The Monday 'Joe: Anticipation

The Monday 'Joe
Mondays are usually slow for news as people start to stir for the coming week. Therefore, every Monday, we will address one topic to start the week and get discussion flowing. It stimulates the week like a cup of coffee, hence the title.

With the new year in full swing, we can finally look forward to what’s in store. The 3DS is starting to pick up, the Vita is about to hit American shores, and numerous big name releases are scheduled, so 2012 looks to be a good one.

This week’s question: What is your most anticipated game of 2012?

Mohamed Al-Saadoon: This is an incredibly difficult question. Just off the top of my head, images of Mass Effect 3, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, Rhythm Heaven Fever, and X-COM: Enemy Unknown (the Strategy one) come to mind. But I’m going to have to go with Xenonauts, the indie homage to the original X-COM: Enemy Unknown.

Now, you might be wondering why I don’t just go with the new X-COM game being developed by Firaxis. Well, the reasons are two-fold:

First, everyone talks about how the original X-COM is an amazing classic. I played it way back when, and I loathed it. I was a bright-eyed kid at the time, just discovering what the PC was and enjoying games like Broderbund’s classic, Where in the World/America is Carmen Sandiego, when a friend showed me X-COM. “Hey, want to play X-COM? It’s a game where you control a bunch of guys and kill aliens!” he said. I agreed immediately. Video games are just simulations of killing aliens, right?

I regretted it straight away. The game was hard as shit, and I had no experience with tactical turn-based games whatsoever. Aliens would snipe you from ranges you couldn’t see, and despite being an “elite” organization of alien killers, your equipment and soldiers sucked ass. I didn’t like it one bit and went back to playing Super Mario World on the SNES.

Now I’m old enough and experienced enough with turn-based strategy games to appreciate classic X-COM gameplay. If I want that chance to relive the old school-style X-COM gameplay, Xenonauts delivers that.

The second reason is that I don’t have much information on the new Firaxis X-COM. There are just some screenshots, which reveal that the game uses hexagons instead of squares (I don’t mind that, I like hexes); and the fact the new remake is going to be on consoles, which always causes me to hesitate. I don’t want to sound like a PC elitist, but consolitis is definitely a concern.

So I’ll just look forward to Xenonauts instead.

Joshua Moore: Picking one release to be my most anticipated is rather difficult. 2012 is set to be a year of really great releases. So far, I’m highly anticipating Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend, but I’m also really looking forward to Diablo III and Kid Icarus: Uprising. I also have cautious optimism for Resident Evil 6. I really enjoyed 4, but I wasn’t real keen on 5. They changed too much from the way 4 operated, and it had a negative effect on the gameplay. There’s also the 3DS release of Tales of the Abyss and the new Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Additionally, there’s the Fatal Frame spin-off, Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir, which comes out for the 3DS right around the time of my birthday. Games like that make me glad I bought a 3DS.

Over all, I’m probably looking forward to Devil Survivor 2 the most out of the handheld releases and currently BlazBlue: CS Extend or Xenoblade Chronicles for console releases. As far as the PC scene goes, Mass Effect 3 would’ve taken that spot but EA’s Origin-only stance on the game has angered me. I might buy the retail copy of the game and crack it so I can remove Origin, but part of me wants to neglect the release entirely on principle. This was an outrageous move by EA, and it’s the reason I haven’t bought Battlefield 3.

I also have great hopes that Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die, sequel to 999, will be picked up by Aksys. The game comes out in Japan on the 16th of next month, and considering how well 999 did in the US (the first shipment entirely sold out, so Aksys had to order a second run), I truly hope the sequel makes it. Let’s not forget that we scored the game with an A, something that rarely, if ever, happens here.

Crystal Steltenpohl: I can’t say I’m terribly excited with the lineup thus far, but I do have a few games that I have my eye on as far as games I’d like to play go.

The first is Mass Effect 3. Perhaps the excitement of Liz Maas of RPGFan has gotten to me, but I’m interested in seeing how they’re going to wrap this series up. The first two Mass Effect games were very well received, so I know the stakes are high as far as expectations go. The only problem I see with the PC release is that Mass Effect 3 is going to be Origin-only, and since I don’t have a 360 or PS3 (yet), it looks like I’m going to be missing out on it unless there’s a way to crack it. I’m interested in buying the game, of course, but I’m definitely not interested in dealing with Origin. Like Josh, however, I am thinking of perhaps forgoing the game entirely unless they change their stance because giving them my money is basically condoning that type of silliness.

I’m also intrigued by the Tales game that’s coming out, Tales of the Abyss for the 3DS. I can’t get Tales of Graces f because it’s for the PS3 only, but I do have a 3DS, so I’ll be able to see how Abyss turns out. Before I talked to some of our readers about the Tales series and watched Chris play Tales of Phantasia for the JRPG nights we have, I wasn’t terribly interested in the franchise on the whole. However, I have to admit my interest has risen. Unfortunately, Abyss is pretty much just a port, like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D was. Ocarina of Time 3D added a new mode of play, but Abyss seems to have just new art and some recoloring of the logo. Considering I haven’t played the original for the PS2, I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue. Besides, it’ll give me something to talk to Delia about other than how silly the live streams are (not that I mind, Delia!). I would, however, like to see an original Tales title come out for the 3DS.

As always, it’s a bit early to say for sure how this year is going to pan out, but I’m really hoping for more original titles this year.

Aileen Coe: There’s a good number of games coming out this year that I’m looking forward to. There’s Sumioni, a Vita launch title that has more than a passing resemblance to Okami. There’s Mass Effect 3, though I would want to play through the other two games first for the full experience and to be able to carry over saves. Atlus has a strong showing in Devil Survivor 2, Gungnir, and Growlanser 4. Namco’s releasing two Tales games here, much to the joy of series fans. Xenoblade Chronicles also tops the list, especially since it had such a rocky ride in getting a release in North America.

But for me, Spirit Camera: Cursed Memoir stands out the most. The fourth game in the Fatal Frame series never came out here, so I’d lost hope that we’d see any more games in the series. I was actually surprised that Nintendo decided to release Spirit Camera here after it passed on Fatal Frame 4, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth in this case. It’ll be interesting to see how the cameras and AR are implemented in this game, and this is one game I’d pick up a 3DS for.

I also agree with Josh on Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die. 999 was an excellent visual novel with a well-told story, so I’d love to see how it continues. I do hope that Aksys brings it over here. Given how well 999 did, I think the sequel will do just as well, if not better.

Brandon Mietzner: I’m currently waiting to finish the epic story of Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 3. This is about the only game that I’m excited to play in 2012. I personally bought six new games I was waiting for since last year during the holidays, a few of which I got on sale. The break early this year will make it easier for me to catch up on all of those games, including the ones I got for myself through the Steam sale for myself and the ones others got for me as gifts.

There are, of course, other games coming out that have caught my eye that I’ve been somewhat anticipating. I preordered Mass Effect 3, but after getting burned on games like Rage and Crysis 2, I have no intention of preordering another game unless I have absolute faith in the company or had previous experience with a title in the franchise. I know BioWare isn’t perfect. Just look at Dragon Age II: it was the worst game to come from them in a long time. However, they listened to their user base and have changed several things in Star Wars: The Old Republic in response. They’re tweaking Dragon Age III because they care about quality and their customers over there. It’s just sad they joined up with EA. It means all their future games are going to require Origin, which is a shitty digital distribution platform, in my opinion.

Christopher Bowen: I’ve long grown tired of the hype game when it comes to individual titles. I grew so tired of waiting for the hype cycle that I literally started a web site to avoid it. “Hey, here are a few screenshots! And a press release! This is going to be the best game of all time! Now tell your people that! What, you expressed scepticism? Well, you’ll find out when you buy your own copy and not our review copy, asshole!” I barely pay attention to what’s coming out at this point unless it’s something I’m already excited for or something that’s so huge, I can’t ignore it (e.g. Mass Effect 3).

Due to this, in terms of individual games, there isn’t one that really grabs my attention to make it my “most” anticipated. Yes, I’m excited for Growlanser, though I don’t quite know why as I’ve never gone head over heels for the previous games. Fortune Summoners from arguably my favourite localizer, Carpe Fulgur, comes out tomorrow—no, really—and I’m geeked for that. And there’s always the annual hope that EA can get their heads out of their asses long enough to stop ruining the NHL series, or as I like to call it, Stockholm Syndrome.

But I think my most anticipated anything of 2012 is the Vita. Even with the stupid additional costs involved, no system has excited me as much as the Vita since the Dreamcast. As a gamer, it has virtually everything I love. This includes a strong early lineup of games that, if the PSP is any indication, should only get stronger for my particular interests. The only thing that can break the Vita is the market: if the industry chooses to continue to quaff the freemium poison that it’s downing by the barrel, it will take the Vita to the grave along with it because support for the handheld and premium priced titles will decline. But outside of that, the Vita is exciting in a way that a cell phone can’t replicate.

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Christopher Bowen

About Christopher Bowen

Christopher Bowen is the Editor in Chief of Gaming Bus. Before opening Gaming Bus in May of 2011, he was the News Editor at Diehard GameFAN, a lead reporter for DailyGamesNews, and a reviewer at Not A True Ending, also contributing to VIMM, SNESZone and Scotsmanality. Outside of the industry, he is a network engineer in Norwalk, CT and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.