The best PC games of 2012
We’ve been spoilt for amazing PC games this year, but it’s only going to get better in 2012. We've already brought you previews of Planetside 2, Mass Effect 3, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Guild Wars 2, Dishonored, Hitman Absolution, Diablo 3 and Bioshock Infinite, but now we've compiled a list of every game out this year, for your reading pleasure. By the end of this feature, you should have an idea of just how incredible 2012 is going to be.
Check inside. The games of tomorrow are waiting for you.
Grand Theft Auto V
Release: TBA 2012
Being a numbered GTA title is a big deal. We know GTA V is set in Los Santos, Rockstar’s take on Los Angeles, and that it may have multiple protagonists. What we don’t know is whether it’s a continuation of GTA IV or a return to the pop culture of Vice City and San Andreas. The golden hues and gloss of the trailer suggests the latter, but, hey: that could just be California.
Where GTA V does seem to offer something new is in the promise of expansive outdoor environments. With the series traditionally tied to urban areas, the possibility of a little more freedom is intriguing, as is the suggestion that the main character’s hobbies include hiking. That said, Rockstar would do well to focus on fundamentals: bringing GTA’s combat up to scratch, allowing us to interact with the environment more meaningful ways, and moving from the one-employer-at-a-time structure.
Cross of the Dutchman
Publisher: Triangle Studios
An action-adventure in the mould of Fable 3 from indie studio Triangle, this game places you in the enormous shoes of legendary Dutch warrior-pirate Pier Gerlofs Donia. You’ll liberate Frisia and do sidequests in a charming cartoon take on Western Europe. Grutte Pier was seven feet tall and could decapitate several people with a single blow, apparently.
Metal Gear Solid: Rising
As big-haired, sharp-cheekboned cyber ninja Raiden, you’re hunting baddies in the near-ish future. The emphasis is on quick, offensive swordplay, using the dev’s terrifying attention to how bodies are sliced and diced. The series is perhaps best known for its fourth-wall-shattering plot devices and inventive game mechanics: we’re always happy to see more of that on the PC.
Brothers in Arms: Furious 4
It’s a team-based shooter, again, but rather than updating to a modern combat scenario, this new Brothers in Arms sees a gang of armed-to-the-teeth Yank soldiers take on those pesky Nazis. The demo we saw involved jetpacks and demented violence. It recalls Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, with plenty of gore and Nazi-branding. Like a 1940s version of Bulletstorm.
The Darkness 2
Publisher: 2k Games
We didn’t get The Darkness the first time round: a mob-set shooter into which mystical forces have imbued the central character with special abilities. Fortunately, its sequel is set to enlighten the PC. It includes ‘Quad-Wielding’, which allows players to slash, grab and throw enemies with two demon arms while simultaneously wielding two guns. You also get to tell imps when to murder your enemies from the shadows. Ace.
Strike Suit Zero
Many, many games feature the end of the world, but not many see you staving it off with a giant transforming space robot thing. It’s a very ’80s take on the space shooter, with ludicrous firepower and an infinite amount of power-ups, but the calibre of its creators should ensure it’s anything but 8-bit. It’s never going to be hugely challenging, but there simply aren’t enough giant transforming space robot things in games these days.
2009’s Prototype was a solid cityroaming murder sim, with some smart touches like being able to take on an enemy’s appearance. The sequel sees new protagonist James Heller taking on evil mutants and evil soldiers with equal aplomb. Heller’s got a few new abilities, such as tendrils that can envelope enemies, and everyone can be ripped into fleshy chunks. Expect openworld carnage, copter takedowns and, hopefully, a bit more depth.
Spec Ops: The Line
Publisher: 2k Games
A third-person cover shooter set in the sand-blasted remains of Dubai, this promises tough choices in an uncompromising narrative. The banner feature is ‘Dynamic Sand’, accurately-modelled silicates that can form avalanches to crush friend and foe alike. 2K remind us that ‘sand has no loyalty’, flagrantly disregarding the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin.
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
We weren’t big fans of the original Shank,a 2D side-scrolling platform shooter (think Contra). This sequel promises to make amends with revamped controls and a new co-op survival mode. The cell-shaded art looks great.
Shoot Many Robots
It’s a four-player side-scrolling shooter with a little RPG flavour. Hillbilly protagonist P Walter Tugnut can be upgraded with bits and bobs he salvages from the many, many robots he’s likely to shoot. It’s nice to see a game wear its mission statement.
A swashbuckling third-person adventure. A mix of combo-based sword battles and ship-to-ship fi ghting, you’ll upgrade both your boat and crew on your quest for the biggest, pointiest hat of all. It’s been in development for a long time: wait and see.
Solaris Assault Tech
Publisher: Studio Inektek
An arena-based mech combat game based on the Unreal 3 engine, and being developed with BattleTech founder Jordan Weismen. Long live giant stompy robot games. We need more.
Assassin's Creed 3
Rumour has it the French or American revolutions are pegged to appear – but it could, of course, feature both. Based on its treatment of history, we’re putting our money on fist-fights with Thomas Paine and a minecart chase with William Wordsworth.
Super Monday Night Combat
The DOTA-inspired arena thirdperson shooter returns with three new classes – revolver-toting Gunslinger, robot-herding Combatgirl and groundpounding Veteran. New maps and increased customisation round out the package – and it’s free to play, too. It’s certainly one to watch if you like your DOTA with a side of TF2-style cartoon charm.
Street Fighter X Tekken
Pitting Capcom and Namco’s finest against each other for the first time outside of bitter playground arguments, Street Fighter X Tekken brings tag team battles to the Street Fighter IV format. But is it coming to PC or not? A PC version was announced by Capcom in April, but quickly withdrawn as a ‘typo’, before being upgraded to a ‘maybe’. Come on Capcom.
Transformers: The Fall of Cybertron
The sequel to 2010’s vehiclesand- robots blaster, this demonstrates that Activision have finally learned the rule of sequels: namely, more dinosaurs. All we’ve seen of the game so far is a teaser trailer revealing T-rexin- disguise Grimlock. A revamped weapons and upgrades system promises to make character progression feel more meaningful than it was last time.
War of the Roses
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
A slightly po-faced approach to the battles that ravaged England during the 15th century, it promises to take a gritty, shooter-style approach to sword and axe combat.
The tie-in game to JJ Abram’s take on Star Trek continues the story, with Kirk and Spock starring in a co-op shooter, hunting down an alien threat to the galaxy. Think Mass Effect but without the RPG elements. Devs Digital Extremes have already shown footage of Kirk leaping from an airlock, through the vacuum of space, onto the side of another ship. Question: will it tie into the next film, due out in 2013? Answer: unknown.
Darksiders wasn’t actually too bad as a third-person action slasher. In the sequel, you take control of Death (the other four horsemen taking a co-star role) as you rock into the underworld and beat the unliving crap out of baddies, like it’s the end of the world. Which it actually is. The team responsible claim that levels will be at least twice the size of those seen in the first game, and that the hub cities will contain significantly more dungeons. Which is nice.
Max Payne 3
Circumstances once again conspire to see Max Payne thrust sideways in slow-motion through the windows of life. Everyone’s favourite action-detective runs, guns and shaves his way through Sao Paulo in a Rockstar developed sequel to Remedy’s shoooter. The team responsible are making a big deal of the way Max moves naturally through the city.
Publisher: TopWare Interactive
Taking place in a post-apocalyptic future where the Forces of Good and Evil and Arbitrary Capitalisation have wiped each other out, Scivelation is a third-person shooter that pits you against the Regime. It sounds a lot like RAGE, but looks more like Hard Reset.
Devil May Cry 3
Ninja Theory have worked hard to show that their DMC reboot respects its roots. The game will see a younger Dante slicing and air-juggling his way through two different worlds: one bright and colourful, the other dramatically monochrome.
Publisher: TopWare Interactive
Pirate sandbox adventure that looks to be a darker, more gritty take on the wolves of the sea. The combat system mixes real historical weapons, complete with their own special moves and abilities, with a more tactical slant.
Ride to Hell
Publisher: Deep Silver
Protect your territory from rival biker gangs in what promises to be a GTA style take on sixties West Coast America easy riding culture.
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Movie
The tie-in game for next year’s Spider-Man game is directed squarely at the tie-in-lunchbox and duvet set. Expect a mixture of free-swinging city traversal and third-person brawling. It looks all right, the swinging-down- New-York about as good as you’d expect. But the previous games from the same dev have been hit and miss, so it’s probably best to wait for the reviews.
Ghosts of Moscow: Death to Spies
A third-person stealth adventure set during the Cold War. The third Death to Spies game casts you as a trio of Russian spies undertaking missions in North America, Cuba and Europe. We’re not sure how it’ll compete against the new Hitman given IO’s ever expanding budget. But it’s possible this will fulfil your need to choke people to death and then pinch their undies.
Top Gun: Hard Lock
Publisher: 505 Games
Merely a typo away from the original film’s subtext, Top Gun: Hard Lock takes the hit movie’s bombastic, homoerotic airborne combat and turns it into a bombastic, presumably homoerotic game. To get a pretty good idea of exactly what it’s going to be like, play Tom Clancy’s HAWX, Afterburner or Crimson Skies with Highway to the Danger Zone playing on your iPod.
Publisher: Warner Brothers
Cute cheerleaders with chainsaws have been sorely missed in gaming. Fortunately, Juliet Starling – the cheerleader in question – is equipped with a chainsaw to massacre the undead. It feels like a one-note take on Dead Rising’s best jokes, but Suda 51’s involvement is sure to make it a triumph of style over substance. Its presence on the PC is a mere rumour at the moment, but we’d love to see it. Come on Warner, throw us a bone.
Tentatively confirmed by Sega for the PC, this gloriously ludicrous-looking multiplayer brawler comes from Platinum Games, the developers of absurdly leggy console title Bayonetta. Expect absurdly burly men (and ladies) hitting each other – a lot – in ever more creative ways, with the added bonus of being able to call in such everyday occurrences as black holes and plane crashes. Subtlety really isn’t on the agenda here.
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Inversion offers third-person co-op blasting in the company of the Grappler, a scenery-flinging descendent of Half-Life 2’s Gravity Gun that is described as “using a revolutionary gravity manipulation engine”. Yeah, whatever. You’ll use it to create cover and grab your enemies, a mysterious high-tech force known as the Lutadore. We are fairly sure that they are not Mexican wrestlers, but it is too early to say for sure.
Publisher: Square Enix
This long-awaited reboot sees a younger Lara stranded on a Japanese island during her first trip overseas. What we’ve seen suggests a much darker, more violent game with a focus on survival rather than the improbable dungeoneering of yore. First impressions call to mind the excellent reboot of Resident Evil via Resi 4. But where does that leave Lara’s excellent platforming?
Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City
A class-based third-person shooter where you tackle Hunters, Tyrants and the Nemesis in the setting of Resi 2. Full four-player co-op support for the campaign makes this one to watch.
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
A mythological take on the DotA format from Hi-Rez, the folks behind Global Agenda and Tribes: Ascend. It’s based on Unreal Engine 3 and will ditch the isometric RTS approach for plenty of over-the-shoulder twitch action.
A steampunk fantasy action game. A hack and slash RPG, but with the slashing powered by coal. You’ll be tapping into steam vents to supercharge your foecrushing weapons and gadgets. Excellent hats, too. Which is extremely important to us.
Infinite Games’ MechWarrior series reboot boasts customisable mechs, a detailed stat-tracking system, and a story that evolves based on the results of your actions. Who says there’s no such thing as a free hundredfoot walking tank?
Publisher: DTP Entertainment
Huge robot armies, 2D graphics and DotA-style levels should make for a perfect PC title, and the developers are keen to bring it to our desktops. But their publishers want it to be console only. Boo!
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