With the start of a new year come new expectations. Many gamers are hoping that 2012 will be a landmark year, bringing numerous gaming highlights on their existing formats before the mad rush of new hardware creeps upon us. Some formats are seemingly in a better position than others however, and arguably its PlayStation 3 gamers that are set to have the most persuasive line-up of any format.
There’s always a debate raging over system exclusives, it’s been that way since the mid-80’s revival of the videogame console industry and the intense rivalry between Nintendo and SEGA. Today however, the fanboy wars are much more visible thanks to anonymous internet communication: if nobody knows who you are, why would you not wish to express your opinion more forcefully? To suggest that exclusive titles don’t matter would be a fallacy, but to argue that they are the be-all-and-end-all of a console format is missing the point entirely.
As per usual, inclusion in Electronic Theatre’s Sunday Special feature is limited to those titles which will see a retail release. Below follows the Electronic Theatre team’s picks for the most anticipated titles coming to PlayStation 3 in 2012, of which we’ll keep you updated with all the latest details on each and every one.
10. Darksiders II
THQ’s Darksiders was delayed more times than Electronic Theatre cares to remember, but its eventual release made all the waiting seem worthwhile. It’s action-based, adult take on the famous The Legend of Zelda formula was closer to Nintendo’s magic than any other had come before, and so it’s not surprising that anticipation for the forthcoming sequel is currently riding high. Darksiders II is expected to launch this summer, bringing a whole new anti-hero with it.
9. Tomb Raider
A reboot of the franchise that’s welcome, but may not be needed as much now as it has been in the past. In terms of gameplay, at least. Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend proved that the age old formula could still be relevant with a bit of tidying up after the disastrous Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, but still so few were willing to adopt Tomb Raider: Underworld due to its lack of modernisation. Enter Tomb Raider, a brand new vision for the franchise intent on capturing a brand new audience. Much of the videogames playing public today weren’t aware of Lara Croft’s original outings simply by virtue of being too young: this time around, they’ll know all about it.
8. Ninja Gaiden 3
There’s been quite a lot of negativity surrounding Ninja Gaiden 3, but mostly from the audience which doesn’t understand it. Ninja Gaiden is not Devil May Cry, it’s not God of War and it’s not Dynasty Warriors. Ninja Gaiden is a brutal, punishing challenge that pushes gamers to their limits time-and-time again within the same level. Ninja Gaiden 3 has been given the opportunity to appeal to a new audience through a lowered difficulty setting, but those in the know will still demand to have their skills put to the test: an opportunity which only Ninja Gaiden provides.
7. Twisted Metal
The first PlayStation 3 exclusive on this list is likely to be quite a few gamers’ most anticipated release of the year. At present however, a European release remains uncertain. Twisted Metal has never achieved the same level of success in PAL territories as it has in North America, and as such an expensive retail release might be off the cards. With confirmation either way being absent, rumours of a digital-only release have begun circulating, but at present for European gamers the release of Twisted Metal on PlayStation 3 remains a ‘wait-and-see’ situation.
6. The Last of Us
At the time of writing, The Last of Us is arguably one of the most widely discussed videogame releases of 2012. While Electronic Theatre would agree that the premise has much potential, the team here remain hesitant about raising expectations due to not having seen anything remotely related to the videogame itself. Time and time again trailers have fooled gamers into thinking a videogame will be more than the sum of its parts; time and time again we’ve been disappointed.
5. The Last Guardian
Despite the departure of many key personnel from the development team currently working on The Last Guardian, Team ICO’s latest remains an enticing proposition. In an era where risk taking is shunned in favour of the ever-reliable first-person shooter (FPS), The Last Guardian is a breath of fresh, obscure air.
4. Grand Theft Auto V
Much like The Last of Us, all we’ve seen of Grand Theft Auto V thus far is a short trailer. However, judging by past experienced, Grand Theft Auto V is set to be nothing short of a huge timesink. Whatever you think of Rockstar Games’ attitude towards market penetration, there’s no denying that the company’s software products always fulfil their promises. Maybe that’s because, until very close to launch, the company refuses to make any promises whatsoever. At present the only egotistical statement we’ve had for Grand Theft Auto V is that the map will be “big”. If you hadn’t predicted that by now, you clearly haven’t played a Grand Theft Auto videogame before.
3. BioShock Infinite
As opposed to the highly anticipated Mass Effect 3, which promises console exclusive features for the Xbox 360, BioShock Infinite is offering PlayStation 3 gamers a unique revision of the formula. BioShock Infinite will apparently link in someway to the forthcoming BioShock Vita, a PlayStation Vita exclusive title also expected to be available this year. With any luck, 2K Games will take the initiative and spread the releases several months apart, giving PlayStation 3 gamers a reason to return to BioShock Infinite long after they would otherwise have moved on to other titles.
2. Max Payne 3
Rockstar Games have two big titles launching this year, and while Grand Theft Auto V is practically guaranteed to be the bigger selling videogame, Max Payne 3 is arguably the more interesting proposition. Originally developed by Remedy Entertainment, Rockstar Games adopted the Max Payne franchise simply due to its groundbreaking mature premise. Set to launch nearly a decade after the original Max Payne 3 is entering a very different market, but with the drip-feed of information from Rockstar Games, it’s looking to be a very different beast.
1. Mass Effect 3
Despite being a multi-format title and set to arrive early than most other titles on the list, Electronic Theatre’s expectations for Mass Effect 3 are higher than any other PlayStation 3 release in 2012 for one simple reason: we already know it’s good. While Electronic Theatre has sampled many of the forthcoming 2012 releases, the hands-on time afforded for Mass Effect 3 exceeds most, and in terms of action gameplay, that which was showcased excels beyond expectations greater than any other.
Of course, Mass Effect 3 on PlayStation 3 will be limited by way of external features. In the same fashion as the PC release, Mass Effect 3 on PlayStation 3 will not offer motion controlled gameplay as that facet remains an exclusive of the Xbox 360 release. Just how much this will impact the videogame experience remains to be seen, but even without it gamers on PlayStation 3 can look forward to an absorbing action-RPG experience coming this March.