If you remember last December, then hopefully you’ll remember our Top 100 of 2012. For those of you who don’t, the Top 100 is an annual list of the staff’s most anticipated games for the coming year. This December will see us pick out our most anticipated games of the next year, but that comes later.
Right now it’s time for our recap of this year’s most anticipated games. This a tradition we started last year that lets us take a look at just what happened to those games we picked out in December. We obviously start things off with games 100 to 96, and first up is Torchlight II.
100 Torchlight II
Torchlight II is a bit of a mystery in terms of release date. Whilst it was originally scheduled for 2011, Travis Baldree, developer Runic’s President, announced back in November that it would be arriving sometime in 2012. It’s yet to arrive, but with the game’s Steam page listing it for a summer release, and a closed beta running back in May, we can only assume it’s on its way soon.
If you’re not familiar with Torchlight II, or its predecessor, it’s an action RPG that’s in many ways similar to the Diablo series. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of the genre, Gamoc, fortunately, is. In fact he took a look at the Torchlight II beta for Cheap PC Gaming, and goes into much more detail than I ever could.
However, if you want a broad overview I can tell you that it’s an excellent example of the genre, with Gamoc saying that it’s “…truly perfected the Action RPG formula of old…”. Hopefully Runic will stick by the release date and you’ll be able to get your hands on it soon.
99 Monster Hunter Freedom 3 (Remastered)
Titled Monster Portable 3rd HD ver. over in Japan (and possibly here if it ever does get localised), the PlayStation 3 release is supposedly coming to Europe some time this year, although that seems a little uncertain. It seems the problem may lie with Sony rather than Capcom, as there are certain elements of the PSN that only exist in Japan which is obviously stalling the localisation a bit.
Whilst the Monster Hunter series has never been all that big in the West, it’s an absolute powerhouse in Japan and its presence on a platform just about guarantees that it will fly off shelves over there. If you want to know more about it, it’s an open world action RPG where you well… hunt monsters. To be honest that’s as deep as my knowledge really goes, although some people really seem to love the franchise.
The first two portable games in the series bore the Freedom subtitle, but the newest iteration seems to have dropped that for the more descriptive “Portable”. Oddly the PS3 HD version retains the Portable element of the title, but the Monster Hunter games are almost entirely odd from what I know of it.
98 Lego City Stories
Originally titled Lego City Stories, the open world Nintendo exclusive has been retitled to Lego City Undercover. The game last cropped up, with its new name, at Nintendo’s E3 conference this year, where the trailer below was shown off.
Unlike earlier Lego games which have drawn from a specific movie or fictional universe, Lego City Undercover doesn’t draw from any specific source material. Although the game’s central character is a police officer, and as you’d expect an undercover one, the biggest influence does seem to be the Grand Theft Auto series. There also seem to be references to any number of films, the most glaring one in the trailer being from the Matrix.
Whilst there’s no specific release date for the game on Wii U or 3DS, you can expect to see it in the infamous fourth quarter window. With that sort of timing it may well crop up as a release title on Wii U a well, so look for it then.
Finally we hit a game that’s actually available to buy. Out back in March, FIFA Street scored 8/10 in our review of the game. If community verdicts are more your thing, then you can take a look at the game’s WeView. Personally I enjoyed the game a lot, even with the extreme differences from a traditional FIFA game.
Of course the biggest change from your average football title is that scoring the most goals doesn’t always win you the match, with a wide variety of game modes and scoring mechanisms on offer. The street football ethos of the game is a lot of fun, and provides a nice break from the more rigid form of an eleven-a-side game.
Also on offer are some nice social gaming ties, with the game pulling in characters of players on your friends list and having a good feedback mechanism with your friends. The fact that you can play with your friends created characters, even if they’re offline, isn’t something I think I’ve seen before, and really makes the game feel like a friendly experience.
Hybrid is the most recent of the games in today’s five, with the review hitting just eleven days ago, and the game releasing on the eighth. In our review it came in at 7/10, with Jim highlighting the way the game generally brought something new to cover-based shooters.
The something new largely comes in the game’s traversal mechanics; this isn’t the sort of game where you’ll be strolling across the battlefield. In fact you won’t be strolling at all, with the game favouring flight as a way to get around. Although you’re largely free to move around whilst you’re in cover, movement around the map only comes by flying direct from cover to cover. Although you can change your mind whilst you’re moving between cover, you still have to end up at another chunk of cover.
The other area that Hybrid’s doing something interesting is with its persistent multiplayer. In a similar way to MAG you select a side when you start out in the game, with the result of skirmishes contributing to your teams overall control of the world.
So that’s it for our first day of recaps, we’ll be back tomorrow to count down from 95 to 91.