Single-player PC games for 2012

Single-player PC games I’m looking forward to in 2012, in order of interest…

1. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim downloadable content (DLC), which promises to be more of a game in itself than the Bethesda’s Oblivion DLC was. Rumour has it that we may even get Morrowind, remade for the Skyrim engine and released on Morrowind‘s 10th Anniversary (1st May 2012). Which would be utterly awesome. Or perhaps it’ll just be some $10 mudcrab armour.

2. Risen 2: Dark Waters. When played with healthy doses of God Mode, the original Risen was a near-perfect modern PC game all the way through (until the end, which was a bit naff). This ‘makeover, polish and tweak’ sequel promises more of the same, this time with a tropical pirate setting (which it’ll share with 2012′s Far Cry 3). Sales-wise, PC games with pirate themes consistently sink without trace. Let’s hope Risen 2 bucks the trend.

3. Dishonoured. Arkane Studios teams up with Bethesda for an action-stealth steampunk open-world game. Reminds me a bit of the fun Saboteur in the setting and limited colour-range, but with the cool robots and ‘aristocrats’ instead of Nazis.

4. BioShock Infinite. Another retro/vintage steampunk setting. Actually valve-punk, since the game is set in an alternate USA in 1912. In plot and setting it also seems to borrow bits from Microsoft’s classic Crimson Skies, and the animated films of Miyazaki. In terms of interesting art direction, this looks like the main game of 2012. It also seems to take a refreshing approach to the use of vivid colour…

5. Grim Dawn. Hmmm, maybe. I loved Titan Quest, which was by the same team. But I’m not sure if I want to play Titan Quest given a depressing Fallout -style post-apocalyptic setting. One of the great attractions of Titan Quest was its fresh sun-drenched Greek Islands setting, which was beautifully depicted. But if Grim Dawn has innovative aspects, then I’ll be interested. I’ll also be taking a look at Diablo III if and when it finally arrives in 2012.

6. X: Rebirth. Will Valve finally be the one to get the space-trading RPG right? Will those made space-sick by the combat dogfights be able to use an alternative combat system? Will beautifully polished PC copies of the long-awaited Elite 4 fly out of David Braben’s earhole in 2012? Don’t hold your breath on any of these propositions. Still, one thing is certain. The X series are the best-looking space sims and X: Rebirth promises to offer more jaw-dropping real-time space art than you could fill a galaxy with…

7. Mass Effect 3 is… a possible. I played through the first and enjoyed it, while feeling it was more an interactive movie than a game. But then they lost me on the sequel, as soon as I heard they’d done the “let’s make it grim and depressingly bleak” thing that was in fashion back then. Mass Effect 3 is said to be more like the first game in the series.

Also interesting for machinima is that Halo 4 is pencilled in for Christmas 2012. And if Far Cry 3 ships with a free construction kit of the same excellent quality as Far Cry 2 then there may be some machinima potential there too.

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