Best Video Games of 2012

The last few months of 2011 introduced some of the best video games in recent history with blockbusters like Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations selling millions of copies each. But the video game lineup for 2012 holds several titles of equal caliber that are anticipated to give 2011 a run for its money.

SoulCalibur V (Jan. 31)
The latest entry in the popular Japanese fighting game continues the story of its previous entry, Soul Calibur IV, as well as introduces a series of new and guest characters, such as Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed series. The game boasts a robust character creation feature that allows the player to create any sort of character imaginable. The game also allows players to fight each other locally or in an online platform.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (Feb. 7)
A role-playing game by developer Big Huge Games, creators of the critically acclaimed Rise of Nations, have created an RPG with a story written by the distinguished fantasy writer R. A. Salvatore. The gameplay combines aspects of traditional RPGs, where players level up their characters and converse with various NPCs (non-player characters) in the game world, and action games that feature vigorous, normally bloody, combat.

PlayStation Vita (Feb. 22)
The PlayStation Vita is Sony’s latest entry into the handheld gaming platform. It launches with more than 20 titles, including Uncharted: Golden Abyss and FIFA Soccer, and a price tag of approximately $250. Additionally, social networking apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype will be available to download for free. For Taco Bell patrons, there is an opportunity to win a PlayStation Vita with the purchase of a Big Box meal.

Mass Effect 3 (March 6)
The final game in the Mass Effect trilogy, but probably not the last game in the Mass Effect universe, sees Commander Shepard’s return to Earth to fend off the Reaper invasion. Throughout the game the player will visit the home planets of the game’s major races for the first time. The gameplay continues the combat system of the first game, where the player basically moves from cover to cover, shooting everything along the way. The roleplaying aspect, which was diminished in the second game, has returned with the inclusion of skill trees. The game is currently available for pre-order at most retail locations for $60.

Total War: Shogun 2 (March 23)
The latest expansion in the popular Total War series, famous for its historical settings and huge battles, allows the player to experience Japan’s history through the Meiji restoration. The game’s setting makes it the most modern Total War game to-date with its armies using semi-automatic weapons, Gatling guns and steel-plated naval vessels patrolling the seas. The price at release will be $30 on online distributers such as Steam and GameStop. However, the game requires a copy of Total War: Shogun 2 to play.

Far Cry 3 and Borderlands 2 (September)
A spiritual successor to Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3 sees the series return to its tropical roots with a setting in an island inhabited by mentally unstable mercenaries. The sequel casts the player as a member in another group of vault hunters. The original games boasted of “bazillions of guns” and carries over in the upcoming releases with new, but familiar, claims of unprecedented amounts of firepower. Both these games are expected to be released sometime in September.

Assassin’s Creed 3 (Oct. 30)
The latest entry in the Assassin’s Creed series will introduce a new assassin and a new historical time period for players to explore, in addition to completing the game’s story arch that’s extended though all games in the series. There’s been little information released about the game, aside from the date of Oct. 30. Those interested should keep their eyes and ears open for more information as the drop date approaches.

Call of Duty 2012
Expect a new Call of Duty at some point in 2012. If tradition holds, it will be released sometime in November. It is suspected that this game will be a sequel to the bestselling game of all time, Call of Duty: Black Ops. These reports of a 2012 release have recently been confirmed by Activision, creators of Call of Duty. Expect the game to cost $60 at release with special editions ranging well over $100.

Unconfirmed for 2012 – Will they make it?  
There are upcoming games that don’t have release dates that may or may not be released in 2012. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Halo 4, Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2 and several other titles might arrive on store shelves at some point in 2012, but of course, it’s all subject to the developers and publishers.

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