Feeding The Beast

The big bang was the event that led to the formation of the universe as we know it today (if you’re religious, I’m sorry); things got a bit hot, a huge explosion occurred and ever since the universe has been cooling down whilst, at the same time, expanding.  I never was good at astrophysics though; I much preferred burning holes in desks (actually happened) or watching as a poor lab technician had to clear up broken mercury thermometers while the teacher bemoaned at how radioactive we were making her.

2010 was quite eventful for gaming as the plethora of quality titles continued to flow from the years start to finish. Mass Effect 2 got the ball rolling and by the time February had arrived we were already contemplating a game of the year title being released within the first four weeks of the year. Titles such as Red Dead Redemption, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Super Mario Galaxy and Starcraft II ensure that no matter what your tastes, they were well catted for, but can 2011 satisfy our bestial nature?

As it’s due to be released (within the UK) in a couple of weeks (at time of press) we’ll get the ball rolling with LittleBigPlanet 2. Can January once again rise up and smite us down with a blissful gaming experience, here’s my picks for gaming bliss 2011.

LittleBigPlanet 2
Developer: Media Molecule
Format: Playstation 3
Release: 21st January

LittleBigPlanet 2 has the potential to be something not only great but fantastic. A game where you’ll end up spending more time playing things you or other players have created. Sackboy is back, his tools are more advanced, digital puppetry, build entire games not just levels – from here on out 2011 should be renamed ‘Year of the Sack’.

Bulletstorm
Developer: People Can Fly | Epic Games
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release: February 22nd 2011

Bulletstorm is one of those games where you really do have to see it to believe it and, as a result, I don’t think I could do a worthy job of describing it. Instead, here’s what the ESRB had to say about it when it went for clarification.

“Specialty kills (i.e., Skillshots) represent the most intense instances of violence: enemies can be dismembered with explosives; impaled on spikes; and drilled into walls, resulting in body parts breaking into pieces. The dialogue contains numerous jokes and comments that reference sexual acts, venereal diseases, and having sex with one’s mother (e.g., “Guess I know where the ol’ gal got that limp.”). The names of some Skillshots are infused with sexual innuendo (e.g., Gag Reflex, Rear Entry, Drilldo, Mile High Club); one Skillshot (i.e., Fire in the Hole) allows players to shoot at enemies’ exposed buttocks.”

Needless to say the ESRB has slapped a rated 18 sticker on it. I get the feeling that multiplayer with your mates over Live / PSN will be quite the experience, what with all the gag reflexing and rear entry going on.

Diablo III
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Format: PC, Mac
Release: Q4 2011

It’s not often that a game comes along that defines a genre so much that any game even remotely similar is branded a “clone” with phrases such as “If you like Diablo, you’ll love this” often brandished. But that’s what Blizzard has to contend with when the third instalment is released towards the tail end of this year (if a leaked memo is to be believed) with a mass of dedicated fans of the franchise just waiting in the wings to administer justice via message boards if it doesn’t get perfect review scores across the board.

Batman Arkham City
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release: Q3 2011

When Arkham Asylum hit the shelves it took everyone a bit by surprise and with it threw developers Rocksteady into the limelight. The sequel has been known about for some time now, with Batman spreading his wings and making his way into Gotham. Throw in the addition of some multiplayer action, a rather saucy looking catwoman and some good old fashion villains such as Two Face and the Joker. If that’s not all you’ve once again got a great voice cast that was praised tenfold in the previous outing including Mark Hamill who once again reprises his role as the Joker with Kevin Conroy picking up his role as Bats.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
Developer: Bioware
Format: PC
Release: Unknown 2011

The MMO genre is one of the most ruthless within the gaming world with the current head honcho World of Warcraft sat proudly atop the pile with its 13million+ strong subscriber base. To be fair I think it’s pointless to ask “Is this the next WoW killer”, if such a thing actually exists. Sure, players come and go but the bulk of WoW’s community are so used to playing it that it’s now a question of habit and routine. It’s all about attracting new players and if there’s one brand name out there that can do just that, it’s Star Wars.

Currently nestling between the warmth of Bioware’s bosom, The Old Republic looks set to be one of the premiere MMO launches this year boasting a major focus on story and character development. Bioware have even come out and laid the gauntlet down by claiming there is more story content in this than in all of their other games combined.

Portal 2
Developer: Valve
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Mac
Release: April 22nd 2011

GLaDOS is still alive.

Portal has more than likely been responsible for half the gaming meme’s to date so one can only wonder what weird and wonderful things will accompany the sequel. Co-op play makes its first appearance so expect to not only becoming frustrated with the game’s puzzles but that of your friends’ inability to shoot a portal exit at the right point as well.

So, about that cake?

DiRT 3
Developer: Codemasters
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release: Q2 2011

When people talk about racers the usual suspects such as Gran Turismo and Forza are always mentioned while the likes of the DiRT series sort of flies along merrily under the radar. DiRT 2 was a fantastic game; one which I believe is right up there with the best that Codemasters has produced from its racing team.

The third instalment looks to tone down a lot of the Americanisation of the game which if you’ve played the second will understand what I’m talking about. A welcome change anyone a fan of the Codies rally games of old will welcome with open arms.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release: November 11th 2011

In terms of RPGs, you don’t get much bigger than Elder Scrolls  so the announcement that on November 11th the series once again progresses with Skyrim was obviously met with much fan boy jubilation.

With a brand new engine powering it, and a story featuring Dragons and Nordic Gods what more could you want? Expect to spend a lot of time within the lands of Skyrim this winter.

Duke Nukem Forever
Developer(s): 3D Realms (1997-2009), Gearbox Software (current developers)
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release: First half of 2011

Over a decade in the making, and you’d be forgiven if you still thought it would never get released. Duke Nukem Forever is one of those tragic gaming stories that has to end one day and with Gearbox now at the helm that day looks set to return sooner rather than later.

Just think, by the time this finally sees the light of day there’ll be a whole generation of gamers out there that will have never played a Nukem game before, having only been in the early years of their lives… mental. Just to get a real sense of time here, in 1997 Google didn’t exist,  and both World War II and the entire Manhattan Project happened in a shorter period of time than it took to create this game.

L.A. Noire
Developer(s): Team Bondi
Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Release: First half 2011

L.A. Noire had been quietly surfing under everyone’s radar for a while now and it wasn’t until a recent trailer was released that the whole gaming world sat up and took notice. Some fantastic lip syncing was more than enough to get tongue’s wagging and, rest assured, it’s one title due for release this year that many will be paying particular attention to.

Mass Effect 3
Developer(s): Bioware
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release: Xmas 2011 (if we’re lucky)

The finale to Bioware’s rather excellent Mass Effect series will, after the success of the second iteration, be one of the year’s mega hits. Earth is in flames, London is in a state of ruin with Big Ben particularly beat up. It’s up to Commander Shepard to bring help from every corner of the galaxy, mankind’s only hope rests on Shepard’s ability to persuade others to fight the good fight.

There may be some doubts about whether or not this will actually see the light of day in 2011, we’ll just have to cling on and hope to Normandy that it does.

Mortal Kombat
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Release: April 2011

You’ve read the name Mortal Kombat and by now I’m going to presume you’ve shouted it really loud in your head, I know I have. For too long have the words “finish him” not been spoken in our living rooms as you beat your opponent into a bloody pulp. With a roster of around twenty six characters and over fifty fatalities featured could this be the game that brings the MK series back into the fighting scene?

Uncharted 3
Developer: Naughty Dog
Format: Playstation 3
Release: November 4th 2011

Nathan Drake returns for a more desert themed adventure and you can be sure this is one game that’ll cause a sandstorm amongst the gaming press. With the second in the sequel argued as not only one of the best games the Playstation 3 has to offer but up there among the best of this current generation, you can be sure that expectations for this will be as high as they come.

Brink
Developer: Splash Damage
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release: Spring 2011

Going to lay it on the line but I think Brink could be the standalone ‘Best New IP’ of 2011. A First Person Shooter with a story mode playable by you and up to seven friends at the same time, you fight, you gain exp which you can then use to customise your character. A team based multiplayer FPS with a story is certainly going to be a little bit different from the other games on this list and, having seen it in action at the recent Eurogamer Expo, it definitely appeals to my Team Fortress 2 urges.

Gears of War 3
Developer: Epic Games
Format: Xbox 360
Release: Holidays 2011

Gears 3 has the potential to be huge, which is probably why it’s pencilled in for a holidays release with Microsoft no doubt hoping it’ll prove to be a huge hit in the run up the festive season. Knuckle down and get your chainsaws ready for co-op with support for up to four people. The addition of three playable females characters is no doubt an effort to take a bit of heat off of the bro-mance brewing between Marcus and Dom. But with a brand new enemy (The Lambent) to tackle as well as the Locust there’s going to be enough meat walking around for you to get good use out of the chainsaw.

Beast mode, a multiplayer feature that allows you to play as members of the Locust with the aim of killing COG members is sure to be one to keep an eye on, while the familiar Horde also returns.

The list is almost endless and while not every game out there made it, that’s not to say there isn’t a plethora of quality titles that you can expect to be released sometime this year.

Some Games you may also want to play at one point or another.

  • Dead Space 2
  • Test Drive Unlimited 2
  • Lego Star Wars III
  • Killzone 3
  • Dragon Age II
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Homefront
  • Shift 2
  • Crysis 2
  • F.E.A.R 3
  • Yakuza 4
  • Shogun 2: Total War
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Resistance 3
  • Rage
  • Forza 4
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Hitman 5
  • Infamous 2
  • Motorstorm Apocalypse
  • Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
  • SOCOM 4
  • Stronghold 3
  • Twisted Metal
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

We’ve not even hit February and it’s clear that 2011 has the potential to be a rather spectacular year. Sure, there will no doubt be some games that slip into 2012 and beyond, but there’ll be those unannounced gems taking their place. We’ll also have the vibrant indie scene that will, I’m sure, continue to amaze us at the amount of creativity the most simplest of games can carry.

With all that said, 2011 is look like a beast of a year and I say let’s feed it.




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15 Comments

  1. MarkS says:

    Thats alot of games im going to want to buy this year. Does anyone want to buy a kidney?

  2. AlmightyOtter says:

    Thankfully my fiancé works for Game and I hope the new manager will be ok with staff loaning games for a few weeks. Otherwise I might have to put in some overtime for that lot.
    Looks to be a good year, thanks for the info Ben. x

  3. Knikitta says:

    I have worked out, if I sell the children to a factory somewhere in the East, I don’t need both kidneys, or both lungs… hell do I really need two of anything? A one-eyed terrapin should sell well… we don’t need two sofas, just one will do, my PC can live on the floor…

    I should have enough for half the games I want!

  4. Ste says:

    This is definately going to be a good year for gaming. Hopefully my wallet can stretch to all the games I want!

  5. MarkuzR says:

    Remember that time when you were at school and the guy in front of you was flicking through all his Paganini stickers and you’re going “want… want… NEED… don’t want… OMG I want that so badly!!!”… well that was me looking through that list. My list of “OMG I want that so badly” games includes… (in no particular order)

    Brink
    Crysis 2
    Rage
    Mortal Kombat
    Skyrim
    Crysis 2
    Bulletstorm
    Lucius (I always wanted to be Damien y’see)
    Crysis 2

    Really enjoyed this article Ben, I imagine I’ll be popping back to this one from time to time to remind myself of what’s coming out and when. There’s also a couple here that I’m intrigued about but would rather know more before I commit. Well done mate, a lot of work here!

  6. Greg says:

    Great article, and as Markuz says , this’ll be worth a bookmarking to remind myself of what’s coming throughout the year. :)

    I have to say that the main things I am looking forward to are Arkham City and Gears 3. Disappointed that Gears got delayed but as long as its awesome then I don’t care. Arkham has a lot of expectation riding on it, so I just hope that it doesn’t buckle under the pressure – they don’t after all have the luxury they had with the first game of being the relatively unknown developer releasing a game based on a franchise that had not produced a decent videogame in over a decade. Now they are producing a sequel to one of the hottest games of 2009, and if they can produce success from THAT then I will be duly impressed.

    Mass Effect 3? Well, I own the first 2, but I haven’t played either yet, so it’ll be a while before I get to that.

    Why no Hanna Montana sequel news though? Victor must be gutted…

  7. MarkuzR says:

    “Victor must be gutted”

    Is that like “Let’s hope Victor meets with a little accident”??

  8. Ben says:

    I think Victor struggled to max the DLC that came out, not sure he could stomach a sequel so soon.

  9. Greg says:

    I was meaning more in an observational than an intentional sense. I wouldn’t want us to be following Victor around for 2 years hoping that he met with an accident. I mean, I may meet ‘Teh Destroyer’ later this year, and I’d hate for him to be feeling paranoid leading up to that…….. ;)

  10. rich says:

    Mortal Kombat has me excited like it’s 1993. A new Twisted Metal? Hmmm… they should have stopped after World Tour (best multiplayer game ever).

    Where’s EDF2 on this list? Don’t make me cut you!

    Good article, man.

  11. Lorna says:

    Very excited by Mortal Kombat and Skyrim and keen on Bulletstorm. Hitman 5? I didn’t know that was slated for this year?! Fuck yes, loved Blood Money. Also seriously looking forward to Black Mirror 3, just hope that there are no sliding piece puzzles and no main character deaths at the frigging end.

  12. Greg says:

    Ahhh Rich, with your comedic attachment to EDF. :)

    Mortal Kombat is a strange one. On one hand I am quite excited to see what they do with it, bit on the other hand I can’t help but be afraid that they are flogging a long corpsified horse…really would love it to be the former rather than the latter though.

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  14. Lee says:

    I’ll have one of each please

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