(Upcoming) Games of 2012 – Autumn and Winter Edition (July-December)

So it’s been six months since I posted about my anticipated games of 2012. Six months during which I played barely any games at all, fuck you post-graduate education! Sadly a lot of the games on the previous list have been (almost inevitably) postponed to 2013 (a list I shall start constructing after the Tokyo Game Show).

I mentioned in the previous post that I was unsure about a number of this year’s upcoming releases. So far the results have been generally pretty positive. Most games I was wary off have turned out to be really enjoyable, no real duds at all so far. As usual the autumn and winter period is packed full with most of the year’s major releases. I have to say I’m really looking forward to quite a few of these games, a number of them look like they will easily make their way into this year’s Top Ten Games.

Oh and yeah, fuck meteorologists and their determination of seasons, October-December = Winter fo life, yo! This does mean that a number of the autumn games are already out.

Brief note on format, games title links to the official page, that’s followed by the release date and what platform I intend to get it for, then we have two representative screen shots, the advertising blurb, the trailer, and finally, why I want it. Games are listed in order of release date.

Anticipated Games

These are the games that I’m actively looking forward to. I want to play them and I want to play them now. They are the games that have the best chance of retaining my attention before something shiny draws it away.

Darksiders II

(14/08/12)(PS3)

What they say: Follow the exploits of Death, horseman of the Apocalypse, in a tale that runs parallel to the events in the original Darksiders game. This epic journey propels Death through the light and dark realms as he strives to redeem his brother War, blamed for inciting Armageddon and the eradication of Mankind…

CHARACTERS

Though the world has been cleansed of life, there are many souls that remain between the realms of Heaven and Hell. In his travels, Death will be joined by long-time companions, and will cross paths with ancient friends and foes alike. Interacting with those you meet on your journey will hold the key to unearthing the secrets behind an insidious plot for Creation itself.

ARMOR & WEAPONS

Death will need to rely on more than just guile and determination as he traverses the Underworld. Thousands of powerful weapons, armour, and amulets can be found and equipped to transform your Death into a heavy-hitting juggernaut, a deadly blur of speed, or terrifying magic user. Complete quests, slay enemies, and ransack treasure chests to discover new additions to your armoury. Because loot is randomly generated, there’s no telling what the next kill will bring.

SERIES

Before time was born, a bright kingdom was created for the Angels, a dark realm for the Demons, and a world for Mankind. The Charred Council forged a truce between the warring legions of Heaven and Hell to stay the Final Battle until the End of Days, when the Kingdom of Man would be prepared to cast its lot in the eternal conflict. But War, Rider of the Apocalypse, destroyed the Earth before its appointed hour. Or so it was claimed. To spare his brother from oblivion, the second horseman rode forth, and his name was Death…

Why I want it: Darksiders is one of the most enjoyable new action franchises to come out in recent years. It was easily among the best games I played the year it was released and after playing through the PC port in early August to get ready for this my anticipation was only heightened further. I’m eagerly looking forward to jumping back into the world and the action that the Darksiders franchise is all about.

Update: I actually had this bad boy pre-ordered and pre-loaded and ready to go. But the fact it released two weeks before the submission of my final MSc project meant that there was no chance of giving it a fair go. The initial PC release also had some issues and was missing some features (which have since been patched in) so deciding to hold off on playing it wasn’t quite as hard as I thought it would be. As I pre-ordered it I got the first big bit of DLC (Aragul’s Tomb) free, so I’m waiting for that to come out before I give this a go.

Way of the Samurai 4

(21/08/12)(PS3)

What they say: The Way of the Samurai series is widely renowned for allowing players to make far-reaching decisions that can radically alter the course of the story.

Way of the Samurai 4 takes place in the harbour town of Amihama, several years after the arrival of the “black ships” from the West ended Japan’s long history of cultural isolation. Amihama’s downtown area has been converted to a “Little Britain,” complete with European-styled buildings occupied by adventurous foreign settlers. Not everyone welcomes these new residents, though, and three distinct factions with opposing ideals begin to take shape. It’s up to the player – a wandering samurai whom fate has drawn to this conflicted land – to decide which faction to support, potentially shaping the course of Japan’s history.

Will you aid the traditional isolationists in their attempts to exile this potential threat to the Japanese way of life?

Will you aid the shogunate government in their attempts to keep the peace and establish cordial (but limited) relations with the foreigner contingent?

Or will you aid the foreigners in their attempts to establish silk trade and foster cultural exchange, even at the expense of a few traditions?

Who will you support? Who will you betray?

Come join the denizens of this conflicted harbour for upscaled and updated versions of all the series staples you’ve come to expect from Way of the Samurai: branching storylines, multiple endings, event choices, character customization, and all the sword collecting, enhancing and modifying you could possibly ask for.

Become the ultimate bastion of virtue or the ultimate disgrace to humanity, and do it however you’d like. The choice is entirely your own…

Why I want it: I always wanted to play the Way of the Samurai games but I never really did (some drunken dabbling with the versus mode in an import version of Way of the Samurai 3 probably doesnt really count). Everything I saw about this game made it appear as if it was the best refinement of the formula so far. Unfortunately it also released in the “danger zone” towards the end of my MSc. However it released close enough to the end that I could use it as a small incentive or reward for myself. Which I did. I was not disappointed. While it largely lacks any real spectacle it is both impressively solid and impressively addictive. Time just flows by as you’re playing it and it not only incentivises multiple play-throughs – its one of the few games in recent memory that actually lead me to play through it several times. To be honest it’s almost worth buying for the combat styles alone, most fun iaijutsu combat system I’ve played.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

(14/09/12)(PS3)(Released)

What they say: Never underestimate the heart of a champion. The original tag team fighter that started it all is back. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 delivers new and returning characters in the largest roster ever. Experience the most advanced attack mechanics, ultimate combo move sets and new battle modes. With innovative features to broaden Tekken consumer accessibility, unlimited fighter combinations & multiple ways to challenge your friends – get ready for the next battle!

Key Features

– Multiplayer Match – challenge your friends in a 2-on-2 tag-team battle, 1-on-1 or 1-on-2
– Pair Play – up to 4 players can each control a character in the ultimate team battle
– Fight Lab – all new mode to customize Combot’s appearance & for the first time ever, his moves
– Largest Playable Roster – more than 50 characters to choose from
– New Stages – fight in your favorite countries around the world
– Environmental FX – clothing condition alters in real-time with water & dirt effects
– New Moves – each character expands their fight arsenal with exclusive new Tag-Throws & Tag-Combos
– Online Features – all-new features bring the community together like never before
– Offline Battle Modes – re-live the classic arcade mode, train in a first-class practice mode, customize your team/character appearance & much more

Why I want it: Even if you don’t regularly read my ramblings this list alone should indicate that I am a big fan of fighting games. Leaving aside how much sense that makes these days when I’ve no-one to play. Tekken is one of my favourite franchises and while Tekken Tag Tournament was not my favourite entry in the franchise (I just don’t really get people’s love of tag fighting systems) I am more than happy to pick up more Tekken goodness. Especially as this looks jam-packed with shit, some of it pretty cool looking, e.g. the four player scramble mode.

Update: Well this is out and has been in my sweaty little mitts since mid-week. This game oh so certainly delivered. I haven’t enjoyed a Tekken game this much since Tekken 3. It really is amazingly fun as well as being the most refined expression of the modern Tekken formula. As well as being an amazing game in its own right the sheer amount of content blows every other fighting game out of the water. All the DLC characters and costumes are free and there are so many of them, over fifty unique characters. To be honest the amount of content is almost intimidating.

Borderlands 2

(18/09/12)(PC)

What they say: Borderlands 2 furthers the distinct blending of First Person Shooter and Role Playing genres to create the true evolution of the Role Playing Shooter. Team up with up to three other players for four-player online goodness or go old-school with two-player split-screen couch sharing mayhem as you spend hours levelling up your character and equipping them with one of the millions of badass weapons. Borderlands 2 features a new visually stunning array of procedurally generated guns, shields, grenades, artefacts, enemies and more. Choose one of the four new character classes to be taken through a carefully crafted and connected story to all new and surprising environments across the living planet of Pandora. Make new friends, arm them to the teeth and fight alongside them on your relentless quest for revenge and redemption.

  • Gunzerker Leads a Cast of All-New Characters and All-New Classes: Step into the role of the Gunzerker, whose highly deadly skills allow him to dual-wield any two weapons found in the game. Not only that, you will build on that skill to do more things with two guns than you ever imagined possible. Dual machine guns? Cool. Dual rocket launchers? Of course! Dual Sniper Rifles? Sure, if that’s your thing! Want to try other styles? More tactical perhaps? There are multiple classes to choose from!
  • Dynamic Co-op online, split-screen and LAN: Share your adventures with friends both online and via LAN. Borderlands 2 features a seamless system enabling you to drop in and drop out of a campaign without ever having to restart the game. On top of that you can even take your new gear from any game to any other!
  • World Connected Story: You will find yourself left for dead in the frozen tundra of Pandora as you begin your quest of revenge and redemption. Expose the evil surrounding the Hyperion Corporation and take on the perpetrator of a universe-wide grand deception — the nefarious Hyperion CEO, Handsome Jack. (Oh, also: he’s stolen credit for the opening of the Vault.)
  • New Gun System: An entirely new take on the groundbreaking procedural system means millions upon millions of possible weapons. The variety and style of guns in Borderlands 2 is staggering, and you’ll see tons of new and innovative ways to engage foes on Pandora. Fire, electricity, corrosive acid, and much more will all be at your disposal as you fight your way through the Hyperion Corporation’s forces!
  • 87 Bazillion…Everything: In addition to the new gun system, you will lust after procedurally generated shields, grenades, Alien Artifacts, class mods and much, much more. And you thought the original Borderlands had a ton of loot!
  • Brand new environments on Pandora: Hunt through entirely brand new areas of Pandora that are more alive than ever! From the arctic tundra, through the dangerous grasslands, past the mysterious corrosive caverns to beyond, you’ll be surprised by the unpredictable world of Pandora at every turn!
  • Brand new enemies: A whole slew of new enemies are out there to kill you in Borderlands 2. Hulking, gorilla-like Bullymongs, vicious predatory Stalkers and the Hyperion mechanical army, run by Handsome Jack, are just some of the new enemies you will be facing off against on Pandora. New strategies will need to be created for every fight, as enemies now interact and aid each other to ensure you don’t get far in the world of Pandora.

Why I want it: I really enjoyed Borderlands when it came out. It was sort of like an FPS Diablo with guns – no, it wasn’t sort of like that, it was exactly that. I got well into the game but then new things came along and distracted me. I got back into Borderlands recently and completed the main game (entirely co-op) a day or two ago. That experience moved my interest in the sequel from mild to massive. Then they released the trailer embedded above. How could you not want this game?

Update: Due to the magic internet powers of VPN’s I managed to get this to unlock on Steam three days early. I played a few hours co-op followed by some single player and I have to say, it is awesome. It takes everything great about the first game and makes it better while simultaneously shoring up the first games shortcomings. Really, really great.

Jet Set Radio HD

(18/09/12)(PS3)

What they say: Tag, grind, and trick to the beat in SEGA’s hit game Jet Set Radio!

Fight for control of Tokyo-to, mark your turf with graffiti, tag walls, billboards, and even rival gang members! Perform tricks and flips on magnetically driven in-line skates, but watch out for the local police force!

Why I want it: Jet Set Radio might not have been the very best game on the Dreamcast (looking at you Soul Calibur) but it was certainly up there. The chance to play it again in HD is irresistibly tempting. Especially as it’s barely more than a fiver, you can be sure I’ll be at least double-dipping (Vita and PS3), if not triple dipping when it hits the PC. Even now very few games in this genre have managed to match the effortless excellence of this title.

Torchlight 2

(20/09/12)(PC)

What they say: The award-winning action RPG is back, bigger and better than ever! Torchlight II takes you once more into the quirky, fast-paced world of bloodthirsty monsters, bountiful treasures, and sinister secrets – and, once again, the fate of the world is in your hands!

Torchlight II captures all the flavour and excitement of the original game – while expanding the world and adding the features players wanted most, including online and LAN co-op multiplayer. Torchlight II is fast, fun, and filled to the brim with action and loot. Adventure solo or online with your friends!

Why I want it: Do I want it? I enjoy the genre its part of and when I pre-ordered it (go, go Steam 4-packs) I was certainly interested in an alternative to Diablo III and this looked (and still looks) like it could deliver exactly that. But after growing tired of Diablo III I’m not sure if I’m simply tired of the game or of the genre. I’m hoping Torchlight 2 can answer that question. In many ways though it’s in this section not because I’m necessarily really looking forward to it, but because I already own it.

Dead or Alive 5

(25/09/12)(PS3)

What they say: DEAD OR ALIVE 5 marries the signature fighting style of the popular DOA series with stunning new graphics, new online features, and new martial arts techniques to create a strong new direction for the franchise

In DEAD OR ALIVE 5, players will once again take on the roles of the cast of DEAD OR ALIVE fighters in an intense, action-packed brawler set in visually striking locations from around the world. The famed DOA hand-to-hand combat returns, supported by completely new 3D stages that update the series’ characteristic style with a fresh look and feel.

DOA5 stages are more than spectacular visual backdrops, instead playing to a fighter’s strengths. As a fight progresses, the backdrop will change and interact with players. Skilled fighters will be able to utilize these dynamic stages to pit their opponents against fresh obstacles to create a new fighting experience. This fusion of combat and dynamically changing backdrops is a formula for the evolution of fighting games as “Fighting Entertainment”.

With a sensual yet realistic style, DEAD OR ALIVE 5 characters are rendered in incredibly lifelike detail. From smooth, lithe muscles to emotive facial expressions, every character comes to life. Characters can even perspire as they fight, with realistic depiction of wet skin, damp hair, and moist, semi-translucent clothing as the match progresses.

Along with a rich array of single player modes including story mode, DOA5 offers new online options with arcade-style matches, tournaments, and social features. Players can be paired into one-off matches or work their way up the leaderboards for the honor and prestige of competing with players from around the world for top spot on leaderboards.

No longer content to be eye candy with a deadly kick, the female fighters of DEAD OR ALIVE 5 show a whole new level of character and style. The unique style of each fighter, both male and female, will be accentuated by their individual personalities as they battle with a new look and feel for an intense new generation of DEAD OR ALIVE combat.

Key Features

– Intense DOA Fighting: DOA5 expands the signature fighting style for which the series is known with a variety of new martial arts techniques and styles
– Realistic and Sensual Graphics: Characters come alive with a new visual style combining stunning realism with a warm, naturalistic feel that conveys every facet of each character—from raw power to sleek sensuality
– Dream Lineup: Play as Ryu Hayabusa, Hayate, Ayane, Kasumi, and Hitomi as well as numerous additional characters yet to be announced.
– A New Challenger enters: DOA5 features collaboration with SEGA’s Virtua Fighter. Iconic VF characters join the fight!
– Interactive Blockbuster Stages: More than a backdrop, spectacular locations from around the world provide a changing and interactive showcase for deadly battles
– New Special Moves: Use power blows to interactively trigger the Danger Zone of a stage, including crashing cars, collapsing glaciers, and an exploding oil rig—distract your opponent or drive him into danger
– Online Battles: A full-fledged online experience awaits players that allows for both beginners and experts to compete head to head in a variety of playing fields and battle modes.

Why I want it: Because I am weak. Because I buy every mainline DOA game despite the fact that the last decent fighter was DOA2. I honestly dont really know why, I’m sure the fact that they are always amazingly visually impressive has something to do with it, as does my addiction to fighting games. I’d almost be happier if I could use the cheap titillation as an excuse, but lets be honest – access to the internet means access to real porn so thats not it. However, in the case of DOA5 its been getting fairly glowing previews about how the fighting system has some real meat on this time. It’s also a much more accessible fighter than something like Tekken Tag Tournament 2 which is downright fucking impenetrable at times.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors

(21/09/12)(PS3)

What they say: Control Luffy and his crew of buccaneers to defeat enemy pirates and marines.

– Immerse yourself in the faithfully rendered ONE PIECE universe created by Eiichiro Oda.
– Gain new skills and abilities to add impressive combos to your fighting repertoire.
– Set sail with a friend via PlayStation Network and explore the seas together.

Why I want it: Because One Piece is love? Because the game covers the entire length of the manga so far (over 650 issues, over 500 episodes of the anime)? Because the creator of said manga has written exclusive character expanding story arcs for the game? Because while the Dynasty Warrior games have stagnated their licenced franchises such as as Gundam Musou or Fist of the North Star Musou have been awesome? Because the game is making fairly big departures from the standard Dynasty Warriors formula? Because I’m still a fan of the Dynasty Warriors? Because the terrible 4Kids english intro to the anime is constantly stuck in my head?

Resident Evil 6

(02/10/12)(PS3)

What they say: It has been ten years since the Raccoon City incident and the President of the United States has decided to reveal the truth behind what took place in the belief that it will curb the current resurgence in bioterrorist activity. Due to be by the President’s side is his personal friend and Raccoon City survivor, Leon S. Kennedy, but when the venue suffers a bioterrorist attack, Leon is forced to face a President transformed beyond recognition and make his hardest ever decision. At the same time, Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance member Chris Redfield arrives in China, itself under threat of a bioterrorist attack. With no country safe from these attacks and the ensuing outbreaks, the entire world’s population is united by a common fear that there is no hope left.

In a first for the franchise, Resident Evil 6 sees series favorites Leon and Chris come together to face this unprecedented threat. They will be joined by new characters, each with their own unique perspective and involvement, in this relentless dramatic horror experience enacted on a global scale.

Why I want it: Largely because its the next major entry in the Resident Evil series. I’ve bought, played and enjoyed all of the major Resident Evil games from 2 onwards (I did play the first one until Ed swapped his PlayStation for a MegaCD).

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

(09/10/12)(PC)

What they say: XCOM: Enemy Unknown will place you in control of a secret paramilitary organization called XCOM. As the XCOM commander, you will defend against a terrifying global alien invasion by managing resources, advancing technologies, and overseeing combat strategies and individual unit tactics. The original X-COM is widely regarded as one of the best games ever made and has now been re-imagined by the strategy experts at Firaxis Games. XCOM: Enemy Unknown will expand on that legacy with an entirely new invasion story, enemies and technologies to fight aliens and defend Earth. You will control the fate of the human race through researching alien technologies, creating and managing a fully operational base, planning combat missions and controlling soldier movement in battle.

  • Strategy Evolved: XCOM: Enemy Unknown couples tactical turn-based gameplay with incredible action sequences and on-the-ground combat.
  • Strategic Base: Recruit, customize and grow unique soldiers and manage your personnel. Detect and intercept the alien threat as you build and expand your XCOM headquarters.
  • Tactical Combat: Direct soldier squads in turn-based ground battles and deploy air units such as the Interceptor and Skyranger.
  • Worldwide Threat: Combat spans the globe as the XCOM team engages in over 70 unique missions, interacting and negotiating with governments around the world.

If you want something better than ad copy then I would suggest the three exhaustive interviews/previews on Rock, Paper, Shotgun – first one here

Why I want it: Because I wrote twelve thousand words on how games like this don’t get made by major studios anymore and then a few weeks before submission Firaxis announced this? Because playing the original X-COM demo over and over was one of the most fun things I’ve done on a PC? Because I have run out of energy and writing lists of questions is easier than formulating my thoughts properly? I enjoyed X-COM and I really enjoyed its legacy, western turn based tactics/tactical role-playing games. Every article and tit bit of news over the last six months has made me want this game more and more. It is easily my most anticipated game of the year at this point. Which would be why I have it pre-ordered. Cannot wait. I’d suggest checking out Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s excellent and comprehensive coverage of the game.

Xenonauts

(09/10/12)(PC)

What they say:Xenonauts is a single-player PC strategy game. Primarily a strategy game, it straddles several sub-genres and so we’ve resorted to describing it as a ‘planetary defence simulator’. The player is in control of an organisation tasked with defending the planet against extraterrestrial invasion; establishing bases across the world that house the aircraft, scientists, technicians and soldiers that will be used to protect humanity. The skies must be defended against alien incursion, while ground teams must be sent into combat to capture crashed UFOs or cleanse terror sites to retain the confidence of funding nations and capture new extraterrestrial artefacts and technology to study. As the game goes on, the player researches the captured artefacts to unlock new units and battlefield technology to use in the fight against the aliens while slowly discovering their origins, eventually learning enough to defeat the alien invasion – assuming that they have not already been overrun!

The game is heavily inspired by the classic X-Com / UFO: Enemy Unknown, released in the mid-90s by the now-defunct Mythos / Microprose. It is not a straight remake; though the core mechanics remain similar much has changed or been updated – so much so, in fact, that we prefer the term ‘reimagining’ to remake’.

The game consists of three main elements, the Geoscape, Air Combat and Ground Combat. Full details on each are explained on their respective overview pages.

Why I want it: XCOM Enemy Unknown certainly sounds awesome. But as the designers themselves admit, it is going to be quite different from the original XCOM game. The purist within me rebels a little at that so it’s a good thing that Xenonauts is going to be a much more faithful enhancement of the original.

Ragnarok Odyssey

(16/10/12)(PS3)

What they say: Fuck all. Which is a bit of a poor show considering its out in less than a month. There isn’t even an official English homepage yet. The link above goes to a pretty thorough preview article from Gamespot which covers most aspects of the game.

Why I want it: Because for the foreseeable future (well post Tokyo Game Show there’s also hopefully going to be God Eater 2) this is the closest I will get to playing Monster Hunter on the Vita. Monster Hunter is an odd franchise, it somehow entirely passed me by despite me being extremely interested in it. Everything I know about it appeals but for some reason I could never get into it, whether it was due to simply missing it or other factors. I have enjoyed what I’ve played of it on the PSP but “the claw” just made it too painful to play for long periods of time (curse my giant hands!). While I enjoy Monster Hunter’s rather unique aesthetic I really do like the look of this. Korean visual design is generally awesome and I do like the look of this. There’s also a nice amount of DLC and the gameplay reports are pretty positive.

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward / Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die

(23/10/12)(VITA)

What they say: He awoke in an elevator.

Across the room was a strange girl he’d never met before, even though she seemed to know him…

“Sigma…”

“How do you know my name?” he asked, but before she could answer a rabbit appeared. “This elevator is about to fall!”

Sigma and the girl left the elevator only to find themselves in a massive room with seven other strangers…nine people in all.

The strange rabbit told them that they would have to play the Ambidex Game-a game of betrayal.

The penalty for losing was death.

Could these nine strangers trust one another long enough to escape their prison alive?

Why I want it: The name and the fact game theory gets on my tits and is a central element of this game. Game theory, particularly the prisoners dilemma makes my brain all itchy. But on the other hand often produces stuff I like. This game looks really interesting, both in terms of gameplay and story. I have it’s sort of sequel, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors near the top of my “To play” pile. This one looks like it continues the weird action game/visual novel style play. Also, need games to justify buying a Vita.

Persona 4: The Golden

(20/11/12)(VITA)

What they say: Not a lot. This is another game that doesn’t have an official localisation announced yet. But it’s only a matter of time considering every other Persona game has been localised by Atlus.

Persona 4: The Golden was announced in August 2011 as a remake of Persona 4 for the portable PlayStation Vita. It was originally planned by Atlus to be a PlayStation Portable title, similar to Persona 3 Portable, which would have required removing some of the features of the PlayStation 2 game. However, the Vita provides sufficient resources that has allowed Atlus to expand the game. It will be an expanded version of the PlayStation 2 title, adding new features and story elements to the game. A new character named Marie, voiced by Kana Hanazawa, will be added to the story, aiding the main party. Additional Personas, character outfits, and expanded spoken lines and anime cutscenes will be included. The game will support the wireless networking features of the Vita, allowing a player to call in help from other players that may be online at the same time to help in dungeon battles. Another new feature is a garden that produces items you can use in the various dungeons. The game is scheduled for a Japanese release on June 14, 2012; it is highly likely that the game will be released in other regions.

Why I want it: Persona 4 is one of my favourite games of all times. Literally in my Top 5. The idea of an enhanced port is the reason I bought the Vita. I’m not sure if I prefer the idea of it being portable to the idea of playing it on a big screen. Hopefully TV Out for the Vita will be sorted by then so I get the best of both worlds. Still, really looking forward to this, should look nice on the Vita, DAT SAMOLED+ Yo!

Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena

(??/??/12)(PS3)

What they say: Developed in collaboration with genre masters Arc System Works, Persona 4 Arena uses gorgeous, hand drawn, high definition 2D animestyle fighters and colourful, over-the-top special effects to bring to life a roster of fighters from the critically acclaimed, highly popular Persona 3 and Persona 4. Backed up by an original, hardcore fighting engine from one of the most respected 2D fighting game developers in the industry, Persona 4 Arena represents the biggest, most noteworthy expansion of the esteemed series to date.

  • A COLLABORATION WITH GENRE MASTERS ARC SYSTEM WORKS – Developed in partnership with the studio responsible for fan favourite fighting games BlazBlue and Guilty Gear.
  • CONSOLEEXCLUSIVE FEATURES AND CONTENT – The home console release will include a number of new features over the Arcade version, including a full Story mode and online multiplayer!
  • CHARACTERS AND SETTINGS FROM AWARD WINNING PERSONA 3 & 4 – Beautiful, hand drawn 2D animestyle sprites of characters based on the awardwinning Persona 3 and 4 roleplaying games, along with eyepopping stages and special effects, are a special treat for both ATLUS and genre fans.
  • ORIGINAL, HARDCORE FIGHTING MECHANICS – True to Arc System Works tradition, P4A looks and feels like nothing else out there. Each fighter has attacks tied to their Persona, their summoned inner strength, adding to the depth and complexity.

Why I want it: Persona 3:FES is literally my favourite game of all time. Persona 4 is in my Top 5 favourite games of all time. Fighting games are one of my two favourite genres. This is a fighting game continuing the story of Persona 4 and featuring characters from Persona 3 and 4. I’m not on the hype train. I’m driving it.

This was my most anticipated game of the year. Then it became the biggest disappointment of the year when it became the only PS3 game in six years to be region locked. It was out over a month ago in the US. Since then the European release date has slipped three times. TO be honest I don’t think it will even be out this year. I’m too disappointed/pissed off about it to even bother with the game. Might pick it up second hand at some point. Fuck region locking.

Games I’ll probably play

If I was feeling like a dick (and when am I not?) I would suggest that these are the more popular and creatively bankrupt games and that they’ll be bought in bulk BY YOU SHEEP!. But that’s going a bit far. This section does feature a dis-proportionate number of “Triple A” titles though. I guess I’m drifting away from a place where mainstream games appeal to me. Games listed here are ones I will no doubt play but which are marred by one thing or another (quite often my own bizarre opinion).

Sleeping Dogs

(14/08/12)(PC)

What they say:

Welcome to Hong Kong, a vibrant neon city teaming with life, whose exotic locations and busy streets hide one of the most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations in the world: the Triads.

In this open-world game, you play the role of Wei Shen, an undercover cop trying to take down the Triads from the inside. You’ll have to prove yourself worthy as you fight your way up the organization, taking part in brutal criminal activities without blowing your cover.

Torn between your loyalty to the badge and the code of the triads, you will risk everything as the lines between truth, loyalty and honour become permanently blurred.

KEY FEATURES

– A mature and gritty undercover cop drama, set in a high tension underworld where every action is a risk that could blow your cover.
– Seamless explosive action fuelled by a mix of deadly martial arts, intense gunfights and brutal takedowns.
– Epic high-speed thrills: Burn up the streets as you ram other cars and drive recklessly while shooting your way through the narrow streets of Hong Kong.
– Hong Kong is your playground: Enter illegal races, gamble on cock fights, or kick back with some karaoke. There are countless ways to explore the varied districts of the city.

Why I want it: Who doesn’t love badass Hong Kong action? No right thinking people surely? I’ve never really enjoyed any of the GTA games. Though in fairness I never gave the two best ones (Vice and San Andreas) a go. I have enjoyed similar games (such as Saints Row III). But none of them really clicked. This is the first one that has a setting that I find really interesting. Though it was tragically up against Darksiders II and I could only afford to purchase one. So economic concerns have unfortunately pushed this to the backup pile.

Tokyo Jungle

(25/09/12)(PS3)

What they say: Mankind has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The creatures of the world are left to fight for survival in the streets of Tokyo. Forage, fight and fuck to keep your species alive.

Features

• In Survival Mode, take control of a breed of your choice and survive as long as possible.
• Hunt prey, feast on plants and do whatever it takes to stay alive.
• Find a mate and then continue the fight for survival as your offspring, with each generation growing stronger.
• Upgrade your skills by unlocking and wearing items of clothing.
• In Story Mode, face challenging missions featuring specific breeds and discover why humans have disappeared. Story missions are unlocked by finding data discs in Survival Mode.
• Team up with a pal in two-player missions offline.
• Earn trophies (no Platinum, deal with it) and compare your survival skills in online leaderboards.
• Remote play on Vita via PS3.

Why I want it: This looks genuinely interesting. Innovation in game development tends to be iterative rather than evolutionary so radical new experiences can be unfortunately rare. This looks like it could be something unique and that really interests me. Disappointingly the early reports have been extremely mixed which had blunted my anticipation somewhat.

Pokemon Black and White 2

(07/10/12)(NDS)

What they say: Pokémon fans, get excited for two incredible new adventures! Announcing Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2, coming to the Nintendo DS™ family of systems this fall. The games can also be played in 2D on the Nintendo 3DS™ system.

Your journey takes place in the Unova region two years after the events of Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version. You’ll start your adventure in Aspertia City, in the far southwest corner of the Unova region. Many things have changed in the region, including some extraordinary new places and people for you to discover. Plus, many of the returning characters from Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version have taken on new roles when you meet them.

Look forward to uncovering the mystery of Black Kyurem—or White Kyurem—somewhere in the Unova region. Little is known about this enigmatic Pokémon, except that it’s a Dragon- and Ice-type Pokémon with a devastating Ice-type attack—even stronger than Zekrom’s Fusion Bolt or Reshiram’s Fusion Flare!

Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 have a special connection with Pokémon Dream Radar for the Nintendo 3DS system. The Pokémon you obtain in Pokémon Dream Radar can be sent to your Pokémon Black Version 2 or Pokémon White Version 2 game!

Why I want it: Much like Ragnarok Odyssey mentioned above Pokemon is a franchise I always wanted to get into more than I did. I did play Pokemon Blue and Red back in the day due to my youngest brothers obsession with the franchise. I also saw the cartoons because Matt watched them as part of his paedophile training. But after that I never really got back into it, which is odd because mechanically the game greatly appeals. As Black and White served as something of a reboot for the series and Black and White 2 is supposed to be a greatly expanded and superior version. I do hope to get some time in with Black or White before this launches. But based on past experience I’m not sure if I’ll play this enough to justify buying it.

Dishonored

(09/10/12)(PC)

What they say: You are the once-trusted bodyguard of the Empress. Framed for her murder and driven by revenge, you must become an infamous assassin, known only by the disturbing mask that has become your calling card. As you navigate a world torn apart by plague and oppressed by a government armed with strange new technologies, the truth behind your betrayal is as murky as the waters surrounding the city. The choices you make will determine the fate of the world, but no matter what happens your old life is gone forever.

Why I want it: I like cyberpunk. I like weird alternate futures with aristocratic systems. I like killing people from a first person perspective. I was really looking forward to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. But it failed to deliver. I’m hoping that Dishonored will do a better job of providing me with a dark futuristic FPS stealth/stab-em-up.

Zone of the Enders HD

(25/10/12)(PS3)

What they say:

Zone of the Enders (2001) and Zone of the Enders 2: The 2nd Runner (2003) are the pinnacle of high speed robot action. Imagine hovering in a 360-degree battlefield. You spin your mecha around, lock onto your target, and fire away. Spotting another enemy nearby, you instantly dash over to it and eliminate it with your sword. Your guns and your blade are your weapons against swarms of enemies and massive spacecraft. This is a solid sci-fi world that looks and sounds like no other, a game whose gameplay mechanics can truly be called exhilarating. These are titles so memorable they have gained a passionate fanbase and are still talked about years after their release.

The HD remastering process has made Z.O.E. even more striking, re-igniting the thrills for long-time fans and blowing away those discovering the game for the first time. Either way, players will find a combination of hardcore gameplay and compelling story that has become all too rare in this day and age.

Re-Boot

For these HD remasters, Kojima Productions teamed up with Sunrise to create an anime opening linking Zone of the Enders and The 2nd Runner. Over 5 minutes long, this original sequence is a perfect introduction to the Z.O.E. world for those new to the series. In addition, the in-game anime cut-scenes have been converted to HD using the latest in upscaling technology. All the effects present in the PS2 versions have been beautifully recreated, preserving the series’ trademark fusion of anime and CG. Additionally, the framerate has been upped to 60 fps from the original 30, and the aspect ratio has been increased from 4:3 to 16:9, giving you even more of Z.O.E.’s signature silky smooth speed. Audio has been given the same attention, resulting in crisper sound effects. The HD edition fans have been clamoring for is finally here!

Why I want it: Second chances seems to be a theme for this list. Zone of the Enders is another franchise I always wanted to play but never got a chance to. Well that’s not true Patrick had a copy of the first and I had a copy of the second, so maybe it’s more accurate to say I never got around to it. Anyhow, I love me some mecha action, especially in HD. So it’s almost certainly I shall be taking this bad boy for a spin.

NiGHTS into Dreams HD

(??/10/12)(PS3)

What they say: Fuck all. Considering the games out in a month there’s neither homepage nor decent press release. So like always, when we can’t find something we turn to the all-knowing Wikipedia – which is where the link above leads.

Why I want it: This is one of those classic games that passed me by. Admittedly in this case it was because Sega Saturn’s were rarer than gold dust in Ireland. While I did have a chance to play one I never owned one. Apart from being a chance to check out an updated version of a classic game I never played it’s also a chance to play a game from a genre that doesn’t see many new releases these days. But the release schedule for the next few months is crowded so this may have to take a back seat.

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition

(30/11/12)(PC)

What they say: Developed by Overhaul Games, Baldur’s Gate — Enhanced Edition revives this classic RPG game originally produced by acclaimed studio Bioware. Baldur’s Gate takes you back to the Forgotten Realms campaign setting in a dazzling role-playing adventure, one that brings to life the grand tradition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game through intricately designed graphics, sound and play balancing. Immerse yourself in this quintessential medieval fantasy world, where nations hang in the balance of your actions, dark prophesies test your resolve, and heroic dreams can be fulfilled at last.

Relive this saga or experience it for the first time in a re-forged version of the Infinity Engine, with a variety of modern improvements. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition includes the entire Baldur’s Gate adventure as well as the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion pack. And for the first time, players can experience never-before-seen content including a new adventure and new party member added to the Enhanced Edition.

Why I want it: Playing the original Baldur’s Gate is one of the landmark gaming experiences in my life. The game just, took hold of me at the time. The computer was in the kitchen at the time because my family was on holidays and a few of the lads had been around for a birthday party/impromptu LAN. After they left, and I was recovering from alcohol poisoning, I threw the game on just to give it a go. The next thing I remember is thinking “Oh fuck is that dawn shining through the blinds?”. It was great. I’m just worried that trying to re-capture that experience, like every other attempt to recapture a moment that’s gone, is both impossible and likely to sully my memory of it. So I’m torn. Though the idea of playing it on my iPAD is very, very appealing.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD

(??/Q4/12)(iOS)

What they say: Meet Phoenix Wright, the rookie defence lawyer new to the scene with the wildest cross-examination skills in town! Take on five intriguing cases to reveal dramatic, stunning, and even comical court proceedings. Use both the touch screen to investigate the crime scenes, question witnesses and present shocking evidence. “Objection!”…It’s outrageous fun! You won’t be able to put down this laugh-out-loud, riveting adventure! Play from the first person perspective through five intriguing cases Two distinct gameplay segments: Investigation phase – survey crime scenes, interview witnesses and gather evidence to use in court Court phase – present findings from the investigation, listen to testimonies, examine witnesses, and determine the truth to prove your client’s innocence Colorful cast of characters

Why I want it: Phoenix Wright is among the very, very small list of games that I have almost finished on my DS (maybe one shining day I can finish one). I have to say I really enjoyed it. Not to sound too wanky but these games are an excellent example of a fairly simple interactive narrative which seamlessly and successfully hides this behind some basic adventure game mechanics. In some ways I find my iPAD superior for some games than smaller handhelds. I get the feeling that this could be one of those games. Like other games it’s in this section primarily because my interest in the game is tempered by my urge not to buy the same game twice.

Game’s I’m not likely to play but may

(ooh snappy title)

These are games that I’ve very little interest in but will probably end up playing because a) everybody else will and I like to have something to base my ranting on or b) just because. Some games are also here because there simply isn’t enough information available at the moment to decide how interested I am.

Assassins Creed 3

(30/10/12)(PS3)

What they say: Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution in the late 18th century, Assassin’s Creed III introduces a new hero, Ratohnaké:ton, of Native American and English heritage. Adopting the name Connor, he becomes the new voice for justice in the ancient war between the Assassins and Templars. Players become an Assassin in the war for liberty against ruthless tyranny in the most stylized and fluid combat experiences in the franchise to date. Assassin’s Creed III spans the Revolutionary War, taking gamers from the vibrant, untamed frontier to bustling colonial towns and the intense, chaotic battlefields where George Washington’s Continental Army clashed with the imposing British Army.

Assassin’s Creed III is powered by Ubisoft-AnvilNext, a revolutionary new game engine that delivers breakthroughs in visual quality, character models and artificial intelligence. Assassin’s Creed III will feature a ground-breaking level of stunning graphics that bring Colonial America to life.

Why I want it: I genuinely don’t to be honest. The first game was a disappointment. The second game was an improvement mechanically but the story was absolutely fucking shite. I didn’t play any of the “in-between” games in the series because I found the story so fucking ridiculous. This game does look very nice though, nice enough mechanically that I think I can put up with how stupid the story will almost definitely be.

Okami HD

(30/10/12)(PS3)

What they say: Another game coming out in less than a month with no official homepage and no real press release. JJJIIIVVVEEE. Here’s the old stuff:

You possess the power of a god, but you face the world in the form of a wolf! You have the power to create and destroy. Faced with your greatest challenge, to restore order and beauty to a world laid barren by evil, you must overcome the odds against you. * An epic journey through a breathtaking landscape. * Use innovative controls to “paint” your desired powers. * Fight against a wide variety of fascinating yet deadly enemies! * Communicate with unique characters. * Expand your god-like powers as you progress through the game!

The link above leads to all available news about the HD version of the game.

Why I want it: This game is only in this section because I have played it before and there are a large number of games I have not played coming out in the next few months. As such I’m finding it hard to justify the expense or the time required to play this game again. But don’t be mistaken. This is an amazingly enjoyable game with a beautiful and unique art style. If you haven’t played it I most heartily recommend it.

Halo 4

(06/11/12)(360)

What they say: The Master Chief returns to battle an ancient evil bent on vengeance and annihilation. Humanity and the universe will never be the same again.

Shipwrecked on a mysterious world, faced with new enemies and deadly technology… the universe will never be the same. Enlist aboard the UNSC Infinity to experience War Games, ferocious competitive multiplayer and Spartan Ops – episodic fiction based co-op missions.

Key Features

– The Reclaimer Saga Begins: Experience the dawn of an epic new Halo adventure, solo or split screen with up to three friends
– Go Beyond the Story: Halo 4’s Infinity Multiplayer features a vastly expanded suite of multiplayer modes, weapons, vehicles, armor abilities, a new loadout and Spartan-IV player progression system.
– Spartan Ops: Extend your campaign experience in a massive-scale adventure that builds upon the “Halo 4” Campaign. Receive a weekly series of cinematic episodes on Xbox LIVE followed by new game play missions, played solo or cooperatively with up to three friends – effectively delivering two campaign experiences in one game!**
– War Games:War Games: Battle the competition in fresh, immersive new game modes and strategies. Track your stats and scores on HaloWaypoint.com
– Edge-of-your-seat Entertainment: Immerse yourself in Halo 4’s graphics, sound and epic game play including a mysterious and deadly new class of enemies

Why I want it: Halo is a franchise I initially loved and then grew further and further away from with each instalment. Possibly in indirect proportion to how much they focused on the multiplayer aspects of the game. I think it was probably ODST that broke the camel’s back. So much so that despite uniformly rave reviews I never even played Halo:REACH. I’ve been largely ignoring this game but I came across one or two things that made it look interesting to me again. I’m going to have to wait for reviews to see if the single player content is worth it though.

DragonBall Z: Budokai HD Collection

(09/11/12)(PS3)

What they say: Dragon Ball Z Budokai 1 and Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 make their triumphant debut on next generation consoles in Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection. Remastered in high-definition with full trophy/achievement support, fans can relive these two great games or experience them for the first time in one special collection.

Key Features

BUDOKAI 1 FEATURES

– Face off with up to 23 mighty DBZ warriors!
– 60 moves per character including Kamehameha
– Fierce fighting modes including Story, Duel & World Match
– Follow the DBZ animated series from Saiyan Saga to Android saga!
– Includes the authentic Japanese voiceover cast

BUDOKAI 3 FEATURES

– More than 40 characters from Dragon Ball, DBZ, DBZ movies & Dragon Ball GT
– Customize your DBZ warrior & build the ultimate fighter
– Saiyan Overdrive Fighting System brings the speed, cinematic attacks & combos, airborne acrobatics and intensity of the DBZ anime
– Share character profile passwords for other players to use
– Includes the authentic Japanese voiceover cast

Why I want it: YOU KNOW WHY YOU AUNT SALLY! (If you don’t understand you’re clearly not as cool as you think you are). If the next few months weren’t so packed this would be a definite purchase. But I just don’t think I’d get any kind of real play out of it. This is a shame as they are a great series of games.

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

(20/11/12)(PS3)

What they say: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is the ultimate four-player brawler, influenced by some of the greatest PlayStation themes and characters of all time. Spanning the entire PlayStation catalogue, players will control the likes of iconic characters such as Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Parappa, Fat Princess, Colonel Radec, and Sly Cooper among others.

With a host of playable characters, special attacks, themed stages, and mash up music, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale pits players in a deep fighting game that draws inspiration through the colourful PlayStation universe.

Key Features

– Control some of the greatest ever PlayStation characters in an explosive brawler
– Battle as classic video game icons including Sly Cooper, Kratos, PaRappa the Rapper and more
– Take on up to three of your friends offline and via PlayStation Network across a variety of competitive and co-operative modes as you fight on constantly evolving battle arenas

Why I want it: I’m not a fan of the “Party brawler” as exemplified by the Smash Bros franchise – which this seems a blatant copy off. They always felt like they were trying to be the Powerstone games but never quite succeeding. However, the Smash Bros games are generally good for a bit of a laugh and I much prefer Sony’s characters to Nintendo’s. This is also one of those games where buying the PS3 version nets you the Vita version for free. All of these elements combined mean that if I see it cheap I’ll probably pick it up – but I won’t be looking for it cheap.

Hitman Absolution

(20/11/12)(PC)

What they say: HITMAN ABSOLUTION follows Agent 47, a cold-blooded assassin, who takes on his most dangerous contract to date. Betrayed by those he once trusted – and now hunted by the police – he suddenly finds himself at the center of a dark conspiracy and must embark on a personal journey through a corrupt and twisted world.

Why I want it: Because the first level of the first Hitman game was awesome and nothing after that really lived up to it. Which is why I’m only cautiously optimistic about this rather than genuinely interested

Far Cry 3

(04/12/12)(PC)

What they say: Far Cry 3 players step into the shoes of Jason Brody, a man alone at the edge of the world, stranded on a mysterious tropical island cut off from civilization. In this savage paradise where lawlessness and violence are the only sure thing, players will dictate when, where and how the events of the game unfold. Players will slash, sneak, detonate and shoot their way across the island in a world that has lost all sense of right and wrong.

– The island of Far Cry 3 will drop the player into a rich and stunningly well-realized environment, full of intriguing characters to meet, locations to explore and explosive fights to jump into.
– Alone on a tropical island, the player will have to confront the dark side of humanity. As Jason Brody, gamers will be impelled to act as he learns more about the horror and corruption that is taking place on the island.
– Far Cry 3 exists within a world of conceivable reality, where the events could have been ripped straight from the headlines of the news.
– The natural environment is a tool to be used for survival, improvising your attack or deception of the enemy. Gameplay will reflect the range of opportunities and variety only this type of environment could provide.

Why I want it: I’ve heard a lot about the first two games in the series. But to be honest my interest in FPS’ has dimmed so I never really bothered with it. However this game looks simply stunning and the graphics whore in me finds that hard to resist. I’m hoping it comes up cheap in the Steam sale because I’ve no real interest in picking it up for full price.

Rise of the Triad

(??/Q4/12)(PC)

What they say:

Full Campaign

Step into the shoes of the H.U.N.T. (High Risk United Nations Task Force) with five unique characters – each with different play styles and strengths – to take on over 20 of levels of single-player gameplay spanning four episodes.

Ludicrous Multiplayer

All of our unique multiplayer maps and modes bring back the insane fun and excitement of classic ROTT. Complete with high flying, high scoring, fast-paced in your face action and enough crazy options to keep you entertained for hours on end.

Crazy Weapons

They’re all back and better than ever! Dual pistols, the MP40, Heatseeker, Flamewall, Firebomb, Split Missile, Drunk Missile, Dark Staff, and of course, the Excalibat! Each and every weapon has been re-designed for the most ludircous of gibs.

Maniacal Modes

Boom baby! All of the mad modes are back and have been completely re-invented! God mode, Elasto mode, Mercury mode, Shrooms mode and everyone’s favorite, Dog mode! Taking down the Triads has never been so ridiculously fun.

Nostalgia Abounds

We heard you like it old school – so now you’ve got the option to play with all the original ROTT 95 sounds and music or you experience the original soundndtrack completely reforged in the fires of heavy metal! The choice is yours.

Fully Moddable

With Rise of the Triad you have the freedom to build your own insane levels, create your own maddening mods and share them with everyone using Valve’s Steamworks! All you need is a little bit of know-how and plenty of creativity.

Why I want it: Nostalgia. The original RotT was an interesting step forward for FPS at the time, introducing the awesomely important ability to dual wield and turn fuckers into chickens. FPS’ have changed almost completely these days. It’s relatively rare to see a pure “old school” shooter like this these days. It could be interesting, it could be shit. It does somewhat intrigue me though.

Listening to: The National - ADA

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