Phew. Been away from the blog longer than I meant... Not only was Your Critic traveling for the holidays, but she came back with a bug and spent a couple of days incoherent in bed with a fever.
Let's not do that again in 2011.
Instead, let's play new games in 2011! Here's a handful of titles I'm really looking forward to next year, in no particular order.
This was a triumph: Is there anyone out there who's not excited about Portal 2? The first one was a brilliant little package, matching skillful writing with solid design, and reached so many players that over 3 years after its release, the cake memes and Jonathan Coulton song are still staples of the fast-moving gamer culture.
I'm also excited that it comes specifically with co-op multiplayer. That's something harder to come by than it should be.
Nathan Drake: Okay, so thanks to GameFly this year I've discovered that I love the Uncharted games. Sure, the first one had so much racefail that even Yahtzee commented on it, and I'm not going to say that they are highbrow, serious things, but... damn, Nathan Drake is fun. It's just fun. You're playing a modern version of Indiana Jones, what's not to love? And at least the female characters hold up better than I expected. (Admittedly, I went into the first two games with extremely low expectations.)
The action setpieces in Uncharted 2 are exhilarating in the way of the best action movies, and keep pushing you along actively even when you do what the movies can't: die and respawn. So I'm eagerly looking forward to Uncharted 3 hitting our home late next year. Graphics are far down the line in importance for me (writing, gameplay, and design all come first) but it sure doesn't hurt that this is going to be a gorgeous, gorgeous game.
Murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle: The film student in me is drooling over everything that's come out about LA Noire. The art and trailers remind me as much of Heavy Rain as of anything else, but this is Rockstar, the studio of GTA fame, putting out a modern heir to the tradition of the mystery adventure game, set in gorgeous art-deco Los Angeles. I'm fascinated by the art, by the tech, by the advances in the medium of gaming -- and by the game itself, for its story, 'cause I love me some noir films.
My only complaint here so far is that it doesn't look like it's getting a PC port, and that's really how I'd rather play it.
And now for something completely different: Everything else here is a sequel to something I've played. I never played the first two Deus Ex games, but after the trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution hit, I went and bought them on Steam, and I'm catching up!
It's worth noting here that I don't usually play Square Enix titles and I haven't played an Eidos game in a long time, and that the first-person shooter isn't my preferred genre-of-choice. But the entire aesthetic of this Blade Runner-meets-Snow Crash world is just too good for me to pass up. Plus, I can play this one on PC. ;)
Oldies and goodies: I love the genre of adventure games. My all-time favorite is still The Secret of Monkey Island and most of the games I've enjoyed best in the last decade still have some connection to mostly-dead (slightly-alive) tradition of point-and-click adventure games.
So imagine my surprise when "a game with no shooting, just clicking and problem-solving" is a surprising new thing. The game is Prominence, and I'm looking forward to it for standing out by being old-fashioned (and looking new).
And of course, there are loads of others. I already pre-ordered Mass Effect 3 for my husband as part of his Christmas present this year. And I'm guessing I'll get some New Vegas DLC, because that's how these things go. But the thing about being sick on the couch is that mainly right now? I'm playing old games on my DS, haha.