The new year brings anticipation and excitement for new releases. So what games am I looking forward to this year?
Dragon Age II, March 8
I really enjoyed playing Dragon Age: Origins. It introduced a new, exciting, dark fantasy world, populated it with some interesting and entertaining characters, and gave a satisfying quest to complete. The sequel Dragon Age II will be set in a different region of the same world. The player character is named Hawke and can be either female or male, very much like Shepard in the Mass Effect series. My impression with Dragon Age II is that it will be like DAO but made to be more like Mass Effect 2. I thought Mass Effect 2 was one of the best games ever, but I liked DAO as well, so I just hope they don't destroy too many of the elements that made DAO special. In any case, I have this one on pre-order. I haven't had a new game since the summer, so I'm very excited.
Portal 2, April 18
I came late to Portal, only playing it last year after Steam offered it for free. Was that the best buy ever or what? It was unique, challenging, addicting, funny, and very entertaining...but also very short, the sort of thing you complete in one afternoon (the challenges can keep you occupied for longer, if you like, but it's not as much fun as the normal game). Portal 2 will be a full-length game, with new challenges, new elements, and a two-player cooperative mode which will add a new dimension of fun. I can't wait.
Star Wars: The Old Republic, June 16
I'm expecting this to be the game that finally gets me hooked on an MMO. I might quit my job to devote more time to it. Just kidding. Mostly. I played the first two Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, and I loved them. I was hoping for a KotOR 3 to finish out the series, but instead BioWare took it in a different direction with this MMO. While initially disappointed (and still a little bitter), I've been following this game closely, and it looks so amazing that I think I can forgive them. The scope of this game is huge, with eight character classes with their own stories, companions, and quests. The dialogue is fully voiced, including the player characters. The game will retain the same awesome characteristics that are signatures of BioWare (e.g. engrossing story, tough choices that matter, interesting and lovable companions), all while being an MMO, with what is sure to be an exciting community. It's going to be awesome.
Games that may or may not come out in Q4 2011
Game developers can get optimistic about when they'll be able to release their games. Frequently, the games get pushed back a number of times. While it's frustrating for us fans, it's better than having them release a messy buggy game. Some of these will likely be released this year, but probably not all of them.
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 2 was a superb game, but as soon as it finished I was anxious for a sequel to close the trilogy. While I'll be sad to see the saga end when Mass Effect 3 comes out, I'm also extremely excited to play it and see where it leads. It will be particularly interesting to see how the story picks up after Mass Effect 2, given the huge numbers of variables that were decided by the player in the first two games. It will take some careful planning and clever execution, but I have no doubt the Mass Effect team will be able to pull it off beautifully.
While I'll definitely have Mass Effect 3 on pre-order, this one I may wait to hear the reception of before I purchase a copy. It's an online multiplayer RPG centered around the city of Neverwinter, of the D&D Forgotten Realms. I enjoyed Neverwinter Nights (by BioWare) and Neverwinter Nights 2 (by Obsidian), so hopefully Cryptic Studios will do a good job with this one.
Guild Wars 2
My brother convinced me to play Guild Wars with him as a placeholder between the shutdown of Hellgate: London's online multiplayer capabilities and...whatever new thing came along that he wanted to play with me (turned out that new thing would be Borderlands). He then abandoned me three missions before the end of the main campaign, which I'm pretty bitter about (I finished all by myself). I love the look of the sequel, at least, and hopefully the game will be better in many ways (not that the first one was bad, but there's always room for improvement). This one I'll also probably wait before buying.
Yeah, they haven't even bothered trying to announce a release date for this one. But a girl can dream, right? Diablo II was awesome, and they've taken their sweet time developing this sequel, so I can only assume that it will be even more awesome. I like what I've seen so far.