Mittwoch, 20. Januar 2010

2010 - So Many Games, So Little Time

2010 will be a weak year for MMOs. We covered that already and first open beta reviews of Star Trek Online solidify my prediction of yet another epic case of death on arrival. Big licenses mean nothing in the unforgiving genre of "WoW and it's retarded siblings".
I am almost certain that Cryptic will fail miserably and even if all the die hard trekkies subscribe for just one year they probably won't break even financially. Seeing Age of Conan, Warhammer and Aion crash and burn has made a sceptic out of almost every MMO gamer, me included.

People have grown more and more impatient with new MMOs. If you don't deliver all the basics and then some within the first two to three months (let's remember the first month is complementary for all western MMO games, so people will play at least that long), you're dead. There won't be a second Lord of the Rings Online, because that game was released at a time when players and developers still cared for each other and it filled a niché that doesn't exist anymore. There also won't be a second WoW, a statement that needs to be addressed in seperate blog post.

If I had to put my money on an MMO not kicking the bucket (or even succeeding) this year it would be Allods Online. I probably will not play it, but I'll closely follow how it performs. First reason would be the few new gameplay mechanics the game is trying to introduce. Strengthening guild teamplay and mixing fantasy elements with space combat still sounds like a splendid idea, even after Aion failed to implement that as its key feature. The second reason is a totally different one: we have yet to see a wildly successful micropayment MMO. Thinking about it I largely favour this model, even if it means selling items or other gameplay related services and thus giving paying players an edge over the casual, that logs in to play two nights a week.

So, since I don't expect the door towards the third generation of MMOs to be kicked open in 2010, I will spent the year catching up on some classic titles I've missed out on as well as devoting my time to the few top titles to be expected this year.

The New Ones
These are the games I am actively looking for in 2010. There are probably a few games missing from that list and I only included PC games. I do own a Wii now but the console still doesn't strike me as a single player machine (except for Mario Galaxy of course) and I don't expect any new big license games to be released on the Wii with the successor around the corner.

Mass Effect 2
I am currently playing Mass Effect 1 for the first time with my first character. My last real offline RPG was Morrowind and the respective addons. It's nice to see that the genre has come a long way in the last years. Although I will not finish ME1 before ME2 is released, I will surely check it out, since it's the best non-fantasy RPG I've played so far (bite me, Star Wars fanboys).

Starcraft 2
This is a must since Starcraft is a legend (can somebody say eSports?) and a lot of people - me included - devoted a lot of time, sweat and blood to that game within the first 4-5 years. It was the trailblazer for dozens of bad and half-bad RTS flooding the PC gaming market around Y2K and will reignite the RTS genre. Although I despise Activision and my admiration for Blizzard is crumbling, I think I can't pass up on this one.

Left 4 Dead 2
To me, the FPS genre is going through a dry spell right now. The half a dozen Doom clones (of which FEAR was probably the most promising) and the myriad of WW2 and modern day shooters are pretty uninspired. And if the biggest selling point of a CoD Modern Warfare 2 is breaking the taboo of killing harmless civilist targets, then I weep for this genre.
The only games that stuck out to me are the two Left 4 Dead ones. I always thought, that coop shooters were introduced way to late, so I'll check L4D2 out, if Steam should offer it for a reasonable price during the expected easter sale.

Torchlight Multiplayer
If I remember correctly, the announcement for multiplayer implementation of Torchlight stated Q2 of 2010. I admire the single player version very much and bought it for 50% off during the crazy Steam christmas sale. I still haven't played any character past level 10 though, since it still is a dungeon-crawling, item-grabbing game. As a recovering WoW addict, I am still too annoyed by this concept. If the multiplayer version is worth it's money and fans will do amazing things with TorchED, the free game editor for the Torchlight engine, I will definitely spend a couple of dozen hours this year hacking and slaying.

Zombie Cow Studios' next adventure
I really loved "Ben There, Dan That" and recently played the first minutes of "Time Gentlemen, Please!" Both adventures do give me hope for the Point and Click genre as a whole and I am anxious to see what the two guys will be doing next.

Duke Nukem Forever
Although I'd like to pretend I'm just kidding, I want to keep an open mind towards all the secrets and mysteries surrounding the return of the Duke. If it really comes to life, I will definitely check it out one way or another. Like with a lot of 25-30ish people, Duke Nukem 3D was my first LAN game, that got me hooked on PC gaming, fast-paced shooters and LAN parties.

I've been an avid fan of two development studios for years. The first one is Blizzard Entertainment, no need to explain that. The other one is id Software. They are probably the most brilliant major developer. The roughly 30 people there create game engines and worlds that pioneer whole subgenres or set new industry standards when it comes to graphics, physics or other technological aspects of game development. Anyway, since Doom 3 was so so, and Quake 4 and Quake Live are just new iterations of old ideas, I am looking forward to their take on an postapocalyptic FPS RPG hybrid. Will we see things Fallout 3 or Borderlands haven't done?
Whether or not Rage will be released 2010 is unclear, since the updates from id Software have been scarce in 2009. I keep my fingers crossed.

Jumpgate Evolution
It's been awfully quiet around this once highly anticipated SciFi-MMO. I remember in late summer beta keys were thrown around my Warhammer Online guild. But as far as I know, no beta or release date have been announced lately.

Fairytale Fights
Black humor, cartoon graphics, a fairytale themed world and hack'n'slay action. Looks interesting and if there will be a sale for this on one of the pay to download sites, I'll pick it up.

The Old Ones
Trying to kick an old habit is not that easy. Ask a few people who tried to stop drinking, smoking or getting rid of any other addicting activity. Replacing the old, self-destructive hobby with a pro-active alternative seems the way to go in a lot of rehabilitation programs. Why am I talking about this? Because trying to stay clear of WoW will probably require me to keep my mind busy when I am bored. And happens a lot. So to make sure I have something to fiddle around with, I also assembled a list of already released games. All of these I regret missing out on. I also consider most of them as "must-have-played".

Dragon Age
I am yet to play Origins, game of the year 2009 for many people and gaming sites/magazines. I am currently playing Mass Effect and I am impressed of the giant leap BioWare takes with each new generation of their RPGs. I can only imagine what Dragon Age will be like. I suppose I won't tackle the game before summer, since I don't want to risk my diploma thesis by losing myself in yet another great immersive RPG game. But an addon is being developed and with all the praise the game and BioWare have gotten, it'll be the next logical step after finishing Mass Effect 2 (and my diploma thesis).

AI War
I've grown to like games from independant developers. World of Goo, Braid, the Zombie Cow guys - all of them are examples of brilliant ideas no big company would ever have pursued. But I am far from being a snob about only playing Indie games. It won't be long until Indie gamers will become the same elitist jerks that hardcore MMO players have been for years. Well, until Blizzard decided the 99% happy customer base was more important than the 1% satisfied elitist no-lifes.
Back to topic. AI War got really great reviews and is said to push the boundaries of the RTS genre as a whole. That's high praise for a one-person project. I want to see what the fuss is about and how a macromanagement-heavy RTS can be the biggest thing released in the last few years. Because let's face it: the RTS genre has been quiet and boring ever since The Frozen Throne was released. There have been short interludes with Company of Heroes or the Warhammer 40k games (which are basically all one game engine with different sets of graphics and single player campaigns). AI War, I want you to sweep me off my feet!

Fallout 3 (and all the gazillion addons)
I was a sucker for the first two Fallout games and I haven't heard anything bad about this one. Almost all of the negative reviews criticized points I am indifferent about (mostly disgruntled RPG players) and when people say it's the "better Oblivion", that's a plus for me. Having enjoyed Morrowind despite it's flaws I tried Oblivion for maybe an hour on a friends PC and to me it felt like Morrowind with better graphics. Sorry, but I don't buy the same game twice.
Apocalyptic or SciFi scenarios are just my thing, so Fallout 3 is one of those games I don't see myself ignoring forever.

Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2
Around new years, a friend lent me both these games and Drakensang, a RPG made in Germany under the "The Dark Eye" license. I've seen Drakensang live on my roommates PC by now and have no desire playing it whatsoever. Looks and feels to steril and artificial to me. But the two KOTOR games have had great reviews and are both considered the cutting-edge predecessors to Mass Effect and Drakensang. If time allows, I'll have a look at one of them, although it's probably worth it to play both of them just for the story. But this type of RPG demands roughly 30 to 60 hours depending on how OCD you go about the side missions. Considering that I like the "old era" of the Star Wars universe a lot more than the modern age that the movies are set in, I think my time will be well invested.

Torchlight Singleplayer
Not much to say about that. See above.

After Torchlight and Fairytale Fights the third comic hack'n'slay that will try to cater to all the starved Diablo 3 fans that won't receive any Blizard love in 2010.

Well, I guess that's it for me and looking at the list I'll probably carry over roughly half of these into 2011. For more 2010 previews, check out "The Year Ahead" on RockPaperShotgun (Parts One, Two and Three) or the series "Coming Attractions" on Eurogamer.

Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen