By Mike Mahardy
TFW Contributing Writer
“Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning”
Release: Feb. 7
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Windows
The universe and lore of Amalur was created by fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, and with development headed by 38 Studios (owned by former Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling), this RPG promises to engage gamers throughout many of the early months of 2012.
With four different human and elf races to choose from, along with three different classes, the character progression will be just as attractive as the setting of the title.
Exploration and looting will be the most addictive facets of the game, while the new abilities learned along the course of the three different classes will provide a unique sense of ownership over the character.
Combat is more action-oriented, along with button-press minigames that will test the player’s reflexes. However, according to lead designer Joe Quadara, “twitch skill is only going to get you so far.
Strategy and proper RPG-playing will get you farther.”
Release: Feb. 14
Hearkening back to the release of the original “Twisted Metal” for the PlayStation, the 2012 reboot of this successful franchise hopes to stick to its roots while utilizing the enhanced capabilities of the PlayStation 3. The title focuses on vehicular combat set in arenas in which the last driver remaining is the victor.
The plot revolves around Calypso’s Twisted Metal Tournament and the characters vying to gain the upper hand.
Lead designer David Jaffe has hinted in several interviews of customizable characters and vehicles and new game modes in multiplayer.
Seeing as how the series has always been largely focused around multiplayer, the new arenas and game variants will be a blast to play. Look for this violent title to release on Valentine’s Day.
“Ghost Recon: Future Soldier”
Release: May 22
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Windows
Fighting an ultranationalist force in Asia, Norway and the Middle East is a daunting task, especially for a small unit such as author Tom Clancy’s “Ghost Recon.” Thankfully, the new installment in the series will feature futuristic (as hinted at by the title) gadgets, weapons, gear and vehicles. Player invisibility, advanced drones and radar and fully customizable weapons are all new tools the Ghosts will come equipped with on this advanced battlefield.
The third-person shooter will once again allow players to take cover and fire from behind destructible obstacles, creating tension with every bullet or rocket fired.
Airborne drones and intelligent allies can be ordered across the terrain to flank unsuspecting enemies, while popular multiplayer modes such as Terrorist Hunt will make their return.
Release: Fall 2012
Platform: Xbox 360
One of the most groundbreaking first-person shooter titles and also the flagship franchise for Microsoft, the “Halo” series brings new gameplay mechanics and jaw-dropping multiplayer matches with every new title.
The conclusion of the original Halo Trilogy encompassing the Master Chief’s fight against the alien Covenant has concluded, but the ending cinematic for “Halo 3” suggested the superhuman cyborg was far from finished.
With development now out of the hands of legendary company Bungie and into the offices of 343 Studios, Halo fans are anticipating a completely new universe with new enemies, environments and gameplay alike.
Little is known of this game so far, but the traditional airtight controls and hair-raising battles the Halo franchise is known for are sure to create another stunning installment in the saga.
Release: TBA 2012
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Windows
The “Bioshock” series proves the setting of a game alone can create an unforgettable experience.
Factor in a brilliant plot and engaging characters, and you have a title damn near perfect.
With the newest installment in the franchise, Irrational Games takes the action from underneath the waves of the Atlantic to far above the clouds.
The floating city Columbia, set in 1912, already appears to be the most unique environment in any video game to date, with former Pinkerton Agent (the largest private detective agency in the world prior to the Civil War) Booker DeWitt striving to rescue a mysterious woman named Elizabeth as the city collapses.
Emotional confrontations and fast-paced combat will entrance the player as they make their way through the dying halls of Columbia.