2010 was a stellar year for action games and 2011 looks no different. Even though there’s a dearth of original IPs (intellectual properties), one can’t help but be excited at the sequels releasing this year that has something for everyone from solving crimes in a noire thriller to stepping back into the boots of the world’s greatest detective or even treasure hunting across the Arabian desert. We’ve combed through 2011’s release calendar and zeroed in on 9 games that are worth keeping an eye out for.
Batman: Arkham City (Xbox360, PS3, PC)
Face, meet fist
Developer Rocksteady have the distinction of giving the Dark Knight his first kick ass game adaptation in the form of Arkham Asylum. And now that they’re done with the loony bin, the action has shifted to Arkham City where Batman faces a new threat in the form of Dr. Hugo Strange. Although the game has a very strong open world vibe, it sadly won’t be one. However, like the Asylum, Batman will be able to explore the crap (or another word if you can think of it) out of certain areas to look for clues and other collectibles. The robust free-flow combat system has also received a major upgrade so Batman will now have quite a repertoire of moves under his belt. New to the series is the inclusion of multiplayer, the details of which are not known till date.
L.A. Noire (PS3, Xbox360)
Smile for the birdie
Even though Rockstar is pitching in as far as development is concerned, L.A. Noire is nothing like their GTA games where players explore an urban city, hijacking vehicles and killing people. L.A. Noire’s USP lies in its revolutionary motion capture technology that also ties into gameplay. You see in L.A noire, your character is a detective who will have to question perps and determine their honesty (or dishonesty) solely by looking at their facial expressions.
True Crime: Hong Kong (Xbox360, PS3, PC)
Everybody wants Kung Fu fighting
True Crime is a lot like GTA – only you’re playing on the other side of the law dishing out street justice when all else fails. The first two True Crime games didn’t quite set the cash registers ringing and so developer Luxoflux had to shut down shop in early 2010. Now the reigns of development have been handed over to the makers of Modnation Racers, who’ve taken the action overseas to Hong Kong. As an undercover cop, players will have to infiltrate a triad organization to take them down from the inside.
UPDATE: True Crime: Hong Kong has been cancelled by Activision.
Spec Ops: The Line (Xbox360, PS3, PC)
Where all the malls at?
Spec Ops takes place in the fictitious future where harsh sandstorms have ravaged tourist destination, Dubai, converting it into a gigantic sandpit. Living in such conditions is a total bummer and so its residents moved onto greener, or sand less pastures. However an Army Colonel decided to stay behind, for reasons unknown. Unfortunately for you and your team, he’s a real important guy and so you must brave the erratic weather conditions as well as the hostile locales to rescue him.
inFamous 2 (PS3)
What is up with heroes and their emo poses
Life for Cole McGrath was pretty boring. That was until he developed electric powers after a freak accident that decimated over half his city. With electricity practically oozing out from every pore in his body, Cole traversed the length and breadth of Empire city searching for answers. For the sequel, Cole and his buddy find themselves in the game’s version of New Orleans where they must not only uncover Cole’s origins, but stop the “entity” that threatens mankind’s very existence.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3)
Should have packed my glares
Fusing death-defying platforming, intense action, spectacular set pieces, stellar production values and good ol’ fashioned humor, the Uncharted series has gone on to become a system seller for the Playstation 3. This year’s adventure has Drake and brother from another mother, Sully, exploring the vast expanses of the Arabian desert in search of an artifact called the “Atlantis of the Sands”. Things don’t go as planned – thankfully – and Drake finds himself on yet another adventure that spans the entire globe.
Hunted: The Demon's Forge (Xbox360, PS3, PC)
Cos 2 assassins are better than one
Part RPG and part cover based action, Hunted: The Demon's Forge is like Gears of War in a dark fantasy world. As clichéd as the plot sounds (you know, Good vs. Ancient evil), Hunted’s USP lies in its co-operative action where one player dishes out pain via ranged attacks while the other uses up, close and personal melee attacks. Add in a bunch of spells and weapons to the mix and Hunted could be just the mindless co-operative action game the doctor ordered.
Gears of War 3 (Xbox360)
That looks real painful
Jacinto, mankind’s final beacon of hope has fallen by the hands of the locust. This forces Marcus Fenix and his band of Gears to relocate to an island of Vectes where they encounter a new kind of foe called the Lambent. This departure of venue will also allow Epic games to add in a little visual flair to this series that some found a bit too brown for its own good. Also expected in this game are new multiplayer modes, characters, weapons and even more brutally satisfying finishing moves.