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The 10 Most Anticipated Videogames of 2012

January 27, 2012  |  1:58pm

Here’s the standard disclaimer: We’re the ones doing the anticipation, here. This is our list and our own opinions, and I’m sure they’ll probably differ from yours in a few spots. That’s what the comment box is for. Go nuts. In the meantime here are 10 games (okay, nine games and a console) we can’t wait to play this year.

1. Bioshock Infinite
Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: TBA 2012
Why We Can’t Wait: Ken Levine’s epic travels from the sea to the sky with the floating world of Bioshock Infinite. The Bioshock name promises top-notch writing and a well-defined atmosphere, and early previews of Infinite haven’t disappointed on either front. The early 20th century setting and themes of American exceptionalism are also largely unplowed turf for a video game. Hopefully Infinite lives up to the crushing anticipation.

2. The Wii U
Platform: Uh… it is is a platform.
Release Date: TBD 2012
Why We Can’t Wait: The Wii U’s not a game, but a brand new system. Nintendo’s follow-up to the Wii is also a response to those HD powerhouses the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Oh, and it comes with odd tablet-controller hybrids that could open up exciting new vistas of gaming or just feel really weird and awkward. Will the Wii U feel like a classic case of “too little, too late” saddled with a pointless peripheral, or can Nintendo reignite the zeitgeist once more with an unconventional approach to user interface? We’ll find out in 2012.

3. Mass Effect 3
Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 3/6/2012
Why We Can’t Wait: Mass Effect 2 was the best game of 2010, and that’s coming from a guy who doesn’t much care for sprawling science fiction sagas or videogames with excessive yapping. Mass Effect 3 is just a few short weeks away and I still have to clear my calendar of all other engagements. I also have to mentally prepare myself for the possibility of massive disappointment.

4. Spelunky
Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Release Date: TBA 2012
Why We Can’t Wait: Yeah, Spelunky is old news to PC gamers, hitting that platform for free in 2008. Derek Yu’s cave digging action adventure finally hits the Xbox 360 in 2012 with updated graphics, new music and a multiplayer mode. With randomly generated levels guaranteeing a different challenge every time you play, Spelunky might be the last game you ever need to download.

5. Fez
Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Release Date: February 2012
Why We Can’t Wait: Fez still isn’t out yet? We’ve been hearing about this perspective-shifting, Escher-ish platformer for years. It won an Independent Games Festival award for art design all the way back in 2008. Indie Game: The Movie, the documentary that looks at the creation of Fez (among others), is already playing film festivals. So yeah, Fez is a long time coming. Maybe you really can’t rush greatness. We’ll get to see if Fez lives up to its reputation when it finally comes out in February.

6. Journey
Platform: PlayStation 3 (PSN)
Release Date: Spring 2012
Why We Can’t Wait: We played through last year’s Journey beta a dozen or so times. Obviously we’re looking forward to it. Thatgamecompany’s follow-up to Flower is about the process of discovery. It doesn’t guide you or offer any context; it just drops you in the middle of a desert and gently nudges you towards a mountain in the distance. The most discussed feature is the anonymous online co-op, where two real players can exist in the same game and communicate solely through wordless grunts. We can’t wait to uncover Journey’s secrets later this spring.

7. Dear Esther
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2/14/2012
Why We Can’t Wait: Originally debuting as a Half-Life 2 mod in 2008, this experimental, interactive “ghost story” returns as a full-fledged commercial release with major upgrades in design and presentation. The 2012 IGF grand prize finalist is one of the rare first-person games that isn’t about killing everything in sight. Instead you explore a mysterious island and try to unravel its secrets.

8. XCOM
Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 3/6/2012
Why We Can’t Wait: The original X-COM is a complex computer strategy game from 1994. Many of its fans are understandably bummed about the upcoming first-person reboot XCOM. We’re excited for the new game, though, as its mid-50s sci-fi paranoia setting and light strategy elements set it apart from most modern day shooters. It looks like a unique approach to the most overexposed genre in gaming.

9. Grand Theft Auto V
Platform: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Why We Can’t Wait: The biggest question about GTA V: will it even come out in 2012? It’d probably be higher on this list if we knew for sure. Initially it was believed to be a 2012 release, but the delay of Max Payne 3 leads many analysts to assume the latest GTA will be pushed back into 2013. Rockstar plays it close to the vest, but we do know that the first major console GTA since 2008 will skip Liberty City and take place in San Andreas, the long-running GTA stand-in for California.

10. Resident Evil 6
Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/20/2012
Why We Can’t Wait: Resident Evil obviously resonates with videogame players, with a number of major hits, various spin-offs and a surprisingly long-lived movie series under that name. Even if you’re not a big fan you probably recognize the greatness of Resident Evil 4. Can the just announced Resident Evil 6 recapture the magic of that modern day classic?

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