The following games are in no particular order of popularity or priority but most assuredly deserve your money, if not your attention.
The Hitman series was one of last generation’s best, providing an entertaining sandbox experience that let you kill your targets the way you want to. The last Hitman title to be released was 2006’s Blood Money which was the most refined title in the series to date. When SquareEnix announced a new entry in the series last year many of us were excited at the possibilities. At E3 though it was the first title I got to see and I have to say it was one of my favorite games of the show.
You can read my preview of the game below but probably the most exciting thing about the return of Agent 47 is exactly how different it wants to be from its predecessors. The demonstration wasn’t a traditional Hitman level (though Eidos has said that the game will contain them) but what it did show was something no Hitman title has ever done: transitional levels explaining how and why you go from one mission to the next. The demonstration felt quite fluid and the universal comparison to Splinter Cell: Conviction isn’t without merit, nor should it be condemned for it. Absolution looks great and you should definitely look forward to its appearance at E3 2012 if not beforehand.
Hooked Gamers coverage: Hitman Absolution
2006’s gravity-shifting, Native American on alien-focused shooter from Human Head Games had been in development in one form or another since 1995 having only been surpassed as one of the longest development times for a game by Duke Nukem: Forever. Human Head’s “Turok meets Quake” title was a nice demonstration of what the Id Tech 4 engine could accomplish on a console but as good as it was it wasn’t destined to be able to stand in the face of other shooters like Call of Duty that would go on to become juggernauts in the industry.
Prey 2 is another E3 2011 premiere but the game is a far cry from what we expected. Abandoning the linear focus of Prey along with its protagonist Tommy, the new game takes place several years later on an alien planet that looks quite similar to the classic sci-fi film Blade Runner. Playing as a bounty hunter that was abducted by aliens years before, you have to regain your memory while trying to adapt to the hostile megalopolis filled to the brim with every species but your own. The game showed off both a surprisingly great amount of parkour gameplay that occurs in a very non-linear environment. The amount of weapons and tools you have on hand ensure that you can have a remarkably different experience from anyone else as your targets can be taken in alive or dead and even then will sometimes be of more benefit to you narratively speaking in one form or another. Prey 2 definitely hits the sweet spot in a space that desperately needs a sequel to Mirror’s Edge and is a title that has an outstanding amount of potential.
Hooked Gamers coverage: Prey 2
Devil May Cry (DmC)
Ninja Theory over the past few years has become one of my favorite developers, bringing already good stories together with fantastic deliveries from believable characters. 2007’s Heavenly Sword and the despairing quest of protagonist Nariko dazzled players with its combat while 2010’s excellent Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was one of the year’s sleeper hits. Their latest project, a supposed reboot of the Devil May Cry franchise, has been the target of controversy for its redesign of main character Dante and will good reason: up until the most recent trailers he hasn’t looked or acted a thing like what we remember him to be.
Since the game was announced at 2010’s TGS every single trailer shown has been progressively better in showing off the game’s capabilities and just how similar, rather than different, it is to the core DMC titles. The combat looks smooth as silk and all of the aspects that make a DMC title what it is appear to be there. Will this new vision of Dante be what the people didn’t know they wanted? We’ll find out later this year.
Hooked Gamers coverage: Devil May Cry
A lot of things can be said about the Bioshock series but I don’t think any word other than ‘captivating’ properly conveys what the series does to its audience. The previous games in the series took us under the ocean to a city in the midst of a civil war over Plasmids, addictive genetic enhancements that inevitably turn its users into warped, insane mutants. Bioshock Infinite takes us beyond Rapture to a city in the sky called Colombia in the early 20th century. As a former Pinkerton agent, Booker DeWitt is hired to rescue a woman named Elizabeth from the city who has become the most-wanted figure of power for its warring factions. What lies within the conflict is anyone’s guess but given the accomplishments of the series thus far it’s sure to be one hell of a ride.
Infinite has easily been one of the most desired games any of us have seen in recent memory with an intriguing concept of bending the fabric of reality while being hunted by Elizabeth’s giant jailer known as The Songbird is sure to stir the same feelings you had when met your first Big Daddy in Bioshock. Beyond that Elizabeth is a character that you genuinely care about and want to protect above all else. Bioshock Infinite looks fantastic and I couldn’t pick a better title to begin the closeout of this generation of game consoles.
Hooked Gamers coverage: Bioshock Infinite
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Ridley Scott’s incredible film franchise was destined for video games the moment Aliens was released to theater goers back in 1986. Over the years gamers have experienced a monotony of titles based on the series, the most prominent being the Aliens vs. Predator titles whose most recent iteration came out almost two years ago. Those titles however look to pale in comparison to this new Aliens title.
Developed by Gearbox Software, the creators of the Brothers in Arms and Borderlands series, Colonial Marines has been in the works for a long time, its initial announcement dating back to early 2008. This new entry takes place shortly after the events of the Aliens film and has you travelling back to LV-426 along with a battalion of marines to discover what happened to the rescue team Ripley lead into Hadley’s Hope and beyond. Beyond having an authentic feel to the universe, the game will feature four player drop-in, drop-out cooperative play. Gearbox is determined to make this an authentic Aliens experience filled with action and horror and this looks to be THE licensed title of 2012 and given that Gearbox is the developer you can rest assured that there’s going to be something great about it.
Hooked Gamers coverage: Aliens: Colonial Marines
The adventures of Lara Croft have been one of mixed feelings for gamers over the years. While many veterans fondly remember the classic PS1 titles in the series the more recent titles have been somewhat mediocre. SquareEnix and Crystal Dynamics made a real splash however in 2011 when they announced the new Tomb Raider, this one taking us back to Lara’s origins and giving us a stark shift in both gameplay and focus. Trapped on a hostile remote island, Lara has to fight to survive in a gritty presentation that has never been associated with the series.
This new vision of Lara Croft not only gives you an entirely different experience in comparison to the previous games, it also shows her beginnings as she transforms from a young, naïve adventurer into the strong, wise treasure hunter that we know her to be. The gameplay dynamics and overall presentation look to make Tomb Raider one of the most exciting titles to date and perhaps could be just what is needed to revitalize a series that has been in need of a refresher more than any other.
Hooked Gamers coverage: Tomb Raider