The gaming industry has been making a concerted effort as of late to release titles more evenly throughout the year, as gamers try desperately to survive the annual Summer Drought. Q2 and Q3 (roughly April to September) have typically been the worst offenders, in terms of top-tier offerings.
2012 appears to be shaping up well enough in the face of this historical reality, with several heavy-hitting titles slated for release this spring. That being said, nobody is going to confuse Q2 2012 with the annual holiday bonanza - with a 360 port and long-awaited Japanese release cracking the top ten.
Without further ado, we present our top ten most anticipated games of Q2 2012, listed in alphabetical order. Make sure you enjoy reading it!
Broadly-speaking, Darksiders II still follows the same Zelda-like structure. You'll have to navigate dungeons, pick up side-quests in the towns and take part in boss battles using abilities you've collected along the way. Despite the new additions, Vigil haven't forgotten what made the original Darksiders so compelling. But they are adding to it. Vigil are making the game they hoped the original could be, before they ran out of time. This is the director's cut. And it's looking rather good indeed.
Dragon's Dogma is a game that shows Capcom is attempting to branch out. After all, the Action RPG genre isn't unknown to them; Monster Hunter has been a huge hit. But despite dominating in Japan, Monster Hunter never found its mark in the West and with Dragon's Dogma, they hope to change that.
Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture are busying themselves with a fascinating little game featuring a cheerleader, a chainsaw and a horde of flesh-eating zombies. It's called Lollipop Chainsaw... Warning: it's to the tune of a catchy song. Oh, and there's some upskirt action going on too. Not that that's a surprise coming from the same man that brought us No More Heroes and Shadows of the Damned.
Max Payne 3
The first installment not made by Remedy Entertainment or written by the series' creator Sam Lake, Max Payne 3 is Rockstar's take on the classic, over-the-top hero with a heart of gold. It's been a while since our last encounter with Mr. Payne, so it remains to be seen how the series will be received by today's gaming audience. But if there's anyone capable of delivering on this one, it's Rockstar.
Released in the spring of 2009, Prototype came out in a cluster of open-world games with Infamous and Red Faction: Guerrilla. The game received a somewhat lukewarm reception, because of the disjointed narrative, lack of variety in the environments and missions, and the strength of its competitors. The folks over at Radical say they have listened to the feedback and reworked the world of Prototype with a more immediate, personal story and an expanded set of gameplay options.
For years, rumours buzzed around about a sequel to 2007's cult hit Warhawk, but Sony remained tight lipped. That was, until Starhawk was officially announced. Described as a spiritual successor, not a sequel, Starhawk looks to build on what made Warhawk so great, all while retaining the same feel. Because of this, there are plenty of differences, with a new single-player campaign and a new, expansive, battle mechanic thrown in too. There are still some questions to be asked though, the most prominent being, what took so long?
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor
Capcom are working on a title excusively for Xbox 360 called Steel Battalion Heavy Armor. The game is a follow-up to the 2002 Xbox release and will fully utilise Kinect. The game was revealed during Microsoft's TGS 2010 Keynote. "The announcement of Steel Battalion Heavy Armor is further testament to Capcom's commitment to produce innovative titles that take advantage of the latest technology," said Capcom. The game is being made by From Software.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series has been at the forefront of tactical third-person shooting for many years now. However, it has been missing-in-action since the successful Advanced Warfighter titles earlier this generation. Future Soldier, the latest in the series, looks to return Ghost Recon to the spotlight after numerous development delays. After spending some time with the game, it's clear the near futuristic abilities add personality to a game many fans of the series may have trouble recognizing.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Xbox 360)
CD Projekt RED
Over the years, the PC exclusive has become something of rarity. The platform still gets plenty of games, but they are often an after thought, nothing more than a port from the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. But many times, when a developer really pushes the boat out and sticks to their guns, it's a triumph for gaming. And that's really what The Witcher 2 is, a triumph. The original title was hit and miss for some, but the sequel is definitely a hit.
It's already been released in Europe, but now it's coming to North America. Xenoblade Chronicles is fast-paced, user-friendly, free, open, and respectful of its audiences time -- all of the things that JRPGs are typically accused of not being, in other words. But it doesnt lose the essence of the genre all the same, delivering the engaging melodrama, epic sweep, and charm that Japanese games are best known for. Its a beautiful blend. This is a game that deserves to be played, and by more than just the genres die-hard fans.