Trodamus

The 17th Annual List Of Games I Am Kinda Interested In

In My Girlfriend Does Not Play Video Games, Video Games on September 30, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Here are some upcoming titles I’m interested in, in no particular order, in a non-exhaustive and only mostly inclusive list:

Amy (XBLA / PSN / PC; TBA 2011): Amy is a downloadable survival-horror title where a disease has ravaged most of mankind, turning most of its victims into monsters. You control a woman named Lana, who is infected with the disease, as she escorts a little girl with the inexplicable ability to suppress and regress the disease in those around her. One of the interesting gameplay concepts is that the disease continues to progress and manifest if you move away from Amy’s area of effect, which can be useful in moving around amongst the monsters (so long as you don’t let it progress too far). Throw in other, less understanding survivors and military personnel and I imagine it’s a fairly tense game that favors an intellectual approach.

Metro 2033: Last Light (360 / PS3 / PC / WiiU; TBA 2012): Dear The Two Or Possibly Three People That Read This Blog: play Metro 2033 right now. Rent it, buy it, whatever. It’s awesome, right? Atmosphere like we’d forgotten games could do? Intriguing concept, well-executed through gameplay and plot (except for the lousy stealth)? THQ has apparently decided that Metro should be a big-name franchise and the next title is most assuredly going to benefit from this. Apparently, this will be a continuation of the bad ending in the first game (yes, there were in fact two endings, good luck getting the good one) and will depart entirely from the book series on which it’s based (only about half of the first game was based on Metro 2033).

Prey 2 (360 / PS3 / PC; March 2012): On paper, Prey 2 is an open-world sci-fi / cyberpunk bounty hunting game with a high emphasis on creative solutions to challenges posed in gameplay (solutions often involving nifty guns and equipment). Also on paper is the fact that we haven’t actually seen much of the game in action, and most of what has people intrigued is the cinematic “gameplay teaser” trailer (which hasn’t burned us AT ALL BEFORE NO SIR). Still, what’s out there shows a game of immense quality and intriguing framework, and it’s the sequel to the little id-tech 4 game that could.

Fighting Game Roundup: Street Fighter X Tekken (360 / PS3; March 2nd, 2012) is a crossover with two fighting games I’ve moonlighted an interest in, and many of the gameplay concepts — the 2v2 tag format, dual specials, sacrificing your partner for XTREME POWAH and a nice combo and juggle system — mean it’ll hopefully keep my interest alongside Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (360 / PS3; November 15th, 2011) which needs no introduction (DAT ROSTER). Outside of that, King of Fighters XIII (360 / PS3; November 22nd, 2011) will likely be my introduction to that most venerated fighting franchise. Then there’s Skullgirls (XBLA / PSN; TBA 2012) which is a gorgeously animated 2D fighter that features a “ratio system” for tag battles, meaning you can choose one, two or three characters, with your power and health inversely proportional to the number you select (with the risk of not taking advantage of tag-only features). Then there’s the Persona 4 Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena (360 / PS3; TBA), a fighting game that features many Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters, with specials including the summoning of their personas. Then there’s Soul Calibur V (360 / PS3; TBA 2012), which should be vastly improved over IV with more combo and juggle centric gameplay and possibly even supers and specials. Lastly is Dead or Alive 5 (360 / PS3; TBA 2012), which is being billed as “fighting entertainment” rather than as a “fighting game.” This means, among other things, that there’s more ability to interact with the stages, causing breakages and meltdowns of geometry as you fight atop exploding skyscrapers and such. I know DOA has never quite been a darling of the pro fighter circuit, but this emphasis seems to embrace the exclusion.

Phew. Tangentially related to the fighting game genre is Anarchy Reigns (360 / PS3; January 2012), ostensibly a beat’em up billed as an action-fighting game, you control one of a slew of incredibly bizarre fighters as they battle each other and other, lesser opponents. Made by the people that brought us Mad World and Bayonetta (and also starring the former’s protagonist, Jack). Honestly, all I really want out of some games are interesting characters, a sense of humor, and the ability to pile drive someone as a close a copy of a transformer as the lawyers will allow.

Saints Row 3 (360 / PC; November 15th, 2011). Hi Jack! Looking forward to co-opping it up as a reasonable expy of Tank Girl once more. Should note that pre-orders on the THQ store get a free “season pass” that includes three downloadable mission packs valued at twenty bucks.

Dishonored (360 / PSN / PC; TBA 2012) is allegedly going to be an open-world, sandbox first-person stealth action game, lead in part by the minds behind the original Deus Ex, Theif: Deadly Shadows, Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Set in a retro-future industrial steampunky world, you play as supernatural assassin Corvo as he gets his revenge on, lethally or not at the player’s discretion. There’s only been screenshots of this game, no videos, and the devs are “going dark” following their recent interview with Game Informer.

Then there’s Overstrike (360 / PS3; TBA 2012), a semi-serious co-op action title that will try to bring Insomniac Games’ trademark humor in line with their alleged dedication to storytelling. The trailer is whimsical without being ridiculous and each character seems to bring a number of unique weapons and abilities to the team. Again, no actual gameplay footage, so we’ll have to see on this one.

For a quick rundown of honorable mentions, Operation Racoon City looks fun if I really need more co-op zombie killing action, and its saving grace would be the inclusion of the Resident Evil universe. Lollipop Chainsaw is a game I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I’m interested in, but time will tell if I can live with my girlfriend’s incredulous stares as Not Buffy pantyshots her way through hordes of high school undeads. Aliens: Colonial Marines might be a more horror-focused, methodical take on the Alien franchise and probably will be all the better for it, but I was really burned with the latest AvP game and I’m twice shy. I Am Alive is such a quiet game with no real press, coverage or information outside of the fact that it’s survival horror in a destroyed Chicago. Payday: The Heist applies the L4D formula to objective based gameplay and miraculously seems pretty boring despite the interesting concept. Gameplay trailers for Kingdoms of Amalur seem pretty good so far, and Need for Speed: The Run liberally applies story to the typical NFS formula (including at least one Chicago-based map!). Basing its locales on real-world cities and locations seems like a great move for the series.

Dishonorable mention goes to Dark Souls, which apparently will deny you the ability to play the game if it detects you’re in an X-Box Live party. I don’t rage often about games or things like that, but this made me really hate the arrogant pieces of shit designing this game that prevents me from using basic features I’m actually paying money for in an attempt to control how I play with my friends. Well, guess what? I was only going to buy this game to play with my brother, so these guys can go fuck themselves.

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  1. To pick my thoughts off your list…

    Curiously, I’ve never heard of this Amy game. At all. But what you’ve described about it makes it sound instantly interesting.

    With the fighters, I don’t play the genre much, but there is more than usual here. Ultimate MVC3 was already a gimme, even if it sorely lacks in Squirrel Girls or anything of the like. Persona 4 is possibly even more of a gimme, considering how much love I have for the game (the Vita version basically tipped my precarious interest in favor of the system).

    As for Soul Calibur V… well, you know how much I loved that series once (blood types being lost in the void notwithstanding), but it began to tumble down for me after it focused on the character creation (which was, ironically, good in itself). I’m hoping this robust new roster will mean they’re putting real effort into the cast again, considering IV only featured one new character, assuming you don’t count the Star Wars characters (who probably don’t count, since they won’t show up in V anyways). More though, I’d be happy if those sons-of-bitches stopped fucking with character move sets, since they’ve done more to make playable characters become unplayable than anything else.

    Lollipop Chainsaw wins for me based solely on the credentials behind it. Operation Raccoon City, meanwhile, was probably the most pleasant surprise I played at E3. I went from passingly curios to deciding the game would be a must have. You should be fine if you’re playing online, but I really hope it does sport local co-op for playing with the wife (I had to convince her for a bit that it was actually good, and I’d hate for that convincing to be wasted).

    I’ve been passingly curious about I Am Alive, probably owing to the title. I haven’t really followed up on it though.

    And as for Dark Souls… really? I mean, I’d get if that was an option, but… that’s pretty lame, to be honest. Especially for a game that’s following up one notorious for being sadistically difficult, I would think it’s not unreasonable to let one coordinate their actions with someone they know rather than hope they end up with some foul mouthed 12-year-old with a heart of gold.

  2. Amy shows incredible promise for a game I’d probably pay full price at retail for, to say nothing for the fact it’ll probably be $15-$20 on the respective digital distribution services. One of the neat things is (obviously) the disease will progress visually on Lana, as shown in this tech demo. The game also goes beyond a mere escort mission, as effectively using Amy is a key to solving some of the puzzles.

    To be honest, the game dropped off my radar because the initial preview said it was a PSN exclusive, but has since been advertised for XBLA and PC as well. Beyond that, there’s a severe lack of press and info on the game.

    Fighting games are said to be undergoing a sort of renaissance recently, with a number of high quality 2D and 3D titles consistently coming out and getting tournament attention as of late. The next six months or so are almost problematic in how many great fighting games alone will come out. I’ve never been able to get into Soul Calibur like I have Mortal Kombat or MVC, but I’m hoping SCV changes that. You know more about the idiosynchracies of the series than I, but from what I’ve read the new one will likely feature a number of new characters, sadly paired with a number of old characters that aren’t coming back (like Sophitia I hear).

    Re: Dark Souls. From what I know, Demons Souls or whatever focused on limited interaction with co-op people (largley due to PSN not being well polished) and worked decently within the framework of leaving text messages and death animations around for others to learn from.

    So I just think it’s odd they decided that not being able to talk to anyone is a feature somehow, and I actually hope that MS refuses to license the game for LIVE unless they change their minds.

  3. “Amy” sounds kind of like the annoying part of “Ico,” one giant escort mission. That said, I encourage new exploration of horror themed games.

    I also wouldn’t mind getting into the Metro games, but I lack the time and money to do so…but one day maybe.

    As for Saints Row…I just preorderd it. Did you see that in Australia they are getting a version that has cufflinks and a ice cube tray that makes bullet shaped ice cubes? I really wanted that.
    The question here is…who am I going to run through the game with you as? Me? Fat Irish? Someone new?

  4. Although I totally understand your frustration at being locked out of a paid feature of Xbox Live for Dark Souls, I feel that I should clarify a few things about the Demon’s Souls universe, and the mentality of the developers (from what I understand).

    First off, there’s definitely no denying that Demon’s Souls had to essentially “work around” the shitty PSN communication system back then. But just as Miyamoto had to work around the 8 bit system to create Mario, Demon’s Souls is the first game in recent memory to build a game AROUND lack of communication. You may think that it’s arrogant to call a flaw a “feature,” and it’s a valid point, but once you actually immerse yourself into the universe they created, I think it’ll be easier for you to understand why they can call it that.

    The game itself is supposed to make you feel isolated, scared, alone. It challenges you, and takes the training wheels off (no invisible walls to save you from cliffs or high ledges…this might be the first game that actually triggered my innate fear of heights!), but it’s never unfair or “cheap.” Through trial and error, I actually felt myself (i.e., hand dexterity) improving in the game, and not just through carefully distributing my stat points either. The media portrayal of this game as the “MOST BRUTALLY DIFFICULT GAME EVARRR” was a bit overblown for the sake of hype, in my opinion. Yes, there were times when I made grievous mistakes that cost me all of my gear, but when I actually started over, I found myself flying through the game at an alarmingly fast pace.

    Now, given that this game is actually pretty easy once you know where everything is, if you were going through this game while having 100% voice communication, I feel like you would lose a lot more of the essence of the game —the fear of the unknown, the loneliness one feels despite having temporary ethereal friends, the meticulous attention to every step your character takes. Also, the “blood spots” that signify other player’s deaths, as well as the “writings on the wall” feature would become pretty useless as well if I had a friend just flat out tell me “oh watch out for that pit there, brosef.”

    As a side note, I also noticed that asian online gamers in general tend to rarely speak to one another in a friendly manner, so the loss of communication does not seem to have as huge an impact in a Japanese gamer’s mindset. Just thought I’d throw that out there too.

    TL;DR: Voice chat would make the game way too easy and detract from the atmosphere, so I hope you’d at least give the game a try despite the communication issue.

    Back to your article, though, I’d pretty much advise you to stay away from the recent KOF releases… you’d probably end up with a bad taste in your mouth. It’s basically now just a shell of what it used to be, and all of their budget seems to have been poured into the painstakingly drawn sprites rather than actual balanced gameplay. As for the Capcom fighters, I’m a bit wary on putting money down on them because there’s always this nagging feeling that they’re gonna come out with a “new and improved version” *cough* Street Fighter 4 *cough* MvC3 *cough* a few months down the line. Skullgirls, however, truly piqued my interest and has been on my radar as well. Same goes for the Metro 2033 sequel. I’m actually a bit surprised that they chose to continue from the bad ending from the first game… any insight as to why that is?

    Lollipop chainsaw: Wow, I’m surprised I’ve never heard of this before. Is this the westerners take on Oneechanbara?

    Lastly I wanted to suggest that you check out Child of Eden, if possible. I picked it up just yesterday, and as a previous Rez fan, the amount of lights, colors, and beats shooting at my eyes all at once was just a magical experience.

  5. To comment on Lollipop Chainsaw, it’s the product of Suda 51 who is among Japan’s most… interesting… game designers these days. I wouldn’t say his work is necessarily the best (and that might owe to budget restrictions), but they’re generally good and certainly ooze with personality.

    More recently, the likes of Shinji Mikami and Akira Yamaoka have come to work with him since leaving Capcom and Konami respectively, and he certainly seems to attract a lot of positive attention in the industry despite being far from a mainstream developer.

    A while back he was behind Killer 7 on the Gamecube and PS2, a game I honestly didn’t like too much but still found quite memorable. He later made one of my very favorite Wii titles, No More Heroes (also available on PS3 now, though I’d heavily recommend playing it with the Move- standard controls don’t give the same feel while playing it) and most recently Shadows of the Damned, which despite not feeling quite complete is still the closest thing I’ve seen to a sequel for Resident Evil 4 (and no, I’m not counting RE5, which I actually loved, but didn’t really convey the same sort of experience).

    So, yeah, Lollipop Chainsaw is his brand of weird. It’s being developed in the US but my understanding is that he’s on board as the creative director. He’s one of those designers whose work I’m almost always guaranteed to buy the moment it’s announced.

  6. Thanks for clarifying that, Lucas. I should have known it was the infamous Suda 51’s new project. No More Heroes was one of my favorite Wii titles as well, despite its flaws. I must have been deceived by its western look because he’s working with a US development team. Though, more zombies? Really? I expected more from Suda 51 than following trends (not to mention the smorgasbord of zombie games). Here’s hoping he really adds a lot of creative juice to the genre, nevertheless.

    It definitely feels weird seeing Japanese designers collaborate with western teams nowadays, and I’m on the fence as to whether it’s a good thing or not, seeing how Shadows of the Damned didn’t really pull me in (as much as I like Akira Yamaoka’s music, I feel like the title desperately needed a more heavy metal soundtrack) and projects like Neverdead were flops.

  7. For Dark Souls, I feel like the effect is simply removing a cup of water from an ocean. Yeah, the gameplay has this unique integration across multiplayer where you see clues and blood splotches from other players, and just as often you read false clues left by malicious players as you do legit ones from helpful people, but… there are still any number of ways to circumvent this, through buying strategy guides, to looking at FAQs and message boards online, to calling up your friend or using some manner of VOIP. All they did was make it more difficult to communicate, rather than impossible, but for the inconvenience I’m shelving my plans to buy Dark Souls until it’s a budget title.

    Regarding Japanese gamers’ reticence to use online communication effectively: I feel like Japanese gamers are much more accepting of bullshit than American ones. It’s a cultural standard that Japanese developers aren’t really accountable for much, keeping an abnormally tight lid on game details and outright laughing in peoples’ faces when asked for specific technical details. Or, to put it much more simply, Japanese gamers are very accusomted to playing the developer’s game, where western devs are used to making games for their players. Or something.

    I’ve got a half-written post about how Japan is handling the “western problem,” that being that the Japanese games market is increasingly risking its survival without adapting to (and adopting some) western standards. There’s a decent number of high profile developers that acknowledge that the west has Japan beat in terms of technology and creativity and they can only benefit from working with and learning from them.

    I’d actually heard good things overall about recent KOF titles, though KOFXII sacrificed everything — additional features, characters and actual functional netcode — for its sprites. KOFXIII is going to be a much different game in this regard, including a number of additional features and charactes, and hopefully good netcode if they know what’s good for them. Outside of that, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone complaining about the mechanics being a departure, but most are excited about the promise of XIII.

    The Capcom re-release syndrome I can deal with. Honestly, my brother and I got something like 50+ hours out of MVC3 through nightly matches lasting hours for months on end. That they’re effectively releasing a kind of “standalone discounted DLC character, stage and rebalance pack” at $40 is fine to me. I’d have bought the DLC for each new character anyway, which at the standard five bucks a pop would have cost me $60 for the twelve. It is egregious that MVC3 only came out in March, and eight months later we get it’s rerelease, but I really don’t mind.

    Child of Eden I’d thought was a kinect game. It’s not! I’ll have to look into it.

    Below is Metro 2033 spoilers.

    I mean, really, go play the game Lucas.

    The bad ending of Metro involves using the newly discovered and/or liberated D6 weapons cache to destroy the dark ones, who weren’t really all that dark and, in the good ending, they opt to work with humanity to rebuild the future due to Artyom’s beneficent act of mercy in not nuking their asses.

    Should be noted that you only get the good ending by being inredibly selfless, giving and empathetic.

    As Last Light is dealing with the conflicts from humanity struggling for dominance over the D6 weapons cache, it is likely they found it difficult to link this with the good ending, thematically speaking.

    • RE: Japanese gamers vs. Western Gamers

      Yes, I think you hit the nail on the head there. DS seems to be a prime example of this: are you willing to sacrifice some personal freedoms to give the developer a chance to show you what they think will be “fun” for you?

      I’m looking forward to your post about Japan and the “western problem” :)

      Child of Eden is indeed a Kinect game, but on the PS3 version I bought, I’m having a blast using just the PS3 controller.

      Thanks for reminding me of Metro 2033’s ending. No wonder I never got the good ending… I really didn’t feel like going through the entire game again on even LESS ammunition than I had barely scraped together. Youtube saves the day again!

  8. Oh, and I just found out that Ubisoft’s “I Am Alive” is coming out Q4 2011 to XBLA and PSN. So there’s two great survival / horror titles that are download only this year. :D

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