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Friday, December 17, 2010

Gaming Wild Card Picks: 2011 Edition

I was able to narrow down my list of most anticipated games of 2011 to only three titles. But there are still a lot of games coming (hopefully) in 2011 that sound interesting. My wild card picks are reserved for games that have the potential for excellence. Some of my picks are sequels in critically acclaimed game series. Some others are games that don't have a release date nailed down. The one thing these games have in common is the potential to make 2011 a year to remember in gaming.

You can check my list of 2011 wild card picks after the jump.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Elder Scrolls V almost made it into my top three games for 2011. Unfortunately I just don't know enough about this game. The Elder Scrolls series has been amazing (though I'll admit to have played nothing prior to Morrowind). I really loved Oblivion and am anxious to see what Bethesda will do with Skyrim. My primary concern is that the game won't live up to my lofty expectations of a triple-A RPG set by series such as Mass Effect, Borderlands, and Dragon Age. I'm really hoping that Bethesday hits one out of the park with Skyrim...

inFamous 2
I haven't focused very much on PS3 games since picking up my new 360 Slim. But I'd be remiss in ignoring the sequel to one of my favourite games of 2009 - inFamous. My biggest concerns for inFamous 2 are with the new southern setting and Cole's character development from Empire City to the Bayou. I don't want a bigger and more bad-ass Cole: I hate things made more "extreme". For example, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was a disaster and really put me off the Prince of Persia series until the 2008's Prince of Persia reboot.

All worries aside, I can't think of a single game by Sucker Punch Productions that I have not loved.

The Sly Collection
I've always been a huge fan of the Sly Cooper series. I remember picking up the original Sly Cooper, along with Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clanks, for my PS2. Of the three games, Sly was far and away the best of the bunch. I really like the voice acting and characters in the Sly series. The heroes are easy to love and the villains are all incredibly well-imagined and unique. If you haven't played the Sly Cooper series, I urge you to pick up The Sly Collection for yourself this Christmas season.

If I don't get this for Christmas (Santa?), I'll see if I can get it for my birthday. I love Sly Cooper; Sucker Punch Productions is awesome. Enough said.

Assassin's Creed 3

Assassin's Creed 3 would have been in my top three most anticipated games were it not for the lack of information about the game. No release date; no trailers; no information of any kind. I have a few concerns about AC3:

1. Can Ubisoft put out a quality Assassin's Creed game so soon after Brotherhood?

2. Can Ubisoft put out a quality Assassin's Creed game without Patrice Desilets at the helm?

3. Can Ubisoft make the Assassin's Creed experience a little more fresh? Despite Brotherhood's undeniable excellence, the tried-and-true AC gameplay was starting to feel a little stale as I reached the end of Brotherhood (in terms of side-missions and optional quests only - main story was awesome throughout)?

Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I loved Deus Ex. I hated Invisible War. My biggest concern is that Square Enix and Eidos will drop the ball on this title. I don't want a pretty yet generic "shooter". Deus Ex straddled the line between a number of different genres. And despite having terrible voice acting, Deus Ex had one of the most gripping stories that I'd ever played in any video game. The expectations are so high for Human Revolution. I'm both really excited and extremely worried about the future of the Deus Ex series...

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
I liked Uncharted and Uncharted 2. I just need to see Uncharted 3 exceed the expectations of reviewers before I run out and buy this game. Excellent graphics, quality acting, and a fresh story will likely push me to pick up Uncharted 3 before the end of 2011.

I remember being a little hesitant to play Uncharted 2: Among Thieves when it was first announced. The game seemed to be nothing more than a by-the-numbers sequel to the original Uncharted. I was wrong, of course, and Uncharted 2 easily became one of the best games I've ever played (save for some of the crappy boss fights). I guess I should just have faith in Naughty Dog to surprise the gaming community with its newest Uncharted offering.

There are more games that I could add to this list (SSX Deadly Descents, Rage, etc.) but I really need to curb my spending in 2011. I simply don't have enough times to play all the games I buy. I'm already looking at nine new games added to my library in 2011 and I'm sure there will be more games picked up from discount bins and Boxing Day sales. As much as I'd like to make next year's focus on quality over quantity, I've never been very good at sacrificing one for the other. I want to play a lot of excellent games...along with some good games and maybe a few mediocre ones too...

In fact, there are still many more games that I'm considering for purchase in the coming months. Bargain titles and XBLA games are an ever-present force working to empty my wallet. But I have put together a couple lists of potential purchases in the hopes of controlling my shopping prowess. Look for more information on these titles and the beginnings of my 2011 gaming play list sometime next week

Have a great weekend!