2012 – What’s so good about it eh? If you listen to the crackpots out there, 2012 will be the last year of the human race; apocalypse is coming so you need to be properly informed as to where you should be spending your final ever gaming time, right? If I were you, I’d just blow your entire credit card limit on everything, after all, you’ll never have to pay it back, right?*
Over the past 4 or 5 years arguments have reigned about which is the best console out of the Xbox 360 or PS3. Granted that argument has been mainly had in playgrounds around the world but nevertheless it’s been an interesting debate to watch from the sidelines being one of the lucky ones that has both machines. What is undeniable is that whatever flavour of console you splashed your hard earned cash on, you’ve never had it so good. NEVER. That ends the argument. Sure the PS3 has some nice features (Blu-Ray, free to play multiplayer games etc) but so does the 360 (larger userbase, arguably more stable network etc). The fact is its all swings and roundabouts. Both consoles are amazing pieces of technology and what really defines their success is the quality of the games. The first ‘current-gen’ console I bought was a PS3 but later I bought a 360 purely to play Fable 2 – simply put games sell consoles, and friends buy consoles their friends have if they aren’t “up to speed” with the games available.
We sneak into what could be the final year of the current generation of consoles being the latest tech out there, whether by apocalypse or rumoured Xbox 720/PS4 release dates being next year, are developers still producing games to sell consoles, or has that ‘exclusive’ furore died down?
Let’s start by looking at a couple of exclusives for each platform.
When I first started compiling this list the PS3 looked like it didn’t have that many exclusives to boast, however a lot are unconfirmed release dates hence sit towards the bottom of 2012’s list of titles. We have HUGE exclusive games on the way like Starhawk (being a Warhawk addict I can’t WAIT for this) and The Last Guardian (looks beautiful) for starters, with some really ace downloadable titles like Journey to look forward to. Also lined up are PS3 exclusives (at least as of “now”) by the way of Twisted Metal, Sorcery (which I’m quite looking forward to – casting spells with a strange dildo shaped shining wand – yes please) and Motorstorm RC to tie in with the Vita release.
Whilst the list for 360 is shorter than that for PS3, with the exception of one title (which I’ll cover in a minute), these are all “must buys” for me. The first is Minecraft. I’ve spent hours and hours on the PC playing this so if the 360 version nails the feel/features of the PC version it will be awesome. We have The Witcher 2 which I have on PC but runs like a dog on my sub-par machine – be great to play this on the 360 with a lovely big telly. Last but not least Alan Wake: Night Springs (rumoured title) is more Alan Wake goodness for those of you who loved the first. Whilst I acknowledge this is a lot of you, I just couldn’t get on with Alan Wake at all – fiddly controls and lacklustre combat effectively put me off from the start, but still, if you liked the first, then more on the way!
Notwithstanding the above list there are MANY more non-exclusive titles that all gamers can enjoy, regardless of their preferred flavour of console. Whilst there will still undoubtedly be the “Looks/plays better on 360/PS3” fan-boys and girls, these games will rock your world and not penalise you for owning one machine or another… there’ll be no reasons at all to be jealous of the other console’s games shelf.
The list is intended to be a “pick” of the crop, and not exhaustative by any means:
Grand Theft Auto 5 – If you like games, are reading this and wonder what I’m talking about, then you have no right to be here. Away with you. But seriously after the critical acclaim that GTA 4 got (albeit a mixed response from fans of the series) this is going to be MASSIVE. Whenever a new GTA game is released I get giddy with excitement and I know this will be no different!
FF XIII-2 – the direct sequel to FF XIII. This ran and looked undeniably better on PS3 than 360 (don’t shoot me, it’s true) so it will be interesting to see if Square Enix/tri-Ace managed to resolve the rendering/compression issues that plagued the 360 version.
Catherine – box shifting dubious morality simulator. Hell, if this doesn’t spark a new genre then call me Christopher Biggins and send me to Alaska.
Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning – designed by some of the team behind Oblivion / Morrowind this should be on the top of every action RPG lovers list, one to keep a very close eye on. Think Oblivion/Skyrim openness with God of War style combat. AWESOME.
Darkness II – sequel to the first one obviously. As far as story driven FPS titles go this is definitely (pardon the pun) a shining light!
Syndicate – I have mixed feelings about what they have done with the license but given the amount of exposure this is getting it’s got to be one to watch at the very least.
SSX – snowboarding mayhem returns to consoles! Whilst SSX has never really done it for me, I totally get the draw here and there is a LOT riding on this “reboot” of the popular franchise.
Mass Effect 3 – do I need to say any more? Epic adventure, awesome interaction, and a universe wide fiction that puts some novella to shame. This is going to be MASSIVE. If you haven’t played the first two games, just do it – do it now – you have my permission to stop reading to play… Go on then. Go.
X-Com – another brilliant franchise redone. Been watching this for a few years now and am really excited about the possibility of playing X-Com from an FPS point of view.
Max Payne 3 – Max Payne returns (somewhat chubbier and less constipated looking) than before. Rockstar look like they have really gone to town again on this title. Max Payne has always been about the gritty story and gunplay, and if there are two things Rockstar does well, its gritty story and gunplay!
Prototype 2 – can this “out Infamous” Infamous? There were some really great ideas in the first game, let down a little by repetitive game play and mechanics. I’m sure Radical will up their game for the sequel, and even at last year’s GAMEfest it was looking brilliant (and was one of our picks of the show)
Borderlands 2 – a welcome return to Pandora is on the cards for Borderlands 2. The original was a sublime mix of action, RPG and multiplayer goodness with bazillions (yes, bazillions) of different weapons available to use (even if by “different” we are talking Damage 21 rather than 20 – it’s a different gun OK!!?). Provided they don’t stray too far from the original formula and stick to their (ahem) guns, Gearbox will have a winner on their hands here I’m sure.
Hitman : Absolution – we are LONG overdue a Hitman sequel – Blood Money hitting our screens in 2006 with its (even now) stunning looking portrayal of “how best to assassinate your target” – ‘em up. The crowd systems in this game were amazing at the time, and still are to date, so a sequel is really exciting news!
So, you don’t own a PS3 or 360, sad right? Not at all, with PC games having a bit of a resurgence in 2011 a lot of the above titles will also make an appearance on the beloved Personal Computer, but wait, you PC gamers have a couple of exclusives up your sleeves which will make console owners just as jealous..
Diablo 3 – sequel to the 2000 title Diablo 2. Holy crap. Thats 12 whole years since Diablo 2 was released. That’s got to be a record. If you are a PC gamer and have never heard of Diablo then you really are missing out on a game which sparked not only a genre but a whole new take on multiplayer gaming. Stunningly simple in concept but mercilessly addictive, Diablo and Diablo 2 have sold millions and encouraged us all to become hideously addicted loot crawlers. Diablo 3 WILL be epic and you have it all to yourselves you lucky lucky PC gamers you. Well, at least initially, as there have been unconfirmed reports that Blizzard are trying really hard to bring Diablo to consoles, it’s a question of whether the mechanics work on a console I would imagine, rather than a tech issue.
Guild Wars 2 – the sequel to the massively successful first “Free to play” MMORPG. Guild Wars was genre defining in so much as you could play with you mates and it cost nothing. The central “town” areas were massively populated but each time you embarked on an adventure you had your own little instance of the world. This was a genius move – meant no more griefing of low level players by maxed out super uses, it meant you could adventure at your own pace and not be penalised. From what I have seen of the second this is going to redefine stuff all over again. Massively excited. Again, all for you lucky PC owners.
In terms of new hardware Wii-U should make an appearance as well as the PS Vita which was released in Japan last year. There are also unconfirmed rumours that the latest Xbox and Playstation with both make an appearance at some point in 2012. Much as I love the idea I reckon it’ll be 2013 before we see either, although I do truly hope I’m wrong!!
So, what a year it’s going to be, personally I can’t wait to get stuck into some of these titles/hardware items when they are released, I just hope that I get the time to play them before the asteroid hits/disease takes over/planets align (delete as appropriate).
And as you can see, nobody needs to be jealous this year. Ignore the panic, and just enjoy the gaming that’s coming your way.
*The Gaming Review does not condone reckless spending – be responsible now, don’t blame us m’kay??