Epic Mickey 2 so anticipated. Designer Warren Spector has stated that concerns from the first game have been heard and addressed, not the least of which being the problematic camera. As an added bonus, the 3DS entry is a completely separate game (not a lazy port shoehorned onto the system, a common fate for multi-platform titles), a 2D adventure inspired by the Sega Genesis classic Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. We can’t wait to sing along in the House of Mouse this fall.
Full disclosure: we aren’t 100% sure the Last of Us will be released this year. No concrete date has been set, but we feel there is a good enough chance that it deserves a place on the list. If a concrete date did exist however, it’s safe to assume this would be a couple spots higher. The first new IP from Naughty Dog after a little series called Uncharted, there aren’t many developers we can put so much blind faith in to deliver an amazing experience. Set in an I Am Legend-style urban jungle, the Last of Us tells a story of a father and daughter, seemingly the last people alive in a world now inhabited by infected/zombies/what have you. Not the most original tale to be spun, we admit, but then Uncharted took more than its share of cues from Indiana Jones and that turned out just fine. Naughty Dog’s pedigree for creating characters you truly care for leave us anxiously awaiting what they can do with a setup like “father and daughter alive at the end of the world”.
2009’s Borderlands didn’t necessarily come out of nowhere, but no one expected it to be as successful as it was. Playing on people’s basic love for shooting lots and collecting TONS, Borderlands was a smash success that September’s sequel looks to improve in every way. The basics remain the same: a hell of a lot of loot and hundreds of thousands of possible gun combinations to find and experiment with. Everything has been taken a step further though, starting with the fact that now the world isn’t so damn brown. A common criticism with the original Borderlands was that the large open world consisted almost entirely of brown desert. Looking at the sequel, it’s easy to see developer Gearbox Software has heard you loud and clear! Lush jungles, icy tundras, and everything in between are on the docket for you to shoot through this time around. While doing so you will be shooting much more distinct guns with branded personalities on each, and you’ll also be upgrading your character in a much deeper manner than before. Borderlands 2 doesn’t revolutionize the formula set in the first, but it takes every single aspect and ratchets it up in a big way. And for us simple Skag-shootin’ folk, that’s just fine.
It says a lot about a franchise when the new entry places so high on this list, despite us knowing next to nothing about it. At this point, you all know as much about GTA V as we do. We’ve all seen and dissected the trailer frame by frame, and are now patiently waiting for Rockstar North to tell us more. But hey, it’s new a new Grand Theft Auto, and it’s coming. That alone gets it a comfortable top five spot on this list. Moving along…
Halo 4 has a lot riding on it, being the first official Halo game not helmed by Bungie as well as the sequel to a trilogy that comfortably wrapped it’s storyline up five years ago. Halo 4 is the start of a new trilogy in the Halo universe (this entry coming to Xbox 360, parts five and six to the new Xbox) from developer 343 Studios, who have recently gotten their feet wet with the franchise in last year’s Halo Anniversary. If the quality of that title is any indication, the franchise is in good hands, and everything that 343 have voiced so far states that they are treating the Halo franchise with the respect that it (and fans) deserve. Needless to say, there will be a lot of critical eyes on this one come November 6. We reckon there isn’t much to worry about.
While we’re on the topic of games with a lot riding on them, let’s discuss Resident Evil 6. Coming two entries after what is regarded as the best in the franchise, and one entry after what’s been called the most disappointing, RE6 is standing at a major fork in the road and everyone is anxious to see with path it takes. With Capcom recently saying they don’t believe traditional survival horror can’t compete with the Call of Duty’s of today, fans are worried this will continue the action-oriented trajectory of RE5. Judging from Capcom’s recent Captivate event in Rome where new footage of Resident Evil 6 was shown off, it looks like they are trying to cover both bases. As we have learned, you’ll take control of franchise icons Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield, and it looks like each of them will have a distinct flavor. Chris’s segments continue the cinematic scripted action focus of RE5. Leon’s style however is more back to basics, creeping around in dark, moody environments with creatures that go bump in the night. It’s a daring tactic that could result in trying to please too many people while losing focus, but we will give Capcom the benefit of the doubt on this one. Just the sheer idea of Leon and Chris in a standoff, as the most recent trailer revealed, makes the geek in us weep with joy.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise defies a lot of logic and laws in the video game world. Every year for the past four there has been a new entry in the franchise, and only with last year’s Assassin’s Creed Revelations did the quality plateau just a tiny little bit. And that game was still pretty damn good. It has been one of the most consistently solid franchises in gaming, delivering game of the year worthy titles every November. The tradition continues this Fall, and once again we are astonished to say that the amount by which this entry has improved and changed is just mind-boggling. Being the first proper sequel since 2009’s Assassin’s Creed II, we are taken from Italy and put in the heart of the American Revolution as Native American Ratohnhaké:ton (or Connor Kenway, just so our brains don’t implode trying to say it). Not much has been announced yet but the new settings alone make us incredibly excited, including 18th century Boston, snow covered forest, and more. This is the most radical change in direction we have seen since the original Assassin’s Creed, and once again Ubisoft Montreal managed to put it out just one year after Revelations. Amazing.
If you were to take a general gamer poll of the favorite new franchise, or even favorite game of this generation, it won’t take long for Bioshock to come up. The underwater dystopian world of Rapture was one of gaming’s most fully-realized, original settings in recent memory. The story that took place in Rapture was as emotional and heartfelt as it was action packed. While sequel Bioshock 2 was an excellent game by any right, it lost that certain sense of magic and discovery that the original had. Now back in the hands of the original developers Irrational Games comes Bioshock Infinite, and once again they have gone and created a whole new world for us to play in. Taking a literal opposite approach of the underwater Rapture, Columbia is a city in the clouds floating above our world below, and features the same gorgeous 1920′s art deco inspired scenery of the former. You as Booker Dewitt are on a rescue mission for a young woman named Elizabeth, who you find out is a central key in the civil war between Columbia and the world below. The plot is still scarce, but know that Elizabeth is a very important woman, with very special abilities. October 16 can’t come soon enough and we couldn’t be more excited to get lost in a brand new world from the Bioshock universe, as anyone who has played the original knows exactly why this sits at the top of our list.
So there you have it! What’s your number one game this fall? Which titles did we miss? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to keep updated on all these games and more at Electric Playground’s Facebook page.