The 2011 Video Games I’m Most Looking Forward To

Some years just plain suck for video games; when there’s hardly any interesting new titles to look forward to, and the hype surrounding big releases turns out to be more exciting than the actual game.  2011 is not going to be one of those years .

At the beginning of every year, I like to make a list of all the upcoming games I want to play and HOLY SHIT  this year is going to be awesome (not to mention expensive).  Here’s what I’m looking forward to the most (as in, I will go out of my way to get these games on release day), in order of release date:

Dragon Age II

Release Date: March 8, 2011
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Set in the same world of Thedas, this sequel to Dragon Age: Origins takes place in a different region of the map called the Free Marches.  Players take on the role of Hawke, a survivor of the Blight and Champion of Kirkwall who rises to power throughout the game, which spans a decade.  One really interesting feature is that the player can import data from Dragon Age: Origins which will reflect choices that the player made in the original game.  One of the major things players complained about in Origins were the graphics.  So far, screenshots have promised to be a major improvement.

Black Mirror 3: Final Fear

Release Date: April 12, 2011
Platform(s): PC

The third and final chapter of the The Black Mirror point-and-click adventure horror series for PC picks up where the second game ends. Players return as protagonist Darren Michaels, who is haunted by the generations-old curse that runs through his bloodline.

Red Johnson’s Chronicles

Release Date: TBA, Spring 2011
Platform(s): PlayStation 3

This PS3 exclusive promises to be a cross between the CSI and Professor Layton titles in terms of gameplay, with beautiful, stylistic graphics that take full advantage of the PS3 hardware. You play as Red, a private eye investigating a high profile murder in a gritty, urban setting akin to New York City. This may turn out to be the most adventure-ish adventure game yet for PS3!

Portal 2

Release Date: April 18, 2011
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Portal was the surprise hit of 2007, and fans of the original game have been clamoring for a sequel ever since.  In Portal 2, players return to the Aperture Science facility to find it dilapidated and will again face rigorous physical tests as we help to rebuild.  We can expect the same innovative style of physics-based puzzle gameplay that made the original so great.

L.A. Noire

Release Date: May 17, 2011
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Set in a very realistic 1947 Los Angeles created as a visual homage to 1940s noir films, L.A. Noire will have players solving murder mysteries in an open-ended, sandbox style environment.  Rockstar promises to deliver “a violent crime thriller that blends breathtaking action with true detective work to deliver an unprecedented interactive experience.”  If this game turns out to be anywhere near as good as Red Dead Redemption, I think we can safely put it in the running for Game of the Year.

ICO / Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection

Release Date: Q1/Q2 2011
Platform(s): PlayStation 3

Originally released on PlayStation 2, ICO and its spiritual successor Shadow of the Colossus are considered to be two of the most important games in terms of artistic expression and emotional response.  Fans of the originals as well as new players who want to experience these journeys for the first time will be treated to a high-definition remake for the PS3 that will also support 3D.

The Last Guardian

Release Date: Q4 2011
Platform(s): PlayStation 3

The newest Team ICO title that fans of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are eagerly awaiting, The Last Guardian will share the same stylistic, thematic, and gameplay elements of its predecessors.

Alice: Madness Returns

Release Date: Q4 2011
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

If you were a fan of American McGee’s critically acclaimed Alice game for PC, no doubt that this upcoming sequel—also designed by American McGee—is on your radar.  Taking place 11 years after the events in the first game, Alice relocates from Rutledge Asylum to the care of a psychiatrist in London where she continues to struggle with reality, slips back into madness and returns a Wonderland overridden with evil.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Release Date: November 1, 2011
Platform(s): Playstation 3

I consider Uncharted and its first sequel two of the best games I have ever played—and I have played a lot of games.  I can’t even begin to imagine how developer Naughty Dog will be able to top itself with this third installment.  The game is set primarily against the arid, desert backdrop of  the Arabian Peninsula as protagonist Nathan Drake goes in search of the legendary lost city, Iram of the Pillars.  The story will focus heavily on the friendship between Drake and his mentor and frequent traveling companion Victor Sullivan.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Release Date: November 11, 2011
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Taking place two-hundred years after the events of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (which, btw, if you haven’t played it, shame on you),  Skyrim returns players to Tamriel, which has erupted into civil war. Players take on the role of the last-surviving Dovahkiin (translation: “Dragonborn”) to save the world from Alduin, god of destruction.   As in previous Elder Scrolls games, I expect an adventure of epic proportions.  The latest issue of GameInformer has a GORGEOUS 10-page spread preview of this game, and it looks absolutely stunning.

I Am Alive

Release Date: TBA, 2011
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii

A new, original (read: non-sequel) title that I’m really excited about.  A major earthquake has destroyed Chicago and separated it from the mainland.  Your goal is to survive the apocalyptic-like surroundings by foraging for food and water, and warding off enemies—other human beings who threaten your own survival.  Oh yeah, and you’re also trying to find and rescue your missing girlfriend, too.  The game has been in development since 2005 and suffered numerous setbacks, but is planned to be released sometime this year.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Release Date: TBA, 2011
Platform(s): Nintendo Wii

2011 is a pretty pitiful year for Wii games, with not many new titles on the horizon.  But a new Zelda game, typically heralded by Zelda fans like the second coming, could make up for it. (Though I’m keeping my expectations in check due to the disappointment that was Metroid: Other M.)

Diablo III

Release Date: TBA, 2011
Platform(s): PC

Blizzard has yet to announce a release date for its much-anticipated hack & slash sequel, but most fans of Blizzard games are accustomed to waiting. I just hope not for too much longer!

Child of Eden

Release Date: TBA, 2011
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Remember the shooting game Rez?  (And how amazing it was?)  Developer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the man who gave us Rez, returns with a new game similar in concept and gameplay.  Like Rez, the gameplay will be a harmonic fusion of sound, vision and touch as players rhythmically shoot at various targets that produce melodic sounds when destroyed.  I can’t wait to experience it in glorious HD on my 60″ Mitsubishi.

Dead Island

Release Date: TBA, 2011
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

When I first heard about Dead Island—a zombie survival horror FPS set on a deserted island—I dismissed it as just another zombie game. But that was before I saw this trailer.

What games are you really looking forward to this year?

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