Games to look forward to this year
Last year was definitely a record-setting year in terms of video games when some of the most popular franchises returned with games that actually lived up to all of their hype (Skyward Sword, Skyrim and Arkham City to name a few).
Last year kept fans asking the age-old question, "is it really possible to top the last game?" and this year will be no different with the return of several different titles from some of the most successful franchises in video game history.
While 2012's list of releases will certainly hurt your wallet, the quality of these games will definitely make your empty bank account worth the trouble.
Here are the top 10 console video games to look out for until the end of the year.
10. BioShock Infinite (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The third game from Irrational Games' BioShock series is a first-person shooter where the player takes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt. The story takes place in a city, high in the clouds, that is quite futuristic despite being set in 1912. Like the rest of the BioShock games, Infinite will have the same free-roaming, first-person RPG style that players are used to. Despite having a projected release date of Oct. 16, BioShock Infinite has already won over 75 editorial awards from E3 including the Game Critics Awards' Best of Show.
9. Max Payne 3 (PS3, Xbox 360)
No longer a cop and finally looking to escape his troubled past, Max Payne finds himself in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil to protect a family of a wealthy real estate mogul. After several events cause his life to spiral out of control once again, Payne finds himself in an unknown city, looking for answers and a way out. Developed by Rockstar Games, Max Payne 3 is the third installment of a franchise with a return that is long overdue. This game will also be the first Max Payne entry to incorporate a multiplayer mode, making it a must-have for any fan of the franchise. The game is set to release on May 15, 2012.
8. PokÃ©mon Conquest (Nintendo DS)
Sure, PokÃ©mon doesn't exactly fit with the rest of these games, but the fact that this is the first of its kind makes it one to look out for. Straying from the standard Game Freak template of past PokÃ©mon games, PokÃ©mon Conquest players will take on the role of a young warlord linked with a single, starter monster. Although it is still a turn-based game like former PokÃ©mon games, Conquest will use battle mechanics similar to strategy role-playing games such as Final Fantasy. PokÃ©mon Conquest will arrive in North America on June 18. It will be followed by PokÃ©mon Black 2 and PokÃ©mon White 2, which are set to hit stores this fall.
7. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (Nintendo 3DS)
Although Square Enix has to even mention the third major Kingdom Hearts console game, the latest installment is yet another side story-this time for the Nintendo 3DS. Dream Drop Distance will once again combine Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with original Square Enix characters. This game is described as "the opening chapter of the final conflict," so maybe the final game is a little closer than we think. Dream Drop Distance follows main characters Sora and Riku through a Mark of Mastery exam required to become Keyblade Masters. Just like the other Kingdom Hearts games, this installment will visit several different realms based on Disney movies, and it will be in stores on July 31.
6. Prototype 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The first of this list to be released (April 24), Prototype 2 is the sequel to Radical Entertainment's best-selling open-world action game of 2009. Prototype 2 puts players into the life of Sergeant James Heller, the newly infected protagonist, in the wasteland of post-viral New York Zero. With even more shape shifting abilities than the first game, players fight toward the ultimate goal-to kill Alex Mercer, the protagonist from Prototype 1 (que dramatic music).
5. Tomb Raider (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
After a long break and a Hollywood movie deal, the Tomb Raider franchise finally returns to explore the origin of the story's protagonist, Lara Croft. Although Crystal Dynamics has not yet said very much about the game, all that the developer has said is that this will be a rebirth of Lara Croft. The game is set to release this fall.
4. Assassin's Creed III (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The new Assassin's Creed has already raised eyebrows for the simple fact that it will not take place in Italy. The franchise made a name for itself by following the same assassin through the same country for the first few games. This year's installment follows a new assassin by the name of Connor in a very unlikely setting-the American Revolution. One of the biggest criticisms of the new setting is the fact that gamers do not want to play Assassin's Creed in a steam punk, industrial setting. The makers have assured us, however, that the new game will bring new weapons to the players' arsenal while still holding the same type of game play. Look out for Assassin's Creed III on Oct. 30.
3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The product of a collaboration between Platinum Games and Kojima Productions, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance follows the main character, Raiden, who was once a child soldier on the front lines of the First Liberian Civil War. Raiden is now a cyborg in charge of VIP protection for Private Military and Security Companies in a developing country piecing itself back together after a civil war. Raiden soon learns that he is not the only one of his kind, and a war between cyborgs will soon unfold. Metal Gear is a franchise that has gone from top of its class to bottom of the totem pole, but this new installment attempts to get back "in the mix" with its release date set for the end of the year.
2. Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Halo 4 is the next installment in the iconic franchise that stands at the top of the Xbox food chain. Over the past decade, Halo has been the most popular game for Xbox as well as that second thought for people thinking to switch from PS3. Although the developers have been very secretive about this release, players do know that the new storyline will follow Master Chief in his own story and start a new trilogy with the game's release on Nov. 6.
1. Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Were you expecting anything else? Rockstar Games' crowning jewel-and possibly the most controversial franchise in video game history-will finally make its return in the fifth installment to the GTA family. The fifth chapter takes place in the city of Los Santos and its surrounding hills, countryside and beaches. GTA has one of the boldest gaming approaches, putting you in the life of a true criminal on the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Open-world freedom, storytelling, mission-based gameplay and online multiplayer make this franchise one of the most beloved to both casual and hardcore gamers. Look out for Grand Theft Auto V to close out 2012 with a bang.
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