2011's holiday hangover is just beginning to let up - in terms of gaming and whatever else you may be into. It's been a fantastic calendar year for the medium, full of more quality content than any sane person could consume over that span, and 2012 is shaping up to be no different. While January seems to be unusually barren, overall the first quarter of 2012 appears to have something for everyone. That being said, the following is our top ten most anticipated titles for Q1 2012, listed in alphabetical order.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3/360)
It's clear that Square Enix have also taken into consideration some of the more cutting complaints about Final Fantasy XIII. Linearity is being addressed with more open areas, branching paths and even optional objectives. Where Final Fantasy XIII had mostly straight lines for maps, XIII-2 has bigger courtyards that branch out into various other areas for Serah and Noel to explore - certainly worth looking at even for those who felt burned by the original.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PS3/360/PC)
The world of Amalur was created by fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, also responsible for Forgotten Realms and Vector Prime, the first in the New Jedi Order series. Heading up the art is Spawn creator, Todd McFarlane; in addition, Ken Rolston, lead designer of Elder Scrolls III and IV is in charge of the whole operation. "Reckoning is a great representation of how a team of incredibly talented and creative people with expertise in different areas can come together and complement each other so well," said Jen MacLean, CEO of 38 studios. This game has a ton of promise, hopefully it delivers.
Mass Effect 3 (PS3/360/PC)
A delay into early 2012 has not diminished our anticipation for Mass Effect 3 one bit. Commander Shepard's trilogy is coming to a undoubtedly dramatic end. BioWare's flagship series this generation has made its name on the impact of player choice and the ability to carry those choices throughout the trilogy. Continuing to develop the universe and the members your team from Mass Effect 2 alone would be enough to make 3 a satisfying experience.
Max Payne 3 (PS3/360/PC)
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.
Ninja Gaiden 3 (PS3/360/WiiU)
Ninja Gaiden 3 was certainly quite a surprising experience when we checked it out. With the camera fixed and the new gameplay mechanics, it appears that it's on track to be a great game. Long-time fans ought to look forward to this and newcomers shouldn't be afraid to try it out once it hits stores. It'll be available on both PS3 and Xbox 360, as well as Wii U in the form of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razer's Edge, early next year.
Soul Calibur V (PS3/360)
Amidst the storm of Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom variants flying out of Capcom's backside, one fighting game sure to make waves is Soulcalibur V. Not only are Project Soul refreshing the game's battle mechanics for a faster and more fluid experience, they're introducing new and improved mechanics on top of the series' revolutionary 8 Way Run. Plus, Ezio Auditore da Firenze is making a special appearance.
Street Fighter X Tekken (PS3/360)
Street Fighter x Tekken is looking good, to say the least. Fans of either franchise can definitely look forward to some of the most epic match-ups to ever grace the genre when it hits PS3 and Xbox 360. Producer Yoshinori Ono also formally announced the title for the PlayStation Vita at this year's E3 while a 3DS version is still up in the air.
Unlike the original game, which released in 1993, this new version of Syndicate will be a first-person shooter... "Our goal with Syndicate is to provide a challenging action shooter for today's gamers as well as fans of the original. I'm sure they will enjoy and recognize the legacy that made it such a classic," EA Partners executive producer Jeff Gamon said. The game will feature four-player co-op and there will be some missions re-imagined from the first game.
The Last Story (Wii)
Following numerous petitions and very vocal complaints from fans, Hironobu Sakaguchi's latest creation, The Last Story, is to now see the light of day in the Western world - well, in Europe at least. There's still no word on a North American release, but there's still hope. We can't wait to check out The Last Story.
Twisted Metal (PS3)
For those without any prior knowledge of the Twisted Metal series, it's one of Sony's historical blockbusters, featuring vehicular multiplayer combat, and a series that's been missing for some time now. Back on the E3 show floor in Sony's booth, Gaming Union got some short and sweet hands-on time with the game's demo, and we can report that its looking pretty damn good.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Silent Hill: Downpour
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
The Darkness II