Traditionally, the holiday season is when all the big video games come to market. This year we saw blockbuster smashes like Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, Battlefield 3 and The Old Republic. Those are some monsters, and they are all games that can take many hours to complete. Throw in Batman and Gears of War and it seems impossible to manage.
Don’t be fooled into thinking all the big games are out already. The game industry is shifting away from releasing everything right at the holidays, and now there are some huge games coming out all year. Game developers are wising up and realizing that you do not need to launch in October, November or December to have a successful game, and the beginning of next year is proof positive of that. These three games will see market in the first quarter of 2012, and they are games you cannot miss.
Soul Calibur V
Soul Caliber has been around for a long time. In fact, the original Soul Caliber for Dreamcast is one of the best-reviewed games of all time, according to Game Rankings. Being in a class with Ocarina of Time and Super Mario Galaxy is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Since the first one, they have been steadily making solid games, and Soul Calibur V looks to be no exception.
The early previews of the game were very positive. The combat is promising to be much smoother, faster and more offensive. The early bits of the story that have come out sound a little ridiculous, but that is what we have come to expect from Soul Calibur.
If nothing else, this promises to be an awesome game for fans of the fighting genre. They have a lot of new characters, and they even have a guest appearance from Assassins Creed’s own Ezio.
UFC Undisputed 3
For fans of MMA, it sounds like this year they are finally going to get it right. Last year, I thought EA Sports MMA was much better than the UFC Undisputed game, but with the UFC parent company purchasing Strikeforce (where most of the fighters from that game are from) it looks like Undisputed 3 is going to be the only MMA game next year. That does not seem like it is going to be a bad thing, because Undisputed 3 looks awesome.
The main issue I had with the UFC games was the submission system. It was weak, especially when compared to EA’s game. Swinging the joystick in a circle as fast as possible just was not an intuitive way of recreating the feeling of locking in a submission. Thankfully, this year that system has been rebuilt from the ground up. They have also improved the striking, and every other aspect of the game.
In addition to game play improvements, they are also bringing Pride mode to the game. Back in the day, Pride Fighting Championships was arguably the best MMA organization in the world. They used a different rule set, where kicks and knees to the head of an opponent on the ground were legal. Being able to play this way in the video game has MMA fans incredibly excited.
To go along with the rule set, they have also included a number of Pride legends in the game. Even though they left Fedor off the roster, this mode should still bring the game to the next level and make it a must play for gamers and MMA fans alike.
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 is scheduled to come out in the beginning of March, and for me, it cannot come soon enough. Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 are among the best games of this console generation, and I have no reason to believe that the folks at Bioware will let us down with the third.
Mass Effect 3 will wrap up the story of Sheppard, and I cannot wait to see how it plays out. As with Mass Effect 2, you will be able to transfer your save into this game, and your decisions from the previous games will change things in the new one. It is amazing to think that the decisions I made all those years ago in the first Mass Effect will actually change my experience in this game. Never before have the decisions you made in a video game carried so much weight.
Mass Effect’s story is amazing, and the universe they have created is so incredible, that I cannot wait to see how this epic trilogy wraps up.
The single player is promising to be similar to the previous Mass Effect games, but Bioware is throwing everyone for a loop by including multiplayer in Mass Effect 3. It has been receiving mixed reviews across the board. For me, whether the multiplayer is good or bad is irrelevant. I come to Mass Effect for the single player, and if the multiplayer is great, that is just icing on an already delicious cake.
Save your money now, because it is going to be a busy 2012. With games this epic coming out in the first quarter alone, I cannot wait to see what is going to take place later in the year. Do not forget about PlayStation Vita coming out early in the year as well. The game lineup for it does not look great, but it still looks like an awesome device with a lot of potential. I expect 2012 to be a stellar year for gamers.
What games are you looking forward to for the early part of next year? Let us know in the comments!