The Rest of the Video Game World
I remember the days when I played other video games besides WOW. For the past few years WOW has sucked up nearly all of my gaming time. The problem is that if I’m in the mood for gaming, I’ll log into WOW because I have things I “need” to get done. If I’m not in the mood for WOW, I’m usually not in the mood for any game.
And yet there are a few releases coming around the corner that actually have me excited. They have me promising myself yet again that I will play something else. Whether I actually accomplish that or not remains to be seen. I think part of the energy and excitement comes from being surrounded by non-WOW gamers at PAX. It reminded me that there is a whole other world out there that I have been only on the fringe of.
Skyrim – 11/11/2011
This is the long-awaited next Elder Scrolls release. I loved Oblivion so much. I adored the vast open world with all of its secrets and quest lines to stumble upon. It was the first true “Western” RPG that I played and it completely blew my mind. I started gaming with Final Fantasy turn-base style RPGs and after Oblivion I couldn’t really go back.
Skyrim looks gorgeous – a better, newer version of Oblivion. I didn’t get to play it or see the live presentation/demo at PAX due to insane lines, so obviously I’m not the only one impressed. It looked like what I was hoping for, from the few glances I got of it on the show floor.
Demo Part I
Demo Part 2
Demo Part 3
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – 11/20/2011
Lovely graphics and interesting mechanics with the Wii controller. I actually like the feel of using the motion-sensored controller over the old-fashioned D-pad and buttons. A lot of people find the Wii motion controller gimmicky, but Twilight Princess’s venture into that arena felt very intuitive. I watched Jardal play the demo at PAX and he seemed to pick the controls up quickly. I look forward to trying it in the comfort of my home.
This game will skyrocket our Wii usage for awhile (and then it can go back to happily gathering dust). I always love the puzzles and the characters. The stories are usually rather simplistic and childish, but entertaining nonetheless.
Star Wars: the Old Republic – 2011?
SWOTR has had the MMO community abuzz for a very long time. Despite the complete failure that was Star Wars Galaxies, the combination of Star Wars with a WOW-like MMORPG has to be complete win, right? With Bioware being held in high esteem as a game developer, hopes are high for this release. Although they claim to be re-inventing the genre, the previews of the game that I’ve seen have revealed it to be essentially to be WOW + Star Wars + Mass Effect.
One of the big features they tout is that it is the first fully voiced MMO. They did a world-wide search for 900+ voice-actors and ended up with over 10,000 speaking NPCs.
Bioware also claims it is the single largest piece of Star Wars fiction in history.
We saw a trailer at PAX as well as a live “operation” (raid) that included audience participants. Operations are 8 or 16 players with multiple difficulty modes. The dungeons sound like they are going to be 4 players.
More details are pouring in around the interwebs, including the possibility of the release getting pushed back to Q1 2012.
Torchlight II – 2011
Too excited to wait for Diablo III? Hate the for-real-money auction house or required always-connected play? Want to use mods or play with your real-life friends via LAN? Then Torchlight II is for you. Priced initially at $19.99, it will be hard to say no.
Developer Site Link: http://www.torchlight2game.com/
(already released via Steam and Xbox live)
Bastion has been getting a lot of hype, and the demo I watched at PAX got me interested as well. The graphic style is beautifully stylized – beautiful rich digital art that is easy to fall in love with. It’s an action RPG with a level structure and extensive world. It also supposedly has great replayability.
Developer Site Link: http://supergiantgames.com/?page_id=242
Orcs Must Die – 2011
A tower of defense style game with an added third-person action component. You can place traps on walls or ceilings and use melee/ranged weapons or spells to defeat the horde of orcs that threatens your fortress. You unlock defenses as you continue on through the levels. The graphics are stylized and attractive, and the gameplay seems very engaging and addictive. We saw this one at PAX and were rather impressed. Like Plants vs. Zombies, this promises to breath new life into a familiar genre.
Developer Site Link: http://www.robotentertainment.com/games/orcsmustdie
Fez – 2011
This indie game looks intriguing – a 2-D game where you have to change perspective to navigate through the levels. It will be coming to Xbox Live Arcade.
Developer Site Link: http://polytroncorporation.com/61-2
This is another indie game with an interesting concept – you snap “photos” to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.
Developer Site Link: http://www.retroaffect.com/games/1/snapshot/