Batman Arkham City from developer Rocksteady Studios.
Last year is over and with 2010's top games played and beaten it's time to look ahead to see what kind of digital death and debauchery 2011 has in store for us. A handful of sequels and a few original properties will keep gamers busy well in to 2012. Here are some of the games slated for a 2011 release that we are excited for.
10. Dead Space 2 (Visceral Games) - January 25th
Why this will kick ass: The sci-fi, survival horror, necromorph dismembering action is back. Again you step in to the magnetized boots of Isaac as you make your way through an abandoned space city called "The Sprawl." New weapons, gigantic new aliens to battle, and zero-G free fall segments promise an action filled romp through space. Also new is an intense survivor vs necromorph multiplayer mode guaranteed to get your blood pressure up.
How this could suck: Multiplayer is always a tricky thing to try to tack on to a game, let alone a survival horror where the feeling of isolation is part of the draw. If they lose that atmosphere then they lose the tension.
9. Bulletstorm (People Can Fly/Epic Games) - February 22nd
Why this will kick ass: Guns, slow motion, guns, mutants and more guns. In Bulletstorm you are dropped on to a hostile planet and forced to fight for your life. But that's OK, because you have a crazy whip that makes people float in slow motion and a four barreled shot gun. That's 75 percent more bang for your buck, or 50 percent if you're a cowboy. The new 'kill with skill' feature rewards players for executing enemies in more creative and gruesome ways. For example, you can kick a bad guy in to a cactus for bonus points. Every Arizonan's dream.
How this could suck: The game play sounds fun but if the story ends up being cliche and stupid, or overly macho, then we might be looking at a whole different kind of storm.
3. Dragon Age 2 (Bioware) - March 8th
Why this will kick ass: The next installment in the epic story of the fight against the Darkspawn promises to raise the bar in fantasy storytelling. The sequel boasts an improved combat system, Mass Effect's conversation wheel (trust us, it's so much better), and dragons (yes, Dragon Age has dragons). As in all Bioware games the voice acting should be top notch, a real standout from the first game.
How this might suck: Its predecessor had wonky combat controls, some repetitive gameplay and an archaic conversation tree. If the sequel avoids these things then this should top its predecessor in every way.
4. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog Software) - November 1st
Why this will kick ass: Part Indiana Jones, part third person shooter, part adventure platformer, the Uncharted series has been impressing critics and gaining fans since it was introduced in 2007, and it's easy to see why. The combat is solid, the cover system rivals fellow shooter Gears of War, and the story and voice acting are top notch. Let's just hope that Nathan Drake can make it out of the desert alive.
How this could suck: Naughty Dog needs to change up the formula just enough to keep the core players interested. This means new moves, new puzzles and new plot twists.
5. Gears of War 3 (Epic Games) - Fall 2011
Why this will kick ass: Rejoin Marcus Fenix in the final chapter of the epic trilogy. This time around humanity is in dire straits as their last bastion of defense has been destroyed and they are sent scurrying for cover amidst a growing Locust threat. The coolest part? New executions. Word is there are at least four new executions per weapon, and they are wicked. Search for "gears of war 3 flamethrower execution' to see what we mean.
How this could suck: Gears of War 2 was plagued with buggy multiplayer matchmaking, horrendous lag and game breaking host advantage. Let's hope Epic fixes multiplayer before release this time.
6. L.A. Noir (Rockstar Games/Team Bondi) - Spring 2011
Why this will kick ass: Classic noir setting? Check. Gangsters? Check. Irish cops, mystery and intrigue? Triple check. You play as a cop trying to solve a series of murders that just keep pulling you further in to the dark Los Angeles alley ways. The game promises old school shootouts, car chases, and awesome voice acting. The most impressive part? The new technology that makes characters faces look more real than most botoxed Hollywood divas. Seriously, it's kind of creepy. Check out the trailer to see what we mean.
How this could suck: Rockstar has a fairly impeccable record so far, so we are feeling pretty good about this one. However, because it's tentatively rated T for Teen we hope that Rockstar doesn't pull any punches in its storytelling.
7. Rage (Id Software/Bethesda Softworks) - September 13th
Why this will kick ass: Rage is a first person shooter that is set on a post apocalyptic Earth after an asteroid strikes. The result is a dune buggy run through a desert landscape fighting off mutants, scavengers and other dune buggy racers. Rage has the best graphics that have ever been seen this generation (seriously, watch the trailer in HD). Let's just hope the gameplay is as good as the graphics.
How this could suck: With games like Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Borderlands there have been a lot of games to use the 'desert apocalypse end of the world scenario.' Hopefully Rage can do something different enough to break away from the pack.
8. Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios) - Fall 2011
Why this will kick ass: Gotham City has been cordoned off and a new section, Arhkam City, is controlled by the inmates of Arkham Asylum, including super villains such as the Joker and Hugo Strange. The free flow combat mechanic is back and this time Bats has the ability to counter two enemies at once, incorporate gadgets in to his combos and counter thrown items.
How this could suck: Batman Arkham Asylum was a near perfect game. The only way that Rocksteady could disappoint would be to just give us more of the same. They need to step up the experience.
9. Portal 2 (Valve) - April 22nd
Why this will kick ass: The follow up to the smash, out of nowhere, left field hit, Portal, Portal 2 is a direct continuation of its predecessor. Promising mind bending puzzles, hilarious dialogue, companion cubes, co-op and robotic treachery, Portal 2 will keep players coming back for more. Plus, GLaDOS is back, as well as Wheatley, your hilariously British robot eyeball companion. Pro-tip: If you are promised cake, be wary. The cake is a lie.
How this could suck: The only way this game could possibly disappoint is if it were delayed again.
10. Mass Effect 3 (Bioware) - Fall 2011
Why this will kick ass: The capstone to Bioware's epic trilogy is finally on the horizon. Earth is under attack by the alien Reapers and it is up to Commander Shephard to rally a force strong enough to stop them. No gameplay footage has been released yet but it it's anything like Mass Effect 2, it will be solid and fun. Plus it will be interesting to see how our choices in Mass Effect 1 & 2 have affected the story's finale. More awesome characters, more side missions, more paragon and renegade choices. We are looking forward to more Mass Effect.
How this might suck: We want more but if we got more of the same that would be a disappointment. Bioware needs to change up the formula just enough to keep us engaged.