This has been an exceptional year for gaming. And it shows in the fact that I really need to scale down my game purchases going into 2012. This is the first year where the growth of my game library has actually outpaced the amount of time I allocate to playing games. It's gotten to the point where I'm buying games, and quite simply not playing them; as is the case with Dark Souls, Tomb Raider Anniversary, Tomb Raider Legend, and Company of Heroes, and Ace Combat Zero. These are all games that I have not even touched yet--don't get me started on games that are merely unfinished. I feel almost irresponsible continuing to buy all these great games even knowing that I won't have time to play them.
Here's a list of games I bought or acquired this year.
Dead Space 2
Tales of the Abyss
Total War: Shogun 2
Ace Combat Zero
Metal Gear Solid 4 (for the second time)
Ace Combat 5
Ace Combat 4
Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes
Batman: Arkham City
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The Witcher 2
Company of Heroes (for the second time)
Just Cause 2
Tomb Raider: Anniversary
Tomb Raider: Legend
Of those games, 16 (out of the 24) I haven't finished. That's kind of unacceptable. So I'm really glad that 2012 is looking a lot less exciting, at least to me. I also bought LA Noire, but promptly returned it. It's the first time I've done such a thing in probably a decade; never have I been so incredibly disappointed in a game that I truly thought would be great. Other firsts in 2011: I bought Arkham City from Gamestop. The last game I remember buying from Gamestop was 007: Agent Under Fire, probably about 10 years ago.
So, here's a list of games I'm looking forward to.
-Sonic Generations; I...I took a leap, and decided to go ahead and preorder this. I grew up with Sonic, and I've managed to find some good in almost every game in the series that ever came out (except for Sonic 06). But even I've felt the effects of what is ultimately just poor design. But Sega looks like for the first time in quite a while, they might have finally gotten it right.
-Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception; I really think this will be a neat game, but I can't bring myself to buy it brand new for $60. I'm only in it for the campaign, and that alone does not justify a buy to me. I'll wait until it's cheaper. Still, it does look amazing.
-Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls 5; Chances are it will be a very long time before I get around to even touching this game, but I'm not worried about how good it will be. I loved Oblivion, and all I see Skyrim as is Oblivion with better graphics and updated mechanics.
-Saints Row: The Third; This is one of the last games of 2011 that I'm currently planning to buy at or around its release, but it's also the one I'm thinking the most about waiting on. It looks like infinite fun, but lack of offline multiplayer hit me kinda hard.
-Rayman: Origins; All I'm hearing is 4-player platforming co-op. That's all I need to hear. This was going to be a day one buy, but I think I'm going to wait a while on it.
-Armored Core 5; It's true, I'm rather fond of any mech games that manage to make it stateside. Of course I'll be keeping a close eye on Armored Core 5, but it wouldn't have to be revolutionary for me to seriously consider picking it up, because I'm that desperate.
-SSX; One of the few games coming out in 2012 that I'm kind of excited for. I really love the SSX series. All EA has to do is announce offline multiplayer, and this will probably be a day one buy. Too bad they probably won't.
-Zone of the Enders HD Collection; I never played the original ZoE games, but I heard they were rather dandy. The announcement of this collection was a very pleasant surprise, and I look forward to picking it up when it releases.
-Final Fantasy Versus XIII; Still waiting, Square-Enix...
-Ghost Recon: Future Soldier; I have to admit, I'm a bit conflicted about this one. If it turns out to be a hyperrealistic shooter like, say Operation Flashpoint or SOCOM where you take one bullet and die, I'm out. But it combines a lot things that I really dig. That is, third person shooting with an emphasis on cover, co-op, and futuristic technology.
-Starhawk; At the moment I'm actually kinda meh about this, but it looks like it could be a quality title, regardless of what I think of it.
-Final Fantasy XIII-2; I'm a bit conflicted about this one. Unlike so many people, I actually really, really liked Final Fantasy XIII. But, given how long it took to develop that game, you can understand my skepticism when I found it they were churning out a sequel in just one year. I know the leftover assets and the fact that a lot of the tech is already developed is a big factor in the reduced development time (which is why FF13-2 doesn't really look at all better than 13), but a year? I guess I'm just not used to seeing Square-Enix, of all people, churn out a game so quickly; much less a Final Fantasy game. Also, I really dislike that they are going to be adding monster recruiting as a gameplay mechanic. It tends to rub me the wrong way when games have monster recruiting, because it feels like a way to escape the burden of having to add in and flesh out actual characters. And because the monsters themselves are always so dull and boring to play as. But by the same token, my interest was piqued when I realized that they would be introducing time travel as a plot element. I enjoy time travel stories, even though they are rarely done well, without having them turn into confusing messes full of holes.
-Metal Gear Solid Rising; Whatever happened to this game...? Nobody ever talks about it. <=/ I thought it looked kind of fun.
-Ni no Kuni; This game looks kind of neat. A joint venture between Studio Ghibli and Level-5? Could be great. But I do worry about the incredible mass of people blinded by the game's graphics. Yes, the game looks beautiful, like anything with Ghibli's hands in it should. But what about the gameplay? We'll see.
-Bioshock Infinite; Though it was kind of a fleeting experience, I really enjoyed Bioshock. I loved what it brought to the table: a compelling story and incredible setting wrapped around solid FPS and RPG mechanics. It was just a great game. And it looks like Infinite looks ready to carry that banner as well. I'll tell you what, that nine minute gameplay demo was amazing.
-Final Fantasy X HD; I've noticed that every Final Fantasy seems to have a polarizing effect on the fanbase, and 10 was no exception. I was among those that actually liked 10 quite a bit, but I never finished it. This ought to be a fine chance to.
-Tomb Raider; With the exception of Final Fantasy Versus XIII (which may or may not come out next year), this is the only game I can say even now that I will probably be buying day one. SSX I'm interested in, but I might not buy it if they don't include offline multiplayer. I think Crystal Dynamics would have to really mess things up for me to not end up picking this up when it releases. I just have a really good feeling about it.
-Assassin's Creed: Revelations; I actually haven't been paying much attention to this game, but I feel almost obligated to buy it, because of how much I've fallen in love with the series since I discovered AC2 what feels like a million years ago.
-Mass Effect 3; Even though I really loved Mass Effect 2 (it did earn the first 10 on this blog, after all), for some reason I just can't get hyped for ME3. I think it has to do with the way EA has essentially turned the game into a juggernaut pawn to further its other ventures, like Origin and online passes. It's kind of tragic.
-Guild Wars 2; Still waiting, NCSoft...
-Kirby's Return to Dreamland; You know, a couple years ago I would have been endlessly excited about this game. It would have been a day one buy, and I would have loved it to bits. But now...I'm kind of tired. Tired of Nintendo. Tired of the Wii. And...almost tired of Kirby. Almost.
-The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; Everything I just said in the previous entry be damned, I probably would have bought this game, if Nintendo hadn't decided to use it force motion controls down my throat. I don't care how intuitive the gesture is, if I have to do it everytime I want to do something as simple as make a sword strike, I'm out. I'm fine with making it an option and all, but basing the entire game around motion controls...it's like they're giving us an ultimatum, or something. "Buy Motion Plus and love it, or get out."
There's a reason every game with motion controls have an option to play with the traditional way, and a reason why those that are built around motion controls keep it simple and small in scope. Sorry Nintendo, but what you are doing to this game is unacceptable in my eyes. Which is tragic, because everything about the game looks amazing.