Here we go people, we’re into the top twenty and the end is in sight. Well the end of these articles that run in blocks of five at last, there’s just one more of these before we get into the top ten and games earn their own articles. If you were busy preparing for Father Christmas yesterday you can find those games over here, and I hope you’re having a lovely Christmas Day today.
20 Aliens: Colonial Marines
I actually cannot remember how long people have been excited about Colonial Marines, it seems that information about this title has been leaking out slowly since before I was born. In reality the initial announcement about Gearbox working on an Aliens title came all the way back in 2006, although it wasn’t named until February of 2008.
However, the tail end of that same year came with news that the game was facing delays, even though Randy Pitchford was quick to say that the game remained a priority for them. After a few more years of uncertainty, it now seems that the game is finally going to see a release in the spring. Of course, we thought it would probably hit this year as well, earning it a place in last year’s list. Over the last year we’ve grown more excited about the game, as it’s move up six places.
As for the game itself, it’s a squad-based first-person shooter with the interesting mechanic that you can switch between any of the four characters in your squad at any time. Of course, the three other marines you’re not controlling will fall under the purview of the AI, although you can issue them commands in a fairly typical fashion for a squad-based title. If you don’t feel like jumping between characters, the game will feature split-screen for two player local co-op and let you join up with three of your friends online.
Setting wise, the marines’ adventure takes place between Aliens and Aliens 3. Your squad is a search and rescue team, tasked with investigating the disappearance of the U.S.S Sulaco and its crew on LV-426. Given the ending of Aliens it seems unlikely that you’ll bump into Ripley or many other characters from the film, but I’m almost certain that some Aliens will feature. They’ll probably try to kill you as well.
19 Dust 514
Another game we thought would hit this year, Dust 514 has move up a stunning sixty-six places over its position in our last Top 100 list, presumably because we know an awful lot more about the title from Icelandic developers CCP. If that name sounds familiar you probably know them from their space based MMO EVE, a game I’ve dabbled with myself in the past. Dust 514 will be another MMO, although this time of the FPS variety.
Interestingly it will tie into EVE heavily, with battles in Dust being reflected in the ownership of planets in EVE, and players in EVE being able to hire characters in Dust as mercenaries, trying to assure their side takes control of the planet in question. As CCP CEO Veigar Petursson said in an interview “while the fleet does the flying, the infantry does the dying”.
At this year’s E3, CCP announced that this connectivity between the console based Dust and the PC based EVE meant that Dust would launch exclusively on PS3 and Vita, as Sony’s more open approach to online would make this connectivity significantly easier. Although this wasn’t the only reason behind their decision to drop 360 support, it seems likely that it was a pretty significant influence given that the connectivity between the two games is a pretty core concept of the game.
18 Halo 4
Although Halo 4’s announcement was meant to be a bombshell that rounded off Microsoft’s E3 conference this year, their surprise was somewhat spoiled by it leaking earlier in the day on their own site. I would imagine someone may have had a rather unpleasant time after clicking the publish button a few hours too early. However, the actual announcement did fill us in on a few details, as well as featuring a rather nice trailer.
Although there wasn’t an awful lot of information about the game in the announcement, or even since then, we do know that it will be the start of a new trilogy, titled the “Reclaimer Trilogy”, and bring the focus back to Master Chief. Although we’ll obviously see some changes to the game’s graphical style, the biggest change will be a slight shift away from the traditional FPS focus of previous Halo titles. The game will still play as an FPS but 343 Industries have said that they’re trying to bring in more elements of mystery, exploration and discover, rather than just shooting aliens in the head.
Although Microsoft haven’t announced a formal date beyond the final quarter of 2012, it’s pretty safe to assume that the game will likely release sometime in September or November. Personally, I’d go with September.
17 I Am Alive
Another game that has seemingly been in development forever, I Am Alive has been going since 2008 and has actually changed developer from Darkworks to Ubisoft Shanghai. That’s not the only change though, with the game shifting from a full retail release to a downloadable title, a move that seems to have made many nervous. Even though Ubisoft’s switch in distribution does seem to suggest they’re not too confident about the title, it’s worth remembering that downloadable titles don’t have to be any lower in quality. It might just be that they didn’t feel the game was long enough to actually send it out onto store shelves, although maybe they’re trying to get the game out and then forget it ever exist.
The game is centred around surviving in the wake of the Event, a near apocalyptic level disaster that wiped out the majority of human civilisation. There seems to be a focus on realism in the game, which is lead by the importance of water in the game. Of course there are other items to collect, such as food, medicine and weaponry, but I imagine if I was trying to survive in the wake of a huge natural disaster water would probably be pretty high up my priorities.
The other element of the game that interests me is the flexibility it allows you in confronting situations. Whilst you can take the normal head-on or stealth solution to someone being in your way, you can also try and talk your way out of situation or even bluff, threatening with an empty gun for example. Those kind of systems always interest me, and if implemented well it could really set I Am Alive a step above similar titles.
16 Wipeout 2048
Launching in February on the Vita, Wipeout 2048 brings all the fast-paced, anti-gravity racing you could want to the new portable console (unless you’re a fan of F-Zero I suppose). Although at its core 2048 is similar to other Wipeout titles, it’s been tweaked to take advantage of the new input mechanics built in the Vita. For example you can fire weaponry using the touch-screen, and control acceleration using the reach touch-panel. If actually having to tap something to fire a weapon seems terribly old fashioned, Studio Liverpool have said that they’re looking at using voice control to let you shoot off some missiles by shouting “Fire!”
The other element that sets Wipeout 2048 apart from the other games in the series is its setting, four year earlier than the original Wipeout and as anti-gravity racing is just being established. As the sport is so new there aren’t any dedicated racing tracks yet, and instead the game will use city streets to race on. Given that these are city streets, they’ll be much wider than traditional Wipeout tracks, something that Studio Liverpool says opens up combat significantly.