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Cliff’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2012

Cliff Top List - 5 Anticipated Games of 2012

If you have visited Game Freaks 365 recently you may have seen Drew’s “Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2012”, an article posted just a few days ago. Basically, the idea behind Drew’s list was to narrow down five upcoming games within the remainder of 2012’s crowded release schedule, selecting the choices that he personally felt the most compelled to purchase whenever they are finally available.

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This article is essentially a follow-up to Drew’s list; Cliff decided to choose five of his own “anticipated” selections, all of which he plans to pick up on launch day.

The only major difference is this: Cliff’s picks are all based on different consoles, so everyone is included – Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo! The author admits that this limits the games that could have appeared on the list, but in order to keep it fresh, Cliff wanted to spread out his “Top 5” choices a little bit:

ZombiU - Cliff Top List
#5 – Zombi U

This Ubisoft title was unveiled a few weeks ago, during Nintendo’s Wii U presentation at E3. Although there were some other notable games teased for the console’s upcoming launch, including Pikmin 3 and New Super Mario Bros. U, Zombi U was the biggest surprise. This zombie-blasting survival-horror/first-person shooter hybrid stole my attention, and became the definitive Wii U title, as far as I was concerned. Finally, there was proof that the new tablet controller could be utilized effectively and implemented creatively, resulting in a fresh and innovative gaming experience.

Going along with the general “zombie apocalypse” theme, Zombi U didn’t hold back at all: there was a surprising amount of violence and gore featured in the trailer, suggesting that the “core” audience might finally have its first go-to title after the Wii U launches later this year. Speaking of which, Ubisoft hasn’t confirmed the release date for this one, but mentioned that it will appear in the “launch window”. That being said, it looks like my “day one” purchasing decisions for the Wii U have been more or less decided. There’s no way around it – I have to get my hands on Zombi U as soon as possible.

Halo 4 - Cliff Top List
#4 – Halo 4

Drew also pointed out that he was excited to play Halo 4 later this year, and though I wanted to avoid putting the same games on my list, there was no avoiding the fact that 343 Industries’ forthcoming shooter is my most-anticipated “Xbox 360 exclusive”. This comes after a lot of skepticism; my love for the Halo series felt tarnished after I found myself disappointed by Reach. I wasn’t happy with the multiplayer, and found myself sorely missing the component that always made Bungie’s franchise so exciting in the first place: Master Chief.

After seeing some early footage of Halo 4, I started singing a different tune – by the time the E3 presentation and demo came around, I found myself excited about the Halo franchise in a way that I haven’t been since 2007. The single-player campaign will surely put players into some epic situations as they re-gain control of the Master Chief and his A.I. companion, Cortana. The multiplayer looks to deliver an even deeper and more engaging experience than Halo has ever achieved – to “Infinity” (the foundation of the new competitive system) and beyond (load-outs, customization). Let’s just hope that 343 Industries can keep some of the best aspects of Halo intact – you know, stuff like the intuitive controls, the brilliant map design, and the satisfying balance between the various weapons.

PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale - Cliff Top List
#3 – PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

The only title on this list exclusive to the PlayStation brand is none other than the 4-player brawler that SCEA revealed earlier this year – PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Avoiding any redundant discussion about its obvious similarities to Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers franchise, this one has been among my most anticipated games for quite some time – even before it was formally announced. Indeed; when the project was merely a rumor known as “Title Fight”, I was losing sleep over the idea of Nathan Drake duking it out against Sweet Tooth, Nathan Cole, and Parappa the Rapper.

Now, we know that PS All-Stars Battle Royale will feature all those characters and more – in fact, some “big” things were revealed at E3 just a few weeks ago. With the pun fully intended, the Big Daddy from BioShock was confirmed as a playable character – in addition to the aforementioned Uncharted hero. The game was playable at E3, but I haven’t personally had a chance to experience the combat and directly compare it to the latest Smash Bros. title, Brawl – which makes me even more impatient for the final release. There has not been a date confirmed at this point, but I would be very surprised if this one missed the 2011 mark – Sony needs a big first-party game for the holiday season, for both the PS3 and the Vita. I believe this will be the perfect answer for both problems.

Castlevania LOS MOF - Cliff Top List
#2 – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate

My history with the classic Castlevania series may not be as extensive as someone who grew up playing the Konami franchise during the 8-bit era – still, among the countless installments released over the decades, some of the highest-rated entries include the six titles that were released on the Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo DS. There were three released over the lifetime of each handheld; I played four of them to 100% completion (Circle of the Moon, Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow, and Portrait of Ruin). Needless to say, I have been waiting for the arrival of Castlevania on 3DS since it launched, and that news finally came around just days before E3.

This game basically links the story of the last console game, Lords of Shadow, to its upcoming sequel – Lords of Shadow 2. What I am most excited about is the combination of the classic side-scrolling gameplay (based heavily on exploration) and the modern combat system (lifted directly from LOS). I look forward to exploring the labyrinthine castle environments, and I am excited to see how these areas will change as players switch between the playable characters and time periods. The plot will thicken as the new protagonist, Trevor Belmont – son of LOS’s Gabriel – fights to dethrone his father, who has become the primary antagonist, Dracul. It will be interesting to see how classic Belmont characters like Simon and Alucard play into the events, and I can’t wait to learn the identities of the two remaining characters that Konami has promised. If I had any requests, I would choose Soma Cruz, from Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow: he’s not a Belmont, but he was a solid protagonist nonetheless, and those were my favorite Castlevania titles to date.

Pokemon Black and White 2 - Cliff Top List
#1 – Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 Versions

Although I am attempting to avoid purchasing both Black 2 and White 2 on launch day, there is little doubt that I will cave in and pick up both of the forthcoming sequels. That being said, the forthcoming Pokemon sequels are virtually unrivaled as my “most anticipated” of 2012, and walk away comfortably with my top pick. This definitely involves some personal bias and affiliation with the Pokemon franchise, but I particularly enjoyed the original Black and White versions. They became my all-time favorites after they launched last March, forcing gamers to explore the new region of Unova with an all-new army of monsters. This was like going back to square one, and with no familiar Pokemon to fall back on, the series was once again interesting and worth exploring. In fact, Black and White brought back a large wave of gamers who had otherwise aged and drifted away from the series over the last decade.

I am a very dedicated fan of the Pokemon series, and because there have never been sequels for any of the past versions, it is just the idea of “sequels” in general that I find the most intriguing about Black 2 and White 2. What makes Black 2 and White 2 so special, when there aren’t any new Pokemon to catch? Which classic monsters will be encountered in Unova, and ultimately fill up the expanded “National Pokedex” featured in the games? How will these titles connect to the upcoming applications for the 3DS (Dream Radar/Pokedex 3D Pro)? The Japanese launch is coming this Saturday – June 23 – so it is only a matter of time before all of these questions are answered. Regardless of what some may think about the sequels, these Pokemon games will be all I care to think about when they finally arrive in North America this September.