2011 is looking to be another great year in gaming.  Two of my favorite publishers are releasing games this year and there’s also the reboots of a couple series that I highly enjoyed in the past.  Boy, do I love how far games have come today.  And now we are hitting a point in gaming where we will see some real innovation due to the fact that graphics have hit a point where game companies won’t have to put money into creating greater graphic capabilities and can focus their energy on innovating on the way we play(see the whole motion control and plastic guitar craze), creating a more interactive story(see Bioshock, Mass Effect, Portal, and many western RPGs), and refining classic gameplay styles(see Bayonetta, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Red Dead Redemption).  I’m looking forward to what I will be playing in the future.

This list contains the games that are coming out on the current consoles(for me Xbox and Wii) that I am highly anticipating.  With the amount of games that have my interest along with a couple that I purchased this year I still need to max out or finish(Castlevania, Epic Mickey, DKCR, Fallout:New Vegas) it looks like my gaming roster will be pretty full for the next couple years.  At least when the new batch of consoles come out in about 5 years(my guess) I’ll have such a large back catalog that I will be able to wait for a couple price drops first.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I am so hyped to sink hundreds of hours into this game.  I loved Morrowind on the first Xbox and I really don’t want to know how many hours I sank into Oblivion on the 360(I plan on doing another playthrough of that one before Skyrim comes out).  There’s so much to do in these games and the lore is so in depth that it could take thousands of hours if you wish to see and do everything there is within the game. Skyrim is looking to be another gigantic entry into the Elder Scrolls series and it will be complete with a whole new engine.  Come 11-11-11 all shall fear the battle mage Archulas!!

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 2 was hands down the best game I played in 2010.  The deep story tackling different philosophical subjects, beautiful areas and planets to explore, superbly written and acted characters, tactical gunplay, and a choose-your-own-adventure style sci-fi narrative completely sucked me in.  I can’t wait to see where the third entry brings Commander Shepard, well from the look of the trailer, it looks like he will be visiting Earth.  So many loose ends are to come to an end in the third and final entry(well for the main story started in ME1) in the series.  Can’t wait!!

Portal 2

If you have never taken the time to check out the first Portal stop reading and go pick yourself up a copy of The Orange Box(you can probably find it in the bargain bin for ten bucks, and as a bonus you get Half Life 2 and the expansions and Team Fortress included).  Portal was able to innovate on so many different levels.  From the ingenious main concept of advancing the game and solving puzzles by placing warp portals around the hazard clad rooms to GlaDos’ lovely singing voice Portal was a true winner and one of the most genuinely funny games I’ve ever played.  Portal 2 looks to expand on all the things that made the original so great.  Mmmm, more cake, delicious chocolate cake!!!!

Alice: Madness Returns

About 10 years ago I was in my local video game store and spotted this PC game called “American McGee’s Alice”.  The box art showed a twisted version of Alice in Wonderland, I pretty much bought it based on the box art alone and led to one of the best impulse buys I’ve ever done.  The game was a 3rd person platform game where you guide Alice through a demented version of Wonderland and was a complete blast to play(sans some AI problems).  How that game never got hugely popular is beyond me.  Well it turns out someone loved that game as much as I did because this year the series(?) is getting a reboot in the form of a sequel.  Take some notes Mr. Burton, this is how you make a twisted Wonderland.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Ahh, The Legend of Zelda.  I can still remember besting my first octorock with my wooden sword 25 years ago.  The classic story of save the princess, collect the triangle thingies, and kill the pig-man never gets old for me.  Skyward Sword is looking to be a great entry into this long running series.  I like how the visuals are very colorful resembling a bit the style of The Wind Waker and it looks as it will utilize the true potential of the Wii instead of random shaking of the controller like the previous entry Twilight Princess.

Bioshock: Infinite

The first Bioshock is a must play entry in the catalog of current console games.  It proved what can be done with a narrative within a video game.  You were placed in an underwater city where no rules against science and experimentation existed, the city was called Rapture.  The back story was told through the environment and scattered audio logs and the main story contains some of the biggest unexpected twists in gaming.  The social philosophy concepts within the game would make Ayn Rand proud.  The gameplay allows you to shoot insane drug addicts and shoot fire, lightning, and bees, yes bees, from you hand.  Bioshock: Infinite looks to be taking to Bioshock series out of the water and into the sky with a 1950’s American art style.  There’s a video on youtube with a good portion of gameplay footage, check it out.

Dragon Age 2

Ya, I’m aware that this game has already been released, I’ll be picking it up sometime in the near future.  As of now, I’m currently finishing up a second playthrough of the Dragon Age: Origins.  If you a fan of classic fantasy this game series will be right up your alley, orcs, dragons, elves, dwarves, swords, magic, they’re all here.  The game plays out like your traditional western RPG (think Balders Gate, which was made also by Bioware) and the story unfolds in the Mass Effect(also by Bioware) choose-your-own-adventure style.  It seems that Dragon Age 2 will be more action packed and your character of choice will have a voice this time around.  Also, the gameplay is seems to still be very tactical keeping the pause and play feature(you can stop the action at will to give yourself a second to choose which attack or spell you wish to use) that saved my ass many a time in the first one.

Dead Island

I’ve become rather disenchanted lately with anything with zombies in it, especially video games.  They’re just a cheap way to make a game overloaded with blood and gore and it’s been done way too many times.  Dead Island however, looks to be piquing my interest in zombies again.  As far as what’s been reported on the gameplay, it looks like it will have some RPG elements, action style hacking and slashing, and survival horrors sometimes it’s better to run away instead of trying to mow down everything in your path style.  This trailer is one of the most emotionally intense videos I’ve seen in anything in zombie culture.  If the game is as high quality as this trailer we’re in for one hell of ride with this highly anticipated new IP.

Duke Nukem Forever

I seriously can’t believe it’s actually coming out.  After 12 years of waiting for this game I will finally be able to be out of bubble gum again.  Expect lots stuff blowing up, lots of cussing and one-liners, naked women, and butt ugly aliens.  This should be the one game of the year you and your whole family can enjoy.

Bulletstorm

I played the demo of this one, and man is it a fun one.  It’s just non-stop action and finally someone brought back the score system into games.  You are rewarded with higher score based on how twisted you are with your kills.  For example, use you whip thingy to pull a bad guy close, kick him into the air, shoot him in the balls, then use a rocket to launch him sky high like and commence a 4th of July celebration, you earn 20,000 points.  The game gives you tons of ways for you to find out how sick and twisted you really are.  And the graphics are great, dropping the bland brown and black post apocalyptic style of the majority of FPS games we get tons of rich, saturated, bright colors.  Can’t wait to get my hands the full version.

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