A “Gamer’s” Look at the “2012 Most Anticipated Video Game” List: DAY 2

Posted on: 07/27/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Earlier this week I posted DAY 1 of our “Gamer’s” perspective about Nielsen’s recently released list of the “2012 Most Anticipated Video Games.” Nielsen projected which console video game titles have the greatest consumer anticipation for 2012. Halo 4 topped their list for Xbox 360 gamers, with Call of Duty: Black Ops II right on the heels.

Seeing that we have a video game reviews page for parents on www.TheSource4Parents.com, I thought it would be good to let a few of my Game-gurus chime in with their two cents about this list. Yesterday we heard “Gamer” James Trevillian’s perspective about Nielsen’s projections, as well as what parents might expect from content.

Today our very passionate game reviewer Thaius Tydane shares his opinion about this list:

Interesting list, though nothing particularly unexpected.  I was surprised Bioshock: Infinite wasn’t on the list, then I remembered it was delayed until next year and became very sad.

It’s nice to see Halo beating out Call of Duty, in my opinion.  I know they’re both top-tier shooters, but outside of Halo generally being more inspired, original, and lovingly crafted than the corporately churned out Call of Duty games (in my opinion, at least), the Call of Duty franchise has been unjustly at the top of the pile for a long time now, and while I’m not going to deny that there’s generally quality behind them, the campaigns have gotten lazier and I’m tired of gamers being largely represented by a bunch of kids who don’t even know anything other than Call of Duty exists.  This is a rich and diverse medium with many works worth experiencing, and yet so many kids I know only care about heatshotting noobs in the newest game of a single series, and to me, that’s just tragic.  Especially when I end up talking to parents who are caught completely off guard when I say I teach a Video Games as Literature class in high school because they can’t comprehend the idea of video games telling a story when all they’ve seen is constant shooting.

The Wii list consisting almost entirely of random pointless mini-games wasn’t surprising either… though I think I died a little inside when Just Dance 4 was at the top of it.  Nothing against those kinds of games, I just remember how excited I was for the Wii’s potential when I pre-ordered it before release, and all of that potential has come down to little more than a bunch of cheap mini-game compilations and silly party games.  The Last Story was a pleasant surprise; especially after the whole Operation Rainfall thing (when Nintendo was refusing to localize The Last Story and two other RPGs to America, and a bunch of fans made a dedicated effort to tell Nintendo they wanted them), it’s good to see there is a good amount of people who still want a real, detailed, and story-centric experience on the system.

Regarding the PS3, I was surprised to note there are no exclusives on it.  Every game on that list is available for the 360 and/or PC as well, which I find kind of interesting.  The exclusives of the PS3 has always been the system’s strength; most people I know didn’t get their PS3 out of preference for the online features or even brand loyalty, but because it was the only way they could play Metal Gear Solid 4, Heavy Rain, Uncharted, and others.  I guess the PS3’s no longer struggling for legitimacy like it was early in its life cycle, so this won’t be a big blow to it or anything, but I just find it interesting that one of the system’s historical strengths is going entirely unrepresented in this list.  Though considering the delay of The Last Guardian, I suppose I’m not looking forward to any PS3 exclusives coming out this year either…

Overall, business as usual.  Regarding specific games, then.

Call of Duty has a lot of fans and Black Ops 2 will make a lot of money despite most likely doing nothing worthwhile that hasn’t been seen before in every Call of Duty since the first Modern Warfare (but with more amateurish campaign design, because this is Treyarch).

Halo 4 is looking pretty good.  The recent gameplay videos have raised concerns regarding faithfulness to the story of the Halo trilogy, but 343’s story and world team were taken over right from Bungie, so it’s basically the same people working on this story that did the previous games in the series.  That inspires some confidence in me.  Though I’m sad to see Martin O’Donnel stayed with Bungie instead of keeping with the Halo series; the Halo series has one of the best soundtracks in the medium.  This new composer has some huge shoes to fill.

Assassin’s Creed 3 will also make a lot of money while hopefully making great use of its Revolutionary War setting to create fun landscapes to play on and explore the complex political and ethical struggles of that historical conflict.

The Last Story will hopefully deliver as good an experience as Hironobu Sakaguchi’s previous work (including Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, and the creation of the Final Fantasy series).  Lost Odyssey in particular is one of my all-time favorite RPGs, having squeezed more tears out of me than any other game has yet managed.  Not to mention, Nobou Uematsu, composer for the Final Fantasy series and arguably the greatest composer in the history of video games, is writing the soundtrack.  I am there.

Epic Mickey 2 will be a musical… I say it’s about time we got a musical video game, and I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure… ugh.  Not that material aimed at young girls can’t be good (I think the recent adult fandom of the surprisingly excellent My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic effectively debunks that myth), but game makers generally still have yet to get past the, “Kids just want to see things moving on the screen and don’t need any real quality” stage.  When they do, I’ll bother paying attention to games like this.

Wait, there are two movie-based games on the Wii list?  Since when are movie cash-ins the most highly anticipated?  Maybe they’ll surprise me and join the ranks of good movie-to-game adaptations with King Kong, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman 2, but… unlikely.

The sports games… not much to be said there.  Slightly-altered copies of the previous iteration that people will pay $60 for anyway, as always.

Oh, and an award goes to Medal of Honor: Warfighter for the most obvious and unoriginal subtitle ever… of all time.

Thaius Tydane is a regular game reviewer for The Source for Parents Video Games Review Page (he recently reviewed Star Fox 64 3D, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, and Silent Hill: Downpour).  He lives in Northern California and teaches “Video Games as Literature” classes to high school students.