Five hot video games to watch out for in 2012

Sunday, January 8th 2012. | Games News

Top 5 logoThe last year saw the debut of extraordinary games, from “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” “Batman: Arkham City” and “Portal 2” to “Battlefield 3,” “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” and “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.”

If it’s possible, the next 12 months promise to be even hotter.

If you’re into sequels, here’s a quick glance at some of the most anticipated blockbusters of 2012. Look for launches of high-profile console and PC titles, the continued boom of mobile and casual games or more mainstream adoption of indie hits like “Minecraft”:

1. Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar Games has confirmed its development studio Rockstar North is hard at work on “Grand Theft Auto V,” the next chapter in the best-selling, open-world criminal adventure series. The game will take place in the fictional city of Los Santos — the Los Angeles-like urban playground first introduced in 2004’s “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” — as well as surrounding suburbs, beaches and countryside. Little is known about the story other than “the pursuit of the almighty dollar,” but it will likely offer non-linear, mission-based “sandbox” play, memorable characters, online multiplayer and great music. No launch date has been announced for this multi-platform title.

2. Mass Effect 3

Continuing the award-winning space saga, “Mass Effect 3” from EA/BioWare will debut on three platforms simultaneously for the first time —Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PC — by March 6. The third and final game in the series looks to be the biggest and most ambitious action role-playing game (RPG) in the trilogy, with intense tactical action, three distinct game modes and stunning set pieces (including locations on Earth and Mars). Once again you’ll climb into the boots of Commander Shepard, determined to protect civilizations from the deadly Reapers by unifying planets from all corners of the galaxy. Players with saved files from previous “Mass Effect” games will have the option to import their characters into “Mass Effect 3.”

3. BioShock Infinite

Unlike its predecessors, you’re not trapped in the underwater city of Rapture. Instead, the wildly imaginative “BioShock Infinite” from 2K Games takes place on a floating air city in an alternate 1912, as you attempt to rescue a mysterious young woman with uncontrollable powers. The stunningly detailed world, memorable characters and cinematic action sequences — including the ability to engage in first-person firefights and hop on a rollercoaster-like rail system to get around (often at the same time) — all add to the unique gaming experience. The single-player adventure is slated for a June launch on Xbox 360, PS3 and PCs.

4. Diablo III

Blizzard Entertainment’s much-hyped sequel is an action-heavy fantasy RPG. Similar to its best-selling forerunners, this computer game (for PCs and Macs) will be played from an angled top-down (“isometric”) perspective, in the dark world of Sanctuary, as you flex your mouse-clicking finger to hack, slash and wield magic against a number of dungeon-crawling foes. The game will offer an expansive single-player campaign (with a random level generator to enhance replayability) as well as deep multiplayer support via Blizzard’s service. While unconfirmed, the game is expected to launch sometime early in 2012.

5. Halo 4

Due out by the end of 2012 for Xbox 360, “Halo 4” from 343 Industries and Microsoft Game Studios marks the return of John-117 (“Master Chief”) — a protagonist not playable since 2007’s “Halo 3.” Said to be the first of a new trilogy, “Halo 4” will take place quite some time after the events of “Halo 3.” Once again it will be a first-person sci-fi shooter (but with a greater emphasis on mystery and exploration), along with multiple weapons, items and vehicles and varied multiplayer maps and modes. While the game will see the return of familiar areas and characters (such as Cortana), it will introduce new worlds, plotlines and foes.

Other games to watch for in 2012 include: “Max Payne 3,” “The Last Guardian,” “Far Cry 3,” “Overstrike,” ” Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier,” “Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City” and the return of “Twisted Metal,” “SSX” and “Tomb Raider.”

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