We at TechNorms don’t usually focus on mainstream video games, but we usually make a yearly exception to list off a few upcoming games that look pretty amazing. Last year’s list of games was pretty amazing, the good news is that 2012 is looking like another awesome year for gamers of all stripes. Whether you’re a genuine PC gamer who’s built his own rig or a proud owner of a console, there’s something for everyone next year. Needless to say, we’re excited.
That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best games of next year into one convenient list. If you’re looking for a game or two for the next few months, here are a few titles that anyone can enjoy. No matter what system you own (yes, even Mac), there’s at least one awesome game coming to it in 2012.
(Note: Items are arranged by date, although not all games have been given an official release date yet.)
1. Soulcaliber V (360, PS3)
The classic fighting series returns once more on January 31st to remind gamers everywhere why sword fighting is awesome. Early previews are showing a lot of brutal combat using a long list of characters past and present. In other words, exactly what you’d expect from Soulcaliber.
Fans of fighting games and anybody who enjoys beating the tar out of their friends should not miss this game. Soulcaliber is known for always providing some serious fighting entertainment, and V looks to be no exception.
2. The Darkness II (PS3, 360, Windows)
Most games put you in control of the protagonist, the good guy. The Darkness isn’t like that. Come February 7, gamers will once more be able to step into the shoes of Jackie Estado, the antihero possessed by evil.
Based on the highly popular comic of the same name, The Darkness II stands out by giving players access to the occasional gun and more importantly demonic powers. Don’t buy this one for your kids.
3. Resident Evil Revelations (3DS)
True survival horror fans know and respect the name of Resident Evil. However, that respect slipped a notch with the recent release of Resident Evil 5, a game that focused more on action than horror. Revelations look to fix that by returning to what made Resident Evil successful in the first place: being scary.
So, if you’re one of the lucky new 3DS owners and need a serious game that doesn’t involve virtual puppies, Resident Evil Revelations is there for you on February 7. With zombies.
4. Twisted Metal (PS3)
A lot of games these days focus on deep narrative and resonating emotionally with their players. Twisted Metal isn’t one of those games. Sony Santa Monica is back with another round of high-octane car combat. Twisted Metal is all about loading up cars with absurd amounts of weaponry and blowing each other to pieces.
Even better, the series looks to include online multiplayer for the first time in its life. The old Twisted Metal games were made before Xbox Live really popularized online multiplayer. Thankfully the new one includes it so you can blow up your friends over PSN as well as in person. Look for this gonzo game on February 14.
5. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (Vita)
Fighting game fans may already be bashing their little hearts out with the recent release of this game for PS3 and 360, but those lucky new owners of the PlayStation Vita don’t get to play it until February 15.
Usually, when a fighting game comes to a handheld console it ends badly, but Ultimate MvC 3 looks pretty good on the Vita. Besides, it’s not like new Vita owners will have anything else to play. Whatever your motivation, be sure to check it out.
6. Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita)
The new PlayStation Vita is launching with a variety of new games, but none are more hotly anticipated than the new installment in the famous Uncharted series. The PS3 games are some of the most critically acclaimed in gaming, and the expectations are high for the new mini version on the Vita.
Golden Abyss promises to bring big-budget adventure to Vita’s small screen. Nate Drake is on another epic quest packed full of action sequences that put Michael Bay to shame. Uncharted justifies a Vita purchase by itself, so be sure not to miss it on February 22.
7. Mass Effect 3 (PS3, 360, Windows)
There are good sci-fi games, and then there is Mass Effect. This massively successful RPG gets a well-earned finale on March 6. Commander Shepard and his ragtag crew of the Normandy have to unite a fractured galaxy in one final effort to repel the alien invaders bent on annihilating the galaxy.
Mass Effect sounds like a generic sci-fi game. What sets it apart is its spectacular production values, superb dialogue and characters, flawless gameplay, and epic soundtrack. Literally, every part of this series is fantastic, and the third game of the trilogy looks to be even better. Do not miss this game for any reason whatsoever.
8. Mario Party 9 (Wii)
Mario Party isn’t the most complex of games, but it usually sells quite well. Come March 11, you and your Wii buddies will be able to play the most hellish board games imaginable for the ninth time.
Newcomers to the party probably won’t have any trouble adapting to the game. Players traverse a ridiculously contrived board, playing minigames all the while. The game is good silly fun, so look for it March 11.
9. Ninja Gaiden 3 (PS3, 360)
Remember how we mentioned that some games tend to get emotional? Ninja Gaiden is the opposite of that as well. This is a series built on the idea of being a ninja and killing everything in sight. Extremely violent, the gore-filled action is the hallmark of Ninja Gaiden and the third installment looks no different.
So if you’re looking for something to do on March 20 (perhaps after finishing Mass Effect 3), Ninja Gaiden 3 is a great way to exercise your inner ninja and kill a whole lot of people.
10. Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
Finally. Gamers everywhere have been waiting for a sequel to the Nintendo classic Kid Icarus for years. Nintendo finally stepped up with the release of Kid Icarus: Uprising for the new 3DS. The game’s colorful 3D graphics look quite impressive.
So if you got a 3DS for Christmas and are looking for another great game to play, Kid Icarus is a great choice. It looks like a great action game done in the classic Nintendo style. Everybody loves Nintendo, so you probably won’t go wrong picking this up on March 23.
11. Borderlands 2 (PS3, 360, Windows)
Borderlands is awesome. There’s no real way around that statement. The 2009 game blended together shooting and RPG so well that it quickly garnered a large following. The sequel looks even better: more guns, more classes, and more ways to play with your friends.
Borderlands is a fantastic game for co-operative play. If your friends own the game, you can play together (online and offline) and simultaneously tackle tough quests or extra villainous bad guys. The game looks like a blast and definitely should not be missed come June 30.
12. Bioshock Infinite (PS3, 360, Windows)
Bioshock Infinite is a game that tries to be emotional and complex. The spiritual follow-up to the massively acclaimed 2007 predecessor, Bioshock Infinite is like nothing you’ve ever seen. The basic gameplay of guns and special powers is augmented by some of the best storytelling in gaming.
Bioshock Infinite is a game focused on America. As an American, I can safely say that there are a great many things wrong with our country’s politics. Infinite takes aim right at those flaws with a complex story exploring the fate of a fantastic floating city. What is meant to be the pinnacle of American power quickly degenerates into sectarian warfare and bloodshed? Into that situation the player is thrust.
If that sounds intriguing (and it should), look for Bioshock Infinite in 2012. While it is focused on America’s flaws, the politics behind those flaws are universal. It should appeal to everyone, no matter where you call home.
13. Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, 360, Windows)
Simply put, Grand Theft Auto is amazing. The long-running franchise is famous for crafting massive open worlds full of detailed missions. The fifth game looks to return to San Andreas, the site of GTA III. Fans of III and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas should be happy with that addition.
However, GTA isn’t known for the scenery. It’s known for providing the best open-world gameplay you can find anywhere. Grand Theft Auto IV was a remarkably complete way to live in a fictionalized version of New York City. GTA V looks to do the same on the California coast. Regardless of the locale, be sure to get this game.
14. Halo 4 (360)
Halo may be only for people with an Xbox, but it is still a good series. After concluding the fight with the Covenant menace in Halo 3, the saga is starting all over with a new trilogy. That’s where Halo 4 comes in.
So far details are fairly scarce, but what we do know is that series protagonist Master Chief is returning. Many Halo fans disliked his exclusion for Halo: Reach, so it’s good to see him back. Whatever the new Halo game does have, it will undoubtedly be wrapped up in fun shooting and a sweeping story.
15. Assassin’s Creed III (PS3, 360, Windows)
Assassin’s Creed finally stops the side adventures for a genuine numbered adventure with the release of AC III. We won’t pretend to understand the complex saga of the Templars and the Assassins, but something important to that story will probably happen in the new game.
Regardless of the confusing story, Assassin’s Creed is all about putting you in the shoes of a stealthy killer. If you play right, nobody will ever notice that epidemic of stab wounds going through important targets until it’s too late.
16. Dota 2 (Windows, Mac)
Our readers are divided into two groups for this entry: Those who get it and are excited, and those who don’t and thus do not care. Dota stands for Defense of the Ancients, a highly popular and insanely competitive online action game.
The first Dota was sort of low budget but still had great gameplay. Game developer Valve is giving the game a makeover without changing anything important. That way fans can get the same hyper-competitive gameplay they love with better community support.
17. Aliens: Colonial Marines (PS3, 360, Wii, DS, Windows)
Man, it has been a while since we’ve heard anything about Aliens: Colonial Marines. Originally announced in 2008, this Gearbox title has players desperately trying to survive on a ship infested with aliens from the James Cameron film.
There’s no release date on this one, and we would caution you to take any news about that with a huge grain of salt. Colonial Marines has been delayed since 2008, so there’s a decent chance it won’t even show up in 2012. On the off chance it does, it looks fairly entertaining.
18. Devil May Cry (PS3, 360)
Devil May Cry was one of the PlayStation 2’s best franchises. It finally comes to modern consoles with a new reboot that restarts the character and story. The protagonist Dante looks kind of weird, but the gameplay doesn’t. Killing demons with a sword never get old, and DMC promises to deliver on that front in a big way.
19. Fable: The Journey (Kinect)
Microsoft’s Kinect doesn’t get too many “hardcore” games, but Fable: The Journey is aiming to break that. Fable is a popular fantasy series for Xbox, but The Journey is the first entry to use entirely Kinect controls.
To be honest, there’s a very good chance that this game will be awful. Kinect controls are sketchy at best. However, if Fable can make Kinect work for hardcore games, then the result would be absolutely amazing. Either way, read a review before getting this game.
20. Journey (PS3)
A journey is a game that’s hard to describe. I guess it would be the equivalent of a Sundance indie film. Journey places you in an abandoned wasteland with no objective, no instructions, and no idea of what to do.
What is unique, though, is that other person in the world with you. A single other player inhabits your world. The catch is that you cannot communicate with them in any way. The result is a fascinating experience in multiplayer. Look for this one on PSN in 2012.
21. Lollipop Chainsaw (PS3, 360)
Yes, this is a real game. Lollipop Chainsaw is a game perfectly summarized by its title. A cheerleader, Juliet, has to fend off hordes of undead zombies invading her high school. Her tool of destruction is, you guessed it, a chainsaw.
The game looks funny in a bizarre sort of way. Juliet is a peppy, cheerful, shallow person. Of course, that makes it funnier when she cuts a zombie in half and sprays gore everywhere. If that’s your brand of humor, check it out sometime in 2012.
22. The Last Guardian (PS3)
The Last Guardian is another game that’s best compared to indie film. The game is a giant creature that protects a young child. Don’t expect much exposition, but do expect quite a lot of symbolic imagery.
A lot of gamers will lose patience with The Last Guardian. Those who are willing to play it in order to find a deeper message, though, will be in for something uniquely rewarding.
As we said, there are a lot of great games coming out in 2012. What are you going to play? Let us know in the comments.