A.Grand Theft Auto V
Being a numbered GTA title is a big deal. We know GTA V is set in Los Santos, Rockstar’s take on Los Angeles, and that it may have multiple protagonists. What we don’t know is whether it’s a continuation of GTA IV or a return to the pop culture of Vice City and San Andreas. The golden hues and gloss of the trailer suggests the latter, but, hey: that could just be California.
Where GTA V does seem to offer something new is in the promise of expansive outdoor environments. With the series traditionally tied to urban areas, the possibility of a little more freedom is intriguing, as is the suggestion that the main character’s hobbies include hiking. That said, Rockstar would do well to focus on fundamentals: bringing GTA’s combat up to scratch, allowing us to interact with the environment more meaningful ways, and moving from the one-employer-at-a-time structure.
B.Cross of the Dutchman
An action-adventure in the mould of Fable 3 from indie studio Triangle, this game places you in the enormous shoes of legendary Dutch warrior-pirate Pier Gerlofs Donia. You’ll liberate Frisia and do sidequests in a charming cartoon take on Western Europe. Grutte Pier was seven feet tall and could decapitate several people with a single blow, apparently.
C.Metal Gear Solid 4
As big-haired, sharp-cheekboned cyber ninja Raiden, you’re hunting baddies in the near-ish future. The emphasis is on quick, offensive swordplay, using the dev’s terrifying attention to how bodies are sliced and diced. The series is perhaps best known for its fourth-wall-shattering plot devices and inventive game mechanics: we’re always happy to see more of that on the PC.
D.Brothers in Arms Furious 4
It’s a team-based shooter, again, but rather than updating to a modern combat scenario, this new Brothers in Arms sees a gang of armed-to-the-teeth Yank soldiers take on those pesky Nazis. The demo we saw involved jetpacks and demented violence. It recalls Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, with plenty of gore and Nazi-branding. Like a 1940s version of Bulletstorm.
E.The Darkness 2
We didn’t get The Darkness the first time round: a mob-set shooter into which mystical forces have imbued the central character with special abilities. Fortunately, its sequel is set to enlighten the PC. It includes ‘Quad-Wielding’, which allows players to slash, grab and throw enemies with two demon arms while simultaneously wielding two guns. You also get to tell imps when to murder your enemies from the shadows. Ace.
F.Strike Suit Zero
Many, many games feature the end of the world, but not many see you staving it off with a giant transforming space robot thing. It’s a very ’80s take on the space shooter, with ludicrous firepower and an infinite amount of power-ups, but the calibre of its creators should ensure it’s anything but 8-bit. It’s never going to be hugely challenging, but there simply aren’t enough giant transforming space robot things in games these days.
2009’s Prototype was a solid cityroaming murder sim, with some smart touches like being able to take on an enemy’s appearance. The sequel sees new protagonist James Heller taking on evil mutants and evil soldiers with equal aplomb. Heller’s got a few new abilities, such as tendrils that can envelope enemies, and everyone can be ripped into fleshy chunks. Expect openworld carnage, copter takedowns and, hopefully, a bit more depth.
H.Spec Ops: The Line
A third-person cover shooter set in the sand-blasted remains of Dubai, this promises tough choices in an uncompromising narrative. The banner feature is ‘Dynamic Sand’, accurately-modelled silicates that can form avalanches to crush friend and foe alike. 2K remind us that ‘sand has no loyalty’, flagrantly disregarding the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin.
A swashbuckling third-person adventure. A mix of combo-based sword battles and ship-to-ship fi ghting, you’ll upgrade both your boat and crew on your quest for the biggest, pointiest hat of all. It’s been in development for a long time: wait and see.
Darksiders wasn’t actually too bad as a third-person action slasher. In the sequel, you take control of Death (the other four horsemen taking a co-star role) as you rock into the underworld and beat the unliving crap out of baddies, like it’s the end of the world. Which it actually is. The team responsible claim that levels will be at least twice the size of those seen in the first game, and that the hub cities will contain significantly more dungeons. Which is nice.
K.Max Payne 3
Circumstances once again conspire to see Max Payne thrust sideways in slow-motion through the windows of life. Everyone’s favourite action-detective runs, guns and shaves his way through Sao Paulo in a Rockstar developed sequel to Remedy’s shoooter. The team responsible are making a big deal of the way Max moves naturally through the city.
L.Devil May Cry 3
Ninja Theory have worked hard to show that their DMC reboot respects its roots. The game will see a younger Dante slicing and air-juggling his way through two different worlds: one bright and colourful, the other dramatically monochrome.