Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Feature: My Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2012 [Part 2: 5-1]

Continuing on from part one, we've now reached the top five in this list of my most anticipated games to see release in the to-be great year for gaming that is 2012. Without further delay, let's get down to business, shall we?

5. Resident Evil: Revelations
If you read my massive preview of Resident Evil: Revelations last month, you'll most certainly be aware of the fact that I'm looking forward to the title with piqued interest. By now, of course, the game will have been released for quite a while and I'm probably blasting T-Abyss virus infected mutants as you read this. Damn these posts and how painstakingly long they take to write! Still, at the time of writing at least, the game is yet to be released and I'm still essentially still looking forward to it, and if you don't know why, you should probably read my aforementioned preview! I won't leave this section of this post at that, of course. Revelations, as I've mentioned time and time again, is set to be less of a spin-off and more of a rival to the rest of the main series instalments, despite the fact that it is to be released on the dinky little handheld we know as the 3DS, and not its beefier home console cousins. Baffling as the prospect of what is essentially the next big Resident Evil release being showcased on the 3DS only is, it still looks absolutely fantastic.

I'm not saying Resident Evil: Revelations rival Capcom's crowning achievement, that being the series' fourth main installment, or even the next big release after Revelations that will enter shop shelves in the form of Resident Evil 6 this November, but keeping an open mind this game looks to be one of the best to hit the 3DS yet. It's received many stellar reviews, more often than not over the 90/100 or 9/10 mark depending on the publication. A much less convoluted plot is said to be found in the title, making it a more engaging experience than past Resident Evil games. I'd note that this story-line has been conceived by none other than the creator of popular anime Bleach, which may have apparently gone down the gutter lately, but if reviews are anything to go by the man certainly hasn't messed Resident Evil lore up with this release. Obviously though, story isn't everything. The gameplay aspects of Revelations are also apparently great, building on last year's The Mercenaries 3D and refining it so the experience is much less... broken, let's say, than that title. Before I waffle on for too much longer, I'm going to wrap up this segment by saying once again that you should check out my preview of Resident Evil: Revelations, as there's not really anything to say about this release here that hasn't been said in that post. Call me lazy, but this is how I roll. Moving on, swiftly...

4. Kid Icarus: Uprising
As crazy as the prospect is, the spectacular 3D return of Pit, the angelic hero of Kid Icarus fame, was the first thing we ever saw related to the Nintendo 3DS. Not to mention the fact that, when it was first unveiled alongside the glorious new system back at E3 2010, it looked pretty far into the development process. Yet here we are, almost two years later, and the game still hasn't seen release. Thankfully, that fact will have changed soon, as Kid Icarus: Uprising will be available to buy here in the UK on the 23rd of March, and I can happily inform you readers that I'm pretty damn excited for it. So excited, in fact, that the game has risen up to number 4 spot on this list. It's clear that the head of Uprising's development, Masahiro Sakurai of Super Smash Bros. fame, has put a lot of time and effort into making the game that marks the return of an age-old Nintendo superstar (yet a rather young one in truth) the best it can possibly be, and we'll find out very soon if his efforts have been successful. After hiding in the shadows since the NES and Game Boy era, Kid Icarus himself, the childish albeit brash Pit, is set to make his return in the form of what has looked like Sin and Punishment with on-foot sections this past year and a half-or-so. Despite these initial impressions, however, Uprising looks to be much more than many of us will have expected. It's become clear over the past few weeks that this game is very Sakurai, and if you don't know what I mean by that, please allow me to explain further...

From a content perspective, Kid Icarus' spectacular-looking reboot has been described as jam packed with things to do, much like the Smash Bros. games before it. It's not difficult to see that Nintendo's next big 3DS release has been curated by the head of development of the most content-stuffed game ever created thus far (Smash Bros. Brawl, in case you're wondering). In Uprising you'll find a single-player campaign mode which has you soaring through the skies in on-rails shooter meets third-person action segments and beating the pulp out of Medusa's army on-foot, more so than the time you'll be spending above-ground. With this in mind, no player should mistake Pit's modern debut for a Sin and Punishment game in a Kid Icarus shell, because the main bulk of the game is apparently anything but (I'm not having a go at Sin and Punishment, by the way). More exciting is the fact that the solo mode is apparently rather expansive, not only due to the welcome longevity of it (something many have had doubts about until this point) but also the clever Fiend's Cauldron, which has you increasing the 'intensity' of the game's difficulty on the fly when replaying sections of the game you've already conquered. The more intense you make your session, the more valuable the rewards you receive afterwards; and this is where Uprising's weapons system comes into play. Nine catagories of weapons house countless tools for use in both the game's single-player mode and multiplayer, each of which has a unique design and its own statistics. Throw in weapon fusion, achievements, the aforementioned multiplayer options which I haven't had the space to talk about alongside many other things, and we've certainly got a sky-high winner on our hands with Kid Icarus: Uprising. What could I possibly be more excited about?

3. Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle
I'll admit it here and now: Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call, the top-hatted gentleman's most recent release here in the UK, was a total disappointment after the awe-inspiring Lost Future. It's not to say it was a bad game by any means, but the lack of anything new, a slightly less clever story than past series instalments as well as the exclusion of the 100+ hour bonus mode that Japanese and American gamers got their hands on with their versions of the release, made for what was far from the best game in the series (although not the worst). However, the frustrating lack of anything new found in the fourth Layton release certainly isn't going to be what we'll be seeing with Mask of Miracle, the fifth instalment in the much-loved puzzling series of handheld adventures. The reason why this game will be undeniably fresh is rather obvious; This will be the first Layton game we'll ever see on a system other than the DS where the series began to grow its roots and up until this point has housed every game in the series. Improved graphics, more possibilities for puzzle solving thanks to the features of the hardware as well as many other things look to make Mask of Miracle anything but a disappointment.

Of course, one main factor none of us can be sure about that could either make or break a Layton title is the plot, which was the main setback for the fourth instalment in my opinion. As ever, Mask of Miracle has already been released in Japan, so gamers over in that region should already be familiar with what happens in the game story-wise, but here in English-speaking regions, that knowledge is once again absent for now. All we know is that the plot is based around a mysterious mask with the ability to turn others into stone, possibly among other powers. Naturally, there should be a perfectly logical reason behind everything, and it's up to the Professor to uncover the mystery with his two companions; a slightly more experienced Luke Triton than his first chronological appearance, as well as Emmy Altava who also gratefully returns from The Spectre's Call. Mask of Miracle will also feature flashbacks into the Professor's past, a-la Lost Future, albeit much earlier on than when the man met the love of his life. The game is set to explore Layton's college years, in which he explores an ancient cavern with his mate Lando (no, not the backstabbing guy from Star Wars). Surely, these flashbacks will be plot-relevant as they were in the current best game in the series, and it'll be nothing but enthralling to see even more character development for the gentlemanly Professor. Also, did I mention the younger Layton has an afro-esque cut? This will be perfection in the form of a cartridge, folks. Moving on to the penultimate game on this list...

2. The Last Story 
The last Wii game you'll find on this list is also what might just be one of the Wii's final hurrahs. While the aforementioned Pandora's Tower will be released on the system on a later date than this game, The Last Story has had some superb reviews rather than just decent ones. Simply put, if last year's incredible Skyward Sword was the main course, this might just be the delinquent (if not quite as massive) dessert. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might just remember a couple of previews I've written for this game in the past. At that time, however, the game wasn't confirmed for a European or US release, but since we've seen Nintendo's localisation project come into play and skipping to the present the game has already been released in English. It's been a long, winding road, but finally The Last Story is here. Unless you can read Japanese and imported it. Regardless, I for one have been anticipating this release for a long while as I mentioned, and it turns out the end product is a solid action-based RPG and indeed one of the Wii's last great releases. Fitting, then, that it just about tops this list, falling just behind a certain 3DS game.

The Last Story is the latest epic from Final Fantasy creator Sakaguchi-san, and if that isn't reason enough to get RPG fans excited for it I don't know what is. The story of this game focuses on a band of competitive mercenaries who take on quests for a living. Sounds simple, but when some character and human emotion is thrown in the protagonists' escapades look to be anything other than boring. At the centre of it all is Zael, a heroic chap who the player naturally takes full control of.

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1 comment:

ThePunnyGuy said...

Awesome once again, but I assume there's going to be a part 3 with no. 1 and 2, because if there isn't, that was some sensational trolling my good sir xD