playWISE’s most anticipated games of 2011

Most anticipated 2011 - playwisegaming.comIn order to celebrate this year in gaming, playWISE has featured several articles for the last few weeks detailing the most memorable games of the year. We’ve talked about our biggest disappointments, the best hidden gems and gave our picks for personal favorite games of the year.

Alas, 2010 has come to an end after the release of quite a few solid games, and it’s time to see if 2011 can conquer it. Read onward to find out what titles we’re looking forward to the most in the coming year.

benwade – Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword - playwisegaming.comAfter “Twilight Princess” was released in 2006 and was more or less a retread of “Ocarina of Time” — a good retread, but a retread nonetheless — I found myself wondering: What can Nintendo possibly still do with this series after more than 20 years of game development? It seemed that my question was going to be answered sooner than I thought.

Directly after the release of “Twilight Princess,” the game’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, claimed that the next title in the series was going to overhaul some of the series’ trademark elements. There was wild speculation among the Zelda Internet communities of a future Hyrule where Epona was the name of your hovercraft and Link was a hero of time who fended off deku babas with a light saber.

Enter Skyward Sword at E3 2010 and the shattering of every single one of those theories. Undoubtedly, the game looked amazing with a brand new graphical style akin to an animated Vincent van Gogh painting, but it seemed to play very much like every other Zelda game to date.

Very little is known about the game aside from that little bite-sized chunk of gameplay, and I think Nintendo has us all fooled by showing that demo. There is a good chance that they have far more up their sleeves than they’re letting on — and the anticipation of what that is is excruciating.

I doubt that this will be a complete re-imagining for the series, but a boy can dream. Here’s to hoping I’ll find something beyond the clouds of Hyrule in 2011.



Rebecca – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS

Ocarina of Time 3DS - playwisegaming.comNo game has a legacy quite like “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” shaping a generation of gamers in ways few other titles have. Now, almost 13 years later, Ocarina of Time is back to claim a new generation, and it will be in 3-D.

“Ocarina of Time 3DS” is the reinvention of the highest rated game in history. Of the many changes that this remake will feature, some much-needed updates will enhance gameplay and include the features that exist on the handheld console. Controls will be revamped, which, as Eiji Aonuma pointed out at E3 last summer, will help make the Water Temple easier to play.

That “Ocarina of Time 3DS” will be entirely in 3-D only adds to the awesomeness.  And even better, rumor has it that the game will come bundled with the 3DS when it launches this Spring.  Having “Ocarina of Time” as Nintendo’s first 3-D game is a nod to its many long-standing fans who have stuck by them even when they’ve made some less-than-exciting decisions.

The 3DS alone is worth anticipating for 2011, but Nintendo really made a smart move bringing back “Ocarina of Time” along with it. This ensures that Nintendo’s already extensive fan-base will likely embrace the new handheld device and introduces a new generation of gamers to the world of Hyrule we all know and love.


Jeremy – Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 - playwisegaming.comBioWare revealed the first trailer for “Mass Effect 3” at the 2010 VGAs, and although I already knew the day was coming, my excitement was uncontrollable. This is the final chapter and the ultimate outcome for Shepard and his crew; their survival is in my hands, and this year fate will be decided.

It feels like I’ve known Sheppard for years, and the emotions “Mass effect 3” will bring are the reason it’s my most anticipated game of 2011. I will savor every minute as I learn the reasons behind the sinister reaper invasion.

If the game expands as much as last year’s “Mass Effect 2” did, then I’m confident this will be the best video game trilogy ever made. From the character driven dialog to the heart pounding combat, Mass Effect has reached a perfect blend.

Discovering how BioWare is going to handle the series’ multiple decisions will be a treat. If they continue the stellar work on story and choice that fans have grown accustom to, then success is eminent. Just don’t forget that space combat you promised us BioWare — nothing will be able to tear me away from “Mass Effect 3” this holiday.


Jake – Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex - playwisegaming.comSeven years after “Deus Ex” was released, I finally played it for the first time, and I was hooked. The voice acting was cheesy, but the story was intriguing; the graphics were rough around the edges by that time, but the atmosphere was still immersive; the gunplay had aged, but the character customization and open-ended mission structure was unique and demanded multiple playthroughs.

From the trailers released so far, it looks like “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” is trying to recapture the magic of the original. They’ve shown a vast inventory to manage your items in, at least twenty-one different skills with levels of upgrade to spend points in and the ability to handle situations in different ways.

In addition, new features have been shown, such as hacking mini-games, a cover system and various combat capabilities like the arm blades and claymore explosion system.  Everything looks extremely promising, leaving me anxiously awaiting the game’s expected summer release.


Ahmar – Little Big Planet 2

Little Big Planet 2 - playwisegaming.comSony Computer Entertainment and Media Molecule’s “Play. Create. Share.” initiative is poised to take a giant leap forward in 2011 with the release of the sequel to the 2008 title “Little Big Planet”. The PS3 mainstay wowed critics and consumers alike with its charmingly beautiful graphics, multiplayer platforming, extensive level creation suite and, most significantly, the robust community infrastructure that ensured no day spent on the world of “Little Big Planet” would be dull.

“Little Big Planet 2” seeks to recreate the original community experience by allowing full backwards compatibility with all DLC, costumes and levels from the original game. With a brand new offline adventure available, this alone is cause to celebrate.

However, the true wonder of “Little Big Planet 2” is the significant new additions promised for the level creation suite. New discrete gameplay features like the grappling hook or the “Creatinator” gun, the ability to assume more direct control over objects other than Sackboy and the inclusion of programmable “Sackbots” will allow players to be even more imaginative in unleashing their vision upon the world.

Participants in the “LBP 2” beta have already created levels that make extensive use of the new features, including arcade games complete with retro graphics, music players and even first-person shooters. What awaits players after the release of the game proper is sure to be a sight to behold.

Image Credits: Nintendo/EA/Square/Sony

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