As we enter the summer release schedule we at WhatCulture! felt it was time to look at what delights will be draining our pockets for the next few months. The following games are the most anticipated and eagerly awaited games that are coming out in 2011. Release dates are subject to change.
Catherine (July 26th)
One of the most intriguing and unique titles of this generation. Part romantic drama and part platforming puzzler, Catherine follows the two timing tale of Vincent, who is debating marrying his long term girlfriend Katherine. However, when the even more beautiful Catherine shows up, Vincent begins a guilt ridden affair. Upon meeting Catherine, Vincent’s dreams become hellish nightmares involving block based puzzles. Should he fail the puzzle he will actually die. Catherine features unique and challenging gameplay as well as a captivating and entertaining narrative. While it wont be everyone’s cup of tea, Catherine offers a genuine challenge for the hard core gamer as well as the casual Joe who likes to break free from the mass market once in a while.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (August 26th)
Eidos‘ prequel to one of the best first person shooters of the last generation, Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes place in a world on the brink of change. You play as Adam Jensen, a security officer at Sarif Industries (the the market leader in human augmentation) who is mortally wounded in a raid on Sarif’s headquarters. To save his life Jensen is given extensive augmentations and thus the conspiracy begins. Like the original Deus Ex, Human Revolution is a first person shooter/RPG with an emphasis on player choice. Choice comes in the decisions you make as you progress through the levels, mainly to do with your style. Guns blazing, stealth or a social approach? All these options are available at all times. You periodically upgrade Jensen’s augmentations allowing you to customise Jensen to your own personal style. The result should be an intellectual shooter with fantastic replay value. Visually Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes several cues from Ghost in the Shell: Innocence however, that is no bad thing!
Resistance 3 (September 6th)
Set four years after the events of Resistance 2, 90% of the human race has died or become Chimera. You play Joseph Capelli an ex Sentinel who has taken shelter with his family. The arrival of Dr. Fyodor Malikov brings a chance to strike back at the Chimeran forces so Capelli takes up arms once again. The Resistance franchise is a PS3 FPS exclusive, and one of the better exclusives on the console. The third part of this massively popular series features Move support and 3D for the select few that have a 3D TV. If you are new to the series I suggest visiting your local game retailer as both titles are bargain bin prices pre-owned due to the huge sales they achieved. Resistance 3 looks set to be more of the same, but really that is exactly what the doctor ordered.
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (September 9th)
From Takeyasu Sawaki, who’s CV lists Devil May Cry and Okami among others comes a 3rd person action platformer in the vein of, well actually Devil May Cry and Okami. Based on the Hebrew text The Book of Enoch (loosely) you play as Enoch a priest seeking seven fallen angels in order to save the world. Let’s face it we don’t play these games for their narrative, they are poetry in motion. El Shaddai is shaping up to be 2011′s Bayonetta, featuring an equally unique visual style as well as melee focused hack and slash combat. Much like Bayonetta, the success of El Shaddai will come down to the depth of the combat system and it is looking pretty damned impressive so far.
Dead Island (September 9th)
We’ve all seen the trailer, it’s epic, it’s beautiful and it’s tragic. However, I would suggest that people put that well out of their minds as this isn’t shaping up to be the poignant character drama/horror that the trailer implies. It is in fact a multiplayer, melee based first person action game. So far Dead Island seems to fall nicely between Left 4 Dead 2 and Dead Rising. Firstly, the lack of guns suggests a weaker breed of zombies than we have seen before, this certainly isn’t going to be a game of careful aiming and ammo hoarding. The success of the trailer has led to Dead Island receiving a lot of attention however, I for one will be waiting to see for my self how successful an entrant in the zombie genre it will be.
Gears of War 3 (September 20th)
Promising to answer a lot of questions as well as deliver the trademark chainsaw to face action that we have come to expect from the Gears of War franchise, GOW3 is gearing up to be the biggest and best in the series so far. Featuring four player co-op for the first time and a new multiplayer game; Beast Mode where you play as the Locusts attacking the COG, the multiplayer experience promises to be even richer and more rewarding. The single player campaign boasts new playable characters and new enemy types which will hopefully give us a fresh experience from the franchise. Long running franchises run the risk of repeating themselves but Epic Games seem to have been working hard to not rest on their laurels and offer fans both the GOW that they know and love and something new as well.
Dark Souls (October 7th)
Remember the days when you had to start the whole game again if you died? From Software do, they remember it fondly apparently. Last years Demon’s Souls was a bitch. For a start, if you die during a level you not only start the whole level again but you have half of your original health. Not only that, you stay dead and can only get your full health bar back once you have killed the level boss. Add to this a world full of enemies who can kill you in one hit and death traps hidden around almost every corner, you kind of feel like the world is out to get you. Well you aren’t paranoid, it genuinely is. From’s follow up, Dark Souls, is going to be even harder. So why you ask do you want to play it? Well Demon’s Souls is one of the best RPGs of the current generation, if not ever. Through the repetition of levels you learn to master the battle system as well as the levels them selves. You will die, it doesn’t matter if you are a pro gamer, you will die tons, but you will also explore a beautiful and haunting world of castles, dragons and everything else the fantasy genre could throw at you. The brief moments of safety are often peppered with mouth wetting glimpses of what is to come such as a bloody great dragon in the distance enjoying a peaceful sleep. You know that you are going to face the dragon, but you have no idea when. Demon’s Souls gave us the unknown, which is a rare commodity in modern games. Dark Souls is basically more of the same, a new world to explore and die in. Who could ask for more? Well actually checkpoints would be nice…..we can but dream.
The Darkness 2 (October 7th)
The Darkness was a great shooter that has since aged quite badly. Being an early entrant in a graphical generation usually means that what is stunning at the time will be pissed on from a great height within a year. Sadly this was the case for The Darkness, but that doesn’t make The Darkness 2 redundant, in fact quite the opposite. Set 2 years on from the original, Jackie Estacado has risen to the top of the mafia and managed to suppress the Darkness power. However, an attempt on his life draws the Darkness out of him (yey) as well as starting a mob war. Estacado decides to hunt down the source of the Darkness to achieve total control over its powers. Awesome tentacle action ensues. Did I mention Mike Patton is the voice of the Darkness? Shooters like Bioshock proved that guns aren’t the only fun thing to throw at your enemies and The Darkness takes this one step further giving you two serpent like tentacles to rip your enemies to shreds with.
Batman: Arkham City (October 20th)
Hands up who wanted to be Batman when they grew up? So…that’s everyone then. In 2009 Batman: Arkham Asylum gave us the chance to step into the Dark Knight’s boots and it felt good. Rocksteady Studios avoided the obvious route of a movie tie in with The Dark Knight and instead gave us a new adventure that went back to the original source material for inspiration. The game delivered on almost everything it attempted to do. The combat is the perfect balance between easy to learn and hard to master. Featuring fluid “free flow” combat that combines a counter attack button and an attack button, a master can seamlessly take apart 20 of the Joker’s best men and look nonchalant doing it. Then there is the stealth, Batman is just bullet resistant enough to make a small error and run away whimpering but not enough to try fisticuffs with an M16. Luckily, he is the master of stealth, he makes Sam Fisher look like a clumsy oaf. The stealth sections are slower than the combat sequences but equally satisfying, as you pick off men one by one the remaining guards become more and more terrified, eventually jumping (and shooting) at shadows. The only let down was some weak boss battles. Still, it didn’t ruin the game by any means.
Arkham Asylum has fallen into disarray and as a result Gotham City officials decided it would be a good idea to give the criminally insane a borough of the city to play in instead. 80′s slow clap Gotham. Still, their loss is our gain. This time Batman and Robin will do battle on the streets of Gotham in a much larger open world map than was featured in Arkham Asylum. Not only is the game bigger, it’s set to be longer too, featuring optional side missions as well as the main campaign. Not enough for you? Ok, well you also play as Catwoman. Yes yes, you not only get to step into Robin’s green booties, but Catwoman’s skin tight leather……you get the idea. The Riddler has also upped his game, no longer is batman hunting for graffiti and question mark statues. The Riddler is clearly a fan of the Saw films because now his challenges are full scale death traps that can kill Batman and the innocent residents of Gotham at the drop of a hat. All indications point to Arkham City being The Dark Knight of game sequels.
Battlefield 3 (Oct 25th)
Going toe to toe with COD is a dangerous game for any title, especially one that is so close in terms of theme, style and genre. What set Battlefield Bad Company 2 aside from the rest of the COD pretenders is that it was just as good in many ways, offering an equally robust single player campaign as well as an arguably better multiplayer platform. However, there is no getting around the fact that for many, Battlefield was a distraction from the wait for a new COD. Rather than wait until 2012 EA are boldly stepping up and saying “hey, COD has had its day, it’s our turn” and well, good luck with that. One thing I will point out however, is just how awesome Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam was. Perhaps Battlefield 3 will offer a more than modern military scenarios and give a more historical perspective as well. We can dream.
Rage (October 31st)
id Software, the people who invented the first person shooter with titles like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom are back to once again reign supreme over the genre. Set in a post apocalyptic wasteland full of mutants and murderous bandits you wake up in an underground bunker…..wait this sound familiar. Well aside from obvious comparisons with Fallout 3, Rage offers a more kinetic and action orientated post apocalyptic shooter. While it isn’t the most original concept, the fathers of the modern shooter are still relevant and can keep up with the big boys of today. Along with the shooting there is also buggy racing and a robust customisation mechanic that boasts hundreds of potential weapons. The real challenge for id will be to live up to the expectation that they will not only compete with the modern FPS, but go a step further than everything that has come before.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (November 1st)
The Uncharted series is the best and most successful exclusive the Playstation has to offer. Uncharted 2 was not only a huge success but one of the best games of the current generation. Uncharted 3 seems to be treading familiar ground, bringing back the gameplay and mechanics that we know and love. Still, considering the game mechanics were nigh perfect to begin with the only real progress Naughty Dog could make would be to give us a more cinematic and engrossing adventure. It seems that they have delivered. The recent success of the multiplayer beta only cements the fact that Uncharted 3 is going to be the game of 2011 for PS3 users. For those new to the series, don’t be shy. The series follows the exploits of Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter and smart arse of the highest degree. The games combine classic platforming and cover based shooting, delivering everything that Tomb Raider should be, but hasn’t been since the PSX.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (November 8th)
A franchise that needs no introduction if ever there was one. The COD series has been an annual event in the games industry for a number of years now. The series is split between two companies Treyarch and Infinity Ward, the latter being the more successful of the two. It was Infinity Ward who gave us the spectacular Modern Warfare and the equally popular, if not as ground breaking Modern Warfare 2. Well they are certainly on familiar territory with Modern Warfare 3. The first Modern Warefare put gamers into situations that they had never experienced before, including the harrowing sequence where your character is caught in a nuclear explosion and you slowly crawl towards nothing but rubble, knowing that you are doomed. Modern Warfare 2 tried to match the greatness of the original but ended up being a bit more Michael Bay and a bit less Oliver Stone. Fingers crossed that the third in the series will again show us a bit more about the horrors of war and bit less about slow mo jumping.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (November 11th)
Oblivion was an epic game in every sense of the world, epic events, epic scale, epic playtime. Skyrim is Oblivion x 10. Even the music is epic to the point of being funny. The Gates of Oblivion are closed, and as it was foretold in the Elder Scrolls it is the time of the dragons. However, there is one that the dragons fear, the dragon born. That’s where the player comes in. Once again you can choose your race, gender, play style etc. However, whatever you choose, you are dragon born and have the power to speak the dragon language. Awesome. What does that mean? It means every time you kill a dragon you get their soul. You use their souls to learn shouts, special and powerful spells that you then use to fight more powerful dragons. Skyrim uses a completely new graphics engine that is far superior to Oblivion’s, featuring more realistic lighting, textures and animations. As with Morrowind and Oblivion, there is a plethora of side quests and optional content as well as the quoted 30 hour campaign. Oblivion’s main campaign was closer to 6 hours so we are talking huge. Skyrim has some strong competition this year but before you spend your hard earned cash, weigh up just how many hours you can spend in the land of Skyrim. To cover all the content the game has to offer you are looking at 300+ hours. That is value for money.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations (November 30th)
Assassin’s Creed 2 was a great game and a huge improvement on the beautiful but flawed original. The success of 2 encouraged Ubisoft to do a direct sequel which became Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. While still a decent game, Brotherhood lacked any real invention, only added superficial changes to the gameplay of Assassin’s Creed 2. Now we are being presented with Revelations which is being called the third game in the Ezio trilogy. Well I for one would have rather Ubisoft spent their time and effort making a bad ass AC3 but oh well. Still there are worse things in the world than getting more Ezio, much worse. Revelations has you once again jumping into the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze as well as the original game’s Altiair ibn La-Ahad, playing out both characters final days. Presumably we will also follow the exploits of Desmond Miles and the aftermath of Brotherhood. What we can definitely expect is more freerunning and counter based combat. Hopefully they will lose the kill chaining that made combat a doddle in Brotherhood and go back to the timing based arse kickery of yore.
Mario Kart 3DS (December 30th)
While there have been very few exciting titles released on the 3DS, the Mario franchise coming to a new platform is always a recipe for success. The Mario Kart series has been often imitated and rarely matched and Mario Kart DS was among the best incarnations of the game. Hopes are high that Mario Kart 3DS will be just as good. Racing games are one of the few genres that can really benefit from the perspective given by 3D and being Nintendo’s flagship franchise should result a console defining game. It may also give us an opportunity to play some classic courses again with a graphic spit and polish. Fingers crossed that Nintendo makes good use of the 3DS’ improved online connectivity and introduces a robust multiplayer.
So there we have it – are there any titles we’ve missed that you’re particularly excited about? And if not, what is your most anticipated upcoming release? Let us know below.
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This article was first posted on July 20, 2011