The Average Gamer

What Excites Me? 2011 Releases

Now that we’re well into spring and the sheen of the new year is waning, it’s time to give a proper look ahead to the games we’ll (hopefully) be playing. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just some of the titles that are rumoured to be close and have been looming larger than the rest, at least for myself. There are a fair few games that belong on this list, but their release for this year is uncertain at best. In chronological order:

Brink (13th May, PC/PS3/360)


Tracing back the game’s pedigree, Splash Damage’s Wolfenstein Enemy Territory was a bit of genius, at least back when people had LAN parties. There were too few maps, however, and the follow up, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, fell pretty much flat. As for Brink, I love the idea of SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain), whereby you compensate for your restricted view by holding down a button to mantle over or clamber under objects, but the game feels a little like they’re trying to give you the feel of an MMO shooter, and so may have the requisite pitfalls in that genre (see the original Planetside). The customisation tools are cool, though, and the backstory is mildly compelling. I especially like the exaggerated, almost comic-book style presentation; they seem to be going for a mix of something slightly realistic, but also cartoonish in the same breath.

L.A. Noire (20th May, PS3/360)

I love film noir, and both Blade Runner and L.A. Confidential are two of my favourite films of all time. Although it sounds as if conducting an investigation in L.A. Noire is more akin to Phoenix Wright than Mass Effect… mainly because you have to rely on clues and can’t bluff information out of suspects, or play “good cop, bad cop”. Still, this is high on my list of most anticipated games for this year. Rockstar have continually hit it out of the park, critically as well as commercially, and their status as one of the top studios is well-earned.

LA Noire

Hopefully Team Bondi hasn’t spent all of the game’s budget on the acting talent; I recognised quite a few faces, which are brought to digital life by the new MotionScan technology. This purportedly bridges the “uncanny valley” and brings all of the nuances of the actor’s facial expressions, imparting quite a bit more of their performance as a result. Aaron Staton from AMC’s Mad Men seems a great choice for the lead, and I also noticed Fringe’s John Noble, Heroes’ Greg Grunberg, the list goes on. The cast list on IMDB is about as long as any feature film, perhaps more so as actors can’t exactly be re-used for different roles, as they might for simple voice duty. Honestly, I would be on board if for nothing else but for the time period and the fact that it’s being billed as classic detective noir through and through. I just hope that the lead character of Cole Phelps is fond of soliloquising and there is a voice over narrative throughout, as in all the film noir greats.

Red Faction Armageddon (3rd Jun, PS3/360)

I tend to lump the Red Faction series in with Just Cause and Just Cause 2– there are some fun physics playgrounds, but as a directed experience they are severely flawed. Armageddon brings a new mechanic, whereby you can re-construct your environment (not unlike Epic Mickey’s paintbrush) with nanotechnology. It looks a little goofy in practise, but it’s still an interesting addition to the formula.

Duke Nukem Forever (10th Jun, PC/360)

Okay, this one’s on here just for nostalgia. I have a soft spot for old Duke. Although the series has matured like a fine vintage of vinegar, deciding not to eschew its juvenile roots but instead to emphasise them. Against all probability, it has been delayed yet again, which goes beyond any self-effacing, self-referential sort of self-parody and has officially now become utterly preposterous. I’m afraid, Randy Pitchford and Gearbox software at large, I reject this game on the bounds that it is rendered invalid, in absentia, in extremis, ad nausea, et cetera. That being said, I will still probably buy it and play it if it comes out this year.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (26th Aug, PC/PS3/360)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Next to L.A. Noire, this is probably my second most anticipated release for this year. There’s quite a lot riding on its cybernetically augmented shoulders, but I still have high hopes for this one. While it was lauded as one of the best releases of its time, it seems to have been more of a cult hit commercially– at least when it was originally released on PC. And the original designer has since left for greener, more Disney-fied pastures… plus the sequel was billed as an also-ran and more of a cash in. The new game, which is a prequel of sorts, looks to have captured the spirit of the original and updates an early 90s vision of the Cyberpunk genre to syncretise it with the modern age.

Rage (16th Sep, PC/PS3/360)

I’m not sure what to think of Rage, to be honest. I got the chance to fire off one question at id Software’s Tim Willits at last year’s Eurogamer event and I specifically asked about the name, “Why call it ‘Rage’”? To paraphrase, Mr. Willits responded that it being a single syllable, “Rage” matched all of their other titles: “Doom”, “Quake”, et cetera. Hmmm. As is often the case with id, the graphics look terrific, and akin to all of the other engine factories out there, is more or less a showcase for their latest proprietary engine, id Tech 5. Unfortunately for id, the post-apocalyptic genre has recently been plumbed, some might say to death. Some of the gameplay elements, mainly the environmental effects, have been used in other games as well, but hopefully id Software is still keeping some of the better stuff under wraps.

Continued on page 2

Pages: 1 2