The Non-E3 Game Roundup Which May Be Affected By E3

In Video Games on June 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm

2012 is going to be kind of a weird year for video games. 2011, even as it bled into 2012, was a red letter year for gaming throughout almost the entire year2013 by comparison seems to be petering out early with more than a few hyped titles slipping to 2013 (and by that I mean March).

So let’s take a look.

Okay, so first of all, I’m really terribly sorry for recommending Amy way back when. I could put a purple spin on my prose about it, but the game was dogshit. I mean, the game has you regularly giving an awkward thumbs up to an autistic child for doing menial tasks like pressing buttons or standing on the correct lift. The game treats checkpoints like the last twinkie after the end of civilization, which just really meshed well with its near trial-and-error gameplay where tip-toeing around monsters was concerned.

I Am Alive fared much better in my opinion but still trends towards trial and error gameplay. A mistake early on might not be realized for several “episodes,” necessitating a rerun through decent chunks of the game to correct it. That said, the overall feel of this game makes you want to forgive these oversights and instead soak them up as part of the atmosphere as they add to the tension. It reinforces, somewhat subtly,  essential gameplay concepts such as going slow slow, not wasting resources and taking a moment to plan out hostile situations.

Rounding out the downloadable survival horror games will be Dead Light (XBLA; Q3 2012), a sidescroller set in a world brought low by a zombie-themed apocalypse. It will be to the game’s benefit that (from the trailer) the focus is on platforming and exploration rather than zombie combat for the survival portion of its survival horror gameplay.

Sadly, two big names in horror gaming slipped to 2013. First off is Metro: Last Light (360 / PS3 / PC; Q1 2013). Not much has changed since I last spoke about on this game (including you guys probably not playing Metro 2033) save for its release date slipping to next year from its previous summer 2012 release. Personally, I’m beginning to get the heebie-jeebies that something’s not holding up in its development, but obviously I have nothing to support this.

Then we have the much-delayed, seemingly troubled Aliens: Colonial Marines (360 / PS3 / PC; TBA 2013). This title is actually unrelated to the ill-fated 2001 PS2 title of the same name, but that doesn’t really change the fact that it’s been going since about 2008 and has seen more release dates than an overcrowded prison. However, in that time Gearbox went from being a little-known developer to the guys who make crazy fun games and save franchises that should have remained dead. What we’ve learned in the interim is that Gearbox are huge fans of the Alien franchise who are dedicated to making the best game possible while secretly lavishing devoted detail after devoted detail to the game. They set designs from the film (the game taking place on Aliens‘s Sulaco). They got Syd Mead to round out what wasn’t in the films. They’re even using sound files from the movies themselves!

As far as being a game, it’ll use the UT3 engine with a custom renderer, likely to support its realtime lighting engine. The dark areas are damned dark in this game, and you’ll need your flashlight and motion tracker to stand a chance. It’s also got a four player co-op campaign and some manner of “team based” multiplayer, pitting the marines against the xenomorphs. No predators, thankfully — even the campaign plot will focus on the three-way relationship between the marines, the aliens and the evil megacorp, Weyland Yutani.

It’s looking good.

It’s also looking kind of like Doom 3, which segues nicely into the upcoming release of Doom 3: BFG Edition (360 / PS3 / PC; Fall 2012), which will feature the full Doom 3 experience (base game and its expansion) along with updated graphics, console-tailored controls and checkpoints, and a few chapters of gameplay showcasing the ill-fated demise of delta squad (who were featured briefly in the original game). Also packed in will be bonus copies of Doom 1 & 2 (no word on whether these will be on-disc or vouchers for their XBLA / PSN counterparts), as well as an “armor-mounted flashlight.” So no more choosing between might and light.

For a better example of a horror game that should see its 2012 release date is Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us (PS3; Q4 2012). Not a whole ton has been revealed about its gameplay, but it combines zombies (clearly inspired by the parasitic cordyceps fungi) along with tense relations with other survivors. I think it’s kind of like a weird combination of the downloadable titles from above: you plan an adult who has to keep an eye on a child (Amy) as you explore and survive in a demolished city with hostile survivors (I Am Alive) while dealing with zombie-like things (Deadlight). It’s also taking a page from Enslaved in that the apocalypse has left the world verdant and green, rather than brown and grey. Makes me wish I had a PS3.

Also being called a mashup title is Dishonored (360 / PS3 / PC; October 9th, 2012). Seemingly part Bioshock and part Assassin’s Creed, this game is finally seeing some hype and attention as fruits for its solid concepts: set in a plague-ridden steampunk world inspired by the worst of Europe’s industrial revolution, its open-world gameplay has you scrambling all over the environment and using a variety of mechanical and magical tools to complete objectives as you see fit. The way I see it, it’s kind of like Bioshock without the rose-tinted optimism.

Let’s finish up with a few higher profile games that need less introduction.

Resident Evil 6 (October 2nd, 2012) will feature three campaigns that are fully co-op throughout and the first actual zombies since the REmake. Impressions seem to indicate that it will somehow mix ammo-scarcity horror with big action set pieces. We’ll see.

Assassin’s Creed III (October 30th, 2012) brings the saga both stateside and into a more modern period. Departures for the series will likely be the out-of-city gameplay, but it will still probably not resolve the bizarre plot introduced by the Assassin’s Creed II saga.

Halo 4, Black Ops II, and Farcry 3 are all big-name sequels that will do little to deviate in the gameplay that fans expect. Blops 2 is only on my list for the near-future setting, but given that the plot seems to be that someone’s stolen the US’s robot military infrastructure out from under them, all it will do is make you annoyed that you’re on horseback fighting hovertanks. Halo will be focusing more on the Chief as a character and will offer mission-based multiplayer (probably in addition to the normal stuff). Farcry 3 continues the series’ proud march into the AAA arena despite not really being all that great a series. I like the villain in the trailer, though.

Dead or Alive 5 promises to deviate from its largely disregarded fighting game roots and instead offer “fighting entertainment” with arenas that explode around players in interesting ways.

Lastly, clearly on some kind of witness protection program are Overstrike and Prey 2. The former has nothing but a cinematic trailer from last year, and all we can find out about the latter is that it is “not cancelled.” And it goes without saying that I’d like to see something on Beyond Good And Evil, but I think all we’ve got on that is like two screenshots.

  1. In no particular order:

    First zombies since REmake? You forgot Resident Evil Zero! (of course, who wants to remember ResiZero?) The wife and I look forward to Resident Evil 6, if nothing else than because we had so much fun playing Resi5 together. I also hope Dead Space 3 has local co-op for the same reason, but that’s more my interest than hers.

    I forgive you for Amy. :-p I did like some of the ideas behind it, but it was ultimately clumsy and unfulfilling. It was also a grave reminder of why I dislike the over-reliance on checkpoint based systems and why they’re particularly bad for horror since they simultaneously compromise the tension while removing the safety of a fall-back point. I cleared the first chapter but never really went back to it after that.

    I am also interested in the Doom 3 BFG edition, as I did have fun playing the game before on the X-Box (no real issues with the flashlight though, but I think you mentioned they re-balanced the placement of light sources in that version of the game). I kinda like the tension switching off the flashlight brought, but it was, admittedly, a little nonsensical.

    I wait forever for Beyond Good and Evil 2.

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