Last year we spent the best part of a month and nearly 25,000 words to talk/discuss/gush about our most anticipated games of 2012. With all the big releases now on store shelves and in the hands of gamers, it’s time for us to take a look back and see what came of the titles we wanted the most.
Announced in June 2011, the sequel to the first solo spin-off title for Luigi Mansion is set for a release next year, having been slated for March. There was very little revealed by Nintendo regarding the 3DS exclusive since it’s E3 reveal until this year’s Expo where the title was renamed Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and given a release window. Since then, it’s been very quiet once again from the publisher regarding the action-adventure title.
The Team Ninja developed title released on March 23 but received some disappointing reviews – scoring 58 on Metacritic. It’s a shame as the initial impressions following a brief hands-on with the hack’n’slash action-adventure game were promising but it also failed to spark at retail after it debuted at 19th in the UK charts. A ‘Razor’s Edge’ edition is set to launch in January next year for the Wii U with early reviews from across the Atlantic suggest it’s improved somewhat over the standard PlayStaition 3 and Xbox 360 version.
Ghost Recon: Future Solider saw its release on May 25 and certainly impressed. “It’s slick, solid and although it does lack that final coat of polish, it’s immensely enjoyable,” read our ‘B+’ review. “There’s an air of wanting to be too much like Call of Duty which it never really pulls off, nor should it given the difference in style, and as a result the set pieces and vehicle-based portions feel remarkably out-of-place. The plot leaves a lot to be desired and really never grabs hold, but tactical shooters rarely rely on engrossing plot lines to pull the player through so nothing changes here.”
“Street Fighter X Tekken is a surprisingly robust fighting game that screams charisma and is an absolute joy to play,” read our ‘B+’ review of the fighter. “The Tekken fighters feel right at home among the Street Fighter crowd, and the action is about as insane as one could hope. Where the package comes falling apart is when you consider the still somewhat limited single player experience and the severely tinkered online experience.”
Releasing on March 9, the Capcom title entered in third in the charts – with a Vita version released on October 19.
Having released just last week, Far Cry 3 was criminally low on our most anticipated list in hindsight. “Ubisoft have created a shooter that excels in the often underperforming areas of shooters whilst delivering on the foundation aspects as well,” reads our ‘A’ rated review. “Vaas is the star of the show without doubt but there’s so much to Far Cry 3 that makes it one of the most refreshing and impressive shooters of the year.”
Having managed to hit second spot in the UK charts is made even more impressive given the time of the release, and was even the ninth biggest launch of 2012 – confirming that it really should have been much higher in our list than it was.
A mere four days after our article for Rising went live last year, a trailer at the VGAs revealed that the game would now be known as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance instead of Metal Gear Solid: Rising. A few details then emerged about the title following the re-announcement after the original project was cancelled due to “game design issues”. A February 22 release date was nailed down during Gamescom, before news that the Xbox 360 version had be cancelled for Japan.
Having released early in the year The Darkness II was allowed some breathing room to be enjoyed; and enjoyed it was. “Make no mistake, this is one of the more sublimely put together shooters for some time and with no entry barriers, no previous knowledge of the series required, anyone can jump in and have a good time,” reads our ‘A’ rated review. “Aside from a few difficulty spikes and combat consistency complaints – on top of the poor lip-syncing, Digital Extremes has crafted a refreshing entry in the shooting world and one that not only handles better than most, but puts most to shame across the board.”
It released on February 10 and managed to enter in third in the UK charts.
The sequel to the enjoyable but flawed open world action-adventure title Prototype was well placed as it debuted atop of the UK charts following its April 27 release. “Prototype 2 may masquerade as a story-driven tale of espionage, deception and supernatural beings coming to terms with their own strifes but let’s be honest, it’s the grandiose spectacle of flinging yourself around the city and feeling like a bona-fide turbo-charged Predator that pulls you in and keeps you playing,” reads our ‘B+’ review. “Thankfully the latter is so damn entertaining that attempts made at being the former are ultimately inconsequential; from the moment you acquire powers and are free to run riot, the city becomes your playground of destruction and it’s because of how much twisted fun this can be that I wholeheartedly recommend this game.”
Another early release came in the form of the huge franchise Final Fantasy with only the second direct sequel after Final Fantasy X-2. “In nearly every way, Final Fantasy XIII-2 amounts to a pretty vast improvement over XIII,” reads our ‘A-‘ review. “Its beautiful graphics, wonderful battle system and joyous score make it an absolute delight to play through, although all that is somewhat marred by a convoluted story, bad ending and some dodgy dialogue. However, there’s no doubt that Final Fantasy XIII-2 is enjoyable from start to finish, and with a tonne of extra side content to do, it’ll certainly last you a while. For Square Enix, it’s a sign of a return to form, and a platform for them to build upon in the future, and judging by XIII-2’s quality, it’s a bright future indeed.”
The game was extremely popular at retail as well managing to knock FIFA 12 off of a six-week stint at the top of the UK chart to take number one.
February certainly turned out to be a good month for our most wanted titles with Syndicate another launching in the second month of the year. The game was applauded for it’s compelling experience and the shift from its 20-year old self in our ‘B’ rated review. The game debuted in an impressive seventh in the charts having released in the same week as the PlayStation Vita.
For a week it was the biggest entertainment launch of the year before being toppled by a title that didn’t even manage to sit upon our most anticipated games, Call of Duty: Black Ops II. In the first 24 hours of release, the “biggest Halo launch in history” garnered more than $220 million worldwide, but that’s hardly a surprise – after all Halo is a huge brand both in and out of videogames now.
Thankfully, the first non-Bungie Halo was a rousing success though both commercially and critically. “Many would have doubted the ability of 343 Industries to pull off something spectacular, but in many ways they have not only met the expectations, they have surpassed them,” reads our ‘A-‘ review. “Halo 4 not only gives players the best single player campaign in terms of balance and enjoyment since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but also a multiplayer mode that keeps you hooked in whatever endeavours you undertake.”
It was set for this year before being pushed just into 2013 back in May. Set for a release on January 15, the Devil May Cry reboot faced some strong ciriticism early on, but being able to get first-hand experience with the action-adventure hack’n’slash title has changed the minds of many – though it wasn’t something that particularly phased developers Ninja Theory.
“Dante may have had a makeover, but he is still his old cocky self,” reads our hands-on. “All of the franchise’s trademarks are still here: Fast-paced combat, Devil Trigger and Ebony and Ivory; but Ninja Theory has brought some creativity into a series that was starting to become a shadow of its former self. The Cambridge studio has created a game that will not only please fans but also curse themselves for doubting what the studio was doing to their beloved demon slayer.”
Although it released in March it wouldn’t have really mattered when this gem had released. “I am one of the most profound and empowering experiences you will have and whilst I may only take you for a few hours, they will be some of the best hours of your life,” reads our glowing ‘A+’ review. “I have joyous moments and heart-wrenchingly sad ones amongst an eloquent, wordless story. I have a collection of utterly breath-taking moments accompanied by an auditory feast like no other. I will grant you the warmth feeling of the sand, the bitter cold of despair, and the soothing yet powerful force of the wind. I have variety, complexity and simplicity in equal measures, moments to hide, moments to discover and moments to unravel.”
It’s a fine testament to Journey’s quality that it became the PlayStation Network’s fastest ever selling title.
The spiritual successor to Warhawk saw its release on May 11 but unfortunately failed to set the charts alight debuting in 17th during a relatively quiet release period. It has since gone on to launch on the PlayStation Network as both a single and multiplayer portion, allowing the purchasing of either or both parts at an attractive price. It’s failure to perform at retail though isn’t a fair reflection of the game’s quality though.
“Starhawk is a very, very good game,” reads our ‘B+’ review. “If you’re a fan of Warhawk, you’ll absolutely love it. World class multiplayer, great gameplay and a remarkably brilliant visual style and soundtrack are standout features of Warhawk’s spiritual successor, and although as a single player experience it may disappoint and some muddy textures, audio glitches and the odd multiplayer hiccup can detract from it at times, it’s well worth your money.”
There’s always one that goes missing. Since the reveal at E3 2009 anything other than continued assurance of its existence has been glaringly absent. Team Ico founder Fumito Ueda said “it’s been business as usual” admist changes in his role on the game. In September an unnamed developer “[gave his] word that it exists”, stating that “we are working on it.” According the anonymous developer, the reason for The Last Guardian’s concealment is due to Sony’s reluctance to discuss in development games until they are much closer to launch, though this doesn’t really provide much comfort on the fact. The likelihood of seeing The Last Guardian this generation are becoming increasingly unlikely with each passing month.
Released at the front of the year, the reboot of the popular snowboarding series was “ideal” and it hit number one in the UK charts following its March 2 release.
“There are a few issues and a lot of the newly added content doesn’t really improve the series much, but the core gameplay utterly superb,” reads our ‘A’ rated review. “It’s freshens up the market somewhat with its over-the-top attitude and will keep gamers embroiled with a copious amount of enjoyment for some time. With a cracking visual setup, responsive and satisfying controls and a soundtrack of the highest quality, what’s not to like?”
“There’s a mammoth amount of content on show that exudes a quality that the franchise deserves – even the side-quests have side-quests,” reads our ‘A’ rated review. “With the options and possibilities between classes, skill trees, missions and loot, you’ll never get the same game twice. You’ll explore the wonderful and beautiful world of Pandora, fight with and for friends via terrific gunplay, witness some truly breathtaking scenes and become engrossed in characters and plot points unlike any other. Borderlands 2 is one of the most enjoyable games of the year – a true sequel.”
Yet another one that has vanished off the radar. Since our most anticipated post in December last year, we’ve seen nor heard anything about Prey 2 other than rumours it may have be canned, only to be presented with the standard “no comment” response when we pressed Bethesda. A short time later the publisher confirmed that the shooter had been delayed after game development had “not progressed satisfactorily” and had failed to meet Bethesda’s quality standards. The latest word is that the game is still due to launch at some point but with no window of any sorts, we could be waiting a while.
The fifth main release in one of this generations biggest new franchises smashed records after it hit shelves on October 31 selling double that of Assassin’s Creed II and outselling Assassin’s Creed: Revelations by over 117,000 in the UK making it Ubisoft’s biggest every launch.
It’s not hard to see why though. “Assassin’s Creed is a series that continues to cultivate,” reads out ‘A’ rated review. “It was in need of a refresh after Ezio’s outings and Assassin’s Creed III is exactly that. By stripping out the bloated aspects to replace them with honed and exemplary mechanics, it’s ensured that it retains the series’ values and traditions whilst also improving upon it and giving it a welcome breath of fresh air. Ubisoft may have a left a few kinks in its armour, but Assassin’s Creed III is undeniably one of the games of the year.”
The list of terrific releases goes on with the May 18 release of Max Payne 3. It managed to chart impressively at the top of a competitive week, and even managed to ship 3 million units after just one week.
“Max Payne may well suffer from a permanent hangover but his third console release certainly does not,” reads our ‘A’ rated review. “A high-grade production throughout, with unique and cinematic storytelling, intense gameplay, and critically focused art direction. It only goes to cement the knowledge that Rockstar delivers a narrative rich blockbuster every time. Whilst the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption may be revered as the studios hallmarks, Max Payne 3 is perhaps the most complete and thoroughly joyous experience they’ve released – their Dalmore 62 if you will. High praise indeed.”
The high-profile threequel saw Comander Shepard take command of the Normandy once again on March 9 and it didn’t have sell well. It managed to bring in over $200 million in revenue in its opening month, smashed the UK charts by becoming the then biggest launch of the year, and shipped 3.5 million units for its launch.
Not all was as rosy criticially though. There was plenty of backlash from fans following the conclusion to the popular trilogy, something that was highlighted in our ‘B’ rated review.
“There is plenty of fantastic moments within Bioware’s latest instalment, and whilst the majority of it has just been carried over from its predecessor, the improvements in combat and the successful inclusion of multiplayer were well executed. However, undoubtedly, it will be remembered for dodgy day-one DLC; an ending, which despite not being all that bad from my point of view, caused a player revolt the likes of which we haven’t seen in the industry before; and an awful, inexcusably bad port for a third of its potential market. It’s truly a case of the good, the bad and the ugly, and as a huge fan of the previous games, that’s really sad.”
Three of our top four never made in to release in 2012, which has resulted in our excitement being prolonged further and further. With what will surely be the biggest selling title next year, GTA V is now set for a Spring release. Rockstar released the game’s second trailer– a year after the first – just before we were treated to a wealth of information on the title. A trio of characters; an environment that is bigger than the worlds of Red Dead Redemption, San Andreas, and Grand Theft Auto IV combined, with room to spare; improved driving, shooting and melee combat; and even the likes of Scuba diving, Jet Skiing, base jumping, tennis, golf, dynamic missions and multiplayer are just some of the confirmed features for one of next year’s biggest releases.
“Hitman: Absolution is the return of the original assassin and IO Interactive have kept Agent 47 up-to-date with online features while keeping what makes Hitman authentic,” reads our ‘A-‘ review. “The experience of discovering new and entertaining ways to eliminate your targets has been slightly soured by Instinct mode, but that’s a minor niggle compared to the game’s trial and error nature, putting in almost on par with Dishonored. However, there is no doubt that Hitman can keep up with the likes of Corvo and Connor Kenway in what is one of the best entries in the series.”
Althought the title was surrounded by controversy ahead of its release, it managed to debut in second in the UK charts when released on November 20, whilst outselling Blood Money – the series previous best launch – by almost three times.
Another that’s been shifted into next year, the reboot of Tomb Raider is now scheduled for a March 5 release and it looks set to be one hell of a release. We got to speak with the developers and get our hands on the game a few months back. “If you want to play a game where go on a journey with the character, where the gameplay is 100% connected to the character growth, where you feel like you’re going on that journey with them, Tomb Raider is that game for you,” said Crystal Dynamic’s Brian Horton and if a 45-minute demo was anything to go by he was spot on.
“It will be a strong contender next year, regardless of the competition,” reads our preview. “We’ve been calling out for more mature titles that push the boundaries of videogames – Tomb Raider looks set to be just that game. Lara’s in for one hell of a ride and she’s taking us on it – and I for one, cannot wait.”
It was back in May that we knew our most anticipated game of the year wasn’t going to release on time and instead launch on February 26. We’ve been treated to some delicious trailers, given a glimpse at an incredible Ultimate Edition of the game, and, with a new gameplay video set to land at the Video Game Awards, we’ll likey be even more excited come the turn of the year. Thankfully, the days are quickly counting down to the game we were, as of last year, looking forward to the most.
We’ll be running out Most Anticipated Games of 2013 feature as of tomorrow, with our most wanted game to be revealed on the final day of the year.