Hey all, and welcome to the 2011 edition of this feature. In February 2010 I posted a piece of writing by the name of 'My Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2010'. Now that last year is completely over, we can only look forward to the year ahead, so I've decided to do the feature again in the form of what I'm most looking forward to this year games-wise. Some of the titles in this feature will probably end up rubbish like a couple did last year (Infinite Space, what a shame...) but it's my list so I decide what's on it! Before I begin the top ten, I have to point out one major rule. Because I did a list of my ten most anticipated 3DS games late last year, I won't be including any 3DS games in this list. Just DS and Wii games! Now that's over and done with I'll begin...
10. De Blob: The Underground
I still haven't picked up the original De Blob, the unique platform-adventure game from developer Blue Tongue. Despite this, I know that it was a brilliant title that received some very high scores from many reviewers and I plan to pick it up soon. Unfortunately, the original game sold literally about three or four copies, which would make any gamer assume that they wouldn't have a pop at a sequel. It's funny how that's exactly what they've gone and done. De Blob: The Underground is promising to be even better than the original, with more varied missions and new 2D sections inspired by the Super Mario Galaxy games. It's probably not going to be quite as good as those titles, but De Blob: The Underground is clearly a game to look forward to. Hopefully this one will gain more sales. I'm sure that this game would be higher up on the list if I had played the original, but you can never be too sure. Anyway, I better save up the pennies and try to get my mitts on the original De Blob before The Underground is released later this year, because I've got some catching up to do!
9. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
I'm awful at the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, and when I say awful I mean awful. in Christmas 2009 my brother bought me a copy of Sonic Mega Collection for the Gamecube, a title that packs the original three Mega-Drive games (as well as some of the spin-offs) on a single disk. To this day, I've only managed to complete Sonic 2 due to my undeniable suckage at the games (and old 2D platformers in general, for that matter). So, why is Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II on my top ten, then? Well, it's thanks to the homing attack system that was introduced in the first of the episodic series, that for me looks to make things a hell of a lot less annoying. I didn't pick up the first episode of Sonic 4, purely because I haven't had any Nintendo points for quite a while, but if I did I'm sure I would've enjoyed it more than the originals from what I've seen. For those who don't know, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a modern revamp of the original Mega-Drive games that strays away from the gimmicks, pointless characters and terrible voice acting that we've seen in more recent Sonic games (except froms Colours, of course). Sonic 4 is released in downloadable episodic chunks across many platforms including WiiWare, the second of which is set to bring back a 'Classic character who we've seen before'. People who fully completed Episode I will know who this mystery character is, and don't seem to be complaining. We don't know much else about Sonic 4: Episode II, but I'm already looking forward to it!
8. Kirby's Epic Yarn
The last two games on this list have had a single previous installment that I haven't played. This takes it to the next level though, because to my utmost shame I've never played a Kirby game before, and I have no excuse for this! Still, that's probably going to change this year, since I'm planning on getting Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Wii to redeem my sins. That isn't the only reason though, because Kirby's Epic Yarn is actually a pretty awesome game. It annoyingly came out in America months ago, but that means we already have a good idea of what's to come. Reviewers have given Epic yarn some very positive scores, despite its slightly easy nature. I say slightly easy, but I mean very easy. Believe it or not, but you can't even die in this game! Still, some games aren't always about insane difficulty and Epic Yarn is one of those games because it has a brilliant charm backing it up. This charm mostly comes from the touching story, and more importantly the art-style. I've talked about this in the past, but Epic Yarn has a unique visual flair, where everything is made out of fabric, patches and thread (or yarn if you don't know how to speak proper English). It's a lovely idea that is clearly well implemented into the story, but I'll save that segment for the review. Kirby's Epic Yarn is out really soon, so be sure to pick it up! Now, onto the next game.
7. Professor Layton and the Spectre's Flute
With the massive excitement over the two upcoming Professor Layton 3DS titles, it's easy to forget that the top-hatted dude has one final DS adventure coming out. This title seems to raise a hell of a lot of questions. Namely, will we be seeing Professor Layton and the Spectre's Flute out much earlier than the previous DS games? Will we see two Professor Layton games in the UK in a single year? Will The Spectre's Flute even be released outside of Japan at all? Too many questions, all of which should hopefully be answered very soon. The fourth Professor Layton game sees the introduction of the professor's first apprentice, as well as a story involving how he first met his current sidekick Luke and a mystery about a town that is attacked by a huge monster called Majin every fortnight. This title doesn't really introduce anything new to the series, as it's been out in Japan for who knows how long, but it will open up the second trilogy that will be followed on by the 3DS games. I'm certainly looking forward to it. Hopefully it'll see the light of day outside of Japan very soon...
6. Pokemon Black/White
I'll admit it, I'm not much of a fan of the newer 'main' Pokemon games. I didn't really like Pokemon Platinum too much, and I didn't pick up HeartGold or SoulSilver, despite Gold being my favourite Pokemon title. There's something wrong with me, I know, but I just can't get into the new games. I can't really seem to figure out what it is that pushes them away from me. Still, since it's announcement in February last year I'm genuinely very excited about the next generation of Pokemon games. Pokemon Black and White promise hundreds of new Pokemon, many cool new wifi features and an actual brand new plot-line, something that oh so many main Pokemon games have lacked. Everything appears to have been updated graphically, with much more impressive animated sprites and a dynamic camera that opens up new possibilities for the series. Pokemon Black and White look like they're going to be the best installments to the Pokemon series yet. A last hurrah for the DS before the handheld's inevitable death. Speaking of DS games, look what's up next...
To my utmost shame I've never had a chance to experience Okami, the fantastical Zelda-esque Wii and PS2 game from Capcom's Clover Studios, the same guys who worked on the likes of Viewtiful Joe and its sequel. Still, better late than never, and after I've finished that I'll be able to get stuck into Okami's sequel, Okamiden. To be released for the DS this year, Okamiden is looking to be another final bit of magic for the DS when it is released over here later this year. The original Okami was made unique partly through it's paint mechanic. The paint system is a clever idea that was a hallmark of the original, allowing players to draw symbols to solve puzzles and fend off various beasties in battle. The system looks to be improved on heavily with the DS, thanks to the wonders of the stylus. I'm mostly looking forward to Okamiden simply because it's coming from Clover Studios, but also because it is a brilliant adventure game in it's own right. It'll undoubtedly be the last great game released for the handheld before the 3DS completely takes over the handheld market. It's great to see we're ending the console's lifeline on an extremely high note. Roll on Okamiden!
4. Mario Sports Mix
Back when Mario Sports Mix was first announced at E3 2010 I was a little skeptical, but now that I've seen the game in action (it's been out in Japan for a while now) I can admit that I honestly think it looks awesome. For those unaware of this new Mario sports compilation, it's a collection of four different sports in one package, with local and online multiplayer, addictive gameplay and plenty of expected spins on the sports in question. Dodgeball, Hockey, Basketball and Volleyball are the four sports you'll be playing in Mario Sports Mix, each of which can be played by various Mario characters as well as your Mii. Oh, did I mention this game is developed by Square-Enix? Because of that various Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest characters make some ridiculous cameo appearances. Judging by footage of the Japanese release of Mario Sports Mix, the game is looking really addictive, especially when it comes to multiplayer. As I mentioned earlier, you can play locally or online in Mario Sports Mix, and whilst playing online the game is apparently lag-free. I reckon I'll be sitting on the sofa indulging in some local multiplayer though, simply for the ability to brag to the loser in person. If you've played one of the many Mario sports games before, you'll know exactly what to expect with this one. But this time, it'll be four times the action. I realise that was cheesy as hell. Anyway, only three left now...
3. The Last Story
I showed my anticipation for The Last Story in a blog post I did last year and my god, it's looking even more amazing now. The Last Story is the apparent 'final game' (it's called The 'Last' Story for a reason, y'know) from Sakaguchi-san, the creator of Final Fantasy. The developer has been hyping up his final release by promising that it will be his best game ever. Now that's certainly saying something, because if this can beat the likes of Final Fantasy IV and VII, then we're in for one of the best games on the Wii. It's a fully fledged RPG promising to feature a massive game world, tons of quests and an epic main storyline to get your teeth stuck into. The graphics are also incredible, showing off the true potential of the Wii's visual capabilities. On top of all this, the game features a brilliant-looking real-time battle system, where you and your party equip various weapons such as huge swords and guns to fend off enemies and the like. In a nice touch, you can give out commands to your comrades by speaking to them during fights. It sounds pretty clever, and If The Last Story lives up to the hype, it will be one of the very best titles on the console. We haven't seen or heard a massive amount about the game yet, but judging from what we've seen so far it looks like a brilliant game and could be a contender for best RPG on Wii.
2. Conduit 2
Believe it or not, I actually loved The Conduit. Sure, the game didn't quite live up to the ridiculous hype following its release, but if you looked at the game with that aside, then it was actually very good. It had brilliant online multiplayer, an engaging storyline, very impressive visuals and some superb voice-acting that added up to make a very enjoyable title. When I discovered there was a sequel on the way I got excited! Developers High Voltage software aren't really hyping up Conduit 2 (yes, there's no 'the') at all this time, instead, they're letting the game do the talking. And the sort of stuff the gameplay trailers and news stories have been blurting out sounds incredible. The sequel is promising to fix all the original game's problems, such as the slightly boring level designs that have now been replaced with varied locations, rather than just Washington D.C. Throughout the game, you'll be visiting oil-rigs, Aztec ruins, abandoned subways and jungles, among many others. The variety in levels isn't the only thing that has changed though, because we'll be seeing some ridiculously innovative weapon designs in Conduit 2, as made evident in a recent trailer. Let's take the Phase Rifle as an example: This sniping weapon has the ability to see and shoot through walls after being charged-up, and is described as the perfect camper-killer. Also among the Conduit 2 arsenal is a weapon that fires explosive bugs and a deployable turret to fend off aliens and the like. High Voltage have also added some little touches, such as the ability to look down sights this time, and to my untmost excitement, local split-screen multiplayer, something that most modern FPS games lack. Conduit 2 looks like it could beat GoldenEye and claim the title of the best shooter on Wii. It's just under two months until the game's out too, so we'll find out very soon if it turns out to claim that title. Now for the final game on the list.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
How could The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword not be the number one game on this list. Being the massive Zelda fan that I am, I couldn't be looking more forward to 2011's biggest Wii release, and the best thing is it's only a matter of months before it hits the shelves. Skyward Sword is the first home console Zelda game since Twilight Princess hit the GameCube and Wii in December 2006. That statement clearly shows how exciting the release of a new non-handheld Zelda game in five years is. You see, Twilight Princess has always been my personal greatest game of all time, and now that there's a possible contender coming up, I simply can't wait. Skyward Sword has been hyped up to be a huge step forward from past Zelda games, which have basically followed the same structure in every release (set-piece, dungeon, set-piece, dungeon etc etc). This time however, the experience is going to be much more streamlined. For example, the dungeons will probably be a part of the overworld, or something, giving way for a huge puzzle-filled game-world like the sort you'll find in the Metroid games. It's just a guess, and Nintendo probably have much more up their sleeves than simply that, but I'm hoping they don't stray too far away from the classic formula. Now I think it's time I should write about the many items you'll find in Skyward Sword. Many classic pieces Zelda equipment (such as bombs, a Bow and the like) are confirmed for the newest game, but I reckon they'll feel like all-new fresh items thanks to the inclusion of MotionPlus control. The 1:1 precision controls will clearly enhance the Zelda experience, whether you're chucking and rolling bombs, pulling back the nunchuk to load you bow or swinging your sword around like a madman. The new items also look cool, and are clearly inspired by Wii Sports Resort; The Beetle is controlled exactly like the Airplane from that game, the sword in the game is clearly inspired by Wii Sports Resort Swordplay, and if the Boomerang is included I reckon it'll be reminiscent of the Frisbee. Not all the items have been revealed yet, but I'm looking forward to what's to come. We haven't really heard anything since E3 about Skyward Sword, but we won't have long to wait until the Zelda floodgates are broken open so we can finally find out more about the new adventure. For now though, we can only look forward to what will be an incredible game.
So now you know my top ten most anticipated Wii and DS games of the coming months. I hope you enjoyed reading the 2011 edition of this feature! I'll almost definitely have one up this time next year. Feel free to have your say in the comments section and if you want, you can put what you're most looking forward to! For now, this is me looking forward to these awesome looking games and ending the post...