The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
Most gamers have probably written of the Wii by now, but this
under-estimates the power of Zelda. This will probably be one of the best
games in the series, and probably the only one specifically designed to take
advantage of the Wiimote’s special abilities. Its looking like a mix between
the cartoony feel of the earlier games like Ocarina of Time with a touch of
the realism that made Twilight Princess so appealing. Nintendo fans have
been waiting a long time for a new Zelda, but this installment is definitely
Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection (PS3)
Even though The Last Guardian has been delayed indefinitely, a consolation
prize in the form of this collection will arrive to placate anxious games.
For hardcore games, this pair of PS2 titles needs no introduction. Both of
Team Ico’s brilliant games brought a unique, artistic design aesthetic to
the adventure genre. Their unique, dream-like aesthetic and surreal
storylines brought gamers into an entirely new world. Both of them offered
some of the most unique experiences on consoles from the last generation.
These editions include fully remastered, HD versions of the games along with
numerous extras such as commentary and more. For those who loved the
original games, this is a chance to relive them in a glorious new visual
presentation, while those who missed out are in for an inspirational
experience this fall.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (Multi)
Last year’s Brotherhood brought us a new character named Ezio and this
installment should further add to his backstory and reveal hidden
connections to the earlier main character, Altair. Players will once again
traverse the ancient world in search of the mysteries of the Templars and
this journey looks to add several enhancements to the gameplay, which should
make Revelations a great title. However, many gamers are complaining that
Ubisoft seems to have fallen into the watered-down yearly update trap, so
we’ll have to see.
Rayman: Origins (Multi)
Before Altair became Ubi’s defacto mascot, the limbless character was the
main thrust of Ubisoft. Unfortunately, the Rayman franchise got bogged down
in spin-offs and sidequests and ill-fated excursions into 3D. It looks set
to change in a big way as Rayman Origins has set a patch squarely back to
the franchise’s glory days of lush 2D backgrounds and gameplay, It looks
bright and colorful, maintaining the classic series feel and style. While
older games will definitely want to check it out, younger players who loved
New Super Mario Bros. should also give the franchise a chance.
Forza Motorsport 4 (Xbox 360)
This year’s big racing game is likely to be Forza 4, the most ambitious
title in the franchise to date. As you’d expect, it will have tons of
vehicles and licenses, but the addition of Top Gear should add some
interesting modes of play. Most innovative will be the ability to drive
using the Kinect free-hands device. Will this be a gimmick or something
truly revolutionary? Players will have to wait and see.
Sonic Generations (Multi)
There’s little doubt that Sega’s spiky, spunky blue hedgehog has seen his
share of ups and downs over the years, but the latest game in the long
running franchise might be worth checking out. This one seems to take the
best elements of both his classic 2D Genesis games and the later 3D ones to
combine for an interesting approach. This could be a well-deserved comeback
for the iconic character, celebrating his 20th anniversary in
fine style this year.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Multi)
For those unitiated with the series, Konami brings a trio of Kojima’s
classic titles into full high-definition this year: MGS 2, MGS 3 and Peace
Walker from the PSP. These games probably need no introduction, but it will
be interesting to see some of the classic scenes reinvigorated in full high
definition. Konami is also promising extra features and content for these
releases, in order to make them irresistible for hardcore MGS fans.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3)
While numerous other franchises are set to return, none seem to have matched
the anticipation of Naughty Dog’s third Uncharted game. With main character
Nathan Drake once again facing dangerous situations, in epic settings with
enemies around every corner, this looks to deliver a high-impact experience.
Given the numerous awards garnered by Uncharted 2, expectations for the
newest title in the franchise are quite high, though in this case they’re
likely to be met.
FIFA 12 (Multi)
EA’s soccer franchise continues to evolve with each installment, with the
past few years showing the series breaking out from competition. This year’s
edition features the usual assortment of licensed teams and club leagues,
but also offers new online enhancements and other new features. Once you get
on the pitch, the biggest change will be the new Player impact engine, which
should make the game’s even more realistic and physical. FIFA will also
include smarter AI, more realistic injuries and better dribbling mechanics.
Need for Speed: The Run (Multi)
After last year’s brilliant Hot Pursuit, EA’s long-running franchise takes
another detour into a completely different direction. This time around,
you’re on a cross-country race across the
while pursued by cops. The twist this time revolves around your ability to
jump out of the car and perform QTE’s between races. While the effectiveness
of this approach remains to be seen, it should be an interesting experiment.
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (PS3)
The long-running plartform franchise returns to the PS3 yet again. This
time, the big change appears to be the addition of co-op multiplayer play
(together with friends or online), which lets up to 4 players battle it out
at the same time. Given the high-quality and polish seen in previous
installments, this should be one of the most entertaining games in the
franchise to date. Its interesting to see how this upstart franchise seems
to have delivered more consistently than some veteran games that seem stuck
in permanent reverse.
- Michael Palisano