Game Releases

I’ve compiled a list of PC games that are up and coming in the first quarter of 2012 from January to March.  Let me know if I’ve missed any.

Just to note again: these are all PC games… I’m not a huge console gamer, despite owning a PS3, I only really use it to play blu-ray discs, so apologies to all you console noobs…

January

Oil Rush is an upcoming tower defense real-time strategy game being developed by Unigine Corp using their Unigine engine technology.  It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world which as a result of global warming, is flooded.  The game consists of players fighting over control of the world’s remaining oil reserves.

The game itself will actually deliver an environmental warning message, with Unigine’s CEO Denis Shergin commenting that “Fuel devouring armies that fight over the last drops of oil and pollute already trashed world is nothing but doublethink. That is a warning environmental message we’d like to deliver in a single-player campaign.”  You’ll probably find a demo of the game on Steam and other similar programs before it’s released on January 25th.

February

The Darkness II is the upcoming sequel to 2007′s The Darkness. It is being developed by Digital Extremes, published by 2K Games and written by Paul Jenkins.  The Darkness II has game play that is mostly similar to the first game, but the sequel features a new tactic called “quad wielding”. It allows lead character Jackie Estacado to use The Darkness while at the same time use firearms.

There is more focus on the aspect of Darklings, with there now being only one primary Darkling which will hold greater importance and will be more involved in the storyline and who is useful in all situations. It will be able to interact with the environment by using items such as a worker drills to attack and torture your enemies and it will also be able to use standard weaponry such as pistols to attack or threaten them. Jackie can use the environment to his advantage, such as using car doors as shields and parking meters to eviscerate or impale enemies.  Unlike in the first game, Jackie can use both his weaponry and The Darkness in public places.  Set for release on February 7th in the USA and 10th in Europe.

Syndicate is an upcoming video game by Starbreeze Studios.  I absolutely love the plot behind this game.  Basically, it’s set 50-60 years into the future when the world is no longer governed by politicians but (realistically) governed by a mega-corporations known as syndicates.  These syndicates have revolutionized how the consumer interacts with the digital world. Since the consumer requires a device to access the world’s data and control technology, they can do this in the blink of an eye via neural chip implant.

Civilians flocked to be “Chip’d” and enjoy all that their selected syndicate has to offer: housing, medical, banking, insurance, education, entertainment and jobs. One complete package. One complete lifestyle. In return, the syndicates gained unprecedented insights, and control, over the individual and their behavior. With little government oversight, business has become war. The syndicates will stop at nothing for ultimate market dominance.

Players are not limited to the weapons in their hands. Through the DART 6 bio-chip technology implanted in their head, players can slow down time and breach the digital world around them to take down their foes using a variety of upgradable hacking mechanics. The game has been described as a “kind of mix between Crysis-style first-person shooter action and the clean sci-fi world of Mass Effect”.  This is one to watch – if it’s a gaming hit, they’ll definitely make a movie from it because it has a great storyline.

Other games for release in February include:  Inversion (FPS game), Crusader Kings II (grand strategy game), Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (Single player RPG).

March

Mass Effect 3 is an upcoming action role-playing game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts.  Players with saved files from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 will be given the option of importing them into Mass Effect 3.  If a saved file is imported, over 1,000 variables will be pulled that will help shape how the final chapter is experienced.  If there are no saved files available, there will be no origin-story comic for new players to help them make quick decisions like there was in Mass Effect 2.

Mass Effect 3 will have three pre-set campaign modes: Action Mode, Story Mode, and RPG Mode.  Combat in Mass Effect 3 has been changed and refined from Mass Effect 2, and further emphasis has been put on third-person perspective aspects to make the game more commercially viable.  In a preview for IGN, editor Arthur Gies went so far as to say the game “plays like a shooter” and that “combat-wise, Mass Effect 3 is in an entirely different space” from the first two games. In an article for bitgamer, Joe Martin gave a conflicting impression, noting that with regard to combat, “not a lot has changed”.

Mass Effect 3 will offer a multiplayer co-op mode called “Galaxy at War”.  In the mode, players will be able to play alongside up to three other players in unique missions that can impact the outcome of the single player campaign.  Each mission was designed specifically for multiplayer, and will involve taking over enemy strongholds. By completing these missions, players will give themselves a better chance of attaining a perfect ending in the single player campaign; although, they are not necessary to do so. The mode has been compared to Gears of War’s horde mode.

Max Payne 3 is an upcoming third-person shooter video game in the Max Payne franchise published by Rockstar Games.   Max Payne 3 is a third-person shooter in which the player assumes the role of its titular character, Max Payne. Max Payne 3 will feature the over-the-shoulder zoom aiming and cover mechanics. However, these will just serve as garnish to the game’s classic run-and-gun shooting.

New to the series are cinematic action movements, essentially interactive cut-scenes. Max must for example leap off a factory balcony, grab hold of a crane’s hook and shoot at a crowd of thugs while swinging around in slo-mo. Should a thug get too close, Max can throw a few elbows and feet around to disarm and kill them in one crunching blow.

Officially announced on December 11, 2010, the game is scheduled for a March 6, 2012 release and will mark the final chapter in the Max Payne trilogy of video games, completing the story of Commander Shepard.

Other games for release in March include:  Ridge Racer Unbounded (racing game), Street Fighter X Tekken (crossover fighting game), The Sims 3: Showtime (life simulation game), Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 (single FPS).