Hot Properties: The Best New Games of 2012 (Part Three)
- Warner Bros. Interactive
- Lollipop Chainsaw
- Grasshopper Manufacture
- Asura's Wrath
- Arkane Studios
Welcome to the third part of our rundown of the hottest new games for 2012. You can read Part One of Hot Properties: The Best New Games of 2012 here and then Part Two here. So far we’ve given you the skinny on gravity-warping shooter Inversion, PS3-exclusive survival horror The Last of Us, multiplayer mash-em-up Anarchy Reigns and Epic’s new property, the Minecraft-inspired Fortnite – among many others. If no other new franchises were heading our way in 2012, we’d be satisfied with what we’ve seen so far, but that’s not the case. There’re many more inbound, and here’s another batch…
Formats: PS3, Xbox 360
ETA: February 24th 2012
What We Know: Getting mad is a great way to get results. Hit the right level of teeth-shattering rage and yell at someone long enough, and they’ll usually do what you’re telling them to – just ask Gordon Ramsey. But there’s a big difference between old Gordo going red-faced and high-pitched at a droopy-faced soux-chef for dribbling his coulis anti-clockwise and, say, an actual God going ape-shit mental because he’s been wrongly accused of murder. As a result of such an accusation, the protagonist of Asura’s Wrath (the titular Asura himself, natch) is a wee bit upset. So upset, in fact, that he can blast spikes of raw rage out of his ridiculously-muscled body, or spontaneously sprout four extra arms and tear demons clean in two. That’s pretty damn mad. Having sworn revenge against the whole of Heaven, Asura’s quest to free his kidnapped daughter whilst impaling his fellow Gods on various sharp implements will see him face off against men, beasts and machines in a game that blends Asian mythology with science fiction.
What We Want: Pure, undiluted carnage - but with a decent story to keep us keeping on. Creative, bloody violence is all well and good, but even that can get a little staid after six or seven hours if it’s all for nothing.
What We Expect: Given that this 3rd Person Action title is being developed by CyberConnect 2, an outfit most well-known for their work with the Naruto series of fighting games, the combat should be pretty interesting – and, indeed, it certainly looks creative enough. With enough new ideas thrown into the mix, Asura’s Wrath could be a solid, enjoyable rage-em-up.
Formats: PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Valhalla Game Studios
ETA: Q4, 2012
What We Know: Devil's Third, the new game from Tomonobu Itakagi (the creator of the legendary Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive franchises), looks fast, frantic and fun in the teaser trailer – but unfortunately, that’s more or less all we’ve got to go on. Almost certainly set in the future after a global cataclysm of some kind or another (which is likely what the title is referencing), Devil’s Third’s story is based around the Kessler Syndrome theory wherein (*engages brain*) debris floating around in low Earth orbit may repeatedly collide with each other, making space travel and the use of satellites impossible. Quite how such a scientific theory leads to trio of mercenaries perforating a couple of hundred people each is anyone’s guess, but given Itakagi’s legacy, it’s probably not unfair to predict that whatever story they come up with will play second fiddle to the swords and gunplay.
What We Want: Details, frankly. The end of 2012 is a long way away, yet and with talk of Devil’s Third slipping into the first quarter of 2013 already (if we’re all still here, obviously), there may yet be a bit of a wait for concrete info.
What We Expect: Given the slick, fast-paced trailer, the involvement of Tomonobu Itakagi and the fact that there’s still almost a year’s worth of development time left on Devil’s Third, we’re expecting (and hoping for) something pretty special.
Formats: PS3, Xbox 360
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
ETA: March, 2012
What We Know: That when Suda 51 fires on all cylinders, he rocks. Shadows of the Damned suffered from a lack of interest and resultant low sales – but its poor commercial performance was certainly no reflection on the quality of the game. The newest project from Suda 51 (otherwise known as Goichi Suda, Design Director for Grasshopper Manufacture) is 3rd Person Action game Lollipop Chainsaw, the tale of high school cheerleader Juliet Starling, who discovers she is part of a family of monster-slayers when a group of zombie rock and roll gods unleash an undead plague upon San Romero High. Accompanied by the severed, reanimated head of her boyfriend, Juliet does what any of us would do in her place, and starts carving up walking corpses with a chainsaw.
What We Want: Originality, irreverent humour and solid combat, which – given Grasshopper Manufacture’s pedigree – we’re likely to get.
What We Expect: Although we’ve yet to see gameplay videos, Lollipop Chainsaw is likely to be somewhere between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and No More Heroes. We’re expecting solid action, quirky, off-the-wall scripting and lots of gore. Obviously, we’re already sold.
Read our Lollipop Chainsaw New Game of the Day feature for more information.
ETA: Q2, 2012
What We Know: Pandora’s Tower is an action RPG from Japanese development house Ganbarion, centered around a young man, Endes (most likely spikey-haired, annoyingly emo and vaguely feminine), and his relationship with a girl named Ceres (most likely spikey-haired annoyingly emo and a bit more feminine). After an attack by monsters, Ceres is left cursed. The only way to end the curse is to use an artefact called the Orichalcum Chain to obtain the flesh of monsters that reside within 13 Towers, which serve as the main gameplay stages. When not playing through the Towers, the objective of the game is to build the relationship between Endes and Ceres – a goal pivotal to obtaining the best of Pandora’s Tower’s six potential endings.
What We Want: Coherence, a less androgynous protagonist than usual, originality. As long as Ganbarion have added enough fresh elements to at least surprise us occasionally, we’ll be fairly happy.
What We Expect: Japanese Action RPGs are rarely cause for a fanfare and, although Pandora’s Tower scored predictably well in the East, we’re not expecting anything groundbreaking from this Wii-exclusive import.
Formats: Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade)
Developer: Climax Group
ETA: Q1, 2012
What We Know: More and more these days we’re seeing titles released onto Xbox Live Arcade or the Playstation Network that are just as creative and polished as half the retail releases out there. Mythical hack ‘n’ slasher, Bloodforge from Climax Group, for example, has a unique art style and lashings of slick, gore-strewn combat which, if the trailer is anything to go by, looks every bit as well-crafted as a full-priced title. Bloodforge is set in a world ruled by cruel gods, whose mortal followers are in a constant state of tribal warfare. One warrior, Crom, has turned his back on the bloodshed – until the gods see fit to murder his family and force him back into the conflict. The artwork invokes thoughts of 300, whilst the combat has a God of War-style brutality that will please fans of blood-and-guts violence. Also, the main dude wears a goat skull for a helmet, which is just badass.
What We Want: Longevity and variety. As much fun as it looks to wantonly spray claret all over the screen, if Bloodforge features nothing but constant combat it will become very tedious very fast.
What We Expect: A decent-enough action game with minimal plot and satisfying, if repetitive, combat. As appealing as the artwork may be, and as fun as executing gory “Rage Kills” sounds, Bloodforge is unlikely to be entirely unique in terms of overall gameplay.
Formats: PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Arkane Studios
ETA: Q2, 2012
What We Know: Set in a retro-futuristic steampunk-inspired world, Dishonored is the story of Corvo, a former bodyguard turned assassin prowling the cobbled streets of Dunwall City in a quest to take vengeance on those who murdered the Empress and framed him to take the fall. By mixing elements of fantasy and science fiction, and giving Corvo a variety of tools and play-styles including stealth, melee combat and magic, Arkane Studios aim to deliver a sandbox-esque experience wherein you can mix and match your various spells and abilities to find unique and unexpected paths through Dishonored’s storyline.
What We Want: As much variety and freedom as the early reports are suggesting. We want to be able to possess rats, freeze time, play the entire game without killing anyone, play tricks on gullible NPCs – or go completely cuckoo and murder everyone if we so choose. Player choice and a believable, detailed world will be key to Dishonored’s success.
What We Expect: With Bethesda holding the money-pot, Dishonored’s budget should be fairly hefty, and Arkane Studios have extensive experience with 1st Person magic and melee having developed the very decent PC title, Arx Fatalis. The fact that they also helped with the art design in Bioshock 2 is also a feather in their cap, and shows in Dishonored’s gloomy, faux-Victorian environments. Potentially, this could be one of 2012’s stand-out titles.
Read our Dishonored New Game of the Day feature for more information.
Which brings us to the end of another segment. Feel free to add your thoughts and opinions on what videogames hold for us in 2012 and remember, if you feel the need to swear at / insult us in your comments, please do so creatively.
Words by Mick Fraser (Twitter: @Jedi_Beats_Tank)
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