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11 Video Games We Can't Wait for in 2011

2011 games
Gamers and industry analysts categorically envisioned 2010 as a monumental year for video games. The slew of anticipated blockbusters certainly failed to disappoint, as consumers and critics celebrated numerous releases, including 'Mass Effect 2,' 'Heavy Rain' and 'StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty.' But, despite 2010's resounding successes, gamers definitely shouldn't expect a 2011 letdown. The upcoming year promises a panoply of intriguing and alluring options, ranging from new releases to long-awaited sequels. So, since everyone should be just about finished plowing through 'Final Fantasy XIII' [Ed. note: Ugh. "Plowing" is certainly the right word.], load up on our picks for 2011's most anticipated titles.

'Batman: Arkham City'

The Skinny: 'Batman: Arkham City' faces a daunting task. Its predecessor, 'Arkham Asylum,' established a Guinness Record by garnering unprecedented accolades.

Background and Gameplay: The first installment features incredible graphics and action sequences, and its "FreeFlow" combat style allowed players to enthusiastically administer brutal beatdowns. 'City' apparently doesn't veer too far from that model, although players will have access to new weapons and Bat-toys. The story begins when Quincy Sharp, the former Arkham Asylum warden, uses his new mayoral powers to turn part of Gotham City into a secured prison camp. In a Batman-meets-Snake Plissken scenario, an inner-camp conflict between Two Face and Catwoman compels Batman to enter the compound.

Release Date: Fall 2011

'The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword'

Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Skinny: This 16th 'Zelda' episode actually serves as a prequel to 1998's 'Ocarina of Time.' In 'Skyward,' Link finds a mysterious sword (can you guess its name?), which transports him between his world and a realm governed by evil.

Background and Gameplay: Five years ago, 'Twilight Princess' set the Wii standard, so can 'Skyward Sword' possibly match, or even surpass, that captivating and enthralling experience? If Nintendo stays true to form, the inevitable comparisons should indeed be celebratory. Enabled by the Wii MotionPlus, the game purportedly features more intricate and accurate swordplay. The game also supposedly presents a few additional characters and accessories, including potions that instantly rejuvenate Link (without a stop in gameplay), a mechanical beetle that provides air-support, and a more user-friendly map system. But, 'Skyward Sword' also apparently lacks some franchise staples, particularly the classic, alternating overworld and dungeon landscapes. *Cue sad trombone.*

Release Date: Spring 2011

'Twisted Metal'

The Skinny: The gruesome road rash game 'Twisted Metal' is one of Sony's seminal PlayStation franchises, and serves as its longest continuous series (15 years and seven games).

Background and Gameplay: The creators of the original 'Twisted Metal,' David Jaffe and Scott Campbell, spearheaded the development of this latest chapter, which will be exclusive to the PS3. Once again, players must battle through the violent Twisted Metal tournament, but a host of new characters and destructive vehicles provide a unique heavy 'Metal' experience. The forthcoming 'Twisted Metal' means more destruction from above with a mini-gun equipped helicopter. Online PSN action (with up to 16 players allowed) opens an entirely new dimension of tournament-style annihilation.

Release Date: Fall 2011

'Portal 2'

The Skinny: After winning 'Best PC Game' and 'Best Action/Adventure Game' at last summer's E3 event, 'Portal 2' has been tabbed by many enthusiastic observers as the most anticipated game of 2011.

Background and Gameplay: The original 'Portal' hit the market in 2007, and -- after an initial delay -- the sequel's release now appears set for 2011. Chell reprises her role as protagonist, although -- while she was slumbering in stasis -- hundreds of years have elapsed. The first-person gameplay purportedly remains similar to that of the initial 'Portal,' with its various puzzles and platforming sequences. But, 'Portal 2' does apparently introduce enticing futuristic weaponry, including an awesome-sounding Thermal Discouragement Beam (a laser that users can guide and manipulate).

Release Date: April 2011

'Crysis 2'

The Skinny: The battle against alien invaders moves from tropical jungles to the "urban jungle that is New York City."

Background and Gameplay: 'Crysis 2' introduces gamers to a chaotic, post-apocalyptic New York City. Buildings burn, and inhabitants succumb to a crippling plague, but military efforts prove futile. In order to halt the alien epidemic, one hero must don the devastating, and customizable "Nanosuit 2." The game incorporates numerous upgrades from the original, including enhanced AI and new super-soldier abilities. The game also allows for "reinvented" multiplayer action with "nearly unlimited ways to approach the dynamic combat environment."

Release Date: March 22nd, 2011

'Ico and Shadow of the Colossus: The Collection'

The Skinny: 'Ico' and 'Shadow of the Colossus,' two of the most mesmerizing and visually stunning games to ever hit consoles, return in enhanced Blu-ray form for the PS3.

Background and Gameplay: Devoted gamers have been clamoring for these PS3 versions, and a host of engaging additions should definitely attract an entirely new audience. The Blu-ray release reportedly features significant upgrades from the original games, including HD compatibility, 3-D capabilities and a new trophy reward system. The graphics and visuals supposedly eclipse those of the initial versions, as well, with seamless movements and landscape changes.

Release Date: Spring 2011

'Deus Ex: Human Revolution'

The Skinny: From the epic minds of Square Enix emerges the third 'Deus Ex' title. Set in 2027, it serves as a prequel to the original game. The trailer alone gives us chills, and we can't wait for gameplay peeks (hopefully premiering during E3).

Background and Gameplay: Players in this first-person RPG enhance their primary skills (Combat, Technology, Stealth and Social) through various body modifications. [Ed. note: Like in real life!] The game's protagonist must utilize those superhuman capabilities in order to obliterate enemy battalions in a variety of settings, including major metropolitan areas like Detroit, Shanghai and Montreal. The camera angles and perspectives shift during certain scenarios (like kill moves), and health regeneration appears as a new feature.

Release Date: April 2011

'Guild Wars 2'

The Skinny: 'Guild Wars 2,' which has been in development for almost four years, supposedly features enhanced graphics, landscapes and interactive settings.

Background and Gameplay: This MMORPG (compatible with Microsoft Windows) takes place 250 years after the original 'Guild Wars,' and pits players against five devastating dragons. The game apparently introduces a variety of new elements, including higher caps for player attributes (which, in turn, means more brutal battles). Gamers create their characters, choosing from five races and eight trades (which are segmented into Scholar, Adventurer and Soldier categories). Powerful players will also be able to "share" their attributes with weaker players through a "sidekicking" system.

Release Date: November 2nd, 2011


The Skinny: 'Rage' stormed through E3 2010, as it won both 'Best Action Game' and 'Best Console Game.'

Background and Gameplay: 'Rage,' a first-person shooter, was first announced in 2007. After more than three years of hype and acclaim, gamers will finally be able to experience the action next fall. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where a solitary hero must battle mutants and find fellow survivors. The central figure distributes death primarily from behind the wheel of a customizable vehicle, so racing and driving play a significant role in the game. 'Rage' also includes multiplayer options. Think of an adrenaline-pumped, motorized 'Fallout.' We're trembling in anticipation.

Release Date: September 13th, 2011

'Gears of War 3'

The Skinny: The popular 'Gears of War' trilogy apparently concludes with this chapter.

Background and Gameplay: The original release date of this third-person shooter has been delayed (an increasingly common theme for the year), but '3' should still hit stores next fall. The game incorporates an abundance of new characters and items, including three playable female characters and an additional male soldier. 'Gears of War 3' also equips players with an arsenal of new armaments, like the Incendiary Grenade, the Gorgon SMG and the devastating, self-explanatory, One Shot. Gamers will be able to engage in a new multiplayer combat mode called "Beast," in which participants earn character upgrades through their murderous, live exploits.

Release Date: Fall 2011

'Star Wars: The Old Republic'

The Skinny: Perhaps the most anticipated fanboy game of all time, this MMO garnered 'Best Role Playing Game' at E3, and looks damn good to boot.

Background and Gameplay: The 'Star Wars' game franchise may seem overpopulated, but here we have the RPG that hardcore fans have craved for decades. Players choose whether to represent the Galactic Empire or serve the Sith, and the opposing sides each feature four different player categories. Troopers, Smugglers, Jedi Knights and Jedi Consulars rank as Galactic members, while Bounty Hunters, Sith Warriors, Imperial Agents and Sith Inquisitors toil for the Sith faction. [Ed. note: Our editor-in-chief got sucked in during E3 when he tested the game as a Twi'lek Inquisitor... we knew he was Sith!] Dynamic, customizable characters add a particularly intriguing aspect to the game, because attributes and abilities won't be exclusively determined by the designated roles or ranks. The plot also features an evolving, decision-based storyline, so certain actions directly affect the course of the game.

Release Date: Spring 2011

Our Honorable (but Still Murky) Mentions: Release date TBA

'Max Payne 3'

The Skinny: 'Max Payne 3' ranks as yet another Rockstar game beset by repeated delays. An older, more jaded Max Payne attempts to unravel a sinister plot of betrayal in Sao Paulo.

The Hiccup: Rockstar hasn't exactly provided a wealth of helpful information. While a 2011 release seemed like a certainty at one point, the arrival date was recently delayed again.

'Doom 4'

The Skinny: 'Rage' wowed E3 attendees last summer. Its developer, John Carmack, apparently believes 'Doom 4' (also of his creation) looks significantly better, though.

The Hiccup: The developers have remained overwhelmingly silent concerning the plot, the release date and actual game demonstrations. However, 2011 remains the target date -- for now.

'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'

The Skinny: Despite lengthy delays and contentious legal disputes between the publisher (Activision) and the developer (Infinity Ward), this release appears set for 2011.

The Hiccup: This title should arrive as the 8th episode in the highly successful COD series, but because of the legal squabbles (and Infinity Ward's apparent need of additional programmers), we await news of release.

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