Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Most Anticipated 2011 Part 2

06. Prey 2
Human Head Studios
March 2012
PC, PS3, 360

You'd think this was The Times' sudoku page there are so sequential numbers in this year's list. Prey 2 completely revamps what was a solid and occasionally inventive sci-fi shooter, by removing the perfunctory portals, central character and setting and using Blade Runner's instead. This is, probably, a good thing.

It's hard to describe why I'm excited about Prey 2. It's probably not a good reason: it's probably that all those free running, bounty hunting trailers promise an open, fleshed out world that I'm mentally populating with my personal wishlist.

Original or not, I want to explore a Blade Runner type alien city. I want to inhabit the shoes of an Eastwood-style bounty hunter in a world that reacts to my actions. I want a kind of a cross between Anachronox and Bioshock, only better than both and with more shoulder mounted rockets.

That'll be the day.

05. Bioshock Infinite
Q2 2012
PC, PS3, 360

Obligatory really. The Bioshock's didn't live up to my expectations, largely because they weren't really the spiritual follow up to the System Shocks we were initially promised. Infinite finally introduces live human characters, and I'm interested to see if Levine and his team know how to do that - by their own admission it's only now that they feel prepared to tackle that.

This said, there are some games on this list I'm endlessly excited about for no particular reason, and then there's Bioshock Infinite, which I'm told I should be more excited about than I am. Perhaps it's the legacy of the series and the crowd-pleaser expectation the team and the publisher naturally have to pursue. Perhaps it's all the explosions and falling in those gameplay videos.

I'm staying quiet on this one.

04. Arkham City
18 October 2011
PC, PS3, 360

And yet I've got so much to shout about Arkham City. Funny, huh?  This is a game delivering exactly what a sequel delivers: the same good stuff, only bigger, prettier and more polished. Why should that be so enthralling?

Arkham Asylum was, simply put, one of the best games I've ever played, albeit emphasis on game. At a time when the Bioshocks and Bayonettas leave me cold, Arkham Asylum grabbed me through its every breath: one of the most satisfying, beautiful and tactical combat systems of any game ever; a world that felt consistent and engaging in a way reminiscent of an N64 Zelda game; a character and associated set of abilities and bad guys to use them on that were powerful and steeped in lore.

Arkham City isn't going to be the best written game of the year. It isn't going to change how we do things or how we look at the world. It is going to be one of the best and perhaps even one of the smarter AAAs we have to look forward to. If you're going to do AAA bombast, you do it with the care, respect and invention that UK devs Rocksteady are guaranteed to apply.

Watch this space for part 3, coming soon.


  1. PS I am posting this from a hut in the himalayas where the indian man whose laptop this is is giving my friend a punishing looking massage and gradually undressing him piece by piece.

  2. Shoulder-mounted rockets improve many things. For example, Citizen Kane + shoulder-mounted rockets = Iron Man. Though Orson Welles as Tony Stark would've been delightful.