Face it: For the video games industry, 2012 is fast approaching. Let us link hands and pray for peace, unity, and harmony amongst the peoples of the world.
Then again, we’ve tried that year after year, and it never seems to yield any sweet fruit. Instead, let’s think very seriously about the best video games that will be coming to our homes through 2012.
Between the launch of the Wii U, the (North American/European) debut of the PlayStation Vita, and the possible revelation of whatever Sony and Microsoft have in store for the next gaming console generation, 2012 stands to be a very busy and very interesting year. Given the inevitable buzz, it seems likely that a few promising-looking games will slip under the radar. Here are five of the top new games for 2012 that you should keep your eye on.
The Secret World (PC) — The Secret World is an upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that’s been under development for quite some time under other names (including Cabal and The World Online). The game avoids forcing you to sequester your character into a class, so no more fattening up your mage by killing tens of thousands of magic boars. Instead, characters are built up through skill sets. The Secret World combines the real world with ancient mythology and urban legends, which should make it an interesting game to hang out in. If you’re looking for something a bit different in an MMORPG in 2012, don’t forget that this adventure is finally coming home.
Lollipop Chainsaw (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) — Lollipop Chainsaw is still under development, but it should already be awarded whatever prize gets handed out for great game titles. The game is an action-adventure romp that involves cheerleaders and zombies. Unsurprisingly, the lovably unorthodox Suda51 is overseeing the creative direction of the project. Every time you overlook a game by Grasshopper Manufacture, a motorboat runs over a family of otters, so don’t miss out on Lollipop Chainsaw.
Dragon Quest X (Wii, Wii U) — Japan certainly requires no reminder that the next installment of the Dragon Quest role-playing series is due out in 2012. For the rest of us, even though there was an initial burst of interest in the game when it was announced that it will be an MMORPG, there’s a danger that Dragon Quest X will slip around our lives and fall off the edge of relevance. The game’s MMORPG factor will certainly deter some North American fans, but really, Dragon Quest games rarely fail to provide some of the most enjoyable role-playing experiences in the genre. Dragon Quest X deserves to stay in the spotlight.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PlayStation 3) — Sly is pretty suave for a member of a species that roots around in garbage bins. Thieves in Time (AKA Sly 4) is an upcoming platforming/stealth game for the PlayStation 3 that stars one of the more under-appreciated heroes in gaming history. Sly 4 promises to deliver more of the sneaking around and fighting that made us fall in love with the raccoon in the first place, and we know of at least one new addition: Costumes. By donning different rags, Sly can do things like increase his defense and mess around with time. We’ve seen what a raccoon can do to a suburban street on garbage night: we shudder to think of what a pair of those little black paws could do to the space-time continuum.
Metro: Last Light (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PC) — Metro: Last Light is a survival horror/first-person shooter game that picks up where Metro 2033 left off. Players struggle against an ancient race bearing the friendly name “The Dark Ones,” and the ensuing battle promises to be as cheerful as a trip to Disneyland. The game is set in the Moscow Metro, which makes for an intriguing change of scenery as far as FPS games go–unless you take the subway/Metro to work every day, of course. But even if you’re a veteran of underground travel, you have to admit that your morning commute is generally monster-free, so Last Light will give you a new experience regardless.