In Real Life

The Spring 2012 Games We're Most Worried About

Cartoon mice and sci-fi shooters, vicious zombies and half-Native American assassins. There are a ton of cool-looking video games hitting store shelves this spring. Hopefully none of them suck.

We’ve already shared the spring 2012 games we’re most excited about. Now it’s time for trepidation. Each Kotaku staffer has picked a couple of games that we’re kind of worried about — not necessarily games we think will be bad, just games we worry might not live up to expectations, or might not achieve what they set out to achieve.

Here are the games we’re most worried about this year:

Stephen Totilo, Editor-in-Chief/FarmVille Addict

Assassin’s Creed III: I worry about every Assassin’s Creed, maybe because this is my favourite modern gaming series. II seemed like it might not be able to make this series great, but it did. Brotherhood seemed to be made too soon, but it was even better than II. Revelations seemed like it was going to be shaky and, although it was, I liked it a lot. III has impressed me more, in advance, than any of its predecessors, but I’ve heard mixed buzz out of Boston last week regarding the game’s level of polish. I want to believe, but they are trying to do a lot with this game — the frontier, the tree-running, the naval combat — that I’m now trying to keep my enthusiasm in check and brace myself for a more mortal game. (October 30, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U)

Dishonored: Strip away the hype for this game and I probably wouldn’t be worried. The one time I played it, back in May, it was fun and full of interesting, branching options. I’ve been impressed with the co-designer Harvey Smith’s and Raphael Colantonio’s vision for the game. But…the red flags go up when the marketing turns into a waterfall of trailers (seemingly two new ones a week), and then I remember the track record for Bethesda-published games not made by the Skyrim/Fallout team and then I start thinking about all of the games that were supposed to be full of branching opportunity that turned out to be clumsy and obvious. Do I want that here? No. Am I rooting for this game to come together and be Smith’s and Colantonio’s crowning achievement? Yes. But I’ll only believe it when I’ve beaten it. (October 9, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Evan Narcisse, Reporter/Stylish Dresser

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale: Sony’s everyone-in-the-pool fighting game is clearly aiming for Smash Bros.-level success. But all of the characters in those Nintendo games tend to be very similar in terms of tone. Having characters from gory M-rated games beat up on, say, Parappa the Rappa feels like a disconnect that won’t add any kind of fun to Battle Royale. (November 20, PS3/Vita)

Rayman Legends: I loved last year’s cartoony, well-tuned Rayman game. It played well, looked amazing and had a great soundtrack. And while I’m glad that it’s coming to Wii U — with some interesting ideas, to boot — I’m concerned that Rayman’s charms will be reaching a much smaller audience because this game is exclusive to Nintendo’s upcoming console. (Spring, Wii U)

Jason Schreier, Reporter/Call Me Maybe Advocate

Nintendo Land: I’m really looking forward to this Wii U mini-game collection. I think it will have more legs than Wii Sports, and I think it’ll be a blast to invite people over and play Metroid and Zelda mini-games with the new controller. But I can’t shake the feeling that this might be another throwaway disc, another collection of repetitive activities that wind up feeling older than your average Wii owner. (November 18, Wii U)

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition: I was really pumped to replay the classic old-school RPG Baldur’s Gate last week. Then, just a few days before release, it was unceremoniously delayed two months. Not a great sign. My expectations for this one are high, so I can’t help but worry that the iOS controls might not deliver, that the game might not feel modern enough, that the enhancements might just feel like a bunch of mods that we can get right now for free. Hope I’m wrong. (November 30, PC/Mac/iOS)

Kate Cox, Reporter/Point-and-Click Adventurer

Everything on the Wii U: I want it to be great and successful and entertaining — and enduring. It looks clever, but I’m hoping that translates into fun and useful and accessible for all the years well after launch. (November 18)

Owen Good, Weekend Editor/Replacement NFL Referee

NBA Live 13: This is Peter Moore, then-president of EA Sports, after NBA Elite 11 was pulled from shelves at the last minute: “We’ve been making steady progress on basketball for the past few years and it’s going to take extra time to make the game.”

Now here’s Andrew Wilson, the label’s current boss. “The team is making steady progress, and we’re continuing our work on NBA Live.”

This series has not been on shelves since 2009 and it still has no release date. I’m not sure what “steady progress” means exactly but we are not, today, where I thought this game would be after I saw work on it in April. (Spring? 360/PC/PS3?)

Call of Duty: Black Ops II: Watching this game’s presentation at E3, it looked like nothing I am remotely interested in playing. I expect the campaign to be set piece after set piece, like its predecessor, and its multiplayer to be the same death cult, just with different maps. People complain about sports video games being glorified roster updates, millitary shooters have shown me so little I think they’re glorified map updates. I must wonder if this year is the tipping point. (November 13, all platforms)

Chris Person, Video Editor/Banh Mi Lover

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale: Like I said in my impressions of the closed beta: The game still needs work, but I’m cautiously optimistic. (November 20, PS3/Vita)

Call of Duty: Black Ops II: Could be great! But I’m immediately suspicious of any game that hires a guy like Oliver North as a consultant. (November 13, all platforms)

Kirk Hamilton, Features Editor/Gotye Connoisseur

Medal of Honor: Warfighter: With all the weird, off-putting gun manufacturer tie-ins, mortifying, awkward advertisements and that truly wretched Linkin Park tie-in, nothing is looking particularly “good” for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. That said, it could well be a perfectly serviceable Call of Duty knock-off. But I’m a bit worried that the focus on realism will make the whole thing into a dour killjoy, and that any attempt to pay (earnest) tribute to the troops will come off as tin-eared and obsequious, particularly when compared to the genuine horror of the equally self-serious (and very good) Spec Ops: The Line. I will be playing with an open mind, but EA’s promotional campaign has made me deeply sceptical of Warfighter. (October 23, PC/360/PS3/Wii U)

Epic Mickey 2: I would love for Epic Mickey 2 to be good. I had a blast talking with the always enjoyable Warren Spector about the game and his dreams of a video game musical, and think that the first Epic Mickey seemed like a game that could stand as a blueprint for a much stronger game a la Assassin’s Creed. But still, when I see it in action, I’m not sold — there’s something about Mickey and about the way that the world is presented that doesn’t strike the right chord with me. For all the (very real) ways Epic Mickey is like Deus Ex, there’s just something about the gameplay that doesn’t look satisfying or all that interesting. I’m conflicted. I’m both hopeful that it will be an interesting game and sceptical that it will connect in the way that it deserves to. Either way, I will certainly play it. (November 18, Mac/PC/Wii U/Wii/360/PS3)

Tina Amini, Reviews Editor/Cat

Assassin’s Creed III: Despite how promising some new features seem to be — like scaling trees and fighting bears — the consistent hands off presentations for the game seem worrisome. The series has become somewhat stale for me personally, and while the tomahawk and new character are incredibly intriguing, I wonder just how much they’ll sell me on a new game. (October 30, PS3/360/PC/Wii U)

Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!: This might not be a game on most people’s radars, but as a huge Adventure Time fan I worry how true to the essence of the show the game will be. It seems highly focused on the first season of the show, which is fair for the first Pen Ward-endorsed game, but I wonder if such a small piece of reference material will be enough to translate that universe into a game that’s both fun and the core of what makes Adventure Time as great as it is. (November 13, 3DS/DS)

ZombiU: The concept looks fantastic — namely the part where you will start a new character after you die and have to kill the zombified version of the character you just played as — but the constant shifting between looking at the TV screen and looking at the Wii U GamePad makes me worry I’ll throw up more due to headaches than actual zombie grossness. (I don’t actually throw up a lot while playing video games.) (November 18, Wii U)

Luke Plunkett, Contributing Editor/Crusader King

Halo 4: I like what 343 has done aesthetically with the series, but just how much blood is left in the stone that is Halo‘s core gameplay? (November 6, Xbox 360)

Hitman Absolution: I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason I’m not feeling this. It’s been a while since one of these games was really good. (November 20, PS3/PC/360)

Brian Ashcraft, Contributing Editor/Pokémon Trainer

Call of Duty: Black Ops II: The whole plot in the first Black Ops was, well, silly. Really, really silly. So I’m worried that this will be more silliness — hopefully not! Also, I’m not feeling the buzz around this game like with previous Call of Duty titles. Have gamers moved on? (November 13, all platforms)